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BOOK 2: Scuttle

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To those of you who read PLUNDER back in 2015 when I first posted it to Wattpad and it was still known as THE PIRATE KING & I, those who just found this book through Paid Stories, or anyone in between: thank you! 

If you're looking for more tales of Cade and Ana's adventures, you're in luck. The sequel is called SCUTTLE and it is also complete. I'm posting the blurb and the first part of Chapter 1 below, but you can find the whole book on my profile at rskovach

Instead of planning her wedding, Ana is preparing for war. Captain Alestair "Cade" Kincade has renounced piracy, but he can't yet forgo being a soldier. Despite the risks and against his beloved's wishes, Cade joins the British fleet at the Battle of the Chesapeake and disappears in the melee. Left on the wrong side of victory without a ship or crew, Ana journeys into hostile territory determined to find him. Fearing he's become a prisoner of war in the American Revolution, she uses her few remaining allies to attempt a rescue. Even if she's successful, there's no guarantee he'll be the same man she once knew. She certainly won't ever be the same girl who just a few weeks earlier set sail for the New World. No matter how much Ana wants to deny it, she will have to become the Pirate Queen or die trying.

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Chapter 1: Share of the Bounty

With the passing of each new day, I remember increasingly less about my life before becoming a pirate. In just under two months, the orphan girl from Panama pretending to be an admiral's daughter has – by the grace of God – turned into a gold-stealing thief betrothed to the former Pirate King, sailing to America with a vessel full of buccaneers.

Staring out the window at the frothy waves in the ship's wake, I smile at the memories. The silver brush in my hand – one of the many new gifts from my beloved over the last few weeks – glides through my dark tresses until it snags on a knot.

"Ouch," I mutter before untangling the obstacle with a sigh. This nightly ritual isn't the result of vanity, but necessity. I'm no longer a prisoner, nor even a guest on board the Phoenix Rising, but rather an accepted member of her crew. I mostly tend to my companions' ills and injuries, but I also help out wherever I can. These tasks – like scrubbing the deck, washing dishes, or mending sails – don't care that they leave my hands blistered or my hair an unruly mess after a whole day under a kerchief or hat.

"I thought you'd be in bed by now." Cade enters the cabin after his late-night shift at the helm. He's already undressing as he crosses the room with his long strides, tossing his gray jacket on the floor before unbuttoning his shirt.

These actions have been easier lately because his usual weapons – the dual cutlasses and pistols – are still safely tucked away in the wooden chest at the foot of the bed. There hasn't been a need for them since we set sail from the Bahamas in the company of more than a dozen ships from His Majesty's Royal Navy.

"I wanted to wait up for you, with tomorrow being the big day and all." I place the brush on the sill, but before I can turn toward him, Cade's already behind me.

"Are you still worried?" he whispers into my ear, and my breathing – as per the usual reaction to his nearness – accelerates.

I close my eyes and lean into him, letting my body rest against his, as he wraps his arms around me. "You know I am, and I won't stop until we're sailing eastward again."

He sighs. "You do realize that your actions right now – no matter how noble they may be – will actually put us in more danger tomorrow?"

I try to face him, but Cade's grip is so tight, I'm forced to maintain my position. "How so?" I grimace while watching the moonlight bounce off the small peaks on the water's surface.

"You're a welcome distraction, don't misunderstand." He chuckles. "But if you wanted your captain to be fully rested and alert when we attack the Comte de Grasse's fleet at the Chesapeake tomorrow, then you would have done better to have been neatly tucked under those covers already."

I tilt my head to get a clearer look at his face. Just as I expected, he's smiling. "So, I'm the evil temptress, then?" I wrinkle my nose. "Perhaps you'd like to call me Eve and just blame all of your sins on me, sir?"

He squeezes me even tighter, pressing his bare chest against the thin fabric of my nightgown. "Aye. That would certainly make things easier, wouldn't it? But I'm afraid I'm going to have to take personal responsibility for all of my misdeeds. Including what I'm about to do now."

"Oh." My surprise slips out with a single syllable as Cade lowers his head and presses his lips against the base of my neck. I even jump a little as his whiskers – now grown into a full beard – scratch my skin.

He plants several more warm kisses upward toward my ear, before drawing away. "Forgive me, love. Just say the word, and I'll shave it all off."

I pivot around and touch his jaw line with one hand. "No, of course not." I shake my head. "It's just a bit of a tickle. I'm getting used to it."

He doesn't argue, but looks at me skeptically, so I move my hand upward to just below his left eye. Tracing the line where a scar runs underneath the dark blonde stubble, I smile. "Besides, I know why you prefer it, so please don't do anything just because you think it pleases me."

The mischievous creases beside his eyes that I've come to know so well appear. "Hmm. Are you sure about that exact choice of words?"

Without waiting for me to answer, he pulls me close and clamps his mouth on mine. I automatically rest one hand on his chest, while pushing my fingers of the other past his ear and through his hair. Our tongues – hot, wet, and eager – first chase and then caress each other in this now familiar dance.

I don't know if I will ever get to the point where I feel I could get enough of this man, but I do know it won't be soon. His mere presence makes every part of my body tingle, and his touch drives me wild. I think I must have the same effect on him because his passion continues to be relentless.

Struggling for breath, I throw my head back to give him access to my neck. He takes it willingly, and we both moan in pleasure at the mutual satisfaction from the act. When he slides his hands down my hips, I instinctively grab onto his shoulders. As he cradles my thighs to lift me, I pull myself upward and wrap my legs around his waist.

After raising his head momentarily to locate the bed, he takes a step toward it and sits. Although he tries to remain upright, I playfully push him into a reclining position on the bed and comfortably straddle his body.

"Hmm. This is new." He grins.

I lean forward, holding my face just inches above his. "If you'd rather sleep, Captain—"

He pulls me down and with the momentum, rolls sideways until he's on top of me.

"I'd choose you over sleep any day. Damn the consequences," he says firmly before kissing me again.

I reciprocate while trying to suppress a smile. I've never been so happy in my life as I am when I'm with him.

* * *

That is not the end of the first chapter and there are many more waiting for you in Book 2 of The Pirate King series: SCUTTLE. Check it out on my profile at rskovach

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