BONUS CHAPTER: When Ana Saved Cade (His POV)

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Cade's POV of Chapter 8

Slamming the door behind me, I tug off my soaked breeches and pull on a dry pair. After squeezing the excess water out of my hair, I slip into a clean shirt and bend over the table in an attempt to make sense of the scattered charts and maps. No matter how much I try to focus on plotting our course east to Venezuela, however, my thoughts return to one thing.

Or rather, to one person.

I sigh and ball my hands into fists. Moving away from the table, I walk to the lone porthole in the rear of the cabin. In the wavy, crown glass, I catch a glimpse of my face for the first time since our engagement with the Princesse Margarethe two days ago.

Hardly concerned with appearances, I study my reflection for more pragmatic reasons. Tilting my head to get a clearer view of my left cheek, I gently graze my finger against the fresh scar running from the corner of my eye to the jaw.

I flinch; the flesh is tender and warm to the touch.

She told me getting it wet could spell trouble, and dammit, she was right again.

I've known her for only a few days, but Ana's actions during and after our recent battle have continued to both surprise and impress me. The girl is clever, yet headstrong; brave, yet rash; polite, yet indifferent to authority.

The more I learn about her, the bigger enigma she becomes.

I foolishly allowed her to question me during our swim tonight just so I could do the same, but I feel none the wiser. Telling her about Henry was innocuous enough, but revealing my relationship to the real Pirate King could come back to haunt me. All I got in return was confirmation of her unselfishness, which was no surprise given the respect and care she's given my crew. Her unwavering desire to return home did catch me off guard, as it seems contrary to her happiness of the past few days, but worse yet, she doubted the sincerity of my actions toward her.

I don't expect her to understand my motivations - especially since I must keep them secret for now - but there's nothing that makes sense about the girl. Unfortunately, this intrigues me even more, and as I lie down on the narrow cot I'm allotted thanks to my - most likely misplaced and unappreciated - chivalry, all I can think about is the occupant of the spacious cabin below.

Sleep quickly finds me, but it doesn't bring solace. Instead, my dreams are filled with long suppressed memories. I drift in and out of consciousness, aware of my disturbed state, but unable to do anything about it. I am both cold and hot, soaked in sweat underneath the wool blanket I'm loath to discard.

My mind returns to my youth, when Father still lived under our roof. Just when I think he's back for good, he packs his bags and attempts to leave.

"Stay," I beg, grabbing his hand to keep him near.

"Don't worry," he says, stroking my mop of blonde hair. "I'm just going to be away for a short while . . . to get some supplies."

I shake my head, the act sending pain through my entire body. "No. Don't ever leave me."

He stops, leans down, and kisses my temple. When he pulls back, he's no longer my father, but rather a young woman with long, raven black hair.

The next thing I know a cool, sour liquid fills my mouth. "Thank you," I manage to say before drifting off to sleep again.

I wake under a damp cut of canvas, unable to open my left eye. After a moment of gathering my bearings, I realize the ship under me is not swaying as it would in harbor, but rather moving swiftly ahead. I attempt to jump up from my bunk, but I can only manage to sit with great struggle. A clump of dry leaves falls from my face, letting me properly see again.

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