Stranger Things Have Happened
An excerpt from book by Josh Lanyon
An Interactive Re-imagination of Fatal Shadows
"Bring the prisoner to my cabin," Captain English drawls, sliding his cutlass into its scabbard and absently straightening the snowy cuffs of his linen shirt.
(Psst! YOU'RE Captain English! Remember? Don't just stand there gaping. This isn't a movie.)
You saunter ahead of your men as they hustle the still struggling, big, blond, Royal Naval officer across the rolling deck and down a narrow stairway. The scent of timber and tar mingle with sweat and gunpowder. The ship murmurs to herself in anticipation. The battle has been fought, the spoils won.
You reach your cabin, throw open the door, and your prisoner is hurled inside your richly appointed quarters. Watery blue light filters through the three sides of massive windows, hundreds of glittering prisms created by diamond-shaped panes of glass. Your prisoner sprawls and lands face first on the sumptuous purple Persian carpet. The chart table is littered with rolled and unrolled maps, your compass, your spyglass. Carved and lacquered chests are brimming over with books, for when you're not marauding the high seas, you like to curl up with a good murder mystery.
You nod for your men to retreat. They hesitate, but you wave them off impatiently. In addition to your cutlass, you carry a pistol in the pocket of your greatcoat. You're not worried about whether you can handle one slightly-the-worse-for-wear salty sea dog.
The door closes quietly behind First Mate Angus Gordon. Your prisoner lies where he has fallen. You watch the slow, steady rise and fall of his broad, muscular back beneath the torn and blackened rags of his shirt. Under those dashingly tight black breeches, the man's arse is taut and perfectly formed. Hunger flicks to life inside you. If you're perfectly honest, thathunger never fully sleeps.
"Welllll, my treasure," you say in a voice that isn't quite as steady and hard as you might wish. "Would you like to tell me your name?"
Your prisoner raises his head. His hair is guinea gold, his eyes are the green gilt of ancient Venetian beads. "Lieutenant James Patrick Riordan," he rasps in a voice like rough velvet.
"Ah, Irish," you murmur. "I've no quarrel with the Irish."
"But I've a quarrel with you, Captain English. I'm a servant of Her Majesty the Queen," Riordan says.
He appears to be serious. His eyes glitter dangerously as they meet yours. Your smile widens.
"I see. Well, you know how this works. You can join up with me and my crew -- if I may say, we do offer one of the finest benefit packages this side of the equator, including comprehensive health care and retirement plans -- or I can slit your gullet here and now. Your choice."
"Feel free to try and slit my gullet," Riordan says and jackknifes into a fighting position.
Not again. Maybe it's your presentation? Maybe PowerPoint would help?
Riordan sidesteps and begins to circle you.
You sigh. He's a large man. Shoulders wide as a gangplank. Fit. Very fit. But as you've noted over the years, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. You drop to your haunches, and yank the carpet out from under his big flat feet.
Lieutenant Riordan crashes down just like the mast of his ship fell beneath your cannon ball. He conks his handsome golden head against the sturdy leg of your chart table and it's lights-out for all hands.
By the time your prisoner regains consciousness, you have him tied and spread-eagled on your big comfy pirate bed. He tugs experimentally at one of the silk scarves looped around the carved bedpost.
You finish lighting the lamps, undress, and join him in the soft cloud of plum lambs wool blankets and paisley satin sheets. Tiny flames dance in the frosted amber globes, casting warm shadows over his sleek, limber body.
"Don't even think about it," Riordan warns. His voice is low, fierce.
You stroke a delicate finger over the curve of his buttock, and he shivers. "But I have been thinking about it. I've been thinking about it ever since I saw you slit my midshipman's throat," you purr.
Riordan chokes out, "You seem to have an unseemly preoccupation with slits and slitting, Captain English."
A bubble of laughter rises in your throat. You swallow it. You haven't had such fun in a long while. "How very right you are, Lieutenant."
If you want to sail ahead to the part where
the pirate ship appears on the horizon,
turn to page 28
Or you can always turn to page 50