~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
“And the rest of the
“Three men have contracted
the fever thus far but not nearly as severe as the lad.” Crocker nodded toward
the window where Lucas sat in a chair reading aloud to Kristin. “We’ve quarantined them in one section and treated them
as Lady Westphalen directed. We may
have a couple more men showing early symptoms but I’ve ordered them confined
“That sounds good, Gator.
Thanks to quick thinking and some excellent direction from our guest we
may have staved off a major epidemic.”
Kristin looked up and smiled
warmly at the captain. Nathan
returned the grin and their gazes locked and held.
Crocker whistled softly, amazed at how the emotion the two shared was
almost tangible in the air between them.
“I’ll tell the men to
continue what they have been doing.”
“Good,” Nathan nodded.
“If Lucas continues to improve this afternoon he will go back to his
own bunk tonight.”
Crocker turned to Kristin,
smiling to see her still clad in the captain’s britches and shirt.
“The men wanted me to pass their gratitude along to you as well,
Kristin stood and moved
toward them. “I didn’t do much
but I am glad that my suggestions could help alleviate their suffering somewhat.
Please tell them that they are very welc…” Kristin broke off as she
Nathan saw the glassy look in
her eye and dove toward her, catching her as she sank to the floor in a dead
“Dammit, she’s burning
up! Crocker, water!” Nathan shouted as he struggled to stand, Kristin a dead
weight in his arms. He laid her in
the freshly made bed and waved Lucas away when the boy would have come closer.
“Lucas, go back to your
bunk. You are still weak and I
don’t want you getting reinfected. I’ll
send word, son… I promise.” The
look of fear on Lucas’ face broke Nathan’s heart and he could see the
protest in Lucas’ eyes but instead of voicing it the boy picked up his book
and slowly exited the room.
Crocker sloshed half a bowl
of water over the floor in his haste to get it to the bedside. “Sir? Is
Nathan nodded, his own face
mirroring his despair. “She was
fine just moments ago. You saw her.
But now…” Nathan’s hands fell to the buttons of Kristin’s shirt
and began to unfasten them.
“Should I get Miss
Hitchcock to help you?”
Nathan glared at his first mate. “I
will look after the countess… no one but me.
Bring me cold water and alcohol. Station
someone outside to carry out my orders but no one comes in without my say so.”
Crocker recognized the tone
in his friend’s voice and knew there would be no dissuading him.
“Yes, sir.” He turned to
leave but Nathan’s voice halted him.
“Gator… look after Lucas,
Once his friend had nodded
and departed Nathan turned back to Kristin, surprised to find her staring up at
him. She grinned weakly.
“I guess we aren’t quite
out of the woods yet,” she whispered.
“You are going to be fine.
I’m going to take very good care of you.”
“You should let Katie… It
isn’t proper for you to…” her husky voice faded away as a wave of
dizziness washed over her.
She clung to Nathan as he
pulled her upright and slipped his shirt down her shoulders then tossed it away
from them. “I won’t look.”
Nathan’s comment drew a
small smile from her as he moved to untie the knot in her rope belt.
Kristin tried to help him as he stripped the trousers from her legs but
her strength was disappearing very quickly.
She soon faded back into unconsciousness.
Nathan tucked the blanket around her then ran a damp cloth over her
forehead. “You will be all right,
my lady. I am not going to lose you
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
“Mmm… wa…” Nathan’s
head jerked up off the mattress as Kristin mumbled in her troubled sleep.
He levered himself up from the floor he was sitting on, shaking his numb
leg furiously as needle darts of sensation shot through it.
Kristin had kicked the
blankets away, in her delirium. Her
hair and chemise were dripping wet and plastered to her.
“Wa… pls… wt…” she
mumbled again through thick lips.
Nathan dipped his fingers in
the cup of water by the bed and ran them over Kristin’s dry mouth.
Her lips pursed weakly as she tried to suck the moisture from his hand.
He continued this motion until she no longer responded to the wet
He laid a hand on her
forehead and groaned, sure that her temperature had gone up several more
“Don’t give up, Kristin.
You have to keep fighting… for me.”
Nathan took up the alcohol
soaked rag from the basin and began washing her face and limbs as he’d seen
her do for Lucas. “And you
don’t like strong spirits…” he murmured to her as he bathed her in rum. “You smell like a distillery right now. If you were awake I am sure you would be arguing to high
heaven with me… ‘you can’t touch me like that, Captain Rogue… it isn’t
proper’. And yet you haven’t
protested once about me getting rid of your corset.”
He kept up a steady stream of dialogue, hoping that somehow she could
hear his voice and be comforted by it.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
Kristin’s fever burned
strong throughout the next day, not increasing as far as Nathan could tell, but
never decreasing either. Katie came
to offer her services as nurse but the distraught captain turned her away,
unwilling to leave the lady’s side even for an instant.
He did accept the two mended chemises from Katie and after changing
Kristin into a dry one, allowed the young woman to take the sweat dampened
garment away to launder.
Midnight was approaching when
the chills started, the clattering of her teeth bringing Nathan at a run from
his hammock. Her chemise was once
again soaked through although now her body was cold and clammy to the touch.
After waging a debate with himself, common sense finally won out over
proper manners and Nathan pulled her up and stripped the wet garment over her
head. He spread a dry blanket out
beneath her then laid her back and piled extra blankets on top of her.
‘In for a penny in for a
pound.’ Nathan toed his boots off
then lifted the edge of the covers and climbed in with her.
He gathered Kristin into his arms and stroked her hair as he murmured
soothing words against her temple.
Kristin muttered under her
breath and despite her fever and the trembling of her body, she instinctively
nestled deeper into his embrace, seeking his warmth.
“That’s it… rest, my
lady,” Nathan told her softly rubbing her back through the thin blanket
covering her body. “Rest and get
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
Nathan’s eyes snapped open
and he shook himself out of the light doze he had fallen into.
He looked down at the woman in his arms to see her eyes moving wildly
beneath her lids, her hand clenching and releasing the silk of his shirt as her
body continued to shiver.
Kristin shook her head,
moaning softly. “Noo… wa…
Understanding dawned and
Nathan shifted them in the bed so that he could reach over her to the bowl on
the table beside the bed. He dipped
his fingers in the water then placed them on her lips as he’d done earlier.
‘Or was that the day before?’
He asked himself, worry heavy on his mind as the last few days blurred
After several passes of his
fingers against her swollen lips, Nathan settled them back against the bed and
continued to rub her back gently. He
dipped his head, pressing his lips against her ear. “Nathan…” he whispered.
“My name is Nathan…”
He closed his eyes as he
shifted and nuzzled her temple, missing the soft smile that flittered across
Kristin’s lips as she fell back into a deep sleep.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
A soft rapping on the door
woke Nathan up. He glanced down at
the woman in his arms then reached out and cupped her cheek.
“I do believe your fever
has finally broken, my lady,” Nathan said and brushed his lips against her
forehead before he slipped out from under the blankets and off the bed then
answered the door.
“Mornin’, Cap,” Crocker
greeted Nathan in a soft voice. “I
brought you some breakfast,” he said and held up a tray.
“Thanks, Gator… but…”
Crocker pushed past him and
moved into the cabin, carrying the tray over to the table. “You’ve barely eaten the last few days, Cap and you look
couldn’t help the crooked smile that tugged at the corner of his mouth as he
followed his first mate to the table and sat down.
“Besides, you need to keep
your strength up or you’ll be of no use to the countess,” Crocker told him
then glanced over at the sleeping form in the bed.
“Speaking of… how is she?”
“Her fever broke during the
night,” Nathan answered around a mouthful of porridge.
“Glad to hear it,”
Crocker said as he moved to leave the cabin.
“Shall I let the crew know?”
“But, I don’t want anyone dropping by until I say so.
She’s not completely recovered yet.”
“Aye, Cap.” Crocker nodded then left.
Nathan quickly finished up
his food and as he stood he caught sight of himself in the small mirror hanging
on the wall. He moved to stand in
front of it and shook his head. “What
a sight you are, Bridger,” he muttered to himself as he ran his fingers
through the mess of what used to be a neatly trimmed beard.
He glanced over at the bed and assured that Kristin was still sleeping,
Nathan stripped off his shirt and set about washing up and trimming his beard.
A short while later, Nathan
opened the window and tossed the used water outside then returned the bowl to
the credenza, deciding to leave the window open to let some fresh air into the
Humming softly to himself, he
opened his trunk and pulled out two shirts.
He slipped one on then moved over to the bed.
Nathan sat on the edge of the bunk and reached out a hand to cup her
cheek. He smiled then wrinkled his
nose. “I think we’d better
clean you up before you wake up, milady,” he told her sleeping form as the
scent of sweat and rum reached his nostrils.
He stood and moved to the
door. “Ortiz,” he called to the
young man standing guard against the opposite wall.
“Get Crocker and Miss Hitchcock for me immediately.”
“Yes, Captain,” Ortiz
replied and took off to do as ordered.
Nathan closed the door and
walked back to the bed. He pushed a
number of blankets off of Kristin then wrapped her in a couple of the lighter
ones, making sure to cover her completely from head to toe.
“Come in,” he called
quietly at the knock on the door.
“You wanted to see us,
Cap?” Crocker asked as he and
Katherine entered the room.
“Yes,” Nathan nodded.
“If I pick the countess up, will you two change the linens on the bed?
I’d like for her to wake up to clean bedclothes.”
“Of course, Captain,”
Katherine said with a glance at Crocker to see him nodding as well.
“Thank you,” Nathan
replied then turned back to Kristin and carefully lifted her from the bed.
He carried her over to the table, sat in one of the chairs and cradled
her in his arms. He gazed down at
her, relieved to see some of the colour back in Kristin’s cheeks.
Nathan pulled his eyes away
from the woman in his arms and looked up to see Crocker smiling knowingly at
him. “Yes, Gator?”
“We’re all done,”
Crocker told him.
“Thank you,” Nathan said
as he stood and slowly carried Kristin back to his bed.
He laid her back on the mattress and pulled a clean blanket over her then
turned to the two people standing behind him.
“Would you like me to stay
with Lady Westphalen, Captain? It
would give you a chance to go up deck and get some fresh air,” Katherine
“Thank you, but no,”
Nathan answered with a smile. He
turned to Crocker. “How is
“The three who were ill
have all recuperated…”
“And those men who were
“The early treatment
helped, they’ve not gotten extremely ill.”
“Glad to hear it,” Nathan
nodded then moved to the door and opened it.
“Thank you both again. I’ll
let you know when she wakes up.”
Nodding, Crocker and
Katherine left. Nathan shut the
door behind them then moved over to the credenza and poured some fresh water in
the bowl, tossing in a clean cloth as well.
He carried the bowl over to the bed and placed it on the small table
there then quickly retrieved the second shirt from on top of the trunk and
returned to the bed.
“Okay, Countess… time to
clean you up and get you into some clothes,” Nathan told her as he slowly
removed all but one blanket. He
slipped a hand beneath her and sat her up to slip her arms into his shirt then
laid her back down, careful to pull the ends of the shirt down so that she was
completely covered. Only then did
he remove the thin blanket.
“Now… to clean you up,”
he murmured, looking back and forth between her and the bowl. “I know I’ve already seen… but I promised I wouldn’t
look. So how…”
Nathan shrugged his shoulders
and slowly began to unbutton her shirt, taking care to make sure the material
didn’t separate and reveal any of her body to him. When he reached her waist, Nathan stopped and reached for the
wet cloth. He wrung it out then
began to wash her, starting with her face.
He dipped the cloth back into
the bowl then once he’d twisted the water out of it, he turned back to Kristin
and paused. ‘Here goes,’ he
thought as he slipped his hand beneath the shirt to bathe her chest.
murmured as she weakly swatted at his hand.
“Ssh…” Nathan soothed
her as her eyes fluttered open and she looked up at him.
“It’s okay. There’s no
funny business going on here…” he smiled down at her. “I’m just washing you up.”
Kristin smiled softly and
drifted back to sleep, murmuring quietly. “Lkthflyurhnds…”
Nathan’s grin grew and he
quickly finished his task. He
buttoned the shirt back up then pulled a warm blanket over her. He took a moment then and simply looked at her.
‘You are so beautiful,’ he thought as he traced the line of her jaw
with his finger. ‘Gator was
right… I was enchanted with you from the moment I first laid eyes on you.’
“Sleep well, my lady,”
Nathan told her softly as he leaned over to brush a gentle kiss against her
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
The sound of a deep breath
being drawn followed by a low murmur caught Nathan’s attention. He put the book he’d been attempting to read down on the
table then rose and made his way to the bed.
He sat on the edge of the mattress and watched as Kristin slowly worked
her way towards consciousness.
Kristin’s eyes fluttered open as she whispered his name on a breath and smiled
when she saw him sitting on the bed beside her.
Nathan smiled down at her.
“Hello,” he reached out to brush a stray lock of auburn hair off her
cheek. “Welcome back.”
“Thank you,” she replied
as she gave in to the urge to stretch. When
she finished, Kristin settled back against the pillows and looked up at him
“You look tired,” she said in a quiet voice as she reached up to
touch his cheek with the tips of her fingers.
“I’m fine,” Nathan told
her, a shiver running down his body as her hand completely cupped the side of
his face. “You’re the one
we’ve all been worried about.”
“Yes, we,” Nathan
answered. “The entire ship was
concerned about you. In fact… the
first morning,” a smile formed on his face.
“I found Lucas camped out in front of my door again in case you needed
“That sweet child…”
Kristin murmured then pushed up on her elbows.
“Camped out!? But he
wasn’t completely well… he shouldn’t have…”
“I made him go back to his
bunk,” Nathan told her. “And I
had Crocker looking after him.”
“Good,” Kristin relaxed
back against the pillows. “So…
the crew was worried about me?”
“Including her captain?”
Kristin asked in a soft voice.
“Especially her captain,”
Nathan replied in an equally quiet voice as he held her gaze.
Kristin felt her heart begin
to pound in her chest as Nathan slowly leaned closer until his face was just
mere inches away from hers.
“And I am very glad that
you are better, my lady,” Nathan continued in the soft voice then lowered his
lips to hers in gentle kiss.
whispered his name against his mouth and immediately parted her lips to his
seeking tongue. She moaned at the
taste of him and slid her hand up into his hair, holding him to her and
deepening the kiss.
Nathan groaned softly as
their tongues moved against and around each other, curling and tangling in a
passionate dance back and forth in each other’s mouths.
He slid a hand beneath her head, threading his fingers in her thick hair
as he shifted closer.
A sudden knock on the door
stopped the kiss before it could explode into something more. They pulled out of the kiss, both breathless and rested their
foreheads against each other.
“Lucas…” they murmured
together then smiled.
Neither one moved.
Another knock sounded.
Nathan groaned softly then
brushed a quick kiss over her lips before he stood and made his way to the door.
With a glance at Kristin to make sure she was ready, Nathan opened the
“I… uh… I thought you
might like something to eat,” Lucas said, holding up a tray. “And I was sorta hoping…”
“She’d like to see you too, son.”
Lucas beamed and moved into
the room when Nathan stepped aside. “Countess!”
“Hello, Lucas,” Kristin
smiled at the boy as she slowly sat up, pulling the pillows behind her to
support her back. “How are you
“Isn’t that supposed to
be my question?”
Kristin chuckled softly.
“Yes, but answer it anyway.”
“I’m fine. I feel much better,” he told her. “Now… how about you?”
“Better. Still tired, but better.”
“That’s ‘cause the cap
here took such good care of you,” Lucas told her.
“Wouldn’t let anyone else… insisted that he be the only one…”
The sound of a throat clearing behind him stopped Lucas from continuing.
He blushed refusing to look back at the captain.
“Anyway, Mister Crocker took care of me…”
As Lucas continued to talk,
Nathan picked at the food he’d brought in.
A glance at Kristin a short while later, showed she was tiring, so he
stood and moved over to the bed.
“I think it’s time to let
the countess rest, Lucas,” Nathan told him.
“She’s not completely recovered yet.”
“Okay,” Lucas nodded.
“Will you take the tray
with you please?”
“Yes, sir,” Lucas said as
he stood. He paused as if uncertain
then leaned closer and brushed a quick kiss against Kristin’s cheek.
“I’m glad you’re better, milady.”
“Thank you, Lucas,”
Kristin replied as she reached out and ruffled his hair.
“I am glad you are feeling better as well.”
The youth blushed and quickly
shuffled over to the table; grabbed the tray and left.
Nathan slid the bolt on the
door in place and then moved back to the bed.
He sat down on the edge and reached out a hand to cup her cheek then slid
it up to rest on her forehead. A
smile formed on his lips. “Yes, I
truly believe the fever is gone.”
“I think so too.”
“You should try to
“That’s all I have
“Restful sleep, Kristin,”
Nathan said then stopped when he saw her eyes widen.
“You called me Kristin,”
she pointed out.
“I… yeah, I did.”
Kristin smiled shyly at him.
“I… I like the way you say it.”
Nathan cupped her cheek
again, his thumb rubbing softly over her bottom lip as he smiled down at her.
“Get some sleep. Tomorrow, if you’re feeling up to it, I will take you up on
deck for some fresh air.”
“I’d like that,”
“Good,” Nathan said as he
removed his hand from Kristin’s face then moved to stand.
He was stopped by Kristin’s hand on his arm. “What?”
“Would you… would you sit
and talk to me… until I fall asleep?”
“Move over,” he told her and when she’d shifted over enough, Nathan
rose, turned and sat back down on the bed then rested back against the pillows.
“So, what would you like me to talk about?”
Kristin shifted closer but
didn’t touch him and curled her arms around her pillow. She gazed up at him. “Tell
me… more about Lucas…”
“Lucas, eh? Hmm… let’s see…”
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
Kristin’s eyes flickered
open, slightly disoriented in the moonlit cabin, not sure of what had woken her
until a deep raspy sound resonated through the room again. The strong arms wrapped around her body reassured her and she
snuggled deeper into Nathan’s embrace, realizing only then that the sound was
coming from him. She lifted her
head and the cool air washing across her cheek told her that something was
Kristin tugged Nathan’s
shirt apart and laid a hand on his chest, almost weeping at the heat that seared
“Nathan!” She shook his shoulder.
Nathan responded as well as
he was able, his eyes squinting open to stare at her.
“Mmm… sleep,” his arms tightened, attempting to pull her back to
“Nathan, you are sick.
You have the fever.”
He snuggled deeper into the
Kristin laid a hand on the
sleeping captain’s cheek. “You
exhausted yourself looking after me and lowered your resistance.”
She worked her legs out from beneath the bedclothes then reached to the
foot and grabbed a blanket. She
spread it out over Nathan and carefully tucked it in around him before
attempting to climb over him and exit the bed.
By the time Kristin managed
to get her feet to the floor what little strength she had regained was gone and
she sank to her knees, clinging to the side of the bed to support herself.
“I’m sorry. I want to take care of you like you did for me…” she
stroked his cheek again. Nathan
turned his head into her gentle caress, his dry lips brushing her palm.
With a superhuman effort
Kristin managed to pull herself back to her feet and grab a second spare
blanket. She worked her way down
the side of the bed toward the door, hanging on as far as she could then
launching herself toward the opposite wall.
She held the blanket out in front of her as she slid the bolt back and
pulled the door open.
“Is anyone there?”
She called out, hoping that the guard Nathan had placed on the door might
still be in place. She breathed a sigh of relief as Crocker stepped into the
“Countess?” He questioned then jumped to support her as she sagged
against the doorframe.
Kristin clung to the solidly
built man for a minute to regain her equilibrium then pushed back and grabbed
the wall again. “Nathan… he has
the fever. He’s burning up. Can you bring me water?”
Her knees buckled slightly and Crocker moved forward but Kristin quickly
recovered and backed away. “No…
I don’t want you getting sick as well. We
have to stop this infection before it affects the entire crew.
I will care for him if you can bring me supplies.”
A sympathetic look crossed
Crocker’s face. “You aren’t
well enough, milady. You haven’t
completely recovered from your own illness.
You must let me help you.”
“Tomorrow… if he isn’t
better…” Crocker recognized that Kristin was in no mood or shape to argue
with so he nodded. “I’ll get
the water. You go rest.”
Kristin nodded and backed up,
conscious of the fact that she held the blanket in front of her but hadn’t
wrapped it around her entire body. Crocker
quickly understood and moved back into the darkness, giving Kristin some privacy
to maneuver the door closed.
She moved to the water crock
and dipped a cupful then headed slowly back toward the bed. Halfway there she
dropped the blanket to the floor and used both hands to hold the sloshing glass.
Kristin tried to perch on the edge of the bed but Nathan had rolled very
close to the edge so eventually she gave up and sat the cup on the small table
then climbed over him back into the bed.
Nathan rolled toward her as
she sat and reached for the cup, snuggling his head into the curve of her waist
as one strong arm wrapped around her hip. Kristin
smiled and carefully maneuvered his head into her lap.
She flipped the spare blanket up to cover her naked legs then dipped her
fingers in the water and wet Nathan’s parched lips.
He sucked thirstily at the
wetness, his tongue flicking out to lap her fingers in search of more.
Kristin patiently fed him over and over but it didn’t seem to be
enough. Finally a solution occurred
to her. She shifted Nathan’s head
a little and pulled his mouth open then took a sip of water, filling her mouth.
Kristin bent over and laid her lips over his, forming a seal as she let
the water trickle into his mouth.
Crocker watched from the
shadows as Kristin repeated the action, knowing that the lady wasn’t aware of
his presence since the latch on the door hadn’t caught when she closed it.
The fact that Kristin Westphalen now knew his captain’s first name
hadn’t been lost on him either. He
allowed himself a brief gloating smile. ‘Not
in love with her, my ass!’
“Ahem…” Kristin broke
her connection with the captain hurriedly, water trickling down both of their
chins as she looked up to find Crocker entering the room.
She quickly wiped the water away and tugged her blanket up to her chest.
“Don’t get too close,”
Crocker ignored her warning
and moved to the edge of the bed, swearing softly at the sight of his
“If you could help me
remove his shirt and put a blanket beneath him, I can bathe him better.
Then you must wash your hands thoroughly with plenty of soap.”
“You can’t do this by
yourself, milady.” Crocker
protested again as he did as she bid.
“He needs rest tonight…
sleep. I can keep him cooled off
until tomorrow morning then I’ll rest.”
“While I watch the
“Agreed.” Kristin nodded a bit self-consciously, suddenly realizing
where she was sitting and what she was wearing.
“Don’t forget to wash your hands,” she reminded Crocker as he moved
toward the door.
“I will and I will post
someone outside. If you need
anything… anything at all, just call out.”
Nathan had remained quiet
through much of their verbal exchange but as soon as his friend had left the
room he moaned softly. Kristin
quickly touched his chest and knew that his fever had risen.
She reached toward the bowl of water that the first mate had left at the
bedside but was too weak to lift it.
With a determined shrug
Kristin did the only thing she could think of; she climbed on top of Nathan,
straddling his waist so that she could reach the water and towel.
‘What would those society
cows think of you now, Countess?’ Kristin asked herself with a laugh as she
slowly ran the towel over Nathan’s hard chest.
She bathed him until he
settled back into a restful sleep then dropped the towel back into the bowl and
rolled back to the mattress, exhausted. Sleep
overtook her quickly; she never felt the man next to her snuggling into her
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
Kristin stirred at the sound
of knocking, her eyes flying open wide as she realized she was trapped.
Sometime in the night she had rolled to her back and Nathan had spooned
up against her, one strong leg tangling with hers.
His hand had worked its way between the loose buttons of the shirt she
wore to possessively cup her naked breast.
The heat still generating from his skin let her know that he hadn’t
done it intentionally but her body reacted anyway, that wonderful feeling
shooting straight from her hardened nipple to her very core.
“Just a moment,” she
called as she reluctantly struggled to free herself from his grasp. Nathan protested, a fevered mumble emerging from his lips as
she slid away from him and grabbed the blanket.
Crocker swung the door open
and entered; having waited what he supposed was a decent amount of time.
His surprise at seeing Kristin still in the bed with Nathan was evident.
“I’m sorry, Countess.
I should have made other arrangements for you… I didn’t think…”
“That’s all right… I
intended to try the hammock but… I guess I was so tired… I fell asleep.
Could you turn around so that I can climb out?”
Crocker managed to hide his
threatening smile until his back was to the lady.
“Did you have a rough night?”
Kristin moved over to one of
Nathan’s sturdy oak chests and pulled out the trousers that she had worn on
deck. She quickly pulled them on as
she answered. “I bathed him
several times but he seemed to rest fairly well.
Do you think that you could bring some more cool water?”
“I’m having some drawn
right now. Lucas is bringing you
some breakfast as well. You have to
eat,” he quickly shot down her murmured protest.
“You aren’t well yourself, Countess, and the captain will string me
from the highest yardarm if you fall ill again.”
Kristin glanced down,
checking her appearance. At the
sight of her still peaked nipples pressing against the blue silk she swore
silently and grabbed another shirt to slide over the first one.
“Thank you, Mr. Crocker.”
“The captain calls me
Gator, ma’am… a childhood nickname but if you’d like…”
Kristin beamed at Crocker.
“Thank you… and I will try to eat something.”
She wandered back to the side of the bed and wet her fingers then offered
them to Nathan. “I wonder if I
could get him to take some willow bark tea…”
“I’ll have some steeped.
I am sure you can think of someway to get it into him.”
Kristin glanced at Crocker suspiciously but his face held a totally
Lucas soon arrived with a
tray containing both a bowl of porridge and a bowl of broth.
Crocker left to check on Kristin’s requests while she ate, keeping a
mindful eye on the man in the bed while the boy sat on the floor a few feet
“He is going to get well,
“Of course he is,”
Kristin reassured Lucas between bites. “You
got well and so did I.”
“I was so worried about
you… and the captain… he’s the closest thing to a fath… I don’t know
what I would do if anything happened to him.”
“The captain is going to be
just fine, Lucas, but I want you to know that you can always come to me… you
will always have a home.”
The boy quickly brushed away
the tear that formed in his eye.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
Kristin dozed fitfully on the
pallet she’d prepared on the floor near the window.
Crocker watched her toss and turn from a chair at the table, only his
promise to look out for Nathan convincing her to rest at all.
Bridger lay in the bunk
fighting the blankets piled on top of him as his fever began to rise again.
Crocker knew that soon the captain would begin to call out for the
countess and she would wake and go to him.
He stood and moved to his
friend’s side, dipping his hand into the cool water to find the strip of cloth
then turning back the blankets to run it across his parched skin.
‘I saw the sparks between the two of you but I never dreamed…’
Crocker thought as he continued the soothing rub, ‘that beautiful woman is
just as much in love with you as you are with her.
What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall when the two of you
finally realize it… but then, you are coming to realize, aren’t you,
Without warning Nathan began
to shiver violently. Crocker
reached to the end of the bed for more blankets but turned back at the
strangling noise to see his friend convulsing.
He cursed loudly as he struggled to hold Nathan against the bed.
Suddenly he felt soft hands
tugging at his arms. “Let him go,
Gator. Don’t try to restrain him.
Just make sure he doesn’t hurt himself.”
Kristin grabbed a piece of balled up cotton and shoved it between
Nathan’s lips. “He’s burning up!” She exclaimed as she ran her palms
over his chest. “We’ve got to
bring his fever down quickly.”
But we don’t have any… Alcohol is the best thing… if only we could
submerge him in cool water.”
Crocker grabbed the pitcher
of whiskey and dumped it in a bowl then headed toward the door with a muttered,
“be right back”. Seconds later
Lucas appeared at Kristin’s side. Without
a word he grabbed another cloth and went to work on Nathan’s feet and calves.
By the time that Crocker
returned with Kreig, O’Neill, Ford, Ortiz and a few other crewmembers the
convulsion had passed but Nathan’s fever was still dangerously high. Kristin stared as the men began to construct a wooden frame,
although she didn’t stop what she was doing.
Once the men were done Crocker and Kreig moved to the bed and gently
pushed Kristin out of the way.
She watched with interest as
the two men gently picked Nathan up and placed him in the middle of the oilskin
that the other crewmembers had spread over the frame. Each man took his place and grabbed hold of a section of
canvas to hold it in place.
“Get it moving!”
A man Kristin didn’t
recognize appeared at the door with a bucket, running to dump its contents in
the tarp. Before he had finished
another man was moving into place to follow him.
This pattern continued until Nathan was submerged to the neck in cool
seawater, Crocker and Ben each bent low over the makeshift tub to hold him down.
Kristin smiled as she worked
her way between the men at the head of the tub and bent to carefully wash
“This is brilliant, Mr.
Crocker. But the water won’t stay
cool very long. His body heat will
“We’ve thought of that
too, ma’am. Lucas!”
Kristin hadn’t noticed the
slender lad holding a bottom corner of the oilskin until he stood, the small
basin they’d been using for water empty in his hands.
He dipped it into the tub and filled it then moved to the now open window
close behind him and threw the contents back into the sea.
“Lucas will slowly draw the
hot water off the top and when the level gets too low we refill it with cold.”
Nathan lay in the bath for
twenty minutes before Kristin decided that his temperature had come down to a
safe level again. Crocker and Kreig
once again lifted Nathan and held him while Kristin dried him as best she could.
The other men hoisted the tarp and moved to the window, dropping a corner
outside to let the water drain away.
Kristin spread a folded towel
on the bunk for the men to lay Nathan on, her face showing her worry as she
stared at Nathan’s wet trousers.
“He doesn’t need to stay
in those, Gator. Do you think you
could…” her face flamed as she gestured toward the wet black fabric.
“The captain would kill me
if…” Crocker snapped his fingers and hurried to the credenza.
He rifled through several compartments, finally emerging with a pair of
knee-length cotton drawers.
“That would be perfect.”
Kristin told him as she moved to the window and stared pointedly at the
retreating ocean. She watched the
reflection in the glass with interest as Crocker stripped Nathan and redressed
him then covered him with blankets.
“I’m done now, milady,”
Crocker finally told her, knowing full well that she had been watching him work.
Kristin turned and smiled as
she moved back toward the bed. “Thank
you, Gator. I think that we could
all do with some rest now. The last
two days have been very taxing on everyone but I am hopeful that the bath will
do the trick and Nathan’s fever will break tonight.
Why don’t you get some rest?”
“Only if you promise to as
well. But I’ll be back say around
midnight to take over for you.”
Kristin nodded in agreement;
knowing that to disagree would lead to Gator’s obstinate refusal to rest at
Lucas lingered longer than
the rest of the men but finally agreed to turn in for the night, leaving Kristin
all alone with the captain. She
propped herself on the edge of the bed and tenderly brushed his graying hair
back from his forehead.
“You must get better,
Captain Rogue,” she whispered softly. “Your
men would be lost without you… I would be lost…”
Nathan shivered slightly and
without a thought at all Kristin stripped away her top shirt then lifted the
blankets and climbed in beside him.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
Crocker was startled when he
returned to the Captain’s quarters and found the pallet empty. ‘Where!?!’ Then
he looked at the bunk. A low
whistle left his lips at the sight of the captain and the countess sleeping
together, wrapped tightly in each other’s embrace.
Although he had found them in the same bed before they’d never been
positioned as intimately as they obviously were now.
He leaned over and carefully
touched Nathan’s cheek, relieved to find it cool to the touch.
Knowing that the captain’s fever had broken, Crocker decided not to
wake Lady Westphalen. He paused at
the door and shook his head, another huge grin splitting his face.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
“Chief! We have a visitor,” Ortiz called out to Crocker, his head
inclined toward the lower deck exit. Kristin
had just stepped out onto the deck, garbed in Nathan’s clothes as usual, her
hair bound in a tight ponytail.
“Without an escort?
The captain’s going to kill me,” he mumbled as he moved toward her.
Kristin met him halfway
across deck. “You shouldn’t
have come topside alone,” Crocker told her reproachfully.
“You know what happened last time.”
“McLeary is safely locked
up, is he not? Besides your captain
taught me a defense maneuver that he assured me would bring any man to his
“Never the less… is the
captain all right?”
“Do you mind if we walk? I
really need to stretch my legs and the fresh air is lovely.”
She lifted her face into the balmy breeze.
“We’ve sailed much farther south than we were when I came on board,
“We are in Caribbean waters
now. The captain?” He gently prodded.
“Nathan is sleeping
peacefully; all trace of his fever is gone.
Lucas is sitting with him… I think the boy wanted a little time…”
“Cap thinks the world of
that boy. Lucas kept him sane
Kristin paused in the bow of
the ship, stretching her upper body out over the railing. Crocker’s mind drifted back to a conversation he’d had
with Bridger in this very spot just a few days before.
“Lucas kept him sane after
Robert died.” Kristin observed
“You know about Robert?”
Crocker was genuinely surprised. Nathan
Bridger seldom talked about his son, even to his closest friends.
“I was looking for a cloth
and found a picture… pictures of Carol and Robert.
The young man looked so much like the captain. He was obviously Nathan’s son.
When Lucas was sick… Nathan and I talked about our children… he told
me stories about his son after muttering something about having already lost
one… and there was always a hint of sadness in his voice. Will you tell me what happened?”
“It isn’t really my
Somehow I know that Robert’s death must be tied up in the reasons why
the captain hates me… hates the English.”
Crocker contemplated what the
countess was asking for then spoke hesitantly.
“Bobby joined the U.S. navy against his mother’s wishes.
That trip was his first as second mate.
A British naval vessel came up along side and boarded the boat illegally.
They claimed that Bobby was one of theirs… took him. He died before the cap could get him back.”
“Oh God…” Crocker
barely heard her sigh. “Those
damned press gangs!” Kristin
suddenly exploded. “I’ve been
hounding my father for years to speak out against them in Parliament.
They sweep through my estates two or three times a year and try to steal
my worker’s sons. We’ve managed
to work out a series of signals and hiding places… but my neighbors haven’t
been as lucky. No wonder Nathan
detests me so much.”
“I don’t think that is
true anymore, Countess.”
“How can he help it?
The thought of that young man cut down in the prime of his life.
I know that he must have been… Nathan told me a story about the first
time he took Robert on a trip with him. He
must have been so full of life and energy to climb to the crow’s nest…”
“Bobby was a rascal all
right.” Crocker chuckled deeply,
his shoulders shaking at the memory. “I
must have chased him up and down that ship two hundred times. He was always climbing up onto the ships railing,
searching… he so wanted to run into a pirate ship…” he stopped abruptly,
hoping the lady hadn’t picked up on his slip.
“It’s all right, Gator. I
don’t pretend to understand what this is all about… but I do know that
things are not what they seem. Perhaps
someday Nathan will trust me enough to explain everything to me,” she said
enigmatically. “I think that I should return to the cabin now.
Thank you for the walk… and the information.”
With a grateful smile she walked away.
Crocker watched her go.
‘You just think that you are fooling the lady, captain… but I think
that you may have underestimated her.’
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
Nathan stared with disdain at
the bowl of weak broth Kristin held in her hand.
“I want some real food.”
“Your fever hasn’t been
gone twelve full hours yet. You
need to start easy. Now eat your
broth.” She dipped a spoonful out
and held it to his lips.
Blue eyes glared as he
reluctantly took the utensil into his mouth.
“I get stew for dinner.”
“Today.” Kristin took advantage of his open mouth to shove the spoon
“Captain, we are
approaching Port San Luis and we are getting low on vital stores…” Crocker
interrupted their banter.
“We’ll put in.
There are some things that we need to take care of… some… cargo… we
need to offload,” Nathan answered between sips of broth.
“There is a problem, sir.
If the port authorities get wind of the illness we’ve had on
“Everyone is well, aren’t
“Everyone but you, Captain
Rogue. You need several more days
rest. The seizures that your fever
caused have left you very weak,” Kristin told him. “But fresh air and
sunshine would probably do you a world of good.”
“Monito Island is nearby,
sir. We could… leave you there
overnight… and the countess as well. If
she were discovered on board… there
could be complications…” Crocker stared at the floor, unwilling to meet
A wave of fear washed over
Kristin at the thought that she might never be freed but strangely, it faded
quickly, an ache at the thought of leaving quickly taking its place.
“That sounds like an excellent idea, Gator.
Is there fresh fruit on the island?
If not then you should try to get some in port.
We might all benefit from the added vitamins.”
“Cap?” Crocker turned to look at Bridger. “What do you think? Would
you like a few days rest on a deserted island?
“It sounds like I don’t
have any choice in the matter,” Nathan grumbled but a smile lit his eyes.
“I’ll need for you to do a few things for me while you’re in
“We can drop you at the
island tomorrow morning then be in San Luis by midday. We’ll arrange for stores to be delivered overnight then
pick you up the following afternoon.”
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
“You sure you’re gonna be
okay here, Cap?” Crocker asked,
glancing around the lush tropical island.
“Uhm… yeah, Gator,”
Nathan replied distractedly. “I’ll
be… we’ll be fine.”
Crocker turned back to his
friend to see him watching the countess intently as she checked over their
supplies. A slow smile filled his
face. ‘Oh, you got it bad,
Cap.’ He chuckled softly then
hurriedly bit back his smile when Nathan turned to look at him.
“I don’t want to hear
it,” Nathan said, knowing what his friend was thinking.
“I wasn’t going to say
“Sure,” Nathan replied.
“Now, you know what to do?”
“Aye, Cap,” Crocker
answered. “We hit port, get some
“And get that bastard
McLeary off my ship,” Nathan told him forcefully.
“Yes, sir… we’ll make
sure he’s gone.”
“Good,” Nathan said.
“Yes, thank you, Gator.”
Nathan glanced over his shoulder to see Kristin approaching.
He couldn’t help but smile at her.
Crocker watched the two
people before him and couldn’t help the smile that once again came to his
face. ‘And the countess has it
bad for you too.’
Countess,” Crocker said. “Now,
I think we’d better get underway,” he said as he turned then began to walk
back towards the shore and the rowboat waiting to take him back to the ship. “I don’t want either of you thinking about anything other
than taking it easy. You’re still
not one hundred percent.”
“We will, Gator,” Nathan
said as they walked with him.
“Right, Cap. We’ll see you tomorrow then,” Crocker said as he pushed
the boat off the sand into the water then jumped in.
“Get some rest!”
Nathan waved his friend off,
he and Kristin remaining on the shore of the beach until Crocker reached the
ship. Nathan turned to Kristin.
“Good. Come on.”
Kristin followed him over to
the supplies, surprised when he began gather the few items up in his arms.
“What are you…?”
“We’re staying further
inland,” Nathan told her. “It’s
too open here and…” a smile formed on his lips and his eyes twinkled. “Wait till you see what I’ve got to show you.”
“Ah… it’s a
surprise,” he told her. “Grab
something and let’s go.”
“Yes, Captain Rogue,”
Kristin replied and was rewarded with a brilliant smile from the man before her,
a smile that sent sparks of feelings shooting through her body.
“Come on, my lady,”
Nathan called over his shoulder as he moved deeper into the island; his hands
and arms full.
Kristin picked up the few
remaining items and jogged after him, following him into the line of trees.
“Oh… my… God…” she
gasped as they walked into a clearing. “Oh,
Nathan smiled at her reaction
then turned his gaze to the little paradise he’d brought her to.
A lagoon lay several feet in
front of them, fed by a waterfall from the small mountain before them.
Everything was lush and vibrant.
Kristin turned to look at him and immediately dashed to his side when she saw
that he was sitting on the grass, leaning up against their supplies; his face
flushed and sweaty. “Why didn’t
you say something?” She
admonished as she wiped the moisture from his brow.
“I could have carried more…”
“I’m all right,
Kristin,” Nathan told her in a breathless voice.
He grabbed her hands. “I’m
all right,” he repeated. “Honest.”
Kristin shook her head.
“You’re not fully recovered yet.
You shouldn’t push yourself.”
“I’m not pushing it.
I know what I am and am not capable of, thank you very much,” Nathan
said in a rough voice.
“Well, excuse me,”
Kristin retorted and climbed to her feet. “Pass
out then! See if I care!”
With that, Kristin stormed
off towards the lagoon.
Nathan watched her drop to
her knees at the waters edge and hung his head.
“Stupid, stupid, stupid,” he muttered to himself.
Deciding that a few moments apart would be the best thing for both of
them, Nathan slowly got to his feet and set about fixing up a small lean-to just
inside the line of trees.
He pushed their few other
supplies back into the shade of the tree line and then turned to see that
Kristin was still sitting by the edge of the lagoon.
Taking a small detour by the wild flowers growing along the edge of the
hot spring, Nathan selected the largest bloom, plucked it from the ground then
slowly made his way over to her.
Kristin heard him approach
but refused to acknowledge his presence. Suddenly
a large blue flower appeared before her. She
reached out to trace the silky petals, her anger melting away.
“I’m sorry,” they said
Kristin turned to look at him
as she took the flower from him, a shiver running through her body as their
Their eyes met.
“I have a frightful
temper,” Kristin said in a soft voice. “My
father always said it was one of my worst qualities.
Even my husband had a difficult time dealing with it.”
“I like that you stand up
for yourself and for what you think,” Nathan told her.
“Besides, I’ve been told I have a hell of a temper myself.”
A small smile pulled at the
corners of Kristin’s mouth. “You
“Well… that’s what I’ve been told.”
Kristin shook her head in
“So… what is on the
agenda?” She asked a few moments
“Not a thing,” Nathan
answered. “We are to do nothing
but relax and recuperate.”
“I’ve never been one for
that sort of leisure… to just doing nothing…” Kristin looked around at her
surroundings then met his eyes, a smile on her face.
“But I think… I could give it a try.”
Nathan smiled back.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
Kristin stared at the rough
lean-to Nathan had pieced together with branches and a heavy tarp.
“It’s in case it rains
during the night and to keep the sun off in the morning,” Nathan explained.
“If it makes you feel more
comfortable, I will sleep out here,” Nathan told her.
Kristin felt an odd mixture
of relief and disappointment wash over her at his words.
She looked up at him and shook her head. “No… it’s all right,” she told him quietly.
“There looks to be enough room for both of us.”
“Well then…” he pointed over to the trees on his left.
“I’m going to…”
“Uhm… right, I’ll be
over here,” Kristin gestured to the trees on her right.
Kristin moved into the trees
and took care of business then after stopping by the lagoon to wash; she made
her way back to the lean-to. She
quickly stripped off the shirt and britches she wore, leaving her clad only in
her chemise then settled beneath the blanket on one of the pallets.
She curled up on her side, facing the empty pallet nearby and waited for
Nathan to return. Several minutes
later, she saw him leave the line of trees and head for the lagoon.
She watched as he pulled his
shirt off, slipped to his knees and dunked the upper half of his body into the
cool water of the lagoon. He slowly
got to his feet, drying his face and hair with his shirt before running the damp
silk haphazardly over his chest as he approached the lean-to.
Kristin swallowed hard and
bit her lower lip at the sudden wave of heat that suffused her body at the sight
of his bare chest glistening in the evening sun.
She closed her eyes and willed the strange feeling to go away as he
crawled under the lean-to and lay down on the pallet beside her.
“Remind me… there’s
something I want to show you tomorrow,” Nathan told her.
“It’s a surprise,” he
said with a grin as she turned to look at him.
“But it’s one I think you’ll like.”
Kristin smiled and nodded as
she pulled the blanket up to her chin. “Good
“Sleep well, Kristin,”
Nathan replied in a soft voice.
Several minutes passed when
she heard him call her name. She
opened her eyes to see him lying on his side facing her.
“Yes?” Kristin asked.
“I…” Nathan paused to
take a deep breath. “A few weeks
ago you asked me what I’d done with your crew.”
Kristin’s jaw clenched and
“I let you believe that I
Kristin nodded again.
“I want you to know… I
didn’t… they’re all fine,” Nathan said.
“Each and every one of them is alive.”
Kristin closed her eyes and
felt a wave of relief wash over her at his words; both for the fact that her
crew was still alive and that Nathan was indeed the decent man her heart was
telling her he was.
“What did you… do with
“We took them to a deserted
island then damaged the hull of your ship enough so that it would take them
several weeks to fix it,” Nathan answered.
“We left them food and water, but in such a way so that it looked like
they had to forage for more.”
“Why did you attack my ship
in the first place?” Kristin
“It was a mistake,”
Nathan told her. “We were looking
for a certain British Naval ship,” he admitted quietly then paused to wait for
the explosion. When it didn’t
come, he met her eyes and was shocked to see understanding there instead of
disgust. “Unfortunately we
couldn’t just let the crew go… and I took you and Katie aboard my ship
because you were injured.”
“Who was taken?”
Nathan’s surprise at her
question showed on his face. “Pardon
“From little things I’ve
overheard here and there, I’m guessing that someone you care a great deal
about was taken by a bloody press gang,” she said.
“You’re looking for him.”
“Will. William Noyce Junior. My
oldest friend’s son,” Nathan answered.
“He was taken just over six months ago.”
“I am so sorry,” Kristin
told him, reaching out a hand towards him.
“It’s… it’s not your
fault,” Nathan told her in a quiet voice, finally realizing that while Kristin
was British, she wasn’t responsible for what had happened to Will and also to
his son. And from what he could
see, she wasn’t happy with the press gangs either.
“I… I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to understand that.”
Kristin smiled softly as
Nathan stretched out his arm and took her hand in his. “I understand your… feelings,” she told him.
Nathan watched as her eyes
closed, surprised when he saw a of couple tears slip out from beneath her lids.
He squeezed her hand gently. “Kris…?”
“I… I told you part of
“That your husband was
killed by pirates.”
“Yes,” Kristin nodded.
“My… my brother… was killed by pirates too,” Kristin told him a
voice barely above a whisper.
“Oh God!” Nathan gasped and shifted closer as he tugged on her hand and
pulled her into his arms. “I am
so sorry… I…”
Kristin rolled into his arms
willingly and burrowed her face into his chest.
“It’s not your fault…” she muttered against his skin as she
relished the feel of his arms wrapped around her; taking comfort in his embrace
and the feel of his hands rubbing her back and stroking her hair. “It happened so long ago… but it still… hurts.”
‘Raising my daughter
alone for the last fifteen years.’ Her
words from an earlier conversation flashed through his mind.
“I know it does,” Nathan spoke softly against the top of her head.
“I know… do you…”
Kristin shifted in Nathan’s
arms and laid her cheek against his chest.
“Oliver, my husband, had taken a new boat out,” she began in a quiet
voice. “My brother James went
with him. On the fourth day of
their voyage, they were attacked and the crew was slaughtered.”
Nathan tightened his arms
around her when he felt her tremble in his arms.
“Ssh… you don’t have to tell me anymore.”
“I want to…” Kristin
told him and at the feel of his nod against her head she continued. “One of the men managed to escape… but not before he saw
the leader of the pirates kill both James and Oliver… run them through with
his sword…” she shuddered again. “The
hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life was tell my eight year old
daughter that her daddy wasn’t coming back.”
“I had to do the same with
my wife,” Nathan told her quietly. “Tell
her that our son was dead.”
“Gator told me…”
“Told you what?”
“That Robert was taken by a
press gang… I… I asked him,” Kristin admitted quietly, “the other day, just after your fever broke.
I went up on deck to get some air and stretch my legs…” she paused
and continued in an even softer voice. “I
wanted to know why you hate me…”
“And he told you?”
“How did you… find out
that your son had been…”
“When he and Ben were
“Yes,” Nathan nodded.
“He and Bobby grew up together. They
were the best of friends. Those two
boys did everything together. Anyway,
when they were taken, I vowed that I would get them back or die trying,”
Nathan told her. “The men on my ship… they all swore to help me.
It took us a few months, but we finally found the ship that had taken the
boys. When the fighting was over
and we’d finally gotten the upper hand, I searched the ship till I found…”
Kristin slid her hand across
his chest in silent support as his voice broke and waited for him to continue.
“I found Ben… he was very
sick… a fever along with severe malnutrition,” Nathan continued in a soft
voice. “He came to long enough to
tell me that Bobby…” his voice faltered,
“that my little boy had passed away two weeks earlier.
He’d gotten sick… and…”
Kristin shifted in his arms
and wrapped hers around him. “You
don’t have to tell me anymore…”
“I went ballistic,”
Nathan told her as if he hadn’t heard her.
“Went on a rampage… I hunted down every damned British ship I could
find. But despite how angry I was;
I couldn’t bring myself to kill the bastards…
so I simply freed any of the men who’d been pressed into service then
badly damaged the ships,” he paused. “Less
than a year later… I lost my wife.”
“Thank you…” Nathan
said and tightened his arms around her, pulling her closer.
“And now… you know the true story of the Blue Rogue.”
“Thank you for telling
me,” Kristin told him after several minutes.
“I… I’m grateful.”
Nathan nodded and then his
tugged his blanket over them both. “Sleep
now, my lady.”
“Aye, Captain Rogue,”
Kristin replied with a yawn. She
snuggled closer to him as sleep slowly claimed her.
Kristin…” he told her softly. “And
for the record… I don’t hate you…”
“Mmm…” Kristin sighed
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
Warm rays of sunlight tickled
Kristin’s feet, bringing a smile to her face as she woke to find her body
still locked in the rogue captain’s strong embrace.
She stretched as well as his hold would allow then settled down to stare
at Nathan’s rugged face as he slept on.
“You know,” she whispered
as she gently cupped his cheek, “I could get used to waking up like this.”
‘But you can’t let
yourself.’ Her subconscious
answered. Kristin sighed and
carefully attempted to loosen Nathan’s hold on her but he wasn’t letting go
willingly. She did manage to turn
so that he was spooned against her back and snuggled into him, smiling at the
sudden and strange thoughts the bulge pressed against her bottom were producing.
To drag her mind back into
safer waters she ran her eyes over the paradise they slept in, deeply inhaling
the fragrant perfume of the brightly color flowers and enjoying the morning
chorus of the birds as they welcomed the dawn.
She felt Nathan’s lips move against her ears but he made no move to
“Good morning, Captain
Rogue,” she answered back, continuing to lie in his arms without protest.
Finally Nathan shifted his
lower arm from beneath her and propped his head up on his elbow.
He wasn’t surprised to see that Kristin had kicked the blankets away
from her legs in the night but he was surprised that she hadn’t covered them
before he woke up.
‘She’s growing more
comfortable with me.’ A pleased smile touched his lips.
“What is the name of that
flower?” Kristin gestured in the
direction of a clump of blossoms matching the one he had given her the previous
They lay contently for over
half an hour, Kristin asking the names of various plants and birds; Nathan
supplying the answers as best he could. He
was pleased with the interest she showed in their tropical paradise.
Finally Kristin sat up,
carefully pulling her chemise down over her thighs as she did so.
“I don’t know about you but I am a bit hungry.
Perhaps I should see to some breakfast.”
Nathan rocked up to his
knees. “Let’s do a little
exploring. I’ll show you around
the island and scout up some breakfast at the same time.”
Kristin laughed excitedly as
she stood and grabbed her britches. Nathan
turned away gallantly as she pulled them on then slid her arms into the blue
Nathan stopped in the midst
of pulling on his boots to eye her delicate slippers critically. “We’d better keep to the beaches. The rocks will slice those to shreds. I should have had Crocker pick you up a pair of sturdy
“So, no mountain
climbing.” Kristin laughed as
Nathan held out his hand to her. She
laid her fingers in his palm and followed as he led her down the path toward the
shoreline. They wandered along the
beach enjoying the warmth of the sun and each other’s company for almost an
hour before Nathan led Kristin to a rock outcropping and lifted her up to sit on
He pulled off his boots and
waded into the water. After eyeing
the area critically he settled on a spot and stood stark still, his hands
hanging in the water as he waited for the ripples from his movements to settle.
Kristin watched with interest as he patiently waited until the right
moment then grabbed a passing fish and flung it toward the beach.
Kristin clapped excitedly as
he waded to shore then placed his hands on her waist and lowered her back to the
“That was amazing!
How did you do it?”
“It just takes patience.
Could you gather me two plantain leaves?”
He pointed toward a large tree just beyond the sand as he handed her his
“Of course. What are you going to do?”
“We have supplies.
“It’s all part of the
island experience.” Nathan
By the time Kristin returned
with the leaves Nathan had dug a hole in the sand and gathered a small pile of
driftwood. He stood and walked down
to the water with the fish; Kristin followed with the leaves.
Nathan carefully washed the sand from the fish as he cleaned it.
After dipping the leaves into the salty water he wrapped the fish tightly
then returned to the beach and placed it in the hole, covered it with wood
layered with sand then built a small fire over the opening.
Once the flames had died away to embers he stood.
“We leave this here for a
few hours then we come back and have a wonderful meal of baked fish.”
How ever did you learn the technique?”
“I spent a lot of time
sailing around these islands as a young man.
You have to learn to be self-sufficient.
Now let’s see about breakfast.”
After a bit more walking
Nathan found a bundle of ripe bananas and cut it down.
He handed several to Kristin then tied the rest back in the tree for
safekeeping. He continued to point
out interesting plants and geologic formations as they wandered and ate.
“There is a legend that the
famous pirate, Stede Bonnet, used this island as a hideaway. There may even be buried treasure here.”
“Do you believe that?”
Kristin asked, skepticism in her eyes.
“Not really. It’s possible I guess… but there are many legends in this
part of the world of the pirates that roamed over a hundred years ago.
Hundreds of years from now some treasure seekers will probably find a
huge stash here and the joke will be on me… if the volcano doesn’t blow the
entire island apart first.”
“The mountain is actually a
volcano. Didn’t I mention
“You know you didn’t, you
swine.” Kristin popped him
playfully on the arm.
It’s dormant.” He laughed as he reassured her.
“You seem to know a great
deal about this island.” Kristin
“I… I’ve spent time
here before. It’s one of my
favorite places. I’ll show you
“The surprise you wanted me
“But we will save that for this afternoon I think, after the sun begins
to work its way down. It’s a little warm now.”
“Warm… won’t you give
me a little hint?” Kristin
“Not another word.
You have to wait until later, minx.”
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
“Keep your eyes closed.
It’s just a little bit further,” Nathan cautioned as he led Kristin
around the lagoon toward a natural rock ledge.
Kristin held tight to his
hands. “Can I open them now?”
She asked a few moments later, impatient for her surprise.
“Just a few more steps
and…” Nathan released her hands, “now
you can look.”
Kristin’s eyes flew open
and she exclaimed with delight as she surveyed the pool of clear water, the
steam rising from the surface.
“I thought that you might
like to swim. It’s an amazing
experience… first you get in the hot springs and let the warm water relax you
then you jump out and run to the cold pool.
The experience is exhilarating.”
Kristin eyed him a bit
skeptically. “That sounds like
quite a shock to the system.”
“It’s a wonderful shock,
I promise. Would you like to give
it a try?”
“Well… I guess… if you
Nathan grinned and stripped
away his shirt then sat down on the ledge and pulled his boots off.
“Well?” He gestured at
Kristin scanned the sheltered
glade then turned her back to Nathan and toed her shoes off.
With a glance over her shoulder she finally worked up the courage to drop
A loud splash told her that
Nathan had entered the pool and she turned around just in time to see his wet
trousers land on the rock beside her with a loud smack.
Kristin’s eyes widened and she felt her skin flush when she realized he
was naked. She swallowed and lifted
her gaze to his.
“I’m not expecting you to
strip naked,” Nathan told her.
“Whatever you are comfortable with…”
Kristin pushed the blue shirt
off her shoulders, then quickly released the knot in the rope holding her pants
up and let the britches slip down her legs so that only the thin cotton of her
chemise covered her.
Nathan watched as Kristin
slowly kneeled down on the edge of the pool, swung her legs over the side and
carefully slipped into the warm water.
“Oooh… oh this is
heavenly,” Kristin sighed as she lowered her body into the heated liquid until
just her head was visible, her hair fanning out behind her.
“Didn’t I tell you?”
Kristin smiled over at him.
“I haven’t felt clean… you’ve been wonderful providing water for
me to wash with but… there is something about being able to submerge
Perhaps one day travel by boat will include some of the little amenities
that make life pleasant… like bathtubs. Until
then just settle back and enjoy.”
Kristin found a seat on a
ledge across from Nathan and sat, allowing the warm bubbling water to wash away
her tension. She found herself
glancing into the water, wondering if she could see Nathan beneath the surface
but the bubbles effectively hid her view.
She was so relaxed that she
didn’t realize Nathan had moved until he was standing beside her.
He held out his hand to reveal a bar of soap; obviously expensive and
smelling like sandalwood.
The grin on Kristin’s face
was worth the trouble Nathan had taken to hide the soap near the pool.
He settled back to watch as Kristin eagerly accepted the soap and began
to rub it over her body. Nathan felt his body respond as Kristin turned her back to
him, obviously loosening the neck of the chemise because it drifted down her
back to her elbows.
Once she was done with her
bath she pulled the chemise back up, struggling due to the soap in her hand.
“Could you…?” she held her arm back behind her, her hand offering
the soap to him.
“Of course.” Nathan moved up behind her and took the cleanser, freeing her
hands to finish securing her clothing. Kristin
tried to move back to her seat, surprised beyond words when her body met with
that of the man standing behind her.
She gulped as his hands
lightly grasped her waist and maneuvered her back between his legs.
“Dunk your head,” he
commanded and Kristin quickly complied, unsure of what was going to happen next.
Nathan’s breath caught as
she emerged, her hair a shining sheet of fire flowing behind her. He gripped the length of her shining tresses in one hand and
used the other to rub soap into the strands.
Once bubbles began to form he laid the bar to the side and slowly began
to work his fingers through the heavy weight, carefully washing away weeks of
dirt, grime and dried blood left from her head wound.
Kristin couldn’t help the
moan that echoed through the glade at the feel of Nathan’s strong fingers
massaging her scalp. “That
feels… oh… oh, Nathan…” Pleasurable
sensations shot through her body, pooling between her legs.
He had her submerge again to
rinse the soap away then lathered up her hair again and repeated the process.
He used the soap to his advantage, running his fingers through her
waist-length tresses again and again to smooth away weeks worth of knots and
tangles. Finally the digits slid
freely through the dark auburn curtain without encountering any barrier.
“Lean back so that I can
rinse again,” he murmured, pleased that she did so without complaint, her
entire body relaxed from his ministrations.
Kristin bent her knees and allowed her head to fall back into the water;
her hair fanning out behind her while Nathan carefully rinsed away the suds.
One strong hand moved to support her back while the other scooped water
up over her forehead, cleansing away the final residue.
“How does that feel…?”
Nathan’s voice tapered away as he glanced down Kristin’s floating body then
stopped to stare. Her simple cotton
chemise had become so transparent in the water that she may as well not have
been wearing it at all. Hard dusky
nipples were clearly visible beneath the light cotton covering as was the patch
of dark curls at the juncture of her partially spread thighs.
In spite of the hot water
Nathan felt his body spring to life. “I
think that I’m going to go cool down now,” he announced as he loosened his
grip and moved toward the side of the pool.
“Come join me when you are ready.”
Kristin dropped her feet to
the bottom of the basin and turned just in time to see Nathan’s naked rear as
he levered his body out of the water. Her
mouth went dry as tingling sensations shot through her core.
She blushed but couldn’t have removed her eyes from his bottom at that
instant on the threat of death.
Nathan ran across the short
expanse between the hot spring and the lagoon, cannon balling into the cool
water with a loud yell. Kristin
followed at a slower pace, moving as if in a trance.
Nathan surfaced with another yell, throwing his head back to push the
hair and water out of his face. He
wiped away the residual liquid then gulped as his vision cleared to the image of
Kristin slowly approaching the pool, her body revealed to him by the transparent
shift and the afternoon sun.
Time seemed to stop as
Kristin walked into the pool and moved toward him, her course never deviating.
She stopped scant inches away from him and stood silently, her eyes
seeking his. Nathan could see the
need pooling in her sable depths and was sure that his own blue orbs mirrored
that need. At that moment he knew
he could no more deny her than he could deny himself.
“Kristin…” he murmured
as he grasped her face in his hands and lowered his mouth to hers in a hungry
Kristin moaned and slid her
hands along his waist to wrap her arms around his back as she shuffled nearer,
closing the distance between their bodies.
She gasped into his mouth as she realized the cool water of the lagoon
had done very little to abate Nathan’s more than obvious arousal.
Nathan released her face and
dropped his hands to Kristin’s shoulders then trailed them down over her back
to cup her bottom and pull her even closer; a low groan escaping his lips when
she wriggled against him, the friction from the wet cotton of her chemise on his
straining erection almost too much for him.
Slowly, Nathan walked them
out of the water, taking care to keep his mouth on hers.
When they neared the edge of the lagoon, he brought his hands up between
them to tug on the neckline of her chemise then pushed the garment off her
Kristin felt the wet material
slide down off her body and stepped over it as Nathan continued to walk her
backwards several more feet then slowly lowered her to the warm grass and
covered her body with his. She
moaned at the feel of Nathan’s body pressed fully against hers then cried out
softly as he dipped his head and pulled one of her nipples into the hot recesses
of his mouth.
Nathan suckled hard at the
rosy tip and smiled around her nipple as Kristin arched beneath him, trying to
push more of her breast into his mouth. He
swirled his tongue over the hardened peak and nipped it gently with his teeth
before kissing his way over to her other breast and repeating the bittersweet
“Kris…” she heard him
whisper against her breasts as he continued to feast on them.
She closed her eyes when his hands swept down her body; caressing and
stroking her soft skin until Kristin thought she would go mad from the
unbearable ache she could feel building inside her.
“Nathan… I need…” her
voice trailed off and she gasped when she felt his hand slip between their
bodies; his fingers combing through the auburn curls between her thighs.
“Oh God… you’re already
so wet…” Nathan moaned as he nipped and kissed his way back up to her mouth
then rained soft kisses all over her face while he stroked his fingers through
Kristin felt her face flame
at his words and reached down to try and pull his hand away from her sex.
“Ooh… mmm…” she moaned at the sudden shaft of pleasure that
arrowed through her body and gripped tightly to his wrist as his long digits
continued to move against her.
Nathan felt Kristin tremble
under him as he circled her clitoris and felt his erection throb in response.
He shifted above her as he removed his hand from between her thighs and
grasped his length.
Kristin’s eyes widened when
Nathan began to stroke the head of his shaft through her swollen folds,
whimpering, as the ache in her body grew even stronger.
She arched beneath him, trying to increase the contact between them and
ease the throbbing need.
Nathan heard the need in
Kristin’s voice and felt his control falter when she arched up against him
again. With one last pass through
her slick folds, Nathan placed the head of his erection at her tender opening
and then slowly began to ease into her.
Kristin inhaled sharply and
clutched at his shoulders at the feel of Nathan’s hard length pressing into
her; stretching and filling her in a way she was unprepared for and her body
tightened against his intrusion.
Nathan felt Kristin tense and
pulled back slightly to thrust gently in and out a few times before he finally
thrust harder and seated himself fully inside her.
He groaned and buried his face in her neck at the feel of her tight, hot
flesh quivering around him, trying to accommodate his girth.
Kristin’s nails bit into
the flesh of Nathan’s shoulders at the sudden pressure and she willed her body
to relax when she felt him brush a gentle kiss to her neck and begin to thrust
into her. She moaned his name as
the movement sent a shiver of pleasure through her body.
At Kristin’s soft
utterance, Nathan groaned her name and began to move with surer strokes trying
hard to hang onto his control but feeling it slip with every plunge of his
length into her; six years of abstinence leaving him with little control. Nathan felt the first wave of his release wash over him and
before he could stop himself, he began to drive into her frantically.
Feeling suddenly unsure,
Kristin clung to him, wrapping her arms around his upper body as Nathan slid his
arms beneath her and grasped her shoulders then started to move his hips faster
and faster against her. She felt
the tension rise in Nathan’s body seconds before the first hot splash of his
seed erupted against her womb.
Nathan grunted her name and
his hips jerked uncontrollably against hers before he collapsed on top of her,
once again burying his face in Kristin’s neck as his body continued to
tremble. Moments later, he slipped
out of her and rolled off her to lie on his back, his arm flung over his eyes as
he sought to catch his breath.
Kristin lay stunned beside
him for several minutes before she scrambled to her feet and moved back to the
lagoon. She dropped to her knees in
the shallows of the water as tears sprang to her eyes, the ache within her body
Nathan slowly opened his eyes
and reached out for Kristin. He sat
up quickly and looked around for her when his hand encountered warm grass.
Spotting her sitting in the water, Nathan climbed to his feet and made
his way over to her.
“I’m sorry,” Nathan
said in a soft voice as he knelt down beside her.
“I’ll… next time I’ll make it better for you…” his voice
trailed off when he heard a soft sob escape her.
reached out to cup Kristin’s chin and lift and turn her face.
The tears he saw streaming down her face piercing his heart.
“What’s wrong? Did I hurt you? I’m
sorry I… what can I do?”
“I want you to make this
feeling go away…this ache I feel vibrating within me,” Kristin replied in a
soft, teary voice. “It starts
every time you touch me and just keeps growing… and I thought that if I… if
we… that it might go away… but it hasn’t and I don’t know what to do.”
Nathan pulled Kristin into
his arms. “Kristin… haven’t
you ever… found release?”
Kristin lifted her head off
his shoulder and met his eyes, confusion evident in her sable depths.
She shook her head. “I
don’t know what you me…”
“When we were together,
before I emptied myself in you,” Nathan explained despite the growing blush he
could see creeping up her chest and face, “there
was a buildup of pressure… of sensations that peaked when I found my
release… when I came,” he told her. “That’s
one term for it… coming, reaching the pinnacle, climax; having an orgasm…”
Kristin shook her head
furiously. “Oh no… no… wives
aren’t supposed to enjoy intercourse… only mistresses and whores…”
“That is such utter
bullshit,” Nathan stated then smiled at her as he brought his hand up to
stroke her cheek. “When a man and
woman make love… it should be enjoyable for both.”
At the disbelieving look she gave him, Nathan chuckled softly and stroked
his thumb across her lower lip. “I
know I rushed things a bit… it’s been so long since I’ve been with a
woman… let me show you… give me another chance… please…”
“Nathan…” she gasped
when his hand suddenly drifted down to cup one of her breasts, his thumb
circling her nipple.
“Please, Kris… let me
love you… let me… ease the ache.”
Kristin bit her lower lip,
moaning softly as he continued to lightly tweak her nipple between his thumb and
finger. “I…” she whimpered
when Nathan pulled his hand away and dropped it back to his lap.
“How long has it been for
you?” Nathan asked her quietly.
“More than fifteen
years,” Kristin admitted in soft voice then looked up at him with a shy smile
on her face. “Well… it had been
that long until just a short while ago.”
Nathan grinned then once
again reached out to cup her cheek. “It’s
your call, my lady. I will not push
you nor force my attentions on you.”
Kristin gazed at him as he
caressed her face and felt the ache within her start to grow again.
“Will you… will you promise to make this… ache… this need go
“I promise… to take the
ache away and replace it with such pleasure,” Nathan replied as he dropped his
hand to her shoulder. “But the
need… I… can’t promise to make that go away… I can only try…”
pleaded softly and leaned towards him. “Please
Nathan met her halfway and
captured her lips in an ardent kiss, his hand on her shoulder slipping down to
her back to pull her closer as he deepened the oral connection.
Kristin moved willingly into
his arms, moaning softly as her breasts once again pressed against his
hair-roughened chest. As the kiss
grew more passionate, Kristin found herself rubbing her chest against
Nathan’s, trying to ease the ache in her peaked nipples.
Several minutes later, Nathan
broke off the kiss.
Nathan smiled tenderly at the
glazed look in her eyes. “Trust
me…” he told her quietly as he got to his feet and held his hand out to her.
Kristin placed her hand in
his and allowed him to pull her up. “I
do trust you.”
Nathan nodded and leaned down
to brush a soft kiss over her lips before he bent and scooped Kristin into his
arms then slowly made his way out of the lagoon.
Kristin buried her face in
Nathan’s neck, peppering the tan flesh with small kisses as he carried her
across the soft grass to the lean-to. Nathan
knelt and gently laid her out on the pallet.
“I want you to relax,”
Nathan told her in a husky voice as he reached out to once again cup her cheek.
“Relax and know that I will take care of you…” he trailed his
fingers over her lips before tracing them down her neck to circle her right
breast, smiling as he watched the already taut nipple grow even harder.
“I promise… you will know nothing but pleasure…”
Kristin nodded then moaned
softly as his fingers moved back up to trace her slightly parted lips once more
then back down to her breast where he cupped the large mound in his hand,
rubbing his thumb gently over the hardened peak.
Nathan leaned over her and
brushed his lips over hers before he leisurely began to kiss his way down over
her throat to her breasts, where he paused to take each rosy tip into his mouth
At the feel of his tongue
swirling around her nipple, Kristin whispered his name and arched beneath him,
trying to push more of her aching flesh into his talented mouth.
She whimpered his name when he suddenly released her nipple and left her
breasts to kiss and lick his way down her torso, covering every inch of her
smooth flesh with little nips and licks, ringing her navel with his tongue.
Kristin moaned softly and felt him smile against her skin as he continued
to move lower.
Nathan slid his hands ahead
of him to stroke and caress her flesh before following the same path with his
lips. He slowly worked his way over
her thighs and inhaled deeply as he passed the auburn curls at her center,
pleased by the scent of her arousal reaching his nostrils.
His hands massaged their way down Kristin’s long, smooth legs and when
he reached her feet, he moved so that he was kneeling just between her spread
A soft giggle escaped her
lips when he began to knead to her feet. She
smiled shyly at his amused look. “It
tickles,” Kristin answered in a soft voice.
“I’ll have to remember
that,” Nathan replied as he pressed his lips against the soles of her feet,
smiling as she released another small laugh, followed by a low moan as his mouth
moved down over her calf to flick at the sensitive skin behind her knee.
Nathan smiled as he watched Kristin’s eyes flutter closed and repeated
the same touches to her other leg, slowly working his way up along her inner
Kristin gasped at the first
fleeting touch of his fingers in the soft hair covering her center then moaned
when they returned in firmer strokes and slipped between her folds.
“Na… than…” she murmured breathlessly as a sudden and unexpected
rush of pleasure shot through her body.
“Relax, Kristin… relax
and enjoy,” Nathan told her quietly as his fingers found and circled her clit.
Her hands clenched in the
blanket beneath her as his fingers continued to tease and fondle her swollen
“You are so beautiful,”
Kristin heard him murmur then inhaled sharply when she felt his fingers pull her
open. Her eyes flew open in time to
see him bend his head low and she cried out as his mouth closed over her.
“Nathan!” She moaned at the feel of his tongue moving against her and
reached down to clutch at his head. Kristin
tugged on his hair in an effort to pull him away.
Nathan pulled his mouth from
her and met her eyes, not surprised to see her face flushed bright red.
“It’s all right, Kristin…”
“No…” Kristin shook her
head then moaned softly as his fingers continued to stroke her. “This is… you can’t… it isn’t nor… proper…
mmm…. I’m not that kind…”
“You are beautiful and
passionate and still very much a lady,” Nathan told her in a husky voice.
“And you will still be all those even if I do this…” he lowered his
lips back to her, kissing her sex with the same passion and thoroughness as he
kissed her mouth. “There is
nothing wrong with me loving you in this manner,” Nathan murmured against her
slick folds. “This is not wrong,
Kristin. It’s not dirty, or
immoral…” he worked his tongue around her clit, pleased when she arched
beneath him. “It is… a
beautiful thing between a man and a woman…”
moaned softly as Nathan continued to work his lips and tongue against her then
cried out when she felt him slide a thick finger inside her.
Her hand clenched in his hair but she didn’t stop him as he slowly
began to work the long digit in and out of her before adding a second finger.
Nathan smiled around her clit
as he swirled his tongue over the hard bundle, moaning softly when he felt her
inner walls start to quiver around his thrusting fingers.
“I… no…” Kristin
rolled her head from side to side at the sensations radiating out from her
center, almost overwhelming her with their severity.
“No… too much… Nathan please…”
“Relax, Kris… let
go…” Nathan urged her in between licks to her sex.
“Go with the feeling,” he thrust his fingers deep inside her as he
lightly nipped her clit. “Come
for me, Kristin…”
“I…” Kristin felt the
tension in her body coil. “I…
“Let it happen,
Kristin…” Nathan told her. “Trust
me… trust me…”
Kristin struggled for breath
as wave after wave of intense sensation began to roll over her with every plunge
of his fingers. “N… Na…”
“Come, my lady…” Nathan
hummed against her clit as he angled his fingers just right within her.
Kristin’s scream echoed
throughout the glade as she came hard. Her
body writhed as the powerful vibrations and feelings coursed through her.
She barely heard the low groan of approval come from the man between her
thighs at the surge of moisture that flowed over his hand.
Nathan pulled his fingers out
of her quivering sheath and replaced them with his mouth, his tongue lapping at
and consuming her essence as she continued
to writhe beneath him. His fingers
moved up to the swollen bud his mouth had just left and continued to tease it,
alternately brushing lightly over and pressing strongly against it.
Kristin barely had her breath back before her passion once again began
spiraling upward. She begged him to
stop… then begged him never to stop as he tormented her already overwhelmed
senses to the point of a second release.
was almost weeping as her third climax slammed through her, her arms rigid as
her fingers clawed then clutched the blanket they lay on. This time Nathan allowed her to come down, raising his head
to watch her face as she came then kissing his way back up her body to embrace
her as she slowly returned to earth.
finally opened her eyes to stare at him, the dark orbs full of wonder.
Nathan stroked her hair as he slid on top of her and lowered his mouth
down to hers. Kristin gasped at the
taste of his lips, his unique essence mingled with her own special flavour.
She was surprised to feel need stirring within her core once again.
didn’t rush her. Instead he took
his time, his hands stroking from shoulder to cheek then back over and over as
he memorized the contours of her mouth. At
first Kristin lay limply beneath him, only her mouth involved in their actions
but as his hands began to roam further afield she raised her arms to wrap around
careful nip to her lower lip saw her nails digging into his shoulder blades.
A series of breathy kisses trailed down her jaw left her gasping.
A hard suck of the sensitive flesh just behind her ear caused her to grab
his head and pull his mouth back to hers.
knew Kristin wasn’t even aware of the way her body was arching beneath him,
seeking their joining. She only
knew that the need was already back in full force and she wanted him to assuage
it. He pressed a knee between her
legs and she parted eagerly, one smooth calf looping up and over his thighs.
He rose up and pushed his steely member down, releasing a gasp of his own
as his arousal settled against the tangle of auburn curls.
more long passionate kisses and a series of small thrusts found him settled
fully between her blooming lower lips, her moisture lubricating him in
preparation for their joining. His
hand slipped down her thigh and caught the back of her knee, pulling her leg up
as he repositioned her hips and slid smoothly into her.
arms fell to her sides, only her hands resting on Nathan’s shoulders as he
rose to his elbows and set a slow but satisfying pace.
She held herself rigid beneath him but a small smile touched her lips
moment Nathan thought that he was doing something wrong but then he realized
that Kristin was simply behaving as she always had before. He stopped, still buried deep within her and dropped his head
to kiss her thoroughly.
threw herself fully into the kiss, her arms creeping back around him as her body
began to undulate against him. He
broke the kiss.
that… just keeping moving like that, my lady.”
He saw a spark of uncertainty in her eyes.
“Trust me, Kris… doesn’t it feel nice?”
nodded, the pleasure visible in her face telling him that it did. Kristin continued to move as he asked, somewhat awkwardly in
the beginning but she quickly picked up the rhythm. Soon they were meeting each other thrust for thrust.
to his earlier release, Nathan was able to hold back until he was sure that
Kristin could join him. He could
tell that she once again didn’t really understand what was happening but she
knew that he had reached the end of his endurance once again.
slid his arms beneath her shoulders and gripped them tightly as he began to
piston frantically into her wet depths. Kristin
grabbed his bottom as she thrust even harder, wanting to help him find his
keen tore from her throat as she realized that the ache was once again going to
go away… the release was approaching. The
sound was too much for Nathan and with two then three heavy thrusts he felt his
climax begin. In that same instant
Kristin’s inner muscles clenched, another scream escaping her lips as she
arms gave way and he pressed down on her with a loud grunt before rolling to his
side, making sure to carry her with him. He nuzzled into her hair as waves of
delight continued to wash over them both.
my lady… did I keep my promise? Is
the ache gone?” He pulled back to
stare at her face.
eyes were closed but a sated smile covered her classic features.
“Mmm… that was… oh god, Nathan… that was exquisite.
Is it always… well… like that?”
should be… it will be with us. You
are so beautiful, Kristin. The way
your body reacts to my touch…”
sat up quickly as realization hit, pressing her knees together as her arms flew
up to cover her chest. She glanced
around the glade frantically.
moved upright. “Kristin?
my chemise… where… I’m naked,” her face flamed bright red again as she
whispered the last words.
am I. You have nothing to be
ashamed of. You are perfect…
every inch of you. Let me look at
slowly dropped her arms; her eyes clenched shut as she swallowed hard.
Nathan drew her back into his embrace then lay back down.
When she didn’t relax he reached a hand out to the other pallet and
grabbed a blanket, pulling it haphazardly over their legs and hips.
her rigid muscles began to soften. “It’s
just that…” she whispered softly, “no one… no man… has ever seen me
was surprised by her admission. “But
face fell to his chest, her mouth buried in his graying curls. “Oliver never… he always came to my room after I had
retired. He never… he just pushed
my nightrail up and… well…”
rolled Kristin to her back and loomed over her, his face incredulous.
“He never undressed you… caressed your breasts…?
Did he ever touch you intimately at all?”
the way that you do… he would sometimes… rub me… just a few times so that
it didn’t hurt so bad when he penetrated… He didn’t like for me to reveal
myself. When Cynthia was born he
wanted me to hire a wet nurse. That
was one of the few arguments I ever won but he couldn’t tolerate being around
if I was feeding her.”
swore. “Pardon me for saying so
but your husband was a damned fool. To
have a woman as passionate as you… and to never know.”
was older… Although I came to care a great deal for him I knew that he married
me because I was young and well positioned in society. He needed an heir and it was my place to breed them.”
was an idiot,” Nathan muttered as he pulled her even closer. His hands continued to caress her as they fell into an easy
silence, simply enjoying the feeling of lying next to each other.
Kristin whispered shyly.
He nuzzled her neck.
we… will we do that again sometime?”
felt his smile grow against her skin. “Oh,
Countess… give me another hour or so to recuperate and we will definitely do
lifted his head and propped up on his elbow, his free hand moving to caress the
line of her jaw. “I am not
eighteen any more. As randy as you
make me… and God knows you make me randy… I do need a little while to
recuperate. Give me an hour and I
will make it worth your while.”
skin pinked again. “I didn’t
mean that… my husband… he never came to my room more than two or three times
chuckled. “So would you like to
wait a week or so before we make love again?”
Kristin cast her eyes down in embarrassment at her vehement response.
laughed out loud as he rolled on top of her.
“You know, my lady. Forget
what I said… I don’t think I need that hour after all.”
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
my god!” Nathan fell to his back
beside Kristin with a loud moan, both of them panting heavily.
rolled into his side as her hand searched for the discarded blanket.
Nathan started but she laid a finger over his lips.
temperature is dropping. Body heat,
feeling a bit cold. My fever might
be coming back. Why don’t you
snuggle up really close to keep me warm until morning?”
Nathan, wasn’t the boat supposed to be back for us this evening?”
Kristin asked, her voice rife with worry.
“The sun is already gone.”
were probably delayed in port but they will be here. As a matter of fact, Gator probably has the ship anchored at
the entrance to the harbor. He
won’t risk moving closer in the dark.”
we get to spend another night here.”
we do. Why don’t we eat the rest
of the fish we had for our noon meal and maybe a few bananas?
After that we can turn in… see what develops.”
Kristin giggled as Nathan waggled his eyebrows at her.
eyes remained riveted to Nathan’s nude form as he slipped from beneath the
blanket and moved toward the water. The
moonlight caressed the hard muscles, light and shadow rippling over his skin.
He washed quickly then returned, pausing to bend down and pick up her
might feel more comfortable with this on while we eat.
It’s still slightly damp but I think it will be all right,” he told
her in an understanding tone.
smiled her thanks as she slipped the garment over her head and down her body.
once we go back to bed…” he warned with a lustful grin.
but only because it will be in the way.”
felt herself flush, both from embarrassment and anticipation.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
The sound of a squawking bird
and the feel of a warm, naked body pressed against and laying half over his
pulled Nathan out of the light sleep he was in.
He grinned at the blanket of fiery copper hair covering his chest and
reached a hand out to stroke a lock of the silky length.
The grin on his face grew
bigger as the actions of the last several hours drifted through his mind.
Somehow he’d known with their first argument that she would as
passionate in every other aspect of her life as well.
Slowly and carefully, he
eased Kristin’s body up and over his so that she was lying completely on top
of him. He brushed her hair out of
her face and then proceeded to softly run his hands up and down her back,
occasionally slipping down to cup the firm globes of her rear.
Nathan felt Kristin shift
slightly against him, moaning softly as her curls brushed against his morning
erection, the hard organ trapped between the close press of their bodies.
He held his breath as she began to stretch, her body tightening over his
as she woke. He groaned as she
burrowed her face into his neck, her lips moving against his tan flesh.
“Good morning, my lady,”
he said in a quiet voice as he nuzzled her temple.
“Good morning, my rogue,”
Kristin replied in a sleepy voice as she shifted against him then gasped at the
feel of his arousal pressed against her center.
She lifted her head from his chest and gazed down at him.
“Are you…? How can
“Didn’t your husband
“No…” Kristin shook her
head vehemently. “Oliver never…
that is… we slept in separate rooms… and he only came to me at night…”
her voice trailed off as she blushed and buried her face back against his neck.
Nathan smiled and rubbed her
back. “It’s okay, Kris… there
is nothing to be embarrassed about.”
“I feel like a virginal
maiden all over again,” she told him in a soft voice.
“It was never like this… I wasn’t raised…” Kristin shook her
head. “It’s just… all so new
“I know,” Nathan told her
as he threaded his fingers in her auburn tresses and brought her face up and
over his. “And it’s okay…”
he pulled her face down closer to his and brushed his lips against hers.
“Not all men are concerned with the woman’s pleasure; they are
worried only about their own. But for me…” Nathan kissed her gently again.
“For me, knowing that you’ve found pleasure in what we do… in our
joining… that gives me pleasure and makes our lovemaking more enjoyable.”
“Well, you’ve certainly
given me pleasure,” Kristin told him even as she blushed furiously.
“You are so beautiful when
you blush,” Nathan told her, causing her to blush even more and swat his
chest. He chuckled softly and
brought her mouth back down to his for a gentle kiss that quickly grew more
Kristin moaned into his mouth
as she tangled her tongue with his, her body unconsciously moving against his.
Nathan groaned as her gentle
movement teased his already stiff member and he let his caresses grow bolder;
his hands gliding over her bottom to slip down between her thighs and pull her
legs wider over his hips. “Sit
up…” he commanded in a firm but soft voice against her lips.
“Trust me,” Nathan said
as he brought one hand up to gently push on her shoulder.
Kristin slowly complied with
his request and pushed herself up on him, moaning as the change in position
pressed her cleft more firmly against his erection.
“Now… lift yourself up
onto your knees,” Nathan told her.
Doing as he instructed,
Kristin rose up onto her knees over him and then her eyes grew wide when she
felt his hands slid up her thighs, one staying in place on her hip while the
other continued on to comb through her curls.
“Trust me…” Nathan
repeated as he slipped a finger between her folds, smiling at the moisture he
felt then left her to wrap his hand around his shaft.
He ran the broad head up along her moist cleft then down again to
position himself at her opening. “Now…
slowly lower yourself back down.”
Kristin shook her head
“Kristin…” his grip on
her hip tightened as he urged her to sink down on him.
“Will it… hurt?”
“No,” Nathan shook his
head. “It won’t hurt either of
us. In fact, it will be just the
opposite. It’s going to feel
exquisite… and you, my lady, get to control just how… fast I enter you.”
Kristin smile shyly down at
him as she began to slowly lower herself on him, moaning at the feel of his
rigid member pressing inside her, inch by inch until she’d taken him
completely within her. “Oh
god…” she moaned loudly at the feel of him pulsing inside her from a
different angle. “Oh,
Nathan smiled up at her as a
low groan escaped his lips, finding himself unable to speak, the sight of
Kristin above him stealing his ability for rational thought.
He knew in that moment that his heart was utterly and truly lost to the
temptress currently straddling him.
“…move…” he uttered
softly, gently thrusting beneath her. “…please…”
“Rock your hips… follow
your instincts…” Nathan told her then moaned as Kristin rocked slightly
against him. “Oh yes… like
Kristin repeated the action
then languidly circled her hips, a low moan bubbling up from within her as the
movement sent fissures of sensations shooting up her body.
She gasped when Nathan reached up and suddenly cupped her breasts, his
fingers teasing and tormenting her nipples into hard, distended peaks.
“Faster… Kristin… move
faster,” Nathan asked her in a breathless voice as he kneaded her breasts.
Kristin closed her eyes and
bit her lower lip in concentration as she moved a little faster, rising up
slightly then sinking back down on him. She
continued her slow movements until she opened her eyes to see him staring up at
her with dark eyes. “Nathan…
I…” Kristin shook her head as she stopped moving, colour suffusing her face.
Nathan sat up quickly beneath
Kristin and wrapped his arms around her as he caught her mouth in an ardent
kiss. “It’s all right,” he
murmured against her lips as he slid his hands down her back and grasped her
legs. “Wrap your legs around
With his help, Kristin wound
her legs around him and locked her ankles against the small of his back, moaning
as the feelings of yet another new position worked their way up through her
body. She kissed him hungrily as he
carefully maneuvered them so that she was lying on her back on the pallet.
Kristin gasped out of the
kiss as the change in position allowed Nathan to sink deeper inside her.
She instinctively tightened her legs around him and thrust her hips up
against him, wanting more.
Nathan smiled down at her as
he propped himself up on his elbows and began to move leisurely inside her then
dipped his head to catch a dusky nipple between his lips and suckled hard;
smiling around the taut peak at the low moan that slipped past her lips.
Kristin’s eyes closed as
the intense sensations caused by Nathan’s touch washed over her, the now
familiar ache he roused in her spiraling out of control.
She clutched at his shoulders as she moved with him, finding and matching
Nathan’s rhythm with ease.
“Ooh…” she panted, as
the feelings grew stronger. “I…
Nath… I… please…”
Hearing the need in
Kristin’s voice, Nathan released her nipple and lifted his head to gaze down
at her; pleased beyond measure to see the blissful grimace on her face as she
neared release. “Kris…” he
whispered her name, suddenly wanting and needing to look into her eyes.
At his soft call of her name,
Kristin opened her eyes to stare up at him, inhaling sharply at the pure,
unadulterated lust and need she could see swimming in Nathan’s dark sapphire
eyes, shadowed by… something else that she couldn’t quite make out.
“Nathan… please… I… I need…”
Nathan nodded knowingly.
Kristin felt him slide a hand
between their bodies then cried out moments later when she felt his fingers make
contact and begin stroking to the sensitive flesh at her center.
“Oh god!” She arched
beneath him as his circling fingers sent even more intense vibrations shooting
through her body. “Nathan!”
“That’s it, Kristin,”
Nathan told her in a breathless voice as he caressed her clit in time with the
thrust of his throbbing member inside her.
“Give in to it…”
“Na… Nathan…” her
legs tightened around him, telling him without words what she needed then moaned
in approval when he began to drive into her faster and harder, his fingers on
her matching the same pace. “Yes…
Nathan groaned at the flood
of moisture he felt followed by the unmistakable clenching of her inner walls
around his plunging member as her orgasm washed over her and with a few more
thrusts, he joined her; his seed leaving him in long spurts to splash against
Kristin sighed as Nathan
collapsed on top of her, their bodies trembling in the aftermath of their
orgasms. As residual tremors passed
through them, Kristin slowly unwrapped her legs from his back and eased them
down to tangle with his, surprised when Nathan released a satisfied breath and
nestled deeper into her arms.
After several minutes, Nathan
kissed his way up to her mouth for a loving kiss before he slipped out of her,
pausing when he heard a soft whimper escape her lips.
Kristin shook her head.
“I…” she shrugged her shoulders.
Nathan rolled off her then
stretched out beside her, laying his hand across her flat stomach and simply
gazed down at her; a smile on his lips at the satisfied look on her face.
“What are you looking
at?” Kristin asked after several
“Don’t you know how
beautiful you are?”
“Oh, but you are,” Nathan
stopped her protest. “You have a
gorgeous body,” he circled his fingers around Kristin’s breasts, smiling as
her nipples bloomed and her skin flushed at the same time.
“And on top of that, you are intelligent, witty, strong-willed,
stubborn as a mule…” Nathan chuckled as she reached out and slapped his
“I am not stubborn,”
Kristin responded with a gentle laugh. “If
anyone is stubborn, it would be you, Captain Rogue.”
Nathan grinned as he leaned
down and brushed a quick kiss over her lips.
“Okay… we’re both stubborn.”
Kristin smiled up at him then
suddenly gave into the urge to stretch. She
groaned softly as her muscles protested.
“I thought you might be
sore after so long and it just so happens, I know the thing to help,” Nathan
told her before she could utter a word as she settled back against him.
He shifted away from her and climbed to his feet then reached down to
pull her up beside him and into his arms.
Kristin looped her arms
around his neck as he carried her across the meadow to the hot spring.
“Nathan… what if Gator and your men should see us?”
“Oh, don’t worry,”
Nathan said as he carefully climbed into the pool.
“If I know Gator, he’ll be making a great deal of noise. Probably singing at the top of his lungs.”
“You mean he… he thinks
we’re…” Kristin’s face turned beet red and she buried it in Nathan’s
neck as he sank down in the bubbling water and submerged their bodies.
“How am I supposed to face him… face any of your men… and what
“Crocker figured out there
was something between us before we did,” Nathan told her. “And as for my men… you earned their loyalty and devotion
when you cared for them during the illness.
They consider you family, so you have their respect as well.”
“And Lucas?” She asked, moaning softly as the hot water surrounded and
began to ease the newly used muscles in her body.
“What will Lucas think about me now?”
“Lucas loves you,” Nathan
told her as he reached out for the soap still sitting on the edge of the spring.
He worked up a rich lather then began to run his soapy hands over her
body. “He thinks of you as a
mother… and I think that as long as you’re happy, he’ll be happy.”
“He… his mother?”
Kristin turned to face him with tears in her eyes.
“You’re mak… you’re serious!?”
“I’m serious,” Nathan
nodded. “He was terribly upset
when you were attacked and then when you got sick… he was very worried then
“He was worried about you
as well.” Kristin told him.
“You’re all he really has…”
“I know,” he said quietly as he continued to wash her body.
“And I love that kid as if he were my own son.”
Kristin smiled and covered
his hands as they paused on her stomach. “I
know you do.”
“So,” Nathan said after a
moment. “No more worrying about
what my crew thinks. They love
Kristin nodded and leaned
back against him. “All right.”
“Good,” Nathan nuzzled
her temple. “Want me to wash your
“Only if you promise that
you won’t take off to the lagoon immediately after you finish,” Kristin
answered with a hint of humour in her voice.
“Oh…” Nathan slipped
his hands up to cup her breasts and shifted beneath her.
“I can guarantee it this time.”
Kristin whipped her head to
the side to face him. “You
mean… you ran… because of me?”
“Yes,” Nathan grinned as
her face flushed. He laughed softly
and leaned in to brush a loving kiss to her lips.
“Come on, my lady… let me wash your hair and then we’ll go see if
our ship awaits.”
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
“Where… where is it?”
“I don’t know,” Nathan
said as he scanned the small natural harbour.
“Do you… do you think
something happened to them?” Kristin
asked, worry in her voice.
“No… well, at least not
what you’re thinking. Crocker
would have gotten me word.”
“We have a…
messenger…” Nathan answered. “No…
I’m thinking that they just got delayed in port.”
“For what reason?”
“Possibly the cargo I had
whispered then shuddered.
Nathan pulled her into his
McLeary. I told Gator to
take him to the port officials and let them deal with him.”
“I told you… I won’t
ever let him hurt you again,” Nathan told her and gave her a gentle kiss.
“So…” Kristin laid her
head on his chest as she wrapped her arm around his back.
“What do we do now?”
“We wait,” Nathan
replied. “If the ship doesn’t
show up within the next couple of days… then I’ll send a message to a
“By a special courier,”
Nathan told her cryptically.
Kristin opened her mouth to
probe deeper but changed her mind. “So,”
she pulled back and smiled at him. “I
repeat my earlier question… what do we do now?”
Nathan grinned at her as he
moved out of her embrace, grasped her hands and backed towards the tree line,
pulling her with him. “Oh…
I’m sure we’ll be able to think of something to keep ourselves occupied.”
Kristin laughed, even as she
once again blushed.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
“I never had any desire to
get married but my father insisted, told me that it was my duty to continue the
family name,” Nathan told her as they lay wrapped in each other’s arms after
an invigorating lovemaking session on the top of the extinct volcano.
“So, after I finally acquiesced, he proceeded to arrange everything…
including my bride.”
“Mmhmm,” Nathan murmured.
“Carol and I met at our engagement party, a month before we were
married in a ridiculously large wedding with all the trimmings.”
“She was quite
beautiful,” Kristin said, remembering the portrait she’d seen.
“Yes… I suppose she
was,” Nathan replied quietly.
Kristin lifted her head from
his chest and gave him a questioning look.
“There is more to beauty
than just looks,” Nathan told her and at her continuing stare look he began to
explain. “Carol… Carol was a
very sweet person, and over the years of our marriage, I grew to care about
her… even love her.”
“And she never shared your
love of the ocean?” Kristin said,
remembering their conversation when Lucas was ill as she drew random patterns on
his bare chest. “I don’t
understand how people can dislike the water.”
“Neither do I,” Nathan
replied. “Bobby loved it. I can’t say how pleased… how proud I was the day he was
“I know the feeling,”
Kristin smiled against his chest. “I
felt the same way when Cynni was born.”
“There is nothing more
satisfying then watching your child grow, is there?”
“Their first words…”
“Talking in sentences…”
“Learning to swim…”
They smiled as they spoke the
last sentence together.
“Carol would get very upset
every time I took Robert down to the beach,” Nathan told her. “I could understand part of her anger… as he wasn’t
even a year old, but I was insistent that my son know how to swim.
And I’ll be damned if my boy wasn’t swimming before he was
Kristin grinned at the pride
evident in his voice.
“How old was Cynthia when
she learned to swim?”
“Five,” Kristin answered.
“I’d actually wanted to teach her when she was younger, but Oliver
refused to let me. He was angry
enough as it was that I taught her when I did… but I don’t regret having
“Something tells me that young Miss Westphalen is as much of a spitfire
as her mother.”
“I’m not…” she stated
indignantly but with a smile on her face.
“Oh yes you are!”
Nathan retorted as he suddenly flipped them and covered her body with
his. “But did I mention, that I
Kristin giggled softly.
“No you didn’t.”
Nathan smiled down at her as
he lowered his head and grazed her lips with his.
“I do like spitfires… and I like that you have a mind of your own and
aren’t afraid to use it. I find
intelligence to be a very…” he thrust gently against her,
Kristin shifted beneath him
and wrapped a long leg behind his knee as she slid her hands up his chest.
They jumped as a low rumble
Nathan rose up on his arms
and looked down between their bodies. “I
think someone’s hungry,” he commented with an amused chuckle.
He looked back up to see that Kristin’s face was bright red.
“Nothing to be embarrassed about,” Nathan told her as he stroked her
Kristin shook her head and he
“So, what would my lady
like for lunch today? We have fish
and bananas or perhaps bananas and fish.”
Kristin laughed softly as she
looked thoughtful. “Hmm… I
think I should like to try the fish and bananas.”
Nathan replied and gave her a quick kiss. “And
then after lunch…” he rocked his hips against hers.
Kristin moaned softly in
anticipation as Nathan helped her to her feet and handed her the chemise that he
had tossed away earlier.
“Come on, Countess…”
Nathan grasped her hands after she’d slipped the thin cotton covering over her
body. “Your meal awaits.”
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~