Duchess of the Sea Ch. 02byPiratess©
A knock at the door of the cabin interrupted Morgan's vivid memories. Her eyes focused again on the paperwork in the dying candlelight.
"Come in," she called out, hand poised at reach for her pistol just in case.
It was her first mate and dear friend, Fredrick, who had sailed with her for near 7 years now.
"Only me," he reassured her, knowing that she would be ready to shoot any intruder within seconds of entering her cabin. "Brought you some grub, figured you'd be in 'ere doing the papers."
"Thank you," Morgan blearily smiled; he always looked out for her.
"You should get some sleep tonight; we've got the watch out at various locations Morgan. Please, you look like you haven't slept in weeks."
"Thanks Fredrick, I know I can count on your for your honest opinion cant I?" She replied cheekily, but she knew he was right. She needed all the strength she could harbour.
The aroma of the food made her stomach growl, and they both laughed at the rumbling noise. Fredrick cleared room on her small dining table and placed the warm meal down.
"Come on, eat up and then to bed." He nagged gently.
Morgan groaned in false protest as she rose from her work desk, and staggered across to the food, sliding into the small chair.
"Thank you Fredrick." She said again, and he nodded at the plate and left the cabin, firmly shutting the door behind him.
Morgan slowly ate a few hearty mouthfuls, but exhaustion began to consume her. Toying with the remainder of the food, she decided she should hit the bed before she fell asleep in her food.
Checking the dagger was still under her pillow, the pistol tucked into her boot beside the bed, Morgan flopped onto the sheets and hauled a heavy woolen blanket over her body. Sleep came quickly but it was not restful. She resumed her vivid memories in her sleep...
...Still shaken by the encounter with the Admiral on the terrace, Morgan was alert and on edge. She reentered the ballroom, wary of the eyes that turned upon her. Casting a fleeting glance towards where her brother was, she decided that it may be best to leave and rethink the plan.
Although she knew that Admiral Laurence Scott was a force to be reckoned with, she also knew it was her duty to bring justice to her village and family and for many other villages, and fight against everything the Admiral stood for.
Yes, she needed to know more about the Admiral, about his daily movements, the plans for the ships in the next few months and how the hell he knew more about her than she did of him. She could still feel his burning eyes on her, as if they have left a mark on her minds eye. Her stomach flipped, the uneasiness creeping through her veins again.
She began to glide towards the safety of her brother Devlin when she was abruptly stopped by jolly and slightly tipsy Captain McNally.
"Fair Lady Kelly, will you do me the great honour of taking the floor with me for the next dance?" he bellowed, his eyes glazed and cheeks hotly flushed.
Lowering her lashes and putting her best demure mask on, Morgan whispered her reply,
"How very kind Captain but..."
McNally interrupted with laughter, not letting her respond and swiftly grasped her hand with his sweaty palm and groped for her waist before he whirled her around towards the dance floor.
"Great, just great." Morgan growled under her breath, plastering a faux smile on her face for the dance. This is not where she needed to be right now. The Admiral could be anywhere right now; he had her at a disadvantage. She needed to regroup her thoughts and plans.
As she followed the captain's lead of the twirls and steps, occasionally stomping on her toes, Morgan tried to discreetly find the Admiral. She could not see him in the hundreds of faces of the crowd, which were becoming blurry from the dizzying twirls of the dance. An unusual feeling of panic started to envelope her, as she also couldn't see her brother.
Morgan couldn't wait for the music to end, and as quickly as it had started the Captain had twirled her for the last time before bowing and clapping merrily with the other dancers. A sigh of relief escaped her lips and she began to relax.
Not a moment later she inhaled sharply stifling a cry as a vice like grip held her waist planting her firmly on the spot.
"I think I would like to dance now," a voice commanded softly in her ear, sending violent shivers through Morgan's body, "With you."
Showing an outward calm she did not feel, Morgan leisurely turned to face her demanding dance partner, again to face the fiery rich eyes of the Admiral.
"Do I have a choice to decline this dance?" Morgan seethed through her clenched teeth.
His face darkened impossibly, but his eyes lit up with devilish amusement.
"No. You don't." He stated smoothly, a hint of a smile touching the corner of his hard lips.
Her mind skittered. What game was this?! She certainly did not account for such behaviour on his part.
His hand skilfully gripped her wrist again; he held it with a ferocity that Morgan had only felt in battle. She grimaced briefly, before trying in vain to yank her arm back towards herself in an effort to at least unbalance the Admiral if not loosen his grip. Determinedly he strode towards to dance floor, trailing a staggering Morgan who was trying to walk calmly behind him.
They took to the floor, and the crowd hushed and murmured. This was the Admirals first dance of the night, and apparently of the season.
Dragging her swiftly to face him in the middle of the dance area, Morgan was astonished at his public display with her. Her eyes were large and bright with a mixture of fear and surprise to his actions. She gazed openly at him, and Admiral Scott remained possessive, commanding and frustratingly composed.
Other dancers meekly left the floor, to join the growing audience. All eyes had turned on the couple.
Morgan felt a betraying blush creep over her cheeks, and for the first time in years felt extremely vulnerable.
The music began, the Admiral bowed and Morgan curtseyed before he firmly held her waist again. She could feel the heat from his hand burn through the layers of fabric. Morgan felt her chest grow tight, and all of a sudden the bodice felt 3 sizes too small for her and she struggled to breath.
Refusing to look at him she turned her head slightly away and haughtily lifted her chin.
Laurence Scott looked down at the savage angel he was about to dance with. He had to smother a laugh as he watched her vainly struggle with her composure. And as she refused to look at him, he took the opportunity to savour her beauty.
Her hair truly was unusual. He had a sudden urge to shake it loose from its constraints and have it shimmer down about her shoulders. Her skin was creamy and smooth for someone who spent so much time at sea, but it was her eyes that captivated him.
They were as easy to read as a child's book, yet contained many secrets and stories. The blue hue changed from ice winter blue, to a bold bright azure along with her fiery temper. Dark brown lashes framed the dazzling eyes, which were lowered against his stare as she continued to look away from him. His gaze travelled to her lips which were firmly set, yet so full and lush almost begging to be kissed.
He began to lead the dance, and was surprised to find her light on her feet. He added a mental note of that, as she was probably a very good swordswoman as well. Sure and light footed was a good sign of a good sword fighter.
Morgan was on the same thought pattern as the Admiral. He was an agile and very smooth dancer, which meant he was good with a sword. Morgan knew that he was trying to unsettle her, and he was doing a damn fine job of it too.
A deep voice shattered her thoughts.
"You dance beautifully Morgan..."
"Are we on first name basis now Admiral?" She responded hastily and bitterly, still avoiding his eye contact.
Laurence tensed slightly but remained silent, and swiftly whirled her for a spin. He clasped her waist again, slamming their bodies together causing Morgan to breathlessly cry out. Her gaze slammed to his as they continued to glide effortlessly and gracefully across the dance floor.
The tension was impenetrably thick between them; the air became almost too heavy to breathe. His eyes seemed to pierce hers, and Morgan could feel a new and even more dangerous sensation quickly spreading through her body. An unfamiliar ache burned through her belly, and she felt her heart begin to race.
They continued to dance in heavy silence, but in her head Morgan could nearly scream. As if Laurence could read her mind, he drew close to her ear and whispered roughly,
"Just enjoy the dance Morgan; I imagine it's been some time since you attend a ball. I'm flattered you took the time to come to mine." A ruthless and mirthless smile crossed his lips.
Morgan almost exploded, but managed to keep an equally false smile on her face.
"Don't flatter yourself Laurence Scott! I'd rather be anywhere else in this world right now than to be in your arms, damn you to hell!"
Laurence threw his head back in real laughter, as he twirled her again. Morgan's temper raged and she felt her face again blush furiously.
Drawing her back towards him more gently this time, his gaze warmed and it flickered down across her chest, then back up to her lips. To Morgan it almost felt like a caress, and she shivered involuntarily.
"Darling, being in one's arms is usually in a more private place than a ballroom," he chuckled seductively, "and I assure you, once you are there you won't be damning me, you'll be begging me..."
In her previous life, Morgan had experienced her fair share of suitors and interludes. She usually could flirt her way through any conversation and get whatever she needed. She found the tool quite useful for getting information, but tonight she had lost all trace of confidence and self assurance.
From any other man this last statement would not have even entered her head, usually she would let the remark slide, but from her enemy it delivered a blow so deep it made her belly flip and her legs to weaken. Unprepared for his brazen comment, Morgan was left agape.
Laurence noted the sheer shock register in her eyes, and he felt a swelling of pride as he knew he had her ready to run. His gaze slid down her face again to her open mouth. His heart slammed into his ribcage. What an invitation to taste such sweet but surely poisonous lips! His loins ached momentarily.
He had to remind himself that she was here to kill him! And all he could think of was tugging her hair firmly back, revealing the smooth skin of her neck and delicate collarbone to caress the skin with his burning lips, wanting her to beg and cry out...
Breaking his thoughts, he twirled Morgan again, her skirts floating around her as if she floated just above the floor. Morgan glanced back at his face, and she thought she saw a hint of red shade his cheeks. Gracefully they moved around the room, still the centre of the ball, the murmurs has nearly ceased as the crowd watched the entranced couple.
Morgan looked up to Laurence's face, and their gazes burned. It was an explosive mixture of hatred and sheer desire. Again his devouring gaze fell to her lips. Morgan was so engrossed in his eyes that she slipped and missed a step. A small gasp escaped her, but Laurence fluently held her up and she fell back into time of the dance.
The small breathless pant that she let out sent torturous and ferocious need through Laurence. The sharp stab of desire went straight to his groin, and he fought himself to not drag her in his arms and make her mindless with kisses. He mentally shook his head. Given the chance, she will kill you, he told himself.
It was a moment before Morgan realised the music had stopped. She was spellbound with the Admirals eyes. They now glowed with a different ferocity of what she has seen from their last encounter.
The Admiral bowed gracefully, and sharply left the dance floor, leaving Morgan to hurriedly curtsey and also leave the floor after him.
The crowd applauded and burst into chatter, and Morgan felt the gossip burn at her back. The ballroom was abuzz. Her pace quickened as she headed for the stairs to the foyer. She needed to leave, immediately.
Her mind raced.
As she past the ballroom doors, Morgan began to run through the hallway to the grand staircase. Hoisting her skirts around her knees she nimbly negotiated the stairs toward the carriages outside.
Reaching the last stair she lowered her skirts to run out the doors, and leap into her carriage.
Just as she past the last room before the front entrance she was harshly caught and winded by a burly arm.
She struggled against the unyielding grip, and was heaved into an adjoining dark room...
... Morgan's eyes flew open, she sat bolt upright and her breathing was ragged. Slowly her eyes focused in the dim light.
Gradually assurance washed over her, she had been dreaming again.
Morgan lay back down, slowing her breathing, willing sleep to come, peaceful sleep.