Tin Man: Pirates of the Nonestic

Chapter Fifteen

DG headed up the forehatch stairs first. She turned to face Cain once she reached the deck. The smile on his face caused her to bite her bottom lip. He caught her hand and squeezed when he emerged, dropping the latticed-wood trapdoor into place. All three of the moons hung in the sky, bathing the ship in blue light. Cain craned his neck up at the billowing sails, and then looked down at her with a grin. "This was a good idea."

It was so good to see him happy. "I'm glad I had one. I was getting paranoid."

"Sweetheart."

She pulled him to the railing. "Don't start that."

"What?"

"Your pep talk that all this isn't my fault. I don't need that right now."

Cain put his hands on the railing, trapping her between his arms. She arched her back as he leaned over her. "I hate seeing you beat yourself up, my darling girl."

She wrapped her arms around his neck. "I'm not. I wanted to make you smile at my expense."

"There are better ways to make me smile." He captured her lips with his.

DG hadn't expected him to be flagrantly public, but she didn't plan on complaining. She moved her fingers into his hair and pulled him closer.

He pulled back to breathe. "Save something for later," he said in a low voice that made her body tingle. He brushed back the hair blowing into her face with a feather-light touch. "I didn't know you could sing."

"You never asked."

Cain's pupils dilated more with her tease. "True. And the song you pickedů."

She swallowed. He had said not to reveal she was a Slipper. "They don't know where it's really from," she said. There was no danger of the man in the crow's nest or the man at the steering wheel overhearing, but she dropped her voice anyway.

He blinked. "Don't worry about that. The O.Z. has always been cut off." He took her hand again and they strolled to the foredeck. "This is beautiful." He looked over the railing at the water. "And that's a big fish."

DG leaned over next to him. The silver-fin back broke out of the glittering dark water. "I think it's a dolphin. If there are dolphins over here."

"I've never heard of dolphins."

"They're only found in the ocean, but they're not fish. They breathe air."

Cain nodded as he pushed back. "We can ask someone tomorrow. Let's go to bed." He turned them toward the forehatch.

The creaking of the mast above them changed, but the breeze remained the same. Something whistled through the air above and behind them. The sudden impact shoved Cain into DG, and she fell to the deck. She turned her head and saw Cain's tan pants hitting the railing and swinging over. "Wyatt!" She scrambled to the nearest hole for the cannon. Cain hung by one hand on a rung nailed to the hull, but his fingers slipped as the ship moved. "NO!"

She stretched her arm through the hole but couldn't reach him. She sent her magic. She had to make him fly like her doll. Her hand glowed with her light.

Cain's hand slipped off the rung and he flailed to stop his fall.

Her head pounded as her body shook. Somebody grabbed her legs to pull her out from under the cannon she had wedged under. She screamed and kicked. The arms backed away.

Cain spun in the air above the water. She felt the deck underneath her vibrate from running feet. Heads appeared over the railing and a rope sailed over the side. She needed to get him to the rope. Her body shook harder as Cain's arm stretched to grab it. The last bit of energy rushed out of her and she slumped on the wooden planks.

Cain's hand missed the rope as he dropped. DG opened her mouth as his blond head disappeared under the dark water, but no sound came out. She had never told him. She had only given him her body, same thing she had given everyone else. He would never know he was different. Now she screamed. He would never know.

She was pulled out from under the cannon and she didn't fight as she was rolled over. Hodges straddled her, pinned her arms above her head, and leered in her face. "My turn now." His face morphed, growing younger, until Prince Aedan's green eyes glared at her. "I told you I'd suffer no one else between your legs!"

DG screamed again.

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