Authors: Tamara Gill
A Captain’s Order ~ A Duke’s Command
A Captain’s Order ~ A Duke’s Command
~ Amazon Edition ~
Copyright 2015 by Tamara Gill
First Published 2011
Cover Art by
The Killion Group. Inc.
Published by Tamara Gill
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a database and retrieval system or transmitted in any form or any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the owner of copyright and the above publishers.
For anyone who loves a little scandal…
Colony of New South Wales, 1810
Eloise sponged her brother’s brow and still he twisted and turned with a fever that wouldn’t abate. The doctor she’d summoned the night before, after Andrew had fallen ill at dinner, called it a fever brought on from an insect bite.
She swallowed hard and refused to believe the statistic he’d dealt her. All those he’d nursed had died. It wasn’t fathomable. “Andrew, try and drink a little.” She lifted his head and he moaned an awful sound that reeked of death.
Her vision of him blurred. She couldn’t lose her brother. Not so young. Not here. He should be home raising hell in the ballrooms of the ton, not dying an awful death half way around the world with little or no amenities to help him.
“Fetch the doctor again. He’s getting worse.” Eloise managed to get a little moisture between his lips before he started to shake uncontrollably. His face was red, blotchy with heat, and yet he moaned he was cold.
She prayed to god that should this be his end that it would come quickly. A good, kind soul didn’t deserve to die in such heinous conditions. “Andrew darling, talk to me. Tell me what to do.”
He didn’t answer, his breathing ragged then laboured. Panic clawed at her throat that he wouldn’t see another sunrise. Oh dear god, she couldn’t be left alone. He was all she had left. “Please, dearest. Please try.”
The bedroom door slammed open and Dr Jones walked briskly to her brother’s side. He checked him over, his heart, listened to his breathing, noted his eyes and stood back, a consoling, pitying face she didn’t want to see.
“I’m sorry Lady Eloise, but your brother will not make it. He’s showing all the signs that I have noted before with this disease. We will try and keep him as comfortable for as long as possible, but you must prepare yourself.”
A blackness threatened to consume her. “Prepare myself? Are you delusional! I don’t care what you have to do, but you can’t let my brother die. Now search through that bag of yours you carry about and pull out a miracle.”
He patted her hand that lay over Andrew’s brow. “I’m not being intentionally cruel, my lady. Your brother is dying. I’m sorry.”
She shook her head not wanting to acknowledge the truth of the words. And unfortunately, Andrew did pass and her brother was no longer.
A few hours later, Eloise sat beneath the veranda of the Governor of New South Wales’ home in Sydney town wondering how she’d come to be an orphan. Because that was, exactly what she was now. A woman of independent means in the most awful of ways.
She would have to return home to England and soon. The trip she’d looked forward to with her brother was no longer viable or wanted. This country was hard, hot and somewhere she’d always associate with grief.
Yes. It was definitely time to go home.
“Captain. Please, I will pay double for the fare back to England, or however far you can take me.”
The man looked at her as if she were daft. And maybe she was. Her voice certainly had an desperate edge even she cringed at hearing.
“We’re full. You’ll need to find another vessel.” He turned his back on her and started to shout out orders to his men.
“The ship I sailed here on left last week. There isn’t another one for months and I must return home. I have no family left here. I’ll sleep on deck if I have to, just give me passage. Please, I’m begging you.”
He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. His stance one of annoyance. He turned and took in her appearance. “Fine, but you’ll pay double and the only place for you to sleep is in a small closet that runs beside my room. I doubt sleeping in with the crew would be wise.” He nodded toward her luggage. “Are they your bags?”
“Yes. I didn’t bring a lot as I thought to have clothing made here to suit the climate. And well…”
He held up his hands. “Spare me the details. Come aboard.” He yelled out to one of his crewmen who jogged over to them. “Take…ahh.” He gestured toward her. “I’m sorry, I don’t know your name.”
“Oh, of course I should have said. I apologize. I’m Lady Eloise Bartholomew.”
The captain raised his brow and a pained expression crossed his features. “Take Lady Bartholomew to my cabin and clear out the stores room beside my room, put a cot in there for her. And Hamish, make sure the crew know she’s off limits.”
Eloise felt her eyes widen at the captain’s words.
. What did that mean? Had she inadvertently placed herself in more danger here than on the mainland with animals and insects that could kill you within hours? “Thank you,” she said as she followed the other man. The captain walked off without another word and busied himself on deck, obviously busy with getting the ship ready for sail.
She wished she were returning home on better circumstances, but she was not. Only after a few weeks of arriving here, she was about to embark on another six month journey across the seas.
She groaned. How would she ever bear it…
Six months later off the coast of England, 1811
The sea ebbed and flowed around her; great waves rolled and brought her ever closer to home. Yet never had Eloise felt more homeless.
So different from the dry, barren, and barely civilized colony of New South Wales. Six months it had taken them to travel there, on a brother's whim to visit new climes and enjoy his newly acquired inheritance. An inheritance now solely hers because of his sudden death to a fever they blamed on a mosquito.
Eloise shook her head at the knowledge such an insignificant bug could kill a man in his prime. A much-loved brother left on foreign shores many miles from where he, the earl, should have been laid to rest at Belmont House, Surrey.
They docked not an hour later in the murky brown water of the Thames. The filthy stench from the overpopulated waterway made her yearn for the crystal streams that surrounded Sydney Town.
“Right this way, m'lady, if you please.” No doubt, years of wind and sea had hardened the gravelly voice of the man stepping around her.
Eloise followed the hunched gentleman off the boat and walked toward a highly polished, enclosed carriage. Dark and foreboding, it reeked of her future.
That of a lady. With a title she no longer deserved . . . .
Because the daughter of an earl did not yearn for the touch of a hardened sea captain. Nor desire, nor crave, his roughened, stubble-strewn jaw marring the skin of her most intimate places.
And yet she did. Desperately.
Before she was three feet from the vehicle, the door opened with a snap, and a childhood friend, now woman, alighted—ribbons and frills flying about her like a kite in strong winds—pulling Eloise from her troubled thoughts.
She laughed. “Emma.” She hugged her dearest friend, the overpowering smell of rosewater making her eyes water. “I have missed you.”
“You are home. Oh, dearest, England has been such a bore without you. How have you been? You must tell me of your voyage and all you know of this wild land you have visited. I long to travel and would visit such a place if my Bertie would allow. But”—Emma rubbed the distinctive lump under her skirt—”because of my current condition I am not allowed.”
Eloise smiled, biting back the nip of jealousy over her friend's happy news. “Congratulations. I'm happy for you and Lord Rine. And as soon as I'm home and settled, I promise to tell you all.”
Well, perhaps not all. How could she explain the Lady Eloise Bartholomew had fallen in love? Lain with a man out of wedlock and enjoyed every decadent, sinful moment of it.
Deep in her belly, a thread of desire thrummed at the thought of his hands. His lips, grazing her skin, kissing her breasts, her—
“Are you well, Eloise? You look flushed.” Emma frowned. “Oh dear, I do hope you are not falling ill, my dear.”
“I'm perfectly well, I—”
“I heard of Andrew's demise.” Emma clasped her hand. “I'm so sorry, dearest, truly sorry. He was a wonderful man, whose life was cut tragically short. I wish I had been there for you.”
Eloise blinked, refusing to give in to emotions already running high. “Thank you. I wish you had been there as well.”
“Come,” Emma said. “Let's get you home.”
Eloise settled her skirts on the leather squabs, the excess material feeling bulky and awkward around her legs. For months, while on the ship home, she had worn breeches, shirts, and a jacket to keep her modest when in the view of the captain's crew. The freedom had been liberating for a girl used to the strictures of society. After the death of her brother, something inside her snapped.
No longer was she willing to pass through life unhappy, doing what everyone else thought was right. For, within a moment of time, one's life could be over. And she'd lived by the rule for six months. But her hiatus of freedom had now ended. She was an aristocratic, and with such dire circumstances came the dreaded high-waisted gowns of English fashion, and responsibilities she now had to face.
“Tell me,” she said, changing the subject. “Everything I have missed while I was away. What's the latest on dit scandalising the ton?”
Eloise listened to her friend's gossip and exploits covering the last fifteen months, but sadly, she had heard it all before. Life, it seemed, did not change in London during the season or at the ton's country homes during the winter. As usual, life here was tedious to the extreme.
And the complete opposite of what she had tasted.
Somewhere between the colony of New South Wales and England, 1810
Gabe sat on a wooden water barrel and watched as Eloise tried to learn the art of tying knots with his second in command, Hamish Doherty. He laughed to himself that the irony of the situation. For the last two month’s that’s exactly what she’d been doing to him. Tying him in knots.
With a will of their own, his eyes took in her summery gown, the gentle breeze giving him a view of her lovely ankles every now and then. Her attire wasn’t appropriate for this type of voyage and he really ought to supply her with some breeches and shirts.
He swallowed as the vision of what she’d look like in such attire flooded his mind like a rogue wave. All her delicious curves would be there for him to admire. The roundness of her bottom, a lovely handful he’d ache to clasp. The thinness of her waist accentuated by breasts that were lovely and pert.
Oh dear lord. He was turning into a perverted fiend.
Eloise laughed at something Hamish said and a twinge of jealousy shot through him. He stood and walked over to them before picking up his own slip of rope and sitting.
Hamish nodded and stood. “I have things to do, Lady Eloise. I’ll leave you with the good captain to carry on our lesson.”
“Thank you, Hamish.”
She didn’t meet his eye, only seemed to concentrate more on the knot she was learning.
“Do you need some help?”
Eloise pulled the rope from her hand, a muffled curse escaping from her lips. “It’s supposed to be a stopper knot. I can’t seem to thread the rope right.”
Gabe moved to sit beside her and took her hand. Her skin was soft, warm and made his flesh sizzle with desire. He felt the rate of his heart increase at the close proximity to her. Taking a deep breath, he rallied himself to calm down. It was only a knot after all.
“You must with this knot hold your hand solidly in this way. The rope will then thread and link more easily for you. Here,” he said, picking up his discarded rope. “Let me show you.”
He quickly finished and held it out for her to review. She smiled, laughing he mused at her own inability before trying again. Again he helped her to ensure her hand remained solidly fixed in one position and with a couple of try’s she pulled the stopper knot into the form it should be.
“I did it!” She stood and waved it at Hamish now manning the wheel. “Look Hamish. The knot.”
He nodded. “Well done, my lady. I knew Captain Lyons would teach you well.”
“Thank you.” She sat, staring at him and again he was left breathless at the innocent beauty of her features. No rouge sullied her complexion; she was as natural as the elements around them. Perhaps even more beautiful. “I’ve never accomplished anything like that before. My hobbies are usually limited to needle work or drawing.”
“Both amiable qualities, but out here, it’s always helpful to have other skills.” He pulled her to stand and started to walk toward his cabin. “Talking of practicability, your attire is probably not the most comfortable on board a ship like mine. I hope you don’t think me impertinent, but maybe you’d like to wear breeches and shirts instead of gowns. I think I have some clothing packed away that would fit you.”
Her emerald eyes sparkled like gems in the sun. “That would be wonderful. I would love that.”
He led her downstairs to his cabin and bade her welcome to his room. He’d been steadfast in keeping her out of this space. Just the thought of what they could do together, enjoy together in a bed that mocked him almost physically hurt.
It was easy throwing a few clothing items together and if he looked rushed it was because he was. The sooner she left the better.
“These should fit. You can change in here if you like and come up on deck.”
She walked up to him and took the clothing from his hands. Eloise caught his gaze and a question lurked beneath her long eyelashes and one he ached she’d ask. “Why have you never tried to kiss me, Captain Lyons? I’ve caught you watching me and yet you never even once try and see if your desire is reappropriated.”
Gabe leaned against the dresser with an air of nonchalance that was a total farce. “Do many men try and kiss you, Lady Eloise?”
“Just Eloise, please. I think our circumstances and location warrant the loosening of society’s rules.” She grinned. “As to your question I will not deny that I’ve been approached on more than one occasion for a stolen moment or two.”
“Really.” He tried to shake the building anger that other men had tasted her lips. Clasped her delectable body against theirs and taken her mouth in an embrace that would beckon them for more forever. “Are you so in demand?”
She shrugged. “I am an Earls daughter and now that my brother’s gone it is time I secured my future and married.”
Sadness flickered through her gaze and Gabe wanted nothing but to go to her, pull her against himself and hold her. “Is that what you really want?” Something told him it wasn’t. To ask such a forward question as to why he hadn’t kissed her only meant one thing. Maybe she wanted him too.
Gabe closed the space between them and looked down, waited for her to meet his gaze. His body thrummed with suppressed desire. Every impulse in his body wanted to devour, take, conquer and enjoy, but he couldn’t. “Have you ever been really kissed, my lady? Kissed to within an inch of your sanity, like your body is burning and needing the person in your arms as much as the air you breathe?”
She licked her lips and he bit back a groan. “I’ve never been kissed like that.”
“I want to kiss you like that.”
Eloise nodded, her eyes wide with wonder. “You do?”
“Oh yes, I most certainly do.” And he did. No sooner had the words left his body did his mouth fuse with hers. Never had he felt such soft lips. Lips that copied each of his movements like a mirror image. Gabe swept his tongue across hers as he pulled her hard against his chest.
She fit him like a perfectly made kid leather glove. Her breasts pressed against his body and through her gown he could feel her nipples bead with desire. Her breathing hitched as he plundered her mouth, sank deeper and pulled her further into the world he desperately wanted her to seek.
He wanted her. His cock strained against his pants and, rogue ship captain that he was, her ground himself against her sex. She gasped, her eyes going wide at the unfamiliar touch, but still she didn’t pull away. Instead, her arms came about his neck as she lifted herself to fit against him more snugly.
Gabe groaned and continued to kiss her. Without heed, or support they stood in the centre of his cabin, locked within each other’s arms, their mouths locked in an endless battle of need.
Eloise gasped and he knew what their bodies were doing to one another was making her hot, exciting her and bringing her closer to release. He could make her come fully clothed and the thought itself was enough to confirm his plans.
He ran his hand over her bottom and clasped her high on her leg, lifting her and placing her directly against his heat. Her fingers clenched his hair as a slight blush rose on her cheeks.
She was close, so tantalizing close, but not there yet. He supposed he could lay her over his desk, throw up her skirts and lick her to fulfilment. But not yet, he doubted she would be ready to go that far…yet.
Instead he made certain her sex was being teased in exactly the right location. Over and over again he fucked her little bud with his cock, teasing her, making her want more.
Eloise didn’t disappoint. “Yes. Oh yes.” Her breathy words sent fire to his groin just as she hugged him as her orgasm took hold. Gabe continued to dry fuck her as the last of her shuddering subsided. His cock ached for release and he shook away his need.
There was plenty of months left on this ship left yet.
He took her lips in a quick kiss. “Do you like my kisses?” He grinned.
“Your kisses are exemplary, and they have more than satisfied me, Captain Lyons.”
He pushed a lock of hair from her face and marvelled at her beauty. “I always strive to keep my passengers happy. A captain’s duty.”
She laughed. “And a passengers fortune.”