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Sonora gasped and scrabbled backward, putting a sizeable space between them. "Stay away from me! Don't touch me!" Her frightened voice sounded loud in the quiet room.

When he spoke, his voice was deep and as fluid as the water around them. He had a touch of an accent that she couldn't identify. "I won't touch you if you don't want."

"I don't want! Do you hear me? I don't want!" She held her hands out in front of her as she backed further away.

He raised his hands in surrender. "I hear you.

Sonora held one hand up to keep him at bay. Her shoulders lost some of their tension as she demanded answers to the questions that had been tumbling through her mind since the beginning. "Who are you and what is this place?"

"My name is Caspian, though most call me Ian," he said as he gave a wide gesture. "And this is my home."

Sonora huffed as if she wasn't impressed at all by him or his surroundings. She wanted answers. "Why did you bring me here?"

"You needed help."

"You need help, kidnapping people like that. Nice people don't do that!"

Although Sonora waited for an answer, Ian simply stood there without an argument either way. So she continued, "You can't just keep me here you know. I have a family. They're going to be looking for me."


"I know." Ian studied her as he rubbed his stubbled chin. "That isn't usually a problem." Courtships usually went off with a hitch in the sea kingdom.

Sonora's eyes grew as wide as they could. "Not usually a problem, like when you've kidnapped all the other girls?"

Irritated, Ian spoke rougher than he intended as he moved toward her. "I haven't-" Seeing her fearfully look around for somewhere to escape, he settled and took a step backward him to offer her more room. "I haven't kidnapped any other girls."

"Oh, so it's just me?" When he still didn't admit to it, she pressed further. "You had a regulator, waiting. You don't need one, so..."

Ian sighed. He reminded himself that she didn't feel that way he did, that she must be terrified. "Yes, it's just you."

"Why?"

He could tell her what she wanted to know. It would frighten her even more. So he remained silent.

Sonora spoke louder, her voice trembling with her words. "Why? You could've just taken me to the surface. Instead, you dragged me all the way here. Wherever here is. So I ask again, why did you bring me here?"

Ian hated seeing her like this. Tears threatened her blue eyes, though she kept them at bay. She was trying to be strong. He warmed to her for that.

"I did not mean to." He stammered and hesitated. "Not today. Not like this."

Ian hadn't meant to take her today. He had meant to meet and woo her so she would at least know him. He'd made the mistake of bringing the tank. Then the wave came. And it had been done.

Turning to a large picture window that looked out to the ocean, he sighed. "I think that is something we should talk about later."

"No, I want to know now. Why did you bring me here?" 

He turned to her but didn't answer. Instead, he looked at her, trying to break her resistance with his intense grey gaze. It had stopped more than one man in his tracks. 

But as Ian's eyes lingered on her, over her, his gaze took on more meaning. Ian's feelings started to show. His look became her answer, and it was her turn to be uncomfortable.

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