Authors: Lexie Stewart
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My Pirate Lover
My Pirate Lover
By Books to Go Now
For information on the cover illustration and design, contact [email protected]
First eBook Edition –March 2012
Printed in the United States of America
Warning: the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes.
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, any place, events or occurrences, is purely coincidental. The characters and story lines are created from the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously.
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Look for Lexie Stewart’s other story
Too Many Suitors
Catwalk Cats coming coon
When will we see them, Josie?” asked Katie, jumping up and down with excitement.
“Soon, Katie,” laughed Josephine. “Just enjoy the ride.” To demonstrate, Josephine raised her face and smiled into the sunshine and sea spray.
The ‘them’ her nine year old niece was so eager to see were whales.
Josephine had watched the poor girl beg her parents to take her whale watching ever since they’d arrived for their annual family visit, but Katie’s parents weren’t adventurous. All they wanted to do was sleep, eat, watch TV and sleep some more. They may as well have stayed at home!
Katie’s mother, Janet, was Josephine’s older sister. Their relationship was an uneasy one. The sisters had been close when they were young but now it seemed to Josephine that all Janet wanted to do was criticize her.
As soon as Josephine had a day off she’d said that she’d be happy to go whale watching with her niece. So here they were on a catamaran called Little Bounty, $130 poorer and headed out to sea.
There were seven other people on the boat; the skipper, an elderly couple, a grandfather with two young children and a loud, beer-bellied man whose manner and attire screamed,
I’m a tourist! Entertain me or get out of the way!
The elderly couple, Mary and Brandon Metcalf, made pleasant chit-chat and let Katie play with their binoculars. They showed remarkable patience towards the other two children who ran around the deck screaming at each other and throwing everything they could get their hands on over the side of the boat until a trail of litter floated in their wake.
Their guardian soon gave up trying to control them and slumped down in a chair.
Josephine thought he might be their father and not their grandfather and that the brats’ behaviour had made him prematurely grey.
The final passenger, the one whose beer-belly swayed in front of his body like a nose in front of a face, was called Martin Slackson. He seemed to think that all the other passengers were there, not to see whales as the sign on the side of the boat suggested, but to listen to him. He told them in loud, airy tones of his accomplishments, injustices suffered and what was wrong with Gen Y.
“What’s this country coming to?” he asked, flapping his hands about for emphasis. “Our Prime Minister’s a red-head for Christ’s sake! And
.” He said ‘female’ as though it were a particularly disgusting type of vermin. “Don’t get me wrong,” he went on, “women are all well and good,
in their place
, but they can’t handle high-pressure jobs. It’s the hormones. It’s as though they’re stoned all the time!”
Josephine didn’t want her young niece subjected to this kind of talk so they left the seating area and leaned on the rails at the other end of the catamaran.
It was then that Josephine noticed the black clouds.
In the welcome-aboard-and-safety-regulations talk the skipper had given, he’d mentioned that there was a storm forecast for later that day but those clouds looked as though they were ready to burst right then and there.
Josephine decided to have a word with the skipper, just to put her mind at ease.
She found him at the wheel, staring through the cabin window at the same black clouds she had just been staring at.
He was a portly man with strong arms and a grey beard. The name tag pinned to his shirt read: Hi! I’m your skipper, Captain Douglas! Let’s watch a whale!
“Hallow, ladies,” he said. “Josephine, and Katie, isn’t it?”
“That’s us,” said Josephine.
“I have so many people on and off Little Bounty, it’s hard to get the names right, but I always remember the pretty ones!”
Katie giggled and asked what each of the controls were for.
The skipper was impressed that Josephine was able to answer most of Katie’s questions.
“Know your way around a boat, I see,” he said.
“My father owns a boat similar to this one,” said Josephine. “He uses it for fishing mostly.” She lowered her voice so as not to alarm Katie and said, “I’m a bit worried about the weather.”
“Yes, it’s coming over quicker than I expected,” replied the skipper.
On cue, a roll of thunder shook the sky.
“The thunder won’t scare away the whales, will it?” asked Katie.
“I’m sorry, sweetheart,” said the skipper. “I’d better go make an announcement.”
Josephine and a disappointed Katie followed him out to the seating area to listen.
“I’m afraid a storm’s come over, folks,” said the skipper. “We need to head back.”
“You can’t be serious!” spluttered Martin. “I’ve paid good money for a service and I expect that service to be delivered!”
“I assure you, you won’t lose your money. You have the option of either a full refund or rescheduling.”
“I can’t reschedule!” snapped Martin. “I have every day planned out. Why don’t you just do your job?”
“My job is to ensure the safety of my passengers,” said the skipper and left it at that.
Soon, Little Bounty was turned around and headed back to shore but it was too late; the storm was upon them.
Lightning cracked and thunder boomed.
The passengers held on for dear life as the catamaran was thrown from side to side and waves washed over her deck.
They all handled it in their own way; some cried, some prayed and some threw up.
Josephine had one arm wrapped around the railing and the other wrapped around Katie.
“We’ll be okay, Katie,” she yelled over the storm. “Don’t be scared!”
This was definitely a case of do as I say, not as I do. Josephine was terrified.
She hoped the skipper was a competent sailor. With that thought in mind, she looked up just in time to see the skipper thrown across the cabin by a violent swell. His head hit the wall with a sickening thud and he slid slowly to the deck.
“Katie! Hang on to the rail,” yelled Josephine, trying to sound confident when all she felt was sick with fear. “Stay close to Mr and Mrs Metcalf.”
“Josie, don’t leave me!” cried Katie as Josephine freed herself from Katie’s grasp.
“There, there, dear,” said Mary.
“You’ll be safe with us,” added her husband.
“I’ll come back, Katie,” yelled Josephine. “We’re going to be okay! I promise!”
She gave a thank-you nod to the elderly couple and threw herself towards the cabin and the unmanned controls.
The catamaran tipped sideways and Josephine fell against the cabin wall. She grabbed a built-in shelf for support and made her way to the skipper, kneeling at his side.
He was alive but unconscious. Josephine found a golf ball-sized lump on his head but was relieved to find that he wasn’t bleeding heavily.
Something knocked into her and Josephine looked up to see Martin Slackson, eyes gleaming as he surveyed the controls.
Josephine watched in despair. It only took a matter of seconds for Martin to prove that he had absolutely no idea what he was doing.
“I know how to sail,” cried Josephine.
“Don’t be stupid!” Martin yelled back, as he continued to push, flick, and twist every control he could reach. He spun the wheel one way and then the other, as if he was steering a dodgem car.
“Please!” cried Josephine. “The storm is dragging us out to sea!”
“Just shut up and mind your business!” yelled Martin. “You’re just a silly girl!”
Josephine felt a lump in her throat and her dripping face grew red and hot.
This man was going to kill them all. Josephine knew she was their best hope of survival but she couldn’t raise herself to do what she had to do. When he’d called her a silly girl she’d suddenly felt like one.
Another bolt of lightning sizzled through the sky. The bolts were getting awfully close. Another boom of thunder had everyone, including Josephine, screaming.
There was a stab of bright, white light that blinded Josephine.
All that she could see, burnt into her retina was an image of a bolt of lightning about to strike Little Bounty.
Slowly, Josephine came to. She felt dazed and confused and she had pins and needles all over.
She was slumped, half sitting, with her head bouncing against something hard.
Rain was falling and there was still the occasional rumble of thunder but the storm had eased. She hoped Katie was alright!
As the fog in her head lifted, Josephine realized she could hear voices talking nearby. They weren’t voices she knew.
“The Cap’n will be right pleased with this haul, matey!”
“Oh, aye. ‘Tis a fine haul. Strange though. I don’t much care for these other-world jobs. They be mighty unnatural if ye asks me.”
“Aye, but if it makes the Cap’n happy, I be willin’ ta do it, matey!”
“Aye! Don’t want to go upsetting Cap’n Bloody!”
“Ye remember the last poor swab ta anger him?”
“Aye! I still can’t get the smell a burnin’ flesh out o’ me clothes!”
Who were these people? And what on Earth were they talking about? It sounded like gibberish to Josephine.
She managed to open her eyes but all that she could see was her own arm as her face was squashed up against it.
With a groaning effort, she raised her head and looked around.
Josephine decided then that she was dreaming. It was the only way to explain what she saw.
Little Bounty was about ten meters away, hovering above the water in a beam of light. Behind the catamaran, Josephine could just make out dark shapes swaying from side to side and ghostly letters floating in the darkness.
Josephine couldn’t believe it. She screwed her eyes shut and opened them again but Little Bounty was still hovering above the water with brilliant white light falling straight out of the black clouds from above.
Josephine looked around wildly, trying to find something that would help it to make sense.
Silhouetted against the light, small, wooden boats of various designs milled around Little Bounty.
Men boarded her by securing grappling hooks over her rail and then shimmied up the ropes like spiders.
The ones onboard unloaded things and sent them down on ropes or just tossed them down to the men in the boats.
Josephine squinted against the brightness of the light and tried to see who else was on the boat. Where was Katie? She must be terrified!
When Josephine saw Katie, her own terror nearly suffocated her. Katie and the elderly couple were still hanging onto the railing, just as she’d left them.
They were motionless, expressions frozen on their faces. In that eerie light, they looked like ice sculptures.
“Katie!” Josephine screamed. She tried to crawl out of the boat but a hand grabbed her ankle.
Josephine twisted around to see that she was in a smelly longboat that was so overburdened with a mismatch of items -some of which she recognised from Little Bounty- it was at risk of sinking.
There were two men with her, wedged in between the cargo. One of them rowed while the other one grinned at her. He held a lantern with one hand and her ankle with the other.
A lantern? Josephine hadn’t realized until then that it was night. How could it be so late? How long had she been knocked out? It was all so confusing that her head spun like a merry-go-round at high speed.
She kicked against the hand holding her but the man only tightened his grip and grinned more broadly. He really needed to see a dentist.
“Easy there, me fiery beauty!” he said. “Hallow, lovely,” said the man with the oars, peering over his companion’s shoulder.
“What have you done to Katie?” demanded Josephine.
“My niece! On Little Bounty!”
“Little bit? Reddish hair?” queried one of the men. Josephine nodded. “Aye well, she were too young, weren’t she? Cap’n is very spiffic ‘bout that. No kids or crones!”
“Aye,” said the other. “He only be wantin’ beauties. He’ll be right pleased with you, he will!”
There they went with their gibberish again. Josephine stared at them, for the first time taking in their appearance.
They were as strange and nightmarish as everything else. And they were in dire need of a bath. They, like all the other men she’d seen since waking up, were covered in scars, tattoos, gold hoop earrings and bandanas. They wore dirty shirts and canvas vests. A few wore shoes but most were barefoot.