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To Hell With Sunset

Originally appeared in Summer Loving, edited by Alison Tyler.

I clung to the stern of the Dawny Beth. Stern? Bow? Or was it stem? The ass end. Whatever it was called, it was the only thing that was going to keep me from going overboard when I came.

Well, almost the only thing. I was just going to have to trust that Captain Zach's grip on my hips would keep me from going headfirst into Xavier's Bay. He dug in hard enough that I’d have to explain the bruises on my hips tomorrow.

In the meantime, I was just going to focus on that tongue.

Zach had taken the boat just far enough that the shore and rolling hills beyond looked smudged and surreal. At my back was the sunset I had been so desperate to see. I hadn’t been able to recruit any of the other cottage-dwellers for this evening excursion, and so I took my Alberta-born, ocean starved, landlocked ass to the wharf to buy a ticket on my own. The touring company didn’t do evening cruises unless by appointment, I found out, and only in groups. Zach had heard my curse. He had a boat that smelled like the lobster traps he was repairing that afternoon. He offered me a private cruise, no charge, and even shared his beer with me.

I liked his quasi-Irish east coast accent. I liked his big arms and tanned hands. I liked that he’d invited me into the wheelhouse to steer the boat as an excuse to make his move.  I liked that his hands were rough on my belly while he unbuttoned my shorts.

Oh, and I really liked that he looked up at me the whole time he ate my pussy.

I kept my head lowered, locked in that brown-eyed gaze as he flicked the tip of his tongue in a half-moon along the underside of my clit. He was just teasing me for now. I could see it in the way his eyes lit up each time I twitched and gasped. I wanted more, and he wanted to play with me.

I wasn’t getting anywhere by begging. He was the captain, so he got his way. I waited, writhing and whimpering as he toyed with me. I was dying. Dying. I wanted that hot tongue to make me come.

He drew back, his wet mouth in a grin and his gaze never breaking with mine as he pulled the hood taut around my clit. He flattened out his tongue and so slowly, so fucking sinfully, he licked my pussy from top to bottom.

Or stem to stern, if you want to get thematic about it.

The sun could have exploded across the sky and I wouldn’t have paid any attention. I couldn’t tell which was the water sloshing against the boat and which was the wet sound of his tongue lapping me. As he bobbed his head, dragging his tongue back and forth, I rocked my ass in tune with him.

“Fuck -- oh, fuck, like that.

I released my grip on the boat and grasped two fistfuls of hair. If I fell in, fine, as long as it was when that wicked tongue was done with me.

He drew back abruptly, and I actually growled and tried to shove his face back in my crotch. He dragged my hands away from his head and stood, then turned me around.

“Sorry, I can’t wait any longer,” he muttered, and pushed down at the small of my back. My ass went up.

“Do you do this with all the tourists?” I asked as I waited for him to slip on a condom.

“Nope, you’re the first.”

He could have been lying. He probably was lying, but I didn’t care.

The sun was in front of me now, a fireball set against streaks of violet and gold. I bowed before it. I had come to take pictures, but as his cock stretched me I knew I wouldn’t need a picture. This sunset would be burned into my brain for eternity.

One hand wrapped around me and his fingers picked up where his tongue left off. With the other hand, he grabbed hold of my ponytail, “for your own good, so you don’t fall,” and pumped me steady and solid. I was going to leave scratches in the wood beneath my fingers if I gripped it any tighter.

Big blue ocean. Sun setting. Shorts around my ankles. A hard belly slapping my ass. Grinding into his rough fingers. And, oh fuck, that sting in my scalp every time he tugged my hair.

Could I have gotten a better cruise than this? I think not.

He was practically silent as he pounded me, save for the occasional grunt, but I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I’m sure the wind picked up my moans and carried them to shore. I’m sure somewhere around Xavier Bay, someone heard me begging for a harder fuck. Someone heard me get the harder fuck I asked for, and a juicy orgasm. As my clit throbbed under his fingers and my cunt squeezed around his dick, Zach yanked my head back and used his grip on me as leverage.

Stem, stern, bow, whatever. The edge jabbed my thighs as he pushed me forward and pounded me to his own unrelenting finish.

The first thing I saw when the splotches in my head cleared was stars. Actual stars. There was a violet glow on the waterline that bled into the indigo sky.

“I missed my sunset,” I said breathlessly, and shivered as he withdrew his shrinking cock.

He wrapped his thick arms around my middle and rested his forehead on my shoulder as we both worked for air. “I’ve got a view of the bay from my deck. How about watching the sun rise? You’ll probably still be awake anyway.”

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The following is an excerpt from my 2014 novel, The Deep End.

As the voices coming from the computer speakers droned on, it became more of a challenge to keep the giggles in. Taureau in the hall trying to catch his breath; Grace strapped to a chair with a pearl necklace; and Caroway, Patton and Stewart spouting off survey results in their respective offices.

Taureau returned, light on his feet, naked from the waist down, and tapped the keyboard to render the other men deaf to their activities once more.

‘All right, smart mouth, if that’s how you want it.’ He came to her front once more and lifted her head. He was anything but gentle as he scrubbed her with the warm washrag he’d brought with him, then circled around to her rear.

Grace cackled. ‘You’re just pissed because you wrote a cheque you couldn’t cash.’

He loosened her in an instant but didn’t free her. Instead he dragged her and the chair into the hall.

‘How many times do you need to be fucked in the run of a day before you’re satisfied, Miss Neely?’ he asked as he shoved her down.

‘Are you keeping score?’ she called to him, and dissolved into giggles as he returned with his bag. He looked stern as he drew out a second hank of rope. ‘Sore loser.’

‘You say that like we’re playing a game. I don’t play games, Miss Neely. I don’t know what else I can do to impress that upon you, but I’ll sure as hell try.’

He came around her and quickly rebound her hands. Finished, he tugged her hair and pulled her head back to look up at him.

‘Big important man,’ she cooed to him, and grinned as he went about her bondage. By the time he was finished she was strapped in tighter than an astronaut at countdown.

‘Any final words?’ he asked, brandishing the tape once more, but before she had a chance to speak he slapped the tape around her head. He stood in front of her, fists on his hips and mouth twisted into a grin. ‘I didn’t think so.’

Christ, she had even less mobility than she had when she was face-down. Grace frowned at him and wriggled in her seat.

The cagey smile gave way to a delightful laugh. Grace wondered if her hair stood on end with shock. This was the first time Taureau’s face had lit up with joy, and over what? Over tying her down and spreading her open.

‘I should take a picture,’ he teased, and when he reached into his bag she worried he was actually going to pull out a camera and do it. Instead he brought out …


The little purple egg in his hand had been her best friend since it came in the mail a few days ago. It had provided every bit of comfort its little rechargeable heart would allow when Taureau was otherwise occupied with her mouth or her ass. As Taureau carefully plugged her with it, she knew the device was going to become an enemy of sorts.

He gave the leash attached to the egg a gentle tug, and his gaze met hers as he held up the little square remote.

‘Don’t get too lonely out here, Miss Neely.’

Her wet curse stifled behind the tape, Grace watched him swagger back into his office and out of sight. He joined the conversation and she heard him resume his seat.

Bastard, she thought, but adoration for him flooded her. It curled her fingers and toes and sent a tickle through her, and moments later a different sort of tickle ran through her as the egg buzzed to life.

The vibration remained steady for a few minutes as she sat there. The titillation of her G spot was continuous, sending out little pulses every so often, but nothing to push Grace over the edge. She rolled her neck back and forth and relaxed into the lull the toy was creating.

‘… create almost a thousand jobs. The federal government will be creaming their pants at the thought of the PR in the far north …’

Caroway was back at it, and with his renewed spiel emerged Taureau, pushing his chair into her line of sight. He held the remote in his palm, finger poised over the topmost button. He didn’t look her way as he tapped it, and Grace remained riveted, waiting for him to crank things up a notch.

She tipped her head back. Even if she’d been on the job in there with Taureau, she would still have been bored out of her skull. As pleasant as the vibration was, pleasant was all it was. After giving his cock a good suck and getting a little teasing, she was ready for a lot more friction.

‘I don’t think so,’ Taureau said. ‘If we move in and start taking business from the local economy, it’ll become a nightmare. If we’re going to go small, I say we look out west. There are hundreds of families split up because the husbands need to work in the middle of nowhere.’

He tilted his head in her direction and his finger twitched.

The vibe whirred to what felt like full charge. She tensed in an effort to clip her legs together and hold in that glorious feeling, forgetting for a moment that she was splayed open. She hummed as beautiful pressure blossomed, then whimpered as it died down again.

Son of a bitch …

Just a few seconds of power had left her dripping. She’d felt exposed moments before, but now she was absolutely shameless. Swollen and sensitive, the walls of her pussy pulsing with arousal, and her clit desperate for a finger or a tongue. She whimpered for him.

His response was a quick grin flashed in her direction. It took no more than a second, but it was enough to tell her he wasn’t going to give her relief any time soon. The movement of his thumb over the remote was maddening: stroking up and down, up and down. She clenched her inner muscles around the egg and stared hard at him as if doing so could telepathically will him to give her what she wanted.

The egg shook to life and then subsided. Like his finger, up and down, the vibration went from a slight quake to a powerful pulse and back down again. As Taureau’s voice went on, a fuzzy baritone in her ears, Grace trembled at his mercy so that the chair juddered.

‘… accessible to those who would normally …’

‘… two hours max, no frills …’

‘… campaign issue …’

Snuffling, Grace shook her head as each pulse brought her closer to coming, but every time he turned the vibe down.

Keep quiet, she thought, the noise is how he knows you’re close.

And so she squeezed her eyes shut and focused on breathing in and out. It seemed to be working. The fluctuation of power became less chaotic.

All she needed was a minute, just one minute with a bit of juice …

‘You’re awfully quiet out there,’ he called to her, and killed the vibe.

She looked up at him. One hand on the computer, one on the remote, and his eyes still looking forward.

‘Are we getting the gist of things, Miss Neely? I would have thought you’d know by now that no matter how far away I am, you’re all mine.’

With that sting of vulgarity leaping off that arrogant tone, Grace lost her fight to stay silent and best him. It didn’t matter. No sooner did a pathetic whimper slip out than he turned the vibe up full blast and left it that way.

The explosion of pleasure emanating from her G spot rushed outward. With the touch of a button he had turned her into a sobbing, gushing mess. Her orgasm was only the first, for just a moment later he hit her again.

The tape began to give way and slide down her sloppy chin. Taureau did nothing to fix it. He might as well have been on the other side of the country again for all the help he gave her. She bucked and strained, wriggled and howled as a second climax tore through her.

As she came out of the agonising deluge he had forced upon her, Grace heard his taunting voice, so close she thought she was imagining it until his hands cupped her face.

‘There we go, that’s what I want from you, Miss Neely,’ he purred, tilting her up to look at him. ‘None of that Bitch In Heels exterior you like to put on. This is what I like to see: messy, wet, and ready.’

She felt like weeping as he untied her. She’d come so hard it had overwhelmed her and ripped her apart. Helpless and panting, she wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her damp face into his shirt as he lifted her.

‘Your meeting?’ she murmured.


As the splotches in front of her eyes faded, Grace became aware of the shifting in shadow and light. He was taking her upstairs.

‘You don’t have to carry me,’ she said with a sleepy giggle. ‘I’m sure I can crawl up or down the stairs if I have to.’

‘And where would that leave me? Listening to you carrying on like that has my dick hard again, and I bet that vibrator has just enough juice left in it.’

He set her down on the vast expanse of his bed and left the remote next to her. Grace flopped over with a moan. ‘I don’t think I can again.’

‘I’d tell you to just lie back, but you know I prefer you lively.’

Giddy with the lingering thrill, she nearly burst as she watched him strip off what little was left of his clothing and reach into the nightstand. ‘That must have been a sight: you carrying me up those narrow stairs with no pants and your cock pointing the way.’

He grinned, and for a moment she thought she was going to see that full-on laughing smile she’d seen downstairs. He tossed a tube of lubricant onto the bed next to her.

His smile faded as he held her gaze, his expression turning hot. He crawled alongside her, gentle as he ran his hand along her inner thigh even as the savage thing beneath his skin bristled.

‘The mess you left on the chair and the floor …’ he murmured against her shoulder as he rubbed his fingers through the slickness he’d made.

Grace sucked in a hissing breath as he moved up and wriggled his finger into her ass, and with trembling fingers she lifted the lubricant.

‘Big important man,’ she teased, and held the bottle up to him.

Taureau purred as he rubbed his bristly face against her neck and murmured, ‘Turn over.’

Dragging the pillow beneath her, Grace rolled onto her side and stretched one leg out. The little remote rested on the bed before her eyes, and she grinned at it as Taureau fingered a dollop of the lube in her tight opening.

‘Big important man is going to give this greedy little bitch’s ass a fuck,’ he whispered, his words raising bumps all over her body. She turned her head, following the heat of his breath on her cheek to his mouth, and found his eager tongue waiting for hers.

He reached out with his other hand and the remote buzzed to life again as at the same moment he positioned his cock and nudged the tip inside.

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Both Brisk and Bold

(My only historical!)

For all she knew, they could have been anchored off of the Carolinas or they could have been in Africa. Jane was just glad to catch a glimpse of sweet green land. The dinghy was already on its way back to take on a second load, among them the female captives who had once been bound for a convict colony in Virginia.

The water seemed so clear and inviting this close to the beach. Her mouth watered at the thought of being drenched from head to toe, of the slime of sweat and heat running off of her.

But she wouldn’t, even if the others did, not with all those mongrel eyes on her, and not with her fellow captives. She’d made every effort to distance herself from them. Thieves and sluts and at least one cutthroat, if Sally’s tales of bloodshed were to be believed.

And yet she was one of them, wasn’t she? A thief.

Regardless, Jane refused to take part in any camaraderie with the other women. Up until the day she’d been unable to stop herself from pulling the brooch from its velvet cushion, she’d lived clean and honest. Not like the others.

She watched the boat as it made its way back to Patricia and kept her distance from the other women. They were in a dither over yet another reversal of fortune, one that pleased had Jane.

“Don’t make no sense, do it?” Sally growled to the others. “What good does it do to give us back to Lawford when he can put us to work for him?”

Jessy scratched a spot on her nose and squinted at the approaching dinghy. “He hates women. Hates all of us.”

“Well, you know what they say about him,” Sally replied with a snort. “He don’t go ashore with the rest of them. Red Jim said he got nothing for the likes of us. Not like Fox was.”

There was a queer moment of reverence amongst the other women at the mention of Henry Fox. His death had been a blow to the entire crew and one with enduring aftershocks in the form of John Brody, or “Valentine” Brody as he had taken to calling himself since being elected captain of Patricia. He was chosen not a full day after Fox had bled out on the beach, his throat torn out by a musket ball.

Good riddance, Jane thought. Fox had intended to open a brothel, and until his death Jane had been fated to become a whore.

“Better on my back than breaking it,” the others had joked, but not Jane.

Now, Fox was dead and Brody was captain, they were once more bound for the convict colony.

“He’s a eunuch.” Mary Ellen scowled at the dubious looks from the others. “Makes sense, don’t it? He’d got no interest in us and he’s got no -- what do they call it?”

“Mess mate.” It was the first words Jane had spoken in days. All eyes turned to her, but she never took her eyes off the approaching boat.

“What’s that?”

Mess mate. That’s what they call it.” She glanced up only long enough to take in the scowls on their faces. “She’s right. He’s got no more interest in men than women, but he’s not a eunuch. He’s got religion.”

“What’s that got to do with it?” Sally challenged, baring her teeth.

Jane merely shook her head. “Brody is worried about his eternal soul.  You remember Fox. You saw the way he cut open Crandall and let the sharks finish him off. Brody isn’t a killer, at least not yet. Brody lets his maker lead him. He keeps everyone in line with prayer and his rules. He’s got no interest in whores, either bedding them or selling them.”

The other women appeared thoughtful, but Sally was as unmoved as ever. “Then why give us up to Lawford?”

“Lawford can sell us off in Jamaica and pocket the money himself. A month or two from now, Lawford looks the other way when Brody raids some nothing colony up north. Isn’t it obvious?”

A slice of superiority went straight through her at their expressions. She was right and they knew it. They could call Brody whatever they wanted, say he had no taste for women or that his goods had been sliced off, but the truth of it was he was simply smarter than Fox had been.

It was Jessy who spoke next, and her words threw Jane back. “You’ll talk to him, then.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“The way I see it, someone’s got to speak for us, and you’re the only one who hasn’t given him any lip.”

“She’s right,” Mary Ellen seconded, “and you’d be better at it. You can read a little. He’d like that.”

Jane turned back to the water. The dinghy was just below them now. She could almost feel her toes burrowing beneath the surface of the sand to where the substrate was cooler. “Why should I?”

Mary Ellen stepped forward. “Because we don’t want to end up working on some plantation, that’s why, dead before year’s end with some foreign disease.”

“What difference does it make to me? I’d rather drop dead from the work than rot from the inside-out as every man's whore.”

Sally had been silent until now. She grasped Jane’s narrow wrist, her grip strong. “You talk to Valentine or else the next time that lot gets to drinking, I’ll get my hands on one of those broken bottlenecks they leave laying around. The next thing you know you’ll be overboard, still alive when all those sharp teeth tear into you.”

Jane held Sally’s gaze for as long as she could, but she was truly frightened of Sally, who had never exhibited anything but venom in those eyes. She looked to the dinghy below and nodded.

“I’ll talk to him. I don’t see what good it will do. He’s not going to listen to the likes of me.”


He’d been on the ship for half a year before Fox had captured the vessel carrying the women, and from the start it was clear to Jane that Brody was no pirate.

But Brody was a man who had been at sea his whole life and for what? For trying to catch snatches of sleep a few hours at a time, for starving when there wasn’t enough food to go around, and for knowing that this was no life for a man past middle age.

For nothing.

At his sullen post staring off at the horizon, John Brody must have felt those chains that had bound him his whole life falling away. In spite of his eccentricities, his reign had thus far been a success. While the women had huddled together in terror, their personal squabbles forgotten for the moment, Brody and his crew had taken three merchant ships and a slaver with no loss of life on either side. His amendments to shipboard law were hugely popular even if they leaned towards the puritanical. The men got more of the capture than they had under Fox’s regime as long as they were well behaved. The comforts gained more than made up for having to put up with his peculiarities.

Chief among them was forbidding women on board. Jessy had been right: Brody simply wanted them off his ship. The easiest way to achieve this end, as well as reap the rewards sooner rather than later, was to give them up to Admiral Lawford as a gesture of goodwill.

Brody was stretched out in the shade on the very edge of the canopy, stripped of his shirt and stockings, with his wide-brimmed hat covering his face. She stood before him, digging her toes into the sand, debating as to whether his pose could be described as regal or merely apathetic. Neither word seemed to match Brody, who was just simply as he was.

“What is it?”

The hat barked, but the body didn’t move. She noticed a small rip and knew he had seen her coming along the beach.

“I’d like a word with you, Captain.”

“Obviously.” He said nothing for a moment, and then, “well?

She tried to tell herself that he was just a sailor, and so when he shoved up his hat she met his gaze head-on.

“The girls are hoping you’d reconsider passing them off to Lawford and keep to Fox’s plan.”

“Fox is dead.”

“They’re useless for anything other than what brought them here to begin with,” she went on. “Give them to Lawford and they’ll run, and then they’ll be hanging in a month.”

Brody hauled his brawny frame up to sit with his forearms resting over the tops of his knees. Sweat dappled his freckled shoulders and thick neck. “They, they, they – what about you? Aren’t you one of them?”

“I’m a prisoner, yes.”

“But not one of them.”

He narrowed his eyes at her, and Jane looked away. “No, I’m not.”

Brody yanked off his hat to swat an insistent fly away from his crown. “Seems to me you ought to be championing their cause for yourself. You’re a fine-looking woman. You’d have a better time of it than those hard-faced crows.”

Jane said nothing. She could almost feel the sharp edge of glass as Sally dragged it across her throat.

Brody regarded her a moment longer, and then rolled to his feet. She kept her eyes down, concentrating on the twin spots of white sand that had stuck to his breeches.

“Your crime, what was it?”

She hesitated and he stepped closer, so close that his toes almost touched hers and she could feel the heat baked into his skin radiating off of him.

“I took something that wasn’t mine. I was caught.”

“How unfortunate,” he said dryly. “I don’t see what’s in this scheme of Fox’s for me.”

“You seem to be a man of principle,” she said quickly as he began to circle her. “If the other women go to a brothel, they have a fighting chance of surviving.”

“And you view your fate to be the other way around?”

Again, she kept her silence.

Brody stopped directly behind her. “You’re wrong. I lost most of my principles when I became a pirate.”

“No matter. You’re still a good man.”

He spun her around to face him, and even though she would have preferred to run from him, she met his gaze headlong. The corner of his mouth was turned up into a smile. “You’ve got tongue on you.”

“And I’d like to keep it, Captain.”

“Then there is a pecking order amongst you. Very well. I’ll consider it, if you’ll go to bed with me tonight.”

She couldn’t keep her calm in light of this request, and her tongue was useless. She just gaped at him, opening and closing her mouth until a small sound came out.

He raised his brows and his smirk grew. “I got you there, don’t I? If you can’t lie down and open your legs for me, what makes you think you can make a living at it?”

“Captain, I think that the other girls would--”

He glanced around him, his gaze falling on her companions watching anxiously from the shore. “I’m selective, not to mention discreet. I take one of those saucy bitches to bed with me and I have to put up with a hateful crew because I wouldn’t let them lay a finger on the women. I remember what they were like when Fox would take them, strutting around like queens after he was done with them. I also remember when he took you to his cabin. You didn’t say a word.”

“It was nobody’s business.”

“Nor will this be. We’ll be in Saint Martin by nightfall. I’ll have the women taken into the town and sold, and you’ll stay with me.”

“And where do I go?”

He plopped his hat back on his head. “I don’t know yet. Do we have a deal?”

She pressed her lips together, then decided that this was the end. What difference did it make? She’d been to bed with Fox and had been no worse for wear. In and out, in and out, and that would be the end of it.


Jane simply said that they would be taken to Saint Martin, and that she alone would be given to Lawford.

While the crew went into the town with the women, Patricia was left anchored with a skeleton crew. Jane sat opposite Captain Brody in his cabin. He’d had her brought hot water to wash herself and the rags she had lived in for weeks had been replaced with a paisley gown with short sleeves that had seemed to come from nowhere, and was much too big for her.

He poured out a cup of wine for Jane and water for himself -- he never touched liquor -- and regarded her silently.

“Why did they choose you?”

“They thought you’d like me.”

“I do.” He took a slow sip and then wiped what had dribbled into his beard. “You surprised Captain Fox. He was your first.”

“That’s right.”

“So you know how it works when a woman has something a man wants, yet you seemed so shocked then I struck this bargain. Why?”

She considered her response. “I didn’t think you were interested in women. Or men. I had come to the conclusion that you had never been with either.”

His laughter rumbled about the room. He drank down what was left in his cup and then stood. “It’s been over a year since I’ve been with a woman -- God, I don’t even know your name.”

“It’s Jane.”

“Jane. I told you I was selective. For some men, for all men that sail with me, it’s enough to have a wet hole. I have expectations.”

Brody came around the table and lifted her from her seat, then perched her on the edge of the tabletop. One hand came to rest at the small of her back while the other slipped beneath her skirt. Jane was struck dumb with astonishment and embarrassment as his calloused fingers toyed with her.

Fox had simply spit into his hand to ease the way, and it hadn’t done a lick of good to help Jane. Brody, on the other hand, exercised the patience he was known for. Burning under his gaze, she bit her lip and curled her fingers into tight fists as his thumb worked the tender flesh above her clitoris.

Fighting to draw a breath, she wrapped her fingers around his wrist. She wanted only to be compliant for him, to let him do what he wanted and leave her alone, but with his rough fingers stroking her she found herself lifting her hips to match his rhythm.

“I don’t understand you,” she whispered, then lost her voice as pulse after hot pulse went through her and she saw starbursts.

Her legs shook when he drew back and let her onto her feet. She had to grip the edge behind her to keep from going down and remained silent, stunned and slippery, as she watched him flip open the sea trunk at the edge of his high bed.

She’d heard Sally and the others grumble about Fox’s lack of finesse and how other men had been better, but she hadn’t been clear on exactly what they were talking about. Now she knew.

“So you don’t understand me,” he said at last, his deep voice, creaked with that rustic accent, shaking her alert. He met her gaze as he reached into the trunk. “You will.”

He perched, arm draped over the open mouth of the chest, and she could have swore he blushed. “You might as well get out of that.”

Jane tried to keep calm as she peeled out of the dress, then slipped past him and into the bed. She pulled the blanket up to her nose. It wasn’t that she was afraid of him, but the whole experience had rubbed her nerves raw. He gave her a curious look, then closed the lid on his trunk.

Jane’s heart drummed faster as he rose and pulled his shirt over his head.

He whisked his belt free, but instead of dropping it to the floor like the shirt, he tossed it on the bed. “I don’t want you in the bed. I don’t want you on your back with your legs open. I don’t expect you’ll enjoy this like I will, but I expect you’ll honour our bargain and keep your mouth shut about it.”

He shucked away the last of his clothing and sat, naked, on the edge of the bed. He waited, and Jane got out from underneath the covers and edged closer to him.

His cock was only half-erect. Her confusion must have shown, for he turned onto his knees.

“I’m going to fuck you, but not yet.”

He scuttled to the foot of the bed and turned his back on her to grip the footboard, large feet tucked under his buttocks and his broad back a canvas of welts and marks. He hung his head, turning his face just slightly to regard her out of the corner of his eye.

“Use the belt, to start.”

When his meaning touched home, she jerked. “You want me to beat you?”

Muscles bunched in his enormous shoulders. When he spoke, his voice was so low she had to strain to hear it. “You can do it as hard as you like, or just tap me. I prefer the former. I’d rather you do it lower, on my backside and thighs. The sting is better there.”

Why do you want me to beat you?”

She was suddenly furious with him. It was one thing to warm his bed, and she had to admit she had been looking forward to that part now that she knew what he was capable of with his fingers, but it was another thing to demand this of her.

The man was demented.

Brody straightened and pinned her down with his level gaze. “When I was a young man I’d bedded scores of women, until I met the one who would change me. She was the wife of a former captain of mine. She was like a spider, beautiful to the eyes but deadly to the touch. She set out her conditions: ten strokes before I could lay a finger on her. I’d been whipped enough to see it as punishment. Eva showed me otherwise. I don’t know how I could describe it to you unless you’ve experienced it yourself.”

She was speechless, long enough for Brody to fidget and shadows to set into his face. Finally, she stroked the belt and shook her head.

“Is this what makes you so impenetrable, Captain Brody? I assumed it was drink or some other vice, and when you became captain I deduced it was prayer.”

“In a way, yes, this is my religion and my vice all wrapped in one. I rarely get to indulge in it.” His gaze slid down to the belt between them. “You have small hands, Jane. Fold it over and keep the buckle in your palm.”

She said nothing, did nothing as he continued to stare at her, and then said, “I’d laugh if you didn’t look so serious.”

Black anger flooded his face. Jane picked up the belt and shook her head. “I wasn’t making fun of you. I was just thinking how you want to pay the penalty for my freedom.”

“It’s not a penalty to me,” he growled, and turned his back. “Do it or you’ll be on your back in the brothel tomorrow night.”

He jerked and grunted as she brought the strap down on his arse with a loud crack.

Gasping, he turned his head to look at her, and his surprised expression almost made her smile.

He hadn’t expected her to do it at all, let alone so hard.

“Ten strokes?” she asked, breathless from the wicked exhilaration that filled her as the mark bisecting his buttocks went from pink to red.

He made a low sound of assent and tilted his head back slightly. His hair, scrubbed like the rest of him for their appointment, curled at the back of his neck.

She touched him there, dancing her fingers along the hairline until he shuddered. She liked it. She liked how weak he suddenly became, and how powerful she felt.

Before he could recover she brought the strap down again, silently counting two and then three. The muscles in his backside shuddered and went taut.

Four, and he groaned, low and breathless.

Heat and exertion popped moisture at the small of her back, under her arms and on her brow and upper lip. Between her thighs, she was more slippery than he had left her.

“Have you had enough?” she asked.

He shook his head, his words incoherent. Jane swallowed hard and with her free hand reached between his legs, brushing his heavy balls with the very tips of her fingers and then delved further.

He was sinfully hard now.

“Before I go any further, tell me something: why didn’t you just take me?”

He panted as he spoke. “Why would I? If I took you I wouldn’t get what I wanted. I couldn’t expose myself to you like this. Four more.”

She shoved her hair out of her face. Every inch of her skin prickled as though the blood beneath simmered. His shoulders bunched when she brought down the belt again.

The final four strokes were the most viscous. With each lick of pain, Brody’s skin rippled, almost as though he was taking on another form beneath.

Brody straightened up.  He shook as he turned, his pallor ruddy and his lids heavy. His nostrils flared as he heaved to draw a breath.

The atmosphere in the cabin sticky and stifling. After a suffocating silence, a thread of unease went through her and she asked, “You said you wanted the belt to start. What now?”

His gaze swept down over her body and he reached out.

Jane caught his wrists and squeezed down, testing his compliance. It endured as she pushed him down. He went easily, and she swung her legs over to straddle his thighs.

Excitement crackled at the tips of her fingers as she raked them over a chest just as marred as his back. With the tip of her finger she followed the line of a thin welt. “Did your women make these?”

He bobbed his head and expelled a puff of air. “Men, too.”

“One of your crew?”

“Never. I told you, I’m discreet.”

Jane bent over him and brushed her nipples over his mouth. First came the tongue curling around the hard peak, licking circles until she was shaking. Then came his teeth, grazing to start and then pinching and tugging. Jane felt the sting everywhere, zipping under her arms and to her toes, swirling in her belly.

She moved just enough so that the head of his cock brushed the hot mouth of her cunt. His prick twitched and he lifted his hips so that the length slid between her wet lips.

The strain of hovering over his body was agonizing. The backs of her thighs screamed from the strain. Her arm ached where she held herself up, but she wouldn’t relinquish this control over Brody for anything.

Jane knew then what Brody had felt when he'd taken charge of Patricia. Her whole life had been spent on the bottom rung, and here was a man who wanted only to be owned by her, even if it was for a little while.

After this, she would gladly break her back working for someone who looked at her as though she was no better than an insect. This would be the thing she carried with her always, tucked deep down until she needed it most.

She went upright, dragging his hands with her, and bound his wrists with the belt. Brody pressed his lips together and drew his legs up behind her, and Jane shuddered as she took every magnificent inch.

It had hurt with Fox, even after the first time. She’d been too dry and too tight, but with Brody there was nothing but a slick passage for his cock.

Curving her back and tugging the belt, she leaned forward until only the head corked her. Her hair fell around her face and her breath came in hot gusts. Brody’s low growl penetrated her to the bone.

She felt so savage her teeth ached. Gripping the strap of leather with two hands, Jane started to move.

The first few thrusts were guarded. Her body still anticipated the discomfort she had known with Fox but it never came, not even when Brody pushed up and went balls deep.

It was glorious, this being filled and stretched.  It wasn’t the same as when he had used his fingers. No, this was a different sort of friction. It became evident that each stroke created a ripple that ran through her, each a little stronger than the next.

She moved faster, using the leverage from the belt to push and pull.

Brody’s panting and grunting turned to moans. His gaze remained upon her, seeing but not seeing. He had slipped into some other world. He shifted his legs behind her, and the next thing Jane knew she was being propelled upward with a thrust of his hips.

Soon she, too, was letting loose the sounds of her pleasure. The sticky sweat at the back of her neck now ran rivulets down her back. She needed to breath, to draw a good breath to replenish what was lost.

But mind and body ignored all of these needs, instead focusing on the sweet pressure building in her abdomen.

“Lean forward,” Brody said suddenly, “you’ll feel my cock better that way.”

Gripping the belt for leverage, she followed his command and gasped. The thrill that was spawned where his cock rubbed her ran straight up her spine and back down again.

Oh,” was all she could say before it happened again, ten times more powerful than the first.

Her vision of Brody, his face red and teeth bared, washed with white and red. She held on as while Brody pounded her from below, gasping with wave after wave of heaven that rolled over her.

And then it was Brody’s turn. He shook from her grip and clamped his hands over hers, squeezing hard as he surged.  She was wetter than ever, gushing as her inner walls contracted around his cock, and then came his deluge jetting against her.

Unable to stay upright a moment longer, Jane sagged down, her cheek pressed to his slick chest. Beneath her, Brody seemed to deflate.

There they stayed, long after each had caught their breath. The silence ended when Brody chuckled. “My cock is still hard.”

Jane lifted her head and was struck by how handsome his smile was when not accompanied by a caustic remark. She returned it, and in that moment felt a kinship with him that startled her.

As she climbed away from him, he muttered something she didn’t at first catch. “What?”

He scowled. Beads of sweat on his brow joined and trickled down his nose. “It’s nothing.”

“Tell me.”

“I said, I was right. You’d be of no use in a brothel.” What felt like stabbing rejection must have shown on her face, for he immediately peddled back. “What I meant was, you’re cut from a different cloth. You’d be no good only giving pleasure. You need to take it.”

She was far too flustered to offer any thanks, and so she scuttled underneath the covers as he threw his legs over the edge of the bed. Neither said a word. Jane lay in turmoil, the reality of her situation returning and mingling with the unreality of what had just transpired between them. Brody simply yawned and rolled his shoulders, then turned to her.

Brody tugged the belt free, and his wrists were left with a red band, not half as angry as the ones cutting across his buttocks.

She stared at him, admiring his physical fortitude in the breadth of his shoulders, his hard thighs and calves, and at the same time marveled at the marks she had left on him. She couldn’t reconcile his whim to be a sign of weakness, and remembered what he had said about this pleasure-pain being his religion, his liberation.

This she chewed on as he leaned over a basin and splashed his face and neck with cold water. As he began to scrub himself clean, he glanced at her over his shoulder. “Do you really want to live like a slave?”

“Of course I don’t,” she murmured. The blissful moment of watching his movements passed. “I curse myself every day for taking that broach. I realize now that no matter how much money it would have gotten me, it wouldn’t have been worth it. I would have lived in fear that I’d be discovered.”

“How were you caught?”

She rolled onto her stomach and hid her face into the bedding. “I dropped it. In the kitchen, bundling myself up, it slipped from where I had hidden it in my hand and landed at my feet. For a moment, I thought the cook wasn’t going to say anything. She just looked at me with what I thought was pity in her eyes. Then, she took a fistful of my hair and dragged me to the master of the house.”

Brody wrung the cloth in the salty water. “Come over here and let me rub the stink off of you.”

“It’s fine.”

With a shake of his head, he returned to the bed with the cloth in hand. Jane tensed slightly as pushed her hair away from her neck and wiped the sweat from her back.

“I know a man in Lunenburg. He has a houseful of daughters who run everyone ragged. He can’t keep them. If he’s willing to take you in, would you go?”

“You’re asking me a question that only has one answer.” Jane rolled onto her hip. “Even if my fate wasn’t in your hands, what else could I do? I can't say no.”

He pressed his lips together and swept the cloth down her body. Jane settled back into the bedding.

She had insulted him. It didn’t matter. Even as her body hummed with the dying energy that had passed between them, she was resigned to her predicament, as hopeless as ever. She was still his to command. A plantation. A grey old house by the sea. He could flip a coin, for all it was worth.

He ran the cloth over her backside. “I was merely trying to be kind.”

“I know you were, but you forget what it’s like to live a hopeless existence.”

“Do I? Isn’t that what I’m living now? I wake up each morning and marvel that my throat hasn’t been cut like Fox’s was. It wasn’t his men who did it, but it could very well have been.”

Jane sucked in a breath as he slipped the cloth between her legs. She was still so sensitive. The brush of his forearm against her inner thighs instantly evoked the memory of his hairy thighs rubbing against hers as she rode him.

She closed her eyes. “I didn’t think it could be like that with a man.”

Brody chuckled. He tossed the cloth on the floor and stretched out next to her, hands behind his head and grin upon her.

“It rarely is for a woman like you.” He propped himself up on his elbows. “This very well may be the first real conversation I’ve had in years. I’m not so sure I’m ready to let you go at all.”

She bit her tongue before she could say what was on her mind. You’re alone in the world, like me. That’s why I’m really here.

Instead, she said, “I had you all wrong, Captain Brody. I thought you were a pious arsehole. You’re just a man.”

He glanced at her, surprise lighting on his face. It was gone in a flash. Laughing, he rolled into his side and dragged her against him. “John. I need you to call me John.”

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