Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wordy Wednesday - Sin & the Sea

Proven fact: You can never have too much pirate in your life. Unless, maybe, you're like trapped by Somali pirates or something. Don't do that. Have some fictional, hot pirates instead, 'k?

Here's a snippet from Sin and the Sea, my contribution to the Treasured Love box set.

Warm wind coaxed Sinda Pound’s hair from the knot at her neck. The silvery moon cast light on the dark waves slapping the hull of the Blackest Sin. Now and then, the salt spray burned her eyes. She licked her lips, savoring the taste. At her right hip, the weight of her cutlass tapped her calf as the wind picked up again. She traced the engravings on the hilt while she leaned on the deck rail.
Blackest Sin pulled against the anchor mooring it in the harbor like an anxious horse awaiting a long run. Tension pulled Sinda’s shoulders up toward her ears. Patience had never been her strong suit, though she’d had years to hone it.
She rested her hand against the railing. In the darkness, it was nigh impossible to make out anything happening at the river’s mouth. The crew had purposely anchored at the edge of the harbor to make their presence less noticeable.
A bitter smile curled her lips. As though anyone will attempt to rescue Reginald King.
More likely they’d throw a parade in her honor for the treachery he committed daily. She’d done New Orleans a favor by executing the fat bastard’s adduction. It had taken hours to pull him from the city down river to the sea. She feared her men would be caught before the kidnapping was complete. Nevertheless, she had to take the risk.
A spec of light too orange to be the moon’s heavenly glare beamed toward the ship.
She whistled at one of the men—the signal to haul the anchor in so they could get moving the moment the longboat reached the port side. He shouted at the others. After a moment, the grinding chain drowned out the splash of water.
The lantern light drew closer. It swayed as the longboat strained against the swells that would pull it back to shore if not for the dedicated rowers.
She’d waited for this night. Dreamed about it, planned her dialogue, the efforts it would take to bring Reginald to her ship. He couldn’t know how often she’d thought of him. First with terror that he’d find her, but as the years passed, she’d longed to drag him through hell.
Revenge lay just beyond her fingertips.
She paced as the six men who’d gone to capture King boarded her ship, then helped haul the longboat from the water.
The last person to spill onto her deck was a man wearing a hessian fabric bag over his face. His hands were bound and his damp clothes clung to his frame. He stumbled into Sarkozi as the ship lurched on a swell.
Sinda clutched the hilt of her cutlass hard enough to make her hand ache. She glared at the men sent to retrieve her foe. “This isn’t King.” Her voice barely rose above the rush of water at the ship’s sides.
Poe, Radford, Ezekiel, James, Baudin, and Sarkozi were among her most trusted. Her father’s most loyal. The bravest, the most capable. Yet they’d failed her. No way this broad shouldered man was her fat, stinking, stealing enemy.
Rage so strong it gripped her chest like a fist filled her. “What the hell did you bring me a man who isn’t King for?”
Baudin ripped the sack off the man’s head.
“What is this?” Sinda braced her hands on her hips. “What do you think I want him for?” She was about to murder every fool one of them and Baudin was playing games. She despised the Frenchman for it.
Baudin kicked the man behind the knee. The stranger’s legs buckled and he dropped to the wet deck. “Tell her who you are, mon ami.
The man lifted his gaze. Beneath wet, oil tar black hair falling free of the tie at his neck, his dark eyes bore into her. He had a split lip and a black eye. A scrape marred his square jaw. Her boys hadn’t hurt him much, but the effect of the wounds ruined his handsome visage. “Henry King.”
For a moment, the image of him towering above her, sneer on his face, made her blood run cold. But she wasn’t a helpless little girl anymore. Her anger fought the muzzle of surprise. “I didn’t want him. It’s his father I’m after, you idiots.”
Poe fidgeted with his hat. “Sorry, Cap’n.”
She glared at him and he dropped his gaze. It wasn’t that Henry didn’t deserve his fair share of her wrath, but her bloodlust wouldn’t be slaked by him.
“He’s dead.” Henry’s voice betrayed no emotion.
She reeled from the news. “What? How?” Her revenge, stolen from her in a second. A howl of frustration built in her throat. She clenched her teeth to hold it back.
Baudin kicked Henry in the thigh. “Tell her.”
“He was murdered on the street about two months ago. A knife through his throat. Left to drown in his own blood.” No sorrow clouded Henry’s story, only bare fact laid at Sinda’s feet. “Let me go.”
The men standing on deck laughed. It was a fool’s request. They were well outside La Balize, the last township before the Mississippi spilled out into the Gulf. He’d drown if she tossed him overboard. Although, he’d stolen her joy, so perhaps he did deserve a watery grave.
Still, it wasn’t his fault Reginald was dead.
“You know who I am, Henry King?”
He lifted his big shoulders in a fluid shrug. “This is Blackest Sin. They say she’s captained by a woman.”
“Indeed.” She lifted her chin, widened her stance. “Allow me to welcome you aboard, Mr. King. I’m Sinda Pound. Captain of this vessel.”
Doubtful he would recognize her after all this time. She’d been so small and frightened then. Not so now. She had nothing to fear these days. Even the sight of him had only rattled her for a moment.
Henry shook his head. Droplets of water dripped from his hair. “If I had bothered to think of you, it would have been to imagine you dead. Captain of a pirate ship. The world has gone mad.”
“Perhaps it has.” She smirked. “Do you remember the last thing you said to me?”
He dropped his head to his chest.
Sinda drew her cutlass. She used the tip to lift his face. “I take it you recall.”
“I said, ‘you’re less than worthless, and the devil take you’.” He met her gaze. “It seems he did just that.”
If he only knew. “Why did you say it?”
The crew stared at them soundlessly. Waiting to hear why a man would condemn a little girl with such a hard curse.
“I don’t remember, Sinda—”
Poe kicked Henry’s back. “Captain Pound.”
Henry flinched. “I can’t say I remember, Captain.
She gritted her teeth. He didn’t remember? He’d raged for an eternity over her actions. Screamed that it should have been her who’d been trampled beneath the wheels of the carriage instead of his dog. He’d blamed her for luring it into the street. After his yelling ceased, he’d shoved her into the road, into the path of a carriage not unlike the one that ended the dog’s life. She’d stumbled out of the way just in time to avoid the same fate, but his words, cruel and sharp, stuck in her mind like knives.
Reginald King’s blood surged through her captive’s veins. The man she hated with such passion was beyond her reach. Her crew hadn’t let her down. They’d given her a gift.
“Then my duty is to remind you of our past. To help you relive what a remarkable time I had living beneath your father’s roof. At his mercy. I only hope my hospitality would satisfy him.”
“You planned to kill him.” For the first time, Henry appeared worried. “But in his stead, I will suffice.”
“Indeed.” She licked her teeth as she smiled at him. “Poe, Sarkozi, take our guest to his new quarters. Leave him bound. I’ll see to him shortly.”
She sheathed her cutlass and grinned as her men dragged Henry below the deck. He didn’t fight, but neither did he cooperate with their progress.
The night had taken an unforeseen turn, but it had worked to her advantage in the end. What more could she ask for? It had taken years for her protests to reach her foster father’s ears. For him to understand she truly wanted Reginald’s blood. Years longer to plot his demise. Perhaps Henry wasn’t quite as good, but his death would suffice.
Sinda strolled to her quarters. Though she’d promised him she’d be along she planned to let his fear play with his mind.

Edit: Surprise! It's available exclusively on Amazon. Get for 99 cents or free on KU!

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