“I’m wooing you,
remember?” came his raspy reply, the heat of his breath on her cheek sending tingles down her spine. Good god, he smelled
absolutely divine! His closeness was unnerving. He hadn’t laid a finger on her, yet his warmth enveloped her and filled
her with forbidden lust. “Lucky for us, the Captain finds me quite likable and has promised to see to it that no one
intrudes upon our amorous evening.”
She should run down the steps
right this minute and lock herself in the safety of her cabin! But she didn’t.
The clever cook had conjured
up a romantic feast for two. Shrimp scampi with new potatoes, smothered in a buttery wine sauce, a salad of European lettuce,
apples, pine nuts, cucumbers, watercress and delicious white balsamic vinaigrette. And strawberries in a sugary sweet sauce
layered with whipped topping for dessert. A candle-lit lantern and silk flowers set the ambiance as the sunset abated and
the dusky sky grew darker.
Jacque looked much more delectable
and fulfilling than the tailor-made meal they were about to partake. Pop! Spewed the cork from a fresh bottle of wine. Her
hand flew upward in protest when Jacque lifted her wineglass then proceeded to fill it. Tilting his head to the side, he winked
and promised, “Avast Cherie, it’ll cure what ails ye, so long as you don’t overindulge. Not to worry, I’ve
taken the liberty to have freshly brewed tea brought up for you as well.” An erotic smile graced his all-too-handsome
face as he nodded toward a pitcher across the table. “I know how ye favor the sugary concoctions.”
Jacque raised his glass and held
it high before adding with a confident grin, “Here’s to a beautiful night spent in the company of the most stunning
lass ever to have been born in this century. Or any other.”
Putty, pure putty.
The man was even more skilled
with pretty words than muscle, were it possible. Her stomach churned as just a sniff of the wine assaulted highly sensitive
nostrils, but she forced herself to sip it nonetheless. Blah! Better get something of sustenance into her stomach before she
developed a dreaded case of dry heaves.
And since she was already on
deck, with such a mouthwatering display of culinary craftsmanship.
Why should such a lovely spread
go to waste?
“Everything looks delicious,
Jacque. You really shouldn’t have gone to such trouble. Thank you.” She smiled, inwardly berating herself. How
easily she’d fallen prey to his obvious scheming. He was up to no good, that fact was quite clear. Though her body betrayed
her mind and rebuked its pleas to flee, to seek a safe haven elsewhere, while she still could.
“’Tis my pleasure,”
he replied in that dreamy tone while assembling her plate. “We’ll save the best for last,” he purred, settling
the strawberries on the other side of the table. Something about the way he said it caused a mixture of fear and delightful
anticipation to leap into her chest.
Over the romantic dinner they
spoke of their mutual fondness for sailing. Jacque seemed both intrigued and pleasantly surprised by Esa’s vast knowledge
of the sea.
She couldn’t eat another
bite, yet Jacque insisted. “Just one, Cherie.”
“The fall of man resulted
from such a masked request.”
The silver-tongued serpent chuckled
and brought the fork to her mouth. “Mmmm,” she uttered, giving in to temptation and partaking of the sugared fruit.
It was divine. Sweet, cool and refreshing. Perhaps just one more.
Esa gasped when her eyes fell
upon Jacque’s ravenous gaze. What was he staring at? She brought her hand to her mouth, but he bumped it away with his
forearm and leaned closer. With a slow, deliberate and erotic flick of his tongue, he made a dash of whipped topping lingering
on the corner of her mouth disappear.
Licking his lips as if to savor
every speck of sweetness, he drew back and gifted her with that seductive, irresistible grin she thought was meant solely
for her. The wine must have helped, as Jacque was so confident it would, for her head no longer felt as if someone were attempting
to pound their way through with a jackhammer. Too bad it didn’t cure her flaming desire for the relentless sex-god!
“What did you season the
food with--Spanish fly?” She snickered.
He laughed and she jumped. She
hadn’t expected him to know what the term meant.
“Ye feel under the effects
of an aphrodisiac, Cherie?” The wolfish gleam returned.
She put her foot in it that time.
“Eh, no,” she blurted, heat rising to her cheeks when he chuckled deeper. Best change the subject. Quickly. “I
only meant the food was very good. Thank you.”
A sinister guise flashed across
his face. “Indeed, mademoiselle. Though I’d agree, the cuisine quenches one appetite, yet heightens another.”