Nathan Silvers

A librarian enslaved


As she approached the turn-off for the Bryden Ranch, Natalie Porter got more and more tense. She had no idea why these people wanted the mobile library service. She had met Roxanne Bryden in town one day and Roxanne had asked her to be sure to call. They were great supporters of the library, Roxanne said.

That wasn't what Natalie had heard. Zane Bryden was the biggest rancher around, and there were rumors that he more or less owned the local police. That didn't bother Natalie too much, she kept out of these things. It was the atmosphere at the place. And even then she couldn't put her finger on it. Just a nasty feeling. Both Zane and his son Matt had given her very suggestive looks, the sort of looks that married men were not supposed to give.

Still, she thought as she turned, under the large wooden sign and into the three-mile drive, this was her last month at the job. She should never have done anything as stupid as run right from a bad marriage to this job as librarian to hundreds of square miles of isolated houses and ranches. Driving all day, waiting in either baking heat or biting cold for people to make up their minds, then driving back. Nothing to do at night in the tiny town where she lived. Except hit the bars and Natalie wasn't into that. She had thought the solitude would do her good, but it had driven her crazy. At the end of next week, it was back to the city and some sanity.

Around her, the ranch land stretched in all directions, dry and hot in the August sun.

She pulled up to the front of the rambling ranch house and climbed out. Instantly, the two massive dogs the Brydens kept to guard the place were out, barking and snarling at her.

"Attila, Hun, down boys, down," a voice shouted and instantly the dogs dropped back, retreating to their kennels. "Hi," the voice went on. A dark-haired woman stepped out of the house and waved. It was Roxanne Bryden. "Come in," she said, "you must be fuckin' dry, this time of year."

That was two things Natalie didn't like. For a start Roxanne's language. Her husband might be rich, but she was as foul-mouthed as if she lived in some of those disgusting housing projects Natalie used to drive past, on the way to work. And then there was the way Roxanne dressed. It might be hot, but the cut-off shorts and tank top were just too revealing for Natalie. It accentuated Roxanne's large firm tits, and the rest of her curvaceous body.

"Thank you." She walked up the path, skirting the crouching dogs warily.

Little lap dogs were all right with Natalie, but these monstrous animals were terrifying. They stood as tall as her waist, their slavering jaws ready to tear an intruder's flesh instantly.

It was cool in the house, with the faint hum of air conditioning.