Cheers to my first guest this week, my good friend R.B. O’Brien and her special treat, the boxed set of her dystopian tale of Imogen. It will be only 1,99 USD during December so take advantage.
Now the Imogen series, Captured, Corrupted, Conflicted, and Claimed can be read all together in one box set. This dark romance series follows the story of Imogen, who is captured and taken prisoner by the enemy on her wedding night as their war spoils.
Imogen is chosen by a high-ranking official, Erik, to serve him in every way. Controlling and compassionate at once, Erik warns her that in order to remain as safe as possible, he must learn her, her body, and instruct her on how to obey him, for her own good.
As her fate begins to overwhelm her, Erik wastes no time in the beginning stages to teach Imogen what she must learn to survive. His warnings of ominous consequences if she does not obey linger unrevealed, and both Imogen and Erik fight to remain in control of themselves and their emotional pull to one another.
Imogen’s confusion grows, her feelings claiming and overwhelming her, feelings of lust and jealousy and anger and maybe even love for Erik. Claimed as his own, Erik tries to protect Imogen, but when another captive is put under his watch, Imogen realizes she doesn’t really know Erik at all. And her defiance could cost her harm or worse–her life.
IMOGEN: Captured (#1)
“You can call me Sir for now,” he offered. “And I am not going to hurt you.”
That was the second time he told me that he wouldn’t hurt me. Could I trust him? Should I trust him? Why would I trust a man who had taken me prisoner?
When I was untied, he picked me up to carry me, naked and helpless in his strong grip. We went through what appeared to be a large compound. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Women were tied up; some were being whipped, others fucked mercilessly. I closed my eyes as he carried me through the wails and moans. It was a mixture of torment and lust and sex and torture. Tears came uncontrollably again.
He took me outside. Many buildings surrounded the large, center compound. He brought me inside to one of them. It was warm and actually inviting. It was a small home in its own way. He placed me down on a soft, plush couch, exposing me fully. I shivered, even though the room was not at all cold. A fire had been lit.
“I do not want your first time to be painful, Imogen,” he said bluntly. “I want to learn your body.”
Oh my god. He was going to rape me. I was no longer going to be a virgin, and I was going to lose my virginity to this…this barbarian.
“Do I need to tie you down, or will you cooperate?” He spoke in a detached tone, but of course he did. I was his prisoner. He didn’t know me. He certainly didn’t care for me.
I had no idea what to say, how to respond. What choice did I have? He would do what he wanted, but he was asking, and I somehow felt my belly tighten. I was so scared and yet a part of me was aroused. It was so confusing.
“You hesitated again, Imogen.” He grabbed my hand, and we left the warmth of the living area. He brought me into a bedroom, accented with red and cream colors, soothing. How ironic.
He led me further into the bedroom, and then turned me around to face him, the back of my legs against the side of the bed. I stood naked in front of him and looked down, humiliated. I had been fully washed and shaven by god knows who when I was unconscious. I felt tears burning my eyes again.
“You are truly beautiful,” he said, catching me off guard, and I stopped breathing. “Your virginity would not last long here, Imogen. Trust me. It wouldn’t be pretty if some of the other men found out. So I am happy to be your first. You will become my slave here. I can’t very well have a slave without sex. And I can’t very well control my slave if I do not know her body. Lie down,” he ordered, but there was something kind in his voice. It was such a contradiction.
I didn’t move. I wanted to run out of the room. But to where? No one to save me here. And much worse men lurked right outside the building. I shook.
“Now,” he ordered again. This time kindness was no longer present in his voice. “Tonight will be about your pleasure, Imogen. After tonight, it will be about mine.”
IMOGEN: Corrupted (#2)
When I had drawn my own bath to wash away my guilty loss of virginity, it stung fiercely. But I did not need a reminder of what he had done to me; I did not need the stain to remind me that my body actually liked it.
I sunk into the warm water, tensing as the sting came back. I flinched but sat down deeper into the water, and I could feel the soothing effects of the oils, and somehow I began to relax.
He sat down in front of me, faced away from me, and I couldn’t help by stare at the wide expanse of his back. The muscles bulged with even his slightest movement. He had scars and battle wounds and in that moment I wanted to kiss them all, one by one, and I loathed myself for feeling such desire.
He turned slightly to pass me a cloth and some soap. “Wash me,” he ordered.
I slowly began with his back, his shoulders. I was aroused looking at his chiseled body, and I was thankful that I didn’t have to look into his eyes. When he was pleased with how I had washed his back, he stood, his ass facing me, and I continued to wash him, all the way down to his feet.
Slowly he turned, his erection large, and I tried not to make eye contact with him as I caught a smile spreading slightly across his face. But he sat down to face me, took the cloth back, rinsed it, and added more soap. He laid his back against the back of the tub, hoisted his arms along the sides, drew his head back, and closed his eyes.
I continued to wash his body, trying to contain my admiration for it. God. This man was, quite simply, an exquisite specimen. I was so thankful he kept his eyes shut lest he see my true thoughts.
I washed his neck, his chest, his torso. I went up to his shoulders, his arms, lingering on his huge forearms. The contrast of his tan skin with his light hair on his chest and forearms was striking; deep down inside of me, I fought the waves of desire pulsing through my body and pounding between my legs. When I got to his hands, I shivered and stopped. The blood there was evident, fresh. I cringed in that moment. What had he been doing when I was cooking dinner? I literally shivered at the thought. Had he killed someone? I couldn’t bury the horrid image that forced its way into my mind.
His eyes flew open and his brown, almost black, eyes bore a hole through me. “Imogen, continue.”
“I…Yes, Sir,” I was losing myself to anguish and fear suddenly.
I began to wash his hands, forcefully, trying to remove his blood in the same way I had tried to remove my own. Somehow boldness found me as he closed his eyes and sank back against the tub again. “What happened here?” I asked, my voice barely audible, as I stared at his hands.
“Trust me, Imogen. You don’t want to know. No questions. Mind your place.” I shuddered. He stared at me in such a way that told me to shut up lest my blood be on his hands.
When all the blood was removed, his eyes found mine, amused. “Keep going,” he smiled. He had caught my eyes as they landed on his rock-hard cock, sitting firmly against his tight, toned stomach. I abruptly rinsed the cloth, re-soaped it and went to his thighs, his calves, lingering on his feet, his toes, washing nervously. He didn’t stop me or make me go back up to the one body part I had skipped. I breathed a sigh of relief.
When I was finished, I stopped. “Sir?”
He opened his eyes. “Are you quite done?” That playful look still danced in his eyes.
“Um…yes, I believe I am,” I squeaked. Time stood still as I held my breath to see what he would do.
He laughed loud. “Breathe, Slave. You are fine. Now please dry me off and feed me. I’m starving. You must be too.”
I dried him and he left me there, alone and naked. For some reason I was panting. Was I disappointed? I hated to admit it, but I think I was. I sulked into the kitchen, shivering, still naked. I removed the towel I had used to dry myself off, trying to follow his orders, his previous instructions.
I waited, seated in a chair by a table, as he finally entered the kitchen, fully clothed, relaxed. I sat, timid, a little cold, and fully embarrassed. I tried to position my arms and hands to cover myself the best I could. He sat down, and instinctually, I immediately got up to serve him his food. He smiled up at me as I placed the bowl in front of him and sat down.
He took a bite and moaned. “This is absolutely perfect, Imogen. Thank you. Please help yourself as well.”
I relaxed a bit and rose again to get myself some too.
We ate in silence. I tried to devour my food surreptitiously, but it could have been anything, and I would have inhaled it, I was that hungry. I felt like an animal. I found his gaze, soup dripping down my chin, and I stilled, humiliated at how I was acting, at how I must have looked to him. Why did I even care? He left the room, and I became frightened. Tears poured forth, inconsolable.
To my surprise, he came back with a blanket. “It’s okay,” he assured me. “I’m sorry.” He looked pained watching me. I was so humiliated, and even through my devastating hunger, I lost my appetite. What was I becoming?
I convulsed through my tears, gasping for air, trying to breathe. I was a fucking slave, naked, starving practically, and it all just hit me in a painful, crushing wave.
He stepped around to my chair and picked me up. He sat back down in his chair and held me in his arms for a long time. I struggled to push away from him, and it only made him hold me tighter. I didn’t want this…this…kidnapper, this brute, holding me, and yet I found myself succumbing to his hold, thrusting my face against his chest, letting all my emotions spill over onto him, letting him soothe me. When I calmed, he took my face between his calloused hands and made me look into his eyes. They held a hard-to-fathom emotion.
He spoke in almost a whisper, but it was stern. “Imogen, you will need to toughen up. You need to be stronger. I need to make you stronger. You are going to think that I’m being cruel; I’m trying to save your life. Tonight will be less gentle. Know that it is not to be mean. I am hoping that you even come to like it. But it has to be done. Go stand in the living room and wait for me. Remove the blanket.”
IMOGEN: Conflicted (#3)
I had no idea what time it was, and the reality of my situation engulfed me. I felt sick to my stomach, felt sick about my predicament. It felt almost surreal. This couldn’t really be happening to me. I couldn’t really be a slave. I drew my arms around my body as tears escaped my eyes without sound, without a chance for me to control it. I felt a sense of dread, of unease, of simple, plain fear.
“Good morning, Imogen.” Erik’s deep voice broke into my bleak thoughts, startling me. I wiped away my tears quickly. The light shone just enough so that I could make out the shadow of his figure sitting in the chair in the room where I had slept.
He rose and pulled open the curtains fully, letting the light shine through the windows brightly now, illuminating the room, illuminating him. God. He really was a masterpiece. His strong, wide back was uncovered, his muscles sharp, defined as he did the simple task of opening the curtains. I tried to pry my eyes from the expanse of his shoulders and neck, the faint markings of his years as a soldier.
I spoke with strength, conviction, masking my emotions, my fears, hiding the tears that had so quickly risen in me. “Good morning,” I replied without enthusiasm.
He came over to my bed and sat down, causing my body to roll over against him. He smiled down at me with guarded tenderness and pushed my hair from out of my eyes. “You’ve been crying,” he said matter-of-factly.
“No,” I lied. “I’m just tired.” I didn’t dare look into his eyes. “How long have you been sitting here? Why?”
He kissed my forehead and my body tensed, tensed again from arousal, from his close proximity, from the kindness he never failed to surprise me with. “It’s okay, Imogen. I know you were crying. I know why, and I understand it. I couldn’t sleep. I’ve just been watching you, waiting for you to wake. I wish things were different…I wish…” And he stopped himself and rose, leaving an empty imprint next to me. “Please go take care of your personal needs. We have been requested in the main hall,” and he left me alone, shivering in bed.
Luckily, the weather was warming up, but still, having no clothes was painstaking, embarrassing, humiliating. Would this nightmare ever end? I took my time in the bathroom, tending to my hygiene, letting the shower run over my body in relentless hot streams that almost seared my skin. I couldn’t get it hot enough to erase the chill that ran through my every nerve ending, my ever vein. I did not want to get out; I did not want to face whatever it was that awaited my arrival in the main compound.
Erik knocked on the door. “Slave,” he spoke coolly. “We mustn’t be late. We need to go. Meet me in the living area.”
I shut off the water and slowly walked into the living area, covering myself as best I could, allowing my wet hair to fall over my breasts. I heard him sigh heavily as I entered.
“Come here,” he ordered, now fully clothed and even more domineering in his gray uniform. Our class system here was easily definable and I reddened with humiliation.
I walked over to where he sat and fidgeted foolishly, trying to figure out what to do. I obeyed like a loyal dog and cursed myself inwardly for my lack of conviction to fight him. Should I stand? Sit? I wasn’t physically cold, and yet my whole body trembled from nerves, the goosebumps impossible to hide.
“Still so shy,” he whispered. “It’s okay. Come here…”
IMOGEN: Claimed (#4)
He took steps towards me and stood mere inches from my exposed, shivering body. He lifted my chin that way he did, and I refused to make eye contact. “Look at me, Imogen,” he ordered.
I refused. I couldn’t let him see my emotions, my turmoil. I needed to stay strong.
“Imogen,” he started again. “Obey me or pay the consequences. It’s been a very long, trying day. I have zero patience right now.”
Something in his voice made me obey, and I looked into his chocolate brown eyes to see that tenderness, that kindness that always lay just below the surface, muted with sadness and distress. I wanted to cry. I wanted to melt. I wanted to beg him to take me in his arms. I wanted to ask him to take me right there, hard and fast. Instead, I stood motionless.
“Tonight will be…” He struggled for the right words. “Unpleasant.”
I refused to cry. I refused to show him any emotion. Instead, I haughtily said, “Then don’t do it.” And even as I said “it,” I wondered what it really was.
He sighed, long and heavy. “If only I had a choice, Imogen. Now go. Get ready for tonight.”
I desperately hoped he’d ask me to join him, but he didn’t, so I turned to go get ready, whatever that meant. I didn’t have clothes, and I had already bathed myself. I felt lost, so alone, so cold.
But before I left, he cautioned. “Imogen, obey me tonight in everything, starting with that tone of voice. Do you understand?” He spoke as if angry with me, disappointed with me.
I slunk out of the bathroom, barely able to speak, the lump in my throat huge and unwavering. “Yes, Sir.”
I went to the other bedroom that had become mine and let the tears flow. I absolutely, positively hated myself for not trying to fight him, that I was so obedient. Why? Why wasn’t I screaming at him? Why wasn’t I doing more? And I had no answers to those questions, except to admit that I had a deep need not to disappoint him and it wasn’t solely based on fear.
I must have fallen asleep, because I felt a light touch on my cheek as I looked to see Erik brushing away long strands of my hair from my face, struck against the wetness of my tears that had lulled me to sleep. “Oh, Imogen,” he soothed. “Come. Sit on my lap.” He held a brush. He was so hot and cold that my mind wanted to refuse him, and yet my body wouldn’t allow it.
I couldn’t control it and I did as he asked, needing to feel his comfort. My insides were in knots, my head ached, and I just wanted to crawl onto his lap and continue to cry, even though I knew I shouldn’t feel that way.
He didn’t say anything else, as he stroked the brush through my hair, gently, sweetly, and I tried not to moan at how good it felt. I felt like a cat snuggling into his warm touch and hated myself for how needy and weak I had come to feel.
He broke my silent self-berating and spoke softly. “I need to ask you some things, Imogen, and I need your honesty.”
The calm he had created vanished as tension seized my body again. “Okay,” I simply said.
“Explain to me how you felt when I touched Arthur’s slave. I need to know.”
My pride was up on guard, full-force. I would never admit I had felt jealousy, and then again, I’m not even sure what I felt.
I remained silent. “Answer me, Imogen. Were you jealous? Or did it arouse you? How did it make you feel?”
Oh dear god! Aroused? Was I? Was I aroused and jealous? Jesus “No, of course not! I already told you that!” I spoke too loudly, and even I knew I was protesting too much.
“No? No to what? So you weren’t jealous? Or you weren’t aroused?”
“Stop it, Erik!” I was beginning to sweat, uncomfortably embarrassed.
“Suit yourself, Imogen,” he said, putting the brush down. “You are only hurting yourself by not being honest with me. It does not please me to see you cry. But I warn you. Tonight I will be asked to do things that may make you uncomfortable. I may have no choice in the matter. If I do not follow orders, I can be demoted, I can be exiled. And that would not bode well for you. Chances are very slim that either of those things would happen, but I don’t want to take any chances.”
He waited for me to speak, to give me another chance to tell him how I truly felt, to bare a part of my soul to him. But somehow, I felt an indescribable rage and said nothing. I wouldn’t allow him to see just how weak I had become. I just couldn’t.
“Come. It is time. Again, don’t forget to keep your emotions in check. Do not forget what I have taught you. I was hoping tonight we could continue with your training, but we are called for. I am called for.”
My rage ebbed, and fear grew in the pit of my stomach as there was no way to avoid the night’s events. Slowly, I left the comfort of his lap, and we made our way over.
Before we even arrived back in the main compound, I heard shrieks, and I instantly knew it was the slave from the morning who had shared Malachi’s lap with me. I shuttered and grabbed Erik’s hand instinctively, trembling.
“No, Imogen,” he scolded and removed my hand from his.
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