Authors: Lexie Stewart
Tags: #shop, #humour, #eBook Publsiher, #contemporary, #sale, #reads, #books, #au, #submit, #download, #mobi pocket, #electronic, #e-book, #romance, #story, #best seller, #publishing, #usa, #author, #digital publisher, #myspace, #Smashwords, #publish, #writing, #lit, #Amazon, #html, #publication, #award winning, #digital, #comedy, #submissions, #short story, #free, #links, #australia, #shopping, #publisher, #read, #marketing, #wwwbookstogonow.com, #reader, #buy here, #phone apps, #yahoo, #fictionwise, #award, #authors, #PDF, #buy, #reading, #fantasies, #purchase, #Droid, #romantic, #submission, #bebo, #recommended read, #britain, #british, #ebook, #bestseller, #Books to Go Now, #stories, #publications, #uk, #action, #american, #writers, #Seattle, #short stories, #book, #adventure
Without alerting Lance to the fact that she knew he was spying on her, Josephine closed her fingers around a jade mermaid with a ruby tail. She crept to the door, out of Lance’s range of vision, then she stabbed the mermaid’s tail through the keyhole
“Blast and cannonballs!” cursed Lance.
Smiling to herself, Josephine returned to her treasure bathing.
Lance returned to his cabin late one night, his head full of the concerns of a captain preparing his ship and crew for a dangerous mission. When he opened the door and saw what was happening, he was taken completely off guard.
Curry and Josephine were locked in a passionate embrace.
When Curry saw his captain standing in the doorway he shot off Josephine as if there was a giant spring between them.
Lance then saw that they were both holding swords and what he’d walked in on was a sword lesson.
“Cap’n!” stammered Curry. “It’s not what you think! I, she, we-”
“Go get me my supper, old man,” said Lance, stalking into the room and dropping his tricorne on the table.
As Curry hurried out he whispered, “it was all
“I’m sure it was,” said Lance swinging the door shut. “That’s not a toy, you know,” he said, pointing to the sword in Josephine’s hand.
“I know,” said Josephine, “that’s why I wanted lessons.” She started practicing her new moves, mouthing as she went. “One, two, back, stab, parry, duck, up again!”
Lance sat down and drummed his fingers.
“Something bothering you?” asked Josephine. She playfully picked his hat up and started spinning it on the tip of her sword.
“Yes, you. Going around, being all, all
“I can’t really help that,” laughed Josephine, bringing the sword down and catching the hat as it fell.
When she tossed it up again Lance moved with the speed of a snake and snatched it out of the air.
“The sooner we get the Lightning Circle and send you home, the better,” he said, tapping her under the chin with a finger. “You’re far too distracting, lass.”
“Don’t tell me you’re getting a soft spot for me?” teased Josephine.
Lance chuckled darkly. “I wouldn’t call it soft.”
As they dined one night, Lance held his fist in the air and announced, “I have something in my hand.”
“What is it?” asked Josephine. There was a sparkle in his eye that roused her curiosity.
“I’ll give it to you if you’re nice to me.”
“How about,” said Josephine, warming to the game, “you give it to me and then I’ll be nice to you?”
“How about,” said Lance, “you say one really nice thing to me and if I’m flattered, I’ll give it to you?”
“Okay,” said Josephine. “Does the nice thing have to be true?”
“Sorry. Alright. Something nice about you and it has to be true…” She made a big show of racking her brains and not being able to think of anything. “Boy, this is tough,” she said.
Lance sat back in his chair with a scowl and folded his arms across his chest.
“Got it!” Josephine cried. She gave a gracious sweep of her hand and said, “You’re tidy.”
“Not good enough!”
“Well, alright, I suppose, that, in a good light, if I squint a bit, you’re not altogether ugly.”
A grin more cocky than any Josephine had seen spread across Lance’s face.
“You think I’m pleasing to the eye do you, lass?”
Josephine glared at him, wishing she’d kept her mouth shut. She’d never hear the end of this.
“Alright, alright,” said Lance in answer to her glare. “I may be an immoral blackguard but I’m an immoral blackguard who keeps his word. Here you are, lass.”
He stood up and walked around behind her. Josephine tensed, she wasn’t at all comfortable with this pirate at her back.
“What are you doing?” she asked, as his fingers caressed her neck.
“Giving you your present,” said Lance.
Josephine felt something cold and heavy slide between her breasts.
She looked down and gasped. It was a golden locket on a chain.
“Oh, Lance,” she breathed. “It’s beautiful.” Her smile faltered. “Is it stolen?”
“No,” said Lance. “A dolphin flipped into the air with it hooked over his nose and dropped it into my hand.”
Josephine stroked the locket, mesmerized. “I’ve heard that they do that.”
Lance laughed as he took his seat. “You’ve got the throat for such a treasure.”
Josephine eyed him suspiciously. “You’re in an awfully good mood.”
“Good news, lass,” said Lance. “We’ve got wind of the Pride!”
“Aye! She’s not two days away! By tomorrow night, we’ll have her!”
Josephine wasn’t sure what woke her.
She looked around, her heart filled with dread.
Lance wasn’t there so Josephine pulled on one of his waistcoats and, contrary to his orders, slipped from the cabin and looked for him.
There were no sounds of violence; in fact, everything was eerily quiet.
Josephine found Lance up on deck with the crew. They stood, shoulders slumped, staring off the starboard side.
Josephine shouldered her way through until she stood next to Lance.
“What is it?” she asked, trying to make sense of the jagged shapes in the darkness.
“The Pride of the Sea,” muttered Lance.
“She sunk?” said Josephine. “Then we’ll just have to search the wreckage for the Lightning Circle!”
“It won’t be there,” said Lance. He made a fist and struck the rail. “Damn Bloody!”
“Bloody did this?”
“And he would have taken the Lightning Circle.” Josephine’s heart sank.
Something moved in the darkness. Josephine looked down and saw a body with a sword in its chest bumping against Ripple Thief’s hull.
Josephine turned away, swallowing a scream.
“Go back to my cabin,” said Lance.
Josephine obeyed without protest.
A short while later, Lance found her crying on his bed.
“I’m sorry you saw that,” he said.
“It’s not that,” said Josephine, wiping her cheeks. “It’s Katie. Without that Lightning Glass Circle thing I can’t save her.” She got up and paced to the window. “I just feel so useless! I gave her my word, Lance! She trusted me! I promised her I’d be back and-” She turned from the window and into Lance’s arms.
She hadn’t known that he was right there behind her and she hadn’t meant to turn into his embrace but finding herself there she felt reluctant to leave.
His body was so warm and solid. Josephine wanted to anchor herself to him.
“I haven’t given up, Josie,” said Lance, spreading his hands across her back and pulling her against him.
He wasn’t just warm now, he was hot. Josephine could feel the heat radiating out of him as though a furnace burnt beneath his skin. Come to think of it, she was getting rather hot herself.
“You must think I cry all the time,” she said, stepping away from him.
“You‘ve had a rough week,” said Lance, letting her go reluctantly.
“I just hate feeling useless.”
“So do I,” muttered Lance. “Damn it! We were so close.”
His words made Josephine’s brows furrow. “So,” she said, “where’s The Bloody Throne now?”
Cannon fire answered her.
Lance didn’t waste any time. He hurried around his cabin grabbing belts and weapons. A knock on the door was immediately followed by Curry’s frantic voice. “Cap’n! We’re under attack!”
“No shit!” cried Josephine as another blast shook the cabin.
“I’m on my way!” said Lance. Despite his haste, his voice never wavered. “Tell me, Curry, why the hell wasn’t the alarm raised?”
“I’m afraid the lookout was shot dead, Cap’n.”
Lance was trying to buckle on an extra belt, shove a pistol in his waistband and arm himself with a cutlass and knives, all at the same time.
He dropped most of it and snatched them up, cursing savagely.
“Let me,” said Josephine. She took the pistol, tucked it into his pants and then snaked the tongue of the belt through its large silver buckle.
Lance kept his hands out of her way until she’d finished, then dropped them on top of hers.
After all their haste, they were both suddenly still.
Josephine didn’t want to look up. She was scared of what she’d feel when she met his gaze.
She looked up. Lance was breathing hard, his broad chest swelling with every breath and something burned in his sea-grey eyes. Lust perhaps?
Josephine’s lips parted.
Lance raised a hand to her cheek.
A blast of cannon fire bought them to their senses. Josephine escaped to the bed and sat down.
“You’re to stay here, Josie,” said Lance.
“Be careful, Lance. Every one of Bloody’s pirates wants to boast that they were the one to bring you down.”
“I can handle them,” said Lance. “You just stay here, do you hear me?”
“Of course,” said Josephine. She picked up the brush by the bed and started plucking at the bristles. “What else would I do?”
Josephine was right, Captain Bloody’s pirates were gunning for Lance. They swarmed around him like seagulls on a sandwich.
Lance pushed through them, drawing them away from his cabin, away from Josephine.
His footwork was superb, as was his skill with a blade. Many times his less competent opponents were left swinging at empty air- or even better, swinging at each other!
The hardest thing for Lance was ignoring the cries of his men. He couldn’t allow himself to be distracted, not even for a second or he would be adding his own blood to the already bloody deck.
“Curry? That you?” said Lance when a pirate took up a position beside him. “Aye, Cap’n!” said Curry, as he made a neat lunge attack and slid back into a ready stance.
“What are you doing, old man? You know you’re on rescue duty!”
“Thought you could use another swordsman, Cap’n!”
Lance gritted his teeth. It was true that in his day, Curry had been a fine swordsman but arthritis and the passing of time had put his fighting days behind him. In fact, that little lesson with Josephine had probably been the first time Curry had picked up a sword in ten years! And that’s what this was really about: Josephine. The daft, old fool was trying to impress her!
“Do the duty I set for you!” yelled Lance.
‘But, Cap’n, I only wanted to-
At Curry’s wail of pain, Lance was distracted. It was only for a second but it was enough for a pirate to see his guard was lowered and go for the opening.