Lady Rebecca Stanhope thumbs her nose at society dictates in regards to finding a suitable husband, instead, stepping in for her father to deliver a shipment to the Colonies after he is killed over a gaming debt. When pirates overtake their ship, Rebecca makes a bargain with their captain. The pirate stipulates that as well as cooperation from the crew, the entire cargo, and a costly necklace, Rebecca must surrender her virtue to him too…
As he reached for her, Rebecca sagged forward, pretending to faint. She slipped her hand into the pocket of the gown and withdrew the pistol. She kept it pressed against her thigh as he knelt to lift her. When he was level with her, she brought it up, pressing the barrel against his crotch. “I shan’t be anything for you. Neither will any woman in future if you push me.”
His eyes widened, but he laughed. It was a cold, disturbing sound. “She is feisty.” His laugh cut off when she pressed the sharp barrel deeper into his genitals.
His expression hardened. “You cannot escape, m’lady. Even if you shoot me, thirty of my loyal men now control this vessel. You will become property of them all, for the rest of your life.” He lifted a brow. “Knowing this crowd, that should not be more than a day.” He held out his hand. “Give me the pistol.”
“I’ll give you the ball,” she said with a vicious jab, satisfied when he winced. Her brain raced, searching for a way out.
Ordering them to leave wouldn’t work, despite having the captain’s privates in her line of fire. Nor would demanding a longboat for the crew, Nora, and herself. She grimaced at the thought forming in her mind, but reluctantly accepted it as her only alternative. Even it was no true guarantee. “I propose a bargain.”
He smirked. “What sort of bargain?”
“The crew and I will remain here in the galley while your men load the cargo. There will be no resistance from us. We will let you leave without a peep of protest.” She held her breath, already knowing he would discard her first offer.
He laughed. “We can buy compliance with the thrust of a sword, m’lady. Offer me something worthwhile, and perhaps we can come to an agreement.”
“I have not finished.” She tilted her chin. “Nora and I are not to be molested by you or your men.”
“Your conditions keep growing, while my rewards diminish. No deal, m’lady.” His announcement was met with a loud round of cheering from his men.
Rebecca’s heart sank as she reluctantly offered her last bargaining chip. “On board this ship is my great-grandmother’s diamond necklace. It is worth three times the value of the contents in the hold.” She swallowed back the tears in her throat, hoping her mother would understand why she had to use the necklace as a bargaining tool. “I was to deliver it to my sister, who lives in Boston. When you have unloaded the cargo and your men are back on your ship, I will hand it over to you.”
“I can find it myself.”
She shook her head. “No, you shan’t. I hid it securely so no one would know I had it onboard. You could tear the ship apart and not find it.” Rebecca kept her eyes fastened on him, trying to project confidence.
The pain in her knees from kneeling on the rough planks was a distraction, as was the faint hint of skepticism remaining in his eyes. “Do we have a bargain?” She hoped so, for her hand was cramping from holding the pistol steady against his genitals.
He seemed to take great pleasure in shaking his head. “It is not enough.”
Her shoulders sagged, though her grip on the pistol didn’t waver. “It is all I have to offer.”
The captain tilted her head up. “There is one more thing, m’lady.”