*Prologue *

Snap! The whip hits my back, and I fight back the scream. The scream that I know when I let it loose, he will be angered. And I don't want him angered. So I hold the scream in, biting my tongue until I taste blood. ..9.10. Ten lashes later and I'm against the wall tears falling down my face. But it's over, I can rest now. A hand drags me up by the hair as I start to slide down the wall I'm perched on. Or not.

"Never back talk me again, you understand?" The man who grabbed me asks. I nod as best as I can with him having my hair and he pulls. Gasping aloud I look for my voice to answer.

"I understand…Father."


I guess I should explain myself to you. I was born into an age where men had complete control over what women did. I mean complete control, as in they could tell you what to say or not to say and if you disobeyed you were whipped. Sadly it was a woman who encouraged this law to be passed.

I never knew that there was another way. Never knew until I turned 21. That was the year that my father married me away. My name is Pokata. It means force in Finnish. Not very fitting for a woman, as my father says, but it was my mother's last wish. As I was saying though, it was my 21rst birthday, and my father dropped the bomb shell on me.

*Chapter One*

"You are to get married today." My father says over breakfast making me spew food. I'm WHAT! No no way. I am not getting married! Not going to happen! I will not allow it.

"Yes father." I whisper quietly. Wait what! No I meant to say no! Dang it! Why didn't I say no? Oh yeah, because I didn't want to get beat. Stupid laws.

"Oh and Pokata? You will be on your best behavior or else. You got that?" Father says from across the table. I nod my head and then flinch. Oops, I forgot he likes to be talked to.

I prepare for the slap to the back of the head but surprisingly it doesn't come. Instead a pair of strong arms encircle me. For a second I am stunned then I relax. After all it isn't often my father hugs me.

"I will miss you Pokata, you must know this. But you are 21 now so I must set you free to another man. Please know that I lo-"My father says but a knock on the door interrupts him. As he quickly removes himself from me, a tear goes down my face. I wipe it off though, not wanting to appear weak.

Going to the door, I open it without any flourish. Outside is a man with golden hair and liquid gray eyes. I assume he is my future husband. I gesture towards the sitting room and he nods. I am not comfortable talking around strangers, and he did not engage me in conversation.

Quickly going to the kitchen, I tell my father there is a guest in the sitting room. He nods and tells me to prepare LE APPEER a type of wine he got a few years back. Doing as such I bring it out into the sitting room. Turning, about to leave the man calls out.

"Stay please. You will need to hear this." He says it almost like he is asking me to stay, but I know that is impossible. Nodding silently, I turn back around and sit on my usual spot on the couch. It isn't until I sit that I notice the man is sitting next to me.

"Might as well make introductions.e says it almost like a

Ase this is my daughter Pokata, Pokata this is your soon to be husband Ase." Father states rather blandly making me blink. Why is he so calm about this? Doesn't he care that I'm getting MARRIED to a STRANGER today? At least a tiny bit?

"Nice to meet finally you." Ase says to me turning his body towards mine. I look at him for a second, swearing that he looks like he is giving me a choice on whether or not to respond.

"And you as well." I say with a small smile at him. I need to test his limits, see how far I can go with him. After all he is not my father.

"Okay so down to business. Ase you sign here," My father says pulling a huge contract from below the table, "Here and here. And you here." He says. We do as such and he then slams the piles of paper closed.

"Congrats, you two are married." And that's when the pink cows come in. No I'm kidding that's when I start to cry.

*Chapter Two*

They stare at me, like I am doing something unthinkable. And really, I am. Crying is forbidden in many households, and mine is one of them. But they do not reprimand me, they just stare. Which is scarier than it would have been had I been struck. Because through their stares, I felt sympathy.