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A Pirate's Bounty: A Devils of the Deep Novella (Ahoy!)
Author:Eliza Knight

A Pirate's Bounty: A Devils of the Deep Novella (Ahoy!)

Eliza Knight




Dear Reader,

This novella was originally published in 2011 as an erotic pirate tale. I have rewritten it, taming it somewhat from its original version, but be warned, the story itself is still quite heated…

Many of the places named within the book do exist, but I have also changed the names of some properties, towns, and names of people for the sake of the story and to fit in with the Pirates of Britannia world.

While this book is a part of the world, it takes place several hundred years in the future from my original two stories.

I do hope you enjoy this dark, pirate tale!

Best wishes,

Eliza






Chapter One





The Coast of the Greek Isles, 1764




The crack of the whip stung as it struck the flesh of Faryn’s bare buttocks. She bit hard on the inside of her cheek, refusing to cry out as she knew the crew liked to hear. She would not try to jump overboard again.

Metal clanked against the masts as men shouted, “Heave! Ho!” to get the sails down now that they’d come into port. Instead of a white sail flying prominently against the mainmast, this ship’s sail was a flag. Large and intrusive, its image would shake any ship or person who neared it. Eerie wisps of clouds dusted the night sky, and the large silvery moon shone in flashes on the design, which sent an involuntary shudder through her now, just as it always did. Against the wide black backdrop, sewn in white, a large skull, and beneath it two silver swords crisscrossed. Below that was clearly an image in white of the top half of a man, well muscled, who held the two swords.

“School your hands, mate! Orelia will not be pleased that ye marred the flesh of one of her slaves.” The voice was filled with authority, and though he spoke English, she noted a slight undertone of a Scot’s dialect, something she ought to remember as he could prove to be an ally, but as soon as the thought entered her mind, it was quickly gone again.

Slave.

The word echoed in Faryn’s mind over and over in tune to the throb of the welt on her flesh. She looked around with glazed eyes. A rough crew this was. Weapons covered their bodies, some crude, some elegant—and so very out of place, with their rough clothing. Half the men wore plaids draped about their waists, and the others leather breeches. They smiled, some with teeth and some without. They leered at her with one or two eyes, some covered with a patch. Some grabbed at their crotches and waggled what little bits of male flesh hid beneath the layers of grubby clothes. Except for one. The captain. He stood out—dark, mysterious, large and eerily handsome. A cut above the rest.

He was dressed completely in black, from shining leather boots leading to mid-calf, black leather breeches, black linen shirt and cape. Across his waist was a swath of plaid fabric, the ends whipping in the wind. His face was darkly tanned, lips covered by a neatly trimmed dark beard on his chin and a mustache. Hard gray eyes stared out at her from beneath raven brows. His hair was not pulled back but left to hang to his shoulders in sleek black locks, and atop that black head was a black cap, various accouterments attached to it. Beyond beads, feathers and bones, she couldn’t make out more of what hung from his cap, nor did she care. She was sure she stood staring directly at the devil.

Slave. Slave. Slave.

This was why they’d taken her in the middle of the night. She cursed her sleeplessness and need to walk on the beach that dreadful evening. They’d ripped her from everything she knew, tied her hands behind her back, tossed her over their shoulders and disappeared into the fog. She would be slave to Orelia. But who was Orelia? She’d never heard the name before now.

“Avast, ye wretches, down ye go, else prepare to feed the fish!” a man shouted, as he hobbled up and down the line of slaves on one foot and a wooden pegleg.

From what Faryn had been able to surmise thus far, Mr. Pegleg was the captain’s first mate.

The captain’s steely gaze held hers, catching her breath in her throat. She was frightened…yet another feeling had her belly twisting into knots. Without taking his gaze from hers, he flicked his hand toward her and sliced through the rope tying her arms around the mast. He jerked his head toward the other gangplank. Needing no further instruction, Faryn hurried to line up with the other beaten and naked men and women who would serve as slaves to the mysterious Orelia, eager to have her feet walk on steady ground again. They’d traveled far, she was sure, from her home in Ireland. And as she stepped down the gangplank, splinters sinking into the tender flesh of her feet, she was hit with the knowledge that escape would not come easy.

Ocean stretched far and wide. The sounds of water crashing against the shore, and the scents of salt and ocean surrounded her. Loud voices shouted all around, mixed with the creaking of boards, boot heels clicking on wood and other ship sounds. From the dock came people, she could barely make them out with only the small lanterns they carried. Naked bodies trembled and wobbled down the planks in front of her. She was delirious from hunger and pain. Cold and wet.

Gooseflesh rose along her limbs, her flesh stung as her hair whipped violently against her chest.

She cried out and lost her footing. Arms flung out, she sought hold of anything, her hands catching the slippery back of another slave, who jumped forward at her touch. Her knees dropped to the wood of the gangplank, jarring her with pain and shock.

“Get up!” shouted one of the men wielding a whip. But she could not. She was so weak…too tired. Her vision blurred.

“That one willna make it. Captain, ye want her back? Might be best to toss her to the sharks.”

Cruel laughter reached her ears. “Ah, Toothless, ye know I’d love to have another wench in my bed, but I willna be stealing from the Queen. Orelia will have all her slaves, half-dead or not.”

So, she was dying, and her last moments of life were to be serving a foreign queen. But mayhap this Orelia would know that she, Faryn, was no ordinary slave but Irish nobility. She didn’t belong here. Aye, she would plead her case with Queen Orelia and beg to be sent home.

When she looked up, Faryn noticed that the rest of the slaves had departed the ship and she was alone, still crouched on the cold splintery gangplank. The boards shook beneath her and the thunderous methodical thump of boots on wood sounded behind her.

“Stand, slave, or risk another lash of the whip.” The captain’s voice was softer than it had been before.

Faryn chanced a glance above her and was taken aback once more by his appearance. So dangerous, and yet he’d showed her a kindness before that he didn’t have to.

He moved to hold out his hand, the light glinting off a large and sharp sword as his arm gently nudged it. From his other hip swung a black leather cat-o’-nine-tails.