My back hits the cave wall. “Ike…”

He stops in front of me and I have to tilt my head all the way back to maintain our eye contact. “Diana.”


His hands plant on the cave wall beside my head. “My body wants something from yours, but I don’t…I’ve never had a woman. I’ve been alone here for a long time. I need you to explain this fever I have to lay you down and…”


“That’s where I’m getting stuck.”

“Interesting choice of words.” With a heavy swallow, I glance down. “I’m pretty sure that’s what would happen.”

His eyebrows draw together and I realize there’s no way he’s faking his lack of knowledge about women. If he knew how to have sex, he would have taken me already. So…I can use this to my advantage, right? There is no way in hell our bodies are going to fit together with any kind of comfort. But I’m also not naïve enough to think he’ll be happy much longer without some kind of physical pleasure (hello fire log). I just have to find a happy medium. Yes. A couple little white lies and my virginity remains intact, along with my bone structure.

“Do you know about kissing, Ike?”

“Yes. Ginger kissed the professor many times.”

“Are you…making a Gilligan’s Island reference?”

His mouth lifts into a lopsided-smile and I forget to breathe for a few seconds. No one mentioned the beast’s smile. It’s having a very strange effect on me, kind of like I want to giggle or play with my hair like I’ve seen some village girls do.

“You know Gilligan’s Island, Diana?”

“Of course. I used to watch the reruns when I was younger.”

“Reruns,” he repeats, testing out the word. “Is that what you call video tapes?”

“Sort of…” I hedge, my heart pitching. Ike must have been so lonely out here by hims—nope. That’s the Stockholm Syndrome kicking in. Ignore it. “Back to kissing, Ike. That’s what you’re looking for.”

There’s a low rumble in his chest. “I do want very much to kiss your pretty mouth, tiny person. But kissing does not involve my cock and that’s where I’m experiencing most of the trouble.”

I choke on his casual use of the word “cock.” “W-well, you have to rub that…thing…of course. You have to rub it while we kiss.”

His breathing has turned heavy during my untruthful explanation, sweat breaking out at his hairline. “Rub it where?”

“With your hand!”

“No.” He shakes his head, sending his long hair in ripples around his massive shoulders. “No, I’ve had enough of my own hand.” He reaches down and gathers the hem of my dress in his hands, yanking it up. “I need a different kind of rubbing. A new kind. Now.”

In a panic, I smack him. Right in the face. It doesn’t even cause a flinch, but he stops trying to pull up my dress and regards me with flared nostrils, dilated pupils and anxious, shuddering breaths.

“You can’t just—” I break off with a sob. “You can’t just take what you want. I have to offer myself. Otherwise you’re hurting me, Ike.”

He drops my dress and steps back, his expression rife with horror. “No. No, I wouldn’t. My instinct is telling me this rubbing would make you moan, too.”

Would it?

That possibility floats like a beautiful white balloon through my mind, before I pop it with determination. This man had the chance to let me go and he refused. He’s taken me to his cave against my will. This whole situation is fodder for the Investigation Discovery channel. My body is having these odd reactions to Ike because I’m exhausted and confused and…I like muscles. Sue me.

“What?” I scoff, searching for a way to put him off, so I can keep my self-respect. “That’s crazy. Um. Women don’t…moan. Or feel pleasure. Only men do that sort of thing.”

“That’s terrible.” Lord, he looks depressed. Almost enough to make me crack and admit I lied. Almost. “Have I lost my chance to kiss you, Diana?” Ike asks quietly, the crackling firelight outlining his impossibly large frame.

Dammit. Why can’t he just be an ogre, so it would be easy to hate him and plot my escape? The fact that he isn’t just throwing me down and ravaging me—when he has more than enough strength and opportunity to do so—keeps messing with his murderous beast image.

“No, you haven’t lost your chance,” I whisper, wondering if I’ve lost my mind. “But…” I lift my chin. “Only one kiss. And you can’t try to lift my dress.”

“I won’t. I don’t like it when you’re upset.” He presses the heel of his hand to his naked stomach. “It hurts me here.”

“Oh,” I say, feeling winded, unable to take my eyes off him and his troubled expression. “W-where should we have our kiss? Should I stand on something so I can reach you?”

“That won’t be necessary,” he says slowly, gruffly, while closing the distance between us. And wow, okay, he’s really starting to look way less beastly and a lot more like a rugged Viking warrior. I can only whimper as he stoops down and takes a deep inhale in the crook of my neck, his arm slinging beneath my butt. He lifts me like I weigh nothing and my stomach flies up to the ceiling as soon as I’m even with his mouth, my breasts flattened against his chest. Oh no. This is happening and I think I kind of…yes, I want it to happen, despite him being my kidnapper. “I’m sorry I upset you, Diana,” he murmurs at my lips. “It’s very hard to control this way you make me feel.”