Under the Cowboy's Control

By: Lynda Chance

Travis had to brace himself every time he knocked on her door and walked in. He was scared of what he might find. One morning, she had been taking a bath. Even though the bathroom door was closed and probably locked, he felt it like a kick in the gut. She was wet and naked on the other side of that door. He had left her food and slammed out of the room, and then out of the house, where he had worked himself to the bone for the next six hours.

Another time she was sound asleep on the bed in the middle of the day. There was no reason she shouldn't be. It was, after all, what she had been instructed to do. To rest. But the purity of her face, and the utter defenselessness of her posture played havoc with his anatomy. He found himself next to her bed, and reaching out to touch her before he realized what he was doing and stopped himself.

He spent the next three hours mucking out stalls, something the youngest hand, Clinton, usually did.

By the fourth full day, Travis's nerves were wearing thin. When he knocked and walked in the room that morning, he found her sitting in the middle of the bed, her arms wrapped around her knees, glaring at him.

The bruises were almost gone. Only a slight yellow and purple color marred her face. Her beauty became more obvious every day. He had to make a decision. He couldn't keep her in this room forever.

He put the tray down, and pulled the chair over to the side of the bed and sat down, facing her.

Her glare became more heated. He laughed.

Selena stared at him as the laugh lines creased his eyes and the austerity on his face relaxed. She had never seen him laugh before. He had barely cracked a smile since she had met him. She was intrigued. Growing angry, but intrigued.

"Okay, Angel. Let's have it. You look purely pissed at me." He leaned back in the chair, stretched his legs out and crossed his hands behind his head and waited.

He didn't have to wait long. Impatience exploded from her. She came to her knees in the middle of the bed and said, "I will work now."

He smiled, but it didn't reach his eyes. "Well, let's get one thing straight. You work when I say you can work. I give the orders around here. You take the orders. As long as you're on my ranch, you do what I say. You can leave if you want, but where would you go? You don't have any money. You don't have any transportation. You can't speak proper English. From where I sit, you don't have many options, Angel."

Her face turned red with frustration and her hands clenched into fists at her sides.

She started taking deep breaths and her breasts strained against her shirt. She was about to detonate.

Travis watched her in fascination. Images of her bringing that naked emotion to his bed exploded in his brain. He saw her under him, over him, kneeling in front of him.

He ruthlessly pushed the thought away and pushed his feet to the floor and stood over her.

"Here's what we're going to do. You want to work so bad, you can start doing the cooking for us. I don't have time anyway. Do you know how to cook, Selena?"

She answered him with one swift nod, up and down.

"Okay. That should make you happy. But that won't take long, because I'm easy to please. I'll eat whatever you put in front of me. But I eat a lot, so I want three large meals a day, and plenty of snacks and desserts to go along with them. When you're not in the kitchen, you're going to be on that computer, learning how to speak English. I want you to buy and download any software you need. I don't want to hear any shit about it. I don't know who the hell let you get away without learning in the past, but it stops now. You understand every word I say. You follow me no matter how fast I talk. From now on, every word that comes out of your mouth better be in English. You're not leaving this ranch until you know how."

Selena straightened her spine. Her eyes spit fire at him. One English word came to mind. But she wouldn't say it. She didn't dare. She gritted her teeth and in her best American accent purred, "Yes, Travis."

Lust hit Travis at her conciliatory tone. Conciliatory, but sarcastic. His eyes narrowed and he reached out a hand and snagged her wrist. "I'm going to warn you once, Selena. Don't take me on. Don't think you can win with me, because you can't. You might not like the outcome of an altercation with me." His grip tightened.

"We're going to play this one way and one way only. I say jump, and you say how high, got that?"

She pulled on her wrist. He didn't let go. "Yes," she hissed.

He released her instantly and stepped back. "There's your breakfast. I'll be back here for my lunch at one o'clock sharp. Have it ready." He turned and strolled to the door. Then he turned back to face her. "And Selena. If you know what's good for you, you won't leave this house."

He turned and walked out.

Chapter Three

Selena stared at the door he had closed and wished she wasn't here. She lifted her arm and threw her pillow at it. She didn't want to be his little charity case. She didn't want him taking her hand and pulling her this way and that. She didn't want him grabbing her chin and pinching her. She didn't want him ordering her around constantly, expecting to be obeyed. She didn't want the knots in her tummy every time he walked in the room.

She prayed for patience, and then realized she was free of this room. Finally! She jumped up, ate her breakfast and quickly went out to the kitchen.