Bastien stood in the companionway outside his cabin and
frowned. It was quiet. Too quiet.
He was tempted to search out Mr. Maine to see whether the
quartermaster had put the black-haired hellion in his cabin
as instructed. But Bastien knew Maine too well. The girl was
He glanced down at his coat, at the ripped sleeve. Ah,
yes. His cabin girl was going to work off the damage, even
if it made both of them miserable. Heâ€™d guarantee she was
the more miserable.
Best he instruct her on her duties so she could begin.
He opened his cabin door, noted a lamp had been lit, and
glanced about. For a great cabin, it was small, but he
didnâ€™t see the woman. His gaze scanned the neat, trim
roomâ€”berth, trunks, desk...
Where the hell was she? Could she be hiding? Where? In
He stepped inside and realized too late his mistake. He
turned quickly enough to avoid the worst of the blow, but he
still felt the force of the object slam into the side of his
head. For a moment, bright white dots danced before a sea of
black, and then he reached out and grabbed the hellion.
She had the object raised! Damn him if she wasnâ€™t going
to strike again!
But he had his hand wrapped around her wrist now, and he
twisted it violently. She cried out, and he muttered, "Drop
The black sea was fading now, and he was able to focus on
her face. It was set in a stubborn expression, those green
eyes flashing like the ocean during a tempest. He tightened
his grip and saw her jaw clench, but she didnâ€™t drop the
candlestick she held.
Merde. The thing was brass and had to weight two pounds.
She really did want to kill him. Anger shot through him as
his head throbbed again, and he wrenched her arm. The little
hellion held on, so he pushed her up against the door,
slamming it closed in the process.
Her eyes were watering with pain now, but she still held
the candlestick. "Drop it."
"No!" The word was barely a breath.
He shook his head. "Mon Dieu! Are you always this
"Some might call it persistence," she grit out.
He had her pinned to the door, one hand restraining her
wrist and the candlestick she held aloft, and the opposite
hand trapping her shoulder. In one quick motion, he released
her shoulder, plucked the candlestick from her grasp, and
tossed it over his shoulder. It thudded on the floor just as
her fist came up. But he caught that too, grinned, and
forced it back against the wood. Now he had both hands
pinned to the door. "I can be persistent as well."
He was looking directly into her eyes and realized,
slowly, their bodies were flush against one another.
"Donâ€™t get any ideas," she said.
He raised a brow. "What kind of ideas?" But his body had
a mind of its own. He was more than aware of the warmth of
her skin, the feel of her soft curves against his muscles,
and the sweet, cherry smell of her hair. But something
wasnâ€™t quite right...
He couldnâ€™t feel the swell of her breasts. He glanced
down, noted her white shirt was all but flat. He looked into
her eyes again. "Bound them, did you? Clever disguise."
"It fooled you, pirate."
He sighed. "Are we back to that again? I told you, Iâ€™m
not a pirate. I have a letter of marque fromâ€”"
"I donâ€™t care what countryâ€™s flag you fly under. I know
what you are. And what you did. Now get off me!" She shoved
back hard, taking him by surprise. But he was a good deal
larger than she and much stronger. He held her in place,
rather liking this position and the view it afforded him of
her eyes. They were undoubtedly her best featureâ€”well, the
best of the ones he could see at the moment. Her nose was a
bit too snub, her lips too smallâ€”or perhaps that was because
she had them firmly compressedâ€”and her chin jutted too
sharply. But those eyes were amazing. Heâ€™d never seen anyone
with such vividly green eyes. They reminded him of a lush
pasture or of a shower of emeralds.
And now he was reminding himself of some god awful poet.
He shook his head and hopefully rid himself of all poetic
"Do you have a name?" he asked.
"What?" She blinked at him. "No."
"And you say Iâ€™m the bastard. Very well then, I shall
call you Cabin Girl."
She snorted. "You can try it."
"You need some sort of name. How else will you come
running when I call?"
Her mouth dropped open, and she let out a short,
incredulous laugh. "Oh, youâ€™re just full of delusions."
"Weâ€™ll see." He glanced about the cabin. "And your first
task, Cabin Girl...is to empty my chamber pot."
She smiled sweetly. At least he supposed that was her
version of a sweet smile. "Of course," she cooed. "Release
me, and Iâ€™ll empty it."