Captive of My Desires Page 24

But Gabby was too annoyed to allow Timothy much time to think it over. His prolonged silence prompted her to comment, “I’ll take that as a no,” and she marched over to the table by the bed to pick up Drew’s pistol.

Since the woman had fooled him once, trying to pretend she wasn’t a pirate when he knew now that she was, Drew really had no idea what she was capable of. For all he knew, she just might shoot Timothy to keep him from being a further “nuisance,” as she’d called him.

So he hissed at his friend, “Answer her, damn it!”

She heard him but didn’t remark on that, nor did her annoyed expression change. She merely pointed out, “A standoff isn’t going to let any of us get back to our beds. Will you at least give your word that there will be no further trouble tonight so we can all get some sleep?”

“That I can do.”

Gabrielle mulled that over for a few moments. Frankly, she looked too exasperated to agree to only half of what she’d asked for. And Drew hated to admit it, but she looked much too fetching standing there clutching his woolen blanket around her, with her long dark hair disheveled and falling around her shoulders. But then her expression changed. She nodded. And it took Drew only a moment to guess that she’d just remembered what her young friend had told her earlier, that there were two shackles in the hold. Drew was wearing one now, but there was one left for Timothy.

Blast it! The wench wasn’t happy with one man in chains, she had to shackle two!

Chapter 28

TIMOTHYSAWYER MIGHT HAVE WALKED BACK TO HIS CABINof his own accord, but Gabrielle didn’t trust him to keep his word, not even a little. A man as big as he was was nothing but trouble, in her mind—very dangerous trouble, and she wasn’t taking any more chances with him.

She, Richard, and Bixley succeeded in shackling Timothy to the sturdiest wall in his cabin. The big man accepted his fate with surprising docility, perhaps because Gabrielle distracted him by satisfying his curiosity about her father’s life as a pirate, answering question after question.

Before stepping back out of his cabin, she even told him, “Thank you for keeping your word and not causing any more trouble.” He merely shrugged his wide shoulders.

It was done. And the ship was still in her control. It had been close, though.

She headed back to the captain’s cabin. The night watch was doubled. Ohr had already seen to that.

They weren’t taking any more chances. And she’d been gone long enough getting Sawyer taken care of that she could hope Drew was now sleeping, or, if not, that he’d be quiet so she could.

No such luck.

He waited until she’d crawled back in his bed. He even let her get comfortable, rearranging the pillow a few times, smoothing out the blanket she was lying on top of. But the moment she sighed in contentment—it was a very comfortable bed—his voice drifted over to her.

“I’ve been sitting here thinking about what your br**sts taste like.” She thought she’d misheard him at first. The man wouldn’t really say something like that, and in such a conversational tone. Lovers might discuss such things, but they certainly weren’t that!

But then he added, “Salty from the sea air? Like rose petals from your perfume? Yes, I smelled the roses on you. Or would they simply taste like ambrosia?” Cheeks burning with embarrassment now, she growled, “I’m going to gag you.”

“I wish you’d try.”

She knew what he was doing now, getting her angry enough to get close to him so he could turn the tables on her again. Not bloody likely.

She turned over on her side, giving him her back, but in the dark he wouldn’t know that. Silence might get the point across to him, though, so she was determined not to talk to him anymore.

“Let’s get back to your breasts,” he suggested in a lazy tone.

“Let’s not.”

So much for her determination. Desperately, she put the pillow over her head and held it against her ear.

Damned if she couldn’t still hear him.

“I know how plump they are, Gabby. I remember perfectly how they filled my hand. But I want to taste them. I should have while I had you squirming in my lap today. That was very nice, by the way. I’m already looking forward to you sitting on my lap again. But let’s stick to your br**sts for the moment.

Will you like it when I taste them, do you think?”

“You must be remembering some other woman’s breasts, one of those legions of sweethearts you have in every port. My br**sts are puny, almost flat, so you can stop thinking about them!”

“Liar.” He chuckled. “I remember every single thing about you, Gabby, how your mouth felt against mine, how passionate you were in my arms, how wonderful it felt to hold you close to me. But the question in my mind is, are you always so wanton, or was it just me that made you respond that way?”

“None of your damn business, Captain.”

“Ah, but I’m making it my business, sweetheart. I’m going to find out, you know. Maybe not tonight or even tomorrow, but someday when I find you again, and I will find you again, we’re going to make love.

I promise you that. And I’ll know your br**sts intimately then. Actually, I’ll know every inch of you intimately. I don’t have the least doubt in my mind that it will happen.” It was on the tip of her tongue to tell him he was delusional, but a part of her, just a small part, hoped he wasn’t. It was that mention of making love and his promise that it would happen. Good grief, what that did to her was amazing. Her stomach had fluttered sensually. Her pulse was already erratic from everything else he’d said. And her br**sts tingled, her ni**les had turned hard so quickly, just as they did that night he tried to seduce her in his sister’s parlor. She could remember every one of the sensations she’d experienced that night and she shivered deliciously.

“Would you like to hear about it, what I’m going to do to you first?”

“No!”

She actually shouted. He chuckled again. And ignored her denial.

“I’m going to kiss you until your toes curl, deeply, very erotically, and you’ll want to do the same. In fact you will kiss me back. You won’t be able to help yourself. You’ll hold me tight, clinging to me, tight enough to feel my desire pressing against you, while our tongues become lovers first. I will time it perfectly, you know. I’ll drive you mad with desire before I even remove your clothes. And when I do finally remove them, it will be so very slowly. Do you know why?” Ignore him. Say nothing.God, the room was so bloody hot now. Her clothes felt so tight she had to fight the urge to remove them herself.

“I’m going to savor every moment of stripping you na**d,” he told her, his voice much lower now, more husky. “And so will you, because I’m going to kiss you and touch you everywhere. No part of you will escape my attention. Your neck, your ears, your shoulders will feel my lips. Your br**sts will feel my tongue. Your feet and calves, and especially your thighs, will feel the caress of my hands. And between your legs, where you’ll be wet and aching for me, I’ll—”

“Stop it! Please!”

“Do you want me yet?” he asked slowly, sensually. “You know you do. Come to me, Gabby. Let’s make it happen now. There’s no need to wait.”

She bit her lip to keep from answering him. And then like a splash of cold water in her face, she heard,

“I want you so much right now I think I could rip this chain off of me with my bare hands.” Nothing could have brought her out of that erotic haze quicker than the thought of him free and in command of the situation again. Not yet. She couldn’t let him have his ship back yet.

She shot off the bed, dragging the blanket with her. He heard her cross the room. She wasn’t the least bit quiet about it. She just wasn’t crossing toward him.

He demanded, “Where are you going?”

“To fetch a bucket of cold water,” she snapped, almost to the door.

“Damn you, wench, come back here!”

She didn’t. And while he might have thought she was getting the water to dump on his head for the sexual frustration he’d just forced on her, she wasn’t. She did find some, though, and splashed it on her own face. Then she found a spot on the deck that wasn’t too windy and curled up with her blanket to get some sleep. Not very comfortable, but inside the captain’s cabin was the kind of discomfort she didn’t know how to deal with, so anything was preferable to that.

Ohr nudged Gabrielle’s foot, which was sticking out from under the blanket she’d brought up to the deck with her. She woke slowly to find him standing beside her, offering a hand to help her up. She hadn’t gotten nearly enough sleep during the night to have her mind clear of webs immediately.

“Rough night?” he asked.

It was a logical question, she supposed, after he’d found her asleep on the deck. But it didn’t begin to describe what the captain of this ship had put her through last night with his talk of lovemaking.

But she said merely, “The captain got too—oh, good grief, I meant to say cabin. The cabin got too hot, so I sought a nice breeze for a while. I must have fallen asleep before I cooled off.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to swap cabins with us?” he asked.

“I’d like to, yes!”

Gabrielle blushed immediately. She had said it too quickly, and after that blunder she’d just made, too.

How embarrassing!

But Ohr appeared not to notice how desperate she’d just sounded. He was like that, though. Even if he guessed exactly what was on her mind, he wouldn’t say so, nor would she know it from his expression.

He was quite possibly as good as James Malory had been at schooling his features.

But she really didn’t care at the moment. She was just determined never to go through such an intensely arousing experience again. Good grief, how utterly ridiculous she’d been to think she could handle sleeping in the same room with that outrageous American. He was too handsome. Even in the dark when she couldn’t see him at all, he was sinfully enticing, his voice too sensually provocative. She had no idea it was even possible to be stirred like that by mere words.

The current arrangement just wouldn’t work. She had to be in control to enact her revenge. Even chained,he’d been in complete control last night. He’d madeher react, he’d stirred upher senses. She was supposed to be doing that tohim! But how could she if she couldn’t even think straight because of what he made her feel?

And she didn’t doubt it was all deliberate. He’d been trying to seduce her for one reason and one reason only, to get his ship back.

She thrust it from her mind and asked Ohr, “Did you get some sleep yourself after that trouble we had with Sawyer last night?”

“A few hours, which is all I need. I’m going to take over the wheel now—or would you like to?” Ohr wasn’t teasing her. Steering the ship was one of the things her father had enjoyed teaching her when she’d sailed with him. She didn’t have the strength in her arms to do it for very long, and certainly not in rough weather, but it was a beautiful, clear morning, and the wind was steady, so she nodded and followed him up to the quarterdeck.

He left her there. She almost called him back. Alone, she knew what she’d end up thinking about—him—so she was relieved when Richard came to join her a few minutes later.

“I’m usually fine being celibate,” Richard said.

He was sitting in front of the wheel, leaning back against it so he wasn’t facing her. He’d been chatting about this and that, nothing relevant. Then that remark came out of the blue and Gabrielle had no idea how to reply to it, since she couldn’t imagine what it was in relation to. So she said nothing, hoping she’d simply misheard him. No such luck.

“It’s your fault, you know,” he continued. “If you hadn’t tried to kiss me yesterday, I never would have started thinking about her again.”

Oh, good grief, this was about Georgina Malory. She’d really thought that was over and done with.

When she’d gone to warn him about what James had said, the implication being that Richard would be a dead man if he ever approached Malory’s wife again, Richard had assured her that no woman was worth dying for.

She reminded him of that. “You agreed to stay away from her.”

“At the time, yes, but I didn’t say forever.”

She rolled her eyes. He didn’t notice. He was still facing out to sea.

She tried the most reasonable approach. “You know, she’s a remarkable woman.”

“I thought so,” he agreed.

“Remarkable in that she loves her husband. A lot of women don’t, you know. A lot of women marry for a variety of reasons, many of which don’t include love.”

“What about you?” he asked. “Are you only going to marry for love?

“Yes.”

He’d already swung around and moved over, was sitting cross-legged now off to the side of the wheel so he could look up at her. “The American ruined your chances of finding true love in London. I ought to go down there and make mincemeat of him while he’s chained up. Someone needs to make him sorry he did that!”

“No!” she said a bit too quickly. “Don’t hurt him—”

“Ah, so it’s like that,” he cut in. “I should have known that kiss you gave me yesterday was just for the captain’s benefit. I understand perfectly,chérie .”

“Understand what?”

Instead of answering, he speculated aloud, “You know, if I had been able to get Lady Malory alone just once, she wouldn’t be uppermost in my mind now. She’d merely be a fond memory. A single dalliance does work wonders. You should consider it as well.” Her mouth actually dropped open, she was so incredulous. She knew exactly what he meant, but she still said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

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