~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
Nathan groaned softly.
Something wasn’t right but
he couldn’t quite get his mind to focus in the fuzzy darkness enveloping him.
All of a sudden it came to
His mind screamed her name
and his eyes flew open.
“Ah… Captain, you’re
awake. How nice of you to join
Finding himself bound by his
wrists to a large pole, Nathan turned his head to see a figure emerge from the
shadows and slowly walk towards the bed where an unconscious Kristin lay
“Quite the ornament you
have, Captain. Or should I say,
Nathan’s eyes narrowed,
shooting daggers at the man.
“She is quite lovely,”
Zellar said as he reached out, his hand hovering just above Kristin’s head.
“And judging by her… reluctance to join me here on the Kersch, I
would wager that she is quite the spitfire in bed.”
Nathan bit his tongue.
“Not much of a
conversationalist are we, Captain?”
“Caught me on a bad day,”
“Yes, I would imagine
so,” Zellar smiled smugly. “Oh
heavens, where are my manners? I
am, as you know, Captain Rueben Zellar and you are no doubt the infamous Blue
“I don’t know about
infamous,” Nathan quipped.
“Now, come come, Captain.
Let’s not be modest. We
two are the two most feared men on the high-seas,” Zellar told him.
“We are either going to be the best of friends or the worst of enemies,
Captain. Why not let us be friends?
Together we could rule the ocean.”
“Thank you but… I’ll
have to pass.”
“Captain, Captain… you
are in hardly a position to be so obstinate.”
“I’m not being
obstinate… I’m just retaining a modicum of good taste.”
Within seconds Zellar was
standing face to face with the bound man, a dagger in his hand, pressing it
against Nathan’s throat. “I am
not a man to trifle with, Captain,” he said in a low menacing voice.
“Slitting your throat and watching you bleed to death would not bother
me in the least.”
The two men stared hard at
each other until finally Zellar looked away.
He sheathed the dagger and walked slowly towards the bed.
He looked back at Nathan with a thoughtful look on his face then a cruel
smile formed on his lips.
“Perhaps you would be more
amiable if I,” he reached out and stroked Kristin’s hair,
“used your woman… as a means of persuasion?”
“You’re telling me you
wouldn’t care if I… took your woman?”
“Go right ahead,” Nathan
told Zellar. “She’s merely some
skirt I picked up some days ago to warm my bed.
I’m a man, I have needs… and she was in the right place at the right
time to help ease those needs.”
“You’re sure, Captain?”
Zellar ran his hand down over Kristin’s hip to cup her bottom, his eyes
not leaving Nathan’s face as he watched for a response.
He’d seen them in Port San Luis. Seen
the way they’d interacted, but judging from the lack of reaction from the Blue
Rogue now, he wasn’t sure what to think.
‘But she looks just
like…’ Zellar thought to himself. ‘It
has to be her…’
Nathan felt his blood boil as
he watched Zellar fondle Kristin and wanted nothing more than to tear the
man’s head off, but he’d realized very quickly that if he showed even a tiny
bit of emotion towards Kristin, Zellar would use it against them.
Zellar continued to watch the
captive captain as he squeezed the firm globe of the woman’s backside and
began to slowly inch the skirt of her dress up.
He swore internally when a sudden knock sounded at his door.
“Pardon me a moment, would
you, Captain,” Zellar said as he moved to the door.
“Please… just stay where you are, I won’t be long.”
Nathan watched as Zellar left
the room, closing the door behind him then turned his gaze back to the bed to
find Kristin awake and glaring at him. He
couldn’t help but smile at the fire burning in her eyes.
“Kris…” he whispered,
his eyes darting back to the cabin door. “Trust
Kristin stared into his eyes
and after a moment nodded then hearing the unmistakable sound of the door
opening once again, she gave Nathan a quick smile then closed her eyes and
regulated her breathing.
“Now, Captain,” Zellar
began as soon as he closed the door behind him,
“where were we before we were so rudely interrupted?”
Nathan didn’t reply.
“Ah yes… I believe I was
about to partake of your whore,” Zellar grinned as he stepped over to the bed.
He reached out and slowly began to push Kristin’s skirt up again.
“Such soft skin,” Zellar said as he ran his hand over her bare legs.
“I’ll wager they felt magnificent wrapped around you, no?”
Nathan simply continued to
stare passively at the man.
“Such beauty to be wasted
on a harlot,” Zellar continued as he climbed up onto the bed to straddle
Kristin’s prone form, his hand still moving against her thigh. “But I suppose if a man is going to bed a woman… she
should be easy to look at… ooopfff!”
The low, painful groan
echoing throughout the cabin was followed by Nathan’s laughter because
Kristin’s knee had suddenly shot up and caught Zeller right between the legs
just as her right fist connected with his jaw, sending him tumbling out of the
“But this woman will never
warm your bed, you bastard!” Kristin
fumed at the monster clutching his hands between his legs as she pulled her
skirt down to cover her legs.
“To answer your earlier
question,” Nathan continued to chuckle as Zellar slowly got to his feet, one
hand still clutched between his legs. “Yes…
she is quite the spitfire in bed… as you can see.”
Zellar glared at Nathan as he
wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, not surprised to see blood come away
with the pass. He pulled a
handkerchief out of his pocket and dabbed the injured lip, his eyes dark as he
turned them on Kristin. “Yes… I
Kristin swallowed hard at the
look Zellar was giving her and felt her skin crawl at what she could see going
through his mind but she refused to look away, instead fixing him with a glare
of her own.
A slow, almost cruel smile
formed on Zellar’s lips and Nathan glanced worriedly at Kristin as Zellar once
again moved to the cabin door, opened it and called out for a couple of his men
before turning back to smile at them.
“I think, Captain,”
Zellar said in a quiet voice. “That
it is time for us to part company.”
Just then the cabin door
opened and two very large, muscular men entered.
“Take our guest here to the
hold,” Zellar gestured to Nathan. “Make
sure he is… comfortable.”
“Yes, sir,” the two men
Kristin watched with a
growing sense of dread as the two men cut away Nathan’s bonds and none too
gently led him out of the room.
“Now…” Zellar closed
the door and turned to face Kristin. “Shall
we try this again? This time,
without an audience.”
“Not unless you want to
feel my knee in your groin again,” Kristin spit out at the man.
“Oh, you are indeed a hellion.”
“You have no idea.”
“I can’t wait to find
out… I enjoy a challenge,” he smiled at her.
“But first, I must go check on your former lover.
I shan’t be long, my dear. And
then, you and I will get better acquainted.”
Kristin bit her tongue,
refusing to answer the pirate captain and watched as he left. When the door closed, she felt her bravado leave her and
wrapped her arms around her knees.
“Oh, Nathan… what do I do
She rocked slowly,
remembering just hours earlier how safe and content she’d felt lying in
Nathan’s arms after they’d made love repeatedly.
“Oh please…” Kristin
whispered, looking skyward. “Please
let him be all right. Let us get
out of this…” she felt the tears prick behind her eyes as she realized that
she’d not yet told Nathan how she felt about him.
“Please, Lord… please…”
Her subconscious spoke up. ‘You’re
not doing Nathan any good sitting here simpering.
Get up! Move!
Find something… anything to help yourself out of this.’
Kristin nodded to herself and
moved off the bed then began to roam around the cluttered cabin belonging to the
‘Why does this feel…
familiar?’ Kristin thought to
herself. ‘Something about this
Kristin shook the feeling
away. The only cabin she wanted to
feel familiar with belonged to the man she was sure was being chained down in
the hold. She straightened her
spine, determination giving her strength as she continued to search the room,
deciding that being in possession of a weapon of some kind would be to her
“I don’t think this
Zellar is stupid enough to let me knee him in the groin again,” she said to
herself then chuckled at the memory of the man curled up on the floor, clutching
Kristin moved around to the
large desk taking up the one corner of the room and sat down in the chair as her
eyes moved over the surface, cluttered as it was with papers.
An idea quickly formed.
‘Where is it?’
She thought to herself, carefully lifting papers as she searched.
stopped and looked at the drawer beneath the desk.
She bit her lip then with a small prayer for it to be unlocked, she gave
it a gentle pull.
“Oh thank you!”
Kristin whispered as it opened then began to rifle through it.
“Please… oh, ple… yes!”
She pulled out the object of
her search and grinned in triumph. It
wasn’t large, but even as Kristin slipped the small pearl-handled letter
opener into the pocket of her skirt, she felt better.
Realizing that she probably
didn’t have much time left before Zellar returned, Kristin went to shut the
drawer when a dark lump in the corner caught her attention. She glanced up at the door and bit her lower lip then gave in
to her curiosity. Kristin pulled an
object wrapped in oilskin out and placed it on the desk then quickly unwrapped
it to reveal a gold pocket watch.
A sharp gasp left her lips as
she picked up the timepiece and turned it over.
‘It can’t be,’ she thought as she traced her fingers over the
raised lettering on the cover. Kristin
pushed the fob to open the watch.
“Oh God!” The soft sob escaped her lips before she could stop it as the
cover popped open. “…Oliver…”
she ran her fingers over the face of the long ago wedding present to her
husband. She closed the watch and
rewrapped it in the oilskin then slipped it into her other pocket.
With shaking hands, she
searched through the drawer some more, almost afraid of what else she would
find. At the back, behind a clump
of sealing wax, her fingers encountered a small circular object. She hooked her index finger inside it and pulled it out.
Tears welled in her eyes as
she gazed at the gold signet ring she held.
“Oh…” Kristin whispered as she closed her hand around the ring and
pressed her fist to her lips.
She was suddenly filled with
an intense surge of hatred for the man who held her and Nathan captive and given
the chance; Kristin knew she would kill him without thought.
Kristin reached into the top
of her dress and pulled out the tie for her chemise then slipped the ring onto
the ribbon and retied it; pushing the signet down between her breasts.
Her head jerked up at the sound of footsteps nearing the door and she
quickly closed the drawer then moved away from the desk to stand by the window,
her right hand slipping into her pocket to close around the small dagger-like
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
Nathan grunted as another
fist landed in his stomach, knocking the air he’d just managed to pull into
his lungs back out.
“Wan ‘nother one?
Course ya does.”
Nathan tried to prepare
himself for the incoming blow but was unsuccessful as the large fist once again
impacted against his stomach followed quickly by a second one to his chin.
“Now now, Clive, is that
anyway to treat our guest?”
“He kicked me,” Clive
told Zellar. “Ain’t that right,
“Yes, sir…” the one
named Jonesy replied and cuffed Nathan in the head.
“An’e tried to excape too.”
“Well, then… in that
case, you got what you deserved,” Zellar told Nathan.
He looked at his men. “Is
“Very good. You may return to your posts.”
The two men nodded and left
as Zellar slowly began to circle Nathan. After
several minutes of silence and a couple of circuits around his prisoner, Zellar
stopped in front of Nathan.
“I ask for your forgiveness
for the poor accommodations. We
don’t usually have guests onboard the Kersch.”
“You don’t say,” Nathan
“You know… you’re not
at all what I was expecting, Captain,” Zellar said.
“Glad to disappoint you.”
“How is that you strike so
much fear into the hearts of those who sail the seas?”
Zellar asked as he began to pace again.
“You don’t seem the type…” he stopped pacing to once again face
Nathan. “I watched you in San
Luis… watched you with the woman…”
Nathan held his breath.
“For a mere whore, you
treat her quite well. Not many men
would lavish the attention… or the funds… that you have on that sort of
“I’m a gentleman.”
“I noticed,” Zellar said.
“So tell me, Captain… where exactly did you find this woman?”
“What’s it to you?”
“She was onboard a ship I
attacked. I have a thing for
redheads and as I’ve already told you, she was in the right place at the right
time to serve my needs so I took her.”
“You wouldn’t be lying to
me now, would you, Captain? Trying
to protect the woman? After all, as
I recall, you were quite determined to rescue her… to keep me from taking
“I’d just spent a fortune
on clothes for her… of course I didn’t want her taken away. I hadn’t gotten my monies worth yet.”
Zellar stepped up close to
Nathan. “Tell me… do her
breasts look and feel as glorious bared as they look and feel clothed?”
Nathan willed himself not to
react at the realization that Zellar was the one in the market who had groped
Kristin. “Yes,” he replied,
knowing that by not saying anything he ran the risk of tipping Zellar off as
“Wonderful!” Zellar grinned as he moved away from his captive and headed
for the exit. “I look forward to
finding out for myself.”
‘Oh God… Kris…’
Nathan thought frantically.
“Oh… and, Captain,”
Zellar paused in the open door and smiled at Nathan.
“Thank you for finding her for me…”
The smarmy pirate looked back
“I have a lot of money
invested in that woman…” Nathan told him,
“and I’m not finished with her yet.”
“You are now, Captain.
You are now.”
With that, Zellar left,
closing the door behind him.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
Kristin stared resolutely out
the window, refusing to turn as the door opened and closed behind her.
The hands in her pockets closed around the contents, the watch in one and
the dagger in the other.
“Come and join me, my dear.
I thought you might like a bit of refreshment.”
Kristin turned to find Captain Zellar placing a tray on his desk then
holding out a chair for her.
She swallowed hard as she
stared at him, wanting nothing more than to drive the dagger through his heart
but knowing that she had to play along if she wanted to know about Nathan.
A forced smile found its way
to her lips as she walked stiffly across the room and settled into the chair.
Zellar moved to the other side of the desk and sat, his eyes never
“Would you be mother?”
He gestured at the silver teapot.
Kristin poured the tea into
the delicate china cups then added sugar to hers, deliberately ignoring the man
sitting in front of her. Zellar
simply laughed as he fixed his own beverage.
“I guess that we need to
come up with something to do to pass the time.
Tell me, pretty lady, do you play chess?”
“I… yes, I play.”
“It’s been so long since
I’ve enjoyed a game. Perhaps we
“Perhaps… where is
Captain Rogue?” Kristin quickly
stopped herself from speaking Nathan’s Christian name and took a sip of the
“So you do care about the
pirate?” Zellar observed.
Kristin lowered her head.
“He’s the only friend that I have on a ship full of cut throats.
Yes, I do wonder what you’ve done with him.”
Zellar regarded her with
curious eyes as he sipped his tea. “The
Rogue is tied up down in the hold. He’s
relatively unhurt… for now. But I
could be your friend, pretty lady.” Zellar reached out to trail a fingertip
down her forearm. “You’d find
me very friendly.”
Kristin pulled her hand back
slowly. “I’ve already
experienced your idea of friendship. I
don’t think that I care to explore it any further.”
“You’ll change your
mind,” Zellar stated, his eyes narrowing as his gaze continued to bore into
her. “Tell me… how did you come
to be on the Rogue’s ship?”
Kristin thought fast, knowing
that Nathan would have kept as close to the truth as possible.
“I was on board a ship that he attacked.
He took a fancy to me and kept me with him when he disabled my vessel.”
“Just like that… no fight
“I was unconscious… of
course I fought him once I awoke.”
“For how long?
How long did you hold the Rogue at bay before you let him split your
“That’s crude. My relationship with the captain is none of your business.”
“You don’t seem like a
typical whore. You are obviously
gentle-bred… your voice and your manners give you away.
What were you doing on that ship? Why
were you sailing?”
Kristin lowered her eyes.
“I was sailing to America. I
work as a governess for a wealthy man. He
decided to take his family with him on his business trip and I went along to
care for the children.”
I would have thought you a woman of circumstance.” Zellar’s sharp
eyes watched her like a hawk, looking for any break in her façade.
“Once… when my husband
died his holdings went to his next male relative.
The small stipend I received was not sufficient for me to survive so I
had to find work. Being a governess
was what I was best qualified for.”
“I can think of other
things that you would have been more qualified for.
With your figure you would have been a most sought after courtesan.
You should have held out for better than the Rogue.”
“Someone like you, perhaps?
I don’t think so. At least the Rogue has behaved very gentlemanly towards
“I tire of all this talk
about my competitor… my inferior competitor.
Our battle today proves who is the better pirate.
Soon you will know who is the better man. Let us enjoy a more pleasant pastime.”
Kristin took another long sip
of the tea as her hand moved over her pocket.
The pirate stood and moved to a cabinet behind him.
He took a small box down then returned to the desk and pushed the tea
tray aside to reveal a chessboard inlaid in the desk…
“Oliver, this is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen!
Why would you want a game board in your desk?”
Kristin ran a hand over the polished wood as she glanced at her husband
Oliver laughed. “Because
I like to play chess. A separate
board might slide around too much on open waters.
Perhaps the next time we go out you might join me.
I always enjoy our games. Your
are a worthy opponent, my wife.”
“You taught me well. I
wish that I could go this time. I’ve
“The next time… Your brother and I are going to be taking care
of some very promising business opportunities on this trip.
You should be in London for the little season.
James and I will be home in time for the holidays.
I shall endeavor to find something very special for Cynthia… and
perhaps for you as well.”
“All I want is you home safely.” Kristin beamed at her
“Are you all right, my
dear? Is something wrong?”
Zellar’s smooth voice
pulled Kristin back to the present to find that he had the chess pieces arranged
on the board and was awaiting white’s first move.
She turned away, her eyes
scanning the room, understanding now why it felt so familiar. Time and lack of care had taken its toll on the excellent
craftsmanship that Oliver had demanded, but many of his personal touches were
still visible throughout the cabin.
You kept his ship. You murdered my husband and my brother and you kept their
Kristin’s fist clenched as
every instinct urged her to strike out at the man with the smarmy smile.
‘Nathan… don’t forget Nathan!’
Her subconscious screamed, stopping her before it was too late.
“The first move is yours,
Kristin stared at the board;
repulsed at the thought of playing the game her husband had taught her with his
“What are you going to do
to us?” She questioned in a low voice as she struggled to maintain control and
suddenly felt slightly dizzy.
“I don’t know yet.
There are so many things. Being
a pirate has its perks you know. I’m
thinking about having the Blue Rogue flogged… just to teach him a lesson mind
you. Then I’ll probably have him
tied to the mast for a day or two without food or water.
Then my crew can have a go at him. Once
he’s recovered from that beating enough to stand I’ll have him shot.” Zellar smiled evilly at the look of horror on Kristin’s
face. “I’m sorry, I tend to
lose a bit of myself when it comes to my work. I sometimes forget there are
other pleasures in life, other… indulgences.”
He stood and moved around the
desk, his hand falling to her shoulder. “It
doesn’t matter what happens to your former lover. You belong to me now.”
“Never,” Kristin hissed
and lashed out at Zellar with her fists, only to find her movements sluggish and
having no real impact on the man.
“Having trouble, my dear?”
Kristin shook her head and
moaned as the room began to spin. “Nev…
Zellar watched with an evil
glint in his eyes as the woman before him slumped in her chair and her head
lolled back on her shoulders, thrusting her ample bosom out.
“Never may be shorter than
you think,” Zellar chuckled as he reached down then lifted the now unconscious
woman up out of the chair and carried her over to the large bed.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
The feel of warm hands
massaging her breasts slowly pulled Kristin toward consciousness. “Mmmthnnn…” she murmured and arched into his touch.
Kristin moaned as she felt
her nipples tighten beneath the teasing touches through her chemise and fought
to open her eyes, wanting and needing to see Nathan’s face as he lowered his
mouth to suckle at her nipple.
A strange sensation washed
over her as the expected hot warmth surrounded her cotton-covered nipple.
Something didn’t feel…
Kristin moaned again as his
hand moved between her thighs and his long fingers combed through her curls.
Something wasn’t right…
the touch was…
Kristin cried out and fought to push the naked male body off of her.
Don’t touch me!”
“It is too late to play the
shy maiden now, my dear,” Zellar responded as he leaned down to once again
bite at her breast while the hand he had between her thighs pressed harder
against her. “After all, we’ve
gotten so close already.”
Kristin struggled beneath him
as she realized that somehow Zellar had managed to remove her dress and worked
to get her hand out from beneath him.
“Oww… you bitch!”
Zellar swore as her nails suddenly raked across his face.
Strong hands grabbed and clenched her wrists then once again forced them
to the mattress as he shifted his weight on top of her.
“No one strikes me…
especially not a little whore like you. I’ve
tried to be nice but I am loosing my patience.
I don’t know if you are the woman I’ve been dreaming about for all
these years or not but it doesn’t really matter.
You look enough like her for me to fool myself.”
Zellar’s knees pinned
Kristin’s thighs to the mattress as he forced her arms above her head and
pinned them together with one hand. “For
fifteen years I’ve stared at her picture and dreamed of her…” Zellar’s
free hand drifted down and ripped the front of Kristin’s chemise away tearing
it in his desire to get to her, “…
of all the things I would do to her.” He
pushed the torn cotton aside and exposed her breasts to his hungry gaze.
“Now I’m going to do those things to you.”
Kristin continued to struggle
as the pirate’s hand fell to grab at her bare breast.
“I don’t want you!”
“I don’t give a damn what
you want. I’ve dreamed of you…
of a woman who looks just like you… a lady of refined birth… I’ve dreamed
of her for over a decade. I’ve
imagined having her in my bed… hot and panting for me.
You’re a whore… I’ll arouse you easily enough then you will satisfy
my fantasies. Maybe then I can get
the damned bitch out of my mind.”
“I will not serve your sick
fantasies!” Kristin felt bile
rise in her throat at the thought of this man lusting over her for fifteen
“Perhaps you think that
your handsome rogue will come rescue you. I
don’t buy that he doesn’t have feelings for you… he is very convincing
but… the way that he touched you in the market… the way he leapt to your
defense… it doesn’t add up.”
dawned in Kristin’s eyes. “You
were the man who touched me.”
“I couldn’t resist a
quick feel. It certainly whetted my
appetite for more, which is why you are lying in my bed right now.”
His hand once again slipped
beneath the skirt of Kristin’s chemise and between her thighs.
Kristin could feel the rough pads of his fingers pushing against her
curls and felt a wave of nausea roll over her.
Please! I’m… I’m going
to be sick!”
Zellar’s cruel laughter
rang out. “You’d say anything
to get away from me. Well, that
will change soon enough.”
“I’m not lying!
“Of course you…”
Zellar’s eyes grew wide as Kristin’s color faded to green.
He rolled away quickly, hitting the floor beside the bunk just as Kristin
leaned over and wretched.
Wave after wave of tea and
bile plummeted over him as Kristin lost the contents of her stomach.
“You bitch!” Zellar jumped up and raised drew his hand back as if to slap
her. Kristin stared at him
defiantly and the extended limb slowly fell to his side.
He grabbed a strip of cloth and scrubbed the evidence of Kristin’s
illness off of his body. When he
finished, Zellar reached for his clothes, swearing to find them covered with the
contents of Kristin’s stomach as well. “Clean
this mess up while I go find some new clothes.
I suggest you get control of your unruly stomach before I return.
I want you willing… but even if you aren’t I will still have you.”
“I will never be
willing.” Kristin bit out at him.
“We’ll see, bitch.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
Kristin ran the cool damp
cloth over her face and neck, willing the fear that kept her stomach churning to
subside. When she was done, she
pulled her dress back on to cover her torn chemise; breathing a small sigh of
relief when her fingers brushed over James’ ring, still tied to the stay.
‘I’ve got to convince him
that Nathan doesn’t care for me… but I don’t know how to do that unless
I…’ A shudder ran through her body at the thought of giving in to Zellar.
‘What do I do?’
She moved to the window and
stared out at the sun sinking steadily toward the horizon, dreading what the
night might bring. A ripple in the
water caught her eye. A streak of
gray broke the water, the dolphin arching high into the air before slicing
neatly back beneath the surface. Three
more acrobats followed. Kristin
watched the school’s playful antics, and chuckled softly, grateful for the
momentary distraction it brought.
“You have a beautiful
laugh.” Kristin hadn’t heard Zellar enter.
She cringed as he moved in behind her and ran his fingers over her neck.
His free hand clamped around
her opposite arm, preventing her from pulling away from his touch.
“I hope to hear it more often. Let
me be your friend.”
“Where is the rogue?”
The question slipped out before Kristin could stop it.
Zellar’s hands fell away.
“I’m glad you asked. I’m
going to take you to see your precious rogue in just a few moments.
Perhaps after you’ve seen him you will be more grateful for my…
Kristin tried not to show her
joy but Zellar turned suddenly, catching a glint of something in her eye before
she dropped her head. “He isn’t
worth your affection, my dear.”
Kristin’s refusal to answer
angered Zellar. “Come!” He
grabbed her arm and dragged her out of the cabin.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
Nathan dragged his feet and
swung his shoulders at his escorts, trying to keep them from noticing that he
had loosened the bonds around his wrists. He
blinked as they emerged into bright light and quickly glanced around to find the
position of the sun.
He swore silently when he
realized that twilight was fast approaching, knowing that if he didn’t get
Kristin off the pirate ship soon… Nathan quickly cleared that thought from his
head. The pirates pushed him
roughly up against the railing and secured him there, leaving him to stare out
at the ocean.
A smile touched his lips at
the same instant that he became aware of Kristin’s presence on deck.
He turned slowly to face her and the pirate captain standing at her side.
Kristin stepped toward him but Zellar grabbed her hair and yanked her
“You know that my men will
come after you and the next time they will be ready.
She’s damned good in bed but was she really worth it, Zellar?
Worth being hunted like a dog? They
won’t give up, you know.”
Anger flared in Kristin’s
eyes as she jerked away from her captor and walked toward Nathan. “I thought you… but I guess I was wrong… I really was
just your whore.” Her palm
delivered a solid smack across Nathan’s cheek.
Nathan pulled his gaze back
to hers, holding it intently as he willed her to read his mind.
His lips carefully formed the word ‘trust’ over and over until she
was yanked back once again.
“Thank you, Captain.
You are making my work much easier by showing your true colors to the
lady. Don’t worry. I’ll look after your woman… or should I say my woman.”
Zellar wrapped a possessive arm around Kristin’s waist.
“And soon she won’t have to worry about you any longer.”
Zellar jerked his head toward
an opening in the railing and two burly men moved up to wrestle Nathan onto the
long board jutting out from it then stood at the end to prevent him from trying
to get back down.
The sun glinted off the shiny
knife in his hand as Zellar approached the Rogue.
He used the weapon deftly, slicing through the fabric of Bridger’s
already torn blue shirt until it came off in tatters. “A little souvenir for the lady.” Zellar walked back to Kristin and forced the fabric into her
Nathan stared at the long
board in front of him as his mind raced. He
turned back toward the assembled company. “Enjoy
her company while you have it, Zellar, because you won’t have it for long.”
When Kristin directed a faint nod in his direction Nathan turned back and began
a slow walk down the plank.
“No… don’t make him do
this!” Kristin’s plea rang in
his ears as he reached the halfway point. “I’ll
do whatever you want… just let him go!”
“Forget him. You belong to me now.”
Nathan wanted to turn back and pound Zellar’s head into the deck but
getting Kristin to safety was much more important right now.
He approached the end.
“Jump, you bastard!”
The solid board fell away
from his feet as Nathan jumped, Kristin’s scream echoing in his ears as he
plunged toward the waves below.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
“How… How could you?
You’ve killed him!” Kristin
stared at Zellar with loathing, her eyes filled with hate.
“You are the most vile creature I’ve ever known and I wish to God
I’d never laid eyes on you!”
Zellar laughed, many of his
crew joining in with him.
“So now your protector is
gone… all that remains is a shred of blue silk.
Would you like for me to be your new friend now, my dear? Or would you prefer that I leave you here as sport for my
Kristin glanced around the
mob of stinking sailors and shuddered. “And
give up the prospect of having your fantasies fulfilled?
I doubt you would do that. I
accepted the attentions of one pirate captain and look where that has brought
me. I didn’t ask for your
attentions and I do not accept them.”
“You don’t have any
choice, my dear. What makes the
damned Rogue better than me?”
Kristin’s fingers wrapped
around the letter opener in her pocket. “You
are the last man on earth that I would ever choose. I’d rather be a dead pirate’s mistress than a
murderer’s whore. You killed my
husband and my brother and you stole this ship!”
“It really is you!” He
whispered. “You are really here with me.”
“I’ll see you in hell,
you bastard!” Kristin hissed as
she plunged the weapon deep into his shoulder.
Zellar screamed and blood
spurted as Kristin whirled and ran the few feet that separated her from the
“Stop her,” Zellar gasped
then found his voice. “STOP HER, DAMMIT!”
The end of the board loomed
in her vision but Kristin never hesitated as she rushed to join her love.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
Cold dark water closed above
her head but Kristin didn’t fight it. She slipped deeper into the ocean’s
embrace, as unconsciousness threatened. When
she felt a bump at her back she reached out instinctively, her hands grasping
Darwin’s dorsal fin tightly. The
dolphin took off at an angle toward the surface, his speed quickly putting them
behind the ship looming overhead.
Kristin flung her head back
as she broke the surface of the water. She
sucked air into her burning lungs in great gasps as she tried to brush her
streaming hair from her eyes.
She screamed when strong
hands closed over her arms and pulled.
Nathan quickly clamped a hand
over Kristin’s open mouth and pushed the remaining strands of red away from
her eyes as he brought his other hand up to his lips in a gesture to remain
silent. He levered her out of the water to join him on the narrow ledge running
along the back of the pirate ship, his arms moving to embrace her.
“Sound travels a long
distance out here. We can’t take
a chance on them hearing us and realizing that we are alive,” he whispered
into her ear.
“But how do we…?”
Nathan pointed across the
dark sea, his finger aimed at a small island barely visible in the twilight.
“We have to swim there.”
He saw the worry in her eyes,
the way she nibbled thoughtfully at her lower lip but she didn’t protest.
“I’ll help you.
Darwin will help us as well.” Nathan
slid silently into the water and held out his hand to Kristin.
She joined him, a trembling smile on her lips.
“Make as little noise as
possible and pray for an overcast night.”
Nathan brushed his lips across hers then lay back and began his swim
toward the island. Kristin
Soon the last touch of the
day faded from the sky and darkness surrounded them.
Someone must have listened to their prayers because the night was
overcast… so dark that they could see very little around them.
Nathan kept stopping so that Kristin could go on in front of him but she
never held that position for long. He
could see that she was tiring quickly.
“Kris,” he wrapped his
arms around her and helped her tread water.
“You are going to have to take off your dress.
It is weighing you down too much. I’ve
already gotten rid of my boots.” His fingers tugged at the row of buttons.
A heavy weight pressed
against Kristin’s thigh, reminding her of the stolen treasure she had
recovered. “I can’t… I have
something in my pocket that I have to keep.”
“Where… You can explain
later. How big is it?”
Kristin pulled the carefully
wrapped package from her garment and held it up so that Nathan could feel it.
He took it from her. “It
will fit in my pocket. Now will you
take off the dress?”
This time Kristin allowed
Nathan to work the buttons free, not even cringing when he swore in a loud
whisper as he reached her mid back and tore the remaining fabric away.
The garment slid down into the murky sea.
“I’ll buy you a dozen
more just like it.” Nathan
promised, feeling how sad she was.
Kristin brushed a kiss across
his cheek. “It wouldn’t be the
same. That was the first one…
let’s go. We still have a long
distance to cover.”
Free from the dragging weight
of the skirt Kristin was able to make better time but the island was still
several hundred yards away when she began to lag again. Nathan missed the sound of her stroke in the water near him
and halted, a stray beam of moonlight breaking through the cloud cover to reveal
Kristin floating in the water, her shoulders sagging.
“We aren’t that far now,
my lady. Just a little bit
further.” He encouraged her as he
paddled to her side.
Kristin’s head sagged to his shoulder.
“I’ll help you.
Just lay back and float. I’ll
Kristin tried to push Nathan
away. “I’ll drag you down.
Just let me rest a minute. I’ll
“I’m not leaving you,”
Nathan told her adamantly. “Now
float, dammit!” He tugged Kristin
onto her back and pulled her with him as he set off once again toward the
island. He was exhausted after just
a few yards.
‘What am I going to do?
I didn’t get us this far just to lose her now.’ Nathan contemplated
the distance before him. ‘Maybe I can push her.’
A bump at his shoulder
brought a sigh of relief to Nathan’s lips as he turned and saw Darwin floating
nearby, a toothy grin framing his fishy face.
He chattered noisily at his human friend, swimming round and round the
couple as he tried to get his meaning across.
Finally Nathan understood and
stretched out beneath Kristin, one arm locked around her waist and the other
hooked over Darwin’s fin. The
dolphin took off toward the island at a rapid pace.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
With their arms still around
each other, Nathan and Kristin slowly stumbled through the waves to shore.
Once they were far enough out of the water, they fell to their knees
where Kristin pulled herself out of Nathan’s arms and began to pummel his
chest with her fists.
“A skirt to warm your
Nathan caught her wrists.
“I never called you a whore
or a harlot!”
“You certainly didn’t try
to convince him otherwise!”
“What was I supposed to
do!? If I’d told Zellar the
truth… if he realized that I was in love with you, he would have used it
“You’re in love with
me!?” Kristin’s arms fell to
“Yes!” Nathan pulled Kristin into his arms. “I am in love with you.”
“You… you are?”
“Oh, Nathan…” Kristin
gasped as he reached up to cup her damp cheek.
“I… I’m in love with you too.”
A broad smile formed on
Nathan’s lips at her words before he pulled her closer and covered her mouth
with his in a passionate, celebratory kiss.
Their arms wrapped around
each other as they kissed hungrily and sank back onto the wet sand.
Hands caressed up and down through wet clothes as they sought to bring
their bodies closer.
“I love you,” Nathan
murmured against Kristin’s lips before he trailed hot kisses down her jaw and
over her collarbone to her breasts; pulling aside the soaked material of her
chemise to suck a peaked nipple into his mouth, not noticing the ring falling to
the side of her body, nor the fact that her chemise was torn.
hissed with pleasure at the feel of his tongue swirling around the hard tip.
She arched beneath him as she wrapped a long, smooth leg behind his knee
and reached down to grasp his rear to urge him closer.
Nathan smiled around the rosy
peak in his mouth before he released it to lick and nip his way back to her
lips. He groaned as she sucked his
tongue into her mouth while her hands moved to pull at the fasteners of his
They kissed with reckless
abandon, both lost in the joy of finally having voiced the feelings they’d
fought against from the moment they’d met.
“I love you…” Nathan
told her in between kisses. “I
love your smile and the way your eyes light up when you’re happy… the way
they flash when you’re angry…” he smiled against her lips before moving
his down to kiss her neck. “…the
way they darken when you’re aroused…”
“I love the way you
smell…” Nathan inhaled deeply, knowing in that moment, the scent of the
ocean mixed with Kristin’s unique fragrance would forever more be a stimulant
he would be helpless to resist. “The
way you taste…”
Kristin cried out his name
softly as he once again drew a pebbled nipple into his mouth.
“…like the sweetest
ambrosia…” Nathan spoke around the dusky peak as he pulled it deeper into
the hot cavern of his mouth. He
suckled her ravenously before moving to take her other breast into his mouth. “I feel like a god… but I don’t think I will ever be
gasped at his words as she continued to pull at his wet pants.
A small smile of success crossed her lips when she finally opened them
enough to slip her hands beneath the dark cotton and grasp the firm skin of his
Nathan moaned against her
breast at the feel of Kristin’s hands squeezing his rear, pulling him closer.
He thrust gently against her, the heat of her core warming him through
the wet cotton of his pants.
Nathan pulled his mouth from
her breast and rose up onto his arms over her.
He felt his breath catch in his throat at the sight of her bathed in the
moonlight… hair fanned out over the wet sand, lips parted and swollen from his
kisses… her eyes glassy with desire and love…
“You are so beautiful,”
slipped one hand out of his pants to clutch at his shoulder and urge him back
down to her, moaning happily when he complied and his chest pressed against her
bared breasts. “I love you…”
she whispered just as he captured her mouth in a searing kiss.
A loud whistle broke through
the haze surrounding the embracing pair.
“What… what was that?”
Kristin asked breathlessly as Nathan broke off the kiss and raised his
head to look around.
answered. “He’s calling us…
warning us about something.”
“Do you think it could be
Zellar?” Kristin asked with a
touch of fear in her voice.
Nathan looked down at Kristin
and they shared a smile. “Gator.”
“I think we’d better get
up.” Kristin said then glanced
down between them, “and that
Nathan followed her gaze and
groaned. “God… Gator’s timing
is as bad as Lucas’.”
Kristin laughed and Nathan
grinned at the sound. He then
rolled off onto his side, effectively blocking her from view so that she could
pull her chemise back over her breasts.
“I think…” Nathan
reached out to circle a still peaked nipple through the wet, sheer cotton,
“we need to get you a blanket.”
“That would be…”
Kristin said with a smile as she clutched the torn edges of her chemise
together, “very nice.”
Nathan chuckled and climbed
to his feet then pulled her up to stand behind him.
When the rowboat drew closer, he shouted out to Crocker,
“Gator… toss me a blanket would ya?”
“Sure thing, Cap!”
Crocker answered as he felt about for one of the blankets they usually
kept in the boat. Once he located
one, he hefted it over the water to Nathan.
Nathan caught the blanket
with one hand. “Thanks, Manny.
Give us a minute.”
Crocker watched as Nathan
turned, shaking out the blanket at the same time then wrapped the wool sheet
around the countess’ shoulders and body.
A grin formed on his lips at the delighted squeal that came from Kristin
when Nathan suddenly scooped her into his arms and carried her to the waiting
“Your timing could have
been better, Gator,” Nathan quipped to his first mate as he settled onto the
seat of the rowboat and cradled Kristin in his lap.
“Nathan!” Kristin hissed and slapped his chest.
“Sorry, ‘bout that.”
“Row us home, Gator. Row
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
‘Nice view,’ Nathan
thought as he slowly made his way up the rope ladder.
Nathan chuckled at the soft
voice that floated down to him. “Stop
“You know what.”
Nathan laughed again then
sighed as the view above him disappeared. He
quickly scrambled the rest of the way up the ladder and hauled himself over the
railing to come face to face with a blushing countess.
Kristin told him a low voice as she held the blanket tightly around her.
“But you love me anyway,”
Nathan replied as he pulled her close.
A beatific smile lit her face
and she reached up to cup his cheek, not caring that his crew was most likely
watching. “Yes I do.”
“But it really was a
fantastic view,” Nathan told her and brushed a quick kiss over her lips.
“Come on, my lady… let’s go get into some dry clothes.”
Kristin nodded and allowed
Nathan to lead her to his cabin.
“How is Will fairing?”
Nathan directed the question over his shoulder to his first mate who was
a step or two behind.
“Not too well, Cap,”
Crocker admitted in a quiet voice. “His
wound is badly infected and he’s got a very high fever.”
“Gator, gather all of the
medical supplies in your cabin. Make
sure there is a needle and some thread,” Kristin suddenly spoke up.
“Get some whiskey… or other strong spirits and clean bandages.
We’ll be right there.”
“Yes, Countess,” Crocker
nodded and took off to do as she asked.
Nathan grinned at her and
shook his head. “Yep, I was
right,” he said as they entered his cabin.
“You’ve bewitched my entire crew.”
“I’m sorry… I shouldn’t have…”
“It’s all right,
Kristin,” Nathan told her as he shut the door.
“I’m glad and very thankful you want to help.”
“I know how much Will means
to you,” Kristin said as she dropped the now wet blanket to the floor, quickly
followed by her chemise. She looked
back over her shoulder to see Nathan staring at her, a deep hunger in his
cerulean eyes, and blushed.
“I will never tired of
seeing you like this…” Nathan told her in a soft voice as he stepped over to
her. “You have bewitched me too,
Kristin smiled as he pulled
her into his arms.
“I want so badly to make
love to you right now…” he whispered in a deep voice.
“But Will needs us…”
Kristin replied, her voice also husky with arousal.
“But as soon as that boy is well… and he is going to get well…”
he slid his hands down her back to cup her rear and pull her closer.
“I am going to spend the week in bed, making love to the woman I
“And Lord help the person
who interrupts us,” Kristin smiled at him.
Kristin joined in his
laughter. “Let’s go take care
of your godson.”
They shared a quick but
meaningful kiss then quickly changed and left the cabin.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
“Boy, Crocker was right.
You do look terrible.”
William Noyce Junior looked
up at his uncle and gave him a weak smile.
“You don’t look so ship-shape yourself, sir.”
Nathan smiled wryly, knowing
his face was covered with bruises from his beating.
“I’ve had better days to be sure.
I want you to meet someone, Billy boy.
This is Kristin Westphalen, La…”
A spark of interest entered
William’s eyes as Kristin moved to the side of the bed, cutting Nathan off mid
I’m very pleased to meet you. I’ve
heard so much about you.” Kristin
grasped the hand the young man held out.
Kristin knew that if young
Mr. Noyce had more strength he would have been full of questions from the look
in his eye. “I want to take a
look at your wound if you will let me, William.
Perhaps I can help.”
William drew his leg back,
grimacing as he did so. “I
don’t want anyone to look at it. They
want to cut it off but I won’t let them.
I’d rather die than lose my leg!”
Kristin fell to her knees
beside Will’s bed, her hand still clasping his. “You don’t mean that, Will.
Your parents have missed you so much.
How do you think they would feel if they knew that you’d been found,
only to lose you again?”
“I… I don’t want to
lose my leg. I don’t want to be a
“Please let me look at the
wound, Will. I promise that I will
do everything in my power to try and save it.
I won’t let it be removed unless there is absolutely no other
Will was surprised at the trust he felt in this woman’s word.
“I give you my solemn
vow.” Kristin held the boy’s
gaze as she gave her word.
After several long moments
William moved his leg back toward the edge of the bed.
“Nathan, I need light… as
many lanterns as you can find,” Kristin commanded as her hands fell to the
filthy bandage wrapped around Will’s thigh.
She pulled the edges of his torn trousers apart then carefully pulled the
The men in the room, Nathan
and Crocker included, blanched then began to turn green as the smell of rotting
flesh filled the air. Kristin
simply stared at the wound with interest.
“I need a knife… a large
one. Bring me as much fresh water
as we can spare. Find some clean
cloth and tear it in to bandages then boil them.
I need basins and lots of rum… Nathan, is there anyway that we could
have a fire in here… something a little bigger than a lantern flame?
I will need to sterilize the knife.”
Nathan nodded, trying
desperately not to be sick. “I’ll
see what I can do. Crocker, open
The room burst into a flurry
of activity but Kristin remained where she was, whispering reassurances to Will
while her requests were carried out. Once
Lucas appeared with several large basins she directed him to take her place
while she inspected the various medicinal herbs that Crocker had brought from
the limited medical stores.
“What is she doing?” Will
asked Lucas, straining his head around in an attempt to see Kristin.
something… she’s good, trust me. The
lady nursed me through a very bad fever a few weeks ago.”
“Don’t let her give me
anything to make me sleep. They
might take my leg off while I’m out.”
Lucas shook his head.
“The lady promised that she would do her best to save your leg.
Nathan entered the room at
that moment followed by several men carrying an iron stand and an enormous
copper bowl. They set the brazier
up in the corner beneath the open porthole then filled it with coal and lit it.
“The bandages are boiling
in the galley. Miss Hitchcock
should be bringing the first batch down any moment.
What can I do now?” Nathan asked as he moved to stand beside Kristin.
“I need some hot water to
mix this poultice. I’ll also need
help holding William down while I probe the wound and clean out the
Once everything was in place
Kristin returned to the side of the bunk, gently shooing Lucas out of the way.
“I’m going to have to clean the cut now, Will, and it will hurt very
badly I’m afraid. I can give you
a sleeping draught if you like.”
Will refused quickly, still afraid of losing his leg while asleep.
“You can trust me, Will. How
about a shot of rum? That might
help take the edge off.”
Will took the drink
gratefully and gulped it down, causing Nathan to have to pound his back soundly
while he coughed.
cautioned as she poured another shot and handed it to the boy.
This time Will sipped the drink then fell back to the bunk.
“I’m ready,” he gasped
through clenched teeth.
Katie and Ben entered with
steaming hot water and clean cloths, placing them on the table then moving back
to the wall out of Kristin’s way. She
moved to the water and dipped her hands in then picked up the bar of soap and
scrubbed her hands and arms all the way to her elbows.
Katie grabbed a clean cloth from the top of the pile and draped it over
Kristin’s outstretched hand so that she could dry off.
“Nathan, will you lay the
knife in the coals? Put it in at
the hottest point.”
Deft fingers calmly grasped
both sides of the wound and pulled as gently as possible but a cry of pain still
escaped Will’s lips. Dried blood
slowly broke away as the cut parted, releasing another wave of rotting aroma.
Kristin gnawed on her lower
lip as her fingers probed the torn edges. “Katie,
hand me a hot damp cloth.”
A thin trickle of pus oozed
out of the wound as Kristin carefully cleaned away blood and filth so that she
could see the extent of the saber slash clearly.
She worked methodically with cloth and water, flushing away the rotting
flesh along with the outward signs of the infection bit by bit.
Will tried to be brave, his teeth biting down on his lower lip while his
hands clenched Nathan’s in a death grip.
Finally Kristin looked up,
pulling the cloth from the cut that she had lain open.
Blood seeped out of the raw flesh.
“Will, I’m going to have
to cauterize the wound to try and stop the infection from spreading.
Are you sure that you don’t want a sleeping draught?”
“My leg… do you
“I’m going to be honest.
I won’t make you any promises but… with the proper care… if we can
arrest the infection here and now… I think that we can save it.”
“Then do it. I can take it.”
Kristin nodded and stood,
taking just a minute for her numb legs to regain feeling, then moved toward the
brazier. She wrapped the cloth in
her hand around the hilt of the knife for added protection against the heat then
turned back to the injured boy.
Will closed his eyes tightly
as Kristin approached, not wanting to know when the pain was coming.
She felt Nathan’s gaze and her head fell, not wanting to see what must
“Kris…” she barely
heard his whisper but knew that he wanted her to look at him so she raised her
head, surprised to see blue eyes full of complete trust.
He gave her a tiny nod of approval.
The smell of burning flesh
and the sound of Will’s horrific scream filled the air a millisecond after
Kristin laid the knife on the weeping wound.
She held it there for several seconds then pulled it away, pleased to see
that the worst bit of infection had been burned away.
“Very good,” she
announced as she turned to look at Will.
Nathan laid the boys arms
down over his chest. “He passed
out the second you touched him.” He
took the knife that she held out from her and laid it back in the coals, staring
a moment as the fire burned the infection away.
“Do you think the leg has a chance?”
“I do,” Kristin spoke
confidently. “I’m going to put
a poultice on it now to help fight infection and promote healing.
It will have to be changed every hour or two at least through the night.
I’ll need to stay here.”
“Lucas, go get blankets and pillows from my cabin and make up a pallet
here,” he gestured to the floor by the bed.
“Aye, Cap,” Lucas nodded
and hurried out of the room.
“Katie,” Kristin turned
to the young woman. “Come help me
get the ingredients ready for the poultice.”
As the woman did this, Lucas
returned with the blankets and pillows and with Kreig’s help, made up a pallet
on the floor close to the bed.
“Thank you, son,” Nathan
patted Lucas on the back.
“You’re welcome,” Lucas
“Now… I think everyone
should leave. William needs to
rest,” Kristin told them.
“You heard the lady,”
Nathan said then turned to Crocker. “Keep
an eye on things up there.”
“Aye, Cap.” Crocker replied then with a nod to Kristin, he left the room.
Ben and Katie said their
goodbyes as well and followed Crocker with a reluctant Lucas in tow.
Nathan closed the door behind
them and turned back to gaze at Kristin as she bent over Will, checking his
temperature. He moved up behind her
and slipped his arms around her waist. Kristin
smiled wearily as she stood and placed her arms over his.
“There is nothing to thank
me for. I’d want to help the boy
anyway… but your love for him is so obvious.
We will save his leg.”
“I love you, Kristin.”
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
The banging of his head
against the wall quickly woke Nathan up from his light slumber and he shook his
head to clear the cobwebs as his eyes searched for Kristin. He stood cautiously, not really remembering when he had given
in to his exhaustion and sat down against the wall. ‘A hell of a long day.’ He laughed within as he moved
across the cabin.
Kristin sat in a chair beside
William’s bunk, her chin dropping to her chest as she dozed fitfully.
Nathan knelt beside the chair and pondered her profile, the length of her
lashes, the tilt of her nose, before reaching out to run the back of his hand
along her cheek. She nuzzled into him as her lashes fluttered open.
“Tis a good thing that I speak sleepiness.
You need to rest. Come lie
down on the pallet with me.”
Kristin threw her head and
arms back as she stretched, easing the kinks that sleeping in the chair had
caused. A quiet laugh bubbled out
as she saw the look on Nathan’s face, his eyes fixed to her thrust out chest.
“I have to change the poultice again in just a few minutes.
If the wound still looks clean perhaps I could rest for a few hours…
but you must promise to wake me for the next change.”
“Do what you need to.
I’m going to step up on deck and check with the night watch.
I want to make sure that we haven’t let our guard down.
Why don’t I see if I can find something for us to eat as well?”
“Food might be nice.
I am a little hungry. After
being sick earlier…”
“Sick… when were you
sick?” Nathan was immediately concerned.
“I’m fine, Nathan, I
promise. I was ill in the
bastard’s cabin… I’m afraid that I wretched all over him.
He wasn’t very happy with me.”
Nathan grinned in spite of
his worry. “I would have paid
good coin to see that. When I come
back… I think we need to talk about what happened.”
Kristin nodded, knowing what
Nathan feared. “We will.
I should be done in about fifteen minutes.”
“I’ll be back then.”
Nathan brushed a kiss over
Kristin’s forehead as he moved toward the door, pausing before exiting to turn
back and stare at his woman as she carefully unwrapped the soiled bandage from
the injured boy’s leg.
Kristin was pleased to see
that no sign of further infection had appeared and the wound had almost stopped
oozing clear fluid. She was now
much more confident that not only would Will keep his leg but that it would be
fully functional as well.
The poultice mixture stood
ready in the basin, needing only a little water to be added before she applied
it to a clean bandage. Once this
was done she turned back to the bed to find a feverish Will watching her like a
“How are you feeling?”
She asked as she moved closer.
“You took my leg!” Will
exploded in anger at her. “I knew
I couldn’t trust you. You cut my
“Will, we didn’t.
Your leg is still there. It’s
“You are lying!
I can’t feel it. The pain is gone.”
Kristin reached out and
grabbed Will’s calf, squeezing it tightly.
“Feel my hand, Will. I’m
holding your lower leg… still there, completely intact and healing.
Can’t you feel it?”
Will shook his head fitfully.
“But… why can’t I feel…”
Kristin laid the poultice
down and slipped a hand behind Will’s shoulders, carefully lifting his head up
as she dragged the blanket away. “Look,
Will. Your leg is still there.
I want you to concentrate… try to wiggle your toes.”
Will bit his lip in
concentration and after a few moments the digits began to move back and forth.
He breathed a sigh of relief as Kristin lowered his head back to the
pillow. “But I thought… I’m
“You have a fever,”
Kristin told him as she picked up the bandage and began to wind it around his
leg. “Your fear of loosing your
leg probably translated into feverish dreams about that happening. The wound is looking very well so put all thought of that out
of your mind. If it continues to
improve I’m going to sew it up tomorrow.”
“Then can I get up?”
“Not yet. Perhaps in a few days…” Kristin tied off the bandage and
moved back to the table, returning with a pan of water. She wrung out a clean cloth and washed Will’s face.
“I will feel much better about this once your fever breaks, but you are
going to have to stay in bed and rest your leg until the wound has time to heal
“I will.” Will promised
as he stared at Kristin with adoring eyes.
He sighed deeply as she moved the cloth over his bare neck and shoulders,
the cool water like heaven to his parched skin.
Once Kristin was satisfied
that William’s temperature had dropped she gave him a sip of water then
recovered him with the blanket. “Go
back to sleep. I’ll be just over
there if you need anything.”
Will nodded, his eyes already
Kristin sat the empty water
glass on the table then stretched again, holding her pose when she realized that
Nathan was watching her from the doorway, tray in hand. Her eyes sparkled as she lifted her finger to her lips and
glanced at Will.
Nathan nodded and stepped
into the room, closing the door behind him.
He gestured at the pallet. Kristin
met him there.
“You are so good with
him… you should be a doctor,” Nathan said quietly as he placed the tray on
the floor beside the pallet then sat and pulled her down beside him.
“A female doctor, what a
novel idea.” Kristin laughed as she tugged at her boots.
Nathan’s heavy shoes thumped to the floor beside hers as he leaned back
against the wall at the head of the pallet and gathered her into his arms.
“I thought so,” Nathan
quipped as he reached over and grabbed the small loaf of bread off the tray,
tore it in half and gave her a piece as he bit into his.
“I also think you would make an excellent doctor.”
Kristin laughed again and
shook her head as she nibbled on the bread.
“Have I mentioned lately
how much I adore you?” He whispered into her hair.
“Yes… but I never tire of
hearing it.” She cuddled closer.
“I was so afraid…”
“I know, my love.
I was too. When they took me
away… Kristin… whatever happened in that cabin… it wasn’t your fault.”
Tears welled up in
Kristin’s eyes. “Nathan…
“You don’t have to tell
me if you don’t want to. I want
you to try and forget. I’ll do
whatever it takes to help you.” He
dropped his bread to the tray and pulled her tighter against him.
“He didn’t… Zellar wasn’t able to… at least I don’t think…
he ripped my… my chemise and he touched my breasts then… he…” Her
“Ssh… I’m right here.
Nothing that happened can change how I feel about you.
I love you, Kristin.”
“I… I love you too… but
you might not feel…”
“I repeat… NOTHING that
happened can change how I feel about you, Kris.”
Kristin gave him a small, sad
smile and started again. “He
brought in a tray… some tea and had me pour… I remember drinking some of the
tea as Zel… as he went on and on about what he was going to do to you and how
he was going to have me,” she trembled. “He
got up at one point… stood beside me… and I went to hit him… but I could
barely lift my arms… I don’t know why and the next thing I know I’m…”
“What?” Nathan asked as her voice trailed off in a sob.
“I…” Kristin shook her
head and buried her face in his chest, the piece of bread falling from her hand
into her lap.
“Kris… tell me…”
Nathan urged her quietly as he picked up and tossed the bread onto the tray.
“I… when I woke up… I
was on the bed… Zellar was on top of me… unclothed… he’d removed my
dress and he was tou… I thought it was you and I…”
“Yes…” Kristin mumbled
against his chest. “I’m
sorry… I’m so sorry… I…”
“Didn’t do anything
wrong,” Nathan told her.
“But I… thought it was
you touching me… and it wasn’t… how could I have… to respond like
“Was probably drugged.”
“What?” Kristin sniffled
against his chest.
“I think that is what
happened… that the tea you drank was drugged.
How else would he have gotten you out of your dress and into his bed
without your knowledge?”
“But how?” Kristin lifted her head from Nathan’s chest to meet his
eyes. “I poured the tea so he
couldn’t have slipped something into my cup, and he drank the tea as well, so
it wasn’t the tea…”
“Your cup was probably
laced with it,” Nathan told her. “That
is how he was able to…” he stopped and reached out to cup her cheek.
“What else happened, sweetheart?”
“He… he removed my
dress… and then…” she pulled in a shaky breath.
“McLeary tried to… but you got there before he could… but Zellar…
he touched me… there… and he put his fingers inside me…”
Nathan rubbed her back
soothingly as she once again buried her face in his neck and sobbed into his
shoulder, murmuring his love to her over and over until she was cried out.
Finally she spoke again.
“He would have forced me
but I got sick all over him. He
didn’t believe that I didn’t care for you.
That’s why he made you walk the plank.
He thought that if he killed you I would be more receptive to his
“It all worked out to our
advantage. I had to get off the
ship first so that I could enlist Darwin’s help.
I can’t tell you how happy I was to see him jumping off the port side
when they brought me topside. I was
terrified that you wouldn’t be able to make him mad enough to send you down
the plank though.”
“I didn’t… Nathan, I
stabbed him and ran.”
Her head lost its support as
Nathan thrust her away from him so that he could look at her.
“You did what?!”
“I stabbed him… I found a
letter opener in his desk and put it in my pocket.”
Her face fell at the distress visible in Nathan’s countenance.
“No… don’t you dare be
sorry, love. I’m just confused.
You need to tell me exactly what happened.”
Nathan didn’t want to tell her how her confession made his blood run
cold. He knew that if Zellar
discovered that they lived he would hunt them down.
“I know that Zellar was trying to use you to get to me but…”
Kristin shook her head.
“That’s just it, Nathan. He wasn’t.
It was never about you. You
simply got in the way.”
“Now I am really
Kristin settled back against
the wall beside Nathan, his arm still encircling her waist. “When Zellar took you away I searched his desk looking for
a weapon. I found the dagger and
put it in my pocket. I was just
about to close the drawer when I noticed something dark in the corner, wrapped
Nathan shifted and slipped
his hand into his pocket. “This?”
He asked as he pulled the small package she had given him in the ocean out.
“That’s it. Open it, please.”
Nathan carefully unwrapped
the first layer of protective covering then the second and finally the third.
“Zellar obviously prized this to keep it so well safeguarded.”
The final layer fell away revealing a gleaming gold pocket watch.
“Why would you take a watch, Kristin?
I mean it is pretty but…”
A quick press on the release
let the cover fly open. Nathan
peered inside, startled to see that the inner lid contained a miniature portrait
of a woman and a young girl. The
woman in the picture was obviously the same woman now sitting next to him.
“The watch belonged to
Oliver. I gave it to him as a
wedding gift. See the initials on
the outer cover? He had the
miniature of Cynthia and I done just a few months before… before his final
“Zellar… Zellar is the
pirate who killed your husband.” Nathan finally understood.
Zellar killed Oliver. When I
first regained consciousness I felt this wave of… familiarity.
Once I saw the watch all the pieces began to fall into place.
I’d been in that cabin before… just before her maiden voyage.
That ship was Oliver’s. That
bastard killed my husband and stole his ship.”
“And he kept the watch all
“I think that he liked to
keep trophies from his victims but… He saw us in the market.
He was the man who… touched me.”
“I’d already figured that
out.” Nathan told her.
“The reason that he noticed
us was because he has apparently been staring at that picture for years…
creating all sorts of sick fantasies about me…about the woman in the picture.
I told him I was a widow… a governess traveling with a wealthy family
to America when you took me. He
didn’t realize that I was the woman in the painting but he didn’t care.
I looked enough like her that he was willing to use me to fulfill those
Nathan’s heart sank with
Kristin’s every word because he knew that they weren’t safe… would never
be safe… from the mad pirate. “Did
you confront him?”
“No… not then.
When he came back to the cabin he was being very polite… trying to woo
me. I desperately wanted to know
what had happened to you so I tried to play along.
When I reached the point where I no longer could he became angry and
tried to rape me. That’s when I
returned the tea that he had given me to drink.
He left and when he came back he dragged me up on deck.”
“So he never figured out
that you really were the Countess of Kilhairn?”
Kristin gazed straight ahead
at the opposite wall, scared to meet Nathan’s eyes.
“When he made you jump… I told him that I’d rather be your mistress
than a murderer’s whore. He
realized… I stabbed him and in the ensuing melee I ran to the gangplank and
jumped. I’m sorry, Nathan. I know that I shouldn’t have let him know but he was
standing there looking so smug and all I could think about was how he had killed
three men that I loved.”
“Ssh…” Nathan pulled
the sobbing woman into his arms. “But
he didn’t kill me. I am right
here and I am never going to leave you. That
bastard will never have the opportunity to get near you again.”
“But… he thinks that we
are dead, doesn’t he?”
“He does right now but
eventually… he could figure it out. Kristin,
you have nothing to worry about. I
swear I will protect you.”
Kristin finally met his gaze,
her sable eyes full of trust. “I
know that. But I refuse to let you
be hurt because of something that you aren’t even involved in.
I love you too much.”
“I’m already involved.
Even if I weren’t madly in love with you… Zellar has been baiting me
for months. Remember the attack on
the ship while we were on the island? He
couldn’t have known you were on board then.”
Nathan pulled her closer to
him as his lips brushed over hers. “I
was so scared when that bastard dragged me out of the cabin. As long as I could see you, know you were okay, then I was
all right too… but when they took me away from you. I saw the look in his eyes, knew what he wanted to do to you.
The thought of him touching you… I could kill him for that.”
It was Kristin’s turn to
comfort as a low sob escaped Nathan’s mouth.
“It was awful because it wasn’t you but he didn’t succeed, Nathan.
I swear that he didn’t do more than I said.”
Nathan turned tear filled
eyes to meet hers and saw the truth staring back at him.
He grabbed her waist roughly and hauled her into him, his mouth devouring
her lips as he pressed their torsos together.
Kristin whimpered as the
buttons of the shirt she was wearing slipped open and the shirt fell away from
her shoulders. The strip of blue
cloth holding her braid surrendered to Nathan’s tugging and he threaded his
fingers through heavy tresses as he kissed his way down her neck.
whispered as his mouth traveled onto her chest.
“I want… but we can’t! Will
might wake up…” Even as she protested her body arched into his touch.
“I know,” Nathan’s
words vibrated through the erect nipple that he now held in his mouth.
“I just need… I just need to touch you… to hold you and know that
you are real… that we are here, together and safe.”
With a last pull at the distended tip he lifted his head back up to stare
at her. “I want to feel you in my
arms, pressed against me.”
Nathan’s hands fell to toy
with the ribbons of her exposed chemise as he spoke.
“Will is asleep and we’ll be beneath the blanket… just from the
After glancing at Will to
make sure he was still resting, Kristin let the blue shirt slide down her arms.
“Just to the waist,” she cautioned as Nathan quickly stripped off his
When Kristin would have
undone the lacing of her chemise, Nathan stopped her.
“Let me.” He tugged one
ribbon and then the other, stopping as he felt a heavy weight there.
“What is this?” Nathan
pulled the ribbon up bit by bit until the ring tied to the end hung just below
“I see that. How’d it get here?”
Nathan asked as he swung it gently back and forth.
“I tied it there… kept it
with me when we changed,” Kristin grabbed the ring and began to work at the
knots binding it. “I found this
in the drawer as well.” The ring
fell clear and she held it out to him. “It
belonged to my brother. This is
James’ signet ring.”
The weight of Kristin’s
discovery and the impact that it must have had on her finally became clear to
Nathan. “I am so sorry, my
love.” He took her right hand and
slipped the ring over her middle finger.
“Thank you for rescuing
me.” Kristin raised a hand
wearily to Nathan’s shoulder, reminding him that they both needed rest. He wrapped his arms around Kristin and shifted them both
until they were lying on the pallet; Nathan on his back and Kristin cuddled up
into his side.
Kristin giggled sleepily as
Nathan paused to push the chemise off her shoulders and down her arms.
She pulled her limbs free then wrapped them back around Nathan’s chest
as he pulled a blanket over them. They
were asleep in seconds, all thoughts of finishing their small meal forgotten.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
Will stared at the dark
silhouette lying on his floor, knowing that the entwined arms and legs belonged
to his Uncle Nathan and the beautiful woman who had been taking care of him.
The first strands of morning sun crept gradually over the floor as he
watched; finally confirming the he was right.
Breath rushed from his lungs
as the light came up a little more, allowing him to see bare flesh pressed
together, the firm curve of the woman’s breast clearly visible rising from
A sharp pain shot from
Will’s leg through his body, causing a low moan to issue from his lips.
His hand flew up as his eyes blurred in the rising light.
Kristin’s head popped up
immediately to find her patient thrashing about in the bunk. She swore as she rolled off of Nathan, pulling her chemise
back up as she stood. Nathan
stirred, missing her warmth, his eyes flying up at the loud yell that filled the
Kristin struggled to hold
Will down as he fought her in an attempt to get off the bed and away from the
demons that occupied his feverish dreams. The
boy was strong but his illness had weakened him.
Even so, Kristin was having a difficult time. Nathan ran to her side and pinned the boy to the bed.
“I don’t know.
I must have missed a pocket of infection.
There was so much… I’m so sorry, Nathan.”
Kristin looked lost as she backed away from the bed.
“Kris… darling… help
me. I don’t know what to do.
You were so wonderful with Lucas and with me when we were sick.
You are Will’s best chance… the only chance he has.
You know what to do.”
Nathan’s words filtered
through Kristin’s exhausted mental processes, bringing her back to the problem
at hand. “I’ll have to use
alcohol to clean the wound. It will
burn dreadfully but it is the best disinfectant we have.
Perhaps… if I can get the infection out… sewing the wound might
prevent it from returning. I’ll
have to apply new poultices every hour or so.”
Kristin’s hands flew among the medicine vials at hand as she spoke.
Unconsciousness had once
again reclaimed Will so Nathan freed him and ran to the door to summon fresh
water and more coal. Katie soon
appeared to help as Kristin used fire to sterilize the knife and one of the
large needles used for sewing canvas. Nathan
watched with interest as she bathed Will’s entire leg with alcohol.
Crocker and Ben arrived in
response to Nathan’s summons, moving to opposite ends of the bunk at
Kristin’s direction. She worked
quickly, finding the tiny pocket of pus and evacuating it then picking up the
“This has to work.
I can’t keep burning the skin or I’ll do far greater damage.”
She ran her fingers over the muscle one last time.
The knife sizzled as she laid
the thin point over the flesh she’d just cleaned.
Will screamed and jumped, his body bucking away from the bed, but strong
hands held him in place.
“Stop! Please don’t torture me so!
Just let me die!” He screamed in his delirium.
Kristin picked up the bottle
of alcohol and clamped her lips with determination as she upended it.
More screams filled the cabin as liquid fire rushed into the cut and
cleansed away the impurities.
“Katie, bring the
The tip of the needle was
glowing red-hot by the time that Kristin pulled it from the flame.
Nathan helped her hold the edges of the wound together while Ben and
Gator practically laid down on the fighting patient.
Within minutes the flesh was knit together with heavy thread, the tiny
stitches made to lessen any scarring.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
“Kristin, you need to
sleep.” Nathan shook her shoulder gently.
“You’ve only catnapped for the last two days.”
“Mmm… I can’t… not
until Will’s fever breaks.”
“I will look after Will, I
promise.” Nathan knelt by her chair, his voice coaxing.
“You are going to make yourself sick, running yourself ragged this
“But what if he has
“Then we use the bath, just
like before. You have another
poultice ready and I can change it but you haven’t seen any more visible signs
of infection for two days. Come…”
Nathan stood and slid his arms beneath Kristin, lifting her as if she was
a child while ignoring her feeble protests.
The pallet was soft beneath
Kristin’s back as Nathan lowered her into the blankets.
She snuggled against the pillow, paying him no attention as he pulled her
boots off of her feet and stripped the blue shirt away from her torso.
She was in a deep sleep by the time that he’d tugged the belt free from
“Sleep, my love.
I will watch over both you and Will.”
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
“Uncle Nathan?” Will
reached a hand out to touch his uncle’s knee.
Nathan jumped awake immediately.
“Will! You’re awake! You
know who I am!” He laid a hand
over the boy’s forehead as he had seen Kristin do, pleased that the skin felt
normal. “I think your fever has
“I thought… I was afraid
that I was dreaming… that when I woke up I’d still be on the Interceptor.
“We got you back four… no
five days ago. That saber cut in
your thigh was badly infected.”
“My leg!” Will lurched
up, moaning as his head swam from the sudden movement.
Nathan’s hand quickly
slipped behind Will’s neck in support as the boy’s hand moved over his
thigh. “It’s still there! The doctor on the Interceptor was going to cut it off.
I dreamed… I had such wild dreams, Uncle Nathan.
I was being chased by the British navy… there were pirates… and there
was a beautiful woman… an angel sent to care for me.”
Nathan laughed sharply.
“I can think of many words to describe Kristin Westphalen but angel
isn’t the first one that leaps to mind.”
questioned, his brows furrowing.
Nathan shifted in his chair
and gestured toward the pallet where a waterfall of red hair flowing over a
round white shoulder could be seen above the blanket. “Lady Kristin Westphalen, Countess of Kilhairn… my guest
and the angel that you owe your leg to. She
has been by your side day and night.”
“How… why… I don’t
understand, Uncle Nathan.”
“I’ll explain everything
to you later when you are feeling better. I’ll
be in big trouble if I tire you out and I’m not up to dealing with an angry
“Feisty?” Will grinned,
joking with his uncle.
“Feisty doesn’t even
begin to cover it.” Nathan laughed.
“Do you think… could I
have something to eat? I’m
“I’m not surprised.
You haven’t had more than a few spoonfuls of broth in almost a week.
I’ll go get you some more… and maybe a little bread as well.
You try to rest while I am gone.”
Will watched his uncle leave
the room then turned his head back to the woman lying on the floor.
He remembered a husky voice and a soft hand in the midst of his dreams
and knew instinctively that they belonged to her.
A deep blush rose over his face as he remembered seeing Nathan and the
lady lying together naked. Had that
been reality or a part of his dream? He
Soft murmuring drew him out
of his thoughts.
It was uttered on the softest
of sighs, but William heard it nonetheless and watched, as the woman who his
uncle told him was a countess… the woman who had saved his life, tightened her
arms around the pillow clutched in her embrace and murmured Nathan’s name
Slowly, as if sensing that he
was no longer alone, William turned his head towards the door to see Nathan
standing quietly in the entrance, holding a tray and staring at the
‘He never looked that way
at Aunt Carol,’ Will thought as he continued to watch his uncle.
A small smile tugged at the corner of his lips.
‘He is positively mesmerized by this Kristin.’
He groaned as a small but
sudden shaft of pain shot through his leg.
Nathan shook his head;
pulling his attention from his sleeping lover to move quickly into the room.
He placed the tray on the small table near the bed then sat next to Will.
“Yes,” Will replied,
slightly short of breath. “I
guess the pain is good… means the leg is still there…”
Nathan smiled and nodded.
“Good way to look at it,” he said as he reached for the bowl of
broth. “Are you strong enough to
eat this on your own?”
“Yes, Uncle Nathan.”
“Just making sure, kiddo. Wouldn’t
want you to spill it now.”
“And risk the wrath of the
“Exactly,” Nathan laughed
softly then turned at the soft murmur from the pallet in the corner.
“Excuse me a moment,” he said to William as he stood and quickly
moved over to Kristin. He knelt
beside her and reached out to stroke her hair as she muttered in her sleep
“Ssh… go back to sleep,
Kris,” Nathan whispered softly as her eyes fluttered open and she smiled
sleepily up at him. “Everything
is okay. Go back to sleep.”
Nathan smiled and leaned
close to brush his lips gently over hers. “I
love you too,” he whispered against her ear.
William watched with interest
as Nathan soothed Kristin and smiled as he ate his soup. ‘Oh… wait till mom and dad see this!’
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
“But I’m going crazy in
this cabin. I need to get out into
the sunshine!” Will pleaded with his caretaker.
Kristin stared at him
sardonically. “Are you sure there
is no blood relationship between you and Nathan?
You sound remarkably like he did after he had a fever several weeks
“Several weeks… How long
have you been on board, milady?”
“It’s been… five… no,
I’ve been on board almost eight weeks now.”
Will smiled. “Lucas told me about the circumstances surrounding your
arrival… so you should understand how frustrating it is to be locked up in
Kristin’s mouth fell open
as she shook her finger at her patient. “You…
are a sly young man. You set me
“I wouldn’t do that, Lady
Westphalen.” Will beamed innocently. “I
just want to go up on deck for a little while.”
“Gator and Ben can carry
him up and down the stairs, Lucas will keep him company.
We’ve prepared a comfortable shaded place for Will to sit.”
“So you’ve all been
conspiring behind my back.” Kristin folded her arms across her chest as she
eyed them both Nathan and Will. “All
right. But the second that I say
so, you come in.”
“Thank you, Lady
Westphalen.” Will offered graciously, a smug look on his face.
“As for you,” her gaze
turned to lock with laughing blue eyes. “You
are in serious trouble… fomenting rebellion behind my back.
What do you have to say for yourself?”
Nathan gave Kristin his best
angelic grin as he wrapped an arm behind her waist and led her toward the door.
“Why don’t we let Lucas come help Will get dressed while we talk
about this… somewhere else?”
“Don’t think that you are
going to distract me, Captain Rogue…” Kristin’s voice faded as the couple
slipped out the door and down the hallway.
know… I know…” Nathan said. “But…
you could always… ‘punish’… me… if you like,” Nathan's voice
filtered back into the room, followed by Kristin’s laughter.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
“What are you… oooh…”
“What does it feel like?”
“I thought… oh mmm… I
thought we couldn’t…”
“Do you want me to stop?”
Oh no… oooh… but shouldn’t we… God that feels good… shouldn’t
we go back to your cabin?”
I told you I wanted to make love to you up here.”
“But… but what about…
mmm… your crew! Nathan! What about your crew?”
“They can’t all fit up
“That’s not what I
meant… ooohmmm… how…”
“I have an idea.
“Good… turn around…”
Kristin slowly turned in
Nathan’s arms, smiling at the desire she saw swimming in his deep blue eyes,
and felt an answering heat rush through her body.
She watched as, with a quick wink, Nathan sank down to his knees before
“First we,” Nathan
reached up to the leather belt at her waist,
“undo this and slip these,” he tugged on the britches she wore, “off. Then…”
he directed her to lift one foot and pulled the pants completely off that leg.
“There. That will make it
a little easier.”
“Easier for what?”
“For making love to you,”
Nathan told her. “But before I
bring you down here to join me…”
“Oh god!” Kristin moaned as Nathan leaned forward and buried his face
between her thighs. Her hands
clenched the edge of the crow’s nest as Nathan swept his tongue up and down
her sex. “Nath… an…”
Nathan slid his hands up her
thighs to cup her bottom and pull Kristin closer as his lips closed around her
clitoris and sucked hard. At the
feel of her hand slipping into and fisting in his hair, Nathan pulled his mouth
away from her.
Kristin looked down at him,
panting softly as she watched him quickly undo his britches and push them down
off his hips. She licked her lips
at the sight of his erection standing proud and tall from the nest of dark,
“Now what?” She whispered.
“Now…” Nathan shifted
so that he was sitting cross-legged before her,
“you come down here and join me…”
Kristin smiled and with
Nathan’s hands guiding her, she sank down into his lap and impaled herself
onto his rigid shaft.
“Oh… god…” they
moaned together when Nathan was completely buried within her hot sheath.
“Wrap your legs around
me,” Nathan told her as he lowered his mouth to her neck and nibbled her salty
Kristin nodded and slid her
legs around him.
“That’s it…” Nathan
said as he slid his hand to her hips and held her against him as he uncrossed
his legs; planting his feet on the floor of the crow’s nest as he began to
thrust up into her.
“Ooh…” Kristin gasped
and thrust back against him. “You
certainly have been giving this a lot of thought.”
“Oh yes…” Nathan nodded
as he continued to move inside her. “And…
oooh, I love it when you do that…”
Kristin smiled and clenched
her inner muscles around him again.
“You’re a minx…”
Nathan gasped and thrust up hard beneath her.
“But you love me any…
mmm… oh… Nath…” Kristin moaned as he slipped a hand between their bodies
to manipulate her swollen flesh. “Nathan…
“I’m close, Kris…”
Nathan told her breathlessly as he continued to stroke her clit and thrust into
“So am I…” Kristin
replied as she ground herself against him.
“Please… oh please, Nathan…”
Nathan nodded and drove
himself up harder into her, his fingers circling furiously against her clit.
“Come for me, Kris… I…”
“Oh, Nathan… I…”
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
William looked up at the
sudden screams that rent the air. “What
on earth…?” He turned to look
at Crocker standing beside him. “What
A large grin formed on
Crocker’s face as he glanced up at the crow’s nest.
He chuckled as he looked back at William and answered, “Your uncle.”
But what is he… he’s not a soprano…” William’s voice trailed
off as he remembered the snippet of conversation he’d overheard between his
uncle and the countess as they’d left his room.
“He’s not alone up there… is he?”
Crocker shook his head.
A slow smile formed on
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
“Oh… oh lord, that was
Kristin smiled against
Nathan’s neck as she panted for breath. “I
am not inclined to disagree with you.”
Nathan chuckled and wrapped
his arms around Kristin as he shuffled them back against the wall of the
“I love you,” Nathan
whispered against Kristin’s temple.
“I love you too,” Kristin
“I have to admit,” Nathan
began in a quiet voice, slipping his hands beneath her shirt to stroke the
smooth skin of her back. “This is
not how I pictured making love to you for our first time after admitting how we
“Me either…” Kristin
said. “But I am not
Nathan pulled his hands out
from beneath her shirt and slipped them into her hair, threading his fingers in
the long, luxurious tresses. He
tugged gently until she lifted her head from his shoulder so that he could look
into her eyes.
“You do know that this
about so much more than sex, don’t you?”
Kristin gazed deeply into his
blue eyes as a slow smile formed on her lips.
She nodded. “Yes,
Nathan… I know.”
Nathan returned her smile and
slipped a hand out of her hair to cup her cheek.
“The last few days…
we’ve both been worried about Will and taking care of him,” Kristin said.
“Yes, we have,” Nathan
murmured in agreement.
“I can’t tell you how
much having you with me each night… just holding me as I slept… has helped
“Just having you here has
been of help… both to my men and me. Especially
They smiled at each other
then shared a deep, loving kiss.
“We should… climb down
now,” Kristin spoke softly against his lips.
“Check on, Will…”
“Mmhmm… we should,”
Nathan nodded and helped ease Kristin off his lap.
His hands tightened on her arms at the soft whimper he heard slip from
her lips. “Kristin?
Kristin shook her head and
lowered her gaze as she worked to get her britches back on.
“That’s not the first
time I’ve heard you whimper like that…” Nathan told her.
He slipped his fingers beneath her chin and brought her gaze back up to
his. “Kris… tell me.”
“I… I don’t… when
you…” Kristin took a deep breath as her face flushed,
“when you leave my body… I feel this… this overwhelming sense of
loss. I… I can’t explain it any
better than that.”
Nathan nodded and pulled her
back into his arms. “You don’t
have to,” he nuzzled her temple. “I
“I feel the same thing
every time I withdraw from the warmth of your body,” Nathan told her.
Kristin shifted so that she
was once again looking into his eyes.
“I have never felt…
except with you…”
Kristin smiled at him.
“I guess we should…”
Nathan nodded then helped
Kristin slip back into her pants. He
quickly pulled up and secured his own britches then climbed to his feet, pulling
her up with him.
“Look there,” he pointed
out across the bow of the ship. “See
“That dark spot on the
horizon?” Kristin asked as she
leaned back against him and followed the line of his finger over the ocean.
“Yes,” Nathan said.
“That is where we’re headed. My
“Mmhmm…” Nathan nodded.
“I can’t wait to show you my little island.”
Kristin turned in his arms
and pressed a quick kiss to his lips. “And
I can’t wait to see it.”
Nathan smiled at her.
“Come on… let’s go check on Will.”
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
“They’re in love with
each other, aren’t they?” William
asked Crocker as he watched Nathan and Kristin climb out of the crow’s nest
and slowly make their way down the rope net.
William’s smile grew.
“I’m happy for them… especially, Uncle Nathan.
He… after everything he’s been through… he deserves to be happy,”
he said. “And Lady Westphalen
seems to be a very loving, caring woman… and someone who gives Uncle Nathan a
good run for his money.”
“She is indeed.”
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
“Gator… I think this
young man has had enough fresh air for today.”
“Yes, Countess,” Crocker
replied, turning to smile at the approaching couple.
“I haven’t been out that
long,” William protested.
“And you’re still not one
hundred percent,” Kristin told him. “So
I want you back in your room and in bed.”
“But…” a look from
Nathan stopped William from saying anything further and he nodded. “Yes, ma’am.”
“Come on, lad,” Crocker
said as he and Nathan slipped their arms beneath the younger man and carefully
lifted him. “Let’s do as the
Kristin followed as they
carried him back to Crocker’s room then once William was settled, checked his
wound. “It looks good,” she
“One day… I will repay you for all you have done.”
“Just you being alive and
well is payment enough for me,” Kristin told him with a smile then glanced up
at Nathan when she felt him squeeze her shoulder.
“I’m going to go back up
deck. Help with some of the
repairs,” he told her. “I’ll
come back in a little while with some dinner for all three of us.”
William looked at his uncle. “Something
besides broth I hope?”
Nathan laughed and glanced at
Kristin who nodded. “Yes.”
“I can’t wait,” William
said with a smile.
“Please tell me it’s not
Kristin gave him a rueful
smile. “Life on the sea.”
“Yep,” Nathan replied
then bent down to brush a quick kiss over her lips.
Kristin nodded and watched
him leave then turned back to see William lying against the pillows with a soft
smile on his face. “So, what
would you like to do?”
“Well, I’m tired of
reading…” he glanced around the room and spotting an object on the shelf
across the room, he turned back to Kristin.
“Up for playing a game of draughts?”
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
Kristin yawned and snuggled
back against Nathan’s chest as he slipped into the bed and wrapped his arms
around her. “How long till we
reach your island?” She asked as
she yawned again.
“Another day or two at
least,” Nathan replied sleepily. “God,
it feels like ages since I’ve slept in a bed.”
“You didn’t have to stay
with me on the pallet you know,” Kristin told him.
“I’m very glad you did… but you didn’t have to.”
“Yes I did,” Nathan told
her as he pulled her closer, burying his face in her hair as he yawned.
“God, I’m so tired.”
“So am I,” Kristin
replied. “Who would have thought
playing checkers all afternoon could be so tiring.”
“Along with ‘other’
things,” Nathan chuckled softly. “So
no complaints about us not making love tonight?”
“Well…” Kristin giggled
when she felt him nip her shoulder. She
tilted her head back to look at him. “You
can make it up to me in the morning.”
Nathan smiled and nodded.
“Besides, Katie and Ben
have strict orders to come get us should anything happen with Will throughout
the night,” Kristin reminded him. “And…
Nathan laughed softly as
Kristin blushed. “I would hate to
be interrupted in the middle of making love to you too.”
“Yes… you’d lose too
many men to the plank,” Kristin grinned at him though her cheeks remained red.
Nathan returned her grin and
cupped her cheek then lowered his mouth to hers in a gentle, loving kiss.
“Sweet dreams, my lady,” he whispered against her lips as the kiss
came to an end.
“For you too, Captain
Rogue,” Kristin whispered back then turned over and cuddled back against him.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~