How To Seduce A Pirate (The Hawkins Brothers Series)

BOOK: How To Seduce A Pirate (The Hawkins Brothers Series)
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How To Seduce A Pirate

 

Alexandra Benedict

ROMANCES BY
Alexandra Benedict

 

The Hawkins Brothers Series

Mistress of Paradise

The Infamous Rogue

The Notorious Scoundrel

How to Seduce a Pirate

 

The Too/Westmore Brothers Series

Too Great a Temptation

Too Scandalous to Wed

Too Dangerous to Desire

 

The Fallen Ladies Society

The Princess and the Pauper

 

Stand Alone Romance

A Forbidden Love

 

AND COMING SOON

How to Steal a Pirate’s Heart

 

This
book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are
products of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance
to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely
coincidental.

 

How to Seduce a Pirate

Copyright © 2016 Alexandra Benedikt

ISBN-13:
978-1499162806

ISBN-10:
1499162804

 

Cover Photo Copyright © PhotoCD/Bigstock.com

 

Excerpt from
How to
Steal a Pirate’s Heart

Copyright
© 2016 Alexandra Benedikt

All
rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or
transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or
other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of
the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews
and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.

www.AlexandraBenedict.ca

For my readers,

who would not let me forget

about these dashing rogues.

 

Thank you for your support

and encouragement.

PROLOGUE

 

London, 1826

 

As the snowfall
thickened, Miss Holly Turner hastened her booted steps, finally reaching the front
door at number twenty-seven. She rapped on the wood, glancing from side to
side. The street was deserted on Christmas Eve. Still, her fingers trembled. If
discovered at the notorious gaming hell, her reputation would be ruined. But
she needed to take the dramatic measure. She wasn’t in a position to make the
unusual arrangements herself. She needed assistance. And the impervious Madam
Barovski was
the
reputed hostess of the ton, capable of satisfying even
the strangest request.

As soon as the
barrier opened, Holly whisked inside the elegant townhouse. Her eyes darted
toward the principal rooms. Empty. She sighed. She had insisted upon the utmost
discretion, and Madam Barovski had vowed her patrons would be engaged in the
upstairs bedrooms at such a late hour. Even so, Holly maintained her long cape
and hood, concealing her identity.

“Good evening,
Miss,” greeted the older woman, her features a composition of unflinching
banality.

“Good evening,” murmured
Holly. “Is everything prepared?”

“As you
requested, Miss.”

Upon the
assurance, Holly reached inside her carpetbag and removed a draft, handing her
hostess the agreed upon sum. The woman accepted the banknote, slipping it
between her breasts.

“This way,
Miss.”

At the top of
the stairs, Madam Barovski stopped and pointed down the hall.
“Room nine.”

And with those
cursory words, the gaming mistress descended the spiral staircase and
disappeared from sight.

Of course she wasn’t
going to accompany Holly. The less the woman witnessed the better. Still, Holly
would’ve preferred a chaperone.

She looked down
the darkened passageway, her heart pounding, and took a cautionary step. The
floorboards blessedly didn’t creak, and she quietly passed the other rooms,
searching for number nine.

Holly winced
when she heard the crack of a whip and a man groan in agony—or was it ecstasy?
Skirting along, she soon arrived at the designated chamber.

The brass number
glinted in the dim gaslight, and her heart boomed even harder. After a measured
breath, she pressed the latch and pushed open the barrier.

The room was
piping warm, rich in red tones and scintillating under firelight. Holly entered
the forbidden world and set down her carpetbag, quickly shutting the door
behind her. Feeling safe at last, she lowered her hood and gasped at the figure
in the bed.

The young man rested
on his stomach, his muscular arms wrapped around a white pillow. The chamber
was heavy with candles, and she watched the flickering glow play across his naked
spine. Her eyes travelled to the small of his back and the slight curvature of
his firm buttocks, but she saw no more of his nakedness, his lower body covered
by a linen sheet.

Heavens, he was
beautiful. More beautiful than Holly had imagined. A pulsing sensation drummed
through her, her nerves tingling with unexpected life. She had never been so
aware of her own skin, gooseflesh spreading across her limbs in prickling
arousal.

Her breath quickened
as she lifted her gaze to the man’s handsome features. A curl of sable black
hair dangled over his smooth brow. She noticed just a shadow of facial hair
caressing his jaw and chin. His lips, so lush, whirred as he breathed deep and
steady, fast asleep.

Soon she detected
the sweet scent of opium in the room. He had indulged in the smoke. Was he
nervous, like her? Nonsense, she thought. He was accustomed to such services.
She was the novice here. And she had best get to work. She hadn’t much time
before dawn.

After another
thorough assessment of his robust physique, her eyes returned to his slumbering
face—and she found him alert.

Holly started at
the pair of smoldering blue eyes fixed on her. He studied her in the same sensational
manner, moving his gaze down the length of her body and back up to her eyes,
making her shudder with unwanted delight.

“What’s your
name, lass?”

His voice, thick
and sensual, peeled away her inhibitions, and her breath hitched before she
whispered, “Holly.” Surely there was no harm in revealing her first name. She
would never see him again after tonight.

A smile played
in his eyes. “My very own Holly for Christmas. Madam is most generous.”

Holly sensed
trouble. His flirtation had a disarming affect on her, dashed her concentration.
She had to grapple with her own tongue to set him back in his place.

“She is indeed,”
affirmed Holly. After all, her hostess
had
procured an outstanding masculine
specimen. There was no contention there. “But I’m not here for your pleasure.
You are here for mine.”

He chuckled, a
low rumble, and she found the sound a disturbing pleasure.

“Very well, Holly.
How would you like me?”

“Just as you
are.”

His position was
perfect, in truth. She picked up her carpetbag and crossed the room, settling
in an armchair beside the hearth.

“You can hardly
touch me from over there, sweet.”

Heavens, he was
going to make the experience a thorny one with his wicked words. “I’ve no intention
of touching you.”

He frowned. “Then
what do you intend to do with me?”

“Sketch you, of
course. Now keep still.”

Holly removed
her sketch book and charcoal pencil and started working on his form. Her first
male nude! She had only ever painted the female body. But this . . . this had
to be worth the risk.

“Listen, sweet,
if you’re not going to have a bit of real fun, then get out so I can sleep.”

She furrowed her
brow. “I’ve paid good money for your time
and
silence.”

The impudent
rake. Hadn’t Madam told him about her strict request?
No
conversation!

“What the devil
are you talking about?” he snapped.

He started to
rise from his drowsy slumber.

“Get back into
the bed,” she ordered, her voice cracking with panic.

But he stood up,
naked, fully erect, glorious—and frightening beyond words. Holly dropped her
jaw.
Heavens!

He growled, “
You
paid for
me
?”

Holly blinked,
then grabbed her belongings, sensing something was
very
amiss. “Madam
said—”

“That witch is
selling
me?”

He took a
thunderous step toward her.

With a shriek,
Holly bolted from the room, the number nine swinging on the door as she dashed
away. And it was in that moment she realized the number nine was
not
the
number nine, but the number six upside-down. A nail must have come loose and
fallen to the ground, the six swinging down to look like a nine.

Oh, no! She had
made a horrible blunder. And someone had seen her! Not the paid prostitute
she’d hired, but
another
man.

Holly rushed
pell-mell out of the gaming hell.

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER
1

 

London, 1827

 

Quincy Hawkins
lathered a scone with butter and jam. As the last of his brothers to rise, he
was breaking his fast alone in the dining parlor. He preferred the solitude. He
wasn’t sure when the strife with his older siblings had started, but their
tedious reproofs of him had grown tiresome of late.

After devouring
the scone, Quincy reached across the table for the morning broadsheet and
quirked an amused brow at the sensational headline:
Lord H Crosses the Line
of Decency!

The Lord Byron
of the painted world, Lord H produced erotic art, his work exhibited
underground, showing only in illicit establishments and selling for neat sums.
No one knew the artist’s true identity, though he was rumored to live in
France.

Quincy had seen a
few of the man’s pieces go up for auction, though he personally thought them
rather tawdry, lacking any real sensuality; the sort of work a sexually
inexperienced buck might find provocative. Certainly unworthy of all the public
fuss.

But it seemed an
indecency law had been broken. His middle brother, Edmund, a Bow Street Runner,
was actually on the hunt for the elusive artist and his so-called scandalous
work. Again, Quincy didn’t understand the hullabaloo over naked breasts. He
certainly adored them, but they weren’t entirely hidden from society. The
antiquity department at the British Museum was full of much lovelier nymphs.

As he bit into a
second pastry, the butler entered the room, carrying a large silver tray
stacked with gobs of letters. A hundred, at least! The servant set down the
curious missives, most tied with ribbon and sprayed with heady perfume. Gads,
the smell!

“What the
devil’s going on, Benson?” he mumbled, mouth full of jam and bread.

“This morning’s
post, sir.”

A ridiculous
amount of mail, thought Quincy. And why had Benson delivered it to the dining
parlor and not the study?

“Well, pass it
along to William. You know he takes care of the family’s affairs.”

His older
brother, William, governed the bachelor roost since their eldest brother,
James, had married and moved to Mayfair.

“They are all
addressed to you, sir.”

Quincy balked.

As the
unflappable butler left the room, Quincy licked his fingers before he flipped
through the monstrous piles of letters. There was no mistaking what Benson had
said—every letter was addressed to him.

“What’s all
this, pup?”

Captain William Hawkins
entered the dining parlor, a deep frown etched across his brow. He had the same
intimidating height and muscular build as each of his brothers, but unlike the
rest of the tempestuous brood, he was the most sensible of the lot. Truly,
Quincy had never seen him lose his temper.

“I’m as
confounded as you, old man.”

His brother’s
frown darkened at the epithet. William had just turned forty years of age. And
if Quincy was still the “pup” at age twenty-three, then his sibling was
deservedly the “old man.”

Quincy snatched
a couple of letters, tearing off the frilly ribbons and breaking the wax seals.
Skimming the feminine penmanship, he discovered a series of lusty proposals:
some asked for a private dance at the next ball, others invited him to a secret
rendezvous, and others still suggested an outright affair.

An irrepressible
grin tugged at his lips. “It seems my sexual prowess is gaining acclaim.”

William scowled.

Funning aside,
Quincy
was
bewildered. What had happened to warrant the hoard of sexual
offers?

William assumed
a seat at the opposite end of the table and crossed his arms. “Well, if your
‘sexual prowess’ isn’t taking up too much of your time, I want to know if
you’re prepared for our upcoming journey?”

After a long
hiatus, he and William were scheduled to set sail in less than a week and
resume their duties as privateers in the Royal Navy’s African Squadron.

A year ago,
William had been shot aboard ship, chasing a British slaver. The bullet to the
chest had almost killed him, and it’d taken him near a year to recover and
regain his strength.

“I’m prepared,”
said Quincy. “I even purchased a new monaural stethoscope along with a few more
books on anatomy—in case you get shot again.”

At the gibe,
William’s usually staid features twisted in what resembled fury. For a man who
controlled his emotions at all times, it was a remarkable sight.

But it still
riled Quincy, his absence aboard the
Nemesis
that day. If he had been
there, he would have treated his brother’s wound with the surgical skills he’d amassed
over the years, and William would not have been butchered by the inexperienced
tars aboard ship. His brother would have healed sooner. And he damn well
wouldn’t have come so close to death. But Quincy had been banned from that
tour, accused of being too “ill,” too attached to opiates to serve on a ship.

His brother just
didn’t appreciate the poppy and its healing effects. Quincy had once had
trouble with the drug, taking too much at one time. But he knew better now. In
properly measured doses, the compounded paste cured almost every ail, including
insomnia—and crippling nightmares.

William studied
him with a dubious expression, perhaps pondering if Quincy was capable of
making the Atlantic crossing. But after a year on land, Quincy was restless
with the desire to return to sea. He was joining the tour—even if he had to stow
away.

He was needed,
too. He wouldn’t let another slaver take aim at William or the rest of the
crew. How could his galling brother forget Quincy had been reared on a schooner
since he
was
a pup? He lived and breathed the life of a seaman. And
while he might be the youngest of his brethren, he’d experienced as many
battles and storms and near hangings as any of them.

A series of
offbeat thumps resounded in the passageway. Someone carried a cumbersome object
and was bumping into every piece of furniture along the way.

Soon his brother
Edmund appeared, his arms outstretched as he maneuvered a massive canvas draped
in red velvet. He dumped the painting on the ground, leaning it against the wall.

“What is that?” asked
William, his black brows pinched together.

A breathless
Edmund combed a hand through his mussed hair. “The most recent painting by Lord
H.”

“The erotic
artist?” William exchanged bemused glances with Quincy. “Shouldn’t you surrender
it to the magistrate?”

“Hell, no!”

Quincy chuckled.
“Turning pirate again, are you?”

For ten years,
the Hawkins brothers had sailed the high seas as pirates. But after their
beloved sister had married a duke, the four had retired their marauding ways and
settled into the routine existences of respectable gentlemen.

“I didn’t steal
it,” returned a surly Edmund. “I bought it.”

He fished out a
scrap of paper from his great coat pocket and handed William the bill.

“Blimey! This
costs more than the house.” As William’s face turned a burning red, he
demanded, “Why the hell did you buy it?”

“Because of
this.”

Edmund seized
the velvet drape and tore it off the canvas.

They all three
stared at Quincy’s naked arse.

William first
recovered from the blow, groaning and slumping his face in his palm. “You posed
nude
? How could you do this, Quincy?”

Quincy remained
rigid, glaring at the wretched oil. It was him, all right, stretched out across
a bed, naked, a white sheet covering his legs and only a small part of his arse.

But how? When?
Who
had painted it?

“I couldn’t
confiscate the painting without also turning it over to the authorities,” said
Edmund, “so I bought it and told the magistrate it’d sold before I could
apprehend it.”

“Did you have to
pay a  bleedin’ fortune?” from an aghast William.

“I didn’t have a
choice. There was a frenzy of bidding, and I had to get the pup’s arse out of
public view.”

Quincy would
otherwise be flattered at the “frenzy of bidding” for his naked arse, but not
under the circumstances. He finally marshaled his limbs into movement and
approached the oil, analyzing the background. Dark red curtains. A fireplace
near the foot of the bed. Candles. There was something gut wrenchingly familiar
about the scenery, and he shut his eyes for a moment, groping through his hazy
reflections.

“I can’t keep
hauling you out of scrapes, Quincy.”

He turned toward
Edmund, his muscles hardening. “Who bloody well asked you to be my keeper?”

Edmund scrunched
his fists. “You clearly can’t take care of yourself. The opium’s completely
smoked your brain.”

“Damn it, I
didn’t pose for that!” cried Quincy, pointing at the oil. “I’ve never even met
Lord bloody H.”

As he studied
the brush strokes in greater detail, a memory surfaced of a smoky bedroom
alight with candles, a warm bed on a winter’s eve and . . . a woman. No, he
thought, flustered. Impossible.

“Enough.”
William stepped between them, arms outstretched. “Keep your heads. Both of
you.”

Quincy’s heart
hammered. He grabbed his pulsing skull as he remembered a vixen with
strawberry-flaxen hair, light green eyes and pink, kissable lips.

He remembered
more and more the night he had first met her, her cheeks flushed with heat, her
breath rampant with arousal. He’d hardened at her sinful innocence, her obvious
want. He’d thought her a comely wench come to pleasure him. But she had come
for her own pleasure . . . with her sketch book.

Bullocks.

“Did you even
think of Belle?” charged Edmund. “And what this would do to her reputation?”

Quincy would
never hurt his sister, Mirabelle, the Duchess of Wembury. He would sooner cut his
own throat than cause her any pain.

He stepped away
from the miserable artwork. His brothers glowered at him with obvious
condemnation, now convinced he really was the irresponsible, skirt chasing, opium
fiend in need of a keeper.

“At least we
have the painting.” Edmund sighed. “It’s over.”

“Have you seen
this morning’s post?” William gestured toward the reeking piles of perfumed
letters. “You weren’t the only one who recognized Quincy in the painting. Word of
his ‘sexual prowess’ has traveled fast.”

Quincy fisted
his palms. He was going to kill
Lord H
.

BOOK: How To Seduce A Pirate (The Hawkins Brothers Series)
12.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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