Frost knew this wasn’t a good idea and yet there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for Astor, and she wanted this.
“Remember, keep your head down, don’t speak to anyone, don’t make eye contact, and don’t leave my side,” he whispered to Astor as he led her into the secluded country house of the man who had run the same auction he had bought Astor at. It was going to be a long time before he forgave himself for that. If ever.
“I know,” Astor hissed back.
It was now or never.
Inside the house was full, laughing, talking, food, men-and the occasional woman-and their slaves milled about. He didn’t know how they were going to find who they were looking for. The only lead they had was that Astor’s sister may have been given to a man known to work with unruly slaves, beating them into either death or submission.
“Oh My!” a man said coming up to him. “She’s a pretty one.” The man ogled Astor, who did indeed look stunning in her tight fitting, low cut black dress. But the thought of anyone else looking at her, having fantasies about her, was almost enough for him to throw the whole charade away and drag her back to their cabin.
But he didn’t.
“Actually I’m having a little trouble with her,” he said. “She’s not as obedient as I want. That’s why I’m here. I’m hoping to find someone to help me with that. Do you know anyone?”
The man leaned in conspiratorially, “Rumor has it, that there’s a man here, down in the basement, who does just that.”
He felt Astor stiffen beside him and he prayed that she could hold it together. “Thank you,” he nodded to the man. Then he forced out, “Maybe once I get her under control we could do a little swap. Yours is a pretty one too.” He nodded at the blindfolded, gagged young woman standing behind the man with her wrists tied together a string leading from them to the man’s hand.
Leading Astor along, close behind him, he didn’t trust anyone in this house around the woman he loved. He wanted to discuss what was going to happen once they got to the basement, but it was too risky, he was going to have to trust that the plan they had worked out before they got here would work.
Two of the biggest men he had ever seen in his life stopped them at the bottom of the basement stairs.
“I’m here to get some help with this one,” he said jabbing Astor in the shoulder while silently apologising. “I was hoping to get some tips from the expert on training her to behave appropriately.”
The men exchanged glances, then one of them turned and disappeared into a room. The other stood silently, and so did he, growing more anxious by the second. He wanted out of here. He wanted his gorgeous woman naked in their bed at the cabin, the fire crackling, just the two of them, making love . . .
“He’ll see her.”
The voice startled him out of his fantasy and back into the moment. “Thank you,” he said as he stepped forward, bringing Astor with him.
“No,” the men stopped him. “He’ll see her. Not you. You can go back upstairs to the party. He’ll work with her, see if she’s malleable, if she is you can discuss a long term plan with him at the end of the night.”
That wasn’t happening.
He wasn’t leaving Astor alone with that man.
He wasn’t leaving her alone with anyone.
Apparently what he wanted didn’t matter.
One of the men grabbed Astor and dragged her away from him, the other shoved him up the stairs.
The door was slammed and locked with a terrifying air of finality.