Such a touching scene.” Captain Horn’s face wore a look of suspicion and muted anger. “And to think I never guessed until now the grand passion going on beneath my very nose.” “Like Miss Willis said, she chose me.” Peter thrust out his chest, affecting a protective stance…a little too late, unfortunately. “She probably told you that she and I became friendly on the Chastity.” It was the story both he and Miss Willis had agreed upon last night, though they’d known some would find it less than convincing. Apparently the captain was one of them. “She did claim something like that.” Claim. Clearly the man didn’t believe either of them. Then the scourge of the seas cast a slow, lascivious glance over Miss Willis, making her tremble beneath Petey’s arm. “She and I have also become quite ‘friendly’ in the past two days. Haven’t we, Sara?” Petey turned to her, surprised to find her blushing furiously. She cast him a guilty look, then lowered her gaze to her hands. “I-I don’t know what you’re t-talking about.” “Of course not,” the captain ground out. “I should’ve expected a two-faced English lady like you to deny the truth about our ‘friendship.’ Well, you may deny it to me, and you may even deny it to this sailor of yours.” He lowered his voice to a threatening hum. “But you’ll have a hell of a hard time denying it to yourself.
Peter Hargraves asked me to…to be his wife last night. And I agreed.” A stunned expression spread over his face before anger replaced it. Planting his hands on either side of her hips, he bent his head until his face was inches from hers. “He’s not one of my crew. Is that why you accepted his proposal—because he’s not one of my men? Or do you claim to have some feeling for him?” He sneered the last words, and shame spread through her. It would be hard to claim she had feelings for Petey when she’d just been on the verge of giving herself to Gideon. But that was the only answer that would put him off. Her hands trembled against his immovable chest. “I…I like him, yes.” “The way you ‘like’ me?” When she glanced away, uncertain what to say to that, he caught her chin and forced her to look at him. Despite the dim light, she could tell that desire still held him. And when he spoke again, his voice was edged with the tension of his need. “I don’t care what you agreed to last night. Everything has changed. You can’t possibly still want to marry him after the way you just responded to my touch.” “That was a mistake,” she whispered, steeling herself to ignore the flare of anger in his eyes. “Petey and I are well suited. I knew him from before, from the Chastity. I know he’s an honorable man, which is why I still intend to marry him.” A muscle ticked in Gideon’s jaw. “He’s not a bully, you mean. He’s not a wicked pirate like me, out to ‘rape and pillage.’” He pushed away from the trunk with an oath, then spun toward the steps. “Well, he’s not for you, Sara, no matter what you may think. And I’m going to put a stop to his courtship of you right now!
His eyes seemed to drink in every line, every shade of her face. He softened his grip on her chin, then bracketed her throat lightly with his fingers. As she held her breath, he stroked his thumb and fingers down both sides of her neck. “No,” he said, his voice growing husky. “I prefer to have you as you were yesterday…soft…lovely…yielding…” The words themselves were a caress, and the way he looked at her mouth, as if it were a particularly juicy morsel, made shivers dance down her spine. She fought the traitorous sensations. “You can’t have me at all.” “Can’t I?” A knowing smile touched his lips. He lowered his head and she braced herself for another brutal kiss. Instead, he pressed his lips to the pulse on the side of her neck. His lips were warm and buttery soft, nothing like they’d been a few moments ago. She tried to sit still, to pretend he wasn’t heating up her blood and making her tremble like a needle on a compass. Whole surges of feeling were taking over her body. She couldn’t seem to stop them.