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In 1837, the Governor of the Bahamas believes he has driven the pirates out of his islands until his lovely, 18-year-old daughter Abigail is abducted from his very own backyard. To his despair, a ransom is paid but the pirate captain dies and the girl never returns home. What would the Governor do if he knew his own daughter had joined ranks with her captors and became a pirate queen?
Abigail Bridges would do anything rather than return home and marry the man her parents have chosen. She decides to join forces with the pirates who have captured her and perseveres to become the mighty pirate queen Gabriel St. James.
Spencer Hanover, the man she had been promised to in marriage, is not easily put off and vows to find his missing fiancée. After 10 years at sea, the pirate queen is shocked when her past catches up with her in a most unexpected way.
Is it possible for a pirate queen to rejoin high society as a proper noblewoman? Or will the call of the open seas take her back to a life of pirating? And is she willing to atone for her past lying bare bottomed over her husband's lap for the punishments she deserves?
Brighton Palace, 1837
Lady Abigail Hanover, the Countess of Winningham sat in the breakfast room reading the headline of the Sunday edition of the London Times. It announced the passing of the Piracy Act of 1837 abolishing the death penalty for offences of piracy.
“Queen Victoria was true to her word, darling,” Abigail told her husband as he joined her. She held up the paper for him to see.
“Apparently her majesty was pleased with the bounty you directed her naval fleet to,” Lord Hanover said as he leaned over and kissed his wife on the cheek.
“Well pleased, I daresay,” Abigail chuckled. She watched her husband take his seat, shake out his napkin and place it in his lap and then look up at her. His handsome face contorted into a look of disapproval.
“Whatever are you wearing, darling?” he asked, his voice sounding exasperated.
“I am sorry, Spencer,” Abigail sighed. “I have not dressed yet but we are not expecting callers so what is the harm if I remain in my dressing gown on a Sunday morning?” She tried to soften her husband’s disapproval with a note of tenderness in her voice. This, however, did not appease her critical spouse.
“Was your lady’s maid not in place first thing this morning to help you dress?” he asked.
“It’s all so difficult to get used to, dear,” Abigail replied, pleading with her husband to understand. “You should try to breathe while wearing a garment that cinches you about the waist. Why it takes the woman an entire hour to get me put together properly. After all those years I spent living in breeches and a linen shirt,” she leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially, “I’m having trouble adjusting. You do understand, don’t you?”
“This is not acceptable, Abigail, it is not appropriate to leave your rooms without being suitably attired,” he replied. “You scandalize the servants who gossip with other servants when they meet up at market. You will lose their respect and word will spread that the countess is not a proper lady which simply will not do. We don’t want to be seen as an oddity to others, we must blend in.”
Abigail sighed, she knew what was coming next.
“Now go back to your rooms and wait for me there. You and I shall have a long talk and when we’re finished, you’ll wish you’d dressed sooner this day so that your maid would not be exposed to your reddened bottom.”
Abigail rose from the table, pouting as she turned and headed toward her rooms. The day was not off to a good start. She had only been married a few weeks but her husband was losing his patience with her. She was finding going from being a pirate queen to a proper British noblewoman to be a most difficult transition. She had not even been allowed to finish breakfast before her husband was correcting her.
A serving woman passed her in the hallway, looking shocked to see that the lady of the house was not fully dressed even though it was already half past nine. Abigail entered her inner chamber and stood there, awaiting her husband. She began to remove her clothing. She knew that she was about to be soundly punished for her crime, on the bare, always on the bare. This was the hardest part of her new life, submitting to her husband. She removed her garments from the waist down and then was startled to hear a voice behind her.
“All of it. Remove every stitch of clothing,” her husband said, a catch in his voice. Abigail felt a wave of embarrassment wash over her. She had gained a few pounds now that she was no longer doing the hard work of sailing aboard a pirate ship. Her breasts had become quite large, her posterior fleshier, and now she was being forced to expose her nudity in the bright light of day. Without looking back at him, she began to unbutton the dressing gown and finally pulled it over her head.
“Turn and show yourself to me,” her husband ordered. Abigail turned slowly, longing to cover herself with her arms but she knew that would only make matters worse. As she faced her husband, she saw that he was holding a birch rod in his hands. This increased her embarrassment tenfold. That meant that one of the servants, probably his valet, had put it together, had tied the handles with ribbon and soaked the slender branches in brine. The servants now knew for certain that she was punished by her husband.
“Won’t it be odd for the servants to know that my husband punishes me like a child?” she asked, attempting to appeal to his sense of propriety.
“On the contrary, my dear, it is a husband’s duty to correct his wife, no matter their social status. It would be odd if you were not punished by me on a regular basis.”
She closed her eyes and shuddered. She hated the birch. There were at least seven branches in the rod, which meant that each stroke left seven wheals. The brine would then work its way into the abraded skin and cause her poor bottom to itch and to burn.
“On my way here,” she began, speaking without permission, “I passed a servant who was obviously shocked to see me out in the hall in my dressing gown. Perhaps you were right, Spencer about dressing before I leave my rooms. But you have to be patient with me as I adjust to life on the mainland.”
“Your continuing use of nautical terms is also not acceptable, Abigail. We have spoken of this repeatedly. If anyone should figure out your secret, our lives and our family’s lives would be ruined for generations to come.”
“I am sorry, Spencer, truly I am. I have found keeping up the charade to be most difficult,” she whispered, twisting her hands together. Her secret, that she was once the mighty, feared pirate queen Gabriel St. James could indeed bring about their social ruin, not to mention endanger her life. Of that she had no doubt.
“What charade, Abigail?” her husband replied, his voice rising. “This is not play acting, it is our life. You are not playing the part of a high born member of the nobility. You are in fact the daughter of a duke and now a countess in your own right.” He stopped, his voice softening. Apparently, her husband truly did understand but still he needed to do what must be done.
“It is time to drive the message home, I’m afraid. Unfortunately, you seem to require memorable corrections. Now you know what is expected, assume the position. Turn, that’s right,” he directed, “and bend, placing your hands on the seat of the chair in front of you. Now lift your buttocks, spread your legs and turn your heels outwards. “
Abigail reluctantly shuffled into position. This new addition to her normal stance, turning her heels outward, made her feel terribly exposed. It left her quim open for the kiss of the birch. She knew her husband must be terribly displeased with her to have chosen the birch.
“Count to ten slowly, Abigail. You know you deserve that and many more,” he instructed as he came to stand beside her.
“One,” Gabriel said stoically. The pirate queen had faced worse than this, had survived sword fights, fisticuffs and torture, as well as being repeatedly ravished. A birching was nothing compared to that. But she could not bite back the squeal that escaped as the birch connected with her tender flesh. Some of the wicked bits had landed between her legs on more delicate tissue.
“Two, ahhhhh,” she breathed as he struck again, harder than the first time. Eight more to go. Her husband had developed a heavy hand as he had corrected her over the last couple of months. It was his way of helping her to adapt to her new life, as he kept reminding her. She had bowed for the tawse, the paddle, a cane and the birch over the eight weeks of their marriage. She was no longer a pirate, free to live life as she chose. Instead, she was a sheltered noblewoman, a punished wife, subservient to her husband, Lord Winningham. And that was how it must be.
She rose up on tiptoe as the next stroke drove the brine into her wheals. She willed herself to hold still, to not twist and turn as the brine seeped into the abraded skin as well as on the sensitive skin between her legs.
“That one does not count, Abigail, you did not say the number.”
“Three, sir, three!” she screeched. And he gave her the official third stroke which made her squirm and rub her thighs together. She could only imagine the effect that the sight of her jostling buttocks would have upon her impassioned husband. Spencer Hanover stood patiently, waiting until his wife once more spread her legs and assumed the proper position. Abigail shuffled miserably into place and seven more strokes followed. Her husband was in rare form this day, his aim unerring. He was apparently not in any particular hurry, making her wait between strokes, forcing her to hold position as the brine continued to burn the tender flesh between her legs. Still she held her own, a worthy adversary even in captivity.
“You may rise, my wife,” she heard Spencer say when he had finished. Slowly she stood wanting to writhe, to rub her thighs together to alleviate the burn but not wanting to give him the satisfaction.
“Please, sir, may I bathe?” she asked, turning to look sorrowfully over her shoulder at him.
“You may not, you will tolerate the brine for the rest of the day as a reminder of how to be a proper noblewoman. You have learnt your lesson, have you not?”
“Yes, my lord husband, yes I have,” she replied. She turned to look at him, her arms glued to her sides. He had sat down and as she watched, he spread his legs. Abigail knew what was expected of her. She tiptoed forward and knelt between his legs, then reached up and unbuttoned his pants. As he sat there watching her, his hands on the arms of his chair she took out his manhood which was already at full mast. She began to lave it with her tongue, taking it deeply down her throat. She peeked up at her husband through her eyelashes.
Once he had been her captive sex slave and she had taken a cat o’ nine tails to his bare arse as he’d danced like a marionette at the end of his chains. Afterwards, he had serviced her with his mouth while kneeling between her legs. Turn about was fair play she supposed and so she warmed up to her task, running her lips up and down his stem, tickling the head with her tongue until, with a deep moan, he ejaculated. She leaned forward, taking him deeply down her throat as she lovingly swallowed every drop of his essence.
“Thank you for correcting me, Spencer,” she whispered afterwards. “Whatever would I do without you?”
Her husband helped her to her feet and lovingly took her to bed. They laid in each other’s arms recuperating from their exertion and the Countess of Winningham did not end up dressing that day until mid-afternoon, a scandal for certain. As she laid in her husband’s arms, she thought back to the day, ten years prior, when her life had gone so far off track and she had become a pirate - the life she was now atoning for.
The Bahamas, 1827
Abigail was running down the beach, just on the other side of the dunes from where the Governor’s mansion stood. Her legs and feet were bare, the warm ocean breezes blew her long hair behind her as she chased after a small boy.
“Catch me, Abby, catch me!” Tommy yelled. Abigail Bridges, eighteen years of age to her little brother’s six, easily caught up with him, although running through sand had its challenges.
“Right, now I’m going to hide and you’re going to find me. Cover your eyes,” little Lord Thomas ordered. Hiding a smile, Abigail did as she was told. Her little brother was too young to grasp that one day he would be Lord Thomas Bridges III, the Duke of Cavendish but he was already bossy enough to fill that role. She humored him though because she adored her little brother. As soon as she’d first laid eyes on him lying in his pram with his soft orange curls and navy blue eyes, she had taken him into her heart.
She covered her eyes as she leaned against a palm tree, counting to one hundred while Tommy hid. She had taken him out back to keep him entertained while the household was packing to return to England. Her father had been Governor of the Bahamas for the last eight years but it was time to return home. Abby had come to love the islands and was not looking forward to going back to gloomy old England.
“Ready or not, here I come,” she called, walking in the direction she had heard the little rascal run. As she trudged barefoot through the sand, Abby wished that she could be the one to run away and hide, never to be found. The reason they were returning home was for her wedding. She was to marry the man her parents had chosen, a man she had never even met. It was barbaric! The worst part was that she had no veto power. If it was hate at first sight, she would still be required to marry the Viscount Spencer Hanover, future Earl of some-place-or-other.
They had exchanged letters recently, their first correspondence ever. His letter sounded like his mother had written it. In it, he had asked her color choice for their upcoming nuptials. Her color choice - her choice was no wedding at all, instead that her father would give her the inheritance her grandmother had left her and let her make her own way in the world. Instead, she had been appalled to learn that the money, a sizeable sum, would be handed over to her future husband as part of her dowry.
Abigail stopped in her tracks, she could hear something. Her little brother had an unfortunate tendency to giggle when he was excited and she was certain he was hiding in the brush to her right. Quietly she parted the branches, planning to surprise him. Instead, she was surprised to find herself staring into the heavily kohl-rimmed eyes of a pirate! He was wearing a bandana and a gold ring in one ear and he smiled a gap-toothed grin. Abigail was outraged, her father had driven the pirates out of the Bahamas! But before she could react, he grabbed her by her arm and pulled her into the clearing.
“Lookee what I have me ‘ere, a right pretty little lass,” he called to his cohorts. He clamped his hand over her mouth and she found herself surrounded by a half dozen dirty, grubby, lowly pirates. But her eyes grew wide as she saw what lay between them – a chest lowered into a deep hole in the ground. The opened lid revealed that the chest was bulging with jewels worth a fortune and handfuls of gold doubloons. She struggled, trying to get away. The hand covering her nose and mouth was not very clean but nevertheless she tried to bite into it. Suddenly there was a dagger at her throat and a pair of fierce dark eyes staring at her, belonging to a pirate who was the tallest of the bunch.
“Nay, do not make a sound, princess. We canna’ let ye’ go. Ye’ have seen too much, I fear.” Looking into his cold eyes, she had no doubt this man would do whatever he pleased to her without hesitation.
“Cut ‘er throat then, ye’ cur,” one of the other pirates taunted, jumping up and down and giggling with glee. Abby threw him a look of disgust, he was behaving as a demented soul. It must have been his giggle she’d heard that had drawn her to their hiding place.
“Hush, Mad Dog. What would the Cap’n have us do with her then?” another asked, scratching his head.
“I dunno. I guess we best bring ‘er with us and ask,” her original captor replied. The man with the dagger continued to hold it at Abigail’s throat as her hands were tied behind her with a piece of rope. She struggled with all her might, having no intention of going anywhere with these men. She was surrounded though and had no choice but to acquiesce as the ne’er-do-wells muffled her with a bandana stuck between her teeth and tied behind her head. Two of them dragged her between them to a small boat hidden under some palm leaves. She was shoved ruthlessly inside and held by one of the pirates while the other one rowed. The sun was setting and fog was rolling in. Through the mist, she could make out a shape ahead. It was a large black ship, so dangerous looking that it struck fear in her heart.
Six-year-old Tommy, holding tightly to the palm tree he’d shimmied up, watched in horror as his beloved sister disappeared into the mist. Instinctively he held still, daring not to make a sound as the rowboat returned without his sister and the pirates made their escape. He finally let the tears he’d been holding back fall to the sand below as he climbed down the tree and ran to his house, shouting for his parents.