A little back story, from Stolen Shores first:
“Delivered, alive and well. As promised.” Mr. Sandpaper again.
“Good job. Here’s your money. Mr. Track will take you to your rooms until we dock.” Cultured. Rich. Her first thoughts were, this is the owner of this boat.
No more words were exchanged, but for the third, or was it forth time, she was air born. The arms strong and the gait was steady and measured. The smell. This man wore strong, expensive cologne. They’d gone up at least one flight of stairs, before he spoke to her.
“Merry, I know you’re awake.” The laughter in his voice. Under it though was a menace, barely discernible.
Knowing her game was at it’s end, she slowly opened her eyes. What met her gaze was a deep mean green set of eyes. Staring down at her past his regal nose, with a perfectly groomed brow, arched. He’d noticed her, noticing him.
Her breath caught, as his gaze changed. The shrewd look, and way he held her close, disconcerted her. His lips parted, and held a small smile before he spoke again.
“Merry, welcome to my ship” Smooth as butter, and sharp as a tack, he put her down fast on her feet. Stumbling a little on her shaking legs, she smoothed her hands down her legs, looking about her. Taking in the details.
It was a large room, with deep reds, and molten gold’s. The far side of the room held two deep couches, also a deep red, with golden touches on the sides. Filigree, like the French, she thought. Next to the larger couch was a mahogany chest, with chocolate leather inlay. Nearer to her, she spied a table with fresh fruits, cheese, loaf of bread, and some fish. Wine. Several bottles of wine. Is he trying to impress me? Surely not me, it has to be for someone else. Turning to the man sharing the room with her, she gasped at the expansive window he’d revealed behind a bank of walls, she’d assumed. Drapery had hidden the windows from view, all but blacking out the view with their weight.
Water. More water than she’d seen in her lifetime. Suddenly queasy, she made a movement to turn when his voice stopped her.
“Don’t. Don’t move.”
Her body tense from the swelling of memories water always brought up, she tried to push them down and away. Not now. Not this time! Please… She flicked her eyes at him, the shadows hiding parts of his face. Those eyes, piercing her always. Not wavering in their scrutiny. Not able to contain herself anymore, she shouted at him.
“What do you want from me?!?!”
“Your life.” His answer short, and curt.
“You mean to kill me…then? But why? I don’t know you! Why me?!” The questions rushed out of her, now that her reserve was broken.
“Oh, not kill. Merely…obtain your life.”
He crossed the room to her, in military precision. She took a step back, only to come up short. His hand had shot out and grasped her arm, holding her in place. No escape. No cowering. His gaze moved over her face, and down her body, before coming back to her eyes. When he smiled this time, is was less predatory, and more benevolent.
“I don’t like seeing you so scared of me. And you look exhausted. Time enough to tell you what you need to know. Right now, you’ll be shown to your room, where you can rest, bathe, and eat. This food will follow along shortly.” He had let go of her arm during his speech, and walked to the table laden with food. Unseen before by her, was a phone. This he picked up, and waiting a moment before speaking once more with icy authority.
“Captain? Please get underway. We shouldn’t linger. Destination…,” he paused and flipped his glance at Merry, “…Home.”
Putting the phone down, he walked to the door of the cabin, opened it and gave quiet commands to the man outside. Turning back to her, he walking with a thoughtful look. Drawing up in front of her, he smiled. Pure charm. Oozing with it, and over-confidence. She shook her head mentally, get yourself together Merry!
“I’ve forgotten my manners. Allow me to introduce myself to you.” With a small bow, he continued, “Thorne Albert Wyatt, Duke of Roxburghe . At your service.”
Roxburghe! That name. Where have I heard it before…
“Please, come. My man will escort you to your rooms.” He guided her to the door, and there waiting on the other side were more questions.