An Excerpt From: CAPTAIN’S PRICE
Copyright © LYLA SINCLAIR, 2010
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing,
I stood trembling on the
deck at my moment of truth, having no one to blame but myself. After weeks
of success in my masquerade—only one
short week from my destination, I’d done the unthinkable.
I’d acted like a female.
And now Captain Drew Price—who’d
taken no notice of me up to this point—stared down at me as though I were
some bizarre creature that had flopped up on the deck from the depths of
As I attempted to force
down the fear threatening to overtake me, I focused on the fact that at
this proximity, I could finally see the color of his eyes. At home, I might
have been able to create the shade with my paints if I’d mixed blue and
green and gray. His eyes were the color of the ocean.
I watched a muscle twitch
in his bronzed jaw. His sun-touched chestnut hair blew in the gentle breeze
as everyone on the ship went deadly quiet, waiting for his verdict.
Onboard, the captain is judge, jury and executioner.
Captain Price ran a tight
ship and tolerated no misbehavior of any kind from his men. And what was I?
Not truly one of his men, yet not a paying passenger. My bravery suddenly
abandoned me and my eyes dropped to his long, lean trousers.
My untimely unveiling had
been caused by that clown they called Jeebers—though
I felt certain his mother hadn’t bestowed that name upon him. He’d sneaked
up behind me as I was swabbing the deck and attempted to pull down my
breeches. Before I’d had a moment to think, I’d squealed, turned and slapped
him across the face. The moment I made contact, I realized my mistake.
This was just one in a
long line of pranks from the other seamen, since I was a “new boy”. I’d
played my role to perfection through everything, until now…until this. I could have hit him with the
mop or simply grabbed at my breeches, but no. I’d slapped him.
Afterward, Jeebers had stared at me in shock, holding his palm to
his cheek. Everyone on the deck went silent until a voice called out, “He’s
a woman!” or something of the sort. The ship’s occupants began stepping
closer to examine me, both the seamen and the whores, the latter of whom
were part of the cargo being transported to America.
And as one voice after
another confirmed the assertion, I watched Captain Drew Price leave the
helm and walk toward me with measured steps, his eyebrows lowered, his lips
pursed, as though our all-knowing, all-confident captain was giving himself
time to decide what to do if the shouters turned out to be correct. When he
stopped in front of me and peered into my face, I hoped he couldn’t see my lower
“Boy…remove your shirt,” he commanded after several long seconds.
“I cannot, Captain,” I replied, no longer bothering to
change my voice or manner of speech.
watched his eyes grow stormy as he pulled his sword from his sash and
pointed the blade at my chest. An instant later my shirt hung open and the
bindings on my breasts dropped away.