In a world full of poverty and disease, a poor woman's best chance for an existence free of hunger is to serve as a warlord's concubine. It's Marker's job to use his bite to claim women as Lord Haddem's. One of his recruits holds great sexual power over him. He must have her, but if they're discovered, Haddem will have them both killed.
Kamya hopes to find a protector in the warlord's court so that she can help her parents. Can she use Marker's desire for her to achieve her aims? If she gives in to her lust for him, she could get them both killed. What kind of future can they make for themselves in such a savage world?
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Copyright ©2012 Alice Gaines
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By now, every man in the chamber would have an erection as the new cohort of concubines entered dressed in their filmy presentation gowns. Though Marker didn't resemble the others much, he had the same male responses as Haddem's sublords and field marshals. More, actually. His existence, and his function in Haddem's court, centered around sex. Though he wouldn't have any of these women, he nevertheless grew thick and long as he watched the latest collection of female flesh entering the hall.
He'd selected all these women, placing his bite on them. Now as they walked between rows of men who shouted obscene suggestions and pinched a bit of flesh here and there, the women kept their heads down. Several trembled and clutched each other's hands. In truth, they had nothing to fear from this crowd. At least, not yet. No man, no matter how close to Haddem, would dare lie with one of the new concubines before Haddem had taken his pleasure with her. Of course, that coupling held its own menace.
An elbow poked Marker in the ribs. "Nice batch this time. You did well."
Sublord Aser had come up beside him as he'd watched the procession of feminine beauty. Now, Aser stood staring at them, his hand pressed against the front of his pants as if he could squeeze his cock into submission. The gesture did little to ease the throbbing of Marker's own member.
"Plump," Aser said. "Not scrawny like so many."
"You can thank their parents," Marker said. "They took Haddem's money and fed their daughters instead of themselves."
"That's what it's for."
Aser said that so easily. He had little knowledge of what went on outside Haddem's compound. Most of the people of the city were ghosts created out of their hunger. Aimless and insubstantial. Feeding another person while starving yourself took devotion, even if the other was your child.
Real love. Such irony that the only way to save a daughter was to sacrifice her to the rough pleasures of Haddem and his men.
"Which one will you want once Lord Haddem's done with her?" Aser asked. "The blonde with the enormous breasts or the redhead?"
Marker never touched any of the young women after claiming them for Haddem with his bite. His stomach always soured at the thought of having them passed around. He could blame himself for that, too, as the mingling of his blood with a woman's gave her sexual allure. He was no more immune to it than any other male, but he at least owed it to his "recruits" not to add to their exploitation.
"The blonde for me, I think," Aser said. "I'll have her squeeze those tits around my cock and thrust until I come all over her chest."
Aser would, too. No doubt she'd experience worse. Marker didn't answer but stood, gritting his teeth.
"I'll probably spray all over her chin." Aser clutched his cock through the fabric of his pants. "Damn. When will this end so I can fuck something?"
"Excuse me." Marker made to move away, but Aser's free hand came down on his shoulder.
"You have no reason to act superior," the man said. "You're just as close to coming in your pants as I am."
"Right you are." Marker peeled Aser's fingers from his shoulders. "Now excuse me."
Marker crossed the path the concubines had walked on his way toward the exit. The dim light of the torches had played tricks with his eyes, though, hiding one last woman in shadows. She walked straight ahead now, almost bumping into him. He grasped her arms to put her away and almost reeled as all the wind went out of him. Her.
The woman stared up at him out of golden eyes that contrasted with skin the color of chocolate, a treat he'd once tasted as a child. Dark-skinned people were rare but not unheard of. No matter her color, he'd never mistake this one for anyone else.
She recognized him, too. Her fearful expression changed to one of astonishment, eyes wide, lips parted.
"You do exist," she whispered. "I didn't dream you."
"Not unless it was a nightmare."
Her fingers went to her shoulder, exposed by the bodice of her gown. He'd bitten her lower than he generally did, his mark coming at the top of her breast. She'd been too thin to have much flesh there, despite being well past puberty. Now, she'd filled out. Ripe in the fullness of womanhood and yet not touched. Exactly the way Haddem liked them.
Seeing her again felt like a blow to his belly. His blood pooled in his groin, causing his cock to swell to fully erect.
She kept staring at him, her full lips still parted as if waiting for a kiss. He'd be courting death to accept her offer with the others looking on. Only through the rigid discipline imposed on everyone in the court did Haddem keep his concubines to himself until he'd tired of them. And yet, Marker couldn't pull away from her. An invisible cord held them together. Every other sound dimmed, slipping into the back of his mind as he leaned toward her, his gaze fixed on her mouth...