Under the Cowboy's Control

By: Lynda Chance

For the first time, Selena actively tried to communicate in English with him. "No.No, Boss. P-please, no."

Travis let out a small smile. "Travis. My name is Travis. You don't have to call me Boss."


"That's right." He lifted the right side of her shirt and saw an ugly purple bruise there. " Goddammnit." He swore. What he wouldn't give to have at the scum that did this to her. Just five minutes. He could do some serious damage in five minutes, and he would feel so much better.

Selena turned her head away from him and away from the bruised side of her body. She held herself perfectly still as he inspected the damage. Her heartbeat increased when he touched her side. The skin on his hand was rough, his fingers firm and calloused as they ran over her ribs with a slight pressure. She lay in shock as a man touched her body for the first time. She had been raised piously, in a strict Roman Catholic family. No man had ever touched her before, not in any way.

Travis picked up the liniment and rubbed a small amount into her skin. He did it quickly, so he could move away from her sooner. She was going to his head like a drug.

He pulled her shirt back down and sat back in the chair. He picked up the cloth she had used earlier and wiped his hands clean with it. He tossed it to the floor.

"I don't think anything is broken. But you're badly bruised and it's going to take a few days for you to heal. I have a couple of questions." He paused and waited to see if she was following him.

She nodded her head.

"First question. Is there a man out there looking for you? Somebody that did this to you that is going to come back to hurt you again?"

She shook her head. "No."

Travis studied her intently. "Were you raped, Angel? Do you need me to get you to a hospital?"

Her face lost all color, and then just as quickly, a blush rose up her cheeks. She shook her head emphatically.

"Good. That's good, Selena. Last question. Are you really a citizen and can you prove it if you have to?"

She nodded her head. " Si."


Selena thought he asked how she could prove it, not how she happened to be a United States citizen when she couldn't even speak the language. She pointed to her backpack.

Travis looked at the article in question and reached over and snagged it and handed it to her. He was surprised by its weight.

Selena opened her bag and started at the top. She took out the bottle of water and set it on the bed. Next she took out half a loaf of bread that was badly squished and the jar of peanut butter. A rumpled pair of jeans and another t-shirt followed.

Finally, she pulled out a well-worn Bible stuffed with mementos. Pictures, papers, and pressed flowers kept the book from not closing properly.

Travis watched the sad little pile of articles surrounding her. His stomach clenched when he realized that he was probably seeing all that she possessed in the world.

He truly hoped for her sake that she was telling the truth. She needed something positive in her life right now.

Selena opened the Bible and found what she was looking for. She carefully opened the large envelope and handed him the three sets of papers she carried.

Citizenship papers for her father, her brother and herself.

Travis skimmed the papers and looked at her in dismay. Her last name was Taylor.

Selena Taylor. She didn't even hold a Spanish surname. It was a good last name.

Simple. American. Her father was Anglo. A white, American citizen. That must be where she inherited the pale, ivory skin tone. Relief passed through him. She also had an American passport and social security number. Then he noticed her date of birth. A quick calculation put her age at twenty-three. She wasn't a teenager. Thank God. Instantaneous relief surged through Travis. He wasn't lusting after a minor.

She wasn't underage. Far from it. She was a woman full grown.

This was very good.

He looked at her, sitting and silently watching him reading her papers.

He smiled at her and held out his hand. She slowly placed her palm in his hand.

"Travis Blake, at your service, Miss Taylor," he teased her and a blush spread over her face. He reluctantly released her hand and became serious again.

"This is good, Selena. This is going to make everything much easier for you. I want you to know you're safe here. But for now, as far as the men are concerned, you're a young boy named Manuel. This is my house. All the men stay in the bunkhouse.

I'll keep them away from the house and this room, and you can have time to heal.

You need to sleep and rest for a few days, get your strength back. That room through there will be your private bathroom. It has shampoo, soap, towels and stuff.

You use anything you want, and tell me if there is anything you need. Do you understand?"

Tears came to her eyes as she nodded her head. " Gracias."

He smiled. "Say thank you."

"Thank you, T-Travis."

His nerves tied in knots at her soft reply and the shy look on her face. He decided to get the hell out while the getting was good.

As soon as he left the room, Selena braced herself for more pain as she moved to get off the bed. She was grimy and filthy all over, but still way too weak to attempt a shower. But the urgent need she had for the bathroom wasn't going to go away.