A hunted pirate captain. A reverend’s daughter determined to bring him down.
On a lush, secluded island, one passionate adventure leads to another….
Diana Fletcher means business. The beautiful, innocent, reverend’s daughter has traveled all the way to a tropical island off Madagascar on a mission: To find her brother—and to punish the man who drove him to a life of piracy. But when she comes face to face with the enemy in question, the handsome, powerfully seductive man is not at all what Diana expected…
Tristan Kent never intended to harm Diana’s brother. A man of humble origins, Tristan claims he tried to save him from another ruthless captain. Diana is desperate to believe he is telling the truth…and that the intoxicating desire that escalates between them is true as well. But can she trust him? Or is Tristan’s story—and his heart—nothing more than fool’s gold? Amid the haze of sensual delights and soaring ecstasy Tristan has in store for her, all will be revealed…
Women hadn’t been born to yield. Women could yield. They might even enjoy doing so, but only with the right man. One they desired. First came desire. Respect and love followed.
She could only deliver her heart to a man like that.
Even if Tristan wasn’t facing the gallows, he wasn’t the one she needed. His skin was warm against hers but what of it. He was handsome as the devil, yet there was the rub, because he was also brutal, violent, taking what he wanted. His mouth on hers was something she refused to consider, though she could hardly forget how he’d spoken calmly when she’d railed. She insulted and he smiled. He claimed she wanted the same as him. Diana did not. She wanted to be home. She needed to be free.
Her eyes flew open. A sound or voice had awakened her. Reclined on her side, she faced away from the door. An oil lamp had gone out, telling her she’d slept far too long, recklessly too.
Oh my God. Peter.
Diana rolled onto her back but didn’t check his mattress, knowing he wasn’t there or in the cabin.
Tristan was. His long legs, muscular calves, and thighs blocked her view of the door. He’d placed his precious book on the table. The volume was safe. She was not.
Before she could push to a sitting position or think to fight, he straddled her, his hands circling her wrists, holding her arms to each side. His touch didn’t harm, at least not yet.
Her heart pounded.
He offered a smile.
How dare he be so smug. “Release me at once.”
He tightened his grip slightly and studied her mouth, then her eyes. “Violet.” Awe flooded his face. “I wondered about your eye color but never expected this.”
She pushed and writhed but did no good against his strength. Breathless, she stopped. “What have you done with Peter?”
Tristan stared at her eyes. “Amazing color, quite beautiful. Fits your dark hair and pale skin perfectly.”
She rammed her thighs into him.
He held her more firmly. “Stop that.”
“Not until you tell me what you’ve done with my brother.” She slammed into him.
He scooted down and trapped her legs. “Peter’s on the main deck with the other men.”
“He’s a child and proved it by helping you escape.”
“This wasn’t his doing, and you’ve no reason to fear for his safety. I have James, my quartermaster, looking after him.”
“A bloody pirate, you mean. The same as you. Perhaps even worse than you.”
“No. James is a good man.” A haunted look touched Tristan’s features before he shook off whatever had troubled him and became casual. “He saved my life. He’ll take great care to watch your brother.”
She wanted to retort but couldn’t reconcile her indignation with Tristan’s previous anguish and the mean scratches she’d left on his cheek. Dried blood had gone black, the surrounding skin swollen and red. “What do you mean he saved your life?”
“Just that, ask no more for I’ll give you no other answer.”
“The only thing I want from you is my freedom.”
He stroked her wrists. “You want the same as me.”
She pushed against him, straining with the effort.
He tightened his grip, proving she wasn’t a match for his strength. If he chose to take her now, she’d have no choice except to allow him what he willed.
She didn’t beg. Wouldn’t. Not to him or any man, including Bishop. They could conquer her body but not her spirit, never her heart. Reconciled to her fate, she grew limp as she could, pulse racing. “Take what you’ve come for and be quick about it.”
“I shan’t be quick, Diana. With you, I’ll never be quick.”
Heat stung her face and throat. “You won’t be the last, either.”
His gray eyes darkened as storm clouds do, danger building in them. “What do you mean?”
“When you’re finished with me, I go to the man to whom I truly belong. Nothing will change that no matter how long you intend to take raping me.”
Despite her harsh words, he didn’t flinch or frown.
“Who is this man with whom you’d willingly lie?”
“Willingly?” She laughed. “You believe I’ve chosen him any more than I’ve chosen you? The fact is you’ve driven me to him.”
“What do you mean? Who is he? Tell me.”
She turned her face away.
Tristan brushed his lips over her cheek and buried his face in her hair.
Her scalp tingled. She could scarcely draw enough air to speak. “I said, be quick about it.”
He took his time, his lips soft and warm against her temple and ear, breath heated and sweet.
She tensed even more, determined to resist.
“Why do you fight me when you want this as much as I do?” He kissed her jaw.
Pleasure rushed through her, delight making her come alive as she never had, the feelings new, troubling, far too exciting. Her lids slid down.
“Tell me who the man is.”
Tristan’s scent surrounded her, surprisingly clean, tinged with musk.
“Tell me, Diana.”
He suckled her neck.
She trembled, an unfamiliar ache building between her legs, tension mounting within her. Flustered, she fought his hold and failed, growing weak from his imposing size. However, she refused to surrender, wanting him to know what he’d done to her. “He’s a wealthy merchant who agreed to help me find Peter if I promised to become his mistress, which I shall.”
“Never.” His breath skipped over her skin. “No one will have you but me.”
She fumed, her previous weakness gone. “You’ll take me. You’ll never have me.”
“Nor will the wealthy merchant. He owns this ship? Is his name Benedict Bishop?”
Tristan kept surprising her, giving her no defense. She pushed against him.
He eased back. “Is that the merchant’s name?”
“Yes. He’s the man to whom I belong.”
“Not any longer.”
In a pirate’s lair, nothing is as it seems . . .
Shipwrecked! When Royce Hastings is found washed up on the shore of a verdant tropical island, he tells the natives he is a merchant headed for Mozambique. The truth, however, is far more mercenary. Noble by birth, the once favored Royce has lost his fortune and family; now he is a hired henchman on the trail of an elusive pirate. His “shipwreck” was a fake. He’ll stop at nothing to infiltrate the island and capture his prey. His mother and sisters’ lives depend on it.
The last thing Royce expects is to be captured himself. But the lovely young woman who tends to his wounds in the tropics quickly takes hold of his heart. Simone is the island’s healer, and her skilled ministrations not only awaken his soul but disturb his conscience. His path has been predetermined; his identity must remain concealed at all costs. Yet the passion he feels in Simone’s sultry, loving arms cannot be denied. With his loyalties torn, Royce must make an agonizing, unthinkable choice. . . .
He squeezed past the door into the shadowed space. Simone’s fragrance surrounded him, the musky undertones muddying his brain.
She sat on the floor in the corner, grains, seeds, and berries to her side, spread out for the pigeons. They poked their heads through the metal slats in their cage and ate like gluttons. Chickens strutted freely, pecking their food.
Simone stood. The hens scattered. “Are you all right?”
Exhausted and aroused. “Fine.”
“You’re bleeding again.”
“Not much. You shouldn’t be doing this.”
Her chin trembled. “What? Speaking to you? Asking questions? You want me to be silent and unseen?”
He longed to be in her arms, comforted and warmed. Anchored to all the good he’d never really known. Her words proved true. This island had wonderful people. The best life had to offer. Nothing he deserved. “You’re a healer, not someone who tends chickens and birds. Peter should be doing this. Is he a lazy boy?”
She lowered her face, hiding her smile. “A surly one. He thinks he knows everything. Too many times, Diana has promised to thrash him.”
“Good for her. A proper man needs manners. Let me help you.” Eager to reach her, he strode recklessly.
A hen flapped its wings, going right and left to escape his crutch, its squawk ear-piercing. The other chickens scattered, many getting in his way. He twisted to keep from falling.
“Take care.” Simone slipped her arm around his waist, her precious breast pressed to his side.
Surrendering to loneliness and enchantment, he leaned in, his face to her hair. The English countryside couldn’t compete with her blessed scent. Nature had met its equal in her. He nuzzled her glossy tresses. No matter how wrong and irrational his desire, for some reason he’d found home at her side.
Pity he’d managed that too late.
He should have moved away but hadn’t the will.
She guided him to a bed nearly as large as the one in his chamber. This lavish room, like his, boasted a marble floor and whitewashed walls. A lovely place for a new life to take its first breath.
She laid his crutch to the side. “Sit before you fall.” Gently, she pushed him on the silk-covered mattress.
He made a show of falling down.
Her laughter pealed through the room.
Royce feigned insult. “Are you making light of me?”
His laugh produced happy tears. “Have you no pity for a poor cripple?”
“I have never seen a stronger man.” She held her hands behind her, breasts thrust out, and swayed her hips slowly.
Aphrodite in the flesh. “Is that what you think of me?”
“What I know. You survived a storm that nearly tore our isle from the earth and flung it into the sky. You are no mere man. You are close to a god.”
He was a liar when honor demanded he do nothing to ruin anything here. He was a besotted fool when duty required he see to his family. His mother and sisters had no power to liberate themselves. Without his help, Katie, especially, would know nothing except a life spent in hard labor, cowering at harsh words, dreading the next beating or something equally horrible.
Simone cupped his face. “What is it? Is the pain bad again?”
The worse a man could face. Having to choose between angels: the one in here now with him, or those in his family who he’d been trying to save.
COMING IN DECEMBER
In paradise, the only limits to passion lie in your imagination . . .
After a life filled with hardship, landing on a lush tropical isle is heaven on earth for mariner Heath Garrison. And it comes complete with two angels who bring out the very devil in him. Identical twins Netta and Aimee are guileless and seductive, living and loving without jealousy. Days of longing, nights of carnal bliss make choosing one over the other seem impossible, but hungering for both sisters is taboo.
Aimee and Netta’s devotion to each other helped them survive the vicious pirates who overran their home. Will a virile Englishman come between them now? When their enemies return, determined to vanquish the islanders for good, Heath races to save them along with his countrymen. But survival will bring a choice—between the life Heath has known, and a love that changes all their destinies . . .
“We need more bread and fish.” Aimee stood and grabbed Netta’s hand. “Help me with the trays.”
Royce cleared his throat loudly.
Even if he’d threatened Aimee with his pistol, he wouldn’t have stopped her.
She tugged Netta inside the house and pulled her toward the liquor supplies rather than the kitchen.
Netta resisted. “What are you doing?”
“Seeing to our future since you refuse to.”
“Is this about Heath? It is. No. Release me.”
“In time.” She patted Netta’s hand. “You want him. Never lie about that. I know the truth.”
“That I accept my fate? I have and intend to live alone. I will never have a husband. No children either. Or—”
“How wrong you are. Promise not to leave my side no matter what happens.”
Netta cringed. “What do you plan to do?”
“Give me your word and stay by my side at all times. Do as I do. Please.”
“You ask too much.”
“I only want your happiness and mine. Quiet.”
They’d reached the small storage room lit by a lone oil lamp. The bobbing flame couldn’t eat away the shadows. Stuffy air intensified the musty odor.
Heath spun around and stared. His eyes shone golden in the scant light. Moisture gleamed on his throat and brawny chest.
Words failed Aimee. Her need proved too great to deny. She cupped his bristly cheeks and brought his mouth to hers.
He inhaled sharply.
Sagged against him, she drowned in his heat, savored his scent, and parted her lips.
His tongue filled her and explored.
She did the same with him. The tastiest food had never satisfied as he did, his clean taste indescribable and pure man. The same as his whiskered cheeks rasping hers. No weapon could have made her feel safer than he did. He gentled his brute strength and held her carefully.
Her ears buzzed. She came alive as she never had, wreathed her arms around his shoulders, and pressed close.
The prominent bulge between his legs nudged her mound. Her sex responded and grew damp, congested, wanting of him.
The same as Netta’s surely did. Aimee knew her sister too well to believe anything else. Reluctant to leave his embrace, Aimee nevertheless pulled away and snatched what breath she could.
Her moisture shone on his lips. Carnal hunger burned in his eyes.
She stepped aside and left him to Netta. The only woman she would ever share him with.
* * * *
Netta had always believed the moment Aimee and Heath embraced, she’d bolt and would banish their intimate moments from her mind.
Her legs barely supported her. Unable to flee, she froze.
Heath pulled her into his arms and claimed her lips, his mouth hard yet tender, his beard-roughened skin more balm than irritation.
She drove her fingers into his thick, silky hair and suckled his tongue. Complete madness. This couldn’t last. She should have strangled Aimee for pushing her past temptation until she couldn’t control herself.
Netta’s tongue played with his then forced it from her mouth so she could fill him.
He made an amused sound and allowed her what she willed.
Her smile touched his.
If Netta could have decided the future, she would have joined him and Aimee in his mud house, worn his marriage collar proudly, and given him the sons all men craved. Daughters too. He only had to want her as she did him.
She’d lied about surrendering to her fate. From his first night on the isle, she’d yearned for a kind word, a loving touch, respect, acceptance, this.
He deepened their kiss. His chest crushed her breasts. He pushed his magnificent sex against her mound. They shared each breath. Their hearts beat as one.
Lightheaded, she tore her mouth free and gulped air.
Aimee joined them.
* * * *
None of Heath’s bawdy dreams had matched this.
Aimee kissed his throat, Netta his chest, their lips softer than velvet, tongues wet. Even the sun couldn’t match their heat. They smelled of flowers, clean skin, an ocean breeze, a summery day. Life at its best.
Pity if he had to die for these few moments.
Muted laughter and music sounded from the courtyard. No growls or orders from Royce. Yet. Once he happened by this room, the accusations and threats would surely come.
Heath would deal with them when he had no other choice. He pressed his toes into the cool marble to keep still so Aimee and Netta wouldn’t come to their senses and leave.
They all should, though together, and remain that way throughout the night and tomorrow, perhaps the following weeks. This confined space wasn’t large enough for him to take them fully or repeatedly unless they stood. Only a bedchamber would do. There were certainly enough in the mansion.
Though besotted, he wasn’t mad enough to invade Tristan and Diana’s home. That left his mud house or the surrounding forest. The trees were closer. He should suggest them.
Netta captured his mouth and slipped her tongue inside, blocking any possible words. He suckled her deeper then took command and filled her mouth instead.
She slumped against him, a prisoner to his will.
Aimee kissed his scarred back and stroked his ass and thighs.
His hair stood on end. Her touch branded him, the same as Netta’s mouth. He swayed into one then the other, unwilling to neglect either, unsatisfied because he couldn’t get closer.
They bumped into a rack. Glass tinkled. A broken bottle would cut their feet and put an end to enjoyment.
He pulled away to warn them to take care.
Aimee slanted her mouth over his. Netta cupped his balls and stroked his cock.
Delight barreled through him, impossible to contain. He shot to his toes.
They followed. Aimee enjoyed his mouth. Netta unfastened his breeches and stroked his thick curls.
His cock stiffened so much his skin stung. His balls ached. Nothing on God’s good earth seemed more fitting than taking them here and now without end.
Feet slapped the hall floor.
Fear slammed into him. Not for himself. Netta and Aimee. No telling what their people would think of one man with two women. Heath being English only made matters worse.
He twisted away from Aimee and grabbed Netta’s hand, or rather what remained of it.
Heath should have let go but couldn’t. Up close, the injury was far worse than he’d dreamed. Three fingers and a good portion of her palm were gone leaving only her thumb and forefinger. Whoever mutilated her had used fire to sear the wound, resulting in ragged edges no longer charred but grayish white against her rich brown skin.
He couldn’t hide his horror at what she’d endured.
Tears slid down her cheeks. She yanked her hand away and dashed from the room.