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Morning

Darren opened his eyes slowly, his whole head pounding.

Shouldn't have drunk so much last night, he chastised himself, stretching his arms past his head with a yawn. Mid-stretch, he felt something move beside him, and froze.

She was lying on the other side of the large king-sized bed, her back towards him. From the looks of things, she was completely naked.

Darren had no idea who she was.

He couldn't see her face: only her strait, longish, golden-blonde hair that was spread across the pillows.

Shit, his head hurt. He wished he could see more clearly. He wished he knew who she was. What kind of a guy sleeps with a woman and then wakes up not knowing who she is?

He carefully reached up and turned the small metal knob on the wall by his bed, allowing dim lighting to shine from the ceiling. He couldn't figure out the strange lighting they had here: it was so different than the simple candles and lanterns they had at home.

She moved slightly in sleep, and the sight of her golden hair brought the night before rushing back.

He had been invited to a party by his cousin and had accepted willingly—he only wanted to get drunk and forget everything. Sometime late at night, he had stumbled back into his room and found her waiting for him.

The quiet servant girl, who had always stayed out of his way and he never took much notice of: for the first time he noticed how beautifully her golden-blonde hair fell past her shoulders, for the first time he noticed just how short her skirt was.

Breath smelling of alcohol, he captured her full lips in his own: maybe if she had resisted he would have stopped, but she kissed him back, and he didn't stop. She didn't stop his hands from moving up her shirt, didn't stop them from taking off her skirt . . .

Now, looking at her lying next to him, if not near him, Darren felt dirty, felt as though he'd forced himself on to the girl. And his head hurt like hell from all the feeling.

She yawned and rolled over to face him.

"Good morning, sir." She greeted with a smile, red lips parting across white teeth.

"Morning . . ." Darren realized he still had no idea who she was. "What . . . what would your name be?" Furious with himself, Darren sat quickly. "What kind of filthy bastard sleeps with a woman without even knowing her name?"

She shrank away from him. "I'm sorry if I've displeased you, sir. My name's Aidan. I really didn't mean to upset you . . ."

"You haven't done anything wrong." Darren said mournfully, head in his hands. "I know this can't make up for it, but I want to give you my apologies." He felt worthless. Ever since he'd gotten here he'd done nothing but sit around and wish he were home. He felt worthless, stupid, and depressed—and his head hurt.

"For what?"

"For . . ." he gestured wildly with his hands. "All this. For last night. I shouldn't have, shouldn't have forced you into anything."

"You didn't force me."

"You're not telling me you actually wanted to sleep with me."

Aidan wanted to scream. What kind of idiot was he, did he honestly expect her to tell the truth? She wasn't about to tell him how much she hated him, and every one like him. How much she hated the way they touched her, kissed her. She knew how much trouble she'd be in if she told him that last night, all she had wanted to do was go to sleep, when the brooding bastard came back drunk and looking for entertainment. She knew better than to tell the truth.

"Your desires are my desires." Aidan replied sweetly. She had learned to keep her emotions under control, just like all the other slaves.

Aidan wasn't the only one with an urge to scream, and Darren wasn't nearly as good at keeping himself in check. "Listen, you couldn't have wanted me to come barging in and force you to, to . . . to do stuff."

"My only wish is to please you."

She was driving him crazy. All this backward talking, she wouldn't give him a strait answer, and his head hadn't ceased hurting. Without thinking, he slapped her, leaving red marks on her otherwise flawless face.

Aidan didn't flinch. Didn't cry out, or yell, or try to strike him back like any of the girls from home would have.

Darren wanted to hurt himself. Not only was he a rapist, he now abused his victims as well. Great. He wouldn't be surprised if his uncle turned him out tomorrow.

"I'm so sorry!" He said hurriedly. "I didn't mean to do that, it just . . . came out. I'm really not a morning person."

"I received only what I deserved." Aidan said politely, as the red marks slowly faded from her otherwise flawless face.

Darren found himself wanting to slap her again. "Listen, maybe you should leave. I'm extremely apologetic for everything, and I can understand if you never want to speak to me again—"

He was cut short as Aidan got out of bed, the sheets sliding down her body as Darren realized that yes, she was completely naked. Only a few seconds later, she had a green silk robe wrapped around her gorgeous body, and had vanished into another room.

You slept with that amazing creature? The primitive male within him cheered, until his conscience shut it up.