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Authors: Rima Jean

Tags: #Fantasy, #Historical, #Romance, #Science Fiction, #Adventure, #Young Adult

The Noble Pirates

BOOK: The Noble Pirates
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The Noble Pirates

Rima Jean

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Copyright © 2014 by Rima Jean. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.

Cover design by Adam Sund.

Ebook ISBN

Print ISBN

Manufactured in the United States of America

First Edition 2011.

To Papa.

Chapter One

I hate boats.

I sat on a pink bench, the painted wood hot against my thighs. Holding a bottle of water in one hand, I tossed the white pill into my mouth with the other. I eyed the catamaran warily as it bobbed up and down in the harbor. The pill went down hard. Just watching the catamaran float on the waves made me nauseous.

I glanced at Sky and Tanya. Sky was reading a history book about pirates and Tanya was putting on lip gloss. Neither one of them had thought about my propensity toward sea sickness when they’d signed up for this, and I hadn’t reminded them. I was enough of a drag as it was.

I sighed, looking back up as a group of college students sat down across from us, laughing loudly. I leaned toward Tanya. “I can’t believe we’re going on a booze cruise,” I muttered.

She pressed her lips together and flashed a coy smile at one of the frat boys. Not looking at me, she said, “It’s not a booze cruise. It’s a day-long excursion to Rose Island, which happens to serve alcohol.” She handed me her lip gloss. “Can you put this in your backpack?”

I had insisted that we only take one bag – my backpack – on this trip. I figured it was a better way to keep track of our belongings, and only one of us had to carry anything. Plus, it allowed me to sneak my Blackberry along. I had to stay in touch with Linda, my secretary. What if she needed me? I shifted the backpack from one shoulder to the other. I hadn’t anticipated how much crap would get loaded onto my back. I felt Sky unzip the backpack behind me and slip her book into it as someone called us to attention.

“Ahoy, me hearties!” We turned to see our captain—a young man in his mid-twenties with bleach-blond hair. He was dressed in a pirate’s outfit he must have gotten from a Halloween costume store: red handkerchief tied around his head, white shirt with billowy sleeves, tight striped pants tucked into black boots, a sash around his waist. And of course, an eye patch. The shirt, as expected, had no buttons, and lay open to reveal a “V” of very tan, very muscular, very hairless chest. He explained to us what our trip would consist of, his words enhanced by the lilt of an accent. Australian. I wanted to roll my eyes. Of course he was Australian.
This guy must get tourist “booty” like nobody’s business.

As we and the eight other passengers followed the Aussie, named Bryan, onto the 40-foot catamaran, Tanya hooked her arms around Sky’s neck and my waist, pulling us close. She growled into our ears, “Wow. He can shiver me timbers any day of the week.” Sky and I smiled at each other. The minute Captain Bryan had appeared, we knew that Tanya would be lost to us today. Just as well. One less person to notice if I spent the trip puking over the side of the boat.

The instant we were seated on the catamaran, a young Bahamian woman hurried out with cocktails, grinning playfully at us. Jesus. It was, what, eleven in the morning? Who wanted to drink anything but coffee at this time of day? I sighed. I knew that, unless I wanted to be harangued mercilessly by Tanya, I would have to start drinking soon. I stared at the dock, trying to focus on the lack of movement there.
So far so good.

“I hear the Bahama Mama is awesome,” Sky told me, handing me a fruity-looking drink as she took one herself.

I tried not to look disgusted. “What’s in it?”

Sky grinned. “Rum, rum, and more rum.”

Of course. How stupid of me. I settled back, holding the cup in my hands, my eyes focused on the shore as we set off. The speakers blared some calypso, and the college kids seemed to go through the drinks faster than the girl could bring them out. It was a particularly steamy day, steamier than yesterday, and a haze had settled on the horizon. It was neither cloudy nor sunny, just hot. Had we not been moving, there would have been no breeze.

I leaned forward, my eyes still on the shore, my drink still untouched. I wanted to have a good time for Tanya and Sky, God help me, I did. They had planned this girls’ trip to the Bahamas for me, to take my mind off of things. But every time I closed my eyes, I heard Jake’s voice. Telling me that this wasn’t the life he’d imagined for himself, for Sophie. That he hoped a separation would give me time to think, to prioritize. I clenched my jaw, remembering how he’d sat there on the couch, his elbows resting on his knees, his  usually good-humored blue eyes rimmed with red, his handsome face crumpled from sleepless nights.

My chest ached as I remembered Sophie’s face, her wide blue eyes, so like her father’s, flickering from me to Jake as we tried to explain to her what was happening.
It’s not that Mommy and Daddy don’t love each other... We love you more than life itself...
Anxiety swelled into fear, and I could tell that she wanted to rush into Jake’s arms, to be sure that
he
wasn’t leaving her.

“...and Sabrina grew up in Haiti. But we all live in Houston now.” I looked up at my name to find that Tanya and Sky had befriended the college students. Let me rephrase that: Tanya had befriended two athletic-looking frat boys in baseball caps and Sky had been unwillingly drawn into the conversation.

One of the boys, a tall guy with shaggy brown hair, looked at me and grinned. “Haiti, huh? Do you practice voodoo?”

Idiot.
I gave him the iciest stare I could muster. “You sure you want to know?”

His grin didn’t fade. I could tell he was one of those guys who didn’t get the hint when a girl wasn’t interested in him, one of those guys who went around saying, “Dude, she totally wants me,” even when he’d been slapped in the face. “You’re cute,” he said. “You married?”

Tanya replied cheerfully, “She and her husband are separated.”

“Tanya!” Sky hissed, looked worriedly at me.

“It’s fine,” I said quickly, even though it wasn’t.
Separated.
The word cut me like a shard of glass.

The shaggy-haired frat boy pointed to my drink. “You gonna drink that before we get to the island or what? You haven’t even had a sip yet.”

I set the drink down in irritation. “Don’t think so. Feel free to drink it.” I stood uneasily, wondering if going below deck was a terrible idea. I really had to pee, and I wanted to escape this conversation immediately. I deliberated for exactly one second, deciding that I’d rather vomit non-stop than continue my conversation with the shaggy-haired kid. I stumbled clumsily to the cabin, trying unsuccessfully to shut out the playful laughter of the college kids.

Chapter Two

I dug my feet further in the powder white sand, grinding my teeth. The relief I’d felt at finally being off the boat was swiftly replaced with anxiety: Rose Island was secluded, pristine, and void of distractions. Nothing but the turquoise beach stretching endlessly before us, nothing but relaxation on the agenda. I glanced at Tanya, who was giggling with Captain Bryan. Well, nothing but relaxation for most of us.

Sky and I had found a quiet place on the beach to sit, and she rummaged through my backpack, pulling out another book. Realizing the torture I was in for, I pulled out my iPod. Sky looked around for a second, leaning back on her elbows. “This place is gorgeous,” she said.

“Uh-huh,” I replied, tucking the earbuds in my ears. “It’s really perfect if you’re looking for some privacy.” I rolled my eyes meaningfully in Tanya’s direction, where she and the Aussie were already wandering off together as she tossed back her head and laughed, touching him lightly on his arm.

Sky watched them walk off and then turned to me, a smile playing on her lips. “This is going to sound all kinds of messed up, but I’m kind of living vicariously through her. He’s pretty hot.”

I chuckled. “It’s the accent.” Then I added, “That’s not messed up. You’ll get back home and jump Dave like a hormonal teenager. He’ll love that.”

Sky grinned. “I may dress him up as a pirate for fun.”

I shook my head, smiling widely. “You do realize pirates were not like...” I grabbed the book out of her hands, opening it up to a random page. “...like Lord Lance.” I jumped up as Sky tried to snatch the book back, scrabbling from her beach towel and laughing. “Jesus, Sky, what on earth are you reading?
The Pirate’s Fire
? Are you serious? What happened to that history book you were reading earlier? It was just a cover-up so you could read this smut, wasn’t it!”

Sky was still laughing, wrapping her arms around my calves. “Come on, S, don’t lose my place, okay? I have an abnormal obsession with pirates. I can’t help it if being here makes me want to read about buccaneers. Historically speaking, Nassau was a pirate haven.”

I laughed. “Don’t you start lecturing me! I already know all that. And don’t try distracting me from the fact that you’re reading about being ravaged by a pirate.”

Sky’s lips twitched as she held out her hand. “My book, please?”

I handed the book back to her, pointing to the bronze-skinned Adonis on the cover. He was embracing a pale blond woman who looked to be in mid-orgasm. “Fine. But let me just remind you that in real life, pirates were nothing like this. They were filthy, had rotting teeth, and serious dingle-berries.”

Sky shook her head defiantly. “Don’t ruin my fantasies, S. I’m not listening.”

I plopped down, leaning to speak in her ear. “They suffered from scurvy and malnutrition, were probably more interested in each other than in women, carried all kinds of fun STDs like syphilis. And all that bullshit about pirates being vigilantes. They were, and still are, thugs, Sky, just plain thugs who raped and murdered and –  ”

Sky clapped her hand to my mouth, smiling. “Shut. Yo. Face.”

I leaned back, deciding I’d annoyed her enough. “Just keep your hands where I can see them, okay?” Grinning to myself, I went back to my iPod. Sky continued to read her Harlequin while I scrolled through my list of songs, wondering if I had any new e-mails. The air was breezeless, and it felt abnormal, stifling, almost. The sea was eerily still, the azure waves lapping gently at our feet. I was starting to feel restless, wondering if I would get grief from Sky if I checked my Blackberry, when I spotted Tanya jogging down the beach towards us, her clothes in disarray, her hair flying loosely behind her. “Guys! We have to go. Now.”

Sky and I jumped up. “What happened?”

Tanya scowled. “We were about to,
you know
, when he got paged. A thunderstorm is coming through here, and we have to leave, like, now.”

I raised an eyebrow. “The pirate carries a pager? How authentic.”

Sky looked up, confused. “A thunderstorm? I don’t see anything.”

Tanya shrugged. “Yeah, nobody did. Otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to leave this morning. In any case, Bryan wants us all back on the boat pronto.” As we started back, Tanya reached for my backpack. “Hey, S, can I have my lip gloss? And my eye liner? Actually, just give me my whole makeup bag.”

BOOK: The Noble Pirates
2.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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