Captive of My Desires Page 27

A bright moon was peeking out through a light bank of clouds. It washed the deck in soft light and reflected beautifully on the water. She usually loved nights like this at sea, when the moon kept the dark at bay. Such a peaceful setting, but hard to appreciate it with so much turmoil inside her.

Without looking at Richard, she addressed some of that turmoil. He was her closest friend, and he’d already guessed the attraction she felt for Drew, so she told him a bit more than she was going to tell the others.

“I was actually considering marriage to him. Can you believe it? And I even knew he was a confirmed bachelor, but I was fool enough to think I could change his mind and get him to propose. But all he was interested in was a brief sojourn in my bed.”

“I will assume, out of loyalty, that he got nowhere near your bed?” She snorted by way of answer. “I don’t even think he was serious about it.”

“But do you think that’s why he wanted to ruin your chances for a good match?”

“Trying to come up with that answer just makes me see red. I have no idea why he did it.”

“Some men are like that,chérie, especially if they take it personally, their failure to seduce the woman.” Richard peered at her closely. “You wanted him to try harder?” Her blush wasn’t obvious in the moonlight, but Richard had just been teasing and continued to speculate. “He’s a very handsome fellow.

He may be used to conquests without much effort.”

“I don’t doubt he is,” she agreed. “But that certainly wouldn’t justify—”

“No, you misunderstand,” he cut in. “Emotions don’t need to be justified when they take over. It can be as simple as he couldn’t have you, so he made sure no one else would either. But I know you, Gabby.

You’re not just going to shrug this off, are you?”

“No. Believe me, before this voyage is over, he’ll regret what he did, I promise you. I’m going to make him want me so much, he’ll be devastated when I wave good-bye.”

Chapter 32

THE FOLLOWING MORNINGGABRIELLE SAW EVIDENCEthat Richard had commiserated with her after their talk about Drew. She didn’t doubt that it was Richard who had caught Drew unawares with a fist to his cheek later that night. The bruise was only slight, though. And as it turned out, it didn’t

last more than a week.

That week passed with annoying slowness. Gabrielle knew why the time was creeping by for her. She allowed herself only a little while alone with Drew each morning after breakfast with her friends, to work her wiles on him, then spent the rest of the day eager to see him again and counting the minutes until she could. But she forced herself to stay away, to stick to her plan.

Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to be working. While the expression in his eyes might become quite heated when he looked at her now, he seemed too preoccupied with his own agenda—escape by any means—to really notice her subtle seduction. The man still thought he could entice her with the sensual descriptions of what he’d like to do to her in order to get her to come near him. He was in effect doing what she was doing! It was just that his motive was different from hers.

He tried romantic words, he tried crude words, he tried combinations of both. If she hadn’t heard it all before in one form or another from pirates, she never would have withstood the sexual onslaught. But she did withstand it. Mostly. Although she usually left him in a hurry to find some cool air for her face.

Having others present didn’t help to keep her eyes off Drew either. That morning he was exercising when she came in, bending, stretching, walking around the narrow arc the chain allotted him. The single glance he gave her with those dark eyes as she passed him stirred the butterflies in her belly. And even after she sat down and Ohr began chatting with her, her eyes were continually drawn to the play of muscles on Drew’s long legs, the taut stretch across his back and buttocks. She had to force herself to stop looking at him.

She might have to get bolder. She might have to pretend that she was the one succumbing. But she was limited in what she could do for the simple reason that she couldn’t touch him. She didn’t dare get that close. But there was so much more she could have done to heat his desire to the desperation point if she had full access to him.

And then she realized there was one way to get around the restriction, at least temporarily, and she leapt on the idea the moment it occurred to her. She enlisted Richard’s help. He laughed when she told him her plan. He, in turn, brought in four other crewmen to help—it was going to take that many.

Drew couldn’t doubt something was up. The tub arrived and was filled with hot water. Towels, soap, more buckets for rinsing, everything needed for a bath. And then the men just stood there looking at him.

Gabrielle came in, and with hands on h*ps she said, “It’s time for a bath, Captain.”

“Go ahead,” he replied with a wicked grin. “I’ll enjoy the show.” She chuckled. “Not me. You. You stink.”

He sat abruptly forward. “The devil I do. I’ve been using those measly buckets of cold water I’ve been given.”

“Not diligently enough, obviously. But come now, you can’t deny you’d like a nice hot bath.” He didn’t deny it, and eyed the tub across the room. “This shackle isn’t going to reach that far,” he pointed out.

“As rusty as it already is, we don’t dare get it wet.”

“You’re removing it?” he asked with interest.

“Don’t get your hopes up. It’s only temporary, and you know damn well you can’t be trusted without some restraint. So let these fellows assist you and it will be over with before you know it.” She left the room again. She knew that would give him the wrong impression. He’d think one of the men was going to wash him when he realized he couldn’t do it himself with his hands tied behind his back.

She didn’t return until she heard him shouting. He’d been left alone, sitting in the tub, hands and feet tied.

She raised a brow at him when she entered.

“How the hell am I supposed to get clean like this?” he demanded.

She tsked to make it sound as if this wasn’t the plan. “Did the men get squeamish? Couldn’t bring themselves to touch you so intimately to get you clean?”

“How should I know?” he grumbled. “I didn’t ask.”

She kept her eyes off his bare chest as she approached the tub. This wasn’t going to work if she ended up getting mesmerized by his magnificent body.

“All right, this will only take a few minutes, so no maidenly airs, if you please.”

“You’re going to wash me?” he asked incredulously.

“I don’t see anyone else here,” she said, and then stepped behind him. But first she removed her shirt so it wouldn’t get wet—and made sure he saw her.

She heard a choking sound. “Gabby, don’t—”

“What? Nowyou’re going to get squeamish?”

She was enjoying the ploy immensely. She should have thought of this sooner. Able to touch him now as much as she wanted with the pretense of helping him, she was going to drive him mad with desire.

She lathered her hands. She wanted no cloth between her skin and his. And then slowly, sensually, she began to rub his body, over his shoulders, down the corded muscles on his arms, which were very taut, pulled behind his back. She devoted a long while to his back, slipping her fingers under his arms, near his buttocks. He did try to grab her with his fingers, but she was slippery now and merely smiled to herself.

Carefully she sloshed some water on his head, then built up a lather in his hair. He groaned with pleasure. She couldn’t help but smile in satisfaction as she rubbed her fingers through his hair, massaging his scalp, his temples. She didn’t want to stop, but there was a time limit. She’d told Richard to return precisely twenty minutes later. Whether she finished washing Drew by then or not, that would be the end of it. And she’d already lost track of the time, she was so engrossed in what she was doing.

She rinsed his hair. And now, before she lost her nerve, she proceeded to wash his chest. She didn’t come around to the front of the tub to do it. She wasn’t going to let him accuse her later of deliberately enticing him by standing in front of him without her shirt on. But she had to lean against his back in order to reach his chest. He groaned as her br**sts pressed against his back and, her hand slid over his chest.

He turned his head toward her, trying to reach her lips with his. He couldn’t do it, not without her help.

“Kiss me, Gabby. You know you want to.”

She drew in her breath. She did. Oh, God, she did. She looked down at his lips as she ran her hand over his muscular chest and then moved it lower. She heard him inhale sharply and was even leaning closer to him when the three raps sounded at the door, warning her she had about thirty seconds to get her composure back.

She toweled herself quickly, slipped her shirt back on, and practically ran out of there. And that would be the last time she attempted anything so foolish. While it had accomplished what she’d hoped, to wildly inflame him, she just couldn’t get that close to him, touch him like that, without having that same spark burn her.

She dreamed about him often, nearly every night. She wasn’t even surprised that she did, since he filled so many of her thoughts during the day. But none of those dreams were as arousing as the one she was having tonight.

They were lying in bed, in the narrow bed in her cabin. He uttered the phrase, “Time to get na**d, wench,” and she felt like laughing because it was just a dream and she could do anything she liked in a dream. But it was a potent dream. He was lying on top of her and kissing her. He pulled her nightgown off. She thought he might be na**d as well because she felt such heat and such pleasurable new sensations between her thighs with him lying on top of her, but she wasn’t going to open her eyes to check. She was afraid she might wake up if she did.

She didn’t want to wake up, not yet. Before she did, she wanted to learn as much about his lovemaking as he’d teach her, which was silly, because she couldn’t dream about something she didn’t already know.

So it must be her wishing that made him so tender when he caressed her, running his hands up and down her body. And she did have full knowledge of his kiss. It was the same in her dream as she remembered it, the heady taste of him, his tongue thrusting boldly into her mouth in a most passionate manner.

She must have forgotten some of the things he’d promised to do to her, because not all of his actions now matched his taunts. She was na**d already; he hadn’t slowly removed her clothes as he’d said he would do. He’d said she would kiss him back, though, and she was. He’d said she wouldn’t be able to help herself and she didn’t even want to try. He’d said she would hold him tight, even cling to him, tight enough to feel his desire pressing against her, and oh my, yes, that part had been incorporated into her dream.

But there was so much more than what she remembered from his taunts, because her dream was letting him kiss and touch her everywhere, along her neck, over her shoulders—her breasts. His mouth devoted a great deal of time to that responsive area of her chest, finding out everything he’d said he wanted to know about her breasts. She never could have imagined how scorching his lips would feel, though, or the thrilling excitement that raced through her entire body. He’d said he was going to drive her mad with desire and it was quite possible that he was. No, that was supposed to be while he removed her clothes—oh, the order didn’t matter! She was enjoying herself too much to mind that she wasn’t getting it right, everything he’d said he would do to her.

He licked at her nipples. They’d tingled before just from his words and they did again. He licked at her belly button. He licked between her legs. Oh my God, so much pleasure. He really was going to drive

her mad—no, wait, where the deuce did that come from? Her knowledge of lovemaking was broad, but it didn’t include that!

She started to wake up, to struggle out of the dream, but then he was kissing her mouth again, soothing her confusion. And she remembered, it was just a dream, just a dream. He was chained in another room, he couldn’t possibly be here in her bed with her.

That thought went straightaway when the pain arrived. So did all semblance of sleep and nice dreams.

She was staring up at Drew Anderson in the soft glow of lantern light and realizing that he’d done it again.

He’d ruined her, literally this time. She couldn’t imagine how he’d managed to escape, but he was definitely in her bed, lying on top of her, both of them buck na**d, and he’d just stolen her virginity.

“My God, what have you done?” she said as she pushed against him. “How did you—”

“Shh, I just want to pleasure you.”

His words were a catalyst. She felt them stir her even in the midst of her panic. “You’ve won!” she cried. “You’ve won everything, your ship back and me in bed with you!”

“No, sweetheart, I promise you’ll win, too. Remember how you aroused me during the bath this morning? Now it’s my turn to do the same thing to you, but I will finish what I start, and you won’t be disappointed. Let me show you. Just let me love you.” But there was no humor in his expression, no gloating because he’d won. In fact, she couldn’t read it at all, so she had no warning that he was about to kiss her again.

He’d been treating her carefully, not wanting her to wake too soon, but now that she was awake, he released all the passion that she’d stoked to life during the week. She thought she’d failed to arouse him.

Prev Next