to the lantern, he lit the oil; turning down the flame to
a brightness that only allowed eerie shadows to be cast a
short distance. Pouring another glass of rum, he sat in his
chair and watched the shadows dance on the floor. Tipping
back in the chair, he stared at the child that slept soundly
in the hammock. The sea slapped ever so gently against the
side of the ship making a calming sloop noise rather than
a loud strike. Moonlight pushed through the portal attesting
to the fact that the moon hung low in the sky this evening.
It cast its light on the hammock. "Ray what am I doing
to do with you?" he sipped from his glass. "First
you talk a gullible Nickolas into getting you on my ship.
From that day forward, you and I have had conflict between
us. I know nothing about you and you will reveal nothing to
Standing, he walked
to the small round window and gazed out at the moon. Leaning
on the wall, he thought of nothing as he tried to let the
day ease off his mind; looking out the portal for a long while
as he nursed his liquor, little by little. "I'm confused
about you little one. There seems to be an invisible tether
that keeps me tied to you, no matter how much you or I detest.
Most of all, I'm frightened by myself." His eyes traveled
back to the hammock as he leaned on the wall. Placing his
foot against the wall, he studied the tiny body. "I don't
know how to handle you. You are disrespectful to me as your
Captain and as a man. You disobey my orders. Hell, you even
stand up to me when everyone else has enough sense to back
Walking back to
his desk he topped off his glass. Raising his glass to the
sleeping boy, he smiled, "To you chit, for getting to
me like no one has in a very long time," he chuckled
at the toast. Thoughts of Isabella rolled into his mind. Isabella
could get the best of him most days. They never fought loudly
but she had a way of keeping herself and her anger silent.
Keeping silent so much that it cut through him like a knife
and he would do anything to get back in her good graces. She
was defiant to him in her own little way. "See you're
like Isabella, but you are different. You are louder and you
don't hide your anger well."
Frowning as he
thought about what the boy had done earlier in the day. "See,
Isabella would have done the same thing, but she would have
done it away from the others. Yes, you are very much like
her except, you are a male." Kevin let out a long held
breath as he lumbered to his chair; he was sincerely confused
over his attraction to Ray. Drinking two more glasses of rum
he began to feel the uneasiness of that thought diminishing
in his mind. Taking a long swig he looked at the hammock,
"I killed the blue coat captain today. I'm sorry. I know
you didn't want that to happen, but he insulted both of us.
He inferred a relationship between us that was not possible
because we are both males." Sitting down he mulled over
the words that he had just spoke. After listening to the waves
lap at the ship, he turned to the hammock. "I think I
was angry because he voiced what I have been feeling. It's
not natural, how I feel about you. My body aches to touch
There he had said
the words and hadn't been struck down by any great force.
Looking around as if he were confessing all his sins, he began
again. "That day on the ropes; when you fell, when you
slid down the front of my body. My manhood just didn't twitch
Chit, it was giving you a full salute. I was sick over it.
After I saw that you were safe, I went to the side of my ship
and became ill. I think I heaved the entire breakfast you
had made me that morning over the side and into the sea. A.J.
either saw me or followed me, I don't know which. He has never
said a word about what happened that day to anyone, at least
not to my knowledge."
Ray's rolling in
the hammock and wincing distracted him from his thinking and
speaking. The guilt tugged at him, he had really walloped
the boy today, deservedly so, but still. Setting his drink
down on his desk, he hesitantly went to the hammock. Ray was
lying on his side, the same side he had struck. "I didn't
have the opportunity to speak to Brian about your injuries,
but I can see that you are in pain." Carefully he moved
the boy's small frame. His fingers met with the heavy bandages
wrapped around the boy's chest. "I hit you high intentionally,
as not to cause any permanent injuries, just something that
you would remember." Agile fingers felt the front and
the back of the child. "What is wrong with you?"
Kevin's concern and curiosity grew as he probed the boy's
chest with his fingertips. Going over to the lamp, he turned
the flame up and brought it back to the hammock. He hung the
lantern on a nail by the hammock. The light being a little
too bright, he adjusted the flame appropriately with just
enough light so he could see the boy. Unbuttoning a button
on Ray's shirt caused a flash of heat to course though his
body. "Maybe this isn't a good idea. I have had more
than too much rum," he mumbled as his fingers continued
their task to unbutton the old shirt.
Staring at Ray's
chest, his frown deepened and his brows creased in confusion.
His senses may be dull from all of the rum he had partaken
in but this was not normal for Brian either. The cloths strips
that bound the boy were tattered and in poor condition. "These
are unclean," Kevin shook his head from side to side,
he would take care of that in a minute, and there were better
dressing for this, right in this cabin. He would be speaking
to Brian in the morning; this was not acceptable for Ray or
anyone on his ship. Slipping the shirt off, he could see the
damage he had caused. The bandages were supporting the shoulder.
Carefully he began to sit the boy up only to have Ray promptly
fall forward into his chest. Closing his eyes, he summoned
strength from somewhere to control his body and then he cursed
under his breath. He was supposed to be helping the child
and instead he could feel the desire beginning to tingle in
his body. His erection straining on the buttons of his pants
just added to the discomfort. He had been obvious to when
it had begun but he was trying to pay no attention to it.
He growled softly as he regained his composure. Settling himself
mentally, he clasped the boy and removed the shirt. He shuddered
when Ray's warm breath caressed his chest. Kevin's skin was
already glowing from perspiration caused by the heat of the
evening and the rum. The rush of air from Ray only caused
a deeper shivering sensation throughout his body. His body
was on fire but his senses were clearing quickly. "Damn,
this goes against everything I have ever been taught. I have
traveled the world and have seen this type of relationship
before, it is not new to me." He cradled Ray against
his body. Closing his eyes, he tried to center his thoughts.
"I was approached on many occasions. For God's sake,
I was married to a woman." Jamming his eyes shut, he
thought he could try to erase what he was feeling but he was
losing the battle with his body. Now agitation was beginning
to replace the desire. He was angry that he couldn't control
his lust. His loins ached to be with the boy. His manhood
wanted to be freed and touched but not by his own hands but
by Ray's. "Christ! I've seen some of my own men
he set his face and his temper. Ray's cap was rough against
his skin. Every time the boy moved his head, the rough wool
snapped and scrapped at Kevin's senses. It chaffed him unnaturally
and only served to aggravate him as well. "Why are you
always wearing this infernal thing?" he plucked the hat
from the head it rested on. A black waterfall of hair cascaded
down his arm and chest. "Oh God," he ground his
teeth together, as he touched the soft silken strands. "This
is not happening to me."
Laying Ray down
back in the hammock, he went back to his desk for his bottle
of rum. He tipped his head back and drank more than a healthy
measure. Dropping in the chair, he held on to the bottle for
dear life. "You just have very long hair, Right?"
he asked knowing that he wouldn't get a response and knowing
the true reason. As the anger began to seep through him and
rapidly replace the desire he was feeling, he repeated his
words. "This is not happening to me, on my ship
Cocking his head
from side to side, he stared in disbelief. "I think I
need to confirm this, just in case it is the rum." With
his bottle still in his hand, he gingerly stepped to the hammock.
Pulling a few knots and ripping one in the process as his
fingers worked the strips free. He smiled as he looked down
on two perfectly petite breasts
female breasts. Kevin's
eyes drank in the sight of two glorious mounds, which were
slowly reforming after being bound tightly for so long. With
his bottle in his hand he swung around and did a little dance,
"I'm not insane," he sang, he laughed as relief
flooded his body, "I'm not a lunatic," he cackled.
He hadn't held desire for a boy, but a girl. He stopped suddenly,
turning back to the hammock; he spoke to Ray, "Are you
a girl or a woman?" Shooting to the hammock, his hands
feverishly worked at the buttons on the breeches Ray wore.
The pants were thrown to the floor as his eyes traveled to
the juncture of her thighs. "A woman," he whispered
to himself as he stared at the triangle of black curls, "Definitely
Standing next to
the hammock, his left hand explored the exposed the body and
his right held his rum. The small breasts, the flat stomach,
his hand trailed the curve of her hips. Slowly his hand traveled
down the milky thigh and over a knee, all the way to a petite
foot, with tiny toes. His fingers reversed their path and
didn't hesitate as it brushed once again over the crisp curls
of her womanhood. He longed to fondle, stroke, and explore
this area more fully. All the torment that he had been through
since Ray had landed on his deck were coming forward from
his memory. Kevin's thoughts swiftly changed as he remembered
all the things that he had spoken to Ray about, about growing
up, learning to shave, and the talk he had intended to have
about women, now they seemed ridiculous. His recall switched
to one of recognition of who Ray was. His fingers tangled
in the mass of raven black hair as he leaned down to her ear.
The strands curled around his forearm. No longer could he
touch her body since his own would not take much more. His
physical needs would over-rule him and he would make a grave
mistake with this woman. "You are Jocelyn's little cook.
You were the one with the saucy mouth and sharp tongue that
Nickolas seemed to have the uncanny knack of getting into
trouble with." His fingers stroked the hair around her
face, "I remember you clinging to that doorway, scared
out of your mind the night Edmund wanted Nickolas. Jocelyn
told me later that it was you who searched me out to protect
Nick." Kevin's face showed torn emotions. "I guess
Nickolas did what was best for you."
Pulling his eyes
away, he thought about what his first impressions were of
the girl. She had definitely caught his fancy. The eyes and
hair were such a striking combination. Add the smallness of
her body and the milky white skin, he couldn't help but notice,
she reminded him of a porcelain doll. When he had inadvertently
asked Jocelyn about the cook, her hackles raised suddenly
and he was dully informed that the child was off limits to
all including him. His chest rumbled slightly as he laughed,
"She told me you were not Edmund's daughter but you were
a little sister to her. Oh, Jocelyn is intelligent; she knew
I would take a shine to you
It was the exotic eyes and
coloring you have. She said you were from France and of mixed
blood, gypsy she told me. Jocelyn might have just helped this
little plan along to get you away from that dreadful place.
It wasn't a good life for child," his eyes once again
locked on the woman. "But you are no child, are you?"
the cabin, he began to wonder who else was playing this little
game. "Nick had to know
I'm going to assume Brian
does know by now, my own cousin
" Kevin shook his
head. "A.J. might know; he has spent a large amount of
time with you. Alex shows more patience with you than he has
any other, with the exception of Nick. He also defended you
when I wanted to punish you and he wouldn't give me the consent
of two. I don't think Howard knows or he would have told me."
Kevin eyes kept searching out the young body that he had a
strong desire to hold. He watched Ray shiver and went to the
hammock. Tipping his bottle down at her, he became annoyed,
"You have been a thorn in my side since day one in Edmund's
kitchen. You have caused me mental anguish and bouts of insanity
" Kevin looked down between his own legs,
"Physical pain as well." Tossing a blanket over
her, he shook his head.
Going to his desk,
Kevin replaced his bottle of rum with a glass of water. He
needed to think. Fitting the pieces together slowly he frowned,
they must all know and they all were deceiving him. If anything,
that was the most painful part for him. It wasn't that they
were his Officers, but they were his friends. His friends
had played him for a fool. After assuming that they all knew,
he began to wonder why. Kevin stood on principals and one
of them was no women on his ship. "I guess that would
answer that for me," he caste a glance to the hammock.
"I have two choices, reveal you to all or keep you hidden."
His mind raced over what might happen if Ray was revealed
for what she really was to the men on the ship. Already he
had been watching her closely to the point that it caused
speculation by his own crew. One of them would have to be
with her day and night. The night part was solved but it was
leaving a smarting pain in his groin. Yes, he wanted her at
night but not in a damn hammock. Then there were the blue
coats, who didn't have the opportunity to take J.C., her men
defended her honor, a few to their death. To make matters
worse, he had the Spanish ship that he wanted to raid. Would
his own men be capable of handling their assignments, or would
Ray prove to be too much of a distraction.? "Boy, you
have complicated things for me
or is that girl,"
he shook his head as he sorted everything out. He laughed
again when the memory of Nick knocking him out of the chair
when Ray was reassigned to be Kevin's cabin boy. "No
wonder he was so damn mad, he thought I was taking his bit
of fluff away and that I would find out your little secret."
Thinking a little
harder he tried to draw the lines of what had happened and
how it had happened, matching this with that. This line of
thinking had drawn him to how each person interacted with
each other and how things were working. Nick defended Ray
emphatically, on the border of a mania almost. Kevin could
now identify the few times that Ray had made mistakes and
Nick had corrected or stepped in to cover. Frowning at her
when she laughed like a female or shoving her when she walked
liked one, and always fussing with the damn cap so the hair
would stay hidden. After thinking it over for quite some time,
he came to a conclusion. Nodding in Ray's direction he spoke,
"Nick doesn't love you as a lover; he loves you as a
sibling. He misses his sister, he has always missed her."
Drumming his fingers on the desk, he glared at the girl that
slept so soundly while he was left with a mind full of answers
and questions. "I guess my only choice is to let you
continue to masquerade as a male. It's safer for my men and
safer for you, in a sense."
Deciding that this
was his one and only true option, he went to the hammock.
His one hand swooped down and secured the knickers that Ray
had been wearing. Once he had placed them back on the woman,
he stopped and looked one more time at the breasts that he
wanted to feel next to his chest. The nipples that he wanted
to harden in his mouth. Bending down, he kissed one lightly
and then tugged with his teeth. Ray moaned and her mouth opened
as the nub hardened in his mouth, he smiled back wickedly.
Laughing quietly, he took the other and she groaned again.
He had to stop for he would take her now, sleeping or not.
"I think I shall play your game with all of you for awhile.
I can ferret out the little weasels that have helped you in
your journey." Kevin quietly re-tied the knots on the
cotton strips securing them in place. He didn't change the
strips for that would be a sure sign that he had seen what
was a foot. Slipping on Ray's shirt, he worked the buttons
swiftly closed. When she was completely dressed, he placed
her hair back under her cap. "This is far from over Ray,
far from over. In the end, you will wish you had stayed in
England with the lovely Jocelyn to protect you. The likes
of Edmund will not have looked so bad."
Going to his desk,
he retrieved his rum, re-capping what was left of his liquor,
he returned it to the locked cabinet. Placing the key in the
drawer of his desk, he slid the drawer closed with his knee.
Turning his head he felt a twinge in his gut as he watched
Ray try and turn and then wince. "Damn scruples,"
he mumbled as his head kept telling him that a hammock wasn't
the proper place for an injured lady. Going to the hammock,
he lifted Ray from it and walked to his bed. Kevin still wrestled
with his own demons on the short trip across the room. The
last thing he wanted as he placed Ray on the bed and covered
her up, was Ray in his bed, unconscious. The thought of walking
up the stairs and to the rail to toss the wench overboard
seemed liked a better idea to him. Leaning down he placed
his lips to hers and kissed the tender flesh. His tongue slipped
between her parted lips, just a taste was all he wanted. Ray's
mouth opened even more to allow him in. Kevin jumped back
slamming his head into a timber and he yelped. Half-in pain
from the emotions that stormed his body and half from the
bump on his head, he groaned as he rubbed the now swelling
lump. When the tip of Ray's tongue slipped out from her mouth
and traced where he had just kissed, he froze. His eyes locked
on those lips, so soft and red. "The next time I kiss
you, you will be awake, you will feel every part of it, and
you will welcome my kiss. Make no mistakes Raina; the next
time you are in this bed will be because I want you in it,
as a woman, one way or another."
to take over his tortured body and soul, his brain not as
sharp as it had been. Grabbing a quilt from his chest of drawers,
he went to the hammock. It had been awhile since he had had
to sleep in one as he stared at it but managed to land in
the contraption in one piece. The hammock swung wildly and
he cursed about the movement and how damn uncomfortable the
thing was. Closing his eyes, he smiled after one last look
at Ray. She lay with a peaceful expression on her face, in
his bed, with his quilt pulled up to her chin. "At least
I haven't lost my mind over this. I should have listened to
my body. It was telling me long ago what you were. I think
I'll tell you my theory on women. I'm sure it will really
stir you up" he laughed one time as he closed his eyes
and dreamed of his plan coming to fruition. No, he wasn't
going to make it easy for any of them. All the little things
he was going to do to torment them all, "Such fun,"
he sighed as he finally fell into a deep slumber.