Virgin Outcast : Bred to the Beast
By Fannie Tucker
Copyright 2012 Fannie Tucker
Author's Note: This story is a prequel to Virgin Sacrifice: Bred by the Beast. Although this story's events occur long before its successor, I believe you will enjoy it more if you read Virgin Sacrifice first. You can find it on Amazon h e re .
Music and song filled the night air, and the lively drumbeat matched Kara's racing heart as Mykal lifted her up and spun her about. The blacksmith's apprentice was strong enough to toss her about like a doll, but despite his broad shoulders and thick arms, he could dance with the grace of a mountain cat. His green eyes reflected the dancing firelight as he laughed , and t hey wove among the other dancers with the exuberant energy of youth.
The green square was crowded; it seemed as though everyone in Krall had come out to celebrate during this year's Harvest Festival in defiance of the worries that had dampened their spirits for months . A poor crop was one thing, but the villagers spoke in whispers of a beast that roamed the forest in the night , preying on cattle and sheep and vanishing without a trace .
To Kara , the rumors sounded far-fetched; bandits or wolves were probably to blame . Farmers exaggerated almost as much as they complained. Besides, Kara had other concerns. Just three weeks ago, Rela the Wise Woman had decreed h er to be a woman of marriageable age. She and Mykal would be wed after the spring thaw. Considering the things they'd done together behind his father's barn, spring couldn't come soon enough.
The musicians finished their reel with a flourish, then paused a moment for the laughter and clapping to fade before launching into a slow, swaying piece. Some of the younger dancers blushed and hurried away from the dancing. A few years ago, she and Mykal might have done the same, but now he wrapped an arm around Kara and they swayed together, her breasts against his chest, her hand clasped in his.
"I guess they don't want anyone to know they're sweet on each other," Mykal chuckled as the younglings scattered to play games or enjoy fresh-baked pies and cider near the roaring bonfire.
"Their secrets are safe with me," Kara said, following his gaze. Her amused smile faded when she saw the Mayor. Mayor Shen lurked beneath the slender young oak at the center of the green, and when Kara met his eyes, Shen's gaze slid away from her . S he wondered how long he'd been watching.
"What's wrong?" Mykal asked.
"Nothing," she lied.
Kara rose up on her toes to put her mouth near Mykal's ear. "It's Shen," she said. "He was staring at me again."
Mykal leaned back to smile at her. "Is that all? Well, thank goodness . If he didn't stare at the prettiest girl in the village, I'd worry about the man!"
Kara laughed and hugged her betrothed, but when she glanced over his shoulder, Mayor Shen was still staring at her. "Let's go somewhere else, Mykal," she whispered in his ear. "Someplace private ."
Mykal never missed an opportunity to be alone with Kara. He took her hand and led her away from the other dancers. They weaved through the crowd, Mykal steering away from the long tables where Kara's mother and father sat talking and laughing with friends over a feast of wild goose and potatoes. There was no beef or mutton on those plates; no one wanted to slaughter scarce livestock, even for the Harvest Festival.
Just as they reached the edge of the green, a cold voice stopped Kara in her tracks. "Going somewhere, child?" Rela the Wise Woman stepped out into the light, her golden hair tucked beneath a dark hood. The corners of her mouth turned up in a secret smile that didn't reach her eyes.
"Pa asked me to fetch more cider from the carts," Mykal said, the lie flowing smoothly from his tongue. "I asked Kara to help." Most people thought him slow of wit because of his size, but Kara knew Mykal was