Pirate's Promise by Lisa Kessler
Greyson Till never found a weapon he didn’t like. When a legendary cursed blade that can cut through any material goes missing from the government’s paranormal artifact vault, he’s eager to retrieve it. Along with his mission comes fiery, no-nonsense paranormal weapons expert Aura Henderson, who couldn’t be less thrilled about this pairing. The last time they saw each other, Greyson accidentally blew her cover, almost killing them both…
“I’d be willing to give you a tour.”
She should say no. She still needed to place the final webcam, but she was curious. And it would be good to see where he was planning on storing the case that they would use for the Tyrfing when they found it. “I’d love a tour.”
His smile had her heart racing. Boundaries were going to be tough with him around, but she relaxed a little. He didn’t seem to suspect she was planting cameras on the ship.
She followed him out, allowing herself to admire the way his jeans conformed to his muscular ass. Nothing wrong with temptation as long as she didn’t cross that line again.
He led her down another set of stairs and gestured to the long rows of iron giants. Standing next to the cannon line was like stepping back in history. Her jaw dropped as she quickly counted them.
“You have sixty-four real cannons.”
He nodded slowly getting out of her way so she could touch them. She dragged her fingertips along the cold iron, imagining the roar as the cannon balls fired, followed by the rumble of the iron giants rolling backwards with the recoil.
She lifted her gaze. “Do you still fire them? Where do you repack?”
His eyes shone in the dim light. “Follow me.”
He tapped the end of each cannon as they passed by until they reached the ammunitions door at the stern.
He flipped the latch and stepped aside to allow her to enter.
Cannon balls filled the racks like small bowling balls, packing wands hung from the wall with a box of fabric squares beneath, and bags of gunpowder sat in the corner.
She turned around, her pulse already racing. “Can we fire one?”
His mouth twitched, curving into a sexy lopsided smile. “Only one?”
She grinned and wished she hadn’t noticed the passion flickering in his bright hazel eyes. Heat smoldered low in her belly like it had the night before, and the yearning to lose herself in his arms swelled. She blinked, her fingertips brushing over the bulge in her pocket. The mini webcam was her tether to reality.
“Is it safe to fire them?”
He chuckled. “If we can’t see our target, then it’s out of range for the cannons. We’d have to be within two hundred yards of another ship to hit it.” He took a gold coin from his pocket, maneuvering it between his fingers in a smooth rhythm. Like a magician, only it didn’t disappear into thin air. Back and forth across his nimble fingers. She imagined those nimble fingers on her body, sliding down her skin, between her thighs…
She sucked in a breath, louder than she intended.
“I’d love to fire them if it won’t slow us down.”
His gaze lowered to her lips and back up, as if he could see the traitorous thoughts running through her head. “Let me clear it with Colton.”
He slipped past her in the narrow doorway, so close, his body heat seared her skin right through her shirt, her nipples tightening, aching. His scent filled her lungs, clean and masculine, with a touch of sea air and gunpowder.
Just outside the door, he stopped, his fingers almost brushing hers. “Don’t go anywhere.”
She nodded, not trusting her voice. A breathy whisper would betray her.
He wove the coin across his fingers one more time before stuffing it back into his pocket. Half of her ached for him to close the small distance between them, and the other, rational half, begged her to run.
Finally, he walked away, and she let out a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding.
She settled against the doorframe with wobbly knees as she stared up at the ceiling, struggling to get a grip on the tidal wave of desire washing through her bloodstream.
This was a mission, not a date. Americans would be in danger if the Tyrfing fell into enemy hands. Her job in Washington, DC was her life. Greyson and his pirate crew were a fantasy, an undercover backstory, nothing more.
But her body warred against her rationalizations. This attraction was real. She wished she was acting. She sighed, puffing her hair out of her face as she shook out her arms, hoping to cool off. She had a job to do.
She crossed to the other end of the cannons and took out her webcam. After turning on the feed, she reached up to balance it on top of the elaborate door frame housing the brass cannon balls.
Everything on this ship was recreated to match the original Sea Dog from the 1700s, right down to the ornate moldings and glass panes in the windows. They’d upgraded the technology, but hadn’t sacrificed the historical design. But was it historical to these men, who’d had sailed on the Sea Dog in 1795?
She stepped back, trying to determine if the angle would work. It had to. She wouldn’t get another chance to adjust it. Greyson was already striding toward her.
And her body was responding. Shit. The way he looked at her as he came closer, like she was the only thing in this world that he needed, had her breath coming in small sips. She pressed her lips together, denying the desire he was stoking without even trying.
“We’re clear.” He moved past her again, and the ship pitched with a wave, tossing her against him. His arms encircled her instinctively, steadying her. His gaze wandered over her face, his voice a gravelly whisper, “Wish I hadn’t promised not to kiss you. Just know, if I hadn’t given you my word, I’d have your hands pinned over your head right now while I plundered your beautiful mouth.”
Her heart raced as her lips parted. Before she could reply, he was gone, as if temptation had never sizzled between them. Her fingers twitched at her side, yearning to touch him. She cleared her throat and forced her feet to move.
This wasn’t real. He knew that. This was a game.
And she played to win.