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PART ONE (CHAPTER 1-10)


Chapter One

Eomer and his men had galloped the plains of Rohan in exile since Grima Wormtongue had cast some sort of evil spell over his uncle, King Theoden. He had been forcibly removed, cast out from the Golden Hall at Edoras, and every moment since he rode off into banishment he feared daily for Eowyn’s safety without him there to protect her.

His uncle would provide her no protection from the leering gaze and perverted desires he’d seen in Grima’s eyes as he lusted after Eomer’s sweet sister. And his cousin Theodred was dead now and though he couldn’t prove it he knew in his heart that Wormtongue bore major responsibility for the destruction of the family that Eomer loved only slightly more than he loved all of Rohan.

They were crossing a particularly wide stretch of plain and they could see for miles in all directions. That is when he saw the smoke rising in the distance. Somewhere on his beloved plains there was trouble. With a shout to his men they rode hard toward the smoke…..

***

The village was burning and she could here the screams of the villagers as the wild men perverted by and under the control Saruman, laid siege to yet another village- this time it was her own, leaving peaceful villagers dead and dying and any survivors homeless and starving as they fled to seek refuge elsewhere.

Erienne herself, had just barely escaped death, watching in horror as her family was killed before her eyes. They had turned to her next, one of them ready to strike a killing blow when another of them stopped him, instead of killing her he tied her up, her wrists bound behind her back, promising that they would still kill her, but he had other uss for her first, his cruel eyes traveling evilly up and down her young body.

His hand came up grazing roughly across her bare arm, before moving to grip her breast, twisting it roughly causing her to cry out in pain. He took pleasure in her cry and reached for the other breast subjecting it to the same treatment. Erienne’s family might be dead but her will to live wasn’t and neither was her spirit. Determined not to passively allow him to derive pleasure from her pain she spat in his face.

She should have known the blow was coming. His massive hand struck her face and sent her sprawling. With her hands bound behind her back she was unable to break her fall and the ground was hard beneath her. The men standing beside him laughed as she lay helplessly on the ground. Blood trickled from her nose and the cut on her lip.

But she refused to cry. He reached down grabbing her arm roughly and yanked her back to her feet. “Want more of that, you little witch?”

She responded with silence. He grabbed a fistful of her hair and yanked her head back forcing her to meet his gaze. “I asked you a question.”

She glared at him and if anything it angered him more, he no longer wanted to spend his violent lust on her so much as he wanted to break her spirit. But he figured he could accomplish both at the same time and then he would kill her and watch the blood flow from her body as life ran out her. Moving behind her his hands grabbed the fabric of her dress and gave a good yank and the sound of rending fabric could be heard. He reach back to the front and pulled the torn garment forward baring her breasts to them all…..

CHAPTER TWO

Erienne cringed as filthy, murdering hands began roaming her chest. More than one set in fact. One of them moved behind her biting her back and shoulders, leaving teeth marks and drawing blood. And another of them claimed her mouth, forcing his tongue past her lips, nearly choking her. She bit him, drawing blood and that one backed away from her cursing. She was shoved back and forth from one set of rough cruel hands to another and then another. Then yet another one, or maybe one from before grabbed her skirt drawing it up and pushing a hand up between her thighs. She was reaching the point where she didn’t think that she could take any more of this when her attackers heard the sound of pounding hoofbeats....

Hearing the Rhohirrim battle cry, her assailants shoved her away from them and fled. She was weakened from their assault and no longer had any sense of balance and she fell, humiliated and half naked on the ground….

Eomer fought back tears as he beheld countless dead bodies strewn throughout another gutted village. Fury arose as he witnessed the results this latest assault on innocence and goodness. He saw that some of the bodies were infants and small children. His hatred for Saruman grew even greater.

So many dead this time. He was about to turn away and leave the clean up to his men when he spotted a movement out the corner of his eye. A glimpse of white fabric moving at the edge of the village.

He could tell it was a woman. He turned his horse, making his way to where she was. As he drew closer he swore under his breath. What had they done to her? Her garments were in shreds, her breasts exposed and her hands tied. It took little for him to imagine what her intended fated had been. She didn’t appear to be seriously injured but she had certainly been the subject of extensive abuse. He could only pray that she had not been raped.

She was young, looking to be a bit younger than Eowyn and her hair was the color of cornsilk. And he couldn’t help but think of how he’d feel if this were happening to Eowyn instead, of how she would feel to be exposed to stares of men without any choice. With his beloved sister in mind Eomer dismounted, removing his head gear and tossing it on the ground. Then he yanked a blanket from his gear and approached her...

Erienne didn’t know what to think when the wild men fled, leaving her sprawled out on the ground. She had only been vaguely aware of hoofbeats and war cries. She was unaware of Eomer’s presence until he touched her, a blanket coming down to cover her before any of the other men arrived

She was startled, thinking they had come back for her and she began to scream in terror, not realizing that he wasn’t one of the of the wild men. Then he spoke, his voice calm and reassuring, “Shhh, little one, I won’t be hurting you. Let me help you.”

She looked up into his face. He was absolutely beautiful…

Chapter Three

Erienne found herself staring up into intense dark eyes—empty of any malice and the concern she saw was genuine. He had golden hair that fell down well past his shoulders and she recognized him. He was Prince Eomer of the Golden Hall. She remembered his visit to the village a few months earlier with Prince Theodred. The men of the Rhohirrim were well respected by her village. Her fear of this man faded.

Eomer watched her face, the subtle change in her eyes and could tell that she was no longer afraid of him. He kneeled down beside her, gently pulling her up into a sitting position and without looking slipped one hand beneath the blanket feeling at her wrists for the leather straps that bound her wrists together. His slid his knife blade under the blanket and carefully cut her bonds.

Erienne’s muscles screamed in agony as they moved back to a normal position that now felt painfully foreign. She pulled the blanket securely around her shoulders. She looked up and him and whispered “Thank you.” Then she tore her gaze away from his humiliated and ashamed of the condition she’d been found in.

Eomer reached out and tilted her chin up so that she was force to meet his gaze. He had to make her understand. “It’s not you fault,” he said gently. “None of you did anything wrong.”

Erienne looked around at what remained of the village, the only home she’d ever known. It was gone, by sundown there would be nothing left but ashes. Her family was gone as well. Her parents and her brothers. She glanced around to see if anything at all was left. She was alone and destitute. What was she supposed to do now? Where was she supposed to go?

She’d held her tears back for as long as she could. They began to fall unchecked and Eomer did the only think he could think of. He pulled her into his arms and simply held her while she cried her grief to the skies.

Her cries drew the attentions of some his men and some of them moved in Eomer’s direction. With a simple jerk of his head he waved them away, letting her grieve in peace. She clung to him, her body convulsing against his chest because she was sobbing so hard.

Eomer shifted into a more comfortable sitting position on the ground, but continued to simply hold her, his hand stroking her back gently and eventually her sobs subsided and she relaxed against him, her tightly fisted hands loosening their grip on his sleeves and she drifted off into an exhausted sleep. Erienne never saw the tears that Eomer had shed along with her as he too grieved for her loss. They had been his people too.

Chapter Four

The sun was dipping down toward the horizon as the exiled Rhohirrim made their departure from the smoldering remains of the small village. Looking to Erienne’s comfort Eomer had removed most of his heavier armor, strapping it all to a horse whose owner had either fled for his life or was one of the many dead.

Eomer boosted Erienne up into the saddle and then swung up into the saddle behind her, his only protection now his chain mail over his tunic. They had a long journey yet before he could find somewhere safe to leave her. Where he could trust someone to take care of her.

Erienne was wearing one his extra tunics over what remained of her dress. He’d logically suggested she take something from one the women who had died but she couldn’t bring herself to take anything from people she’d known. It was utterly irrational but on some level she equated taking something from them as accepting that they were dead. She wasn’t ready to do that yet. She’d been so adamant that Eomer didn’t fight her on it. It wasn’t worth arguing over. She’d been through hell and he wasn’t going do anything else to antagonize her. Besides, the fact that she still had enough spirit to argue with him was encouraging.

Erienne rode sideways in front of Eomer, mainly to avoid aggravating the untreated injuries to her back, for there had been neither time nor a place to take care of them properly. Eomer would see to them when they settled for the night.

The men rode on until darkness was almost upon them. They stopped when they reached a flowing stream. It was at the edge of a large stand of trees. They could tend the horses, eat, rest and fill their water skins before they continued on in the morning. There was no hurry, they had no place they had to be. They were banished men with no place to go. No place to call home anymore. Erienne was in good company.

Eomer called out to one the men to come help Erienne as he eased her to ground before he dismounted. Erienne allowed him to assist her, but as soon as she was steady on her feet she put a good few feet of distance between herself and the other man. The only person she would allow close to her was Eomer and she didn’t want him out of her sight. She trusted him only, no one else.

Deep down Erienne knew the other man wouldn’t hurt her, just as she knew Eomer wouldn’t abandon her to fend for herself. She knew that she was just being unreasonable, but she couldn’t help it--he’d left her alone for all five minutes back at the village and she had gone into total panic. In her mind Eomer was all that she had in the world. Somehow as he’d held her while she mourned her family, he had become her substitute for them. He was her safety, her lifeline. If he disappeared, so would she.

Eomer told the man who’d assisted Erienne down from his horse to tell the others to set up camp. There was just enough light left for him to take care of a certain matter. Grabbing a bag from his saddle and the blanket that she had used earlier in the day, Eomer took Erienne by the hand, leading her down to the stream.

Chapter Five

Erienne shivered as she stepped from the water, the water was cold. Eomer stood self-appointed watch making sure she got to wash in peace. She wrapped herself in the heavy blanket Eomer had brought with them. “I’m finished,” she called out to Eomer who abandoned his post and returned to her.

“Turn around,” he said, “I need to check your back, and make sure you didn’t miss anything.” Erienne complied, pulling her waist length hair around in front of her and letting the blanket slide off of her shoulders and about halfway down her back.

Fury arose as Eomer got his first good look at her back. There were black bruises on her shoulders and down her arms where they had handled her roughly and the bites were enough to send him into a killing rage. How could anyone do this to a woman? He pulled the blanket down further and was relieved to see the bruises and bite marks stopped just short of her waist.

But her pleasing curves did not stop. Drawing a ragged breath, Eomer cursed his thoughts; Trying as he might not to look, he was first and foremost a man, and as such saw past Erienne’s injuries, his gaze drawn to the narrow waist and soft curves that were undeniably feminine and infinitely desirable. He was embarrassed at by his body’s response to her as he grew hard. His thoughts were no longer in the realm of brotherly concern.

Eomer gave himself a mental shake, as he finished checking her back. Then he moved on to the next step. Digging in his supply bags he found the small pot of healing ointment, His eyes began to water when he opened the jar. The ointment was strong--burning his nostrils. She was equally affected the fumes coming from the jar, and glanced back over her shoulder at him, the look on her face skeptical at best. “Tell me that isn't going on my back,”

“I know it smells bad, but it works, I know that from my own experience. It will sting at first but then the pain will fade away.”

“I don’t know,” Ereinne said, a hesitant catch in her voice as she tried to control her breathing. She was ever aware of his touch, Eomer was gentle in his ministrations and she tried not to look at him, lest he see the havoc his nearness was wreaking on her senses.

“It will fight off infection.” he insisted, standing behind her Eomer gently applied the ointment to the bite marks on her back. When he finished with her back, he reached for her hand; spreading the healing salve where the leather straps had cut into her wrists. He finished the second wrist. A question came to his mind, and suddenly he had know, “Erienne?”

She turned to face him--her eyes, the color of blue cornflowers met with his, while Eomer’s traitorous hand reached out with a mind of it’s own to seek her--to touch her. His fingers gently caressed the bruise on her cheek. He stumbled over the question. “Did they…?” He couldn’t find the words, because he hated to even think of it. But he had to know.

Erienne knew what he was asking, and he deserved an answer, “No—but only because you came when you did.” She moved away from him suddenly uncomfortable with the topic of conversation. She wasn’t ready to talk about it.

Eomer was genuinely relieved that she had not been subjected to rape. But she had still withdrawn from him. He responded by handing her the dress and the tunic, “Get dressed, little one. It’s getting late and tomorrow will be another long day.” He left her side and went back where he’d been before to keep watch over her privacy.

Chapter Six

Eomer’s words at the stream prove true. It was indeed another long day. And it turn into another and then yet another. Still it was an eye-opening experience for Erienne who had seldom wandered far from the confines of her village. The Riddemark was immense and they traveled often for hours without seeing any evidence other people or villages.They without fail stopped at every river, lake or stream to refill waterskins, tend the horses, never certain of long it would be before they found water again. Erienne was skeptical of all the stops, certain that all this stopping had something to do with her.

Erienne as always rode in front of Eomer. He didn’t know how much longer he was going to be able to handle the effect she had on him without acting on it. He tried to treat Erienne as he would treat Eowyn, but it wasn’t working anymore. More and more frequently he became aroused when she would doze against his shoulder. He would shift uncomfortably the saddle, aching to do more than just hold her in front of him.

The men were beginning to laugh at his new obsession with cleanliness and cold water. Eomer had bathed more times in the last few days than he had in all of the previous month. They all knew it had nothing to do with being dirty and everything to do with the young woman sharing his saddle.
They knew if the roles were reversed and they were in his position they would be seeking cold water as well.

Not a one of them begrudged her the time spent seeing to her comfort. With times as they were they knew it could easily have been one their wives or daughters who needed help. They were glad to help her and treated her like family. Erienne finally began to loosen up around them and would engage in brief conversation with them from time to time. Eomer watched them interact with her, more than a little aware that some of younger men were eyeing Erienne with something akin to adoration.

They had been riding since sunup and it was close to noon. They had seen the river that flowed in between the rolling hills. They peaked the top of the hill and looked down into the valley beyond. Erienne wasn’t really sleeping but her head rested on Eomer’s shoulder and her eyes were closed. Eomer’s body tensed behind her and she heard him swear. She looked around to see what had upset him.

Down in the valley was another gutted village, but this one appeared to be long abandoned. However this time several structures had managed to escape fire’s fury. They moved forward to investigate but did so at a leisurely pace. They could see no reason to hurry.

They reached the village, and Eomer ordered the buildings to be checked, just in case anyone friend or foe occupied any of them anymore. The men investigated and they beckoned Eomer to come take a look inside of them.

Erienne slid down from her place on his lap merely clinging to his forearm to steady herself until she found her footing on the ground. She allowed his aid in mounting the horse, but she stubbornly dismounted on her own now. Just like arguing with him, Eomer found her stubbornness to be a good sign. He also found it quite endearing.

Always she stayed by his side as he went to investigate. It had been someone’s home. In stark contrast to the charred ground outside it appeared that nothing had been touched just abandoned. The house was small, consisting of only two small rooms. The main room’s contents consisted of a wooden table with short benches on either side and a cooking area.

He looked through doorway into the other room which consisted of a wooden bedstead with a straw mattress. Peeking around him to see for herself Erienne’s hand came to rest on Eomer’s back. Her touch was like a hot brand and heat ran through his body pooling in his groin as he grew hard again. It took several moments for him to recover himself, “Stay here,” he told her, “I’ll be right back.”

He left her there in the doorway, and he went outside. Breathe, breathe, he told himself.

Eomer’s breath caught alright as a squeal erupted from inside the house. He dashed back inside expecting to find a snake or some other creature from which she’d need rescuing. “Erienne!!! Are you alright?”

She met him at the door, something resembling a excitement dancing in her eyes. It lit up her face, as she grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the bedroom. “Look what I found!”

Erienne had found a large wooden bath tub…….

Chapter 7

Eomer still couldn’t believe it, he wouldn’t have, if he hadn’t been there to see it. She had every last one of them wrapped around her little finger. He’d come running when Erienne squealed, as had about half of his horsemen. Erienne hadn’t said a word to them and neither had he so Eomer watched amazed as buckets from who knows where began to surface, in the hands of the men, full of water from the river, so Erienne could have a proper indoor bath. It was decided that they would stay here for the night.

After bathing Erienne had washed her dress and the tunic not wanting to put them back on like they were, now that she was finally clean. After removing the top dusty blanket on the bed Erienne had found that the sheets were still clean underneath. He, too, had bathed and had washed his tunic as well so he wore nothing above his waist as he waited for all their clothes to dry. He’d come back inside because he’d wanted to check to see how Erienne’s back was healing.

Erienne sat on the side of the bedstead her recently washed hair now loosely woven into a long, thick braid and draped over her shoulder, resting on the sheet which covered her chest and was haphazardly wrapped around her lower body. Eomer want nothing more than to free her hair of it’s restraints and bury his hands in it.

Her back was healing nicely and with the exception of one particularly nasty bite mark he didn’t think there would be permanent scars. He reached out and took her hands, the marks there were almost gone. He lifted her hand up and kissed her wrist were she had been injured. Eomer was intrigued, and definitely encouraged when she didn’t protest or pull away. Turning her hand slightly he pressed a kiss into her open palm.

He leaned down, intending to kiss her cheek, but Erienne turned her head and he found her mouth instead. It was just a brief touch, her lips soft beneath his-just a brief taste of her sweetness-but it was his undoing. In that single moment all of his smoldering desire burst into open flame.

Erienne could see it in his eyes. Reaching up she mirrored his action her fingers tracing the lines of his face. At the first touch of her hand against his face Eomer groaned in defeat, bowing to his passion.

Eomer pulled her up against his bare chest, claiming her mouth, his tongue delving into her sweetness. She moaned into his tender assault her arms slipping around him, as tears began to slide down her cheeks. The saltiness of her tears mingled with the sweetness of her mouth and Eomer was concerned as he pulled back to stare down at her face. His voice was husky with desire, “Do you want me to stop?”

Erienne’s smile was timid, “No,” She couldn’t let him stop. He was making her feel again and it hurt like hell, but she wouldn’t trade his arms around her and his mouth on hers for anything right now. Eomer’s kiss had sparked a tiny flame inside her. She needed to feel warmth-to feel something to get past the ice cold pain that surrounded her heart.

She had to have more. She pulled him to her, kissing him with everything she had in her. Drawing on the anger she felt for her attackers, and the grief over her lost family Erienne gave herself to him. His hands moved across her shoulders, his lips caressing her shoulders and neck. Then he hesitated again, pulling back from her, searching the depths of her eyes, wanting her to be sure, because once done he couldn’t take it back. He awaited her answer.

Chapter 8

Erienne’s response was to step back and let the sheet between them drop to the floor in open invitation. Eomer’s eyes roamed the length of her freely, accepting the gift she was offering. His breath caught, she was more beautiful than he had imagined, and his arousal strained for freedom as he stepped closer and ran his hands down the length of her body, his fingers gliding smoothly across her soft skin.

Her hand moved against his chest, curling through and teasing the hair on his chest as she looked up at him. His hands caressed the fullness of her hips and then he moved back just enough to take a breast in each hand, gently teasing her nipples with his thumbs as he lowered his head to kiss her again. His tongue pushed forward to taste of her sweetness and she sighed into his mouth, arching into him, aching for more.

His arms went around her waist lifting her off the floor and crushing her to him. He held fast, guiding her legs one at a time around his hips. She clung to his shoulders her head falling back as his mouth nipped voraciously at her neck and shoulders. He carried her to the bed, and lowered her onto it. She was laying sideways on the bed as he disentangled himself from her arms.

He stood watching her breathing for a moment, watching the rise and fall of her breasts as she drew ragged breaths and his eyes traveled downward to the juncture of her thighs, her legs wide open in blatant invitation beckoning him to partake of the sweetness within.

Stripping out of his clothes and dropping to his knees between her legs at the side of the bed, Eomer’s hands moved feathersoft against her inner thighs and she moaned when his lips brushed against them as well. Then he began to lap at her with his tongue, tasting her, teasing her body about things yet to come. Her fingers curled into his thick golden mane, as she arched her back seeking more. She moaned in response to his tender assault and she drifted even closer to the edge. Eomer sensed her climax coming and he continued on, pushing deeper with his tongue, feeling the spasms of her release.

Her breathing was still ragged when he moved away, joining her on the bed. His mouth found hers again, his tongue delving into her mouth and her tongue met his and she pushed with her own tongue back into his mouth tasting herself on his lips and tongue. His hands moved across her breasts teasing the nipples to peaks and he suckled on them. His hand moved downward to seek again what he’d already tasted. He slipped a finger inside her and she gasped, then he pushed a second finger in and stroked her with a gentle rhythm as the heat in her belly began to rise once more.

Soon her sweet nectar was dripping around his fingers and he could feel her climax beginning to build again. Moving quickly to position himself above her, but remaining upright on his knees, he lifted Erienne’s hips, pressing his throbbing erection against her moist entrance. He entered her slowly allowing her adjust to him, then he reached the barrier that prevented him from full entry.

Eomer hesitated, but Erienne was aching for something more and instinctively she thrust her hips upward toward his invasion—it was all the consent he needed and he pulled back, then gave one hard thrust past the barrier and she was filled with the entire length of him. She stiffened at the pain and Eomer remained still until her pain faded and he felt her relax beneath him and then he began to thrust slowly into her until she finally found his rhythm and began meet his thrusts with a rhythm of her own.

On and on they danced through the fires of passion until they found they found release together.

He collapsed beside her and pulled her into his arms, her head resting on his shoulder. It was only a few moments before he noticed she was crying. Eomer was suddenly overwhelmed with guilt, fearing that he had hurt her more that she was letting on. “Little one, what's wrong?”

“It’s not you,” she whispered sitting up. She didn’t want him to think he’d done anything wrong. Heavens, he was her salvation. “It’s just that this is the first time in days that I have felt anything. And I feel safe here with you.”

Eomer was just glad to know she had found some sort of comfort in his arms. He had certainly found comfort in her.
“Eomer?” she said, glancing back over her shoulder to meet his eye.
“Yes?” His smile was tender as his hand of its own accord was moving in a feathersoft caress down her arm.
“Thank you for everything.” she said with a smile, swiping a hand across the tears on her cheek.
“You’re very welcome, love.” Eomer smiled, “it was my pleasure.” and Eomer pulled her back to him, claiming her mouth again….


Chapter Nine

They made love two more times during the night, exploring each other, tasting and teasing each other to the heights of passion. Eomer couldn’t get enough of her and Erienne was almost insatiable. What Erienne had lacked in experience she made up for with enthusiasm. Exhausted, they were finally sleeping, their limbs entwined and it wasn’t long before the first rays of the new day lightened up the room.

Erienne was snuggled up against Eomer’s chest, her fingers unconsciously stroking him, intermittently curling in the light layer of hair on his chest. At some point she awakened enough to know she wanted him again. She slid her hand lower, past his abdomen to touch him, her fingers skimming across him lightly. Eomer drifted toward consciousness, stroking her arm and shoulders possessively, as he swelled and lengthened at her touch.

Just a hint of a groan escaped him, and Erienne removed her hand, bringing her naked body over his, her mouth touching his, flicking her tongue out to taste him in a tentative flirtatious kiss. Eomer’s hands came to rest at her waist and his mouth opened and he took her tongue inside sucking on it before pushing his tongue back into her mouth, exploring intensely.

Hovering above him, Erienne’s breasts brushed against him and Eomer’s hands moved downward, gently nudging her thighs apart until her knees rested on either side of him. He slipped his hand between her legs, his fingers slipping inside, feeling the wetness there. He was ready to take her again and nudged her again, sliding her back until her hips were astride his own. He moved his hands to lift her just enough to slide inside her. “Sit up, sweet one” he whispered, “Let me look at you.”

With Eomer fully sheathed within her, Erienne sat up, the light coming from the window catching and highlighting her pale blond hair as it fell in abandon all around her shoulders, down her back and across her breasts. What had he done to deserve a gift such as she was? Sensual innocence and pure seduction in one sweet package.


He surged upwards and Erienne propped herself up, her hands on his ribcage as her hips moved against him, instantly, instinctively finding a mutual rhythm, taking him deeper with each thrust and rock of her hips. He reached out pushing her hair back behind her shoulders, and then his hands moved to her breasts his fingers barely grazing across the sensitive peaks, the feather light touch sending more heat spiraling down between her legs.

He watched her face as she arched her back, grinding herself against him while he continued to thrust into her, her head falling back and her eyes closed as the fire between them continued to grow. She was so close and he took over control and began to thrust harder finally driving her over the edge and as the spasms that shook her body pulsed around him, he spilled himself deep within her

Chapter Ten

As much as Eomer would’ve loved to stay there in that bed with Erienne, there was an entire company of exiled Rhohirrim waiting outside to continue the journey. She was sleeping again and he dressed quietly and slipped outside to the see how close they were to being ready to go.

One of the men had been waiting for him nearby. He approached Eomer with a bundle in his hands. “My lord,” he said, bowing his head respectfully, “We found these and thought she might make use of them.”

Eomer took the bundle into his hands, noting the definite feminine look of the clothing that had just been handed to him. “I’m sure she will.”

He went back inside, looking at Erienne sleeping, her naked body sprawled inviting on the bed. He forced himself to resist the urge to take her again. “Sweet one, wake up,” he said leaning down to kiss her. She stretched, opening her eyes and smiling up at him.

“Erienne, love, c’mon. Get up I have something for you.” He dropped the bundle onto the bed between her feet

No longer shy around him, Erienne sat up, completely unconcerned about her nakedness. She reached out, her hands closing on the bundle. She looked through it finding two simply made dresses, the fabric plain, the colors faded and dull, but definitely in better condition than hers. She held them up against herself and she was certain that they would fit all right. She looked up questioningly at Eomer, “But where did….”

“I don’t know—but the men scavenged around and this is what they found.” He was afraid he was going to get the same argument that she’d given him last time.

His fear was unfounded, her eyes sparkled with delight at the thought of having something else to wear. “I’ ll have to remember to thank them. “ Eomer was confused as she came off the bed, and pushed him towards the door. “Get out, so I can get dressed.”

He was baffled, why should he have to leave because she was getting dressed? She’d spent most of the previous night completely naked, either on top of, or beneath him. He went, shaking his head, figuring he would never fully understand women.

Eomer was over with the men, checking out his gear. He only glanced behind him after several of the men paused, staring at something behind him. He turned his head to glance over his shoulder to see what they were looking at and his breath caught, his heart beating faster.

Erienne had just stepped outside dressed in a simple tan colored dress carrying the bundle. Everything else, including Eomer’s spare tunic she had wrapped back into the bundle. Although the neckline was modest the dress fit well, accenting her bustline and narrow waist. Erienne's hair glinted pale gold in the sun’s light falling down her back.

She could have been wearing the finest of gowns and she couldn’t have been more beautiful, for there was nothing so beautiful as woman who had been well loved and well satisfied. Eomer’s gaze swept her body appreciatively and he knew it was going to be a difficult day in the saddle, since he now knew intimately what lay beneath that dress.

For a few moments he simply stared at her, then he noticed that more of the men were also staring and some of their ex-pressions reflected much more than simple curiosity. Eomer went to her drawing her to him, taking her mouth with his passionately, possessively, laying unmistakable claim to her, branding her to be off limits to the rest of them. Erienne responded momentarily before remembering they had a large audience and she pulled away from Eomer, blushing, not at his kiss but because so many were watching and she handed him the bundle.

He strapped it with the rest of his gear. After a quick breakfast , they mounted up and rode off to their next as yet unknown destination.
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