It’s considered unlucky to have a woman on board ship, so Lavinia was desperate that her true identity wasn’t discovered. Her baggy clothes were just as filthy as the other sailors while her hair was cut to shoulder length, tied back with a leather thong and hidden under a saggy woolen hat which she wore low on her brow.
Most of her time on the voyage she’d been swabbing decks and polishing the brass work. She had taken her brother’s place in the crew of the Swallow when he’d been run down by a waggon and horses, leaving their mother with mouths to feed but no income. Lavinia barely spoke, responding mutely to orders, she kept her head down and retired to her bunk as early as possible every night. Lord! But the work was hard, her hands were raw from scrubbing and the bitter wind.
“Ship ahoy” a voice drifted down from the crow’s nest and every pair of eyes swiveled towards the horizon; the shape of a sailing vessel was heading in their direction. Unless the other craft was also from England, this meant trouble, so the crew hustled to load the cannons and arm themselves with pistols or knives. Lavinia had no clue about fighting or defending herself, but a member of the crew pressed her into helping press the powder down into the cannon.
The other ship was bearing down fast, the wind behind them; Already its crew could be seen poised on deck, looking menacing and ready to surge the moment the Swallow came within reach. Her mouth was dry with fear and her heart pounded but she focused on the task and held her hands over her ears when the fuse was lit and the canon blasted out a lead ball, which hit the water in front of the pirate ship causing no damage at all or impeding its onslaught.
Within minutes the other ship crashed into the side of the Swallow, impact making the timbers of the ship groan and several sailors, including Lavinia, fell over. The sailors began to roar and yell, engaging the pirate crew from the other ship in hand to hand combat as they swarmed onto the Swallow. They hung from the rigging, knives clutched between their teeth before dropping on the deck to grapple with the rival sailors. Shots were fired, cutlasses clashed; Lavinia made plans to get out of sight, seeking a route below deck. She saw her moment and dashed, ducking behind a mast she stumbled over a man, dead or dying – she couldn’t tell but his eyes were wide open – his throat a gaping slash of bloodied flesh.
Lavinia half sobbed, half gagged, stumbling through the hatch and down the ladder. Hastening along the lower decks with their swinging lanterns she had no clue where to hide. Heart thundering and legs like jelly, she cast around for a tiny cupboard to lock herself into. A huge paw grabbed her from behind and pulled her hard against a chest of iron, whose owner gripped her tightly, a knife blade grazing her neck.
“Captain’s cabin,” a deep voice growled menacingly and she felt a knot of fear tighten in her belly. She pointed in the direction of the Captain’s quarters, but he grunted. “Show me,” and released his hold on her so she moved ahead, leading the way. Swinging the door open she surveyed the room with awe, the Captain was surrounded with style and comfort, no slung hammock for him!
The pirate set about searching the maps and paperwork on the Captain’s desk, pulling out drawers and dumping their contents on its surface. His frustration increased when he didn’t find anything of value, he was grunting and growling, not watching Lavinia who’d begun to edge away.
“Where the fuck is the gold?” his deep voice rising with escalating anger, he crashed his large fists down on the littered surface, then spun round and fixed her with a penetrating stare, his dark brown eyes flashing with emotion. Lavinia froze, suddenly feeling a strange spasm between her legs and a flush flooding up her throat, the power emanating from this man made her oddly lightheaded.
“You! Boy! Help me search for it.” He crossed to her in two large strides and grabbed the back of her neck, inadvertently dragging the wool beanie off her head. He searched her face curiously. “What’s your name?”
Lavinia panicked, she tried to make her voice deep and husky as she responded “Vinny”.
He looked at her puzzled. “How long you been sailing?”
“4 months,” she kept her answers short, not trusting her voice to pass as male.
He studied her more closely then pulled his knife from the broad leather belt at his waist, he trailed it slowly up the front of her chest while Lavinia stood rigid and terrified, yet strangely thrilled at his close attention to her. He gripped the front of her filthy shirt and yanked it apart, making Lavinia yelp with shock. Her chest was wrapped around several times with a length of unbleached calico, a trick she’d devised to disguise her breasts. The pirate used his knife to cut through the fabric and when her twin orbs sprang free his expression became one of lust.
“I knew my cock wouldn’t steer me wrong!” he leered at the dainty tips of her nipples which his knife had exposed. “You’re a wench!” With a kick to the door of the cabin he began to advance on Lavinia, making her back up in the direction of the Captain’s bed.
Lavinia’s head told her to be afraid, this man was savage and lawless and she’d never lain with a man, but there was a heat between her legs which made her want to!
He bent his dark head to her rosebud nipples and licked and suckled at them til sensations spiralled out of them and down to her cunny in a burning trail, making Lavinia gasp with delight. As he teased her aureola he grasped the buckle of the belt which fastened her oversized trousers and they dropped to the floor, revealing her her legs, stomach and mons to the gaze of a man for the very first time. A pulse thudded between her legs and Lavinia realised she felt excited rather than shy.