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The Beast Within: A Novel of Romantic Bondage (Terri Pray)


The Beast Within: A Novel of Romantic Bondage by Terri Pray

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She begged him to tie her up! She was caught between being a beast and a human. When she met the man she fell in love with, her claws met his flesh, urging her hunger to the forefront. She begged him to restrain her anyway he could. It was the only way they could be together--safely! But soon she found she liked what he did to her when he had her at his mercy. Would bondage tame or release the dangerous beast within her? By the bestselling author of Captured! and Dungeon House. Cover art: Brandy Everett.

Product type: EBook    Published by: Renaissance E Books    Published: 5 / 2016

No. words: 42000

Style: Erotic Domination - M/F, Open Minded - ShapeShifters

Available Formats: Palm  MobiPocket (MOBI)  EPUB  Sony Reader (LRF)  PDF  MS Reader  This book has a format which can be downloaded to Kindle


Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Layana sighed. Blessed darkness had finally settled upon the land, bringing with it some measure of relief. She glanced up into the night and almost smiled. At least now she could walk through the settlement without them staring so blatantly at her. It wouldn’t stop all the stares; nothing would stop all the stares, not unless she left this place. And she would, sooner or later. She had to before it all became too much to cope with. She didn’t belong here, amongst their cold stares.
The hatred, disgust, and fear. From all sides she could feel it battering it down on her. It threatened to swamp over her shallow control and push the darkness free. It growled at her from deep within her own shadows, it peered out from the hidden recesses of her mind, growling, snapping, baring large teeth, sprouting claws that need to rend and tear. It demanded a way free. A chance to be let loose on those around her, but she couldn’t let it happen that way. It didn’t matter that they would have deserved it; to have the darkness feed on them. They’d all but demanded her darkness be freed. With their lies and petty hatreds they had poked at her shields, provoking her every chance they could. Didn’t they know just how dangerous she was if they kept provoking her like this?
Or hadn’t they thought it through?
Just a few moments, would it really have been so wrong of her to let the beast loose on them for that long? They had all but begged for her to do so, to show them the darkness, the curse she carried within her blood. How would they like to see it first hand as it rushed between the small buildings? Then even better, perhaps it would find one, maybe two just to give them a taste of what she could do. Barin, he out of all of them would deserve to know what it would be like under the claws of the beast.
She tried not to shudder at the thought of the blackened heart of the man who followed her whenever he could, no matter where she was within the village. After all those years of his watching eyes, following her around – of him trying to get closer, or tensing as he slipped his hand to touch were he should have known better – all those years and she still couldn’t shut him out entirely.
It had become even worse still when the beast had shown itself last year. In that moment she had become nothing more than a freak, to be cast out even by the hunt itself if she listened to the stories. If she allowed their lies to strike deeper into her heart and accepted them as the truth then she would accept that she was a true animal, a perversion of nature to be used, disposed of and sold as the elders of the village so wished.
She had been lucky, they had told her, that some within the village had pleaded for mercy on her behalf. Who those kind souls had been she didn’t know, but it had been made clear she owed them her life and her freedom and as such she should kneel and try to be a worthy member of the village. Serve it in any way she could lest the hunt come to claim her and destroy her.
But the hunt? It was nothing but a legend, just like the gates of power that were rumored to exist somewhere within the forests. They were both little more than children’s tales that she should have long since grown out of. She should have simply ignored them and found a better way to pass her time than paying heed to the tales when the shadows would allow her to sit close enough to the story circles. She wasn’t allowed to come to close incase her wickedness infect the children of the home.
Wickedness? How could she be blamed for the way she had been born? Yet according to them she was to blame for everything that ever went wrong within the village. She needed a strong hand, according to Barin. A man in her life, someone who could keep the beast locked up. And given but a slender chance he had made it clear that he would take her in hand. He would control her and keep her in line, as a proper woman should be.
Just a few moments loose, that’s all the beast wanted. It clawed at her soul, demanding payment for the pain and heartache she had been put through and still she struggled to keep it under control. The last thing she needed was to prove them right, to show that she couldn’t contain her beast. Her darkness.
No, if she let it loose then they’d win that way. She’d be proving to them that she was nothing more than the beast they claimed she was. An animal they would prefer to see locked in some cage, on display for passing traders. At least then she might be of use to them. Perhaps earn a few coppers, maybe a silver or three. It didn’t matter that she earned her keep in other ways, working just as hard as any other within the village, more so if the truth was to be known. They didn’t care. Not right now. She wasn’t about to let them gain their moment of perfection, where they could gloat over the agent of darkness they claimed they sheltered within their midst.
But staying here, within the village, would offer too many temptations. Sooner or later her control over the thing within would falter. And every day brought with it new pokes, pushes that threatened control and patience alike. She wasn’t about to take that step and offer herself into the cage where they would hold the key and use her as they saw fit.
Tonight, it had to be tonight. She wouldn’t be leaving that much behind in leaving the settlement. They didn’t even allow her a proper home, just a wattle and daub hut at the very edge of the village but at least it was still her own. A small amount of privacy that had been a place of peace where she could curl up at the end of the night, but she knew that she had to leave it behind. There would be better places away from here, places that didn’t know about the beast within her soul.
Cries rang out from close to the main fires. The sound of a hand slapping against bare skin as yet another woman was sharply reminded of her place in order to keep the Lord of the Hunt happy. Those stinging slaps rang out through the night air, encouraging cries from the eager onlookers. She frowned until she recalled what had been going on in the village during the day, a celebration she had been kept away from. A marriage. Thus what she heard had to be the new bride's first taste of discipline from her mate. If she were lucky it would just be his hand, but if he was easily persuaded by those around him she would soon taste the belt, or a switch until she sobbed and begged to be a good, and submissive mate.
The Master of the hunt demanded it be so. He demanded that even the strongest of women be submissive to her mate. His laws commanded that she obey her mate, serve him, even though she could defend her family in times of crisis she would still have to kneel and be disciplined by her mate when her mate demanded such. This was the law of the Hunter. The cruelty that he demanded from the women in the village and yet most of them accepted it, even welcomed it without so much as a word of complaint. This was simply a part of life for them.
Not for her.
The Master of the Hunt might have control over the others in the village, but not her. Never her. She’d leave and be free of his rules. He didn’t exist though, how could he if he allowed such cruelty to fall upon one of his own. To fall upon her. If the legends were to be believed, the older ones, not the ones the village preached now, she was truly one of his own children, meant to be protected and cared for, but when they had caught her listening to the eldest of the wise women when the tales had been told she had been beaten and sent away. The old woman, the keeper of the ancient stories, had died within a moon of that night.
Old age they’d said.
Layana had her doubts that death had come that simply to the old woman. She’d been one of the few who had shown any kindness toward her. She shook her head and looked out into the night. There was little point in allowing herself to dwell on her misfortune. That served no purpose. She had to leave before it was too late.
“I thought you’d be sneaking out once the sun had gone down. It’s just like a beast to try to slip out under cover of darkness.” His voice turned her stomach, the hairs on the back of her neck rising instantly. Her nipples turned hard under the rags and even though he disgusted her, he was still a man, and part of her needed that. “Your hovel got too much for you, didn’t it? So you’d thought you’d sneak out.”
Stupid, she’d let herself get too entangled in her thoughts, so much so that she hadn’t heard him walk up. Damnit, she hadn’t even smelled his presence, she was getting careless. And that could kill her if she didn’t learn from this lesson.
“So, you’ve got nothing better to do than wait around for me to take a walk, Barin? How dull your life must be. It might be a hovel in your eyes, but at least it’s mine. A place where I can curl up, on my own, at the end of the night away from the rest of the village.” This whole thing was bitter sweet. She sighed and tried to think straight. The smell that hung heavily about him was a cloak of alcohol, grease, honey, dirt, and sweat. Now that he had stepped closer she could smell him, and wished she couldn’t. “And it smells like you’ve taken a bath in mead again? Well that’s better than no bath at all. I’d still recommend a dip in the river, just to be on the safe side. You stink.”
“You’re a mouthy wench tonight. Then again you always were, but that will be changing soon. Just you wait; you’ll be watching your tongue more carefully. Tomorrow, when council meets the rules will change for you. Then you’ll be quiet after that meeting when they announce that you are to be my wife.” The smile he wore now sent a chill through her core. He was sick. Why couldn’t he just go and annoy someone else?
He was fixated on her.
She wanted to knock his teeth through that smug, half-baked smile. “Wife? Whatever you have been into this time it had to be stronger than just mead. I am not wedding you, not now not ever. I’ve no interest in you. You disgust me, Barin. You know that! Just leave me alone and go back to your little fantasy world. They obviously know you there.”
His smile darkened and became for more animalistic than she had ever believed herself to be.
“Oh you will, you will have no choice. It’s a simple decision. You’ll either become my bride, or my pet. Tis as plain as that, you’ll face the cage or wedding service. No one else will have you; Hell, no one else wants you. But me, I’m different. I know there is something sweet under those dull rags. I’ve seen a glimpse of it. A curve here and there, the soft swell of a woman’s body and with it the heat to welcome any man strong enough to show you the way.”
She had no weapon at hand to protect herself. She’d not even been permitted that by the decree of the council. What had they been thinking? That she was a walking weapon to begin with, so why risk all and give yet more to strike out at them with? And now they would shackle her to this creature. Her hands clenched at her sides, her jaw tight as the words forced their way free from her lips. “I won’t wed you. You can’t make me. No matter what you do, I won’t wed you.”
“You’re still a feisty one but ever foolish. Though does make me wonder if you would prefer to be my pet afterall. Either way a good spanking will soon teach you your place. You’ve had this coming to you for a long time wench and I’m going to teach you a much needed lesson.”
The drink he had imbibed made him slower than normal and even without the taint that granted her a little extra speed she would have been able to avoid that first clumsy attempt to grab her. Yet she knew all too well that the true danger didn’t come from his grasping fumbles, but the intent behind them. “Don’t try and touch me. Do you understand that? I’m telling you now. For your own sake don’t ever try to touch me again.”
It wanted his blood and pushed at the boundaries of her control, snarling deep within. It would have been so easy to let loose the beast and encourage it to feed on Barin’s blood, drink deep, rend his flesh until there was nothing left of him but a warm and bloody mess. It was too weak to be her mate, that’s what the animal told her. It wasn’t even a beta but an omega, one to be bullied, push to the edge of the pack and…
Except she didn’t have a pack. The village was a place to live but had never welcomed her as one of their own, no matter how hard she had worked. Now she had to leave, find her own place in the world around them before it was too late for both the woman and the beast.
“I’ll do more than touch. You need a firm hand woman, you’ve always needed one even before that damn curse lifted its head. You need one that will teach you your place now and always, who has the strength to put you on your belly and never let up on you. A short while across my lap with the switch and you’ll be behaving as you should. If you’d just shown some sense would have only been my hand you’d have been meeting after the vows had been sealed.” He took another lumbering step forward and again she easily avoided him but the damage was done. The beast wanted out.
It wanted blood.
His blood.
“I said don’t. Why can’t you listen to me? I’m warning you, stay away. Now.” Her words were little more than a snarl and barely resembled human speech. She felt her hands curl into claws at her sides, her gaze narrowing on his drink sodden form. “Do not push any further, I won’t be yours. I won’t let you touch me! Do not try and make matters worse, Barin. I’m not a pet. Not a slave. I’m free. I have the right to choose my own path.”
She was not his, nor anyone else’s in this place. She had the right to leave, explore, make her own way in the world. He had to finally see this.
But he didn’t. It was time to leave before her control crumbled completely and he paid the price for that lack.
She tensed as his fingers caught in her hair when she turned to leave. He tugged and half pulled her backwards, his own snarl sluggish and lazy. She blinked at the feel of his hand snapping against her thin covered ass, a stinging warmth that half raised her onto toes. “I said you’re not going anywhere, bitch.”
There was no stopping it. She had no more strength to feed into her control. Compassion fled, her snarl becoming a growl, her vision changing within the span of two heartbeats. It hurt, it always did, but the pain served to fuel her anger as her hands lashed out towards his flesh, her nails lengthening, sharp and deadly as they shifted into shining, dangerous claws. She was caught between being an animal and a human. Her claws met his flesh, his blood touching the air urging her hunger to the forefront.
Feed, rend, bite, and tear.
His scream, it sounded so good to her ears now. And no one would miss him, no one needed him. What good was he? He only drank and hurt people. He didn’t hunt. He didn’t take care of the pack – the village. He was a weakness that could be dealt with and finally she had found a use for him.
Food.
No!
The small part still human part cried out and forced the beast backwards, away from the bleeding man .
Couldn’t stay, mustn’t stay, there’s danger here.
Food, why would any leave food when it was right there, tempting her senses?
Still alive, go, now!
It wouldn’t take but a single swipe and the food would stop moving. She could drag it to the trees, eat, and feast, then be on her way before the others came looking for her.
Don’t let them win. Cages, they’ll put us in a cage, collar, and chains. No more freedom to run. We must go now, we have to leave before it’s too late.
Chains.
Fire, smoke, and people. So many people. They were coming for her. The other was right, time to go. To leave before the hunt was ripped from her forever. It was easy to slip into the rest of the change and give into the beast. Her hands became paws as she arched her back. The damp earth curled between her claws, the smell of the rich soil, the night air and the life all around her filled her senses. The fur raised on the back of her neck, her tail snapping out before her cry echoed into the night.
Run, she could run forever and never be caught.
Then start now, before they get any closer. Move, we don’t have all night. Do you want your pelt being used as a rug? They’ll skin you and it will all be over. No more hunts, no more running, it will come to an end for us both.
They were too slow and they couldn’t catch her. They’d never catch her. Her paws cleared the ground as she leapt between two small foul smelling huts. They called her the beast and yet they couldn’t they smell themselves? Their stench tainted everything, the ground, food, and water. They had no respect for the way of life.
Fire. That was their way. Fire and steel.
One day she would return and ignore the other. She’d tear into them. Kill as they would kill her. Then maybe the balance would return. Peace, no more other. No more fire. No more threats of steel wrapping about her neck, locking her within cages. No she’d be free, once and for all.
She ran, weaving past the low bushes and the stunted trees at the edge of their world. She darted into the darkness of the forest, smells and sounds changing around her the deeper she delved into the offered safe haven. They didn’t like this place at night. This was her world and her rules. The night welcomed her here and called to blood and heart alike. With a gentleness no human could ever understand or experience it enfolded her into the welcome darkness.


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Renaissance E Books publishes the best in classic and contemporary popular fiction and nonfiction through its PageTurner imprint, and the best in classic and contemporary erotica through its Sizzler imprint.


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