Chapter 1

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The Jolly Roger glides across the water, guide it only by the pale light of the moon and stars. The waves crash against the side of the ship, making it rock back-and-forth ever so slightly.

Gazing out into the ocean before him, 25-year-old John Finley feels as if something is missing. He is the captain of the Jolly Roger, and is brutal to anyone who does not obey him. However, aside from his brute strength and fears attitude, he desires to have someone to love. He does not want to just have yet another woman in his bed to rape and then send back to her family.

John's first mate, Asher, comes up to him. Well, captain, any island in sight that we can pillage this evening?

John runs his hands through his dark brown hair, pushing a few strands out of his ocean blue eyes. We are approaching one, but I can't exactly determine which island it is. I believe it is Scotland.

Asher. Sounds like we could find ourselves a lovely stash of booty. They have quite the treasure, if I am not mistaken.

John. Aye, they certainly do. Not to mention the women.

Asher. Absolutely! We could find ourselves a pair of lovely young things to take back to the ship and do as we please! He punches John lightly on the shoulder. Do you think you will ever find one as lovely as Bernice?

John growls. Burnece was a devil. She was only good in bed, that's it. I couldn't stand to be around her.

Asher. What about Abigail?

John. Abigail was no better. She was lovely, but nothing that interested me. Both of them were only good for being in bed with. I didn't feel any connection with them.

Asher stares at him. Do you mean to tell me that you want to find a connection with a woman?

John. Yes, I do. I might be a pirate, but even pirates deserve to find love.

Asher pushes his blonde hair out of his brown eyes. Really, John, be sensible. You do not fall in love. You take a woman, you rape her, and then you return her back to her family. And then the process is repeated. Again and again. You do not settle down.

John turns to glare  at his first mate. Do you mean to tell me that I do not deserve love in my life?

Asher. I didn't say that. All I am saying is that you need to... He stops as he watches John place his hand on the belt of his pants, directly where his sword is, and falls silent.

John. Get back to your post. I do not want to hear anymore from you.

His complexion pale, Asher quickly makes his way out of his captains presence and back toward his position at the other end of the ship beside the pilot.

Taking a deep breath, John looks back out across the horizon, hoping that, once he reaches Scotland, he is going to come across someone who is going to change his life. Hopefully for the better. Having been on the ocean since he was 15, he desires to have a change of pace. And he believes Scotland is going to hold the key to his happiness.

***

Two hours later, the ship arrives at Scotland.

John and Asher get out, instructing the other crew members to keep the ship where it is and to not let anyone else take it. Once that is settled, the two of them make their way onto the island and into the city.

Asher. What kind of jewelry do you think we will find here? Gold? Silver? Coins?

John. I am thinking more of diamonds rubies and emeralds.

Asher. You and your gemstones.

John rolls his eyes. Do shut up about the way I think about things. It's not your place.

The two of them make their way further into the city, coming across a grand estate a few minutes later. The house is very large, consisting of dark red brick, trimmed with gray along the edges. There is a garden to the left and a courtyard with a fountain to the right. All of the lights in the house are off.

Asher. Who do you believe lives here?

John. I don't know.

The two of them are about to make their first move into the house, when a noise from the right side of the house causes them to become distracted. They turn up the noise, and find themselves staring at a small figure.

Asher. By God, it's a woman!

John. I am aware of that, now shut up. Don't scare her.

The woman is standing a few yards away from them, her long  blonde hair billowing about her in the breeze. She is wearing a white gown with diamonds cascading about the bodice and skirt. Ivory lace decorates the neckline and off the shoulder sleeves. Her dark green eyes seem to be looking right past them, off into the horizon.

Asher. Captain, I believe we have just found ourselves the most beautiful jewel of them all.

John. You would be correct. He feels himself becoming hot and bothered as he continues to look at her. She is unlike any other woman he has ever taken to his bed. She seems much more innocent. Even more so than Abigail or Bernice.

Asher. Good evening. My captain and I have noticed that you are not in your room. Any particular reason why?

The young woman squeaks, turning her attention to them. She blinks, startled.

John punches Asher on the shoulder. Shut up you brute! He turns his attention back to the woman. Forgive my fellow cocaptain. He does not know when to keep his mouth quiet. We noticed that you are running away from something. Can we help with your escape?

The beautiful woman continues to only stare at them, not able to say another word.

Growling with frustration, Asher strides forward, taking the girl into his arms, pinning her arms down by her side and covering her mouth with his bandanna to keep her quiet. He soon stuffs her into a leather bag. John, let's get out of here!

John immediately runs after him, his heart burning with both desire and hatred. Desire, because he wants the woman. Hatred, because the creature has not said a single word.

Soon enough, the two gentlemen have their treasure, along with several other pieces of diamond, emerald, and ruby, in their possession. Within a few minutes of getting settled back onto the ship, they sail away.

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