Under the Cowboy's Control

By: Lynda Chance

His voice was deep.

He went to the small attached bathroom and wet a washcloth in the sink. His movements were smooth and methodical. He started to walk back to the bed, but stopped and locked the door first. He didn't need any eyes but his on her if this became physical. The less people who knew her sex, the better.

He pulled the single chair away from the small desk and placed it next to her side.

He lowered his big body down and lifted his boots to the small bedside table and crossed them. He held the cloth out to her. "Do you want me to wash your face, or do you want to do it?"

Her small hand flew to her face and she felt the dirt and grime there. She held out her hand and he placed the cloth in it. Hesitantly, she lifted it to her face and slowly began to scrub. She pulled it away and saw the dirt on in, then folded it over and washed again until the cloth came away clean.

When she was finished with the task, she lowered her hands to her sides, still holding the rag. She raised her eyes slowly to his.

The beauty of her face hit him. Arousal pierced his gut as he realized she was even prettier than he had thought.

He narrowed his eyes and questioned her, "What's your name, Angel?"

Chapter Two

He saw her take a sharp breath, and pain etched her features from the sudden strain to her hurt ribs.

She didn't answer him.

Travis waited a heartbeat. "I know you understand me. I also know you're a girl.

But let's make this easy. Como se llama usted? "

Again, no answer.

"You know, Angel, this would be easier if you tried to get along with me."

Selena recognized the subtle threat and the note of authority in his voice and responded to it. "S-Selena."

Travis felt another jolt of need slam through him when he heard her voice say her name. Soft and feminine, with a Spanish accent, her voice brushed down his spine and attacked his nerves.

He was going to hell, no doubt about it, for lusting after a girl this young.

"Selena." It rolled from his tongue as he tried out her name. It suited her immensely. "Now that wasn't so hard, was it, Angel?"

Travis watched a small, pink tongue sneak out and moisten her lips. She shook her head slightly.

"I've got to check those ribs, Angel. I'm pretty sure that it's just a bruise, but I have to make sure nothing is broken." He kept his words gentle but firm, trying not to frighten her.

"No." She clutched the hoodie to her.

He was about to respond when a knock came to the door. "Soup's ready, Boss."

Travis stood and opened the door. Jim came through with a tray and took it to the bed.

Selena was assailed with heavenly scents. All at once, the nausea cleared up and a fierce hunger attacked her. Nothing but peanut butter and bread for three days had reduced her to salivating at the smell of canned soup. She pushed herself up and into more of a sitting position, the threat of the man looking at her ribs subdued with her hunger taking precedence.

Jim placed the tray on her lap and Selena picked up the spoon and started eating.

She took a few delicate bites, to make sure it wasn't too hot, and then couldn't stop herself from attacking the bowl of soup until it was gone. Embarrassed, she looked up to find the two men watching her.

Jim spoke. "Do you want more?"

She responded. " Por favor."

Travis reached over and took the tray off her lap. "Not yet. The food needs to settle or he'll get sick." He handed the tray back to Jim, but snagged the glass of water and set it on the bedside table. "I can handle things from here, Jim. Thanks for your help. I'll go get some more soup from the kitchen in an hour or so."

"Okay, Boss. I'm gonna go see about the tractor you were working on." He turned and left the room.

Travis followed him and shut and locked the door. He turned and leaned against it, watching her. He really didn't like what he was about to have to do. Nothing in his psyche had ever gotten satisfaction from the thought of abusing people or small animals. The thought of terrifying her made his guts churn.

Best just to get it over with.

Selena saw him lock the door and panic assailed her. She bit her lip and steeled herself for what was about to happen.

Travis left the door and walked over and sat facing her on the edge of the bed. She shrank back against the pillows. "Shh, Angel." He put one hand to her shoulder to gently hold her in place and began to lift her shirt with the other hand.

She whimpered. "No,no."

He moved the hand on her shoulder to gently cup her chin. "I won't hurt you, Selena. Look, you show me exactly where the pain is coming from, okay? I won't touch you anywhere else." He looked into the big violet eyes welling with tears. "I won't look at you anywhere else. Just show me the worst part, where it hurts the most."

Her hand hesitantly moved on top of her shirt to a spot on her right side, almost adjacent to the small swell of her right breast. One tear rolled down her cheek and she closed her eyes.

"Good girl." He reached down and gently probed the area over her shirt.

She flinched.

"Okay, Angel. Now I'm just going to lift the shirt and take a look. I won't look anywhere else, okay?" He paused and waited for her answer.