A remote isle off the coast of Cuba
Changing Captain Barclay’s mind may not be as easy a task as Angel De’haviland had first imagined. Unfortunately, he continued to see her as “Logan’s daughter” and the more she tried to convince him she’d grown during his absence, the more distant he seemed. Now how to accomplish such a feat when the man damn near killed himself trying to avoid her?
The privateer waded his way to shore as more and more of his men gathered around her. Waist deep in pale cerulean water the man took her breath away. Sunlight glistened off the droplets on his chest and shoulders. Such a delicious vision of bronzed maleness unfortunately, he still considered her a child despite having passed her eighteenth year last summer. So one question remained: how to change his mind?
A frown marred the good captain’s features. Of course, her actions over the last several days had probably tried his patience to no end. He would surely accuse her of distracting his crew again albeit the only person she intended to distract was him.
Angel grinned and flipped her ashen locks over one shoulder. With her legs braced wide she taunted one of his crewmembers, “En garde, Eric.”She raised the cutlass and waved it in a figure eight. “Now, we’ll see who is the better man.”
The first clang of metal split the high-pitched chatter of the Jamaican Becards in the distance. Eric raised a single brow. “If yer a man, then I must have drunk too much of that swill served in the Black Lagoon.”
A small crowd of the ship’s crew gathered around shouting bets. “Thirty shillings on Angel!”
“Ye ain’t got that much, Strider, ye bleedin’ freeloader.”
Shouldering his way into the throng of men, Blac grabbed Strider’s shirt and pushed him aside. “Get back to work.”
“What do I get if I win?”Eric asked as they paused with swords straining between one another. The waggle of his brows clearly stated he expected more than any modest woman should give. The tell-tale leers and soft laughter of the others all confirmed what Eric had on his mind. This time her plan would work, judging by the very jealous captain’s scowl as his brows drew so closely together he resembled a hawk.
“What do you want?”Her tone didn’t inquire, it seduced.
Delighted, Angel smothered another grin. She’d certainly caught Blac off guard since his return. Perhaps, she simply enjoyed punishing him for all those years he’d ignored her. Either way, she’d never dreamed she could hold this much power over him, but with the discovery, she simply couldn’t resist taunting him.
She’d never behaved this way before but once she unleashed the temptress within, she would not be locked away again. I’ve loved this man half of my life now. Captain Barclay would fall in love with her. One way or another.
Eric sent a wary glance in Blac’s direction and performed a mock bow. “Only a littl’ jig with the most beautiful lady ‘ere tonight,” Eric said, deflecting her next assault with a return jab.
Caving under the captain’s warning glare, Eric refused to play along with her. Blac nodded and turned back to the ship. Hmm, we shall just see about that, Blac Barclay. She would not be ignored so easily.
Angel cocked a brow. “And here I thought you’d request a kiss in a dark corner somewhere. I looked forward to having a heated embrace with a real man who knows just what a woman needs. But alas, you’re playing the gentlemen with me.”
Blac whipped around to glare at her. Young Eric’s eyes rounded then roved across her figure, heating to a degree that should’ve blistered her skin. When he opened his mouth to speak, Angel skipped away. “Ahh, too late! You’ve lost your chance, so a dance ‘tis.”
Both of the captain’s brows rose as his mouth dropped open in shock and Angel giggled.You are mine for the taking, Blac Barclay. You just don’t realize it quite yet.
Angel had become a threat. To herself.
At eighteen, the lass had turned into a flirt and a perpetual tease. Privateer Blac Barclay, imagined nothing short of a good, old-fashioned paddling would cease Angel’s scandalous behavior.
He sighed. I need to save Angel’s wayward neck again.
Her father, Logan, had asked him to keep her entertained today, but the task was proving impossible as the only distraction came from her. How the hell am I supposed to keep my men on task with her around?
The Serpent, a double-masted Brigatine, lay on her side while members of his crew — or the members who were still on task — scraped the barnacles from her hull. They had less than two weeks to get the chore done and get off this isle. Unfortunately, his escapades with the pirate’s daughter were just beginning, as unbeknownst to her, she would be traveling with him.
Angel remained unaware of the incident that had changed the course of her life. Logan would send someone when Angel’s belongings were packed, but he had seen no sign of them yet. Until then, he just had to keep her busy.
But that was proving to be a task unto itself.
Reluctant to make his way through the crowd to stop the unfolding scene, despite his conviction he must, Blac watched the opponents face off with a mix of curiosity and raw lust.
The dueling pair circled each other inside the perimeter of the gathered crowd. They danced across the sand in perfect timing. Sunlight glinted off the matching cutlasses, and the rhythmic clanging escalated with the ever-increasing shouts of his men.
Eric pounced with a series of attacks. “Either way, I get to hold you in me arms.”
“I wait with bated breath,” Angel said, slashing with a single swipe. The impact sent Eric back, protecting his midsection.
She retreated several steps and allowed him to follow her. In midstride, she attacked again, her stance solid and her skill unbelievable. But of course why shouldn’t it be? After all, Blac had been the one to teach her.
Three years ago, Blac had left behind a skinny, knock-kneed young lass who, despite her lack of size, could best most of his men in battle. He’d returned a week ago to find a fully-matured woman who used her feminine wiles as cleverly as her sword. The combination was as compelling as her blue-green eyes.
But when Eric’s cutlass sliced through the thin material of her shirt across her belly exposing the creamy skin beneath, the boy paused. Angel took advantage of the opportunity and struck his sword with enough force it soared from his grasp. With a single sweeping kick, young Eric found himself flat on his back.
Blac had taught her to take advantage of every opportunity. To never underestimate an opponent no matter their size or strength. He’d also taught her to use her wits as well as her might. The man with the stronger sword arm could very well lose to the man with the smarter strategy. What better strategy for a woman than seduction?
She laughed — a magical sound. Her slender brows rose over a pair of azure blue eyes. The muscular lad found himself at her mercy. With purpose, she propped one slender bare foot on the lad’s chest. Her gaze settled on Blac though. “It is a pleasure to see a man flat on his back for once.”
Stunned, Blac struggled to close his gaping mouth. Two red blossoms sprouted on the young seaman’s cheeks, whether from the embarrassment of losing to a female or lust, Blac knew not. The hot-blooded siren smiled seductively at her crowd of men. “It is an interesting paradox of the strong suddenly becoming the vulnerable isn’t it?”
Time to put an end to this. Blac strode to her without hesitation, lifted and set her several feet away. Eric rose to good-natured slaps and chuckles from the rest of the men.
Playing with a man’s emotions, sexual or otherwise, wasn’t wise. Angel couldn’t possibly understand the consequences of her teasing. Or did she? To speak in such a way to any man, let alone a member of his crew who were known for their shady pasts, meant Angel knew more than she should at her age. She played the come-hither game. The only difference between her and the buxom whores hanging out the windows in the village was that Angel was still a virgin.Or was she?
It had been quite some time since he’d been to the isle. Perhaps the little minx had become a woman in every sense of the word. Blac’s frown deepened. He should be happy she’d found some other sap to chase. After all, it solved the problem of having her underfoot so often. He should be thrilled. Shouldn’t he?
And yet, his first instinct was to squash the competition.
“Just what the hell do you think you’re doing, Angel?” he growled from between clenched teeth.
She crossed her arms beneath her breasts, outlining their shape. Blac swallowed.
“Why must you ruin my fun?” Her tone wasn’t sulking as one would imagine. It was soft, seductive. She didn’t complain; she challenged him.
“Why must you tempt my men?” He crossed his own arms. “Do you wish to see them punished?”
She smiled. “Perhaps. I wouldn’t mind seeing a man on his knees for once.”
Once again his mouth dropped open. “Where did you learn such filthy language?” He shook his head. “Don’t answer.” He already knew the answer. Living amongst pirates and prostitutes her entire life, with a father who doted on his daughter entirely too much, what else should he expect? “Logan should really consider locking you up somewhere,” he grumbled as he reached for her arm. There was little to no privacy on Logan’s island, and the infamous pirate certainly hadn’t tried to curb what his eighteen-year-old daughter had witnessed over the years.
He seized her arm to stay her, but she attempted to jerk out of his grasp. He held firm.
“Do you wish to take up where Eric left off?” she asked.
He paused and arched a single brow. “Meaning what exactly?”
“Meaning remove your hands from me this instant or find yourself flat on your back with my sword at your throat.”
Surprise widened his gaze, but he couldn’t let this little challenge pass. Not by any means.
Aware of their audience, Blac, pulled her closer by the upper arm so the others wouldn’t overhear. “Angel,” he whispered against her ear. “Let me be the first to warn you...despite being Logan’s daughter, should you try it, you will learn soon enough what it is like to have a seasoned sailor between those lovely thighs of yours. And I assure you, little one, it’ll be an experience you won’t soon forget.”
Cerulean eyes rose to his. He saw no fear. Instead, her soft lips spread into an invitation. “I have waited half a lifetime to hear those words from you. I assure you, I look forward to the day those words become reality.”
She leaned up, laying a hand on his chest for balance. Heat seared the skin on his chest from her palm and the fervor in her eyes scorched him to his toes. “It is you who will be surprised, as I am more than woman enough to handle the ride you so temptingly offer.” With a toss of her flaxen locks, she whirled and headed back toward the village.
Had the little vixen just promised to lay with him or had he been fantasizing again?
Blac stood, still digesting her words. Surely, he’d just misheard her. But, his gaze followed the movement of those hips before she disappeared around the curve in the trail.
A macaw screeched, taking flight above him and jarred him out of his trance. He took one step, then another.
Those weren’t the hips of a child, and by God, he’d just heard the very words he’d dreamed of hearing from her since he’d returned.
Angel needed a lesson in propriety. And he damn sure didn’t mind being the man to give it to her.
She crossed the bridge ahead of him. He ran now, darting between the palms to catch up. His hand glided across the rough, oak rail as the Jamaican Mango hummingbird flitted from side to side to avoid him.
He jerked her around so hard she lost her balance and fell into him. He caught her but paused. Why did she have to feel so soft? So smooth?
“Does your father know you speak so openly, miss?” he asked.
“Does my father know you lust after me?” she countered.
Blac let go of her as if he’d just been burned. “Any woman who is scantily clad in a pair of cut off pants will arouse a man’s lust. Not just mine, Angel.”
“It isn’t the pants arousing your lust, Blac. It’s what’s beneath them.”
He ground his teeth together. Yes, and I can imagine running my hands across those smooth thighs.
“How will your father feel should he learn what a little tease his daughter has become?”
She snorted. “He hasn’t even noticed I have breasts yet.” She crossed her arms, and his gaze immediately fell to said breasts. She laughed. “Ahh, but you have. Haven’t you, Captain?” He turned away from her. “Look at me, Blac.” She said his name like a caress. “Look at me.”
He looked. He shouldn’t have.
“You’ve noticed I’m all grown up.” She ran her hands down her sides to emphasize her point. “It didn’t take much for you to notice I’m a woman now with a woman’s needs.”
No, it hadn’t taken much at all.
By God, I’m a decade older than Angel. I should be stoned for thinking these things.
She’d developed an infatuation with him over the years but he’d never imagined he’d feel anything beyond friendship for her. That it would turn into something...like...
He’d been so careful to mask the growing attraction for her. Blac wiped a single hand across his face. How did one tell an infamous pirate his daughter was chasing him about like a dockside whore? The little hellion knew more about flirting than a seasoned courtesan.
If she kept up this kind of behavior, Angel would be married and pregnant by year’s end by one of his men.
Or worse, by him.
© Suzie Grant