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Rebellion

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Emma tethered her horse, patting the animal on the neck in thanks. Another successful escape from her gilded prison under her belt; she was starting to wonder how no one had noticed yet. Her maids were entirely in the dark, diligently helping her with her pre-bed toilette, none the wiser to what their mistress sometimes got up to at night. She was twenty two years old; she was damn well going to live her life her own way.

Sometimes that involved sneaking out of her parents' castle and riding down to the local village in disguise. Or, if they were at the Summer Palace, taking off on a “retreat” where she could ditch her servants the first chance she got.

Emma never had been very good at the traditional princess things and she liked it that way.

Well, that wasn't entirely true. She could dance. Her father had taught her and she cherished those memories. But they wanted her to attend balls and make stilted conversation with princelings vying for her hand. When she was fifteen, she'd sworn she'd never marry someone who couldn't defeat her in a swordfight. Her mother had laughed, warning her that she'd come around on love and the opposite sex. To be fair, Snow White hadn't been entirely wrong; however, the Queen didn't know that her precious eldest daughter was no longer a virgin and hadn't been for some time.

Emma did enjoy the company of men; she just didn't believe love was in the cards for her.

She straightened her corset and borrowed (stolen) petticoats; this was a dress she'd been wearing for some time on her adventures. It was starting to get a little tight; Emma had filled out in the bosom since acquiring it from one of her former maids. Still, she didn't think that would hurt her this tonight. She just wanted to enjoy a few pints at the nearby tavern, perhaps play some cards or a game of chance.

If someone struck her fancy, all the better for her.

She tossed the stable boy a coin to look after her horse and headed in the direction of the tavern. She'd only been here a few times; the town nearest the castle was filled with extra staff, as the Court was preparing to move on soon. It was far too risky to stay there even for a few hours. So she'd ridden her horse to the next village, a few miles down the coast. She liked that this part of the kingdom hugged the shore; it allowed her to meet new people, most just passing through. Not to mention the odds of her being recognized fell considerably.

Emma lifted her skirt to avoid some puddles in the road, already hearing some boisterous sounds from the tavern. Perhaps a new ship had docked that day? She didn't recognize anyone as she stepped inside. She swept off her hood and stopped by the bar for a drink.

“Could I have an ale?” she asked.

“Just a minute, lass,” a bearded middle aged man said gruffly. He poured three other tankards, handing them off to a little man in a red knit cap. “Now what did you want? Ale, you say?”

“That a problem?”

He looked her over. “No offense, miss, but you look like one stiff one will blow you right over.”

I can handle it.” She slipped him double and he asked no more questions. She got her tankard and headed to an open table toward the back. She wanted to get the lay of the land before she chose her game. And she enjoyed observing how regular people lived. Everything at the palace was protocol and etiquette and it annoyed the shit out of her.

“Thank you, Mr. Smee,” Killian said, accepting his pewter tankard. He downed about half of it at once, his thirst slaked for the moment. He was in the middle of a hand and needed all his concentration. He eyed his counterpart, trying to decide if the man was bluffing. The young man's jaw clenched and Killian smiled to himself. Poor lad was still wet behind the ears. Still, he wasn't in the business of going easy on anyone.

Just ask the man who'd taken his hand.

“I'll see your twenty and raise fifty,” he said, tossing the coins into the pile.

The boy (really, he couldn't have been more than twenty) broke out in a sweat, rubbing the back of his neck. Carefully, he tossed his fifty into the pile. “Let's see them, pirate.”

Killian laid down his cards. The boy blanched and followed suit. Killian gamely did not laugh as he gathered his winnings. “Better luck next time, my boy.”

“I'm not a boy.”

Now he did laugh. “Best run on home to Mummy before she finds out you've been gambling. Very bad form, you know.” Killian tucked his coins into his bag, which he then slipped into his pocket. “Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I could use another ale.” Or maybe something stronger. Despite his smile, his stump ached. He thought a bit more rum would ease his discomfort.

That and he really needed to use the head.

He stepped out back, brushing past a tiny blonde lass. He found a dark corner and loosened the laces on his trousers, sighing in relief. Once he was done, he tucked himself away and stepped back into the moonlit street. He really should go back inside, but it was a bit crowded in the tavern and he needed some air.

This was their first port of call in almost a month. Rarely did he run his crew this hard—it was one of the perks of being a pirate, they answered to no crown, no man but himself—but their usual stomping grounds had become dangerous, so they moved on to better pickings. He hoped to stay here for a few days, they all needed some rest and relaxation.

Killian took a long swallow from his flask, then headed back toward the tavern. He didn't want to spend the evening alone in his cabin. Not again. The light from the dirty windows flickered and there was a crash and Killian dashed inside, pushing his way through. He came up short at the sight in front of him.

The blonde lass from before (at least he thought it was the same one) stood over a man twice her size, who was doubled over in pain. Whether from a kick to his soft parts or the burgeoning bruise on his face was anyone's guess. The woman stood over him, golden hair tousled, cheeks flushed, lips parted in an almost feral grin.

She was stunning.

Next time ask before you touch,” she spat, stepping over him. The crowd parted as she made her way back to the bar, the barkeep quickly getting her another of whatever she was drinking.

Killian's feet carried him to her, eager to find out who she was. “This seat taken?”

Emma looked up at the voice, blinking at the handsome man staring back at her. She was still flying from taking down her would be groper, and she shook her head.

“Are you alright, lass?”

Emma cocked her head, confused. “Um, yeah. I'm fine. He was harmless. Mostly.”

“Mostly? Is that why he's on the ground crying for his mother?”

“It's rude to touch without permission.”

“Aye, it is. But it's a rare woman indeed who can fend off such unwanted advances herself.”

“It shouldn't be.” She cocked a brow at him. “What are you, some white knight? Don't need one of those.”

“So I gathered. And no, love. I'm a pirate.”

Emma wet her lips. “A pirate? Really?” She'd never met a real one before. He didn't look anything like what she'd been taught in her lessons. He was very good looking, with her favorite pairing of dark hair and blue eyes. His scruff held a hint of red and dark wiry chest hair peeked out of his black shirt. She had to fight the urge to run her tongue along the length of his neck.

“Answerable to no crown, no man aside from me,” he said proudly. “It's quite a life.”

Emma looked him over, taking in the loose black linen shirt, the black velvet vest and its high collar. Tight leather pants taunted her; she felt an acute stab of lust in her core.

Killian watched her drink him in, carefully watching her green eyes. The pupils dilated; she wet her lips. Whatever else was happening with them, she definitely found him attractive. Perhaps he wouldn't be spending the evening alone after all. He motioned to the bartender with his hook, drawing her attention to it for the first time.

Emma's eyes widened, the candlelight making the metal gleam. A hook. On a pirate. Holy shit. Instantly, her heart began to hammer in her chest. Not because she was frightened of him. She could handle herself. But this was Captain Hook.

“Problem, lass?”

“You're Captain Hook.”

Killian's face hardened. “What of it?” he snapped.

Emma instantly felt terrible. She hadn't meant it as an insult. Truth be told, even after a few moments acquaintance he was by far the most interesting (attractive) man she'd ever met. She didn't want to run him off. “I just meant...” She bit her lip, groping for words. Since words were rarely her strong suit, she put her mug down and reached for his appendage. “I'm surprised to see the infamous Captain Hook in a place like this.”

His features softened, stunned that she was touching him. Well, his hook anyway. No one did, most seeing it as unnatural. He watched her dainty fingers glide over the metal, seemingly unafraid. “You'd be surprised by some of the places I've been, love. But many of them are places exactly like this.”

“Why?”

“A chance for my crew to unwind. Share a few drinks, perhaps a lass or two.”

Emma smiled to herself; was it wrong that she hoped to share his bed this night? She just met him, but she had a feeling he'd blow all her previous lovers away. And what was more rebellious for a young princess than to bed a pirate?

“Do you play dice, Captain?”

He smiled. “As a matter of fact, I do.”

“You buy me a drink, we'll play a few rounds and see where the evening takes us?”

Who was this woman? She was young, perhaps a few years younger than himself. But she was clearly a woman and not a girl putting on airs of being older. She'd seen a bit of the world. And her eyes held a spark of mischief he couldn't resist. Her blatant flirting simply made him want her more.

She was aggressive and he liked it.

“You're on, love.” He brought her hand up to his lips, kissing the back gallantly. “And the name is Killian Jones.”

“Killian.”

“That's not very sporting, lass. You know my name, but I've yet to learn yours.”

She smiled seductively. “Perhaps you should make it worth my while, Captain.”

Killian bit his lip; he desperately wanted to kiss the knowing smile off her pretty face. He wanted to take her back to his cabin and make her scream his name over and over in ecstasy. His eyes flickered over her body, taking in the soft curves, rounded bosom threatening to spill out of her corset. “I intend to, make no mistake about that, princess.”

Emma sucked in a breath, internally panicking. Did he know who she was? She didn't see how he could. The heated look in his eyes showed no recognition, perhaps it was merely a nickname, since she wouldn't give him her real one. Not yet anyway. She'd never done that before, not with someone she intended to bed. Well, aside from the fumbling squire who'd deflowered her at sixteen. Him she swore to silence on pain of death. And since she was the better swordsman, it had been easy to cow him. After that she was more discreet, making sure she was far from home where no one knew her. But with Killian she wondered how her name—her real name—would sound on his lips as he took her.

All sorts of wild fantasies filled her head, all of them involving the handsome pirate fucking her until she couldn't walk.

He ordered them both some rum and moved them to a more private table. The barkeep had orders to keep the rum coming as they played round after round of dice.

“You gamble as well?” Killian asked, watching her fish out a bag of coins.

“Sometimes.”

“And what do you do other times?”

“Observe. Drink a pint or two. I hate complications.”

“Is this a complication?”

“Do you want it to get complicated, Captain?”

He swallowed, feeling her foot run up his leg. “I can think of several things I want, love. All of them involve being back on my ship.”

“Hmm, maybe you should come sit over here and tell me about them.”

Killian didn't hesitate; he stood and marched to her side of the table. He straddled the bench, sitting as close to her as he dared. “I'll tell you one if you can beat me,” he said.

“I thought we were wagering money?”

“Sod the money. You're the much more delectable prize.”

She curled her fingers around the dice. “A prize, am I?”

“Only if you wish. But I've had no complaints.”

Emma scowled, not wanting to be reminded of any previous lovers he'd had. Which was hypocritical of her since she'd had a few herself. But she wanted him. Badly.

“Jealousy is very fetching on you, milady.”

“In your dreams.”

“I certainly hope so. Now throw.”

She did, drawing an eight. She grinned, handing the dice back to him. Their fingers brushed and she shivered. An eight would be very difficult to beat. Killian downed a shot of rum; Emma watched as the liquid traveled down his throat. All that exposed skin was mesmerizing; she just wanted to sink her teeth into it, suck a mark into his skin. Just to mess with him, she laid a hand on his thigh. Killian's eyes flickered from his leg to her face, his pants getting uncomfortably tight. In less than an hour, he wanted her more than he'd ever wanted a woman in his life . He rolled the dice and groaned. Four.

“I win.”

“And what would you like for your prize, lass?”

Her hand didn't stay still, it moved higher up his leather clad leg. “Kiss me.”

“Here?”

“Never kissed a wench in a tavern before, Captain?”

“You, lass, are no mere wench.” He didn't know how he knew that, but he did. He didn't know exactly what she was, but he'd never met anyone like her. Still, he threaded his fingers into her sunshine hair and pulled her closer. He crashed his lips to hers, swallowing her gasp of delight. Emma inched closer, tugging on her skirts to rest her legs over his. Killian snaked his hook up under her petticoats, moaning when she shivered at the cool metal on her skin. “Bloody hell,” he cursed softly.

Emma was already chasing his lips, fingers curling around his necklace and tugging him back. She teased the seam of his lips with her tongue and he opened, granting her access. Their table was tucked in the very back of the tavern, mostly away from prying eyes, but still this was much more brazen than he usually allowed. He much preferring taking things to his cabin, where clothes could be shed and he could do all sorts of sinful things.

Emma mewled as Killian's hand joined his hook under her skirts. “Oh yes,” she breathed.

“Is this what you wanted, lass? My hand up your skirt? All you had to do was ask, sweet.”

Emma leaned back, breathing hard. His low rumbling tone made her clit throb with lust. “The game...” she tried to protest.

“I think we're well past games, don't you?” He moved his hand higher, hissing when he realized she wasn't wearing knickers. “Naughty minx.” He leaned close. “If I make you come will you tell me your name?”

Emma canted her hips and unashamedly spread her legs wider. “Please. Gods.”

“Killian will do, love.” He rubbed her inner thigh with his hook, brushing a single digit over her clit. She moaned softly, teeth digging into her kiss swollen lower lip. The sounds of the tavern muffled their impromptu tryst, but he knew he should hurry. The sooner he get her off, the sooner they could go back to his ship and he could ravish her properly.

He experimented, flicking her clit teasingly, trying different pressures and strokes. He prided himself on never leaving a woman unsatisfied and he had a feeling he would thoroughly enjoy this woman's charms. Her chest heaved, her hips rolled into his touch. Carefully, he pushed one finger inside her sheath, almost coming himself. She was so hot and wet and tight ; she would feel incredible riding his cock. Or bent over his desk as he rode her. Or pressed against the ladder. He wanted her on every surface of his little cabin.

“Oh,” Emma breathed.

“Shh, lass,” he admonished. “Just ride my fingers. That's it.” Emma pushed back against the wall of the tavern, using the leverage to rock onto his fingers. He curled them and she bit down hard on her lip, her body beginning to tremble. She couldn't recall the last time she was this close this quickly. A brush of her clit with his hook and she came undone, clenching around him and shaking. It took all her remaining willpower not to cry out.

She sagged against the wall, panting, feeling so high and yet...not sated. Having experienced this, she wanted know how he would feel inside her, allow him to use her body any way he wished.

Killian tried not to look smug, but he certainly felt it. She was gorgeous falling apart for him; he needed to get her back to the Roger so he could strip her naked and hear her screams. And he knew he could make her scream. Over and over again. He extricated his hand and hook, licking his fingers clean. “Hmm, delicious.”

His low hum roused her from her blissed out state; Emma raised her head, taking in his sparkling blue eyes and salacious smirk. “Oh gods.” He'd licked his fingers? Would she taste herself on his tongue if she kissed him now? The very thought made her quiver in a very good way.

“I believe you made a promise, milady.”

“I did?”

“Your name?”

She glanced away. Right. She vaguely recalled offering her name in exchange for his touch. Stealing herself, she looked back into his eyes. “Emma. My name is Emma.”

He cocked his head, considering her. “Emma.”

And him saying her name was every bit as intense as she imagined. The way he wrapped it around his lips (those very kissable lips) made her heart stutter in her chest. She reached out and glided her fingers over his hook once more. “Shall we keep playing?”

Killian shook his head. “I think I have a much better game we can play. On my ship.”

The way he said it left no wonder about what they would be. And she wanted it, wanted him. “Are you offering to show me your ship?”

Killian leaned close, trailing his nose over her cheek. “I think we both know what I'm offering, love. Playing coy seems beneath a woman like you.”

“And what kind of woman is that?”

“One who know exactly who and what she wants.”

“I'd love to see your ship, Captain.”

He'd have her calling him by his name before the night was over. But if she wanted to play with the Captain, he could accommodate her. “Follow me.” He stood, tossing some coins to pay for their rum. He bade her to stay for a moment while he spoke to Mr. Smee; he wanted to make sure they had complete privacy. The crew had the night off. He returned to Emma and took her elbow, guiding her to the back entrance.

Emma pulled her hood up, her instinct not to be spotted kicking in. She'd stolen away for trysts before, but a pirate ship would be new. Her parents would have an attack if they knew where she was; pirates were notorious for taking royal hostages and ransoming them. But Killian didn't know who she was. To him, she was merely a woman who wanted to bed him. However, she couldn't shake the feeling that she could trust him. That she was safe. It didn't make sense. This was Captain Hook, most feared pirate in all the realms. But when she looked at him, she saw passion and decadence, wit and strength. Perhaps he would be fearsome if crossed, but so was she.

Killian noted the way she shielded her face, adding it to the ever growing catalog to the mystery that was Emma. Whoever she was, she clearly didn't want to draw attention to herself. That was fine with him. He could pick his way through that tangle at a later date. In the meantime, he wanted to enjoy this extraordinary gift.

It took very little time to get to the docks; the masts of the Jolly Roger loomed against the moonlit sky. “Is that one yours?”

Aye. She's the Jolly Roger. Fastest ship in all the realms.”

“How do you know?”

I've outrun many a pursuer, lass. Also, the Roger is built from enchanted wood.”

“Is there a joke in there somewhere?”

Killian chuckled; she certainly wasn't a shy lass. He caught her around the middle and hauled her against his chest. “Does that feel like a joke, Emma?”

She wanted to rub herself against his hard body like a cat but they were still in plain view. Instead she shook her head. “This isn't either.” She pulled him down by the neck, mouth hard on his. He responded in kind, growling against her, arms tightening on her waist. She smoothed her hands over the velvet of his vest, getting a hint of the toned muscles underneath. She needed to see him nude, feel him driving into her.

Abruptly, Killian picked her up, ignoring her yelp of surprise. He carried her up the gangplank and across the deck to the ladder that led to his quarters. “Down you get,” he muttered, giving her a little push. She turned and had to fumble a little with her skirts to get down the ladder. Killian followed right after, closing the hatch behind him.

I prefer it with the lights on,” he said, striding through the darkness. He knew his cabin like the back of his hand, he knew exactly where the flint was. Emma watched in fascination as he lit a candle with flint and hook, then using it to light more. Soon the cabin was filled with a surprisingly warm glow. Emma shrugged off her cloak and hung it from one of the rungs of the ladder. She hadn't even turned around when she felt Killian pressed against her back, lips hot on her neck. His hand slipped around her waist, moving up, up, up until he was cupping a breast through her clothing.

“Captain?”

“A woman such as you deserves my prompt and full attention,” he whispered in her ear. “Are you ready to receive it?”

“Gods yes,” she replied without hesitation. This was what she'd been imagining since she'd laid eyes on him, this man bringing her pleasure until she begged for mercy or the sun rose, whichever came first. She rarely went more than one round, but instinctively she knew once wouldn't be enough.

Killian leaned into her, letting her feel how much he wanted her. He rocked against her ass, pulling her hair back with his hook to expose her pale skin. Roughly, he yanked the collar and sleeve of her dress, burying his head in the crook of her neck, kissing and nipping with lips and teeth. Emma moaned loudly, turned on by his evident need for her, his roughness. She clung to the ladder with one hand, guiding his back to her breast.

Killian chuckled. “You are a lass who know what she wants,” he murmured, giving her a hard squeeze. Emma keened, a jolt of molten fire igniting in her core. “I'm going to have so much fun with you.”

Emma nodded absently, reaching for the ties of her bodice. It was too tight; she couldn't breathe, not with the way he was touching her.

“So bloody eager,” he growled, running his hook up her back. He could tear the laces of her corset; to prove his point, he deftly snagged one on the metal and yanked. Emma grunted in shock, then had to bite her lip to stifle another moan. She could feel him through their clothes and it was doing exactly nothing to limit her imagination of his size. “Strip. I want to see every inch of you.” He had to back up to give her room; he instantly lamented the loss of her warmth, her soft body. To occupy himself, he chucked off his heavy coat and tossed it, moving to lean back against his desk, legs crossed at the ankles.

Emma spun around, already working open the laces of her dress and corset. Then she saw the cocky stance of her lover and paused. Her eyes swept over him, admiring his tall strong form. His leather trousers looked uncomfortably tight, but he made no effort to ease it. He simply stood there, fiddling with his hook, watching her. “Chop, chop, lass,” he said, waving his hook. “There are only so many hours until sunrise.”

“You think I'll still be here at sunrise?”

“You're not leaving until I've had my fill. Now I believe I gave you an order, princess.”

There it was again, that nickname. Still, she saw no recognition, so she shook off her curiosity. She was only going to get one night with him; she didn't want to waste a moment. “Aye aye, Captain.” She went back to her dress, untying and peeling off the pieces one by one, leaving them in a puddle on the floor. Her shift, stretched out by his rough handling, hung from one shoulder; Emma gave him a slow grin as she shimmied out of it. Her heart was hammering again, stepping beyond the pile of cloth so he could see her.

“Turn around slowly.” She did so, a flush creeping up her body as he drank her in. Killian bit his lip, cock twitching painfully. So many things he wanted to do her; she was even more perfect than he'd imagined. Lithe and toned, skin pale and perfect in the candlelight. Her nipples were pebbled and straining; she had a blonde thatch to match her golden tresses. Killian levered off the desk and stepped back up to her, trailing hand and hook over her skin. Emma gasped at the cool metal, hands balling into fists.

Killian reached over her hip to cup her mound; he could feel how hot she was. “I'm going to make you scream my name, lass,” he whispered darkly. Emma whimpered. “Do you believe me?”

“Y-y-yes.” She couldn't recall ever sounding so shaky and quiet; she was accustomed to being the aggressor, to taking what she wanted. This time she wanted what he was asking of her, free reign over her body, her will bent to his. It was new and exciting and she wanted to know where it led.

“On your knees for the Captain.”

Emma licked her lips and sank down, the wood hard on her skin. Any thought of discomfort flew from her mind as she watched him furiously unlace his pants, sighing when his cock sprang free. Emma's whimper stuck in her throat...her pirate was big. Bigger than she'd ever had, long and thick, precum beading on the red swollen head. Normally, she'd have a lover earn her mouth, but she wanted to taste him, take him into her mouth and suck. Another hard pulse of lust rocked her and she looked up at him with pleading eyes.

Killian smirked down at her, hand lazily stroking his cock. If her sinful kisses were any indication, he would enjoy this. “Open.” Emma did so, expecting him to push in, but instead he traced her lips with the tip of his cock, smearing those pretty pink lips with precum. Emma darted her tongue out to lick, eager for more. “So the lass wants a taste. Good girl.” He urged her head down a bit with his hook, thrusting his hips forward. Emma inhaled through her nose, her mouth suddenly full. He wasn't gentle, rocking steadily, his hand sliding into her hair. She looked up through her lashes, wrecked by the look of sheer pleasure on his face.

She reached for his hips, not to stop him but to drag the leather down so she could feel his skin. She moaned around him as he fucked her mouth, long slow glides of his cock into its depths. She swirled her tongue around him, paying special attention to the sensitive spot just below the head.

Killian shuddered, a curse dropping from his lips. “Bloody fuck.” The way she was touching him, the way she was taking almost all of him down, threatened his usual iron control. He'd been right; she was no blushing virgin. She was a goddess at his feet, one he intended to wreck for other men. “Such a devious mouth, princess. So bloody hot.”

Emma hummed, taking back a bit of control, taking advantage of his loosened hold to bob her head in shorter strokes, show him what she could do. She fondled his balls, pressed his cock to his stomach, tongue sliding along his considerable length. She teased the sensitive head with flicks of her tongue before taking him back in and sucking hard. He groaned her name, knowing that if she didn't stop, this would be over far sooner than either of them wanted. When she didn't heed him, Killian yanked her back by the hair, breathing hard as he tried to regain his senses.

Emma sat back on her haunches, also gasping for breath. There was an inferno between her legs; she'd never been this desperate to be fucked. She pressed her hand to her cleft, whimpering with need. “Please,” she said, voice hardly recognizable as her own. “Please, Captain.”

Killian jerked his head to the desk. “On the desk, legs spread.”

Emma moved, hopping up on the edge and splaying her thighs. Killian sauntered up to her, pants halfway down his thighs. He tugged off his heavy boots and shucked his pants. She watched in fascination as he accomplished these tasks one handed. He stepped back into her space, hand and hook resting on her thighs; she shivered. “Now if you would be so kind...”

Emma nodded, reaching for his vest. She stroked the soft velvet, wishing she could feel it on her skin again. When he cocked a brow at her, she hurried on, popping buttons and pushing the material off his chest. To make things harder for her, he moved even closer, his aching cock rubbing against her dripping core. Her fingers shook from need as she lifted the linen from his body, finally exposing his dark torso to her greedy gaze. His mouth was on hers before she could process it, the kiss raw and hungry. Emma clutched at him, trying to memorize his body with her hands. She didn't flinch at the leather and brace that held on his hook, tracing the straps with eager fingers.

Killian broke the kiss with a gasp, an emotion he couldn't place seizing his heart. No one embraced his hook like this; all too often he took his pleasure and the lass was gone before he could get the brace off. But Emma was touching it, touching him as if he were whole. He grabbed her roughly by the hips, dragging her to the very edge of the desk. “You like my hook?” Emma nodded, kiss swollen lips in a pout. He dragged the metal down her chest, circling each of her pink nipples until they were sharp points. Then he pressed her legs wider and dragged the metal through her wet folds. She moaned, rocking wantonly into his touch.

“Fuck, more,” she pleaded, hand curling around his left arm. He bent his head to suck a pert nipple into his mouth, while pressing harder with his hook. Emma mewled in pleasure, one hand diving into his hair. She guided him, stroking his hook over her sopping flesh. “Yes, yes!”

Killian snarled, feeling her body starting to tremble. He wasn't allowing her to have another orgasm without his cock inside her. He yanked his hook away and lined himself up, taking her in a single stroke. Their moans echoed in the cabin, mouths fusing in a passionate dance. Killian pressed her back until she was flat on the desk, hips rocking hard into hers, soaking in her heat, her tight walls gripping him like a glove. Her legs hooked under his arms, leaving her entirely at his mercy as he fucked her.

Emma felt like she was melting, her entire world reduced to the exquisite ache between her legs. He hadn't given her time to adjust to his thickness, but it hardly mattered. She was so wet that she took him easily. She stole ravenous kisses from his lips as he rode her, the desk shaking under them. She locked her ankles behind his head, holding him there, pleading for deeper and harder and more, hardly able to get out more than one or two words at time.

“So...fucking...tight...” Killian growled, each word punctuated by a thrust of his hips. She felt incredible; he never wanted to be outside of her perfect body. He adjusted his angle and Emma screamed.

“Shit! Right there! Oh gods,” she breathed, thighs quivering with impeding release. “I'm gonna...fuck, I'm gonna come! Yes, yes, yes!” Her walls gripped him hard and he cursed, desperate not to come himself. Pleasure tore through her, body spasming over and over, incoherent cries tumbling from her lips. Killian lowered her legs and turned her slightly, until only one leg rested on his shoulder. He pushed back into her quivering heat, seeking his own high. He fucked her lazily now, wondering if he could bring her off again. He molded his hand to her breast and Emma shuddered.

“Oh...oh gods,” she hissed, back arching. “Shit, that feels good.”

“Nowhere near done with you,” he reminded her, kissing her ankle. He increased his pace, lowering his hand to her swollen nub. “Come for me again, love. Let me feel you come on my cock. So good.”

Emma scrambled for something to hold, something to keep her sane, but he felt too good. She rocked into him, meeting his thrusts at the new angle, moaning when he lightly spanked her ass. “Again!”

Killian grinned ferally, smacking her again, harder. She mewled, more of her sweetness coating his cock. “If you wanted to be spanked, love, all you had to do was ask.”

“Later...fuck, I need to come. Again. Please!”

Killian moved back to her clit, rubbing it in quick circles, taking her with hard deep strokes. This time her climax was almost instantaneous, her body over stimulated. She stiffened, screaming something that might have been his name, clawing at his desk. He let go himself, allowing her fluttering walls to take him with her. He groaned her name, rutting into her until he softened, spent for the time being.

Emma sagged against the hard surface of the desk; she'd probably have marks later but she didn't care. She'd just had the most mind blowing sex of her life. And she hoped they weren't through.

Killian forced himself to stand, going to the washbasin to fetch something to clean her with. She shivered when the cool cloth came into contact with her sensitive skin. “Alright, milady?”

“Are pirates normally this...solicitous after sex?”

“I may be a pirate, but I'm also a gentleman. And as I said, love, you are not what you claim to be.”

She bit her lip, then forced herself up on her elbows. “I never claimed to be anything.”

“I'll not question you. It's your business. I'm content to enjoy this night without complicated queries.”

Emma let out a breath. She really didn't want to explain. She didn't want him to treat her differently. She liked this tug of war they had, the banter. He didn't treat her like she was special, at least not in the way she was accustomed to. She liked this, liked him, more than she wanted to admit. When she beckoned him back, she kissed him, sighing with something akin to happiness as his arms came around her.

“Will you stay?” he asked, untying the ribbon from her loose braid and working his fingers through it.

Emma nodded, kissing the corner of his mouth. “For now.”

“Lucky for you, I love a challenge.” He offered her his shirt, biting his lip as she slipped the black linen over her head. It looked far better on her, the gap in the top coming almost down to her navel. Killian put his pants back on, keeping the tie loose for ease of removing later. And there would be a later. “Cards or dice?”

“We're playing a game?”

“Well, since you're averse to questions, we need something to while away the time.”

Emma glanced away, then nodded. “Until what?”

Killian cupped her cheek, thumbing the crest of her cheekbone. “Until I get to ravish you again, of course.”

“Hmm, think you're up for it?”

“Give me a few rounds at cards and you'll find out, love.” He dipped his head to kiss her, stealing her breath. “A man could never get tired of a bounty such as you.”

“I guess we'll see.” But Emma could already feel the itch creeping under her skin again. Him there barechested and gorgeous...he didn't have to convince her to let him have her again. She'd come to his bed willingly, and she hadn't been disappointed. She wanted more.

They settled across from each other on the bunk, legs crossed. Emma shuffled the cards; Killian was impressed with her skills. It was rare he met a woman as good at cards as him. Or willing to gamble. They didn't really play for money though. They teased and flirted, winners receiving kisses as reward. It wasn't long before the game was forgotten, Emma sprawled on top of him, unable to stop kissing him. His hook rested at the base of her spine, causing her borrowed shirt to ride up.

“Emma.”

She loved the way he said her name, like he was utterly wrecked. “Hmm?”

He tightened his hold on her tiny waist and flipped them in the small bunk. Emma cried out in surprise but nodded eagerly as he pulled the shirt over her head and kissed a path down her belly. He slithered off the end of the bunk so he could spread her legs. He nosed at her mound, inhaling her musky scent, tongue tapping her clit. “Anyone ever done this for you?”

Emma nodded. She'd had one or two men try it, but they didn't seem to enjoy it. And she'd never come. “But I think you can do better.”

“Sodding ponces.” He licked a stripe through her slit, humming at her taste. He could taste a bit of himself too and he grinned. This night she was his. He spread her, pushing her legs back, tongue lapping at her greedily. Emma half moaned, half screeched, a sharp stab of lust striking her core. She reached out for something to hold and found his hair, tugging it to keep him in place.

“Don't stop...please!” she cried, trying to cant her hips up.

Killian had no intention of stopping. He flicked his tongue over her clit, dipping a finger inside her. He was in no hurry, content to use mouth and hand to bring her to the brink several times until she was writhing under him, desperate to come. “Killian! Fuck...please let me come!” She wasn't used to begging, but he was playing her body like an instrument, knowing precisely when to stop, keeping her on the edge for far too long.

“Patience.” He rubbed the glorious swollen flesh tenderly before viciously smacking it with his hand. Emma screamed, the pain unexpected. In seconds, it changed to bone deep pleasure and she let out a strangled moan. He did it again and again, watching her for signs of discomfort, but she wriggled and writhed, loving everything he did to her.

He stopped after five sharp slaps of her cunt, soothing her with cool air. His cock strained against the loose laces, watching her take his spanking made him rock hard. She was perfect, not shying away from his baser nature. In fact, she seemed to revel in it. Killian shucked his pants and climbed back up her body, peppering her flushed skin with kisses. “Bloody magnificent, is what you are,” he murmured before kissing her deeply. Emma clutched at him, nails digging into his skin.

“Need you,” she whispered, wantonly rubbing her slick flesh along his cock. “Need you in me.”

“Bloody hell,” he swore, wanting nothing more than to drive into her willing body over and over until he saw stars. However, he was only getting this one night with her and he wanted it to last. He bent his head, capturing a nipple between his teeth, nibbling and sucking until the tender skin bruised. Emma clutched at him, at the thin mattress, at anything that she could reach, her body riding impossibly higher. She'd never even imagined pleasure like this; it threatened to overwhelm her. In that moment, she wanted it, wanted to be ridden until she could take no more.

Killian switched nipples, biting and sucking, rocking his hips against her, the ridge of his erection rubbing her clit in long strokes. Emma writhed, his name a litany on her lips, finally losing control, climaxing hard, fire rushing through her veins. Killian raised his head, watching her face, the sheer beauty of her.

In that moment, he wished she could stay.

Emma sagged, legs falling, heart still tripping in her chest. Killian peppered her slick skin with kisses, and she could feel him, still hard and smooth against her. She moaned breathlessly, unsure if she had another round in her. But she wanted to feel him. She tugged his head to hers, kissing him through ragged breaths. “Is that all you've got?”

“Never question the Captain, lass.” He climbed off her and stood. He grabbed her foot and tugged. “Bend over, arse up.”

Emma shivered, moving sluggishly to obey his command. Her brain was still foggy from her last orgasm, legs felt like jelly. She bent over the bunk, the rough wool scratching her tender nipples. She moaned, a wave of want settling at the apex of her thighs. If this was what it felt like to have a lover who knew how to please a woman, she never wanted to leave. This was heaven.

Killian molded his hand to her pert ass, kneading and squeezing the globes. She rolled her hips up, trying to get more, until he smacked her hard. Emma cursed, instantly going still. “There's a good girl,” he crooned, smacking the other side for good measure. “Stay still.”

Emma nodded against the mattress, hoping he got on with it soon. But he seemed to enjoy playing with her ass, spreading the cheeks to rub his cock along her cleft or lightly spanking her. Emma had never been toyed with in that way and she was surprised how much she enjoyed it. That didn't stop her from jerking in surprise when she felt his warm tongue lick her puckered hole. “W-w-what are you doing?”

“No one's touched you here?” he asked in response, giving her another lick.

“No.”

“Do you want me to stop?”

Emma swallowed, then wet her lips. “No.”

“Good girl.” He wouldn't take her there (as much as he wanted to), but he could show her how amazing it could be if she mustered the courage. He went back to his task, massaging her with his tongue, fingers playing with her clit. He gathered some of her arousal and brought it up, rimming her in slow circles. Emma fisted the mattress, trying not to wriggle, to relax. She didn't know why, but she trusted him not to hurt her.

Killian snatched up the bottle of oil with his hook, pausing long enough to dribble some onto her skin. His cock ached, and he had to pump it a few times to regain control. He slid it through her folds, coating himself in her slickness as more coated her thighs. “Gods, I need to fuck you.”

“Please,” Emma replied, core clenching. “Please!”

Killian nodded, despite the fact that she couldn't see him, and pushed forward. He sighed in relief, sinking in until he was completely sheathed inside her. He couldn't get over how incredible she felt, hot and wet and tight, like she'd been made for his cock. He pulled almost all the way out, then slammed back in, smirking at her loud moan.

“The princess likes it rough, eh?” he muttered, holding her steady with his hook. He rode her with deep stokes, fingers sliding over her ass. He spanked her once, twice, and Emma moaned in approval. He reached down and rubbed her clit, his fingers coated with her arousal and oil. He brought his hand back to her virgin hole and massaged. Emma tensed. “Relax.”

Emma did her best, trying to focus on the thick slide of his cock as he touched her in the foreign place. She tensed for only a moment when his finger began to push inside her, then she relaxed. “Oh fuck.” There was a burn as his finger dipped in farther, but it wasn't unpleasant. She felt full, having two holes stretched at once. “More, more, please!”

Killian groaned, beyond thrilled to see how much she liked it. He added another finger to her ass, stroking her in time with his thrusts. She was quivering under him, hips rocking unconsciously into his, loving the way he fucked her. His own orgasm tingled at the base of his spine; she was so tight, strangling his cock, he could hardly hold on. “Touch yourself,” he demanded, his thrusts getting more erratic. “Need to come, lass. Now.”

Emma had to drag herself out of a lust filled haze; she'd never felt like this in all her life. It was intoxicating. She managed to snake a hand under her, quickly finding her clit. She flicked it the way she did when she was horny and alone, picturing some faceless man fucking her. She didn't need that, as Killian had her filled to brim, his thick cock hitting bottom on every thrust. A handful of strokes and she fell apart, screaming herself raw, coming and coming and coming, wave after wave as Killian pulsed wetly inside her, coating her with his seed, rutting until he was exhausted. He grunted something that might have been her name, but she was too far out of it to tell.

Killian extracted his fingers, gripping her hip to keep himself upright. He couldn't recall the last time he'd come that hard. He felt shaky, legs a bit wobbly. He didn't want to leave her, but he'd only topple them both if he didn't. Emma whimpered as he pulled away; Killian grabbed the desk chair with his foot and collapsed into it. “Come here, love.”

His voice pulled her back to consciousness; she wasn't out, but she was more exhausted and high than she'd ever been. When she did manage to stand, she stumbled into him arms, curling herself into his lap like a cat. They were both messy and dirty and sweaty but neither cared. There was an intimacy to what they'd shared that neither wanted to admit. But they each felt it.

Emma dozed in his arms. Once he had a bit of his breath back, he carried her to the bunk, laying her out and tenderly wiping her skin clean. After shucking his brace and cleaning up himself, he joined her, secretly pleased when she snuggled into him. It had been a long time since a woman fell asleep in his arms.

He found he didn't hate it.

That didn't come until the next morning when he woke up alone. He was so groggy that at first he thought he'd dreamt her up, but his body was sore in ways it hadn't been for ages. Cursing, he yanked on his pants and looked around. All her clothes were gone, there was no note, no sign of her at all. It wasn't often a person could escape him undetected. Emma had slipped from his bunk and dressed without him so much as stirring.

Who the hell was she?


Emma headed out into the early morning light, ignoring her fellow travelers. She only had a few hours to get back before she was missed. She paid the stable boy an extra coin not to ask questions, then climbed on her horse. She had bite back a groan; she was sore, but she didn't regret what she'd done. Killian was worth the risk, the best night of her life.

She ignored the pang in her heart when she remembered that she could never see him again. It didn't matter. She'd go back to her life and he'd go back to his. Simple. She'd done it a dozen times before. In a few days, he'd be forgotten, just like all the others.

Her mother announced they were leaving for the Summer Palace in three days time and Emma threw herself into the preparations to leave. As the Court rode along the shore to the western road, she absolutely did not look back to find the mast of a certain pirate ship.

Days passed. Emma slipped back into her routines, or tried to. For a week, she swore she could still feel him, like he'd imprinted himself on her body. Eventually, the ache faded, but that somehow only made things worse. She woke up in the night, images of Killian's dark head between her thighs or his face contorted in ecstasy as she rode him. Then she remembered that they hadn't actually done that and she'd furiously beat her pillow. The nights she did manage to sleep all night, she woke up with an ache between her thighs so fierce she had to get herself off before her maids showed up.

After a month of this, she crept out again, hoping to purge herself of this obsession. That had to be what it was. She'd never been like this with any lover before him. Some were better than others, but they were all forgotten relatively quickly. It was so bad her mother had started to ask her what was wrong. She looked tired, Snow White said, tired and sad.

Emma wanted to snap back that she wasn't tired, she was frustrated. Killian had disrupted her life, made it impossible to get him out of her head. She didn't want this. She wanted her freedom back.

Hence the trip to the tavern.

She looked for a likely candidate, but while a few bolder youths tried to flirt with her, buy her a drink, she kept mentally comparing them to Killian. And they all fell short. Too scrawny. Too blonde. Too bland. Too young. None of them looked like they could handle her, strike her interest for more than a moment. She remembered playing dice with Killian, their first kiss. The rough way he handled her, yet still respected her and took care of her after.

“Why won't you get out of my head?!” she muttered under her breath as she left the tavern, alone. She'd never returned home unsatisfied before and it rattled her. But she couldn't shake the feeling it was Killian she wanted. His touch, his hook, the way he looked at her.

What was she going to do?


Killian bent over the map, trying to decide their next heading. His crew was avoiding him, probably because he was surlier than usual. Everywhere he went, if he saw a flash of blonde hair, he looked for her. It was driving him mad. Almost two months had passed, he needed to stop this.

The ship rocked to port and his pencil slid off the desk and clattered to the floor. He grumbled and stooped to pick it up. There, caught around the chair leg, he found a ribbon. It was soft satin, the brown slightly faded from all the dust. He shook it out, caressing it between his fingers. He recalled slipping it from Emma's hair, his fingers working out her braid. He hadn't thought anything of it then.

Satin was a material only worn by a few. Nobility or royalty. Of course, she could have stolen it, but he doubted it. All along, he'd known there was something about her identity that didn't quite add up. Her manners, the way she spoke, how clean she smelled. The fact that she'd deliberately used a hood to disguise herself. His instincts told him she was no mere peasant woman, no matter how much she tried to play the part.

Could she be royal? He wracked his brain, trying to recall if he knew of a kingdom with a princess named Emma, but he couldn't even be sure it was her real name. He thought so though. Well, he hoped so. It was the name he whispered as he touched himself at night, so it bloody well better be the right one.

Even if he was right, what could he do about it? Should he do anything? Emma had left him.

What made her different from any other random lass he'd had in his bed?

“Sodding hell,” he snarled, crumbing the ribbon in his fist. He had to know. He had to know once and for all, so he could get on with his life. One way or another. He had to go back.


The mare ambled under her, but Emma wasn't really paying attention. She could ride this road blindfolded. She just wanted to be alone. The Court was headed back to the castle after two months ensconced in the Summer Palace. Over and over, Snow had tried to discover what was wrong with her daughter and she thought a ball could fix it. A ball where still more princes could try and court her. Emma hadn't really protested; she was tired of fighting. She was just tired, period. She longed for her pirate (now that she could admit it to herself) but didn't have the first clue how to find him. Or even if she should.

He'd most likely moved on, hardly giving her a second thought.

That idea tore at her, but she'd brought this on herself. She didn't harbor any illusions of him showing up and sweeping her off her feet. She wasn't an idiot. Still, she couldn't help but wonder where he was.

Gods, she was pathetic.

They turned the corner, the road to the castle hugging the shore. She breathed in the sea air and it invigorated her. She'd always loved this place, looking out her window and watching the ships go by. She just didn't want to rule it.

There was a stately looking ship down the coast; she smiled at it, smiled for he first time in weeks. It looked a bit like the silhouette of the Jolly Roger, but that was impossible. Surely, Killian was long gone, off on another adventure. Still, it couldn't hurt to get out of the castle for a few hours. She resolved to slip out the first chance she got.

That night, she rode in the direction of the village, having bribed one of the guards to let her pass. One of these days she'd probably have to answer for her constant disappearances but she could cross that bridge later. The village looked much the same as it had on that fateful night two months ago, the same stable boy waited for his coin as she dismounted. Hood in place, she headed to the tavern.

It was busy, filled with people carousing and playing games. It took a few minutes for the barkeep to acknowledge her and get her drink. There were no tables, so she had to sit on an uncomfortable stool, skirts pulled into her lap. The alcohol burned down her throat and she was starting to wonder if this wasn't a huge mistake.

The door to the tavern opened again and she refused to look. She didn't want to appear desperate or too hopeful. That worked until she heard his voice. That voice she couldn't get out of her head, the voice that whispered filthy things to her. She gathered her courage and turned around, tugging her hood down.

Killian looked much the same, dark hair hair a bit longer, his smile not quite a bright. And he was wearing a blood red embroidered vest, rather than black velvet. He was at the head of his men, not noticing her at first. Then the little man—Mr. Smee, was it?—tugged at his sleeve and pointed. Emma flushed when their eyes met across the room. Killian whispered something to Smee then stalked in her direction.

Heart racing, she waited, wondering what in the hell she could say to him. In moments, he was in front of her, mouth opening to speak, then abruptly closing again. He swallowed thickly, hardly believing his eyes. “Emma?”

She nodded, still clueless as to actual words. She put her drink down, tongue darting out to wet her lips. She was nervous and she'd never been nervous with a man before. She watched him tentatively reach for her and she nodded again, relief washing over her as their fingers threaded together.

“Love, I really need you so say something,” he tried to tease. She could feel him trembling slightly; could be be experiencing the whirlwind of emotions she was?

“Why did you come back?”

Killian cocked a brow at her. “Why did you leave?”

Emma sighed; that was fair. “Maybe we should find somewhere to...” But she never got the rest of the sentence out. He pounced on her, lips crushed to hers intent on kissing the life out of her. She clutched at his vest and shirt, mewling into his kiss. It was like her world instantly righted itself, every doubt, every lonely night, gone. Killian was here and he was kissing her and that was all that mattered.

“Miss me?” he asked, kissing the corner of her mouth.

“Maybe.”

“Never a straight answer with you, lass.” But he didn't let her go, merely smoothed his hand over her golden tresses. “My quarters?”

“Okay.” This time they didn't go out a side door. He kept an arm around her waist and guided her to the front, allowing everyone to see them leave. Suddenly, she was nervous again, unsure what he expected of her. And she didn't know what she could give him.

The air was thick around them as they descended the ladder; Emma was warm, the weather far too hot for her heavy cloak. Killian didn't let her get far, unclasping the front and slipping it from her shoulders. He backed her into the ladder again, bending close to inhale her unique scent. “You never answered my question.”

“You never answered mine.”

“Does it need saying?” he murmured, hand and hook on either side of her head. His hips were pressed to hers but she didn't feel trapped or out of her depth. This felt like where she was supposed to be.

Emma laid her hands on his chest, soaking in his warmth. “I don't know how to do this.”

“Sure you do, love.” They could talk later. Really talk. Right now, he just needed to know she was real. He captured her lips in a kiss, sighing as she wrapped her arms around his neck. Slowly, thoroughly, he explored her, tongue slipping past her lips, teeth occasionally clacking. Emma giggled, actually giggled, and pulled him closer until their chests were flush.

“Killian, I...”

“Hush. Later.” He dipped his head down to kiss her again, the passion she stirred in him coming to the fore. His arms fell to her waist, wrapping firmly as he lifted her off her feet. Emma yelped and scrabbled for purchase, holding tight until he deposited her on his desk. He swept the papers and maps away with one hooked arm, pressing her back against it. Emma moaned in approval, his lips dancing along her throat, sucking at her pulse. His free hand pulled at her bodice, her breasts spilling out.

“Oh yes,” she breathed, hands in his hair as he traced her nipples with his tongue, back arching.

“So you did miss me,” he said, catching a glimpse of her face before returning to his task.

“So...oh...so cocky, Captain.”

“As you well remember.” He scraped his stubble over her sensitive skin, unlacing her dress. It was similar to the one she'd worn the night they met, a fading green that didn't quite match her eyes. He had it loose in moments; Emma helped him tug it down. He smoothed hand and hook up her thighs, taking her shift with them. Long lean legs, shapely hips, flat belly all exposed to his sight; he drank her in, almost afraid she was a mirage.

Emma sat up, pulling the shift over her head. She shook her hair out and leaned in for another kiss, fingers working the buttons of his vest. He tried to touch her everywhere, hand and hook stroking her skin as she slowly stripped him. Vest, shirt and boots were tossed aside; Emma yanked him to her by the waistband of his leather pants. She palmed his erection, earning her a groan.

“Thought about you,” she murmured, lips trailing along his collar. “Every day. Couldn't stop.”

Killian nodded, tweaking her nipple, hips rolling to her touch. “Gods, just like that, love,” he breathed. “Don't be afraid to hurt me.”

She shook her head, moving to kiss him hard. “No, not again.” She brought his hand to her slick flesh, moaning as he stroked her. “Want...fuck...gods, Killian...” She missed him so much, and it felt so amazing being with him again, that she could hardly form coherent sentences.

“What do you need, lass?” He slid a finger deep inside; she gasped.

“Want...I want...to ride your cock.”

She sounded so desperate, her voice cracking with need, his knees threatened to buckle. As quickly as he could, he unlaced his pants and kicked them off. Unceremoniously, he laid down on his bunk, pulling her with him. Emma straddled his thighs and sprawled over his chest, kissing him passionately. Then just as suddenly, she was gone, sitting up and reaching for his pulsing cock. Guiding him to her entrance, she sinuously sank down, taking him in completely. They both cursed, basking in the sensation of being joined once more after so many weeks apart.

Emma began to move, rocking in his lap, giving him a sinful roll of her hips every few strokes. Her feet rested on his thighs, giving her the perfect angle to grind her clit on his pelvis. “Oh gods.”

Killian stared up at her, mesmerized by the sight of this golden goddess riding him steadily into oblivion. Her perky breasts bounced, her head fell back to expose her pale lovely throat. He ran his hand up her torso, but Emma reached for the hook as well, swirling the metal over her nipple. Being inside her wet heat wrecked him, his orgasm was already too close. He didn't want this to end. If it ended she might leave and he couldn't take it. He planted his feet on the bunk and thrust up, meeting her halfway. Emma cried out, but kept going, dropping his hand to her clit. “Please.”

Killian nodded, thumb moving to rub her. He flicked it in time with their thrusts and in moments she was panting, thighs trembling on either side of him. Her fingers curled around his hook, using it to anchor herself, bouncing faster and faster until she shattered, walls fluttering around him, white hot fire burning her. Killian managed to flip them in the small space, thrusting back in, holding her hands above her head. He fucked her until he climaxed, spilling himself inside her heat, his whole body shaking.

Emma's head lolled as she idly stroked his slick back. She made no protest when he collapsed on top of her, his weight a reminder that he was really there and not another of her dreams. Eventually, he scrunched to the side with a grunt, quickly gathering her in his arms. He removed his brace so he could hold her better.

They lay there for long minutes, sweat drying, breath slowly returning to normal. Neither knew what to say, each afraid to break the silence. Emma started drawing random patterns on his chest, smiling to herself when he didn't shy away. She hadn't been lying before; she didn't have the slightest clue what would happen now. Dare she trust him with the truth?

“I can hear you thinking, lass.”

“You read minds now?”

“No, but you're rather an open book. What's troubling you, milady?”

Emma stilled her hand and looked up at him. “Why did you come back?”

“It's not obvious?”

“Humor me?”

Killian sighed, knowing she deserved the truth. “I was hoping to find someone. A certain blonde lass I met in this very port.”

Emma stared at him, searching his eyes for a lie. But there was none. “Did you find her?”

“Is your name really Emma?”

She nodded. “Yes, it is.”

“Then I would say I found my treasure.” He kissed her, the tenderness squeezing her heart. Could he really care about her? “Why did you leave?”

She glanced away. “I had to get home before I was missed.”

“Home isn't one of these nearby hovels, is it, lass?”

She shook her head. “No.”

“So who are you really?”

Emma bit her lip. Somehow, she knew instinctively that this would be the moment her life changed. “Princess Emma of Misthaven.”

A princess. Royalty. In his bed. This lovely passionate creature was a princess of the blood royal. He waited for that to change the way he felt about her, but it didn't. He still wanted her. He still wanted to know if she wanted him.

“Say something.”

“Is royal life that boring?”

“Excuse me?”

“I said...are you bored, princess? Do you often abscond from your castle to seaside taverns?”

She sat up, glaring down at him. “Just who do you think you are?”

He grinned. “There's the fiery lass, I remember.”

“How dare yooo...what?” she asked, confused. “You're not angry?”

“How you live your life is your business, love. But you being a princess doesn't change who you are. I was captivated by you the moment I saw you. And I came back because I couldn't get you out of my bloody head. Night after night in here, wondering who you were, where you'd gone. I had to try, just once.”

“You did?”

“You should be proud, Emma. You found a way to bring Captain Hook to his knees. Hardly lifted a finger to do it.”

Emma couldn't have been more stunned. He still wanted her. He knew the truth and it didn't matter. “So what happens now?”

Killian gently tugged her back down to him, cradling her head on his chest. “That's your choice. There's a place for you here...if you want it.”

“Here? On your ship?”

“That is the general idea, aye.”

“Run away with you?”

“We'll be in port for two more days. You don't have to decide now.”

She leaned up to kiss him, knowing in her heart she'd made her choice. She'd never feel like this with anyone else. And while she wasn't sure exactly what she felt, she knew she wanted to find out. Wanted to find out what they could be.

Two days later, Emma stood by the wheel of the Jolly Roger, Killian at her side. For the first time in her life, she felt truly free.