An excerpt from Bound to Be a Bride...
Isabella noticed again that whenever she ate or licked her fingers clean, Javier seemed to become particularly annoyed, finally huffing and getting up from the campfire. Then, after she had returned from taking care of herself before she fell asleep, Javier was waiting for her with the ropes.
Her stomach flipped, and she did not want to contemplate whether it was hope or fear that had caused the strange excitement to whip through her.
“I am not sure that is necessary,” she said softly. Sebastián and Marco had already fallen asleep on the far side of the campfire.
“We have saddlebags full of valuable supplies and—” He looked away, almost ashamed, then back into her eyes. “I just cannot take the chance of you stealing anything or slipping away and revealing our location.”
She stared at him and felt the wave of heat come up her body, from her stomach and over her breasts. Her breath became shallow. “Here.” She lifted her hands up, the wrists already together. Even though they were bare, she acted as if she were already bound.
When she saw the way Javier’s jaw tensed and his black eyes shone, Isabella had the strangest impression that her submission was actually a peculiar form of power that she wielded. Her body was eager to have his hands on her again, and if this ritualistic binding was going to bring that about, her rapidly beating heart seemed to suggest she should leap at the chance.
She stood like that for a few long moments, the position oddly prayerlike, staring into his eyes. “You should,” she whispered. “I’ve been told I sleepwalk and sometimes speak in the night. It’s probably for the best.” She raised her hands slightly higher, offering them to him.
His exhale seemed strained, but he did what he had set out to do. She realized now that the methodical wrapping of her wrists was a form of artistry. She smiled as he wound the ropes tenderly around her pale skin, her breasts tightening in her corset, that unfamiliar heat building between her legs.
When he finished with her wrists, he gestured toward the ground. She looked and saw that he had made a pallet out of two of the horse pads, and the army blanket from the night before was folded neatly at the end.
“Why thank you, Javier. A bed.” She spoke quietly and sat down slowly, then stretched her legs out.
He knelt down on one knee, his forearm resting casually across his other thigh.
“Here. Let me help you get settled.”
Isabella reclined onto her back, turned onto her side, and pulled her bound hands closer to her chin, as if she were snuggling into them.
“Do you want to tie my ankles as well?”
“Yes,” he said, but his voice sounded thick and unfamiliar. Almost greedy.
He spread the blanket over her, then lifted it away from where it covered her feet. Isabella gasped when his fingers touched the bare skin above her ankle boot, then quickly closed her mouth and eyes, hoping that her sinful pleasure at his touch might not be so obvious.
Javier tied her ankles with the same attentive precision he had used at her wrists. He tried to convince himself that he was not employing his usual speed and skill because he was trying to be mindful of her safety, but the truth was that he wanted his fingers on her supple skin for as many long seconds as he could steal. He had figured the girl would try to defy him when he suggested he was going to have to bind her each night on their way to Aveiro. She had proved quite amenable, showing admirable equestrian and culinary skills and generally not making a nuisance of herself. Perhaps he had hoped to infuriate her so he would have an excuse to deposit her at the next village and never think about her again. Perhaps, he’d thought, it was a good plan to provoke her to petulance or disobedience so he would no longer… think about her in that way.
To say that plan had gone awry would be putting it mildly.
When she raised her joined wrists to him, gave them to him, he nearly took a step away from her, from the flood of desire that coursed through him. He felt the shock of it when his fingers touched the skin of her wrist, and he saw the softening gleam in her eyes as she allowed him to take her. God, if he could feel this way merely tying her up, he could only begin to fathom what he could feel if he really took her this way. Pliant. Wanting. Staring at him in that eager way.