This story is rated 17+. There is a sex scene at the very end. This story deals with sex because it's part of the character's culture. It is not an erotic work.

Walking through the woods, I hastened my steps and my pet wolf kept up with me. I had been a fool again, testing my luck out here, and had strayed too far away from the other women. Though I wasn't sure if the noises that I heard where them, I wasn't about to find out. Getting back to group was my safest option, and so I hurried along until I was eventually running. If they didn't know I was aware of them before that, then they knew now.

As I reached the clearing where I had left my group, I was met with nothing but an empty meadow. The other women must of returned to the village, never noticing that I wasn't there. I gasped when I heard the sound of breaking twigs behind me, only to find my wolf, Fergo. My heart throbbed in my chest, and I took off where I knew I would eventually see the huts of my village.

I didn't want to drop my basket, I had collected many fruits and nuts that day and it would be all I would have to eat for the next week. Without it, I would have to do chores and favors for the other women. Keeping my quickened paces, I ran towards the north knowing that my village wasn't much further ahead. Fergo thought we were playing a game, and he would occasionally nip at my heels.

Turning my head slightly, I looked over my shoulder, and there they were. Seven males with spears, dressed in nothing more then loin cloths and leather moccasins. My people were the Tehegas, we lived a peaceful life with nature. Women were allowed to stay within the villages, but few men could. They either had to show a vicious dominance towards the other men who would throw them out or get a female in the village to claim them as their mate.

The women didn't care much for taking a single male as their mate, as it limited their food options. Males were the only ones that hunted and fished, so if their mate didn't do well that particular day then they would also starve. Where a female without a mate, could offer herself to a male in exchange for the meat he had caught.

At the age of sexual maturity, any males where sent out of the village. They could return when they were older and claim dominance, or they would become part of the Exiles. They were a group of males that would hunt together, whether that be pray to eat or stray females that had gone too far from the village, like I had done. Sometimes they would take a female so they could give her a child and then they would be able to rejoin the village, and other times they would use her until she died. Death could be from many things, starvation and blood loss happened the most often.

The seven men behind me where no doubt the Exiles, as I didn't recognize them from the men of my village. There were around a hundred people in my community and only twenty of them were males, I knew who all the men were. As soon as they saw me, they began to chase me. I had to get to my village quickly or at least in sight of it, where I could call out to the protecting males there.

I heard them calling me to stop, as if I was stupid enough to do as they ordered of me. The village wasn't far now. I could see the top of the huts, and I began screaming as loud as I could.

"Exiles!" I cried out again and again.

The approaching village didn't stop the men from chasing me, as long as no males came out to protect me they would be alright. Sometimes when the men were away they would attack the village and rape any women. I was too young the last time they did that, after so many women were hurt, the men never again all left at the same time.

"Exiles!" I screamed and saw one of the women from my village run towards the large bonfire, most likely to tell the males.

I knew that if I could get into the village that the Exiles would stop chasing me, but what I wasn't aware of was that one of them had caught up. He tackled me to the ground, sending my basket of fruits and nuts flying. Fergo had a fear of men, after my father had kicked him several times, so he was of no use. The wolf merely stuck his tail between his legs and ran into the village, probably to hide in my hut.

Flipping me around, the dark haired, dark eyed stranger looked me over briefly. My blonde locks covered my soft features, he ran his hands over my thin form as if he were inspecting me. My only hope now was that the female that went to get help, would bring a male here before this Exile took me back to his camp.

I noticed that the other men that had been chasing me were now leaving. It was as if this one had won, and now they conceded to their loss. Most males in my village fought over a woman, but the simple act of chasing me seemed to inform them of the victor.

I continued to scream the word exile until my captor put his hand over my mouth, which I then bit. He didn't flinch or even jerk his hand away, it was as if he was expecting me to bite him.

"Shut up." He growled, shoving his hand further into my mouth.

Looking up at him, I was nearly stunned. I knew this man, I hadn't seen him in at least eight winters… not since our thirteenth summer. We use to play in the fields together as children until my father had decided that we were becoming too close. He had been the one to scare this man from our village. I reached up and pulled his hand from my mouth, and he allowed me to do so.

"Rashe?" I asked.

He looked at me suspiciously, unsure as to how I knew his name, no doubt.

"It's me, Akilah."

Quickly, he brushed my hair from my face to reveal my familiar facial structure. I inhaled deeply now that my hair was no longer slowly suffocating me. Rashe looked like he had been through much since I had last seen him. There was a large scar starting at his left upper forehead and cutting across his face to the right side of his chin. His face was still sharp and masculine, but he looked angry. Not like the light hearted boy that I had befriended so long ago.

I knew trying to make him remember me would do nothing for me. He had been an Exile for eight winters now, and probably hadn't given our old friendship a second thought. I was proven correct when he placed his hand back over my mouth, and ordered me into silence again.

Standing up, he grabbed my hair to pull me up as well. When I cried out in pain, he again told me to be quiet. I can't say what happened as I had been looking at the ground, or rather he had my face pointed towards the ground. But suddenly Rashe let go and he tumbled to the ground with another male atop of him. I stumbled some and was caught by the large hands of my father, Gruke.

The man who had tackled Rashe was one of the younger males named Daico. He hit Rashe at least four times, before the Exile stood up and began to run towards the woods. I shivered some when Rashe yelled that he wasn't finished me with and would be back.

When he was no longer in sight, my father pushed me forward and growled. "You know better then to wander off on your own."

"I'm sorry." I bowed my head to appear more submissive.

"The next time this happens, no one will help you." He barked then turned around to head back to the community bonfire.

With a deep sigh, I released my fears and began to pick up the fruit that had fallen out of my basket. Daico stayed to help me and to ensure that Rashe didn't come back. He was a young male around my own age. He hadn't been forced from the village due to his large size and that he kept to himself. Most males didn't want to fight anyone larger then them. By the time that Daico was suppose to be sent away, he was nearly the size of most of the males. I believe that the growing female population was adding strain on our males, so they also were somewhat welcoming of a new larger male.

Daico was smart enough to stay away from the high standing males, and never bothered the females unless they offered him themselves for meat. I never had to do such a thing, as I was always the one who ventured furthest and collected the most vegetation. My sister, Suke, was a small female and hated to forage. So, she would instead offer herself to gain a great deal of meat and then would trade me some of my fruits for her sun dried meat.

"Thank you." I said to Daico when he offered me the last of my berries. I grabbed a handful of them and some nuts and offered them to him. "For helping me." I said when he looked at me curiously.

He nodded his head and held out his hands.

I placed my smaller hands over his own and dropped my handfuls into his palms. Both my handfuls filled half of his cupped hands. With that done, I spun around and ran to my hut where I knew I would find Suke.

My small hut made from the large leaves of the banana tree was close to my father's. One may wonder how I know who my father is, but most women chose who the father of their child will be. Those active in mating eat a plant that we call Inferta, which makes them unable to have children until they stop taking it. Normally, if a woman wants to have a child, she will only mate with one man until she becomes pregnant. It is important to know who has fathered your child, so that he will protect them.

Inside my hut, I found Fergo and Suke laying down on my fur bedding. In front of her was my share of her meats. I smiled at her when I entered into the room, and she returned the gesture. Suke and I are sisters only that we are related by the same father. Which in our village is the only way that we can be considered related, those that share the same mother aren't called siblings.

She carried the face of her mother, dark brown hair and eyes. Nothing like my green eyes with gold hair, of course I am a rarity in my village, as was my mother. Most of the men think that the light haired females are unattractive and won't touch them. My mother told me that Gruke, my father, liked it a great deal. She had eight children in her lifetime, and all of them were fathered by the same man. To say such a thing was rare is to do it an injustice, as it was the first time it had ever been done. Except by those females were had accepted a mate at a young age.

I had seen twenty one summers, and Suke had been through eighteen. Already she had given birth to a child, where I had never even pursued mating. Whether there were men interested in me, I couldn't of cared. I treated all the males with respect, and since females were the ones that decided mating rights in the village, I was perfectly safe to not do so. I knew it angered my father, but I had seen the pain women had gone through during their first time and during child birth. None of it appealed to me.

"I heard what happen." Suke said as she sat up.

With a quick look around my small hut, I realized that her infant was not with us. "Where is the small one?"

"With my mother." She answered me, "Since she can no longer have children, she has been stealing mine often."

I offered her the basket and she frowned as she looked it over. "I had to give some to Daico for saving me from the Exile." I told her and sat down beside her, before petting Fergo.

"Daico saved you from having to give birth to an Exile's child, and you gave him fruit?" Suke rolled her eyes.

Since I didn't mate, there was no need for me to take Inferta, so there was a chance I could of become pregnant if Rashe had let me live. "The males know that I am not for mating."

"Then what are you for?"

"I do many chores around the village. Making clothing, leather, and taking care of the children." I was offended by her words, but tried not to let it show.

Suke sighed. "We both know that your mother was our father's favorite. He wants to see you continue her beauty in your children."

It was true that out of eight children, I was the only one who carried my mother's face. I had two other sisters, and all my brothers had been driven out by my father. My sisters took the face of my father, and though I wasn't the only light haired female in the village, I was the only one that was his daughter.

My sister sighed when I did not respond. "Let me get you some Inferta from my hut. Then you can thank Daico properly in a couple of days."

"I already thanked him." I growled, "Now, take your share of the berries and leave."

She filled her small basket up and then quickly exited the hut. Laying down, I began to stroke Fergo, allowing myself a moment of peace. By now, most of my people were out by the bonfire, enjoying each others company and exchanging food. However, I never joined in on the festivities, as a non-breeding female, I was not welcomed. The same went for young children, but not any of the older adults who no longer could bare children. They provided wisdom and told stories.

My hut flap opened and I sat up to look at Suke, who set a small bag beside the entry way of my hut. She said nothing else, and only disappeared back outside to go to the bonfire no doubt.

Standing up, I picked up the bag and looked at the Inferta inside. They were long hallow sticks that had to be eaten daily to stop a woman from baring children. Growing in the nearby stream, they were in ample amounts for our people to partake in. I rolled my eyes and threw the bag back down. Tomorrow, I would take them back to her, tonight I was just to tired to deal with anything.

I don't know how long I was asleep, but I was awoken by a strange sound. With a yawn, I sat up and stretched my arms out. I could hear the whispers of distant crickets, informing me that it was late in the evening. Yet, their sound was not what had awoken me, my eyes wandered around my small hut, but it was still dark. I allowed my eyes to adjust for several moments, before I made out Fergo's gray form across the hut.

"What are you doing?" I asked, when I realized that the sound was coming from him.

Standing up, Fergo immediately threw his tale between his legs and ran from the hut. I watched him with my brows pulled together, before heading over to the spot where he had been. When I saw what he had been doing, I had to hold my breath to stop myself from screaming. That wolf had eaten all the meat my sister had given me. Now, I would need to wait another week before she would have enough to give me and that I would have enough fruit to trade for.

With a heavy sigh, I blamed myself. I should of known to put the meat out of Fergo's reach. It is not as if he hadn't done such a thing before. I picked up the empty basket and threw it next to my fruits. I could leave those on the floor, he wouldn't touch those.

I was too worried about my food situation to sleep, so I decided to go for a walk. I stepped out of my hut and headed away from the village center. It wasn't so late in the evening that everyone had gone to bed, and I could still hear them singing and pounding on the drums. When I was a young girl, the sounds were lullabies to my ears, now they only made me jealous.

At one time, I had dreamt of joining them at the bonfire and choosing a mate for the evening. Now, I spent most of my time in my hut, doing chores, or learning the ways of medicine from the shaman. She was an older woman and knew her time to leave the earth behind was coming. I think she thought because of my lack of interest in mating rituals that I would be the best fit to take her place.

In truth it didn't sound too bad, at least then I would have a purpose in the clan. I disliked the thought that my only duty to my people was to pick a strong mate and ensure my children survived. I had seen too many women die during childbirth to want that for myself. It was more then that, however. After they died, there was nothing left of them but a body. They were buried and forgotten, no one cried for them, and no one ever mentioned them again. Only men seemed to be remembered in our prayers or the village shaman. I wanted to be a name said in prayers, and not just an inconvenience to the village, because they had to rid themselves of my decaying body.

As I grew closer to the edge of the village, I saw Daico's hut. He never went to the bonfire either, as he wasn't a breeding male. Some women would offer themselves to him if he had an abundance of meat, but it certainly wasn't anything they would brag about. Daico was in no position to reject any female who offered herself to him. Unlike my father, who could send a woman away if he didn't like the way she looked.

When I walked in front of his tent, the leather entry flap opened and Daico's large form emerged. He looked frightened to see me, and I felt compelled to tell him that I was just walking past.

His dark eyes saddened when I said so, and I felt as if I had hurt his feelings.

"Would you like to walk with me?" I asked him, and he gave a light nod.

Without much more said, we began our short journey around the village. We eventually ended up on a hill overlooking our beautiful home, and in the distance we could see the large bonfire.

"It's almost like we are there, isn't it?" I smiled at him, and he returned the gesture.

Daico was never much for talking, at least not now that he was older. He had learned that if he didn't want to be chased from the village that he needed to stay quiet. At least until he had a child or mate that would give him some footing in the tribe.

I remember when he was younger or rather when I was younger, and he use to play with the children. He was at least four summers my elder, and had always been a large person. We loved when he would come to play with us, spinning us around in the air and throwing us into the lake.

Leaning back on my elbows, my back was beginning to get tired from just sitting there. Daico must of realized this because he stood up, and so I followed his lead. He confused me when he sat back down, and grabbed my arm. I wanted to jump back, but knew I would only hurt my arm from the tight grip he had. He gently eased me down towards him, my back to him, and he allowed me to rest my weight against him.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't afraid or tense. I grew even more frightened when he began to run his fingers over the skin of my shoulders down to my elbows. The thought of jumping to my feet and running back to my hut shot through my mind, but for reasons I will never understand, I stayed. His fingers made their way back up my arm, and I sat frozen in my current position.

I did not melt only stiffened more when I felt his lips touch the skin behind my right ear. Daico had to know that I was afraid of this situation, it would have been impossible not to notice my rigid form. When I began to shiver in fear, he stopped. Standing up on his feet, he offered his hand to me.

Suddenly the idea of running to my hut was once again appealing, so I did just that. Not looking back at the man I left on the hill, just running as quickly as possible until I made it back to my hut.

Throwing myself on the fur bedding, I closed my eyes as tightly as possible. Wishing the evening and its memories away from my mind. I was only too pleased when sleep took me for the rest of the night.

"Wake up!" Suke barked when she entered my hut. Her eyes fell to the ground, and she picked up a small bouquets of daisies. "What's this?"

With a loud yawn, I sat from my bed and glanced over at what she held in her hand. "It looks like flowers."

She gave me a dark glare, "Obviously, I mean what are they doing here…" She smiled, "I bet they are from one of the males." Her smile only widened as she came over to my blankets and sat down at the edge, throwing the flowers onto my lap.

"I don't know who would do that." My eyes betrayed nothing.

"I have decided to become with child again this summer, and I would be most pleased if you did as well." Suke folded her hands in prayer and waved them at me.

I rolled my eyes and threw the flowers into the empty meat basket.

"Where is all that meat I gave you?"

"Fergo ate it." I frowned, "I go without this week."

"Or you could get it the way everyone else does." She giggled.

I glanced over at her with one eyebrow cocked high, "Yes, I could, and then you could start foraging."

Her smile faded, "Point taken. Seriously though, most of the males have given away their share of meat from the hunt. I could find out what males have some left, if you want… of course, there is always Daico. He always has plenty of meat."

"No, thank you."

She ignored me, "I think he does that on purpose. Doesn't involve himself in the bonfire rituals, so that he will have women begging him at his hut." Standing up, she grinned again. "I'm going to go tell some of the men that you are out of meat."

"You forget that I am of the fair haired females, males do not throw themselves at me." I stood from my blankets.

"If you were a little more friendly, you would find that is not true. I am at the bonfire every night, and I see fair haired females take some of the men. I also hear much talk about you, and how honored the person will be who takes you for the first time."

I tried not to look appalled, "And why is that?"

"Because you have fought so hard to keep it, and you are considered a challenge… like your mother apparently." Her upper lip twitched slightly, which informed me she was either lying or keeping something from me. The sure way to know whether it was a lie or hidden knowledge was to look in her eyes.

When I did so, she kept the gaze, "What aren't you telling me?"


"What is it?"

Suke sighed, "Our father has recently been joking that he will give his best bow to the man who leaves you with child. We all laughed at first, but now I think he is starting to become serious."

"How is that amusing? And how is it that I've become a joke to our people? Am I not submissive to males, and equal to the females? Do I not do as I am suppose to when it comes to chores and foraging? I do not see why my mating status makes me inferior!"

"This is why I didn't want to tell you, Akilah." She sighed, "Come along, we need to do the clothing today."

At the lake, the other women and I gathered around to wash the clothing and blankets that belonged to us and the men. Though we mostly used leather goods, we did have a great deal of weaved items. I knelt down beside the lakes and began to wash some of the clothing in my basket, as the men came towards the lake carrying their own goods. They didn't do it themselves, but instead had to convince a woman to do so for them.

Well, I shouldn't say convince, they would bribe and some of them even had a woman so close to them that they could demand it. It was a blessing that few men ever asked me. In all my time doing the clothing, I think I have had a total of four different men convince me. Mostly they would give me shiny rocks, sometimes meat, and one had even given me his necklace.

I positioned myself further away from the women's group, mostly so that I wouldn't be spotted by the males. I could still see everyone and everyone could watch over me, but I had to be looked for to be seen. Suke was at the end of the line and was asked by three males, all of which she accepted.

Kneeled down our leather dresses would reveal our thighs, and in certain positions our bottoms. I was always aware of what my dress was doing and tried to ensure that I did not show anything. Though after we were all finished, we would all jump into the lake and wash the clothing we were wearing. Except for the leather, which we would take off.

As I scrubbed one of my blankets, I looked up to see Suke pointing at me. The man standing beside her was Daico, and he bowed his head before coming towards me. I tried not to act afraid. I didn't want the others to know anything had occurred between us.

He kneeled down beside me, setting the basket between us. I did not look up at him, only continued to wash my blanket. I had tucked my dress between my thighs and feet, so that nothing was revealed. From the tilt of his head, that I could see out of the corner of my eye, I believe he was looking at the tucked away hem.

"For meat." His deep, husky voice said.

It startled me, I hadn't heard him speak in many summers. I looked up from my blanket, and ran my hands over the items in his basket. "How much meat?" My sister had something to do with this, and I would deal with her later.

"A piece for every item, so six… yes?"

"Depends on the size of the pieces." I was trying not to look at him, so I returned my eyes to the blanket in my hands.

I think he grinned, but I couldn't see his face, but I did hear the humor in his voice. "My largest."

I nodded my head in agreement to the deal and expected him to leave. He remained, watching as I finished my blanket and hung it on the low tree branch behind me. "I will bring your items to your hut when I am finished." I said as I kneeled down and tucked my dress between my thighs and feet again.

As I pulled another item from my basket, I felt warmth on my lower back. It was the outline of his hand pressing against my leather covered flesh, which then moved downward to cup my bottom. Twisting around I slapped his hand away and frowned. "Do not touch me." I growled.

"Be my mate." He sounded more like he was demanding it then requesting it.

"Your mate, no." I whispered angrily, not wanting the others to hear us. I looked up from his hands which my eyes had been deadlocked on, only to find his deep brown eyes capturing my own.

"We both have much to gain and nothing to lose from this."

"Such as?"

He grinned, "You get meat and no one will bother you about mating anymore. I will have a position within the tribe, no longer afraid that I can be chased away."

"I can get meat without having to mate." I broke my lock on his eyes and turned back to the clothing.

"How long do you think your sister will be willing to do this for you?"

"As long as she is unwilling to forage." I replied, never looking at him.

His fingertips traced up and down my arm, and though I wanted to tell him to stop, I didn't want to attract any attention. "I have known you would be my mate for a long time, Akilah."

I snorted, "I gave my answer…"

"Are you afraid? Is that why you do not mate?"

The questions shocked me into silence, it was true that not only was I afraid of mating but of childbirth as well. Though I would never admit it to anymore. "No, I am not afraid. I am just not interested."

He seemed to ignore everything I said, obviously aware of the fear I could not hide in my eyes. "I can be gentle. You will never be afraid of me. Did I not show you this on the last eve?"

I swallowed, "I don't want to be mated, Daico."

"Then mother my child?"

My eyes glanced over to him, "Ask someone else, I am not interested."

"There is no one else. Without permanent standing no women wish to give me a child, and all of the other fair haired females have males."

"That makes no sense, tell them that you will be permanent once they give birth."

"And what if I am chased out while they are with child? That is why I asked you to be mated with me first." Daico sighed and looked out across the lake.

"The other males are leaving, I suggest you go with them before you draw undue attention." I tried to sound like I was concerned, but I might of hissed my response.

He looked behind him to see if it was true, "My offer remains open from this day until I become a permanent male of the tribe, Akilah. This will be good for both of us." He stood from his position and returned to the village with the other males.

I could see my sister beaming a smile at me from the distance. There would be retribution for this act of betrayal, I swore.

Suke giggled the entire walk back to the village. Whenever she glanced at me and saw my wounded glared, she would twirl around basket in hand and laugh even harder. I didn't find this amusing at all, and she knew it. Before I had the chance to question her about it, she began telling me of her devious plan.

It had been her that put the idea in Daico's mind, but it had begun nearly a month ago. He hadn't been comfortable with the idea of bothering Gruke's favored daughter, until Suke had spoken to our father about it. I had nearly gagged on my own tongue when she told me that our father was a participant in her plan as well. That was about the time that Suke started laughing uncontrollably.

Once we reached the village, I began to make my way to Daico's hut. I did not say anything to my sister as I left her side, but I did hear her telling me to no longer be angry with her. Had I not been carrying two baskets, I might of turned around and gestured a crude response to her.

My heart raced with every step that I made towards his hut. When I was finally standing outside of the entry, I took a long, deep breath. I was going to have to explain to Daico that I had no desire to become part of this plan. He would have to choose one of the other females, which one I didn't care.

"Daico." My voice sounded shaken.

When there was no response, I slapped the leather flap that covered the entry way. "Daico." Still nothing was said, so I flipped open the blanket to look inside. It was empty, which brought me a moment of relief.

I placed the basket inside of his hut, and decided to collect my sum at another time. Heading back to my own hut, I ignored Suke when she called out to me. I was in no mood to talk to that deceiving brat at the moment. I knew that I would eventually forgive her for this, but it would not be today.

My breath caught in my throat, when I saw Daico's large form standing outside of my hut. He was holding the meat that he had promised me, and I couldn't be sure but I thought he grinned when he noticed my reaction. Gathering my courage up, I forced myself to breath and step forward. He held the meat out to me, and I snatched it away from him.

"I left your basket in your hut. You are suppose to wait for me there." I snapped and tried to escape him by entering my own hut. To my surprise, he followed me in as I began to lay my bedding back down.

Sitting down in front of the entrance, he watched as I put my items back up around the hut. There was nothing that I wanted to say to him. I mean I wanted to tell him that I knew of the plan and I wasn't going to play along, but I was suddenly embarrassed. My sister and father felt that they had to push a man upon me, as if I couldn't even find a mate on my own. Not only that but they had to bribe him with entry into the village for him to even think of it.

When I was finished, I threw the meat into the small basket and placed it on a small shelf. I needed to remember that Fergo was a thief, and I couldn't just leave my food on the ground anymore. With a sigh, my thoughts returned back to the man in my hut. He was staring at me still, making me wish that I still had tasks to complete.

I sat down on my bedding and looked at him, waiting to hear whatever he had to say. He didn't say anything, just sat there waiting for me. Daico was normally silent, but this was not the time for it. What purpose did he had in my hut if it wasn't to speak with me?

His eyes shifted over to the small bouquet of flowers in my fruit basket, before he turned his eyes back to me. I looked at them briefly, remembering that my sister had found them in my hut that morning.

"Did you leave those?" I asked.

He nodded.

I sighed again, "Daico, I know of the plan that you and my sister have created. I want no part in it."

Slowly, he cocked his head to the side. I thought he would speak, but he said nothing.

I swallowed, "I am going to be the tribe shaman. I am being taught about herbs from…"

"You can be the shaman and still be mated." Daico stood, he was too tall for my hut and had to slouch. He made his way over to my bedding and kneeled down in front of me. "Is it because I am not a ranked male?"

I stopped my mouth from dropping, "No, it has nothing to do with that."

"Tell me what I must do, and I shall do it." He laid his hands on my bare knees as I was sitting cross legged on my bedding.

"I don't want to be mated and I don't want to bare children." I tried not to sound angry.

"What… what if I promise not to touch you unless you asked me to. You could eat the Inferta until your child bearing days are done. The others will just believe I was bonded to an infertile female, but then I will still be able to stay." He scooted closer until our legs touched.

"You would be mated with a woman who never wants to bear your children? Who will never let you be with her?" I shook my head, "No, I do not believe that."

The tension in his back eased and he sat for a moment in defeat. "I did not ask you this because of your sister, Akilah. Your beauty has kept my eyes upon you for many years now." His large hands grasped my knees tightly. "She and your father only gave me the courage to ask this of you. I want to be bonded to you." With that he stood up and exited my hut.

Once again I could breath, though the feeling of his hands upon my knees would not leave me for sometime. I shivered when I realized how close he had been. I never let anyone that close to me, except for my father and Suke. Standing up, I prepared myself to begin the rest of my daily chores and try to forget the day's events.

The more I tried to forget Daico's offer, the better it sounded. It did make sense. The others would leave me alone and I could join in on the bonfire activities. Being mated with Daico would mean he would have to share his meat with me, but it would also mean I would have to share anything I foraged. I didn't believe that he wouldn't touch me unless I said he could.

There were three other women with bonded males in our village, all of them were once Exiles. Even though Daico lived in the tribe, he was still considered an Exile. He just had a better chance of impregnating a female and becoming a member. Others had done it, even my father had, I didn't see why he thought he had to mate with me. No, I did see why. Other Exiles that lived in the village were not as silent, though they were submissive to the males. They would bring females gifts and eventually one of them would take pity. Perhaps that was what Daico was doing to me or maybe he just didn't understand how the system worked.

I found myself at the lake with a bucket in hand. The other women were making food for the bonfire tonight, and I had been asked to get water. I wasn't suppose to go alone, but all the males I asked to take me rejected my request. Mostly because they knew I would not mate with them that evening, so they didn't bother. I could of asked Daico, but I didn't want him to think anything of it.

My pride would eventually get me hurt, and it proved so that afternoon. As I was kneeled down at the lake's edge, I felt someone walk up behind me. With a deep swallow, I prayed that it was one of the men from my tribe. As I turned around, my eyes fell upon Rashe. I didn't know if I should be happy that it was an Exile that I knew, or terrified that it was an Exile.

"Rashe." I mumbled his name.

He looked down at the bucket in my hand and took it from me. Setting it down beside him, he turned his attentions back to my face. "You've grown much since I last saw you."

"Eight summers can change a person." I was trying to delay what I knew he was going to do. If I made him remember our friendship, then perhaps he wouldn't.

His dark eyes penetrated mine, "I want back into the tribe."

"I'm untouched, Rashe. Please, do not do this." I pleaded as he reached his hand out to me and took a step closer.

He stopped and dropped his hand, "Untouched?"

I nodded, "I am going to be the shaman." I wasn't certain that I was going to be the shaman, but at least it wasn't a complete lie.

Rashe seemed to be thinking while he stared at me. I would guess that he was measuring out what was more important to him. I knew that I could run and probably make it to the village, but I also knew that if I didn't make it, then Rashe's mind would be made up. It might even create an aggressive streak in him if he caught me.

"I'll try not to hurt you." He grabbed my wrist before I could react.

"Don't, please." I cried and yanked at my wrist.

"Akilah, I don't want to do this to you here. So, just behave and let us go where I can take care of you. If you are calm, then I will feed you and return you to the village once you are with child."

In the distance, I could hear the sounds of a hunting group. I knew there was one out in the woods that day, and that I had to be careful so that they wouldn't mistake me for pray. "Help! Exile!" I screamed in their direction.

Rashe threw his hand around my mouth, pressing my back to his chest. He began to run with me in his arms.

I could see the hunting group appear, "Help!" I cried out again when I pulled Rashe's hand away.

Daico appeared with the group. Though the others didn't seem to want to give chase for a non-mating female, Daico abandoned the group to pursue us.

"Daico!" I yelled when I realized that he was trying to help me.

I don't know how Rashe managed to keep me in his arms and keep his distance from Daico. All I remember was seeing a lot of leaves and tree trunks as he ran through the woods. Being an Exile, I assume that Rashe knew the woods better then Daico. Eventually, we ended up in a cave where Rashe pushed me against the rock and covered my mouth.

I was crying and the tears from my eyes soaked my face and Rashe's hand. After several long moments, there was no noise from outside the cave. Daico had either lost us or given up searching. My captor turned his eyes to me, anger burning within them. He slide his moist hand over my face and into my hair, as he roughly tried to dry my tears.

"Stop crying!" He barked, "Didn't I say that I wouldn't hurt you?"

"Please, Rashe. That man that was chasing us is going to be my mate." I lied.

"You said you were going to be the shaman." He snarled.

I nodded my head violently, "I am, but a shaman can be bonded." I somehow hoped that if I could keep a conversation going between us that Daico would over hear it.

Rashe didn't seem interested and grabbed my wrist before pulling me out of the cave. He didn't say anything else but to tell me to be quiet as we made our way further from the village. I had never strayed so far, and knew that I wouldn't be able to find my way back.

It took the remainder of the day to get to the small cave where Rashe had made his home. There was no one else around, not even the other Exiles. It seemed as if Rashe had been planning to bring a female here for sometime. A large bedding area was made in the back of the cave with a small bonfire in the center. Hunting supplies and other familiar everyday items littered the cave floor.

Rashe threw me on the bedding and then grabbed his spear. "I'll find us something to eat, stay here." He ordered and then disappeared out the cave entrance.

My body was shivering in fear as I surveyed my surroundings. I had no idea where I was and worst yet, I knew that no one would be able to find me. Part of me demanded that I at least try to run away, that it would be better to die in the woods then to be stuck here with an Exile. Then again, I didn't want to die either.

Rashe appeared a half hour later, and seemed surprised that I was still within the cave. In his hand was a dead rabbit that he began to skin after he started the fire. He didn't speak to me as he prepared our food, but instead glared over at me several times.

"Please, Rashe, take me home. I know that this isn't you. Forcing yourself onto a woman, you don't want to do that."

He grunted before answering, "This is the way of our people. Besides," He frowned, "what I want is to be part of the village, and I will do whatever is necessary. I'm sorry to do this, I know how it feels to have this happen."

"Please, Rashe, please." I cried.

His head dropped and he took a deep breath, "I wish that someone other then you had gone alone into the woods today, Akilah. I was in no position to choose who I would abduct." He cut the cooked meat off the carcass and walked it over to me.

Sitting down beside me on the bedding, he offered me some, but I refused to partake in any. He didn't seem bothered that I would rather starve, when he was finished, he laid what remained in front of me.

"I've never taken a woman before, Akilah. If that is of any comfort to you."

"My woman's blood has already past a couple days ago, I will not be fertile for several days." I hated to talk about such things, but it might purchase me a few days to figure a way out of this.

Rashe nodded, "I am glad that you are not fighting this. It will make things easier on both of us."

I glared at him out of the corner of my eye, before laying my head down to fall asleep. Not knowing where I was would prevent me from running away, but allowing this man to have any part of me was not an option either. Rashe and I had been rather close before he had been chased out of the village, which is why it hurt all the more knowing what he planned to do to me.

I swallowed down my fear, and Rashe must of heard it, because I heard him mumble an apology. He continued to sit on the furs with me, while I pretended to be sleeping. He was content to stare into the fire. When he finally became tired, he laid down beside me. It did not surprise me, as it was the only bedding in the cave.

For several long moments, we both laid there in uncomfortable silence. The heat from his body finding its way to my own. I was terrified, and continued to curse myself for not asking Daico to escort me into the woods. Rashe would never have had a chance against him. Of course, then Daico would have tried to speak to me further about his offer, but at least I would be sleeping in my own hut tonight.

My thoughts ended when I felt Rashe's hand on my upper thigh. At first, I thought it was something he had done while he was sleeping, but the hand began to move up my leg. Past the leather of my dress, lifting it up as he moved towards my hip. He stopped then with my bottom exposed to him. I couldn't be certain but I felt his burning eyes on me, and knew that this would not be the end of his advances.

I was frozen in fear. Even more so then when Daico was holding me out on the hill. I couldn't run back to my village when things because too much for me. Rashe's hand began to move again, caressing my backside. Then I heard him move behind me and soon found his face hovering inches above my own.

I tried to feign sleep. Maybe he would go away if he thought I wasn't conscious. About that time, I began to shiver in fear and knew that my attempts were futile.

"Do you know why your father chased me out of the village, Akilah?" He asked.

I couldn't answer him as the fear had built up in my throat, but my eyes had open when he began to speak.

"He heard that I was going to ask you to be my bonded mate. He refused to let his precious daughter be what he thought would make her a lesser women in the tribe." His hand returned to my hip and squeezed it.

"Please, I beg you, do not do this." I mumbled as the tears ran down my cheeks.

His hand left my body and I heard him grunt as he stood to his feet. When I turned my head to look up at his tall form, I saw a look upon his face which I could only describe as angst. It made me feel pity for him in that brief moment, and I felt terrible that he had to go through this. When he was only thirteen summers old, he had been thrown from the village, forced to take care of himself. Though all the Exiles seemed to take care of each other. I had heard that it was only during hunts for women or big game that they ever worked together.

The sound of stomping feet entering the cave, caused us both to look towards the entrance. I jumped up the moment, I recognized the men from the hunting party in the woods. Rashe grabbed me before I could run to them.

"She's mine, I took her out of your territory!" He growled.

It was true that the villages weren't suppose to go after Exiles who had left their territory, even if they had one of the women. The only time it was considered acceptable was when a bonded male went after his mate who was stolen by an Exile. It surprised me that these men who barely looked at me would come so far for me, when I was neither a favored female or a bonded woman.

"No, she's mine." Daico's voice barked and he stepped in front of the group. "That's my bond mate." He pointed at me.

"You aren't bonded to her yet!" Rashe snapped.

"If she is promised to him then that is enough." One of the older males informed him, then his eyes fell on me. "Are you promised to Daico?"

My heart actually pained me in those moments. I knew if I said no then these men would leave and Daico would be in trouble. He was only trying to rescue me, even if it was through a lie. Of course, if I said yes, then they would take my word for it and I would be bonded within a few nights.

I didn't know how to answer, but somehow my body made the decision for me. My head shook a violent yes to them, and Rashe immediately released me. I wasn't expecting him to just give in, but he knew that he couldn't fight off the group of seven. As I stumbled over to the group, Daico grabbed my wrist and pulled me towards him. His arm wrapped around my back as he pulled my chest to his own.

"Has he touched you?" Daico whispered the question to which I shook my head. His eyes returned to Rashe, "Since she is unharmed we will leave you as such." He seemed to be ordering the other men more then telling Rashe.

The return home seemed to be a blur, but no one wanted to stop to rest. We walked all night to the village, and when we arrived we were greeted by both the rising sun and a large group of on-lookers. Everyone wanted to know what happened, but I was too tired to answer any questions. I made my way to my hut with only a couple mumbled thanks yous to the men that saved me.

I was only given five hours of sleep before Suke entered my tent. She threw herself onto my bedding and wrapped her arms around me. When she finally released me enough that I could turn over, I saw a stream of tears on her cheeks.

"What's wrong?" I asked, nearly forgetting that I had been kidnapped the day before.

Most women who were kidnapped return pregnant with an Exile's child or they never return at all. Their bodies were either found months later or never at all. It was strange how the village treats women who are raped by Exiles. They always blame the female, even though they accept the Exile into their fold. He becomes a permanent male where no harsh words are spoken of him, but the woman is considered weak.

Many of the men won't touch a woman raped by an Exile until she has had two children. When this occurs the women will normally take one of the men who have no place in the village like Daico, and mother their children for the next two children. They call those two the purifying offspring, and they are treated with as much dislike as their mother and their older sibling.

"I can't believe that you are here now. Did he... did he..." She was still sobbing.

"No, he didn't have a chance. Daico acted quickly enough." I stroked her hair, well aware of her fear now.

"We were so worried for you, as we always are when our women are taken." Suke began to stroke my own hair in the same manner I was touching hers. "I have never seen Daico act so dominate in all my life, but somehow he managed to get them to track you."

"He told them that we were going to be bonded." I don't know why but I started to feel guilty, and Suke could see it in my eyes.

She frowned, "He lied then?"

I nodded, "But so did I. The men will expect us to bond now, but, I don't want to, Suke. I just couldn't stay there with that Exile, I had to..."

She sat up, "Akilah, there is no option. Those men broke our traditions by going after you if you weren't a bonded female. They and Daico could be punished. You don't want that, do you?"

I sighed as I sat up, "No, but," I bit off my words, I doubted there was anything I could say that could bring her to my side. "What if Daico and I said we changed our minds?"

"That wouldn't arose suspicion at all." She said dryly. "Father has heard of it by now, I doubt there is any way to escape it."

"Then I must accept it." I tried not to sound like I was choking on my own words.

"Daico is strong, and one of the best hunters in the village. That is why he has not been chased out. I doubt you will ever have to worry about food, and you will finally be able to join us at the bonfires." Her eyes light up as she tried to tell me of all the positive things that would come from this. "You don't know how much I've wanted you to come to the bonfires!"

I sat up beside her and frowned.

"Do you know sometimes the bonded females trade mates for an evening?" She clapped her hands together, "You won't have to worry about!"

"That's enough, Suke." I hissed. The anger in my voice caused Fergo, who was sleeping across the hut to stand up and exit.

Suke brushed my hair from my eyes, "I know that this isn't what you wanted for your life, but this is what is going to be. The best things happen to those that make the best of the way things happen."

"I should probably speak to Daico, and see what he has to say about all this."

She nodded, "He's in his hut. Went to sleep not long after you did." When she saw the look of worry on my face, she smiled. "Go ahead and wake him, he won't mind." Wrapping her arms around my shoulders, she squeezed tightly before kissing me on the cheek. "I will thank all the gods tonight for your safe return. I don't know which one had a hand in bringing you back, so all must be praised."

I stood from her grip and headed out of my hut. The last thing that I wanted was to speak to Daico, as I felt embarrassed with the entire situation, but this was not something that I could avoid.


Somehow, I managed to avoid it. On my way to his hut, I was stopped by several women who asked for my help with the hides or cooking. They all wanted to hear my story about how I was rescued from the Exile before he ever touched me. I think it brought them hope. I had never before known how terrified the women of my village were of these men. Some of the exiles were childhood friends of these women, but now they were the monsters who were hunting them in the woods.

It saddened me to know that if I ever gave birth to a son that that could very well be his fate. Perhaps that was another reason that I never wanted to be mated with. I couldn't stand to know that even I would someday become afraid of him.

When the bonfire began, I knew that I could no longer evade the discussion that I needed to have with Daico. So, I made my way over to his hut. Throughout the day, I had heard he had received many visitors as well. It had worried me that perhaps he would be with a women when I arrived, and I didn't want to disturb him. Though I felt a strange flicker of jealousy that was quickly fleeting when the idea came to mind.

"Daico?" I asked outside his hut.

"Enter." His deep voice said.

When I stepped inside, he had a small fire going to light up the dark hut. His was a good deal larger then mine. All huts were built by the community, males were always given larger huts to house their guests. I always thought that was backwards, because females had to share their huts with their children.

He scooted over on his bedding to invite me to sit next to him. When I didn't move from my position at the entrance, he exhaled loudly through his nose. He knew what I had come to talk about, at least that was the impression that I got.

"You lied, Daico, and in turn you made me lie. Or was this your intention all along?" I crossed my arms.

"My choices were to let the Exile have you or force this bond between us." His dark eyes were aglow from the fire, "I... I couldn't stand the thought of you returning with an Exile's child or worse yet not returning at all. You weren't here for me to ask which you would prefer, so I made the decision for you." He looked angry though his voice was calm. "I ask you now, what would you have preferred I done?"

I swallowed, mostly to choke down my own pride. I didn't want to admit it, but this was better then the alternative. Taking a couple steps towards his bedding, I kneeled down just before it. I didn't want to sit on the furs, least he believe I was offering myself to him. My hands and eyes rested on my knees, while I tried to think of what to say. I could feel his eyes on me, which only made it harder for me to think.

"I won't touch you unless you ask it of me. Just like I offered before." To further prove his point, he slide a hand that was laying on the bedding near me away.

My mind filled with a thousand curses all directed towards myself. With as much as I spoke of acting as part of the village, I certainly did not do the duties set before all the other women. If any other woman would have been saved by Rashe the first time, they would of given themselves to Daico. What he did the second time was above what any other man would have done. I was in debt to Daico, and the only way I could ever pay him back was to help him become a permanent male in the village. Be that giving him a child or becoming his bond mate.

Standing up, I knew that his eyes were still following me, just waiting to hear what my response would be. I tried to ensure that my hands were not shaking, as I lifted them up and pulled my dress over my shoulders. It gave with little resistance, and puddled to the ground around my feet. I kept my head bowed so I didn't have to look at Daico's eyes. His expression would either be that of hunger or surprise and I didn't want to see either. I was embarrassed enough as it was. Everything that I am is wrapped up in my pride, and I was fighting the urge to lift up my dress and race out of there.

My embarrassment only grew when I did not hear Daico move or speak. He continued to sit in the same position as if waiting for me to make the first move. Did he actually want me to say it was alright to touch me? I would never be able to form those words on my lips.

I saw his shadow begin to move, crawling towards me on his bedding. He was finally in front of me in a kneeled position. Grabbing the edges of my dress, I thought he would want me to step out, but instead he pulled it back up. Pulling my arms through the holes, and resting it on my shoulders.

"Let me rephrase. I won't touch you until you want me to." He didn't even rest his hands on my shoulders.

My cheeks filled with blood and I knew that I was blushing hard. I kept my face down, allowing the shadows to hide my shame. I was so mortified that I felt I might pass out. I felt my body begin to sway and my knees were beginning to give. I did not want to be in his presence any longer.

Daico turned his back to me and reached for a basket on one of his shelves, "Do you need more meat? I have..."

That was all I heard as I raced out of the hut. I had never before been so humiliated in my life, and all I wanted to do was run as far away from him as possible.

Making it to my hut, I threw myself onto the bedding and began to cry. What was so wrong with me that no male had ever offered themselves to me, unless it was for their own gain? Both Daico and Rashe wanted to earn permanent stations among the tribe. I had thought briefly that Daico may have been attracted to me, but now that thought had blown away like leaves in the fall.

I understood completely now. Daico wasn't saying that he wouldn't touch me unless I wanted him to. No, he was saying that he would never touch me. There was only one use for a woman like me and that was to gain positioning within the tribe. Was I hideous? Was I hard to get along with? What was it that made me so unapproachable?

Even when Suke was young before she began to mate, males had often asked her when she would be old enough. They would ask her to allow them to be her first. It never happened for me. Unless I was holding the ladle for our meals and was serving the food, the men never spoke to me.

My sobs stopped when I felt large warm hands on my thighs. I turned over quickly ready to protect myself and found my eyes looking into Daico's. He looked just as surprised to be in my hut as I was to find him there.

"I didn't know that you wanted me to!" His eyes dropped to my bare knees, "I'm sorry, Akilah. I thought you only offered yourself, because you think there is a debt."

"I... I do." I was still crying, but trying to hold it at bay.

He dropped his head, seeming to be a disappointed. "You owe me nothing. I have forced you into a bond with me, and will forever be indebt to you. Ask of me anything for the rest of my life and I will perform."

"I do not want to make you do anything, anymore then you want to impose anything upon me."

Slowly he nodded his head before standing up. I don't know if it was the way he hung his arms and head or perhaps the slow way in which he walked, but he looked defeated.

"Why do the males only want to use me?" The question left my lips so quickly, I barely had time to realize that I was speaking them.

Daico had begun to lift the leather hut flap, but dropped it the moment he understood my question. He turned to face me with a look of puzzlement that I barely made out in the darkness.

"Rashe and you wanted me to give you status in the tribe. The other males will barely look at me. My sister, Suke, had males offering themselves to her all the time. None have ever spoken to me." I tried to clarify my question.

He was silent for several long moments and I was beginning to wonder if he wanted to respond at all. "I've wanted you long before you were deemed a non-mating female, Akilah. I would of humbled myself before you the moment you were old enough if I hadn't feared Gruke."

"Feared my father?"

"He is very protective of you, and says only the best of males can have you. All the males fear Gruke. None of us wanted to upset him by approaching you."

"But you did." I pulled my legs up as Daico came to kneel on the bedding in front of me.

"He saw me watching you on many occasions and approached me with his blessing. After that, your sister came to me and told me that she had spoken to your father. She told me that she had been the one to open his eyes to my desires." His head dropped again, "Gruke told me that you would probably become a bonded female. I... you were untouched and I was afraid of what that meant."

I didn't know what to say. I had no idea that my father favored me enough that he would warn the other males off me. He barely spoke to me at all. Then I realized the more important words that Daico had spoken. "You have wanted me since before I came of age?"

"I told you at the lake that I have known you would be my mate for a long time. I meant those words."

Again, I was at a loss for words, but Daico didn't seem to need any. I think he thought that I needed time to process what he had said. Standing up he left my hut to allow me some time and space.

I don't know when I decided it and it didn't even occur to me that I was doing it until I was already standing in front of Daico's hut that very night. It was as if suddenly I realized that one of the males did want me, perhaps many of them that didn't want Gruke to think anything of their behavior towards me. More importantly, I had come to realize that I had wanted Daico for sometime as well.

When we were younger and use to play together in large groups to play just outside the village. I would always find myself by Daico's side, normally with Rashe, but I found comfort with the large boy. I felt invincible from the Exiles, who wouldn't touch a young girl anyway, yet I was still scared of them.

"Daico?" I whispered, slightly afraid that he would hear me.

When there was no answer, I inhaled deeply, and opened the hut flap. He was sleeping in his bedding, his back towards me. With all the courage that I could muster, I stepped into the hut and allowed the flap to close. For several long moments I stood over him and then used the rest of my courage to crawl into the bedding beside him. I didn't know what I expected to happen, perhaps just to sleep in the same hut with him.

As soon as my body laid down beside him, Daico opened his eyes. He didn't question why I was there nor did he look bothered that I had come. Opening up his arms to me, he wrapped them around my body, pressing my back to his chest. It was a strange warmth that emanated between the two of us, something that I had never felt before.

His hand brushed the hair from my neck as he lips began to kiss my shoulder. I shivered at the touch, but this time I wasn't afraid. Pressure from his hand was applied to my upper arm and I knew that he wanted me to turn onto my back. At first I was reluctant, still not certain if this was what I wanted from him.

Daico must of felt my reluctance, because he stopped trying to push me over and brought his lips to my ear. "I will stop the moment you command it, Akilah." He then kissed my earlobe and then my jaw.

The words were a comfort, I suppose. In truth, I wasn't afraid that he wouldn't stop, but instead of myself. All my life I had never wanted a man to touch me like this, yet the kindness that Daico had shown me these past days, well, I had never known that any of the males could be kind. I knew that my father had shown favoritism to some of the females, but never had he shown any emotion for them.

I felt Daico move behind me which caused me to fall onto my back, because I had been leaning against him. Before I could think on my fears anymore, I felt his warm lips brush against my own. He was testing me. Trying to go slowly as to not scare me away. I had been taught that males would often do this with women that have been untouched.

When I came of age, I was taught by many of the women how to behave during mating and what it was I should do. Nothing that Daico could do would surprise me, I was not naïve to this, but I had never done it.

He kissed me again, this time with a little more pressure before withdrawing. One of his arms was under my neck and the other pressed down on my hip. I couldn't see his eyes as the fire had burned down, but I could feel his heated, hungry stare. He wanted me to be certain before he went any further with this.

I didn't move under him. I didn't try to escape, but neither did I try to encourage him. The hand attached to the arm under my neck gently rubbed the skin of my shoulder, as he waited. Again, he kissed me. This one lasted longer then the other two and I could feel him briefly give into his passion before he remembered himself. When he went to pull away I wrapped my arms around him and pressed my lips to his own. I could feel his lips grin against mine, and knew that he felt victorious.

He seemed to abandon the cautious route as he dug his fingers into my hip, and kissed me fiercely. Nibbling on my bottom lip, he tried to coax my mouth open. I sighed and with my mouth slightly ajar, he ceased the opportunity. Gently, his tongue entered into my mouth, tasting of me. My fingers ran up his back and into his hair, which forced a groan from deep within his throat.

I felt him press his hips against my thigh and for the first time realized that he had been sleeping in the nude. It wasn't uncommon, though I didn't do it myself so I never had it at the forefront of my mind. I must of gasped at this realization because Daico stopped kissing me and looked into my eyes. He seemed uncertain as to what my gasp had meant and perhaps thought that was me asking him to stop.

When I said nothing and only stared back at him, he returned to short, delicate kissing again. I wanted none of that, so I wrapped my arms more tightly around his neck and pulled him onto me. Daico seemed more then happy to compile with my unspoken request. His hands found my thighs and began to work their way up my dress. My dress inched up slowly as Daico once again tested my willingness.

It must have been that I began to suck on his tongue, but something set him off. He used his knee to open my legs and settled himself between them before sitting up on his ankles. For a moment, I thought that I had displeased him or that he had a change of heart. My question was never asked as he pulled me up to him, which forced my legs to wrap around his waist.

I lost my dress within the next couple of seconds and found Daico's hands running around my hips, thighs, and back. He managed to keep enough of a hold on me that I didn't fall backwards, though several times I thought I would. His kisses had left my lips and were working on my neck and shoulders.

One of my hands on his back and the other in his hair, I pulled his head foreward and tried to manuveur him towards my breast. In another instance, the gentle giant that I had always known was gone. He actually bit my skin just above my left breast and then suckled until there was a dark red spot. The painful sensation that he caused there was somewhat arousing.

His large, warm hands continued to make their rounds, but pressed harder against my flesh. When he was finished with the mark, he looked up at me and nipped at my bottom lip. I could never be certain because it was so dark, but amongst the hungry, lust, and pleasure in his eyes, I thought I saw guilt. The same type that I had seen when Rashe had tried to take me.

Daico buried his face into my chest and stopped any movement between us. I waited patiently to give him a moment to work out whatever was bothering him. Not only could I feel his breath on my skin, but I heard it in the darkness. It was heavy and lustful, but there was also pain.

"Say you want me, Akilah."

All the heat that had been building up in my body instantly vanished as I was jerked back to the reality of it all. I didn't want to say that, it would injure my pride too much to admit it.

Daico had to of felt my body tense in his arms, "I want you very badly." He continued, "I have for a long time now, but please I don't want to force you. I need to know that you want me too." The arms he kept around me shook when he spoke.

I could never speak those words, not even to get what I wanted. So, I did the only thing I knew to do. My fingers found his chin and I lifted his head up until his eyes met mine. I kissed him deeply and passionately to prove my desire and for a moment I thought it would work.

He broke the kiss before he was too lost in it. "I need you to say the words to me."

I don't like saying things like this, because I may have to eat them later. What if I changed my mind and realized that I was just in the throws of passion when I said it? My cheeks grew flush as my frustration rose, but I was also embarrassed by the situation I had found myself in.

The embrace of his arms began to weaken. He was beginning to believe that my silence was my answer. "Don't make me say that, Daico."

There was a long silence between us and I knew that he didn't like my response. If I wanted this to continue then I had to do as he asked. "Please, be with me." Were the only words that I could manage to say. I really hadn't wanted to say that either, but it slipped out before my pride took over and forced me to leave.

I felt myself being pushed back as Daico gently laid me on the fur bedding and began to kiss me again. His hands roamed my body followed by his lips. His kisses soon turned into playful nips and then actual bites. My skin was never broken by his teeth, but each bite caused me to jerk slightly. He enjoyed knowing that he was pleasing and hurting me at the same time. Like I had done everyday of my life when I would look at him but completely ignore his presence.

The heat returned to my stomach and continued to build until it began to ache for him. "Take me, please." I muttered.

My words seemed to increase his own pleasure as he stopped his biting and groaned deeply. "No. I've waited too long for this. It will be long and torturous for you as my wait has been for me."

His biting changed into licking. He seemed to want to taste every inch of my body and enjoyed the lengthy, lustful moans that he could create from me. His fingers teased my inner thighs and I bucked up to try to make him touch my womanhood. With a firm press against my hips, he returned my lower body to his bed.

"No." He growled and his fingers returned to my inner thighs.

I was surprised to see Daico show his alpha male side. I had never seen it before, but he was actually trying to dominate me in those moments. It scared and excited me to know that he wanted to control everything.

His fingers continued to tease my inner thighs as he started to lick them as well. "You are so beautiful." He mumbled and began to suck on my inner thigh. With his mouth, he created another deep red mark. "You are mine now."

"Yes." I whispered even though it wasn't a question.

My response forced a grunt from his throat. "Do not talk." He ordered and I knew that my responses only impassioned him past the control he wanted to keep. He was trying to torture me with pleasure and whenever I spoke, it loosened his resolve.

I felt his tongue flick against labia and then continue to lick up towards my bud. I shivered when he began to suck and nibble at it and he immediately stopped. "Daico." I whimpered.

Again he groaned, "I said do not talk."

My fingers made their way into his hair and tried to push him back down between my legs. He didn't budge and only began to blow on my sensitive area. When I was beginning to get use to the cool torture, he buried his face between my legs again. This time he was relentless until my entire body shivered in the pleasure that he had built. Daico didn't stop to allow my now aching body to rest, he continued to lick and nibble until it became so pleasurable that it hurt.

I pushed him away with my feet on his shoulders and I heard him chuckle. "Did you not like that?"

"Too much." I mumbled. "Claim me now, please."

He climbed the length of my body and I could see that the soft giant that I had known all my life had returned. "Not until you promise to be my bond mate."

I arched an eyebrow, "I have to be, you already told!"

"Promise. Say that you want to be my bond mate, Akilah." He pressed his manhood against my thigh then maneuvered it to press against my wetness.

"And if I don't? Will you be able to stop yourself?" I needed to show him that I had as much power over him as he did me in those moments.

"No." He began to kiss my neck, "Not now."

Before I could reply, I felt him thrust his entire length into my body. As an untouched woman, I had anticipated pain like the women had told me there would be. Daico seemed to expect it as well and stopped moving. I felt very little pain, though when he began to move I could feel a slight discomfort that was drowned out by the pleasure he was beginning to cause.

As it increased, I scratched my nails down his spine which raised his own passion for me. "I want to be your bond mate." I muttered and Daico stopped his movement to look at me.

"Do you?"

I ground my lower half against him, but he didn't respond to me. He kept the question in his eyes and I knew he would only begin again if I answered. "Yes."

He smiled and kissed my lips deeply before he began to move again. He wasn't rough like he had been before instead this time, he was gentle as if he now knew there would be more times like this ahead.

"Daico." I moaned as another wave of pleasure came over me. It sent Daico over the edge as well and I could feel him release within me.

His kisses continued even after we were through with our passions. They didn't stop until we came together once more during the evening and then we finally found some sleep.

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