Chloe Adderley is on the run from an unwanted marriage and a father who is far more dangerous than she realizes.
Her grandmother's house in Italy seems the best place to go. She will pretend to be a governess, and hire a ship to take her there. It is a flawless plan. When she is attacked and knocked unconscious, however, she never suspects that the man who finds her will mistake her for a harlot.
Captain Darion Bannon is dismayed to discover that the unconscious woman he has taken aboard is actually an innocent lady. Darion, a privateer for the Sons of Liberty, finds himself arrested for piracy, as the Crown calls it, and must fight to keep the woman he loves in the face of a cruel prison and transportation to the Colonies. Will their love survive the cruel twists of fate?
Hearing the sound of heavy boots drawing near to the door, she ran to the bed. Quickly, she covered herself with the blanket and thrust the blade into the folds. She closed her eyes as she heard the soft clicking of a key entering the lock as though it were telling the story of her doom. Her ragged breathing seemed too loud. She held her breath.
She heard someone come in, and the door locked again. She continued to be patient, her pulse went wild, but she remained still. Finally footsteps came toward her, and a hand touched her face softly.
Now or never!
She slid the knife out of the covers as quick as she could. The covers fell away from her breasts, exposing them to the cold air. The peaks went rigid, and a blush covered her skin. Ignoring this fact as best she could, she thrust the tip of the blade against his throat.
She gasped as she met the eyes of the man in front of her. She seemed to be peering into two dark pits that were sucking her in. Her eyes left his and glanced over the rest of him. He was not what she had expected.
She thought that she would be faced with a repulsive, putrid seaman with dirty hair and a long beard, perhaps even an eye patch. She was alarmed at his clean clothes and rugged, yet handsome appearance. A scar above his eye gave the impression he wasn't someone to toy with. He was clean-shaven and appeared to be freshly scrubbed. A very masculine smell emanated from him, like salt, leather and sweat. It made her want to put her nose to his skin and breathe deep.
She chided herself inwardly for the wicked thought. Trying not to show the fear and excitement which raced through her, she took a breath. She amazed herself as she held the knife steadily in her hands.
"Release me right now or I shall slice your throat, you cad. I'll not accept your hands on me again."
He perused her with an infuriating smirk.
"You sure are a feisty little trollop," he said.
"Put down the knife. I intend to pay when I have need of your services."
She tried to appear confident, ignoring his words.
"Give me my clothes, take me to the dock, and let me go, or I'll kill you!"
Her eyes stared into his and didn't flinch. Heart pounding as though it would erupt from her chest and flee from the room, she tried to breathe steadily. Her hand shook slightly with the dread that coursed through her veins. She was not certain what scared her more, that she was at his mercy, or that she found the thought exhilarating.
He ogled her exposed breasts.
"I rather like you like this." He smirked, causing her blush to deepen.
How dare he stare at her in this indecent manner! She glanced down for a second to jerk the sheet up around herself, realizing her mistake at once. He grabbed her hand and twisted. The knife slipped from her grasp.
Wrenching her other hand back, he held them behind her, forcing her breasts into his chest. The friction of her nipples against the rough material of his shirt sent waves of pleasure through her. She struggled to get away, not just from the man, but from the feelings. They confused her and drew her mind from her struggles.
He pulled her up with him as he stood, the hard length of him pressing against her softness. The blanket fell away, exposing the rest of her ivory body. She strained to keep her legs together in an attempt to protect her vulnerability.
He towered over her; the top of her head came well below his chin. Stronger also, much stronger than he seemed. His lankiness was a facade, for the muscles bulged through his shirt as he held her in a vice-like grip. Dragging her with him as though she were a rag doll, he shook his head resolutely.
"You want to play a game, harlot? Good, we'll play."