A Meeting of Souls – Installment #7
This is the seventh installment of A Meeting of Souls – A Tale from the Wasteland. The read the story from the beginning, start here.
If you enjoy this story and would like to own a copy of your very own, you can purchase it from Amazon/Kindle here and Barnes & Noble/Nook here. The e-book includes a full-color cover and a special, steamy, NSFW bonus chapter at the end of the story that won’t be included on the blog. Every romance needs a “happy ending,” right?
Zinara awoke to someone squeezing her breast. She kicked out as hard as she could and was rewarded with a muffled grunt and the sound of someone landing solidly on the ground beside her. She tried to stand, but with her hands tied behind her back and the leash on her collar tied to the pole behind her head, she only made it to a crouch before her attacker had rolled to his hands and knees and started toward her again.
“You wanna play rough, bitch?” came a raspy whisper. It was Arnie, and as she kicked at him again he grabbed her foot, flipping her face down in the dirt. There was just enough slack in the rope for him to press her face and chest into the ground, but the collar pulled tight against her throat, threatening to choke her. She squirmed and fought, trying to roll over, but his forearm pressed into her upper back, pinning her down. He was kneeling between her knees, shoving the filthy blanket Bud had given her up over her head and muttering something about not leaving any marks when she felt his hand between her legs. Panicked, she struggled for air, bucking wildly with the last of her strength as she felt herself slipping into unconsciousness.
The next thing she knew, she could move and breathe. She was scooped up off the dirt, her forehead resting against a leather-clad shoulder as someone worked at the rope binding her hands, then concentrated on removing the gag and cutting the leash free of the collar. As the feeling returned to her arms she pushed back, trying to put some distance between them as she coughed and gasped for air.
“Hang on, it’s okay. I’ve got you.”
She blinked at him for a moment, trying to place his face and then let out a little cry, throwing her arms around his neck. She pressed against him and he held her as tightly as he could, her small frame fitting perfectly in his arms. For a few seconds there was nothing but the two of them, pressed together, and he wanted more than anything to kiss her, to cup her face in his hands, to gaze into her eyes and promise her that she was safe, that it was going to be okay, that he was going to save her.
“It’s you!” she whispered gratefully.
He held her at arm’s length and examined her face. “You meant it. Needing my help, I mean.”
“They drugged me and forged the contract. Yeah, I meant it.” Her expression softened. “And you came for me.”
“I had to.”
“I thought you’d been shot.” She searched his face, reaching her hand up to touch the angry welts on his neck and jaw.
She gave a little smile. “You might be a keeper.”
“Too soon to tell. We’ve still got to get out of here. Can you stand?” He pulled her gently to her feet and she swayed against him for a moment before finding her balance. She noticed Arnie lying face up a few feet away, his eyes rolled back and tongue bulging, a length of plaited leather around his throat.
“Is he dead?” She nodded toward him, her arms crossing in front of her chest.
“Wouldn’t that be a shame?” He walked to the body, pulling one of his whips from around Arnie’s neck and coiling it before fastening it to his belt.
Never taking her eyes off her attacker, she reached up to tug at the collar still fastened around her neck, her fingers finding the small padlock at the clasp.
“Leave it for now. I’ve got bolt cutters on my bike.” He looked down, seeing her bare feet and the shawls barely covering her hips and breasts for the first time. He pulled his knife from its sheath, squatting down to cut a slit in the center of the blanket and then pulling it over her head like a poncho.
“We’ve got to find you some shoes. I can’t carry you all the way to the bike.”
“We could take the truck.” She ran the few steps to Arnie’s body, squatting down to rummage through his coat and pants pockets before holding up a fistful of keys.
“Or we could take the truck, yeah.” He took her hand and led her into the shadows behind the nearest tent, as they started inching their way along in the dark. He was pretty sure he’d seen the truck parked just outside the circle of vehicles near the entrance, which gave him five or ten minutes to work out a plan for stealing it.