"My lady, a moment?"

The woman's head spun round to see a hooded figure on the roadside.

"My Lady?"

His rugged apparel.

"Oh, my Lady?"

His deep, throaty voice.

"Could you not spare me a moment?"

Her horse jostled as her thighs clenched, sensing her nervousness.

"Please, my Lady? There is no reason to panic."

His drawn long bow, with her in its sights.

"A contribution?"

She snarled and threw down her reins. "Why not speak plain, you ruffian? Why not just demand my gold? Heaven help us from those who beat about the bush."

The man drew himself up. "As you wish, my Lady. Give me your gold, and jewellery, and I might just spare your life."

She loosed her necklace and dropped it to the ground where, if she was lucky, his head would come to the same level as her booted foot. The man smiled. "I am not foolish, Lady. Dismount from your animal and give me the jewels."

She did so, if very begrudgingly. When she was done handing over the gold, she waited. And waited. And waited.

The man cocked his head.

"What?" she asked. "There is nothing more you could want from me. Be on your way, fiend."

"You say fiend like it's a bad thing, Lady," he said, eyes raking over her figure with appreciation. "Nothing more I could want, eh?"

She flashed a brief yet rebellious smile. "Let me rephrase. There is nothing more that you are going to get."

The man threw his sword onto the grass beside them, just out of her reach, but if she lunged suddenly, could she grab it? He caught the hungry look in her eye and clucked his tongue, saying clearly enough, 'don't even think about it'. His hand shot out and grabbed at her cloak, forcing her body towards his.

"You are a brute," she gasped. "A cad."

"I am that," he said, circling her. "And as such, I always get what I want, understand?"

"I understand," she whimpered. His hands ripped off her cloak with more than necessary force. She shrieked and he clamped one over her mouth.

"Hush now, Lady. There's no need for any of that," he whispered into her ear from behind her. A shiver ran down her spine; goose bumps appeared on her shoulders. "No need for that at all..."

He released her lips.

She span around to face him.

They were so close... so very close...

His head bowed down-

"Ow! Raymond, you trod on my foot!"

Raymond stepped back as fast as he could. "Sorry, dear!"

"I mean we were finally getting into the moment and BAM you have to ruin it with your big feet!"

"Sorry, darling. You want to try again?"

She sighed. "No. It looks like rain now, anyhow. I think if we hurry we can make it back to the car in time."

"Will you keep the dress on when we get back home?" Raymond asked, his eyes lighting up in further mischief.

The woman, his wife and one and only, shot him a sly smile. Raymond offered his arm to her.

"Why thank you, kind Sir."

"My pleasure, Lady. My pleasure."