Is still an incredible blazing speed. Her story is up to 22.5K+ this morning. I didn’t make it Dark & Early after a long weekend, but hopefully I can get some nice wordage tonight.
I’m definitely in the dark moment now. Time is running out and she has to push Arthur harder than she really wants to. It hurts her to break him as much as it hurts him to fall apart, but it’s necessary. Even though I’m deep into this darkness, I think I’ll still have 10-15K to get through. This story feels like at least 35K, if not 40K by the time I wrap up all the plot strings that are still dangling out there.
This snippet is from the first time Arthur runs in the ring for her.
She lifted her chin, expectation forming in her body before her order came, and he found himself tensing, alert and ready. If he’d had horse ears, they’d have been perked toward her, awaiting her command.
“Very good, Arthur.”
In the space of a few minutes, she’d already praised him more than any mistress he’d ever worked with. Yet he wasn’t fooled into thinking she was soft. The warmth in her voice was there, but underneath, the icy core waited.
“All I’m going to do today is put you through your paces.” She paused a moment and gave him a smile that was nothing of warm encouragement and everything to do with the cold determination to bend him to her will no matter what it took. “I won’t be so easy on you again.”
Her right arm flicked out and the tail of the whip slithered across the ground. Nowhere close to striking him but he flung up his head and raced in the opposite direction anyway. Too much energy blazed in his body to settle into a staid trotting about the ring like Cole had done. God, he felt so strong, so invincible. Like he could gallop for days, leap any obstacle, race like the wind.
The whip cut him off and sent him charging in the opposite direction. He didn’t mind. The slide of his boots in the loose dirt of the ring felt too good to complain. In the center of the ring, she trotted along with him, her face as hard as porcelain with supreme concentration. He tried to turn back but she caught him with the tip of the whip right in his flank. It stung enough to make him growl.
Fine. Your direction, Your Grace, but my speed.
He ran harder, pumping his arms, digging his boots in so deeply that he flung clods of dirt up on her clean white shirt. He tore about the ring, forcing himself harder, faster, ignoring the burn in his lungs, the sweat stinging his eyes. Outrace her. Tire her. She can’t possibly keep up for long.
But he was wrong. She didn’t have to keep perfect pace with him, not with the whip in her hand and central position of command in the ring. As he began to tire, she pushed him harder, using the tip of the whip to remind him to keep moving. As long as she was moving, he had to move too, in the direction she told him to go. He ignored the stitch in his side. The sweat blinding him. His fool pride demanding that he outlast her.
Faltering a moment, she coughed. He took the opportunity to explode back in the opposite direction, hoping to catch her unaware. Yet the whip came in and snapped a warning on his thigh perilously near his groin. Arousal throbbed through him, inflamed by the small pain. Whip me again, Your Grace. Give me the pain that will allow me to hate you.
With the bit clamped hard in his teeth, he kept charging against her command, ignoring the threat of the whip. But the pain didn’t come.
In fact, she didn’t even try to stop him. Slowing his headlong charge, he risked a glance in her direction and what he saw drew him to a halt.
Lady Blackmyre had turned her back on him.