By: Sherri Hayes

Without looking at the woman on floor he dismissed her, telling her to wait outside until she was wanted. The door closed behind me, and suddenly the room felt small. Ian sat staring at me, watching, looking for something. He stood to walk in front of his desk, stopped, and appraised me some more. Scrutiny was nothing new for me, but for some reason this guy gave me the creeps. I refused to let it show and stood confident under his examination.

I made the decision right then that I wasn’t about to walk out of here without Brianna, so I pushed my nerves aside and stepped forward. “I’m Stephan Coleman. I’m here to look at the girl.”

“Ah, yes. Brianna. Your friend told me you had an interest in my slave. Why?” His tone was even and cold.

This was a test. My response would determine if I was worthy in his eyes to own his girl. “I don’t believe I need a reason.”

He smiled wickedly at my response. Yep. Test. “True.” He tapped his fingers together just under his chin. “Would you like to see the merchandise?”

“I would.” I kept my voice flat.

“Alex!” he yelled sharply. The door immediately opened and the woman from before stepped through. “Bring Brianna to me,” he ordered.

“Yes, Master.”

She left quickly, scurrying out of the room, but returned shortly. The woman at Alex’s side was taller than her, but still petite, and wore the same tube top and miniskirt uniform. I couldn’t see her eyes, but I knew they would be blue just as Daren had said. She was beautiful from what I could see. Beautiful and broken.

Brianna had medium brown hair that fell below her shoulders and curled up at the ends, framing her face and drawing attention to her breasts. Her curves were well defined, but not extravagant. In different clothing, she would have reminded me of the girl next door.

Seeing her, all my reservations vanished. Something inside me screamed that I needed to protect her. I would buy her no matter the cost.

Then Ian’s sharp voice interrupted my thoughts. “Stand in the middle of the room, Brianna.” She did so quickly, obviously fearful of her Master.

I knew what was expected of me now. Walking to her, I circled, giving her a cursory evaluation. “Nice.” And she was. She was young, and she had a subtle beauty to her. Her skin was pale with a light pink hue. There were no blemishes that I could see, which surprised me given how young she looked. I was drawn to her lips. They were a darker shade of pink, but with the expression on her face they look wrong. She was not happy, and I wondered what her lips would look like as she smiled.

Ian’s prideful voice interrupted my thoughts. “Isn’t she, though? She was a bit of a challenge at first, but we’ve taken care of that.”

I nodded and cringed internally because of what I was about to do.

My hand went to her chin and pushed her face up. She kept her gaze downcast as much as she was able, but I could see the fear. Daren was right. This was not her choice. There was no satisfaction in her eyes or her posture in serving her Master.

“Open,” I commanded.

She did as she was told, and I made a point of looking at the health of her teeth. I had no idea what I was looking for, of course; I was no dentist or doctor, for that matter. “How long have you had her?”

His voice was smug as we discussed his property. “A little over ten months. One of the best purchases I ever made. She has been . . .” his voice trailed off as he looked for the right word, “. . . entertaining.” Then he sighed. “But I’m willing to part with her. For the right price, that is.”

Nausea returned as I listened to him, and I was glad I’d forgone dinner.

Pushing her chin up, indicating I wanted her to close her mouth, I ran my hands down her bare neck and shoulders before palming her breasts over the thin material of her tube top. I gave them a light squeeze as if measuring their size and the feel of them in my hands. I noticed a small furrowing of her brow, but otherwise she didn’t move. I tucked that piece of information away for later.

Then I knelt, bringing my hands to her narrow waist. I knew she most likely wasn’t wearing underwear, so that was not what surprised me when I lifted her skirt. It was the deep bruising running up the inside of both her thighs made worse by the evidence of older bruises.

My anger roared inside me, and I had to fight with myself not to let it show. It wouldn’t help my cause. I stood and continued to do what was expected.

Going around behind her, I ran my hands over her once again before stepping away.

“Do you like her? She’s well-proportioned. Her oral skills are quite good as well. You are more than welcome to try them out if you’d like.”