Chapter 12: A Saucy Wench

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I jump at the unexpected interruption. Opening my eyes, I look over my shoulder and see Cade standing on the opposite side where my clothes lay.

Could this be it? Has he figured out my deception?

I sigh. I’m so relaxed from the swim – and perhaps just so tired of the lies – that I’m ready for this confrontation. He’s also caught me standing under the waterfall completely naked, so I literally have nothing more to hide. Taking a deep breath, I hold my head high and begin to slowly step over the rocks lining the perimeter.

Apart from occasionally checking my footing, I keep my eyes locked with his until I’m standing directly in front of him. I bite my lower lip to keep myself from speaking and wait.

“Your ankle was never injured, was it?” He glares down at me. “Why the ruse?”

I hold back a laugh.

Is that it?

Of all the falsities to call me out on, he figured out the one with the easiest explanation. However, I make him wait for it.

Slowly bending down, I pick up my discarded garments. I purposefully let a boot slip out of my fingers to stall, before reaching for it a second time. Straightening up, I hug the clothes to my chest and attempt my best pout.

“You’re right. I didn’t hurt myself earlier. I’m just so tired of all this heat and sand, the walking and gathering. I’m sick of these ugly clothes,” I hold them up for emphasis, “and of my hair looking like a haystack.”

He listens with a blank expression and when I’m done, shakes his head. “Get dressed. Animals come here to drink after sundown and you don’t want to stay around for that.”

When he turns his back, I smirk. Quickly pulling on my clothes, I follow him back to the shelter.

My swim must have taken longer than it felt because Cade had time to not only find food, but also to leave it in the hut before coming to the pool. The half-dozen large crabs he’s caught end up cooking perfectly. We eat in silence and concentrate on removing the precious meat from the hard shells. Washing it down with the plentiful water, we lay down for the night on opposite sides of the room.

I stay awake until well after his breathing becomes even. Until then, I have time to think.

The situation has become increasingly muddled. I assumed Luciana’s identity when the pirates took me a few weeks ago, but I made one crucial mistake. Even from the beginning, I acted like myself. I continued to be Ana in all forms – even in the name they called me – while claiming to be Admiral Mercado’s daughter. My real self is the person everyone including Captain Alestair Kincade, Pirate King of the Caribbean came to know.

I intended to keep the falsehood secret until someone who knew the real Luciana made the discovery. Being marooned on this island, however, has now given me two choices.

Because he already seems suspicious, I could end the charade and tell Cade the truth. I’m a housemaid who knows basic medicine, can find her own food and water, and who would happily trade her freedom in Panama to stay with the crew of the Phoenix Rising to continue this wonderful adventure. In that case, I most certainly risk not only his wrath, but also his chances of securing Luciana’s ransom. Without the chest of gold for his father, Cade is bound to continue piracy, even at the expense of his own happiness.

I couldn’t bear to let that happen, so yesterday the second option seemed like the better idea. I would not only remain Luciana as long as possible, but also alter my behavior to be even more like her. Although he previously questioned how I – or rather Luciana – would have such strong survival skills, my sudden ineptitude has also already gotten me in trouble with the good captain. He saw right through me today.

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