Safe in the Pirate's Arms

by admin

For those of you that love a pirate romance, here’s a little tidbit of my latest manuscript that is starting to bloom into an exciting piece of work. Of course this is an unedited version, but it’s a pivotal point in the heroine and hero of the story. I hope you like it!

Chapter
3

Serena
almost ran up the stairs to get away from the look in Edwards eyes. She knew
he’d take out his anger on her mother. As she stepped in her mother’s room she
noticed her maid by the bed. She was crying. Serena ran to her mother’s beside
and knelt down.

“Ms.
Serena, your dear mother is out of her misery. She went out of this world only
moments ago.” She looked up at Serena and became serious. “She said for you to
leave this house tonight and never look back.”

“But
where will I go?” She stood up and put her hand up to cover the sob that
escaped her lips. “I’ll go find Tad.”

“Mr.
Tad’s in town with his lady. I’ll send word about your dear mother.” The maid
stood up and gently covered her mother’s face with a handkerchief. “It’s not
safe here for you Ms. Serena. Heed your mother’s words and pack only what you
can carry.”

“I
will not let that man run me out of my father’s house.” She became angry
through her grief.

“You’re
talking foolishness. Mr. Edward will be in a fit of anger when he finds out
Mrs. Mary is gone. He’ll take it out on you, child.” She was almost pleading
with Serena.

Serena
turned and ran from the room. She’d confront her stepfather while the captain
was still here. Surely he wouldn’t lay a hand on her in their presence. She
didn’t trust most pirates, but something about this Captain seemed decent.
Something in his eyes drew her in.

When
she got to the top of the stairs she could hear voices. She leaned against the
wall and listened. She heard a stranger’s voice. Quietly she eased down the stairs
to listen.

“Edward
you’ve set up the perfect storm. That arrogant Captain Tanner won’t even see it
coming.”

The
laugh that Edward let out was evil. Her heart almost stopped at the sound. He
spoke in a hushed tone, but she could make it out. “I’ll put Tanner in the
grave before this week is out. He’s stepped on my toes and took my business too
many times.” She jumped when his fist slammed on the table.

Turning
she ran back up the stairs. She went into her room and grabbed a small bag.
Grabbing only a couple of changes of clothing and her prized telescope she ran
across the hall into Tad’s room. Quickly she removed her dress and slipped into
his pants and shirt. They were too big for her, but she cinched the belt really
tight. Then she donned a hat and tucked her hair up in it.

As
she was coming out of his room, her mother’s maid came up to her. “Child hurry,
Mr. Edward’s guest is leaving now and he’ll be coming upstairs. Use the
servant’s back stairs. I’ll let Mr. Tad know you’ve escaped. May God be with
you.”

Serena
hugged the woman who’d taken care of her since she was small. “Thank you.”

“Now
you run and don’t look back.” She watched as Serena descended the back stairs.
Looking up she said a silent prayer as tears flowed down her old, weathered
cheeks.

Once
Serena was outside the house she reached down and grabbed a handful of dirt.
She rubbed it on her face to hide her fair complexion. Standing still for only
a moment to get her bearings, she headed down the hill behind the house. It was
dark, but fortunately there was a full moon tonight to light her way. Although
she didn’t have a plan, she just knew she had to get far away.

As
she made her way down toward town she devised a plan. She knew that she
couldn’t stay in town because Edward would find her. The only thing she could
do would be to get on a ship and go to another country. Maybe if she could fool
enough people she could work on a ship until she made enough money to start
over. The Lady was her dream ship and Captain Caleb seemed to be fair.  

The
town beside the docks was bustling with activity. With a couple of ships in
port, all the crew members would be in town getting drunk or getting a good
night’s sleep in a hotel. As she entered the back ally of one of the saloons
she crinkled her nose at the smell. Slowly she hugged the wall on the dark side
of the ally. When she made it to the sidewalk, she stopped to see if anyone
noticed her.

From
where she stood at the end of the ally she could see the docks down at the end
of the street. Her eyes were drawn to the crisp white sails of The Lady. A loud
crash just past where she stood caused her to jump and squeal. Two men were
fighting and fell out the saloon door. She backed up into the shadows as the
patrons of the bar ran out to watch.

With
everyone watching the fight, she used that opportunity to quickly walk down the
sidewalk toward the docks. As she neared the docks she could smell the salt air
and the tar from the decks of the big ships on each side of the huge wharf.

She
ducked behind a huge stack of crates when a man walked out of one of the dock
offices. Her heart was pounding in her ears as she waited for him to pass by.
When he was far enough up the road she stepped out and made her way toward The
Lady. She stayed near the cargo that was stacked along the dock.

The
Lady was docked at the end of the long dock. She crouched down beside a pile of
nets and watched the deck for any activity. One sentry was posted on the front
deck, but he was sitting with another man playing cards. Grasping her bag
tighter in her hand, she slowly moved toward the gangplank.

The
gangplank sway with the tide and she had to get her footing. Once she was up on
deck she wasn’t sure which way to go. She placed her back against the wall of
what looked like the galley. Slowly she moved toward the back of the ship. Her
heart jumped when a crew member stepped out of one of the doors. Then she
recognized him as the first mate Tom Breckin.

He
walked over to the railing and called out to someone below. When he turned she
ducked behind a door. She backed into a room and ran to a crate. Since the moon
was shining in the door, she could see that this was a storeroom. She moved
around to the back of the crate and sat down. When she relaxed a little, she
drifted off to sleep.

A
loud clanging noise woke her. She wasn’t sure at first where she was and then
she remembered that she was on board The Lady. Then the room shook and she
heard someone shouting orders. That’s when she realized the ship was moving
away from the dock. Taking a deep breath to tamp down the fear that took over,
she peaked around the crate. Men were going back and forth on the deck hoisting
the sails and getting ready to set sail.

Her
fascination drew her to the doorway to watch. When the wind caught the sails
the ship lurched forward and they were underway. The men cheered and she heard
footsteps above her. She stayed in the shadows as men passed by the door.

The
ship sailed out of port into the moonlit night. The wind felt good coming
through the doorway and across her face. She closed her eyes for only a moment
to imagine standing on the deck. Then suddenly a hand wrapped around her arm
and yanked her out onto the deck.

“Well
boys look what I found lurking in the store room. We have us a stowaway.” He pushed
her across the deck causing her to fall and sprawl out across the deck. She
just hoped that they didn’t realize she was a girl.

“What
do you have to say for yourself boy?” One of the other men said with amusement.

She
tried to sit up without losing her hat. Putting on the deepest voice she could,
she tried to respond. “I’m homeless and wanted to join the crew.”

The
men laughed and she bowed her head. Then she saw shiny boots in her line of
view. “Men, what have you found?” She knew that voice. A thrill went down her
spine. She couldn’t look up at him for fear he’d recognize her.

He
extended his hand to help her up. “Have you ever worked on a ship?”

She
only nodded and kept her eyes on the floor. “How old are you?” He asked as he
took in the baggy clothes and fancy bag.

“I’m
18 years old sir.” She said gruffly.

“Well,
men what do you want to do? We can keep him on board to do the dirty work or we
can throw him overboard. We’re not too far out of port for him to swim back.
That’s if he can swim.”

She
looked up suddenly with fear in her eyes. Then saw the look in his eyes and
knew her mistake. “Please don’t throw me overboard. I’ll drown in the dark
waters.”

He
knew those eyes, but where from. This whelp was thin, but he wouldn’t throw him
overboard. He wasn’t cruel and neither were his men. “Chappy, let’s put this
boy up in my extra quarters until we see what he can do. Maybe we’ll start him
off coiling rope.”

“Yes,
Captain.” The man named Chappy walked up and looked at the boy. He was a huge,
burly man, but had kind eyes. “Come on with me boy.” As she followed him, he
turned back to look at her. “What’s your name so I can stop calling you boy?”

She
cleared her throat and thought quickly. “My name is Toby.”

“Alright
Toby have you had anything to eat tonight?” He noticed how thin the boy was and
the clothes that he had on hung on him like they were two sizes too big.

“Yes
sir.”

Chappy
grinned, liking the boy already. He was a polite stowaway. At least he picked
the right boat to stow away on. Captain Caleb was a kind man and he would make
sure the boy was taken care of.

He
showed her to a small cabin that was attached to the Captain’s quarters. “You
can go to bed and report to me in the morning at first light.”

She
put her bag on the little bed in the corner of the small room and sat down.
“Thank you.”

Chappy
smiled and walked out, shutting the door behind him. Once he was back out on
deck the Captain pulled him to the side.

“Chappy
keep an eye on the boy. I have a feeling there’s more to him than meets the
eye.”

“Yes
sir.”

Caleb
walked back to his quarters and sat down at his desk. The lantern was burning
low as he made a note on his log. His mind went back to the young lad in the
room next to his. Something was very familiar to him.

He
walked over and pulled his boots off. Lying back on the bed he thought about
his dinner with Edward Rockford. He knew that the man was crooked. It was
evident in the way his family treated him and the way he smiled. Caleb could
read people well and he read all the wrong things in that man. That’s why he
left port a day early. He’d planned on staying one more day to get a chance to
see the lovely Serena again. Smiling he shut his eyes and dreamt of the
beautiful dark hair and mesmerizing blue eyes.