“Have you ever kissed a boy,” he asks.
“Kissed a boy?” I send a surreptitious glance at the Alpha lad sitting beside me on the riverbank. “No, never,” I say.
I do not know Alphas well, other than the few who pass through Oxenford, our village, which sits on a thoroughfare between north Hydornia and south. My father is a smith and farrier, and his work is held in high regard. Although we are only a small village, he gets plenty of work from the local city and those passing through.
“I’m too young to kiss a boy,” I say, repeating my father’s phrase back to the Alpha. I swear Papa says it twenty times a day and more frequently of late since my body started to change. “I am only thirteen.”
I stare at the river. The lad sitting beside me is an Alpha, and a little older, although he is not yet a man. He is also so handsome that I think it borders upon beauty. His name is Fen, and I have seen him occasionally when he passes through with his stern older brother.
This is the first time I have really noticed him. And the first time we have spoken.
I am also sure it is the first time he has noticed me . . . and my breasts, which he has stared at often in the short time since he arrived. I think he might have stared at them more than the whole of the rest of me. For reasons that elude me, I quite like that he looks at them with an expression somewhere between wonder and pain.
I sneak a glance, finding him staring at the river with a brooding expression. He sends a small branch sailing, and it lands in the river with a splash. A fat toad bounds out of the water, darting straight for us only to avert course at the last moment.
Fen chuckles. It has a pleasing timbre, although I’m assuredly not happy that he is laughing at my expense.
“It is only a toad,” he says.
“I know that,” I say, glaring back. I am not scared of a toad like some weak, simpering lasses, and I burn with indignation that he is thinking me so. My mother died three years ago, and I have taken responsibility for my younger siblings ever since. My father married again, but she is not a hale woman and is forever supping tonic for some ailment or other. “I was surprised, is all.”
Still smirking, he turns toward the river again. I have a strange feeling he does not trust himself to look my way without staring at my breasts. “I would not allow anything to hurt you,” he says.
There is a compelling quality to his words. Like he really would not allow anything to hurt me.
Since he is looking away, I allow myself an opportunity to study him. He is easily twice my size, tall, broad-shouldered . . . and a barbarian, for he comes from the eastern clans. He wears only hide pants and boots, leaving his muscular upper body exposed. My tummy gets a little flutter as I watch his biceps bunching while he pokes about in the grasses with another stick. I did not think a man, never mind a lad, could be built thus.
His stick stills, and he turns, catching me in the act of perusing him. Heat flames my cheeks, and my dress becomes tight across my breasts, making the simple act of breathing hard.
“You have hazel eyes,” he says. “Is that where you got your name?”
“All babies have blue eyes,” I say, feeling like I must be wiser for knowing this fact.
“They are very pretty,” he says.
That statement disarms all my thoughts. Now he is staring at my eyes in a way that makes me breathless all over again. I chuckle. It is colored with nervousness at being complimented and caught staring at him earlier. “They cannot be that pretty, for you have not looked at them often.”
His lips tug up. “I am looking at them now, aren’t I?”
“Yes,” I agree. “But I have a feeling you would rather be looking elsewhere.” Happen, we would both rather be looking elsewhere . . .
His eyes crinkle at the corners with amusement. They are dark brown. I also think them pretty, although they hold an intensity that seems misplaced in one so young.
“You make me wish I had ten sets of eyes so that I could look everywhere at once,” he says, smiling. “I want to kiss you. To be the first boy to kiss you. And I don’t know why, but looking at your eyes makes me want to kiss you more than when I was looking at your t—”
“Fen! I will tan your fucking hide if you are up to mischief!”
The roar is near enough to rouse the dead. We both start. It is the voice of the stern older Alpha. It is the voice of his brother.
“Fuck!” Fen mutters. Smirking, he rolls his eyes. Then he groans, and capturing my face between his strong hands, plants a swift kiss upon my lips. “I am coming,” he hollers back before scrambling to his feet and hastening to his brother’s command.
I should go too. I have chores aplenty. Then there are my sibling brats who will be up to all manner of mischief without me there.
But I linger a little longer, for I do not want the spell broken.
My lips tingle. I brush my fingertips over them, imagining Fen’s mouth is still there.
When I came to the river, I had never kissed a boy. But now, I have.
I feel both older and yet too young.
I want to kiss a boy again. But only that boy. I want to learn more about the softness of his lips and the tickle of the scruff where his beard is starting to grow. I want to pet all the gleaming muscles. I want to explore all the dips and ridges. I wonder how much stronger such a lad must be compared to me, yet how gentle he was when he cupped my face.
I want to experience things I do not yet understand.
I know kissing leads to rutting. My father is a blunt man who has warned me more times than I can count about lads and their propensity for rutting.
I am too young for rutting. That is for once a lass is married. But I do not think I am too young for kissing.
There is a spring in my step and a lightness in my soul as I return to the cottage. I hope that Fen and his brother have reason to pass through Oxenford often, and that if they do, he might kiss me again.
Only the Goddess has other plans, and the war with the Blighten sends many men away. I do not see Fen or his brother again. After a while, I cannot even remember the young Alpha’s face.
Then on my eighteenth birthday, as is expected, I marry a Beta male.
Excerpt, Trained For Their Pleasure © L.V. Lane 2021