Read My Pirate Lover Online

Authors: Lexie Stewart

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My Pirate Lover (8 page)

BOOK: My Pirate Lover
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Lance chuckled but his eyes remained grim.

Such a nice chuckle. Such nice eyes. Josephine tried to swallow the lump in her throat.

“Josephine, I don’t want you to think badly of me, so I’m going to tell you something that might surprise you. I have no proof but my word.” Lance took a deep breath to make his announcement but Josephine spoke first.

“You’re going to destroy the Lightning Circles.”

Lance stared at her. “How did you know?”

“Curry told me. You’re going to destroy them so people like Bloody can’t plunder the future for weapons.“ Josephine smiled. “And you were pretending to be a big, bad pirate!”

Lance touched her smile with his fingers, his sea-grey eyes deep with unspoken emotion.

“I will come back for you, lass,” he said. “I promise.”

“That’s what I said to Katie,” said Josephine, her smile fading.

“And you’ll hold true to that promise just as I’ll hold true to mine.”

Josephine shook her head.

“Come now, me bonny lass!” said Lance. “I’ve gotton out of worse trouble than this!”

“Really?”

“Well…no, actually. But you said it yourself, there’s a first time for everything.”

Lance went to his raft, stopped, turned around and ran back.

“Can I kiss you?” he said. “I don’t want to die, never having kissed you.”

Josephine smiled but when Lance moved in on her she put her fingers to his lips.

“You can kiss me the next time you see me.”

Denied the honour of her lips, Lance kissed her fingers instead.

“Till we meet again, lass” he said and then got on his raft and rowed away.

Lance and Josephine waved to each other until their arms grew tired, then they just stared until they vanished from sight.

#

Josephine had nothing to do. No books, no T.V and no one for company, just her own troubled thoughts.

She gathered wood for the fire Lance had built for her then sat watching her toes wriggling in the sand.

When a starless night fell, she thought that the world had been erased.

She fretted over the fire, believing that if it went out, that would mean Lance was dead. She stayed up half the night feeding it wood and occasionally talking to it.

When she finally fell asleep, she dreamt that Captain Bloody was holding a feast in her childhood home. There were ten roasted pigs on the table, each with an apple in its mouth.

One of the pigs had Lance’s face. Another one had her own face.

She had a second dream in which she was running across the island chased by snakes.

There were monkeys in the trees and one of them looked like Martin Slackson. He threw coconuts at her and called her a silly girl.

Morning came, the fire was still burning and Josephine was hungry. She fashioned a spear from a branch and after spearing the sharpened end into the sand a few times for practice she waded out into the water and waited for a fish to swim past.

She was so focused on her task that her first reaction to the boat was to feel annoyed at the distraction. Her second reaction was to throw down the spear and wave her arms around while yelling, “Here I am! Over here!” Her third reaction was to think it might not be Lance and search for the spear she’d dropped.

It wasn’t Lance who climbed out of the boat that was something like a single-sailed, captain’s gig. It was a one-armed pirate.

The amputee ran towards the island with a gait like a clumsy dressage horse, high-stepping to keep from dragging his legs through the water.

“Josephine! Josephine! I’ve come ta save ya!” he cried.

Josephine’s heart rose with hope and then plummeted into a pit of despair. She recognised him. He was one of Bloody’s pirates!

Josephine snatched up her spear and ran. This pirate now chasing her across the sand was the one who had spoken up about the unfair distribution of the booty and had his arm lopped off by Captain Bloody. No doubt he was keen to make a gift of Josephine and win back his master’s favour.

The island wasn’t built for games of hide and seek. All Josephine could really do was run around and around like a horse on a merry-go-round with the pirate chasing after her.

On perhaps the seventh go around Josephine had an idea and cursed herself for not having thought of it earlier.

She made a sharp right and ran towards the gig with the pirate on her heels.

#

Josephine’s entire body ached and was heavy with exhaustion. She felt as though she was running through wet concrete, dragging her legs and getting slower and slower with every stride. The one-armed pirate was gaining on her. His high-stepping dressage horse gait may have looked ridiculous but it did get him through the water quickly.

The trousers Josephine had stolen off a line of drying clothes on Ripple Thief’s deck were too big for her and the only thing that kept them up was a frayed piece of rope.

As they became soaked, they began to fall down. Josephine felt them drag at her knees and hips and tried unsuccessfully to hitch them up.

She was aware that she mooned the pirate behind her as her knickers had also been pulled down.

Soon both pairs were around her ankles and she pitched face first into the water, almost impaling herself on her spear.

Sucked down and pushed along by the tide, Josephine rolled like a barrel down a hill. She flailed with arms and legs but couldn’t find the sand or the surface and all that she could see were clouds of bubbles, spiralling around her.

She tried to hold her breath but her lungs burned and a black fog filled her head.

She gasped.

Salt water rushed into her lungs.

She gasped again.

Then she started to drown.

#

Josephine was surprised to wake up since she had died.

She was an agnostic. She hoped that harp music and reunions with old friends awaited her after death but she wasn’t sure she believed it, but then again, until a short while ago she hadn’t believed in time travel.

She opened her eyes, curious to see what the afterlife was like.

Heaven or hell? It was hard to tell. The sky above was golden and heavenly but the face peering down at her was most definitely hellish.

The man was as bony as a stray dog and had huge, bulbous eyes that made him look like a worried frog. His cheeks were sunken and he had pale, wispy hair on his head and chin.

He squatted at Josephine’s side, holding something out to her.

When Josephine realized it was a bottle of water she snatched it from him and sucked on it greedily.

Next he held up a chunk of bread which Josephine also snatched up and consumed.

He held up his third offering with a guilty grin.

“Give me those!” snapped Josephine, snatching her knickers from him.

“It weren’t me what took em off you,” gulped the pirate. “It were the sea.” He said the last bit in a hushed whisper, as if afraid the sea might hear him and take offence.

In the time Josephine had spent in the company of pirates, she’d learnt that they were a superstitious lot. No wonder Captain Bloody was able to make them believe he was a god with a few tricks and some showmanship.

“I saved yer other pants too,” said the pirate, eyes still fixed on her knickers. “So ye won’t be getting’ chilly legs just wearin’ them tiny bloomers.”

Josephine noticed that her captor had preserved her modesty by wrapping a shirt around her lower half like a sarong. He even sat with his back to her while she got dressed.

“So,” said Josephine, once she was decent. “What’s this all about?”

The pirate gave her a grin that was more gappy than toothy and said, “I’m here to save ya!”

#

Josephine held back tears as the pirate told her how Lance had been captured by Captain Bloody and chained to an oar on The Bloody Throne.

“I think we got off on the wrong foot,” said the pirate when he had concluded his news report. “My name’s Lenny Humphries and I’m-”

“I know what you are!” spat Josephine. “You’re one of Bloody’s pirates!”


Was
one of Cap’n Bloody’s pirates.
Was
one of em.”

“What, you mean you’re not anymore?”

“Mutiny!” stated Lenny with pride.

“You mutinied against Bloody and lived to tell the tale?”

“Well,” mumbled Lenny, his scrawny chest deflating like a popped balloon. “Cap’n Bloody doesn’t know I mutinied against him yet.”

“Why would you turn against your boss now that he’s king of the seas?”

“Because o’ me arm,” said Lenny pointing to the stump. His froggy eyes started welling up as he spoke. “You see, I was gonna quite piratin’ an’ get me a job in a fancy establishment playin’ the piano.” Lenny fluttered the fingers of his right hand over an imaginary keyboard and then looked at the empty air where the fingers of his left hand were not fluttering. “Won’t be doin’ that now, will I?”

For the rest of the day, they sailed across the vast, blue sea.

Lenny talked on and on about music.

He had three ways of saying the word piano.

When he was overemphasising with emotion he pronounced it, pee-anne-ist.

When he was babbling with excitement it came out, pissed.

Worst of all was when his speech speed was normal; then it sounded for all the world like, penis.

Under less miserable circumstances Josephine would have found it funny. Especially the penis one.

Night fell. The stars came out and it was against their silver light that Josephine and Lenny saw the three- masted, silhouette of The Bloody Throne.

#

They sat for a while, taking stock of the

situation.

Ripple Thief was at anchor and Captain Bloody and most of his crew were onboard, celebrating their victory.

The prisoners, including Lance, who were onboard The Bloody Throne were forced to row circles around the stationary Ripple Thief.

As Josephine and Lenny drew closer they could hear music. Josephine almost laughed. It was Lady Gaga.

“He be playin’ his evil box again,” whispered Lenny. “With its wicked sirens inside!”

“That isn’t even her worst,” said Josephine, rolling her eyes. “Wait till you hear ‘Telephone.’”

As far as a plan was concerned, Lenny told Josephine, his was to save her then the two of them would save Lance, then the three of them would defeat Captain Bloody, reclaim Ripple Thief and sail off into the sunset.

Josephine envied his optimism.

At least he was practical enough to make sure they were well provisioned for their quest- and well armed.

They rummaged through the bags he’d bought and decked themselves with belts, swords, daggers and pistols.

That done, they swung up a grappling hook and climbed aboard The Bloody Throne.

Josephine didn’t exactly trust Lenny but she soon found out it could be quite handy to have a partner who had once worked for the enemy.

The man guarding the galley slaves was a big, burly brute who never let the whip lie still.

“How are we supposed to get past him?” whispered Josephine.

“You just leave that to Lenny,” he whispered back. He stood up and wandered out in plain sight.

“Ahoy there, Burke!” Josephine heard Lenny say.

“Lenny, you old bilge rat! What are ye doing o’er here? I thought ye’d be on Ripple Thief, drinkin’ yerself up to pukin’!”

“Didn’t think I’d forget me old mates back here, did ya?” said Lenny. “See, I bought ye something’. Fancy a wee sip, do ya?”

Burke gave an affirmative growl and Josephine heard the squeaky twist and pop of a cork.

BOOK: My Pirate Lover
5.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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