A muscular midnight stallion raced towards the docks, urged on by his rider. The pirate held
Emma tight in his arms as they galloped. She didn’t try to fight, knowing that at the speed they were going, they could both be thrown and killed. She twisted her head back to watch the road behind her.
Her captor saw the motion and squeezed her stomach a little tighter. “No one is going to come after you, love. You're mine now.” He laughed and kicked horse into a gallop.
Emma hated to agree with him, but as she watched the road no one came into view. Where were the boys?
Too quickly, the docks came into view. A group of shabbily dressed men sauntered and shoved their way down onto the dock. Several of them saw her, sitting straight and tall, in Marcus’s arms and whistled.
A man stepped forward. “Captain?”
“Hold her while I dismount.”
Emma breathed in sharply and slid down into the arms of Toby. He held her tightly, but it was only for his boss and she could tell he knew that by the way he held her. Marcus swung down. “Crey, stable him.”
A young man nodded and slipped his hand through the reigns.
Emma watched him. He was barely more than a boy. Probably only twelve or thirteen. He glanced at her, grinning, then threw a reverent look in Marcus's direction. Swiftly he led the horse towards a shelter nearby.
“C’mon, love.” He took her arm and none too gently pushed her up the gangplank. She stared ahead in a daze, allowing him to lead her on. He took her to his cabin and shut the door.
Emma’s demeanor changed. She knew she had once chance. She turned to him fiercely. “Listen Mr. Pirate and listen good. I am a rich, married socialite. My family has lots and lots of money and if you let me go without laying a hand on me, I will make sure you are well compensated. My husband and two brothers are sure to follow me, and they will fight and kill you. All three of them are well trained in swordplay. Just let me go, and you will be rewarded.”
Marcus stared at her. A smile crept across his face. He stuck his head out the door and yelled, “Prepare to set sail, gents!” Then he turned to
Emma. “I have an idea of my own, love. You stay here for one year. If you still wanna go home after that, I will take you. You don’t have much choice.” He studied her.
“Cap’n. We need to set a course.” A man’s voice penetrated the thick wooden door.
“Coming.” Marcus left her in the cabin.
Emma sat down in the corner of the tiny room. The ship lurched and she scraped her hand against the rough planks trying to stay upright. Wedging herself in between the corner and the captain’s trunk, she settled in for a long, uncomfortable night.
The rattle of musket fire startled her awake. Slowly, she managed to crawl out of her narrow sleeping space to peek out the porthole. The Lady Luck was alongside another ship. She could see the puff of smoke from guns being fired from both sides.
In a few short minutes, the battle was over.
Emma heard Marcus give an order to board the merchant ship and the pirates surged across planks between the ships. They took prisoner the remaining opponents, tying them up around the mast. Then they plundered the ship. The other ship was carrying spices from India, tea from England, silks from China, wine from Italy, furs from America...it had just finished its cruise and was heading home with its goods. Marcus laughed as he saw all the loot aboard. He gave the order to stow it all in the hold. After emptying the merchant ship of all its cargo, the pirates returned to their ship. Marcus pulled a small pistol from his belt with a flourish. Emma realized what he was going to do, and turned her head away feeling sick. Four sharp reports later, the Lady Luck sailed away, laden with the precious goods.
The captain returned to his cabin. “G’morning. Sleep well?” he grinned tauntingly. She didn’t deign to answer him. “I have to go see to my wounded. Do you know anything about medicine?”
“I do, but I won’t help you. You just murdered several men in cold blood. I have no respect for men such as you.” She stood regally.
Marcus’s face hardened. Roughly, he pinched her arm between massive fingers. “You will help if I say you will. I’m the captain around here.” He shoved her through the cabin door towards the hold.