Letitia had lost her memory but she somehow knew that this kiss was no ordinary one. The man's lips were hot and hard against hers, his tongue forcing her mouth open and plunging into her. It was not a gentleman's kiss. But then, she reminded herself, he was a pirate and they were in a brothel.
She tentatively touched his shoulders which were broad and straining under the fine linen of his shirt, as his hands buried into her hair pulling out some of the pins. His mouth left hers and trailed seering kisses across her jaw and then down her throat. A groan was coming from deep in his chest and it frightened her. She whimpered slightly and tried to pull away from his firm hold.
"Oh my darling Marie," he groaned against her neck, "I thought I had lost you."
She froze. What had he just said? As his hand found its way over her waist towards her breasts, she feebly tried to push him away.
"What did you just call me?"
"Marie, that is you name," he said, his eyes dark with arousal.
"My name?" she stammered. "You know me?"
"Of course I know you! You are my fiancee!"
"But…?" she did not know what to say.
"You were kidnapped, practically from under my nose and I have been searching for you ever since."
"I am engaged to a pirate?" she asked incredulously.
"Secretly," he said, "No one knows yet."
She stared at his mesmerizing face. Even if he was the most compelling man she had ever seen, or thought she had ever seen, she could not believe she would entertain a pirate and certainly not be engaged to one.
But when he kissed her again and made her head swim with the intoxicating pleasure of it, she had to concede that maybe she had done this before.
Hanson was not happy. He had been dragged from the bed of a deliciously accommodating blonde who was at that moment asking him if her friend could join them.
"Have you gone mad?" he asked his Captain.
"Possibly," Tom replied, stroking a hand over his shaved head.
"It's your number one rule: No Women on Board Ship."
"Do you think we could disguise her?"
Hanson snorted, "Does she look like a boy?"
Tom pictured the lovely breasts that almost spilled over the neck line of her dress and imagined cutting the lustrous hair. "No," he said.
"Leave her here. Bella is a reasonably kind mistress."
"Her husband owed me and I am determined to have my debt repaid."
Hanson raised a perfectly shaped eyebrow. He knew the Black Orchid too well to think that was his true motivation.
"She's not a whore," Tom sighed wearily, "She's a Lady and I feel honour bound to protect her."
Hanson laughed, "That would be a Pirate's honour, would it?"
His Captain looked wretched, as if he could hardly believe he was doing this. He was clearly being guided by powers beyond his control and Hanson knew all about the lure of the fair sex.
"OK. We'll tell the crew she's a hostage. Now give me half an hour," and he returned to bed to give the blonde a farewell she would not forget in a long time.
Back on board 'The Innocent' Tom could breathe a sigh of relief. It was the dead of night and they smuggled the Lady on board without anyone seeing. The explanations could wait until the morrow. Hanson was turfed out of his cabin and 'Marie' was left to enjoy her first night in a narrow berth.
Bella had been her usual accommodating self, although she clearly found it hard to believe that The Black Orchid was engaged to be married. She became less suspicious when a bag of gold coins was pressed into her hand. Letitia herself remained confused and doubtful but passively allowed them to lead her from her house of refuge. As she was led through the dark town, she wondered if there were two more handsome pirates in the Caribbean and if that had made this strange revelation a little easier to bear.
Tom lay awake in his own berth hardly believing what he had done. He had been ready to crush that nefarious thought that had come into his head but then he had kissed her and he had been lost once again. The kiss was not quite the same as he had imagined. He had been a little disappointed with how tentative she had been. When he had stood at the end of her bed on that sultry night and she had scorched that hot gaze over his body, he had imagined she would kiss with passion and an uncontrollable fever. But there was time to rekindle the fire.
For once, he had no real plan. He had some idea that he would keep her captive until they found a relative or someone they could hand her over to, maybe even win a ransome of some kind. In the meantime, she would be safe and not having to service greedy aristocrats and lascivious pirates. Yes, the irony did hit him, but he had no intention of forcing her into anything. He had no doubts about his self control. By the time he had finished with her, she would come to him of her own free will and beg him to bed her.