Captive of My Desires Page 31

comprehension before then, but now…she simply couldn’t get it out of her mind. He’d said it himself, she’d had a taste, she’d want more, and damned if he hadn’t been right.

The way he was holding her now brought back so clearly the memory of how his hands had felt moving so sensually over her bare skin, she nearly drew in her breath. And his mouth, God, the feel of it, the heady taste of it. He’d made her tremble, he’d made her skin tingle deliciously, he’d made her throw caution to the wind and accept everything that he offered.

She shivered, remembering just how sweet her surrender had been. He felt it.

She’d only vaguely heard the clap of thunder that had just occurred, but he guessed that was the reason.

“You’re afraid of the storm?”

“I never used to be, but we had such a bad one a few years back, they called it a hurricane. People died. Whole buildings were ripped to shreds. I’d never seen anything like it and hope to never see anything like it again.”

“This was in the Caribbean?”

“Yes, after I’d been living with my father for a while. It tore through those warm waters with a vengeance. St. Kitts wasn’t the only island it hit. It left a wide path of destruction behind it.” He pulled her a little closer to him. “I think I remember that one. I only just missed it myself, had sailed back to America a few days before. But I heard about it on my next trip and witnessed some of the damage. Some areas still haven’t recovered.”

She nodded. “One of the smaller villages on our island was like that. With every single house demolished in it, the survivors simply packed up and moved elsewhere. But even in our major town, it took months and months for us to get rid of all the debris and rebuild. I forgot what it was like to sleep back then.” He glanced down at her in surprise. “You actually pitched in to help?”

“Margery and I did.” But then she grinned and tried to make light of it, so it wouldn’t sound so unpiratelike, and added, “It was either that or wait forever for the butcher shop to reopen.” He didn’t laugh. He touched her cheek with the back of his fingers, almost like he was telling her he knew she wasn’t as bad as she pretended to be. It made her uncomfortable when he showed her this tender side of him. It also reminded her that she was lying in the arms of the man she still meant to get even with.

“I think I’m fine now,” she told him, sitting up to lean away from him. “It even sounds like the wind has died down a bit.”

“No it doesn’t. And maybe I’m not so fine now,” he replied as he pulled her back against him and firmly fastened his mouth to hers.

That damn quickly, all of the amazing passion that she’d felt the other night was back to inflame her and push away all of her resolve. She put her arms around his neck and returned his kiss wholeheartedly, and did some improvising of her own, tasting him with her tongue. He was so intoxicating! She even turned slightly, enough to press her br**sts hard against his chest. His groan was sweet music to her ears.

It wasn’t long before he stood up, lifting her in his arms, and carried her to his bed. Without pausing once, he seemed not to even think about the shackle. What a cold dousing it would have been if it had still been attached to her ankle and had pulled them back. Nothing prevented him from laying her on his bed and stripping out of his wet clothes with such haste. She certainly didn’t. She was too busy watching him with bated anticipation as each piece of clothing was tossed aside.

This was her first real unobstructed view of his tall, splendid body in all its glory. When she’d bathed him she’d tried not to look so she wouldn’t succumb to her desire for him, and when he’d made love to her before, he’d already been on top of her by the time she realized he was really there bare na**d. But now she was amazed at how much it thrilled her to see him like this. He was so lean and muscular. There was no part of him that didn’t ripple with muscle as he moved, from his wide chest that tapered to those lean flanks, to his strong arms. Such long limbs—even his legs were proportioned just right to the rest of his fine, athletic physique. It took her breath away, how handsome he was.

She laughed when he dove onto the bed because it bounced them a few times. He did as well. But then he was rolling them over and he began to swiftly remove her clothes.

She placed a hand over his and shyly reminded him, “Didn’t you promise to remove my clothes slowly?” He brought her hand to his mouth and kissed the back of her fingers. “I remember. I’ll try, Gabby, but I have to confess, you make me feel like an untried youth, I have so little control when I get near you. This isn’t the first time. There’s nothing more I’d like to do than savor every delicious moment with you, but my God, you fill me with such passion!”

She felt some of that passion now as he kissed her, again and again. But he tried, he really did, to remove her clothes slowly. He even kissed her arms and legs as they were exposed. He just got rid of her shirt rather quickly so he could fasten his mouth to her breasts, which drove her a little wild herself.

A few times he gasped, “My God, woman, you are so beautiful,” as he gazed down at her breasts, and again when he turned her over to kiss the small of her back and ran his hands slowly up the back of her thighs.

She shivered deliciously. His touch was so gentle, his mouth so hot, such an extraordinary contrast.

“I think you’re beautiful as well,” she said, and he laughed.

What they were doing was even more beautiful. The wonder of his touch dazzled her as he caressed her arms, her neck, her cheek; even her toes didn’t escape his notice. But the passion was there, just under the surface, barely contained. She felt it when he finally gathered her close and kissed her deeply, and it seemed the passion caught up and overtook her before it did him.

It all happened so fast, she had no time to think about anything other than the pleasure that she knew was only moments away. And there it was, exploding around her the very moment he entered her. Good God, so quickly it happened, so sublime, and it lasted so long, she was even still throbbing around him moments later when he stiffened and plunged deep for his own cl**ax.

Her sigh of contentment was almost a purr. She didn’t want to move, didn’t want to think, didn’t want to consider what she’d just done—again.

“Sleep here where you’ll be comfortable,” he said with a kiss to her brow just before he left the bed.

“I’ll go get rid of the storm for you.”

Half asleep already, she did hear him and smiled over that whimsical comment. Battle storms just for her, would he? What a silly, sweet man.

Chapter 38

GABRIELLE WOKE TO SUNSHINE POOLING ACROSS THE FLOOR.The storm was over. If Drew had returned to the cabin, it wasn’t to wake her. She had the room to herself and dressed quickly, then immediately checked the door. Still locked.

She sighed and moved back to sit on her blankets, but changed her mind and moved to his bed instead.

She made it up neatly first, then sat in the middle of it. Much more comfortable, and why not? Obviously, if he’d thought she was shackled to begin with, he knew better now and wasn’t going to try to restrain her in some other way, well, other than the damned locked door.

Her plan for revenge wasn’t working. How the deuce was Drew Anderson going to go mad with desire for her if she kept letting him make love to her? She was going to have to change her strategy. Never mind making him just want her so much it would drive him crazy, she was going to have to make him love her instead.

It was a daunting thought. It would be much harder to accomplish, she was sure. Lust had been easy.

She’d already managed that, just not with the intended results. But was it even possible for a man to fall in love and not consider marriage? Well, yes, a Lothario like Drew, he was probably the only man who could love a woman and not give a single thought to marrying her. And once she was gone, he’d go on to his other women, and with each one of them he’d be thinking of her instead. Perfect! She’d bloody well haunt him for the rest of his life!

But how was she going to get him to love her? She’d wanted it to happen in London, but it hadn’t. Of course, he hadn’t been around often enough to get to know her there. Here, keeping her in his cabin, he’d set himself up so he couldn’t avoid her. So let him get to know the real her? Including giving up her ruse and confiding that she wasn’t really a pirate?

No, maybe she shouldn’t go that far. The ruse still allowed her to be more bold than she would be otherwise. And how much sweeter her revenge would be if he fell in love with her while still thinking she was a pirate.

She hadn’t made a firm decision by the time he returned to the cabin that morning. This time he looked exhausted. Well, he’d been up for over twenty-four hours and then some, and had probably spent most of that time fighting to keep his ship afloat.

The chap who usually delivered their meals followed Drew in and set a large tray on the table. Gabrielle bolted out of the bed and went straight to the tray, which contained two plates filled to the brim with breakfast fixings. She sat down immediately and started eating.

Glancing up, she found him grinning at her. “What?” she said. “You think those few sausages you fed me yesterday satisfied my hunger?”

“That has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?”

“What does?”

“That I fed you.”

She knew instantly that his thoughts had taken a sensual turn, though she couldn’t imagine why. She pointed to the tray and asked, “Aren’t you hungry?”

“I’m starving,” he replied.

But he was still just standing there staring at her, and this time she blushed. He was talking about lovemaking again. How could he even think of that, as tired, and hungry as he must be?

She decided to pretend she didn’t understand his double entendre and turn the screw a little at the same time. “I enjoyed sleeping in your bed last night,” she said around a mouthful of fresh, warm bread dripping with sweet jam. “That was quite possibly the best sleep I’ve had in weeks. It was certainly the most comfortable. Thank you for thinking of it.”

His face actually flushed. She was, of course, just talking about the bed and he knew that, but, apparently, it didn’t stop him from thinking about what they’d done there.

After a few moments in a mere conversational tone, he mentioned, “It’s long been my habit to celebrate after surviving a storm like that, so I’m having some guests to dinner tonight. Since you’re sharing my cabin, I suppose you’ll have to join us. I’ll have a dress delivered to you later today, after I get some sleep.”

She sighed. They were having a perfectly normal conversation and he had to throw in that “I suppose” remark to remind her that she was a prisoner, not a guest.

“Why?” she asked, her tone a little stiff now. “I have no one to impress.” He shrugged. “Most of the women I know enjoy dressing up, I merely thought you might like to.” He said no more, and after his exhausting night, he climbed into bed and was almost instantly asleep.

Gabrielle spent most of the remainder of the day pacing about the room, mulling over her new plan to make Drew love her, and trying to ignore his presence.

She finally gave some attention to him again when she found herself inadvertently stopped next to his bed. He was snoring, not loudly and not steadily, just off and on. He really was exhausted. She could probably make all sorts of noise and he wouldn’t hear it. She could even touch him and he wouldn’t wake, so he wouldn’t know. Damned trusting of him, to leave himself locked in with her when she wasn’t restrained.

She could very easily leave the room right then. A little bash on the head with the chamber pot and she’d have the key out of Drew’s pocket within seconds. She’d seen him shove it there after his man dropped off the tray of food and left, and he’d relocked the door.

So simple. But the middle of the day wasn’t a good time for her to try to sneak down to the hold.

Besides, every muscle in her body was resisting hitting Drew over the head. She just couldn’t bring herself to do that again. Which didn’t mean she was giving up on escaping. He could well sleep until dark. If she had the key…

She stared at the pocket where her freedom resided. Drew was lying on his side. He was twisted a bit, his bottom leg stretched out straight, the top one bent. The pocket with the key in it was the top one. If his pants weren’t so snug, she’d have no trouble slipping a couple fingers in there to extract the key. But the pants were snug. Very. They clung tightly to his derriere in that position, defining his back cheeks. A very nice arse Drew Anderson had.

She rolled her eyes over the thought and got back to her pacing.

Chapter 39

THERE WERE FOUR OF THEM DININGthat night in the captain’s cabin. Drew’s first mate had been invited, which was expected. Timothy had come for dinner the night before as well. But the fourth man bowled Gabrielle over when he entered with the first mate. Richard! She was so glad to see him she didn’t think how it might look when she threw herself at him and hugged him excitedly.

Gabrielle did get off two quick whispered questions before she noticed Drew staring at her. “All of you are all right?” she asked.

“As well as can be expected in our crowded accommodations,” he replied. “But our host kindly provided appropriate dinner attire.” Richard swept a hand over his freshly washed white shirt and black britches.

“But what the devil are you doinghere ?”

“Your guess is as good as mine,chérie, ” he whispered back at her. “I was told, warned was more like it, merely to act like I amnot a prisoner.”

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