Standard disclaimers Ė I donít own Ďem, if I did theyíd still be on TV. You canít get blood from a stone, so donít bother instigating legal action.

This is just my feeble attempt at entertainment, my personal take on the character of Vin Tanner.


by Sulu

Vin had first come across the cabin on one of the days when the closeness of the town had become more than he wanted to deal with. He rode out to regain his calm in the quiet and solitude he preferred.

No one in town knew much about the woman living there. She and her husband, Charles, moved in three years before. Evidently the previous owner had been a distant relative, and on his death Charles inherited the place. Charles died about a year after they moved in. Until his death she had never been to town and he discouraged visitors. The rumor around town was that he was a heavy drinker, and died after being thrown by a horse while drunk. After his death, she came to town about once a month for supplies. She didnít mingle with the people, she came in, got her supplies and left.

As Vin approached he saw someone struggling to fix a rail on the corral, a job that really called for two people. He assumed the person was a man, being clothed in pants, a baggy shirt and hat. As he drew nearer a sudden gust of wind blew the fence menderís hat off and a braid fell out, hanging to the waist of the pants. A curse followed the hat, a not very ladylike curse in a definitely female voice.

Amanda was muttering under her breath, "Stupid woman. Think, there has to be some way you can do this."

Vin grinned as he swung down off his horse. "Howdy, maíam, need a hand?"

Frightened, Amanda gasped and whirled. <Damn, whereíd he come from?> She realized that the rifle was leaning against the fence, just out of her reach. <Damn careless woman, you know better.>

Vin lifted his hands, palm out. "Whoa. Didnít mean to scare you. Looks like you could use a little help."

Amanda backed away from him, inching toward the gun leaning against the fence, her only thought that she had to calm down and not let him see her fear. She had to get to the gun.

Vin smiled, "If that guníll make you feel safer, you go right ahead and get it, I ainít gonna hurt you. Just thought you could use some help. Donít you have a hired hand to take care of things like that?"

Amanda finally accepted his assistance with the fence, and with several of the heavier jobs that needed to be done. She cooked dinner for him that evening in payment for his help.

Vin had been going back frequently ever since, helping where he could, enjoying her company. She reminded him of a green-broke filly, skittish and untrusting. She wasnít afraid to tackle anything that needed to be done on the place, and was doing a good job of keeping it up, but some things were just too heavy for a woman to handle alone.

One afternoon Vin and Amanda were working in the barn, tightening up some loose boards. They were almost through, Vin was just pounding in the last nails, Amanda was sitting in the floor beside him. One of the barn cats came up to them, demanding attention, wrapping itself around Vinís ankles. Amanda laughed and picked up the cat and began petting it. Vin finished and was watching Amanda and the cat. Her fingers were buried in the catís long fur, rubbing its neck and behind its ears. The cat was obviously in ecstasy, purring so loudly Vin could hear it.

As he watched her supple fingers kneading the cat he found himself wishing it was him she had her hands on. Vin wasnít sure where that desire had come from, he had never been much for touching, didnít really like for people to touch him. But he sure would have liked to change places with that cat. He began noticing that she never passed one of the animals without stroking it in some manner, and more and more he wanted those hands on him, but she never touched him Ė never. Even when they were working together and she had to hand him something, or hold something for him, she avoided touching him. He hadnít notice it at first, but over time it became obvious. A couple of times he brushed against her, or touched her, and every time she pulled away from him, usually putting something between them.

Amanda was been chopping wood for the stove when Vin arrived. She was hot and tired, it was a necessary chore, one she abhorred. Vin stepped up and took the axe away from her. He tested the edge and shook his head. "Darliní, this thing ainít got enough edge on it for nothing. You got a sharpening wheel?"

Amanda pushed the hair out of her face and pointed to the barn. "Itís in there, but I canít work the blasted thing."

"Well, Iíll make you a deal. Iíll sharpen this poor excuse for an axe and finish that wood pile if you make some of that chicken and dumplins you do so good."

"You got a deal cowboy."

Vin grinned as he watched her walk away. Even though she still dressed in menís clothes, there was no doubt that she was female. No man heíd ever seen walked that way. Well, there had been that one with the Wild West Show, but like Buck had said, he was a "funny cowboy". He got the axe sharpened and went to work on the wood pile while Amanda started the meal.

Amanda glanced out the kitchen window and froze. It was a hot day, and swinging an axe was hard work. Vin had stripped off his shirt to work. As he lifted the axe over his head his muscles bunched and flexed, glistening with sweat. She found herself comparing Vin to her husband, Charles. Vin was very different. Where Charles had been short and thick, Vin was several inches taller, and much leaner. But you definitely couldnít call him thin, not with those muscles. He swung the axe with no apparent effort, every movement efficient and fluid. Charles had not been physically adept, and certainly never had Vinís grace. Charlesí body had been covered in a thick coat of black hair, Vinís was lightly dusted with blond hair, thicker on his chest, with a narrow trail leading down into his pants. As she watched, he put down the axe and moved to the well. He took a dipper out of the bucket, leaned over and poured the water over the back of his neck. As he stood up the water trickled down his chest. Even though he was too far away for her to actually see it, she could imagine the drops sliding down his sculpted chest, through the dusting of hairs, down over his belly and into his pants. Suddenly Amanda realized she was standing at her kitchen window, mouth open, staring at a half naked man, and enjoying the view. This was definitely a first for her. She had seldom seen Charles without his shirt, and she had never had this type reaction when she did. She shook her head and went back to preparing dinner

When she called him to come eat, Vin cleaned up the best he could, pulled his shirt back on and came in. He thoroughly enjoyed the meal, and made sure she knew it. Amanda was flattered and embarrassed by his compliments. She began clearing the table, cleaning the kitchen. While she had her back to the table, Vin rose, carrying his plate to her. He reached around her to sit the plate down just as she started to turn around. Suddenly Amanda found herself nose to chest with him. She gasped and jerked back, losing her balance. Vin dropped the plate and grabbed her, to keep her from falling. As he grabbed her waist she exploded. She began moaning and shoving against his chest, struggling to get away from him. Now he was in a quandary. If he turned loose she was going to fall against the stove, but she was obviously terrified for some reason. He pulled her over to the table and released her, raising his hands and stepping back away from her.

"Easy, Sugar, I just didnít want you to fall. Take it easy."

Amanda closed her eyes and crossed her arms, grasping her elbows, rocking back and forth. Her breathing was jerky and tears rolled down her face.

Vin was confused, he didnít know what had just happened. He had never given her any reason to fear him, so what was going on. "Amanda, whatís wrong?"

She just shook her head, gasping for breath, struggling for control. Vin lifted his palm to her face, she gasped and whirled away from him.

"Donít, please, donít touch me."

"OK, Sugar, I wonít touch you. Relax, Iím not going to hurt you." He pulled out a chair, then stepped back. "Here, sit down before you fall."

Amanda sat in the chair, hiding her face in her hands. Gradually her breathing returned to normal. Vin pumped a cup of water and brought it to her.

"Here, drink this." When she didnít take the cup from him he sat it on the table and stepped back again. She picked it up and drained it.

She glanced up at him, then away, "Iím sorry."

"Want to tell me what just happened here?"

"Itís nothing. Iím sorry."

"No, it wasnít Ďnothiní. Sure do wish you would tell me."

She just shook her head, refusing to meet his eyes.

"Well, if youíre all right now, I need to get back to town. Thanks for dinner."

"Iím fine, and youíre welcome. Thank you for chopping the wood." She wouldnít look at him, just sat there rocking herself.

Vin hated to leave her in that state, but he didnít see what he could do to help. In fact, he felt his presence was making matters worse. After he left, she finished her chores and went to bed. That night the nightmares came back Ė Charles. No one knew that he was abusive. He would get drunk, come home, throw her down, regardless of where she was and take her. Frequently his alcohol consumption rendered him unable to perform. This always infuriated him and he would beat her. Every time he lay his hands on Amanda he hurt her. He had enjoyed causing her pain. After a few days Amanda didnít want to go to sleep, she knew Charles would be back in her dreams again.

For a while she was tense around him again, but Vin made sure that he didnít corner her and didnít touch her, so she gradually relaxed with him. She was still having the nightmares, but she was trying to put them out of her mind. Amanda found herself watching Vin She didnít know why, but she liked to watch him move. Every move seemed to have a purpose, each movement flowed into the next. He was never awkward or off balance. She really enjoyed watching him ride. It was as if he and Peso were one. If she saw him riding in she stopped what she was doing, just to watch him. One evening as he was leaving she went out to the barn with him. He whistled and Peso trotted across the corral to him. Vin reached up and started rubbing behind Pesoís ears. The horse lowered his head and stuck out his muzzle. Vin continued rubbing his poll and scratching under his jaw. The horse sighed and leaned into his hands. Amanda found herself fascinated watching Vinís hands stroking the animal. Vin glanced over at her and saw her gaze fixed on his hands. Deliberately he slowed his movements and began gently stroking the horse and murmuring to him, "Yeah, feels good, doesnít it? You like that, donít you? Soft and easy, thatís what you like, ainít it?" Amanda shivered and Vin grinned. He was starting to get to her, even if she didnít realize it.

About a week later Vin was approaching the cabin. There was a strange horse tied to the corral. In the entire time he had been stopping by the cabin this was the first time there had been anybody here. He glanced around and there was no sign of Amanda or the rider of the horse. Something just didnít feel right. He dismounted and started to the cabin when he heard a sound from the barn, so he changed directions. As he drew nearer the noises grew louder and he heard the distinctive sound of a slap. He broke into a run and slid to a stop just outside the door, not wanting to run into the dark barn unprepared. He drew his gun, shut his eyes for a moment to compensate for the darkness in the barn, then stepped through the door and to the side so he would not be outlined in the doorway. The sound of another slap and a whimper drew his eyes to the first stall.

Amanda was on her back, struggling with a man on his knees over her. Her shirt was torn open, he had a brutal grip on one breast and was yanking on the waist of her pants, trying to rip them off. She was bucking and pushing at him trying to dislodge him. He released her pants and drew back his hand to slap her again.

Amanda was lost in the past. "No, not again, I canít do this again. Please, no."

As the stranger drew his hand back, Vin cocked the gun and spoke, "Donít". Just one word, but the tone of voice left no room for argument.

The manís head snapped around. At the sight of the gun leveled at him he hesitated, then grinned.

Amanda, lost in her memories, heard only the voice of another man. Her panic increased, now there were two of them.

The stranger chuckled, "Hey, cowboy, relax. You can have her when I get through." He turned back to Amanda, Vin stepped closer and spoke again.

"Let her go, now!" Vin was waiting for the man to give him an excuse to blow his head off, just one little excuse.

The man looked back at Vin. This time he really looked.

Eyes blazing, Vin motioned with the barrel for him to move. The man slowly released Amanda, lifted his hands and stood. As soon as he released her and began to lift his weight, Amanda scooted clear of him, moving into the corner where she huddled, shaking.

Vin could hear her moaning, reciting to herself "Calm down, calm down, not again, please, not again." He spoke softly to her, "Amanda, are you all right?"

Amanda was lost in her fear, her only thought to hide, to get away.

"Amanda, whatís wrong? Are you hurt bad?" When he didnít get an answer he turned his head to look at her.

Taking advantage of his momentary distraction, the man turned and ran. Vin was torn, did he chase the man or take care of Amanda. He decided that he would recognize the man, should he be so stupid as to show his face again, and could track him, anywhere he went, so he turned back to Amanda.

She was huddled in the stall, arms over her head. He carefully reset the hammer and holstered the gun, then moved to her side. "How bad did he hurt you, Darliní?" He squatted beside her and lay his hand on her shoulder. At his touch she cried out and tried to curl into a smaller ball.

"Easy, Amanda, itís only me. Are you all right? Come on, look at me, are you all right?" He realized that she was terrified and didnít even realize it was him. "Amanda, itís Vin, how bad are you hurt?"

Amanda had her arms over her head, whispering, "Not again, please, not again. Donít hit me again. No! Donít touch me, please, donít touch me."

He began to gently stroke her back. She shuddered every time he touched her so he drew back his hand. <Think Tanner, sheís terrified, how do you handle a terrified filly? Itís sure not by crowding her.> He sat cross legged, close beside her with his forearms resting on his knees, leaning slightly forward. He began speaking softly and gently to her, not really saying much of anything, just using his voice to sooth her, much as he would to gentle a horse. Gradually he could see her shaking less and beginning to relax.

Finally Amanda calmed enough she could hear him, and it began to register that she knew the voice. She drew in a deep breath, dropped her arms from around her head and looked at him, really seeing him for the first time, relief was evident in her voice, "Vin, itís you." Then she began looking around frantically. "Whereís the other one? Whereíd he go?"

Still in a soft, quiet voice Vin spoke again. "Heís gone. Are you all right?" She glanced at him then away and nodded.

She tried to make herself relax, telling herself, <Relax, itís Vin. The other one is gone. Youíre safe now.>

"Any idea who he was?" She shook her head. "Do I need to take you to Nathan?"

Her head flew up and she looked at him. "Why?"

Holding her gaze he very slowly lifted his hand to her cheek. She tensed and drew back. "No! Donít touch me, please, donít touch me."

"How badly did he hurt you?"

He could see confusion in her eyes. He lightly stroked her reddened cheek with the back of his forefinger. "He hit you, how bad did he hurt you?"

She forced herself to breath, realizing that he was only trying to help, trying to convince herself he would not hurt her. She looked at him, still confused. "Iím fine, Vin."

He traced the hand imprint on her face, barely skimming the surface. She tensed, but did not pull away again. "What about Ö he grabbed your Ö are you hurt?" Disgustedly he thought, smooth, Tanner, real smooth.

She shook her head. "No, Iím all right."

Vin looked at her in disbelief. "Sure youíre all right. Youíre scratched, bruised, scared to death, but youíre all right". In a seemingly effortless move he rose, then held out his hand to her. "Letís get you to the cabin."

She looked up at him, then ignoring the offered hand struggled to her feet, trying to hold her torn shirt together. He stepped aside so she could pass, then moved in close enough to be of assistance should she stumble, and followed her to the cabin and inside.

Vin realized he had just lost all the ground it had taken him six months to gain. They were back to "donít even get close to me".

Trying to gain control of herself, Amanda was thinking that if she let him take her to the cabin, he would leave. When Vin pulled out a chair at the table and motioned her to sit, she complied, watching him closely.

"What do you want, Vin? You can leave, Iím all right."

Vin realized he couldnít rush her, he had to give her time. She was terrified. He needed to get her cleaned up and calmed down. "Rags?" he questioned. She pointed to a drawer. He withdrew a rag, then pumped water over it and wrung it out. He pulled another chair close in front of her and sat. With very slow, steady movements he cupped her face with one hand and began gently stroking her bruised cheek with the cool rag.

Amanda tensed when she realized he was going to touch her. In her experience, if a man touched her, he hurt her. When he met her eyes again, fear was plain in hers. "What?" he asked. She shook her head. He rose and rewet the rag, then sat in front of her again.

She was amazed, he wasnít hurting her. He was actually touching her without causing pain. She didnít think any man could touch without hurting, it had never happened before.

Vin couldnít understand why she was so scared of him. Surely she didnít think he would hurt her. He had never hurt a woman, he wouldnít hurt a woman. He had told her that her attacker was gone, why was she still scared? He knew he had to clean those scratches, and thereís no way he could do it if she continued pulling away. There was another problem too. Could he touch her breasts without giving himself away and scaring her even more? He took a deep breath, glanced at her, then away. "We need to clean those scratches."

A flush worked its way up his face as he reached for the hand clenched in the tattered remains of her shirt. She resisted his first gentle tug on her wrist. He glanced back up at her. "I saw the scratches, they have to be cleaned. If you wonít go to Nathan you have to let me help."

Amanda knew that if she refused he would just get mad and do it anyway. She knew that if she made him mad he would hurt her. Experience told her this, every time she had disagreed with her husband he hurt her. She slowly unclenched her fist and lay her hands in her lap. She was tense, breathing rapidly, and trembling. He slowly and carefully spread her shirt, exposing her. She saw his jaw clench and drew back slightly.

Vin really wished she would let him take her to Nathan. He knew cleaning the scratches was going to hurt, and he really didnít want to hurt her. He had wanted to see and touch her breasts for months, but not like this.

Amanda knew he didnít want to do this, so why wouldnít he just go away What did he want?

"Easy. Iíll try not to hurt you."

The manís dirty nails had gouged her chest and breast, and there was a bruise already forming on the tender skin. His hesitated then began carefully cleansing the scratches. She flinched but did not pull away from him. When he felt the scratches were thoroughly clean he tossed the rag into the sink.

Amanda took a deep breath. That hadnít been too bad and now he was through, surely he would leave now.

Vinís only thought was, <I ever see that bastard again Iíll kill him where he stands.> He carefully covered her again with her shirt, sliding his hands from the edges of the shirt up to cup her face. His touch was so light she was aware of it only by the heat from his palms and fingertips. He very slowly leaned toward her and lay his lips against her forehead, then her cheek. "Iím sorry." She had shut her eyes again when he touched her face. At his comment her eyes opened.

She didnít know a manís touch could be so gentle, she had never known gentleness from a manís hands, only pain. She couldnít understand what he wanted from her. "Why?" she whispered. He pulled back slightly and looked at her questioningly. She continued, "Why are you sorry? You didnít do anything, you saved me. If you hadnít come along Ö" She shut her eyes and tried to turn her face. He held her in place, nudging her chin until she opened her eyes again.

"I wish I had gotten here sooner. He should never have been able to touch you."

"You kept him from hurting me. Thank you."

This time the confusion was in his eyes. "I didnít keep him from hurting you, he hit you, and he Ö" he gestured at her chest, then dropped his eyes. "Iím sorry." He didnít understand how she could say he kept him from hurting her. The man had knocked her around, scratched her, bruised her, damn near raped her.

Amanda realized he really meant it, he felt he had failed her. Slowly and tentatively she lifted her hand toward his face. With just the tips of her fingers she stroked his cheek. He looked up in surprise. It was the first time she had ever touched him.

"Believe me, this is nothing, he didnít hurt me. If you hadnít come along, he would have." He shook his head no, she smiled sadly and continued lightly tracing his features. "Yes, he would have. Itís what men do."

She froze as a sudden thought flashed through her mind, <Iím touching him! I know better than to do that.> She jerked her hand away from his face.

His eyes widened as he understood what she was saying. "No, not all men hurt women. You honestly believe that, donít you? You expect me to hurt you." He tried to keep a rein on himself, realizing now that her touching him was a very big step for her. He slowly stood. As he stood he could see her drawing back into her shell.

Amanda thought to herself, <Oh, God, no. I shouldnít have touched him. I know better, why did I touch him?>

"There you go again, hiding inside that shell. Not this time Amanda, not this time." Slow and easy Tanner, he told himself, slow and easy, take your time. Prove to her you wonít hurt her. He clasped her elbows and lifted her to stand in front of him. He began to stroke her arms, from elbows to shoulders and back again. She lifted her eyes to him again, he smiled and slowly and carefully drew her against him. He wrapped his arms around her and lay his cheek against the top of her head. He began stroking her back and rocking slowly left and right. He continued until he felt her relax against him. He lay his lips against her temple and slightly tightened his hold on her. Her forearms were against his chest, fists clenched. Gradually, as she relaxed, her fists unclenched and she lay her palms against him. He smiled as he felt her relaxing against him.

"What do you want, Vin?" She had to admit to herself that his touch wasnít bad. Actually, it felt good. She could feel his heart pounding under her hand. He lowered his lips to the side of her neck and lightly traced a line with the tip of his tongue. She shivered and he did it again, then traced the rim of her ear with his tongue. Her hands clenched again, this time with a fist full of his jacket. She moaned at the unknown sensation. She remembered now how he had looked at the wood pile that day, remembered the way she had felt for a few minutes, how she had wanted to follow those drops of water down his chest.

Vin decided he shouldnít have started this. His body was reacting to having her in his arms. If she realized how much he wanted her it would scare her again. He told himself to slow down, donít rush her. "Itís OK darliní, itís OK." He shifted and she could feel his arousal growing. He groaned and started to move away from her.

Amanda drew in a deep, shaky breath and dropped her hands from his chest to his waist and held him against her. He drew in a ragged breath. "Amanda Ö"

Vin groaned as he struggled for control. He had been a very long time without a woman, and she affected him, strongly. She moved closer against him, then turned her head slightly, bringing her lips in line with his chin. She lightly kissed his jaw and drew in a deep breath. As she moved against him he drew in a sharp breath and involuntarily thrust his hips against her. She could tell he was highly aroused, yet he was not rushing her. This confused her, in her experience men did not back off when aroused, they rushed forward and took what they wanted.

Vin was struggling for control, reminding himself that he was not a randy youngster with no self control, he needed to hang on, to take his time, give her time. Damn! she felt so good in his arms, against his body. He had wanted this for so long.

As he drew her closer and she felt the size of his arousal she began to have second thoughts. She had not been with a man since her husband died two years before. She knew that allowing him to get this close to her was inviting trouble. She knew that once a man was aroused you didnít pull away. You would get hurt. From his aroused state she felt it was miracle he hadnít taken her down yet. But this was Ö different. This was Ö pleasant. He wasnít tearing at her clothes, he wasnít pinching or squeezing, he wasnít hurting her.

Vin carefully lowered his hands to her hips and shifted her against him again. He shut his eyes and leaned his head back, swallowing hard and moaning.

She raised her chin and pressed her lips to his throat. At the light touch of her lips he groaned and she felt him become even harder and larger. Her husband hadnít cared whether or not she touched him, he had always just thrown her down and taken what he wanted. She was confused, she realized that Vin enjoyed her touch. He was hard, he was ready, why hadnít he taken her down? She also realized that it felt good to touch him, she was enjoying touching him, and she was actually enjoying his touch. She was feeling things she had never felt before. Her breasts tingled where they lay against his chest. She slid her hands up his chest, under his jacket, then slipped them over his shoulders, lifting the jacket and starting it down his arms. He let it fall to the floor behind him and lifted his hands to her face. She tensed, but again he was not hurting her. His touch was feather light. She couldnít believe she had removed his jacket, but she wanted to feel more of him, not his heavy coat.

Vin kept up a steady conversation with himself in his head, <Just take it slow, give her time, take it slow.> Easier said that done. He was in a bad way. He forced himself to slow down, tipped her chin up and gently covered her lips with his. She tensed, but did not pull away. He ran his tongue over the seam of her lips, gently requesting entrance. She had tensed when he put his lips against hers, Charles had always hurt her, grinding his teeth against her mouth, biting her lips. This was different, he wasnít hurting her, it was actually rather pleasant. When she didnít part her lips he began suckling on her bottom lip. She gasped at the sensation and he took the opportunity and slipped his tongue into her mouth. When he did she stiffened and pulled back. Charles had once caused her to pass out that way. He had been laying heavily on her, had his tongue deep into her mouth and pressed his face so tightly to hers that he had blocked her breath. She had passed out, and when she had revived she was bruised and bleeding.

Vin let her retreat slightly, but didnít release her. He lay his forehead against hers. He realized that he had frightened her again. He told himself to slow down, quit rushing her. He needed to give her time, she was obviously trying, and battling personal demons.

"Sorry, sweetheart, Iíll slow down." He kissed her face gently, covering her face with feather soft kisses. He slipped his hands under the tattered remains of her shirt and slipped it off her shoulders. She momentarily tensed, then let it drop to the floor and lifted her hands back to his waist. She had to consciously force herself to breath, breath slowly and deeply.

Vin ground his teeth and told himself, <One step at a time, Tanner, one step at a time.> He put his lips against her ear. "Take my shirt off." He sucked her earlobe gently. She shivered then pushed his suspenders off his shoulders and began pulling his shirt out of his pants. He lightly nipped her ear lobe then began spreading light kisses down her throat. She finally got his shirt pulled out of his pants and tentatively began unbuttoning it. He growled, took hold of the edges of the shirt and ripped it open and shrugged it off, then wrapped his arms around her and pulled her against him.

Amanda struggled with her memories. She kept telling herself this was different, he hadnít hurt her. He hadnít thrown her down and taken her yet. She could feel him against her stomach, hard, hot and ready. She hoped that if she didnít fight he wouldnít hurt her too much.

He groaned as her soft skin came in contact with his chest. He slowly shifted from side to side, letting her breasts slide across his chest. His erection grew even harder at the sensation. He drew in a deep breath and lay his face against her neck. Again he tried to rein himself in, <Oh, God. Iím going to lose it right here. Sheís so soft, and she smells so good. Easy, easy.>

She stiffened at the first skin to skin contact, but as he began shifting against her, she felt an entirely new sensation, a pleasant sensation. Then he shifted his hips and she tensed again, realizing that he was big, very big, and very hard. The old memories overwhelmed her and she began to tremble.

Vin moaned, "Oh, God, Darliní If youíre gonna stop me, do it now."

His breathing was ragged and his pants were painfully tight. He groaned as she pushed away from him and stepped back. He had to stop, she was frightened, but he couldnít remember when he had been so hot, so ready.

She hesitated as his words registered, <Stop him? I could stop him? He would really stop?> Vin shut his eyes and tipped his head back, breathing heavily, trying to regain control. He realized that she was scared, hell, she had just almost been raped, of course she was scared. He had to get control of himself. What did he expect? She had never shown any interest in him, he needed to back off.

Amanda was amazed as she realized he was pulling away, he really would stop. Maybe he wouldnít hurt her too bad. She owed him, he had kept the other man from brutalizing her. Refusing to meet his eyes she spoke softly. "You say not all men hurt women, that you wonít hurt me, show me." She lay her palm against his cheek as tears came to her eyes, then slid her hand down his neck, across his shoulder and down his arm. She took his hand, turned and led him to the bed. Both toed their boots off. She reached for the waist of her pants. She kept telling herself, <I can do this, I owe him, heís not mean, he wonít hurt me too much.>

Vin was trying to regain complete control. He realized she was still scared, hell she had tears in her eyes. He had to take his time and go easy, but he had waited so long, he had wanted her so long. He moved behind her, wrapped his arms around her and pulled her back against him. He kissed the side of her neck, then whispered into her ear,

"Are you sure Darliní?"

She shivered, then nodded her head. He very lightly grazed the top of her shoulder with his teeth, then dropped his hands to the waist of her pants, slipping under her hands. As he began unfastening them she drew in a deep breath and began trembling again. He kissed her neck and whispered in her ear again,

"You donít have to do this." He was firmly convinced he would die if she said stop, but he would not force her.

Amanda was breathing deeply, trying to get past the memories. He hadnít hurt her yet, and as hard as he was it couldnít possibly take long. Maybe it wouldnít be too bad.

She lifted her right hand up over her shoulder and ran her fingers into his hair, then turned her face toward him. He very gently took her lips in a kiss as he finished unbuttoning her pants. He shifted his hips back long enough to let her pants drop to the floor around her ankles, then moved back against her. He groaned when he realized she was now completely nude in his arms. She was trembling like a leaf in the wind, but still had her hand threaded into his hair, holding his head. He began sliding his hands up and down her sides, gradually working his way to the front. He suckled on her ear for a moment and whispered,

"Relax, Darliní, Just relax", thinking to himself, you too. Relax, donít push her. Give her time.

Amanda almost laughed. Relax? With him getting bigger and harder by the second? With his hands and mouth all over her? Relax? Just please get it over with before I completely lose it.

Very slowly he slid his left hand up her body and gently cupped her breast. When he did, her hand flew to grasp his wrist and she tensed. "Easy, sweetheart, easy" he murmured.

She knew it was going to start now. This is where it will start hurting. Charles always hurt her, with his pinching and pulling, and his biting. The more he hurt her, the better he enjoyed it. But this wasnít Charles. Already Vin had made her feel things she had never felt with Charles.

Vin groaned as her breast filled his hand, <Oh, God, sheís so soft, and sheís so scared. Why the hell is she still so scared?> He began to very gently roll the nipple between his thumb and forefinger. Gradually he shifted his right hand to the juncture of her thighs. Her legs were clenched tightly together. He carefully insinuated his knee between hers and spread her legs slightly, allowing him access. She whimpered as he cupped her mound. She couldnít understand what was he doing. It felt so Ė different. His hands were so large, and yet his touch was so gentle. Charles hands always hurt, always.

With his mouth against her ear, Vin began a gentle advance and retreat with his tongue, mimicking the age old mating dance. She lay her head back against his shoulder, easing his access, sighing. This was different, it was nice, it actually felt good.

Vin smiled to himself, <OK, she likes that. Have to remember that.> "Thatís right, Sweetheart, relax, just go with it."

He slipped a callused finger between her nether lips, seeking that one spot that would bring her the most pleasure. Her hand tightened in his hair and she moaned again. She moved her hips back, retreating from the hand she was so sure would hurt her. When she moved back she brushed his erection. His pants were filled almost to bursting. Panic began to set in again. He was so big, even bigger than Charles. Oh, God, this was going to hurt. She forced herself to breath deeply and try to calm down.

He removed his hand from between her legs and began trying to unbutton his pants. She stepped out of the pants that were tangled around her ankles, kicked them aside then turned around, and took over unfastening the buttons. He put his hands on her waist and his forehead against the top of her head, breathing deeply, chanting to himself, <Hang on, hang on. Donít rush her, give her time.>

Amanda was trembling, thinking <Letís get this over with.> Despite her trembling she finally managed to unfasten his pants and let them drop. His erection was straining the front of his long johns. She drew in a shaky breath, then with her palms against his back slid her hands inside the waistband and down over his tight buttocks. The feel of her soft hands sliding over his rump nearly did him in. He groaned and his hips involuntarily thrust toward her.

"I love the feel of your hands on me."

Amanda was struggling with herself, fighting off the memories. She knew if she didnít get the rest of his clothes off and finish this she would lose control. The long johns would not just drop as his pants had done. She slipped one hand around to the front and eased the material over his erection. Once he sprang free she released the material and they fell to his feet. He stepped out of them and drew her against his body. He groaned deeply as he felt her against the full length of his body. He wasnít sure how much longer he was going to be able to wait.

Vinís cock surged against her and she trembled. <Oh God, heís so big. Heís too big. I canít do this.>

He backed her up to the edge of the bed and lowered both of them. He lay beside her, one leg over one of hers, keeping her legs apart. He lay his hand at the thatch of hair at the top of her thighs and lowered his mouth to her breast. Again she tensed, past experience had taught her that men did as much damage with their mouths as with their hands. He was very careful to avoid the scratches and the bruised breast, suckling gently on the uninjured one. Once again she was very tense, expecting the hurting to start momentarily.

He felt her tensing and withdrawing from him. "Come on Sweetheart, relax. I swear, I wonít hurt you, relax."

He parted her nether lips and began inserting one long finger into her depths. She gasped and he continued slowly inserting the finger. She lay tensely, with her hands fisted in the sheets, eyes tightly shut. He wanted to be sure she was ready before he broached her opening with his hungry cock. Her sheath tightened on his finger and she pulled slightly away from him.

She didnít understand what he was doing, what he was waiting for. Charles had never done anything like this, he had always just thrown her down and rammed into her. A fine sheen of sweat broke out on Vinís body. She was tight, so very tight. He realized he had to be careful, if she clamped down like that when he was inside her he would lose all control. His cock throbbed fiercely, sweat glistening on his body as he restrained himself. He began moving his finger back and forth within her, until she gradually relaxed, then he slowly insinuated a second finger. Again she tensed. He moved from her breast up to her ear, tongued it, then blew gently. She shuddered and moaned. She was so confused. He was doing things to her that she had never experienced. Why was he waiting? Why didnít he finish it. But what he was doing Ė it was so different, she didnít understand the sensations, when he slipped his tongue into her ear, it caused her to tighten all over, it was Ö different.

"Whatís wrong darliní?" She shook her head. He was confused, he didnít think he had rushed her, she wasnít fighting him, but she just didnít seem to be "with" him. She was moist enough to accept him, if he was careful, but not "eager" for him. He was on the verge of spilling his seed without ever breaching her portal. "What do you want darliní?" He didnít understand, she had been married, why was she reacting like an untried girl. Almost like she had never been with a man before, like she really didnít know what to expect.

Amanda was becoming frightened. She couldnít understand what he was doing. She knew he was ready, he couldnít be that big and not be ready. Why didnít he go ahead? In her experience, the longer it took, the meaner and madder the man got. She turned her face to him, confusion plain in her eyes.

Vin whispered in her ear, "Do you want me to stop?". In his mind he was shouting, <Oh, God say no.>

She shook her head. "Are you ready?" She nodded. She didnít really understand why he was asking, but whatever it took to get him to finish before he got mad. He slowly withdrew his fingers, then moved over her. He covered her lips with his.

"Open up for me sweetheart." She spread her legs wider, he sank between them. "Open your mouth darliní, let me in." She opened her lips and he slowly slipped his tongue inside her mouth, as he began seeking entrance to her body. He forced himself to move slowly, giving her time to adjust to his presence. Her sheath was tight, almost virginal and he had to move very slowly. She was so hot and so tight he was having great difficulty restraining himself, he had to hold on, take his time, not rush her. He slid his hand down her leg, then lifted her knee, opening her further to him. This allowed him to advance another inch, but she was still not moist enough to allow for easy penetration. He began to withdraw, realizing that continuing would cause her pain. Oh, yes, withdrawing was going to cause him great "discomfort", but not injury. He was afraid if he continued he was going to hurt her, and he would not allow himself to hurt her, regardless of his discomfort.

Amanda realized he was withdrawing. She was afraid he was going to be furious with her. She thrust her hips up, impaling herself on his throbbing cock, moaning at the sudden pain. The sudden tightness and heat were more than he could handle and he lost control. He thrust deeply several times and exploded within her, crying out her name. "Amanda, Oh, sweet, damn thatís good, I canít stop, canít stop." His hot flood filled her and he was boneless in his relief. He lay gasping for breath atop her.

Gradually she relaxed, realizing that it hadnít been as bad as she expected. It had not hurt as much as she had anticipated when she had realized how large he was. He was extremely confused at this point. He knew she had not enjoyed their joining, and did not understand why she had acted the way she did. He propped himself on his elbows and lightly traced her features. She lifted her hand and covered his hand on her cheek.

"Thank you, Vin."

"For what? You didnít enjoy it."

"For not hurting me."

"But I did hurt you. I tried not to, but I lost control. Iím sorry."

"No, you didnít hurt me. That was the first time a man has not hurt me."

"But you were married. You know how it should be."

"Yes, I was married, and I know how it is. It hurts. Always. Men hurt women, itís their nature." She lifted her hand to his face and traced his features. "But you didnít hurt me. Thank you." She lifted her head and lightly kissed him.

He was dumbfounded. How had he missed the signs. As he lay there, looking at her, he could see a multitude of signs of abuse. Small scars on her breasts and face. He tensed. "He abused you, didnít he?"

"I was his wife."

"No one has the right to abuse another person. No one."

She smiled sadly and stroked his face. "Thank you."

"Youíve never enjoyed making love, have you?"

"Believe me, from the womanís side thereís nothing to enjoy."

He slowly smiled at her, eyes twinkling. "Well, darliní, guess Iím just going to have to educate you."

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