The soldier woke with a big head. Certainly not the first warrior in such a condition nor the last. As painful consciousness returned to him, he recalled how he had gotten the hangover. There had been a woman, of course. A dark-haired, dark-eyed woman. Older than he but good-looking, excited by his uniform, by the way he looked in it.
He had been granted his first liberty in months, and he and his friends had needed release from duty, honor, and country. While the diplomats talked in France, the soldiers had bar-hopped, enjoying the applause and free drinks offered to heroic defenders of the Serb Republic, and prowled for easy women.
Youngest and best-looking, Djavo Ladic had been the first to find one such woman, a European, wealthy by her clothes and jewelry. From the beginning of their encounter, she had made it obvious it was Djavo she was interested in, so his comrades had drifted away, envious and anticipating the tales he would tell.
Heady from his first battles, Djavo and the woman had drunk and talked and laughed as she let him take some liberties, then more. So much so, Djavo had worried he'd drunk too much, but, then, he'd been six months without this kind of woman, a willing one. Like his fellow soldiers, he had taken women in many of the villages they had cleansed, but that had been as easy as taking their meager belongings. They were the spoils of war, but now he had begun to sense what he wanted from this woman could not be had by force, that it would be better not that way. And this woman was older, more experienced, and so could help him if he lagged.
Just after two in the morning, they had reeled into her hotel room, and she had pulled his great coat down off his shoulders, trapping his arms. Her mouth closed on his, her tongue insistent. Djavo had wanted to free his arms so he could pull away her clothes, but her grip had been unyielding.
Now, there was only the hangover and no clear memory of their coupling. He hoped the woman was still around and wanted him as much in the daylight as she had in the dark. To wake himself, Djavo stretched.
And found he could not move.
No, he could move, just not much. As awareness now rushed in with his adrenaline, he felt the restraints on his wrists and ankles. He tested them again.
"Fight them, and they get tighter."
He recognized the woman's voice. Djavo swallowed down his panic. He was a soldier after all. Maybe the woman liked this kind of thing. What was it called? Bondage. Djavo remembered her, dressed in black, wearing a long, black leather coat. Yes, that must be it.
That thought warmed his groin, and he blinked his eyes to clear them. He looked down at his lap and realized he was bound, naked, to a chair. The headache pounded harder, but he lifted his head and willed his eyes to focus some more.
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