a deep breath and letting it out slowly, she opened the bedchamber
door. Closing the door silently behind her, she waited. Kevin
had begun to strip his clothes from his body, huffing as he
did so and almost tearing at the buttons of his breeches.
Tossing all of his clothing to a chair, he finally acknowledged
her presence by abruptly walking towards her. Swiftly she
tried to gauge his emotional state. As he forcefully turned
her around and began to unbutton her dress, her ability to
see his face erased. Celestine had thought about calling for
a ladies maid, however, with the tension in the room, she
thought it was best not too. It was a rarity that she saw
clients herself, however, Captain Richardson was not one to
go with just any doxy in her house. He was more refined and
demanding as a lover. His hot breath grazed the skin on her
neck. He was barely containing his anger. She entreated mutely
that he wouldn't take his anger out on her. Air rushed over
her body, causing her shiver as the dress was pulled away.
Yanking at the
laces of the corset after dispensing with the gown, he groaned
when he finally touched the flesh of her back. Pulling her
body back to his, he moaned at the feeling of skin touching
skin, he was hungry for her, for Ray. His thoughts halted
as Ray's name and a vision of the girl entered his thoughts.
"Bed," he growled in Celestine's ear.
Hours later, Celestine
lay next to Kevin. He had rebuked her cuddling for lying on
his back with his hands laced together and placed under his
head. He stared at the fabric-draped canopy above their heads,
his eyes wide open, and lost to her in his own thoughts.
Celestine moved closer only to receive a cold glare from him.
Ignoring his expression, she let her hand rest on his chest.
Dawn would be coming soon and neither had slept. Kevin always
slept in her arms after a night of lovemaking. However, this
evening was drastically different from the other times they
had been together, which were many. After bedding her once
with the fury of a hurricane, he hadn't touched her since.
He hadn't offered to return pleasure to her either. It was
a coupling that was rough and solely for his benefit.
"Do not forget
my other request," he grabbed at her hand to stop its
movements as it journeyed from his chest down to his stomach.
Kevin was well aware that Celestine was trying to arouse him,
he was just no longer in the mood to make love to her.
nodded to let him know that she hadn't forgotten. His fingers
gently glided over hers. She enjoyed his touch and wished
he would touch her in other places as well. "What disturbs
you so?" She asked trying to lift his black mood. A loud
expelling of air came from him, in the form of a huff. She
wouldn't venture forth to ask again. Last night didn't go
as the Captain had planned as far as Ray was involved. She
understood why the man seemed disheartened but there was nothing
he could do to change the situation.
If the Celestine
hadn't figured it out herself she surely was daft. Lord, how
he missed Jocelyn now. He could talk to her about anything.
She would be able to help him with this disaster. Celestine
was different, she wasn't like Jocelyn. Celestine was nothing
more than a paid amusement; he felt no connection to her.
Of course, Jocelyn was part of his problem as well.
Slowly moving from
him, she pulled herself from the bed.
Kevin didn't miss
the taunting she had begun. She strutted around the room naked
in search of a robe that lay in plain sight. "Where are
you going?" Kevin pointed to the robe when she turned
Grumbling she snatched
the robe, knowing that she had failed. "To address your
other request since nothing is going to take place in this
room." Frowning at him, she pulled the light day robe
over her body. She drank the sight of him in as he lay in
her bed. The thin linen lying across his body revealing all
his contours delighted her. Kevin was a fine specimen of man,
but this evening he was purely a disappointment to her. Under
the guise of looking for her other lady slipper, she slipped
to his side of the bed. Leaning down she looked under the
bed. A hand landed on her behind, it wasn't a forceful blow
but a caress.
"Do as I requested
and you can rejoin me. I promise you will have my full attention."
Feeling badly about how the evening had played out, that was
the one thing that he could offer Celestine to make things
right. He smiled as he closed his eyes, he heard her almost
purring when she righted herself.
She stood next
to the bed awaiting any other dictates that Kevin would have.
She had learned a long time ago that Kevin was not a deep
thinker in the early morning. Always she would walk away,
only to be called back to him.
return, I want you to rouse my young ones. Tell them that
they are to be ready to sail this evening." Kevin rolled
on his side and stared at Celestine. The shock registered
on her face. Grabbing her forearm, his thumb brushed over
her skin. "Please."
arrived," Celestine gaped on him.
"I can't stay.
Send someone with them to the market. This will keep both
of them at a safe distance from me. I want the trunk ready
for then," Kevin sighed heavily. Under no circumstances
would he stay in port after last night. He needed to get away
from the reminder of what happened. He was sorely put out
that Ray would choose a woman over him. All night he sifted
through what he had learned. Her preferences explained so
much to him. She was not attracted to any of the men on his
ship. She entrusted Nickolas with all of her secrets. His
brow creased as he recalled the look of horror when she saw
him naked. Lost in his thoughts and his ego bruised, he never
saw Celestine leave the room but he did hear the words. "I'll
send Jukoo with them so that the other may be done."
Walking to her
kitchen, she shocked not only her cook but Jukoo as well.
"Is Osgood afoot?"
her cook answered her as she pulled scones from the oven.
Jukoo stood watch
by his mistress's doorway. Osgood stood on the threshold waiting
for the tall bulging mass of a black man to move. The man
truly frightened him most days. Celestine had brought the
manservant into her home as a guard for the girls. He was
a freeman of intimidating proportions. If a patron became
what Celestine deemed inhospitable, Jukoo would eject him.
Certain things Celestine would abide by, however the women
of her house were never to be harmed. Jukoo was in place to
see to that. Most men ran in fear of the big black buck with
the omnipotent glare that he wore as a mask to outside world.
Jukoo gave Osgood
a droll stare and stepped aside. He laughed when Osgood jumped.
alone Jukoo," Celestine admonished the large man knowing
that he wasn't half as barbaric as he looked. Jukoo returned
a smile to her. "I have to wake Kevin's two
Celestine stalled, she could not bring herself to say the
words. It was Jukoo who finished her sentence for her.
he laughed knowing well what had happened in the house last
with him, as well as Osgood. "Has Felicity returned to
her room?" Celestine asked Osgood.
Osgood gave her
a nod as he prepared a tray for breakfast. The breakfast would
be delivered to the Captain. Celestine's customers were fed
he's in a foul mood. I want you to go and tell Felicity to
join me here in the kitchen." Celestine gave the tray
a push. She was going to get to the bottom of this once and
for all. Minutes ticked by as she thought of the circumstances
that had come about. Kevin's other request could wait until
she had the information that she needed.
"Do not scare
that girl," Jukoo voiced his opinion. Absently he swung
a large cast-iron kettle for the cook and waited for a response.
More minutes passed, he knew Celestine better than most of
the servants in the house. Since he came and left freely,
he spoke freely as well.
Folding her arms
across her chest, she gave him a furious glance. "A girl
is an accurate description. She is such a disappointment.
I don't know why I let her come into this house."
Jukoo flashed a
large smile, "Because you have a heart, you drag them
in like lost puppies to save them from the unsavory lot outside
of these locked doors."
"I do not,"
Celestine pouted back but knew that Jukoo was right. When
she heard her cooking cluck in amusement, she straightened
the folds on her robe. Holding her head high, she haughtily
spoke to them. "It is a business."
The noise of sniffling
behind her and small mewling sounds made aware that Felicity
had joined them. She rolled her eyes at Jukoo, who suppressed
She couldn't bare
facing the child, she sighed. "Felicity how did the evening
go with Ray?" An awful bawl made her gasp and she turned
to face the fair hair girl. "Felicity if it was that
terrible why did you not call for Jukoo?
Jukoo readied himself
for an order to retrieve the girl masquerading as boy at Celestine's
the girl threw herself in the arms of Celestine and cried.
her head as she enveloped the sobbing mass in her arms. "There,
there, now what do you mean nothing happened?" Celestine
smoothed a mass of wet tangled curls from Felicity's face
as she pulled her away in order to see her more directly.
Hot tears slid down red cheeks. "What do you mean nothing
She sniffled, "We
drank. Then we drank more and more
Then we both fell
filled the kitchen.
became louder and louder. "I'm sorry I'm such a disappointment,"
she wailed over and over again.
her eyes, for once in her life she couldn't wait for Captain
Kevin Richardson to leave her house. He was upsetting the
balance of her home. Some of the women now lurked in the doorway
of the kitchen. They had heard Felicity howling and were coming
to her aid. Turning to Jukoo, she let out an exasperated sigh.
"I'll deal with them, you deal with her. Both of you
can escort Nickolas and Ray to the marketplace. He sails tonight."
Celestine flounced from the room, her anger evident.
Jukoo stepped forward
and wrapped his arms around the petite blonde-haired girl.
Felicity looked up at the man who had taken her from the streets
and brought her here. "I'm sorry," she sniffed.
Jukoo shook his head, he would need to speak to Celestine.
The brothel was not the place for Felicity, perhaps another
station in the house would suit her better.
The women entered
the kitchen for their morning meal and began to gossip about
the prior evening until Jukoo let them know the topic would
not be discussed.
other request would have to be done before she checked on
Ray and Nickolas. Stepping into a room at the top of the stairs,
she had a conversation with an older woman. After a slight
disagreement, the woman began to work on Kevin's next request
telling Celestine that it would be impossible. "Nothing
is impossible when the coin has been generous." Closing
the door, she smiled after telling Sarah just how much coin.
Sarah would do the task and do it well.
Celestine had already
checked on Nickolas, who was not in his room. Checking her
own room, she saw only Kevin, who slumbered lazily in her
bed. The sheet had fallen and he lay naked before her eyes.
His earlier promise of his full attention caused her to close
the door and seek the two characters that had caused all havoc
in her house. She stood outside of Ray's door. Leaning closer
she heard them talking. It was wiser to listen to the conversation
before she entered, it may prove beneficial.
you do?" Nick giggled, amused at Ray's state. Not only
was she disheveled she was not pleased either, by the look
on her face.
backed up when she heard a loud slap and a yelp from Nickolas.
he rubbed his cheek.
beat you for what you did to me last night. You only thought
of your own lusts and wants. How dare you leave me with a
girl." It wasn't a question, it was an admonishment.
Nick took a seat
in the leather chair, this would take awhile. Ray was scolding
him like a shrew, but quietly nonetheless, since the house
was full of people. Ray stood in front of him as he sat in
the chair. He was cautious knowing Ray would strike him again.
He began to snicker and she did just that.
Ray was so angry,
she could feel her body start to explode as her emotions rolled
out of her. "Do you know what it was like for me? Do
you even care? Or were you like Kevin, nothing more than a
her mouth to trap her own laughter. Kevin was a beast last
night, but the rutting left her flat. The girl called Ray
was obviously angry with Nickolas. Placing her ear by the
crack of the door, she listened intently.
Ray was beyond mad. "It worked didn't it?"
it worked. I got the poor girl drunk. I kept watering down
the rum for myself or pretended to drink it. I felt for her.
She's much younger than me. Twice she tried to touch me, my
skin crawled." Ray hissed as leveled a look at Nick.
"Do not ever do that to me again. I am a woman, not a
man. I prefer ..."
the door open and swayed in the door. She had heard all she
needed to. Felicity had made no mistakes on her part with
Ray. Ray did indeed prefer men; no wonder the child was upset.
Celestine pursed her lips together as Ray snapped to attention
still dressed from the evening before. Her gaze settled on
Nickolas who literally beamed a smile back at her. Walking
forward she fluffed his hair. "Aren't you cheerful this
Nick's slow lazy smile broke free.
Ray wanted to kick
him again for his behavior. Nickolas was more of a man than
she thought he was.
Celestine debated. She could tell Kevin about the nugget of
information she had just learned or she could ignore it and
see all of them on their way. Her house would be back to normal
if she chose the second. "Kevin said that you are to
go to the market and purchase your goods. You will sail this
Ray shouted back at Celestine. Her mind raced to comprehend
the words. She would have no chance now. Panic set in.
this evening." Celestine patted Ray's shoulder. "I
didn't know you were so edgy. I thought after some time with
Felicity, you would be
as he stood and motioned Ray to follow him. There was too
much work to do now that they were leaving. He didn't understand
why and after last night with El he didn't really care either.
It was an enjoyable evening not having to watch Ray and he
was able to get lost in his own little world.