sashayed in her skirts up the stairs to the deck. She wanted
Kevin to see her in the finery that he had bought for her.
She had awoke alone but comfortable over what had happened.
They had all been correct. Not only did she desire Kevin and
he her, she loved him. All the trappings of lady made her
feel above her station in life. Coming around the corner,
she heard Nickolas and Kevin arguing above her on the quarterdeck.
do this." Nick's voice raised slightly with each word
"I can and
I will!" Boomed from Kevin, not caring who heard him.
Ray was still sleeping when he slipped from his bed this morning.
Informing Nickolas of his plans was the first thing that he
would do. He would speak to Alex as well.
Ray ducked under
the roof edge to listen to the conversation.
"I will not
let you do this to her." Nick slammed his hand on the
side of the wheel.
Kevin knew the
decision would not settle well with Nick. Nick always seemed
to see life as though it was pretty prose. Everything perfect
and tied up in a bow. Part of it was Kevin's own fault for
always protecting him as much as he had. "Nickolas, you
have no say so in the matter. Ray is going to be with me forever,
one way, or another."
"You do not
force people to marry you. You ask them and if they accept,
then you get married."
be no asking. She will or she will serve as a servant in my
home. She will be in no other's bed but mine."
reduce her to that of a household whore if she denies you?"
Nick bellowed at Kevin and stormed away.
Ray squeezed her
back to the boards as Nick stormed down to the other end of
ship. She was seething at the diabolic plan that Kevin had
already begun to hatch. They had spent one night together
and she was happy. It was everything that Nick said it would
be and more. Looking down at the fine dress she wore, she
spit on it. "You will never change Captain Richardson."
Ray flew down the stairs almost toppling Alex on her way.
He tried to grab her and but received a slap in the face in
Stepping on the
deck, the first thing Alex saw was Nick slamming around the
other end of the ship. The boy took to knocking things over,
yelling at people, and kicking things. Alex yawned watching
Nick's fit. "Rough night boy," Alex grumbled.
The hair on his
neck stood up, something was in the air. Something more than
Ray's anger and Nick's furry stirred on the breeze. Stepping
slowly to the Quarterdeck, he faced an irritated and mutinous
glare from Kevin. Tossing his hands up, he tilted his head.
"Is everyone having a bad day?"
doesn't understand the way things are done." Kevin grumbled
as he stood at the helm. He felt his mood darken. He had been
content this morning until he spoke to Nick about Raina's
"What is up
with the boy?" Alex watched Nickolas actually debate
whether he should kick a cannonball or not with his booted
I told him that Ray is going to marry me or be a servant in
my home. Either way she is to stay under my protection and
under me. He is not pleased with my plans." Kevin's eyes
narrowed as soon as Alexander began to cackle like a raving
lunatic. He spun the wheel quickly; the ship turned wildly
in a half-circle. As angry as he was, Kevin looked ahead to
make sure Nickolas hadn't fallen overboard. He would have
to be the one to retrieve the smart-ass whelp.
up a knife and whipped it towards the Quarterdeck. The object
landed in the mast behind Kevin making a thonging noise as
the handle vibrated from the force from which it was thrown.
finish what I started with that little
" Kevin began
to leave the Quarterdeck.
Alexander grabbed onto Kevin. "You'll not be beating
the boy again unless I give you permission. You two will always
slam heads, you are both a like."
" Kevin stopped as a small figure ran across
the deck to Nick. The young one dressed in new breeches that
fit and a fine linen shirt. The boots made of fine oiled leather
shod her feet, leather he had paid for. "I told her to
Kevin yanked at
the arm that was determined to not him let bring the two unruly
ones into line. A cannonball splashed over the bowsprit almost
hitting the jib sails. Kevin roared, he was spoiling for a
fight and now he had a legitimate one as a sloop bore down
on them from behind. Kevin cursed as they received another
round of fire. Men scurried about his ship, not prepared for
a mid-day attack. Kevin sought out Ray who was now climbing
the rigging. He said nothing. It was probably the safest place
for her now. Thank God she wasn't wearing any fancy skirts
as he watched her scoot up the lines and go to the highest
peak. "Nickolas!" Kevin screamed as the firing became
Nick ran to the
Quarterdeck to assist Kevin. The earlier argument forgotten
as Kevin entrusted the helm to Nick. Kevin jumped down and
followed A.J. to the hull. They studied the other ship keenly.
A lone cannonball landed only inches from them in the water.
"I do not know who this is but they will pay."
Running back over
the deck, Kevin barked orders at the crew. He turned to Nick.
"Ray is up in the rigging. Get her down and take her
to my cabin. You make sure she stays there."
A shrill laughter
came from the mast where Kevin had last seen Ray. His heart
thumped as he raised his eyes to the voice. His heart dropped
as he saw her and she pointed to the vessel that was gaining
on them. The girl must be crazy; she was laughing and gesturing
towards the other ship. Kevin turned over his shoulder to
see where Ray was pointing. Kevin blinked once, then twice.
Before the words ever left his mouth Nickolas gasped and held
his stomach laughing.
ALEX!" Kevin bellowed once again. Glancing up to Ray,
he made sure she held fast as he turned his vessel quickly.
The last thing he wanted was for her to topple to the deck,
or worse, into the sea.
Brian and Howie
joined Kevin and Nick on the Quarterdeck just as the two vessels
faced each other. A loud bang caused all of them to duck as
the cannons continued to fire on them. "Where is that
weasel?" Kevin stole a glance at the men snickering at
There was no mistake
about who was firing on them. It was none other than Alexander's
missing bride J.C. She identified herself well. Raina had
recognized the offending object first. A pair of Alex's breeches
flew in the wind, hoisted on a line instead of a true flag.
Only A.J. and a few others knew the britches. Not many people
were brave enough to wear purple velvet with a yellow shirt.
Many a time J.C. had remarked that the outfit that he was
so proud of gave her an ache in her head. It had become a
running joke with the crew and Ray knew the story as well.
The cannon fire
did not stop as he aimed his brig directly at the small schooner,
nor did A.J. come when called. As Kevin rode the next wave
to the ship, he watched J.C.'s men swarm his deck. "I
will kill Alex myself." Kevin picked up a sword and ran
down to the center of the deck.
Ray watched from
her perch high above and tried not to smile. J.C.'s men would
not harm them but they would divest Kevin of his cargo. The
daring red-headed woman landed on Kevin's ship with the entrance
of a true pirate. Swinging over and dropping lightly. Her
men circled Kevin with rapiers pointed at his neck and chest.
At least four men were on him now.
Nick panicked and
charged towards the circle only to find himself now included
on the wrong end of a cutlass. Kevin glared at Nick and Nick
dropped his head.
so young and willing to save the man." J.C. smiled at
Kevin. She stood with her hand casually resting on her scabbard
of her weapon. Nick would never have the nerve to do her harm,
however, Captain Richardson most certainly would.
Kevin only deepened
the intensity of his glare at Nick. Nickolas should have stayed
back, now he would have to protect him as well. Nick knew
"What do you
carry Kevin that your bow line rides so low in the water?"
J.C. circled the two men her party had captured. Not one of
Kevin's men would dare take a stance with four men trained
on the two hapless victims.
you J.C.," Kevin smiled and folded his arms. "You
seemed to have slipped away from me while I was busy elsewhere."
J.C. tossed her
head back and laughed loudly. Bringing her head forward she
shook her fiery mane and sent Kevin a seductive look. "Men
think with the wrong head sometimes." She chuckled. "Again
what are you carrying?" She pulled her own rapier and
pressed the tip over his heart.
He watched the
foil bend as it pressed against his flesh. Kevin's impulse
to knock the object away was halted as he felt the sting of
a cut at his throat.
a man not familiar to Kevin pushed the sharp metal even deeper
causing the prick to his skin to bleed.
him go and do it now or she will feel a dirk buried in her
The words were
loud and clear with a tone that indicated that the compulsion
to do so would not be a problem. If Kevin could reach across
to her with out injury, he would slap her for coming down
out of the rigging. Raina now stood behind J.C. poised for
a fight. Kevin's eyes scrutinized J.C.'s crew, they seemed
wary of the new man who seemed to take perverse pleasure in
causing Kevin pain. The foil pressed deeper just above his
do harm to anyone lass." The man growled and pushed the
metal even more into Kevin's throat.
J.C. gasped as
she felt Raina's dirk cut through her jacket and shirt. She
hissed as her skin separated from the tip of the blade digging
in. Ray had indeed cut her and she was close to burying the
dagger into her back.
Nick couldn't understand
anything and where the hell was Alex.
"Aye, I will,"
Raina brought her tiny frame up even closer to J.C. Something
was wrong, very wrong. J.C. and Kevin had spared with each
other. But, they would never hurt each other, a few slaps
exchanged perhaps, but nothing more. J.C. respected Kevin
but the new man across from her obviously didn't. She had
not seen him before this day, he was a new crew member.
do it," J.C. eyed the member of her crew who didn't follow
her orders. If only she could communicate to them what was
really happening. "The tall dark one is her lover, the
other her brother."
Kevin knew the voice and accent well, though it had been many
years since he had run into the man. This was a man who had
earned the reputation of a pirate. A ruthless cutthroat who
raped, maimed, and killed or had others do it at his command.
This was not right, J.C. would never fall in with the likes
of a killer and a man who harmed women, not intentionally
anyway. Kevin surveyed J.C., she was calm, but her eyes were
frantic. The man before him had taken Kevin's wealth, his
honor, and almost his wife. However, Isabella's death rested
solely, on his head. If he had not left her to search out
this man to kill him all those years ago, Isabella would not
have died of consumption. Kevin hissed at the man the only
man he hated, the man who had taken everything from him. "Dante."
"Ah, you remember
well. How is the sweet Isabella?" the man inquired with
a sneer. "Such a shame, tsk tsk." Dante admonished
Kevin knowing he would get a reaction.
Kevin jumped for
him as Dante jumped for Ray by shoving J.C. violently out
of the way.
He wanted to take something from Captain Richardson, just
as the Captain had taken something from him so many years
ago. "'Tis a shame about our lovely Isabella, no?"
Dante pulled the
cap from Ray's head and black hair tumbled down. His lips
spread into a slow smile. Lowering them to Raina's neck, he
kissed and sucked, but never took his eyes off the man he
wanted to suffer. He needed a reaction from the man, a sign
from him that he had trespassed. Dante glared at Kevin but
questioned Ray as he fingered the long black tresses absently.
"What do you see in this man, la petite Raven?"
While Dante waited
for answer that would not come from the little one in his
grasp. He stroked her body boldly in front of the green-eyed
man, causing the rage to start. The woman Dante held in his
arms was proud and strong; she did not snivel or beg, no,
she had courage. Her spine straight and her refusal to answer
him showed him that.
Dante smiled as
he fondled the little one who was so brave. He brushed himself
against her backside openly, taunting Kevin to move. His knife
poised at her throat. His hand dipped down past her hips and
he smiled when death growl came from the Captain. "It
should be fun to take her, no? Have you had her yet?"
Dante studied the intense green eyes that told him the answer.
The love was evident. The woman that he had seized was a prized
possession to Captain Richardson. "Ah, your eyes say
yes you have had her and it was good. I will enjoy myself
I'll share her with the others."
Ray struggled against
the man's hand. Dante groped Ray's chest as she grappled with
him. He pinched her hard causing her bite back the squeal
of pain as he twisted her nipple between his fingers along
with her shirt. She tried to throw herself free. He tightened
an arm around her waist and backed away from them toward the
sloop, the knife pointed at her jugular. "I have come
for all I want Mademoiselle J.C. I can't thank you enough
for leading me back to the very man I have plotted against
A shot split the
silence that hung in the air. Dante dropped to the deck with
nothing more than a shocked expression on his face as he grabbed
his chest. The blood poured from him and Raina ran screaming
into Kevin's protective arms. Alex kicked at the dead body.
"It's Madame. She's married to me."
Kevin led a crying
and hysterical Raina away, after checking on Nickolas with
just a look exchanged between the two. Nick was helping Alex
consol a wailing J.C. who was sputtering apologies that she
had been taken again. Thanking God that A.J. had remembered
that the pants being flown was a cry for help, that she was
in need of his assistance, and that there was danger.
"Come my love."
Kevin led Raina away from them and down into his cabin. She
kept turning back and looking at the dead man as they made
Kevin cooed to her as he stroked her hair. Hearing the commotion
in the hall, he half listened as Raina continued to sob and
hiccup in his embrace. Gently he laid her down on the bed
and pulled her to him. "Never again sweetheart, never
again," he murmured into the head that now was nestled
on his chest. The crying had ceased and his shirt soaked with
her tears after more than an hour. Kevin could hear everything
going on in the rooms on the other side of his door as time
went by. The ranting and raving of Alex at J.C. saying she
needed a good whipping for such a thing. The cries of J.C.
reached his ears as she apologized to Alex and professed to
him the error of her ways and her undying love for him. A
smile played at his lips, those two deserved each other.
Nickolas was the
one to enter his cabin first. Kevin did not even try to turn
him away. Nickolas always came to him after a battle to speak.
He would air his feelings and his heart to Kevin. Kevin said
nothing as the small form lay next to him, finally sleeping.
gently from her, he stretched his arms. Many things crossed
his mind. However, none were more important than the two people
presently in his room. Nick turned to him with a bleary-eyed
face. Kevin opened his arms and waited. The two men clasped
each other and shed some of their own tears. "We are
going to be just fine." Kevin patted Nick on the back.
"We are a family, the three of us. This will happen no
more. When we go home, we stay home."
pierced the evening air as they both turned. She was propelled
into Kevin's cabin only to have him grab onto her and drag
her out. He paid no heed to the fact that she had slammed
into a few walls on their way to the galley. Kevin wanted
as much distance between Raina and J.C. as he could get.
The man wanted
to make her wail in pain as he watched. Twisting her arm in
his grip, he wanted to snap her wrist like his heart had almost
been snapped. Yanking her within a foot of his own body, he
yelled directly in her face. "You will not trot the high
seas any longer. You will settle down and be a good wife to
"Yes I will,"
J.C. stammered. She seriously thought that Kevin would hurt
her this time. She had been stupid and gullible with Dante.
The twisting of her wrist began again. "I said yes,"
she whimpered as she tried to get him to let go.
"You are going
to do one more thing in the morning." Kevin gave her
wrist a sharp twist.
J.C went up on her toes. "Anything you want."
Grabbing the fiery
red head by trademark the mane, he twisted her around so she
could see Alex. Brian, Sir Howard, and Nickolas stood there
J.C. saw the looks
on their faces and not one of them would step up to help her,
not even her own husband Alex. Her head was jerked and pulled
back by Kevin as his hand wrapped in her hair tightly. Kevin
twisted her slightly so she could look into his eyes. When
they made contact with his, she gasped at the sight.
Leaning down he
whispered on her cheek. "Tomorrow you will marry Raina
and I as Captain of your ship. Your ass will then be locked
up until we reach homeport. Howard will take command of your
ship and it's his for the keeping
You'll be Alexander's
wife and nothing more!"
Owww," she stopped as he pulled her hair even more.
me or you'll be one very sorry J.C. I have had my hands more
than full with the insolent chit that I plan to marry tomorrow.
She could do well with a good paddling to her backside to
put her in her place. I would be more than happy at this moment
for you to take her place."
A.J.'s eyes grew
wide and so did his grin as he saw nothing but pure terror
in his wife's eyes. He finally had advantage on her. This
woman who sailed the high seas, who fought and shot a pistol
like man was scared to death of Kevin and the threat of a
mere spanking to her backside. "I think you should do
it anyway. Leave a few marks on her arse so she doesn't forget."
"I would be
happy to oblige you Alex." Kevin laughed as J.C. broke
free from his grasp when he grabbed for one of the galley
chairs. J.C tore down the hallway to Alex's cabin screaming
to him to not let Kevin touch her.
Kevin finally sat
down at the table and sighed. Nickolas disappeared and then
returned with a cask of rum taken from the Spaniards. All
of them were well on their way to a good drunk by mealtime
in the evening.