Valley Of the Hostages: Extreme Taboo BDSM Erotica - Candace Spencer - ebook
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Warning: Very taboo. Not for the faint of heart. May include BDSM, incest, and other taboo and forbidden elements. This is a vintage **full length** (100+ Pages), post-censorship erotic novel.*****CHAPTER ONE - Captured!CHAPTER TWO – OasisCHAPTER THREE - Tied Up for DinnerCHAPTER FOUR - Girls Punished in the NightCHAPTER FIVE - Captives on DisplayCHAPTER SIX - Captives, Wet and Making LoveCHAPTER SEVEN - My First CroppingCHAPTER EIGHT - I Get ShaftedCHAPTER NINE - A Wanton Hussy Gets What She WantsCHAPTER TEN - Golden SecretCHAPTER ELEVEN - Ambush!CHAPTER TWELVE - So Close Yet So FarCHAPTER THIRTEEN - Three Girls Tied and Tortured in One BedroomCHAPTER FOURTEEN - Golden TortureCHAPTER FIFTEEN - Whipped NipplesCHAPTER SIXTEEN - Rawhide Torment******Juan unlocked my wrist at the first light of dawn. To say that I was a sorrow girl would be an understatement. I was sore, my arm and wrists hurt terribly and my feet ached something horrible.Perhaps as a concession to my very chaffed and raw wrist, my hands were not secured again. Instead a pair of handcuffs were locked upon my ankles. It was just as effective as securing my hands behind me, I could not get them off and I certainly couldn't run. The tiny steps I had to take were both very limiting and humiliating. Rather than wait for me to hobble along, Juan simply picked me up in his arms and carried me back to my bedroom. Marlow was nowhere in sight, so Juan simply dumped me on the bed and left.I could have tried to escape, tiny steps and all, but it seemed simply too much effort. And doomed to failure anyway. So I curled up on my side on the bed and fell asleep. I didn't feel like sleeping on my sore bottom.Lunch was my first meal that day, spent at the table eating with my own hands for a change. My feet under the table were joined by handcuffs but I didn't mind. I was hungry and considerably refreshed by the morning nap. My wrist was red and bruised from the hard steel but otherwise unhurt. What felt worst was where my bare bottom came in contact with the hard wood of the chair. I fear I was almost constantly squirming and wiggling in vain efforts to get comfortable. The men said nothing, but I was sure they were enjoying my discomfort. 

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Valley Of the Hostages

Candace Spencer

Copyright © 2017

Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE - Captured!

CHAPTER TWO – Oasis

CHAPTER THREE - Tied Up for Dinner

CHAPTER FOUR - Girls Punished in the Night

CHAPTER FIVE - Captives on Display

CHAPTER SIX - Captives, Wet and Making Love

CHAPTER SEVEN - My First Cropping

CHAPTER EIGHT - I Get Shafted

CHAPTER NINE - A Wanton Hussy Gets What She Wants

CHAPTER TEN - Golden Secret

CHAPTER ELEVEN - Ambush!

CHAPTER TWELVE - So Close Yet So Far

CHAPTER THIRTEEN - Three Girls Tied and Tortured in One Bedroom

CHAPTER FOURTEEN - Golden Torture

CHAPTER FIFTEEN - Whipped Nipples

CHAPTER SIXTEEN - Rawhide Torment

CHAPTER ONE - Captured!

I know I made a mistake. I should have never teased that new hired hand. If I had acted more like the proper daughter of a wealthy landholder, I would not be riding to who knows where, my hands bound behind my back, my ankles tied to the stirrups, and my blouse torn enough to expose one breast. Well, partly expose it. I also wouldn't be hot, thirsty, and kidnapped.

It was all innocent enough. There was this new hand on the ranch. Well, let me explain that my father, Reinholt Walters, owns about the biggest spread west of the Pecos: cattle, horses, and plenty of land. Which makes him about the richest man around in a country where it is the land that makes the man rich. I'm his only daughter, Brenda. And, so long as I'm filling you in, I'm 19 years old, very pretty (all the men say so), and have a figure that takes after my mother, and she was a knock-out, believe me! And I'm a trouble maker, and a real head-ache to my poor father. But he loves me anyway.

The new hand was a drifter but not a saddle bum. I could tell that right away. His clothes were worn but not ragged.

And that big 44 hanging on his hip in its low holster tied down was not the gun of a saddle tramp. But he came along, asking for a job, and the foreman, Mark, took a liking to him and hired him. Marlow was his name. I never did catch his last name, just Marlow. Sort of handsome in a rugged way, with that strong jaw and those really deep blue eyes. And I didn't fail to notice that lean, hard body. He was maybe ten years older than I, but who says a girl can't look at older men?

As I bounced along on this gray, my wrists hurting where they were bound by tight rawhide, the hot sun burning down on me, I thought about my mistake. It was two nights before, after dinner. It was hot and I took a little walk down by the creek where the air would be cooler. There I found Marlow, just sitting by the creek, tossing stones into the water. I don't know what he was thinking about but his thoughts were sure somewhere else. I walked up and began talking to him.

Now Dad always says that I talk too much, so I'll try to make this short. I talked. He talked, well sort of. Mostly he just answered my questions without really telling me anything about himself. And I flirted. Dad also always says that I wear clothing that reveals too much. Well, I have this really nice pair of breasts and what girl doesn't like having men admire her? Maybe it was because I had already turned nineteen and was still a virgin. Most of the girls I knew were certainly not virgins by that ripe old age, hell, most were married and working on their second kid. But that just wasn't the kind of life I wanted. Oh, sure, I figured that I'd settle down one day and raise a family-Dad sure dropped enough hints that he was expecting that. But not at nineteen. There was just too much of life to be seen.

Well, see? I told you that Dad says I talk too much. Getting back to Marlow, I sort of let him see a fair amount of my breasts when I leaned forward. And I sort of swished my hips a bit too much, you know what I mean? It was exciting to tease this big man. He was older than I, seemed so experienced in the ways of the world, and quite intriguing to a girl who had grown up on a ranch and never seen any big cities at all. I guess I over did it with showing off. He didn't do anything that evening. But I knew he saw what I was flaunting what I had in the evening light. Could hardly miss it. And I could feel him undressing me with his eyes, like he could see every part of my body under that blouse and skirt. It sent a tingly, exciting feeling down my spine as those eyes devour my body! Of such things are the thoughts of a nineteen year old girl filled.

Like I said, he didn't do anything that evening. But I know that was when he decided to kidnap me. At least I think it was then. The next night I was took my walk down by the creek, sort of expecting to find him there again, but he was no where in sight. I sighed and was about to return to the house when a hand suddenly clamped over my mouth and another one grabbed my wrist.

I was dragged back into the bushes a ways, unable to utter a word or fight those strong hands. A voice in my ear told me not to struggle and I wouldn't get knocked over the head with a gun. You have to know that I was not one of those girls who subscribed to the theory that rape is a "fate worse than death.'' It wasn't the way I had hoped to loose my virginity, but it wasn't the end of the world, either. Still, I really didn't want to be raped, so I was getting ready to kick whoever this was in the balls and run when I heard a terrible sound. The hammer of a 44 being cocked.

Suddenly I saw the wisdom of cooperating. Guns scare me, always have. Oh, I know how to shoot one and can hit what I aim for ... Well, most of the time. But they're so loud! And, having grown up on a ranch, I've seen what a 44 bullet can do to an animal-or a man. I had no desire to argue with a 44. So I stood there, making only tiny whining sounds through clenched lips, while a strange man tied my hands together with a rawhide strip. They were bound really tight and expertly. Then a cloth was shoved into my mouth and tied in place with another, shorter length of rawhide. I was then picked up and carried away from my home.

I recognized then who it was. There was enough light to see Marlow's ruggedly handsome face, set firm with determination. His arms were very strong as he held me and carried me through the bushes to the waiting horses. I was put on one and my ankles tied to the stirrups. Then he mounted his horse and led me off into the night.

We followed the valley for a while, sticking to the main road. That would, I knew, make it harder for anyone to track us. There was simply too many horses coming and going for even a good tracker to follow. Then, after darkness had descended in full, we turned off towards the Saguro Mountains. Later, after the moon had risen, we turned again, this time towards the desert.

The rawhide holding in my gag was untied and the cloth allowed to come out of my mouth only after quite a while of riding, when we reached the edge of the big desert.

"Why are you kidnapping me?" I asked in what I thought was a reasonable tone of voice.

"Money," he responded. Somehow that answer made me feel both better and worse. "Your dad is pretty rich. He'll pay good money to get his daughter back."

I couldn't argue with that. At least the part about Dad having money. But as to whether he would pay it or not ... Well, that I wasn't too sure about. My Dad loved me but he hated being forced into anything. My first reaction was that he would rather chase down this hired hand than pay money.

But there was a part of me, so long as I'm being honest, that was a little sad. Rape, ravishment, and sex weren't the reason, only money. I guess I was disappointed. Being a virgin isn't easy.

We didn't take our next break of the day until nearly noon, when the sun was becoming too much to take. He detoured towards a few scraggly scrub brushes in one depression and there tethered the horses. He untied my ankles from the stirrups and helped me down. I was very aware of his strong hands upon my waist, as much aware as I was that my hands were tied behind my back where I could do nothing with them. The idea that this man could do anything he wished to my body was both frightening and stimulating.

But ravishing my body wasn't on the agenda. Instead he strung a blanket between two bushes and allowed me to sit on the ground in the bit of shade thus created. It wasn't much, but it helped. Then he gave me water from the canteen. I notice that each horse carried two canteens and deduced that he had planned this kidnapping carefully.

"I don't know if my Dad will pay you any money," I said, partly just to get the conversation going.

"He will."

"Could you untie my hands? We're far from the ranch and they hurt."

"No."

"But they hurt. Couldn't you please untie them? I'll be good. And where can I run to?"

He didn't answer, only took some water himself and then stood to look around, scanning the horizon in all directions. All I could see were hazy mountains in the distance. I hoped he knew where he was going. Then I asked a question that had been on my mind for a while, "Are we in Mexico?"

"Crossed the border a while back," he grunted. That wasn't good, I thought. I vaguely remembered something about US lawmen not being able to cross the boarder.

I looked down to where a couple buttons had popped open on my blouse but thought better of asking him to button them. It would be better, I thought, not to let his hands get too close to my breasts. Besides, there was a tear that showed a patch of bare skin where even having the buttons done would not help.

"Where are we going?" I asked. "I know a hiding place." He packed the canteen back on my horse.

"My father will track you down." I tried to make it a statement, not a threat. No use getting him mad at me.

"He'll try. He can get some Apaches. They're good. But by the time they follow us, I plan to be somewhere they can't go"

"And what's going to happen to me?"

"I'll keep you captive. A letter will be sent to him, telling him how to pay for your return. When he turns over the money, I'll let you go."

"And if he doesn't?" Marlow looked down at me and I felt very small and vulnerable. "There are any number of rich Mexican landlords and petty dictators down here who would pay good money for an American girl. Especially such a pretty one."

"Why the hell would a Mexican pay for me?"

"To make you his slave." That answer sent shivers racing down my spine despite the heat of the day. I was pretty naive about some things in the world but it didn't take much to know that men liked to use women for sex. You can be a virgin and still know what sex is.

"If you let me go, I promise I'll send you money." He didn't bother to answer what was a silly statement anyway. Then my impish nature got the better of me and I asked, "Is that all you're going to do to me? Hold me captive?"

Marlow stood over me, casting an additional shadow across my face. He looked huge to me as I sat there on the ground with my hands bound behind me. "Depends," was all he said.

While I was wondering what kind of an answer that was, he was rolling up the blanket. Rest stop over. He helped me back up onto the horse, one of my father's, I noted, and we began a slow trek across the sands. It was early summer, only June but very hot. A little later in the year the heat prevented anyone from traveling that wasteland. I noted that he had not tied my ankles to the stirrups but didn't see where that helped me much. My hands were still tightly bound behind me and the reins from my horse were tied to his saddle horn. I could have jumped down but what would that do me? Even if I could get away, the idea of being lost in this desert with my hands tied behind me wasn't pleasant.by evening the horses and myself were exhausted. The heat sapped our strength out and several times I almost fell from the saddle. I couldn't understand how he kept on going. When the sun touched the horizon, we were a lot closer to the mountains that had danced before us in the heat haze all day. For a long time he stood up in his saddle on top the highest sand dune he could find, scanning the horizon. Apparently satisfied that pursuit was not close, he made for a depression.

A small camp fire was allowed, just some twigs from dead bushes. The smoke rising up could not be seen in the night sky, and the sand dunes around us hid the light. After tethering the horse, he spread a blanket on the ground and suggested I sit down. Once again, I suggested that he untie my hands. "They really hurt. I won't run away," I promised.

Dinner was beef jerky and cold beans from a can. He made coffee in a small pot over the fire. It wasn't much but I was awful hungry and ate everything he held up to my lips. I think I would have knelt down and licked up food from a plate like a dog, so hungry was I. Hot water from a canteen washed down the food.

He had two blankets, one I was sitting on and one that he unrolled from back of his saddle. "How am I suppose to hold the blanket around me with my hands tied like this?" I asked what I thought was a reasonable question. His reply was to knell down and pull my feet together. Suddenly my ankles were being tied with another rawhide strip, rather tightly. "What?" I protested. "Hey, don't do that." And then, in obvious understatement, "You're not a nice man."

"And you're not going to be kicking me or running away during the night."

I couldn't disagree with that. But it still didn't explain how I was going to wrap myself in the blanket. He plopped down a saddle to use as a pillow and lay down on the same blanket I was sitting on. Suddenly his hands were gripping my arms and I was pulled down beside him. One leg covered over my bound legs and held me down while his hands covered us both with the second blanket. Carefully he tucked that in every place he could. When he settled down, we were both on our sides with his front up against my back, one arm was over me with the hand resting almost on my breast. His leg held down my legs. The blanket covered most of us. I could feel his hard body against mine and knew a thrill of sexual excitement. Just his body against mine would have been stimulating, but my being bound hand and foot somehow added greatly to that excitement. I lay as still as I could, trying not to reveal that both my heart beating and breathing were faster than they should be.

But it had been a long day and I was tired. For a while I watched the glow of the fire die down, then the millions of cold, hard stars shinning down on us. Body heat kept us both warm as the night cooled and I was glad for that. I knew that the nights out on the desert could get very cold. When his hands made no move to touch my private parts, I relaxed. I don't know which of us fell asleep first.

I felt cold air as Marlow lifted the blanket and removed his body from mine. He replaced the blanket over me but it wasn't as warm as with him beside me. For a few seconds I was confused and wondered why my bed was so cold. Then reality came back to me and my eyes snapped open. There was only a bit of pink and orange in the east, outlining the dark shape of Marlow standing on the dune, looking around. A few seconds later he was staring a fire with a few twigs. There wasn't much to burn out in the desert.

I shivered and wished I could wrap the blanket tighter around me. But my hands and feet were still bound and all I could do was lay there to await whatever fate had in store for me.

Breakfast was simple and washed down with warm coffee.

And then we were on the trail again before the sun rose above the mountains before us. I watched our shadows stretch out before us on the white sands, growing shorter as the sun climbed in the sky. The warmth it brought felt good against my back.

"Marlow," I called. "Please untie my hands. I've been tied for over a whole day and they hurt."

He didn't answer. Finally I changed the subject. "How long before we get to this hideout of yours?" I asked.

"Two more days."

"And I'll be tied up all that time?"

"Yeah."

"Great! And my feet will be tied at night?"

"Yeah."

"Wonderful! And what happens when we get to your hideout? Do you have a prison cell all set up for me? Or will I have to wear leg irons and handcuffs like a prisoner?" I knew I was being sarcastic but was pretty cold and miserable at that point.

"No cell. But I will probably keep you tied up." I couldn't tell if he were serious or not. Probably was, so I shut up. Then I began to wonder how long I would be bound up. Somehow it was an exciting thought, not depressing as it should have been. It was stupid and illogical and didn't sound right, but I felt a tingle race through me when he had bound my ankles the night before. It had been ... well, been a feeling like I had never felt before. Somehow exciting and scary at the same time.by mid morning there were some high, wispy clouds and the air felt different. Marlow noticed it before I did and kept looking at the horizon. We were close now to those mountains, traveling parallel to the foot hills. Apparently his hideout was in some distant purple mountains, not those gray ones closer. At least that's what I figured from his comment about it taking two more days of travel. We were less than an hour from the hills to our right.

The sand dunes were giving way to a desolate landscape of boulders and hard, parched ground. Very little grew here, and water was not to be seen. Perhaps up in those hills you might find a spring. You might also die while searching for it.

Marlow stopped the horse and stood up in the saddle, looking behind us. At first I wondered if that meant we were being followed but he was looking at the sky. Then he urged the horses into a trot and turned towards the hills.

The sand storm overtook us just as we reached the hills. The sun dimmed and everything turned a gritty gray-brown. I had trouble because I couldn't cover my face, my hands being useless, and could only close my eyes and hope for the best. For a while I could feel the horse continuing up a canyon we had just been entering when the blowing sand stuck. Finally I felt a stop and a few seconds later I was lifted down from the horse to be dumped up against something hard. A minute later I felt Marlow next to me, covering us with a blanket. In the darkness and heat under that blanket I was able to open my eyes a bit to see him holding the blanket over us, and the gray material fluttering as the wind raced over it and sand blasted us. Behind my back I felt hard rock and knew he had found a little shelter. I preyed it would be enough.

CHAPTER TWO – Oasis

It felt like hours before the winds died down, but finally the roar of angry air diminished and Marlow lifted the blanket. Sand cascaded down around us from the blanket but the air was clear. He helped me to my feet where I stood looking around. It didn't even occur to me to ask for my hands to be untied, I was getting used to them being behind me. Sort of out of sight, out of mind.

Mountains on one side of us, desert on the other side. And no horses in sight. Marlow didn't look very happy. In the small canyon where we had taken shelter was a low straight edged cliff, and it was there that we huddled. We could either go down the canyon, back to the desert, or up to who knows what. Marlow rolled up the blanket he had covered us with and tossed it over his shoulder. He began walking up canyon and I had to hurry to catch up with him.

Walking with your hands tied behind you isn't too bad, unless the ground is rocky and uneven, and then it's difficult. You never realize how much you use your arms for balance until they're taken away from you.

"Wouldn't the horses have gone down canyon?" I asked, doubting the wisdom of heading up into those bleak looking mountains.

"Maybe. If they did, they'll die out there. Us too, if we try to find them."

I looked down at the ground and realized that there would be no tracks to follow, the wind and blowing sand had taken care of that. And he was right. If the horses had wandered into the sands of the desert, they might have gone any direction. It was only later that I realized it was strange for the horses to have wandered away in the first place. I had heard that they will stay near their humans in sand storms.

The sun was hot now that the sand clouds had disappeared. The more we walked, the better that hot water in the missing canteens sounded. Marlow had been able to grab one canteen as we got off the horses but the other three were still on the animals. It seemed strange that those horses might die from lack of water when they carried three canteens of it on their backs. But they just lacked the hands to open the canteens. Then it occurred to me that I, also, lacked hands to do much of anything.

The day passed and we climbed higher and higher into the mountains. It was rough going and many were the places where Marlow had to help me up inclines or over rocks. But he steadfastly refused to untie my hands. No reason given. I began to wonder if he simply liked to see me with my hands tied behind me. We drank sparingly of the water but most of it was gone by evening.

The sunset was beautiful, probably because of dust still in the air, all reds and oranges and every shade in between. But it also found us without food for dinner, or much water to ease our thirst. We huddled together against a cliff wall, covered by a single blanket. It felt strangely comforting to have his strong arms around me and to feel his hard body against mine. I told myself that those thoughts of what his hard body might do to mine were just feverish dreams left over from a harsh day of hot sun and long walking. Plus lack of food. Breakfast had been a long time before.

I awoke stiff and cold with the blanket only half over me. Marlow was gone. I got to my feet in a hurry. The idea of being alone in this wilderness and with my hands tied behind my back was frightening.

I found him at the top of a small rise, his back to me. It felt good to stand at his side again, the fact that he was my kidnapper and captor not withstanding. He was the only human out there and I wanted to stay right next to him.

"There's water," he said, pointing off to the north. I looked but could see only canyons, tall cliffs and dirt in various shades of brown and gray.

"I can smell it."

I had heard of horses smelling water quite a distance away and wondered if this man could do the same. I certainly didn't smell anything beyond our own, unwashed bodies and dust.

He retrieved our blanket and we started out in the direction his nose led. We had to circle around a couple of cliffs that blocked the way he wanted to go, and it was beginning to look as if there was no way to get to that water he claimed was there. Those cliffs would be impossible to climb.

Then he found the crack in the cliff wall. It was almost impossible to see unless you were right next to it. But there was a passage with towering walls of sheer rock, just wide enough to allow a horse to walk through, if we had a horse, which we did not. Marlow hurried through and I had to rush to follow. The passage twisted left and right a few times, then opened. I came to a halt next to Marlow and just stood there in astonishment.

It was a valley. Not too large, but about a thousand acres at least in the part we could see. The valley curved around to the right so we couldn't see all of it. But what we saw was filled with green trees and bushes and a good sized creek flowed down the center. Marlow headed straight for the creek, tossed his hat aside, threw himself flat on his chest and buried his face in the wonderful wet stuff. I was only a few steps behind him. I nearly fell flat on my face in my eagerness to get to the water because I didn't have hands to cushion my fall. But I got my face into the water and it was wonderful, the finest, purest, most delicious drink ever.

We drank our fill and Marlow splashed water on his chest. Then he cupped water in his hands and slashed it all over my blouse. It felt good. And I didn't even give a thought to how a wet blouse would cling to my breasts and make them much more obvious than they already were. It just felt good.

Marlow was about to toss some more water on me when he must have heard something. Suddenly his hand dropped to the 44 on his hip and it was out of its holster. I've seen cowboys practicing fast draws many times. And some of them looked pretty good. But this man would have beat them all and by a big margin. You almost couldn't see the gun move. And he turned as he drew to crouch there, gun level and ready.

I turned and was surprised to see a mounted man not more than a hundred feet away. He was a vaquero, a Mexican horseman, I could tell from his dress. Our ranch wasn't too far from the border and I've seen plenty of vaqueros before. He simply sat there, hands holding the reins and crossed on his saddle horn, as he watched us. The wide brim of his sombrero kept his face in shadow but what I could see looked neither hostile nor happy. Next to me, Marlow was slowly rising to a standing position, the gun held not quite pointed towards the vaquero but not far away, either.

For a few seconds the scene held, then Marlow slowly put the gun back in his holster. I could see no change in the expression on the vaquero. Then he lifted the reins and turned his horse. A few seconds later he had disappeared behind some trees, heading up the valley.

Marlow looked around, then gathered up the blanket. "Come on," he said, not looking back to see if I were following. I could have dashed back out the hidden opening in the cliff and he probably wouldn't have even seen me. But outside was only the harsh mountains and nothing more. At least there was something here. I followed him like an obedient dog.

The valley curved gently and rose slightly. We seemed to be following a trail that in turn followed the creek. A few minutes later we saw the hacienda.

It was a large house, with whitewashed walls and red die roof. Two or three secondary buildings could be seen behind the main house. A covered porch ran the full length of the front. The vaquero was no where in sight but a couple of horses stood tied to a railing before what must have been the main entrance. Marlow didn't pause, he just strode right up to the door with me hurrying to keep up. Only when he was an arm's distance from the large double door did he stop. Then he just waited.

A few seconds later the door opened and out stepped a man dressed in finery that marked him as the owner, not one of the workers. He was tall, one of those handsome Mexicans with dark eyes and an easy smile. He seemed to be about the age of my Father.

"Greetings!" he said warmly with very little accent. "I am Don Carlos Mendosa. Welcome to my home."

Marlow took the offered hand but I don't think there was any warmth in his handshake. These two men looked at each other for a few seconds like they were apprising each other, and they probably were. Then Don Mendosa broke the silence.

"Please come in out the sun. I will have refreshments brought for you."

"We became lost in a sand storm," said Marlow as he followed Mendosa inside. The interior was very cool and tastefully furnished in leather and polished wood and decorated with shades of blue. I stood there feeling foolish, suddenly again aware of my hands being bound behind me. I was sure Don Mendosa had seen that as I entered the house but made no comment and did not stare at my raw-hided wrists as most men would have done.

"My name is Marlow Kincaid. This is Brenda Walters." Then he seemed to remember that I was tied up. "I'm a sheriff and she's my prisoner," he added.

"And such a beautiful prisoner she is," said Don Mendosa. "I would kiss her hand as is traditional when meeting a beautiful senorita," he said easily, "but it would be a bit awkward. Instead I will simply welcome you to my humble home."

"We lost our horses when we took shelter," continued Marlow, maybe to steer the conversation away from my condition. "Would it be possible to get some food?"

"But of course! My home is your home. Maria!" Don Mendosa was playing the perfect host.

A young girl hurried in at his call. "Maria, prepare some food. Our guests have are hungry." Then he turned to us again. "It will take a few minutes. Perhaps you two would like to clean up?"

I became aware that I was dirty, my hair a mess of tangles, and Marlow was no spring flower, himself. A bath would be wonderful.

"Thank you," Marlow said. Mendosa paused with a slight frown on his face. "The young lady ... It would be difficult for her to clean herself. Perhaps you wish to untie her?"

"She is a very dangerous woman," said Marlow with honest conviction. "She must not be allowed a chance to escape. That is important."

For a second Don Mendosa looked at Marlow then over to me. I felt like I should say something, like about being kidnapped and all that, but words did not come to my lips. These were two strong men in a man's world. I had the feeling that Mendosa would believe Marlow before he would believe me. And maybe something else held my words in. Strange as it may sound, I was somehow used to being tied up. Maybe the idea of being Marlow's property was appealing to me. But whatever the reason, I did not say a word to our host.

"Perhaps I can offer a solution," Don Mendosa said at last. "Please wait here a moment."

As soon as he left, Marlow was by my side. "Don't say a word," he hissed. "I would not be pleased if you were to try and tell some ridiculous lies about being kidnapped to these people."

I believed him. Marlow was a man not to be fooled with. My legs felt weak and I could only obey this man who was my captor. Had not so many strange things been happening in the last two days, I might have found it laughable that I was a dangerous criminal needing constant restraints. But somehow, in that place and time, it didn't seem so ridiculous.

Mendosa returned and my heart sank at what he had in his hands. They were shining steel and looked very effective. It didn't occur to me to ask what a hacienda owner would be doing with a pair of handcuffs such as might be used by real sheriffs, bright steel and shinning, but he did.

"These, senor Kincaid, might be used in place of that rawhide. That way she could be given a bath by one of my servants. It would not be a good idea to get the rawhide wet. But these handcuffs.... They would hold her hands quite well. Would that be acceptable, senior?"

Marlow seemed to be thinking. "The handcuffs must be put on her behind her back," he finally said. "She is very dangerous."