Arabella stood at the window looking down at the silk rope blowing in the breeze. Now she had to actually climb down.
Hesitating, she tried to get a good grip on the rope as she climbed onto the ledge.
Just then, the lock on the door slid open and Captain Thorne filled the doorway.
“Crazy wench,” he swore as he crossed the room and reached for her arm. “What’re you trying to do, kill yourself?”
“Let go of me!” she yelled as he hauled her back inside the cabin and up against his body.
“Don’t you realize there are sharks out there just waiting for a fine feast such as yourself?”
“Sharks? That’s absurd.” She struggled against his strong grip upon her upper arms. “There are no sharks here in Port Monmouth’s inlet.”
“Oh?” He turned her toward the open window and pointed down to the water. A dark shape broke the water-a dorsal fin. “That, my dear, is a shark.”
Arabella felt the blood drain from her face.
He turned her in his arms and her breath caught at the warmth of his body against hers. He was big and powerful…and he just saved her from making a foolish mistake that could have cost her life.
“Thank you,” she said softly.
“Next time, I suggest you think out your plans completely.” His voice was gentle and understanding. It was a surprising tone, considering she had just been discovered attempting an escape.
“You know why I had to try.” It wasn’t a question.
“I know.” Then he added in a mocking voice. “I suggest you put the thought of escape out of your mind. There is nowhere to run out in the open sea.”
She renewed her resistance to his hold upon her body, against the intoxicating allure of his muscled chest rubbing along her sensitive nipples. Even through the rough fabric of his coat and her thin cotton nightshift, her skin was on fire for his touch.
What was happening to her? She shoved him away, disgusted at her own weakness. She loathed this man and all he stood for. Pirates stole her life by killing her betrothed.
“Perhaps the sharks would be better company after all,” she spat.
He leaned in close to her, a small smile curling his lips. “Don’t tempt me, or I will personally introduce you to the sharks.”
He released the knot of silk from about the leg of the desk and tossed the rope out the window. “Just in case you had thoughts of climbing out again,” he quipped.
She stormed over to the bed and turned on him. “You can’t expect me to be happy about being a hostage.”
He faced her and chuckled. “On the contrary, I suspect you are going to be a pain in the ass.”
She gasped loudly. “How dare you speak to me in such a manner!”
He closed in on her. “You, Miss Prescott, are my prisoner. I suggest you come to terms with the situation.”
“And you, Captain Thorne, are nothing more than a low-down, lawless pirate.”
“I assure you, there are rules aboard my ship. And my rules are law upon the open sea.”
“I warn you, Miss Prescott. Try my patience and you will find yourself getting that spanking I mentioned earlier.”
“You touch me, and I will make sure you find the sharp end of a sword through your black heart.”
His face turned serious as he stared down at her. She shuddered under his gaze, fighting against the traitorous reactions of her young body. Why did she ache for this pirate’s touch? Maybe it was the extreme danger that seemed to ooze from his pores that sent her heart into a frenzy. Yes, that must be it. It was the danger that surrounded Captain Thorne that made her react this way. It had to be.
“You’re a fiery wench, aren’t you?” he mused aloud.
“Don’t call me that. I am Miss Prescott to you.”
“You’re a shrew-and I think your lips deny your innermost desires.” He stepped closer and her breath caught in her lungs. He seemed to overpower the very space in which they stood.
“I deny nothing.”
“Then why are you shaking?”
She hesitated, searching for an excuse other than the obvious. “I’m angry.” She was indeed angry…with herself. How could her heart beat faster when he came near? Even the junction of her thighs reacted to his closeness. It burned for…something. She could feel the liquid heat gathering there even as she refused to acknowledge the growing desire.
He reached up to her face and a finger traced the curve of her jaw. “I think you’re aroused.”
Her apex throbbed. “You’re imagining things.”
“Am I?” He gently stroked her bottom lip with the pad of his thumb.
She closed her eyes as her quivering breath blew over his thumb. He was tempting her, testing her. Arabella was unused to men playing games with her, at least unfairly, like this pirate. He used his sexual appeal as a weapon, taking an unfair advantage over the situation. She was an unwilling prisoner of a man who stole her from her very bed…and her body yearned for something she hardly recognized.
“Don’t fight it, luv. You want me, and I want you. Let’s find out what it can be like.” His voice was husky and she recognized the strained control.
And it made her heartbeat race faster. Even the air within her lungs seemed to still as she stood so close to this roguish man with the handsome face and muscled body, hard and completely masculine.
Pirates killed Nicholas. I hate pirates, and this man is a pirate. I abhor pirates, therefore I abhor him. I do not want him. I do not want him. She repeated in her mind, I do not want him.
Her eyes snapped open and she saw him lean in closer. She turned her face away in time to avoid his kiss.
“I do not want you, Captain Thorne. You’re a pirate. I will not throw myself into your bed like the ladies of Tortuga who are enthralled by your lawlessness.”
He forced her to face him. “Fiery little wildcat. You will learn to come to me, offering your body for my pleasure.”
“You will, luv. And your surrender will be sweeter than any wine.”
He kissed her roughly-crushing, brutal, hungry. He plunged his tongue into her mouth and drank of her sweetness despite her struggles. He clamped her body against his and the contact seared her. Dear God, this was a greedy possession, nothing more. Soon, she was clutching onto the lapel of his coat as he continued to plunder her mouth. He ravaged her lips, pillaged her mouth and looted her senses.
Beneath her, her legs weakened and she held on to him to stay upright. How could she surrender to a pirate? He used his potent kisses to shut down her defenses, taking her when she was weak.
“Do you deny you desire me now, luv?” he asked in a whisper against her lips.
“No,” she replied in a low hush. She couldn’t deny her desire for him.
“Once we are at sea, I will return to this cabin and you will give yourself to me.”
Could she? She may not be able to deny the desire burning within her heart, but she could refuse to act upon those desires. She’d saved herself for marriage. She hadn’t even given in to Nicholas’ pleas for intimacy before his last trip to sea. It had been hard to resist, but she had. But now, she was the prisoner of a pirate, a man used to getting exactly what he wanted.
And he wanted her.
She definitely desired him in ways she couldn’t completely understand-she only knew that she burned for his touch, yearned to experience the fire between them on a more intimate level.
Could she give up her virtue, her virginity for a moment of passion?
“Give yourself to me,” he repeated as he nuzzled her neck, sparking shivers down her spine in anxious excitement.
“I’m…I never…” She was too confused. Her body screamed to concede, but her heart refused to give up so easily.
“I understand.” He stroked her hair, calming her with his gentle touch and softly spoken words.
Her heart raced as she thought of surrendering her body to him. She’d be ruined. Soiled. No man would ever want her, a pirate’s remains. “No, please…” She pressed her palms gently against him.
He pushed her to arm’s length and stood over her, a tower of strength and command. “You will give your body to me. You may fight me, little wildcat. However, you will not win.”
He pushed her to the bed and she fell back onto it. “If you don’t give me what I require,” he said angrily, “then by God, I will take it by force.”
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Crossed Swords Copyright Â© 2007 Marianne LaCroix.
posted Thursday, January 17th, 2008 | filed under Ellora's Cave, Excerpts, Marianne LaCroix, Members, November 2007, Sizzle of the Week
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