Chapter Two

Chapter One

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This story is my first and I would love to hear comments on how I can improve it, what you hope to see happen, what you didn’t like. Please let me know how I’m doing!

—-

“Follow me.” Merrick’s tone was clear. This was not a request, but a command. He cut her bindings so swiftly she had barely seen his blade move. He was fast, she’d have to be careful.

Celia stood tall with her chin held high and followed him across the deck into a dark hallway with two adjacent doors. The hallway’s shadows were ominous as sunlight flickered through the billowing smoke from outside. Brass fixtures held unlit candles encased in tempered glass. As the floorboards creaked beneath their steps she winced; There would be no sneaking through this hallway to assassinate him.

“These are my quarters.” He pointed to the other door. “Those are Avery’s. He’s my brother and second in command. Don’t cross him, he has a mean streak. The others won’t touch you but if you provoke Avery, don’t think he won’t strike you.”

Celia entered the room and spun around to curtsey. “Charmed, I’m sure. Thank you for this grand tour of your bastard ship.”

It was just one-on-one now. This was her chance to get a piece of revenge! She grabbed the dagger from her hairpin and lunged at the Captain. Her sudden attack surprised Merrick but he had spent most of his life fighting. He dodged and slammed her against the door, pinning her arms to her sides. He was so damn fast! She grimaced as her dagger fell to the floor. “Tsk tsk. What other secrets do you have? Maybe I should find out?” His hands moved up her arms in a sickening caress.  

“You wouldn’t DARE!!!! I am Celia Grey, Diplomat from Minkerra!! Unhan—“ her words were muffled by a cloth shoved through her mouth and tied tightly around her head.

It was painful but she wouldn’t give this man the pleasure of seeing anything but hatred in her eyes. He was studying her, so she took the chance to study him back.

He was lean but strong, with toned arms and large hands that firmly held her against the door. His skin was a dark tan, she guess he was from the Kioni Ocean Islands. His short hair was a dirty blonde from his years in the sun. Her eyes continued to roam across his chest. He wore a black shirt with leather laces across the front half hazardly tied. Deep and shallow scars ran across his tan chest. Celia roller her eyes. He probably walked around shirtless showing his scars off, he seemed the type. She flicked her annoyed eyes to his face. His lips looked soft. The thought surprised her, what was she thinking about? Her eyes blinked and met his. It was a mistake. His eyes weren’t brown, but like a smoldering darkness with coppery fire flecked throughout. They were framed by thick dark lashes. She realized he was staring at her with a mixture of something like hatred and desire. She hated herself, realizing her eyes probably showed the same conflicting emotions.

Celia cleared her throat as embarrassment and red crept across her cheeks.

“Mmm did you like what you saw, princess?” His voice was teasing but his eyes were still guarded and hard. He released her and stepped back.

He could see the gag was hurting her but applauded her refusal to show it. She had spark. He removed it and grabbed her hand. “Please, have a seat p-“

With an exasperated sigh she shouted “CELIA. C-E-L-I-A. I am not a ‘princess.’ You wanted me here so learn my name.”

Hmmm. Maybe she wasn’t royalty but this haughty attitude would have to go. He pulled her up tight against him and backed her to his bed. He would teach her here and now who he was. “Celia. My name is Merrick. I am Captain of this ship and many others. I think it’s time I checked you for other weapons…”  

He pushed her tightly against the bed, her hair splayed across his sheets. It wasn’t a bad sight. He grabbed one of his many daggers he kept on himself and cut through her makeshift belt. She was beginning to protest so he ripped her jacket open and flipped her over to jerk it off.

Merrick had no intentions with this Celia other than to prevent any more random hairpin attacks. He chuckled, that was certainly a first for him. He had barely dodged in time!

He was curiously aroused by her though. She was pale but freckled like she was often outside but unable to tan. Her stomach had been soft, her breasts nearly spilling from her corset. He smirked, removing a few small daggers from the sides of said corset. She was fiery! His legs pressed against hers, trapping surprisingly muscular legs for an aristocrat woman. He had a feeling she could swim just fine, probably faster than most of his crew. His hands lingered on her hips, gripping them. He could imagine holding onto her in this position while thrusting into her. Christ he was hard. His hand slid into her hair and lifted her head. He wanted to see desire but she looked terrified. His arousal withered.

He knew he had a reputation as being a cruel pirate leader but it just wasn’t fun to ravage a crying and squirming woman. He removed her pants, shaking them out, and did the same with her shirt. He wanted to turn her over again but perhaps it was enough for today. He checked her boots to find yet another surprise– a lock-pick set but nothing else dangerous. Her naked rear was milky white and round. His arousal was coming back.

“Get dressed.” Merrick quickly covered her with a sheet and handed her back her clothes.

Celia immediately covered herself to the neck and scooted as far from Merrick as she could. He had removed every piece of clothing from her. Surprisingly, he hadn’t turned her over or touched her more than he probably thought necessary but she felt weak. Here she was, her crew dead. Her body shamed and humiliated. How could she dress with him watching? And then what? Her mind was racing.

If he wasn’t going to rape her then would he torture her for information? She pulled the sheet closer and saw her seal falling to the floor. Merrick picked it up, eyes widening. “You’re the daughter of Silvan Grey? This is his seal!!” His body had turned rigid.

She lunged for it. “Give it back to me! I told you who I was. Please.. give that back to me.”

His eyes were hard and dark with rage. “No, I don’t think you’ll need this here.” He ripped the sheet from her.

Celia finished lacing her corset as best she could and stood up to pull her pants on. She was embarrassed, but her anger was stronger. “One day I will kill you without mercy. Do you hear me?!?!” She swiftly tied her shirt, fingers shaking with anger. So he wanted to humiliate her, well he had accomplished that. But she would not cower from a man! He was nothing but a barbarian. Not worthy of her hatred!

They stood facing each other in a silent battle of wills.

Merrick knew who Silvan Grey was. Grey was famous. He helped Minkerra grow to overtake countless smaller countries. Countries like his own. Their ruler had been paid a handsome sum by Silvan Grey in exchange for all the coastal towns and land. Minkerra had made their ruler some aristocrat but the townspeople were sold, slaughtered, or relocated to poorer villages as shiny new cities were built over the ruins and graves of his people.

He and Avery had escaped by climbing onboard a ship at port. It had been attacked by pirates who found the starving children and recruited them to the pirate life. Nearly 15 years later and they were running the show. Their goal was simple. They recruited slaves being sent to and from countries, sunk treasure that would be used to fund wars, and fed the poor with stolen food. Royalty should work to better its people but instead they steal. Merrick and Avery righted those wrongs and killed all who stood for that life. Merrick was proud of their deadly reputation. Maybe it would change the tactics of these kingdoms.

Yet here he had rescued the daughter of the man responsible for the loss of his village. If Avery found out who she was …. He wanted to get more information from her. She was valuable for now. He’d let Avery feed her to the sharks later.

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