"I say," Elijah stepped in front of him, trembling, but obviously having determined that it was his time to be brave. "There will be no more talk of breeding, or there will be no deals made here today. And I must say, we really cannot do without Mr. Sawyer, and I don't understand why he must go with you. Otherwise, the bargain is acceptable."
Abraham managed not to snort. They were being taken advantage of, but he supposed it was better than the alternative. The pirates had them, there was no denying that.
"Consider him a deposit upon finding my men safe and sound upon my return."
Abraham did snort this time. As if these townsfolk could possibly do anything to the pirates.
Several of the pirates brandished their swords at the sound, one nearly nicking young Ardous Salmon, and a murmur went up among the townsfolk. They were scared and angry, their lives and the lives of their loved ones hanging in the balance.
Abraham stepped forward. He would protect them as best he could. "Then I will go with you. But mark my words, should anything happen to these people while I am not here, I shall count you lot responsible, and I will exact justice." The fact that the pirate captain was a handsome devil had nothing to do with his decision. Nothing at all.
"'Tis a fair trade, indeed." The captain bowed, hat flourishing out.
Abraham's lips tightened, and his back straightened.
Elijah opened his mouth, but Abraham touched his shoulder. "Let’s have it done then," he growled.
"Excellent. Oliver, assist the townspeople with their supplies. Gentle giant, you may attend me."
Gentle giant. If his back hadn't already been ramrod straight, that comment would have made it so. "Take care of them, Elijah. I will be back." He stepped toward the pirate, his chin high. "What would you have me do?"
"Follow me. I'll have you row one of the boats back to the ship." The man stood lean and tall, with snapping black eyes, the cutlass pointing toward the trees. The man was dressed like a fop -- leather and lace, colors that only a woman would wear.
It galled him to take orders from such a man. Truth be told, it would have galled him to take orders from any man. He had refused to follow the rules of others, had accepted exile rather than recant his own ways. He bit his lip to keep quiet and went in the direction the pirate indicated.
The husky voice began to sing, a bawdy little ditty ringing out, filling the air. He ignored the song, tried to ignore the way the timber of the pirate's voice slid over his spine.
"So I'm to be your slave then?" he asked as he settled in the small boat at the oars.
"Of course not. You've been conscripted into service." The smile on the man's face was pure wickedness. "You might find it pleasant."
"I fail to see how being stolen, excuse me, pressed into service, away from my life, my home, will be pleasant." He began to row, digging the oars into the water and pulling them through it, the muscles in his arms and back working hard.
"You simply need to stretch your imagination, my dear, well-muscled man."
He shot a look at the pirate -- the man was making fun of him.
"There's nothing wrong with my imagination, pirate." Nothing at all. In fact it was working overtime as he imagined meeting this man under different circumstances... He pushed the thought away. Just because the man had mesmerizing eyes...