On a moonless night, just outside of Morocco, the arid wind blew fiercely. Special Forces Captain Luc Trembley sat on his cot wiping the desert grit from his face. He took a deep breath as his piercing almond shaped eyes scanned his surroundings. His adrenaline was just getting under control. He was sitting in the dark fuming; he was angry at his cousin Marcus.
Luc stood up. He immediately jumped to attention and saluted his commanding officer.
After returning the salute, the commander spoke to him, “Captain Marcus Allard is causing too much trouble lately. We are busting him back down to Lieutenant. He’s been reassigned to your platoon, he’s your problem now. See if you can straighten his ass out.”
What else could he say, “Yes, Sir.”
“Luc, on a better note, I just got word. They liked how your platoon handled the mess this afternoon. A high value target was terminated. Tonight, you’re going to bed a Captain, tomorrow you’ll wake up a Major. Good job son.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Unfortunately, your promotion comes with a price. They are shipping your platoon back to America. A treaty was signed between our country, the U.S., and Mexico. Canada will still have its own military branch, however, we will all be considered one united country. It became official today. We are at war with Russia and South America. Marcus will rendezvous with your platoon before you reach your new post. May God protect you, Captain Trembley.”
“Thank you, sir."
Elise closed her eyes. She tried to make sense of this life she was now leading. It was early spring and still cold outside. She was chilled to the bone despite the warmth of her garments. This time five years ago she had quit her job and was going back to college to finish what she had started a decade before. At 35 she still had a young face. She was no ordinary beauty, with her long brown hair and green eyes, she was stunning to look at.
The stench of the body odor surrounding her brought her back to reality, and the realization that life had changed, and would forever be altered. War had brought down society and turned its survivors into warring clans and tribes. She had been caught unaware of the men on horses surrounding her as she had been hunting, or more like scavenging for food. Her hands and feet were bound and yet she was unhurt. She had not fought the soldiers. She had surrendered like a coward, or perhaps, like a smart woman who knew she had been defeated.
It seemed like days since she had been in the prisoner wagon. There was one other woman and two men. She imagined that they would be treated fairly, since no one had mistreated them thus far. They had been fed, not a lot, but enough not to be ravenous. The prisoners were a dirty group; they smelled atrocious. No one spoke or even looked at one another.
Elise was awoken with a shove, she was disoriented and stumbled from the wagon. It was twilight, dark, but light enough to see her surroundings. A man pushed her and the other prisoners forward to show it was time to start moving. The men and women were separated. Elise looked at the wall of the outer building she was standing next to. It was a great sturdy rock wall with limited windows.
The men stayed in the large open area outside the building, a form of courtyard, and the women were shown to a large room with many candles burning, and multiple cots. The man from the wagon told the women that they were to stand and wait. They were informed that they would be able to bathe and eat, before being allowed to sleep. It felt like hours until someone, a servant it seemed, showed up to cut them free. She escorted them to a bathing chamber.
Elise washed her hair, scrubbed her face and body. She donned a light cotton robe that had been provided for her. She felt like a million dollars. It was ages since she had a proper bath. Funny how a day can seem like forever, and a month an eternity. The women were escorted back to the room they first entered. Food was waiting for them, more than enough had been provided. Full and clean, Elise felt a calming in her soul. She sensed everything was going to be okay. She may be a prisoner or future servant of this clan, but she perceived that life was going to be less stressful. No more being cold, hungry, or afraid. She had never had an issue with hard work, she would except this fate, and this clan.
She wasn’t sure how long she had been sleeping when she was gently shaken awake. A man standing over her told her to come with him. Shy and disoriented she followed. He led her through several hallways and into a large, dimly lit room. The furnishings were expensive, the room clean. There was a large bed in the center of the room, and a fire burning in a fireplace. The man handed her a small cloth and asked her to sit on the bed and put it on. He explained to her briefly why she was there. He told her not to worry or be frightened, that no harm would come to her. How could she not be afraid, when suddenly, it was clear. She felt like a coward, she didn’t fight, she didn’t argue, or question. She didn’t cry, Elise did what was asked of her. She sat on the bed, put on the blindfold, and waited. The door creaked only once as the man left. She absently sat there running her fingers through her long, now dry hair. Blind to the room, a man’s voice made her jump. His voice was soft, kind and sexy.
“What is your name?”
She just sat there in a daze, unsure. He said something soft almost purringly in what she suspected was French, or a dialect of French. She could smell him. He was close. She felt his fingers touch her hair, and it sent shivers down her back.
He asked her again in a soft whisper, his voice a masculine seductive timbre. “What is your name, Ma Chérie?”
She replied softly “Elise”.
“Ah, Elise, stand up and let me look at you.” His voice was soft. He whispered to her, like this was a secret rendezvous between two lovers.
She made no move, so he reached for her shoulders pulling her up. She stood before him half afraid, half excited. He kissed her neck and sent shivers down her back. He kissed her mouth. She did not kiss him back. He whispered something in French in her ear, then kissed her neck. She was excited, turned on. He could be anyone, she could be anyone. It had been a long time since she felt the touch of a man. He was being gentle and patient. He could be a soldier, a warrior; he could take what he wanted and be brutal and fast. Instead, he pulled off her robe and picked her up.
She let him. He kissed her mouth, and she kissed him back. It may have been wrong, but she’d worry about that in the morning. He kissed her and caressed her until her body was on fire. He entered her slowly, and she moved with him. He made love to her, took his time, enjoyed her. The blindfold had been erotic. She could be passionate and not be afraid. She felt uninhibited. She matched his passion until they were both satisfied. She climaxed and he was finally happy to surrender, he had waited until she had been satisfied. He wanted her content. They laid on the bed silent for a few moments enjoying the warmth of each other. The bed was soft, it smelled fresh and masculine. The smell of sex hung in the air. Finally, he covered her with a blanket and kissed her back.
He whispered in her ear “Until next time Ma Chérie, wait a few moments before you remove your blindfold. Sleep well.”
Elise did as she was asked. She waited a few moments, removed the blindfold, and she was alone. It was amazing how erotic that moment had been, a pure fantasy. She wondered if he would love her again. She had enjoyed the passion he had instantly found in her; she would welcome his touch should he come to her again. She fell asleep and slept long and hard for the first time in many months.
Elise woke the next morning when the girl she met the night before opened the shutters.
“Good morning, my name is Bridgette. You’re going to like it here. Life is not hard.”
Sleepily she replied to her, “I’m Elise.” She blinked the sleep from her eyes and adjusted herself to the light.
Bridgette smiled at Elise. “I’ve got fresh things for you, get dressed and bring your robe with you, I’ll be waiting in the next room”. Elise nodded that she understood.
When she entered the room, she remembered passing through it the night before. Bridgette explained to Elise, that she would be with her on the General’s side of the house. Bridgette was brief about the General. “He is the head of the clan. His cousin Marcus is second in command, they are kind men, but do not cross them. Especially the General, he has a fine temper. Do what you’re asked, keep your head down, you will be fine.”
Elise thought Bridgette was lovely to look at, she studied her features while she was talking to her. Elise wondered what had happened to the other people that had been brought here with her. Elise liked Bridgette and was relieved to be staying with her. Bridgette showed Elise around. She took her to the bunk house where she would be sleeping, she showed Elise the kitchen, where she saw one of the women prisoners. Bridgette finally took Elise to the back of the compound. She informed her that today she would do laundry, but that she might get moved around a bit depending on what was needed.
Elise was deep in thought when she heard two men with deep booming voices behind her.
“Look at what we found.” The voice came from a man with a sing-song French accent. A hand grabbed her and swung her around.
Two of the biggest men she’d ever seen were looming over her. One was a rugged, burly brute. The other tall but not wide shouldered like his partner.
“New here, are you?” the same rugged man asked in his French accent.
Elise shoved the man’s hand off her shoulder. “Don’t touch me,” she told him without fear.
The man slapped Elise across the face. It wasn’t hard yet stung enough to receive the message that had been sent.
“What’s going on here?” The two men jumped at the sound of the new voice. It was masculine, harsh, with authority in every word. “I said, what’s going on here.”
“Nothing General, we’ve just found a new dove,” replied the brute.
Elise turned to the voice. He was handsome and tall. He had black hair and dangerous black eyes. His hair wasn’t short, but long enough to reach his collar. He sported a full beard and moustache. Elise noticed something in his eyes, surprise maybe. “This brute hit me because I told him not to touch me.”
The General laughed. The men looked unsure. “Go back to the yard. If you don’t have anything to do, I will find you something.”
The men both nodded and said “Yes, General,” simultaneously. The men turned and left.
The General walked closer to Elise. “And you are?”
“Elise,” she replied quietly, surprised at herself for her most recent bravado.
He nodded. He reached out and grabbed her hair with his hands. His expression changed from the smiling man, to an almost hostile nature. His tone was harsh, “Bun your hair. I don’t want to see it again.”
Elise cocked her head sideways at him, showing she did not understand.
“Men see your hair and they will want to ravish you. Bun your hair or be raped by my men. Your choice Elise.”
Elise lowered her face to the ground, “Yes, General,” she said meekly. He turned and walked away.
Elise finished the laundry. The day had gone quickly. The sun was going down, and there was an ache in her back. She wondered about the events of the afternoon. She hoped she had not made an enemy, whoever the brute may be. Elise went in search of Bridgette and found her in the kitchen. Elise informed Bridgette that the laundry was complete and asked if anything more was needed from her.
Bridgette said to Elise, “Usually we only take care of the General, his cousin, and a few men at a time, so after we get them dinner we may retire. However, tonight they are having a feast. Something big was killed for food and we all may enjoy it.”
“Well, what do I do now?” Elise asked her.
“Come with me to the storeroom and help me get something for the men to drink.” Bridgette led her through the large dining hall. It was filled with six or so men laughing and talking. Elise noticed the General right away. He had been laughing at something, but his expression had changed the moment he noticed the two women. Elise wondered what he was thinking about. She did not notice that he followed them out of the room with his eyes.
He had been laughing at his cousin’s joke, but he couldn’t stop thinking about those green eyes. He noticed that she had bunned her hair. Good. Maybe she will avoid trouble yet. When she walked in, he couldn’t help himself but look at her. This displeased him because he had more self-control than that. As Elise walked away, their eyes met, and held for a fraction of time.
She could understand why he was the man in charge. She felt electricity run through her veins. She could see from his eyes, his expression, and his attitude, that he was a virile and sexy conqueror.
Bridgette and Elise carried multiple bottles of wine and beer to the dining room. Elise poured the wine for the men, starting with the General. He did not look at her; he maintained his conversation with one of his men.
She had gotten to the third man and he spoke to her, “Thank you, Ma Chérie.”
Elise unconsciously looked up and smiled. Could this be the man from last night? He smiled at her. He was handsome and had a boyish charm.
“Marcus, she has other cups to fill, stop hogging the woman,” the General said with much irritation.
Elise immediately knew her mistake. His voice sounded angry. She looked at him and felt sorry. If they had been alone, she was certain he would have beaten her.
His eyes alone could describe his mood. She moved on to the next man, then the next. The last to fill was the brutes. She kept her eyes down, never making eye contact. He laughed at her and made some joke in French that all the men laughed at, all except the General. “Elise, go grab more wine, and be quick.” A muscle in his jaw twitched.
“Yes, General.” He was definitely angry at her for some reason.
Elise’s back was turned to the door; she did not hear the man come up behind her.
He whispered in her ear, “Ma Chérie, close your eyes.”
Instinctively she obeyed. She had wondered if she would know his touch again and relished in the knowledge that it may be soon.
He whispered in his seductive timbre, “I want you again, let me come to you.”
“No, I am not alone,” she told him.
“I will find you alone soon. I was jealous when I saw your smile to Marcus. I want your smile all to myself.” He kissed her neck sending shivers down her back. “Is that wrong? I must go. Wait a moment for me to go, then you can open your eyes. Until next time, Ma Chérie.” He kissed her neck in a one last parting gesture. His voice had been sensual and seductive in such a soft whisper. Her body had already begun to respond to him.
“Elise,” the General’s voice nearly shouted at her causing her to jump and turn. “What is taking you so long? When I ask you to do something, do it quickly.”
She stood there stunned, unsure how much time had passed between the kiss and the shout, but it was like ice cold water being dumped on her.
“Well?” he asked her.
“Uh, I’m sorry,” she replied, feeling foolish.
“Grab two bottles and be quick,” he practically growled at her.
She quickly did as he asked, then followed him back to the dining hall. She started her rounds over, some men needed more, while others passed. She made no eye contact. She spoke to no one. Remembering Bridgette’s advice, she kept her head down.
The men spoke in English and French, some both, others only one or the other. The general got up and talked quietly to Bridgette, then followed her out of the hall.
Elise was just finishing her last round. The bottles were empty when the General sat back down. He engaged in conversation with Marcus in French. Bridgette returned to the hall carrying a tray to take plates and used or unused items back to the kitchen.
The General beckoned Elise and Bridgette to him. He spoke to both women, “You may retire for the evening; the other women can finish tonight.” The women nodded in understanding and with that he dismissed them by turning his head and starting a new conversation.
The two women headed towards the bunk room. “Elise, I’m so excited.” Elise turned to look at her, unsure of what was going on. “Now that there are so many new women here to help, they have made two new rooms so that we don’t have to share the bunk room.
“I don’t understand,” Elise told her.
“Well, there are too many of us now for one bunk room. You and I get a new arrangement. Let’s go look.”
They stopped and Bridgette pointed down the hall, “Those are General’s rooms. This is mine,” she pointed to a door in front her, “and this is yours.”
It was down the hall from Bridgette’s room. Elise opened the door to her room. It was small, perhaps a closet converted to a bedroom. It was clean with a small bed, a stool as a nightstand, and a small two-drawer dresser.
“Your robe is in the top drawer and a spare set of clothing in the bottom. Come with me; I’ll show you our bathing chambers.”
It was smaller than the one from the night before. This one was tidy and obviously for a smaller group. Elise hung her robe on an empty hook and took a clean towel from the open pantry. Bridgette told her that this was her bathing chamber as well and she was welcome to anything. It was for them to share. Bridgette explained that her first night was going to be easy, after that all bets were off. Bridgette excused herself from Elise, knowing that Elise would want some time to herself.
Elise wondered about her days to come as she soaked in the tub. If this was an easy day, she wondered what a hard one would look like. She was tired, but the water was soothing. She thought about the General. He was constantly getting angry at her, and this was only her first day. She didn’t heed Bridgette’s advice very well and keep her head down. She was definitely not invisible or keeping low. He was a handsome man. She couldn’t help but be attracted to him. Even when he was angry, he was sexy. He exuded raw masculine power. She wondered what kind of lover he might be.
She finished her bath, she felt better, but even more tired. Clean and ready for bed, she made her way back to her room. A small candle had been left for her on her bedside table. She was grateful for Bridgette, small things like this reminded her of home. Her robe was thin and soft; she left it on as she climbed into bed. She fell asleep, exhausted from her day.
The small candle still burned as he found her in bed. Her long dark hair spilling onto the pillows, her dark lashes touching her cheeks. His loins stirred instantly just by the sight of her. He stood there a moment taking in every inch of her that he could see. He needed her, he wanted her, and soon he would see if she wanted him. He blew out the candle, thankful of the darkness.