My third eye burned as the bell chimed overhead, altering my presence to the tea shop workers. Even though no one was in sight, this was the right place.
Pulling out the list from my pocket, I scanned the shelves for the ingredients I needed to complete the spell:
“Damn,” I thought, looking about the store. There was nothing out here but normal teas. I’ll wring my informant's neck next time I saw him. I don’t have time for wild goose chases.
“Excuse me. Can I help you with anything?” The deep familiar voice startled me.
I almost fell from the ladder when I looked at him. It has been nearly two years since I’ve seen Evander’s chestnut hair and devilish smile. He quickly caught me by the hips before I fully toppled over.
“Thank you,” I quickly removed his hands. “There was no one was out here, so I tried to find some of the things I needed.”
“Sorry, we were reorganizing the supply room.” He eyed a shop-girl coming from the back.
Her hair was slightly disheveled, and her shirt was untucked in different places. He took my list; his lips disappeared as he read it. How long had I been searching for him? And only to find him at port in some crap new-age gift store.
“This way, please.” He said, leading me to the backroom. “Colette, could you finish filling the tea bins?”
The girl rolled her eyes at me. She probably was thinking I was about to do the same thing she had. Little did she know.
“An awaken spell? Who forgot who they were?” He asked fishing for information.
“Someone I care for deeply.” Pain was what pushed the words out of my mouth.
“I doubt he could forget your face.” He said, throwing a cavalier smile over his shoulder.
“Oh, no, it wasn’t a man, it was er, my sister.” Of all the situations that I had played out in my head for when I finally found him, this wasn’t one of them.
“How long are you in port for?” He asked, buried deep within a shelf.
“For a few days,” I answered with my words lingering just long enough to catch his full attention. “Would you know anywhere I could get a good dinner? As much as I love chef’s cooking, I could really go for a good cheeseburger.”
“There are a few places nearby,” he said with an armful of herb jars. “But if you’re up for an adventure, I can take you to the best burger on the island.” He turned bright red. “I promise I’m not a serial killer?”
“That certainly made you sound like one.” I laughed. “I’m Annora.”
He ground the herbs together in a mortar. The fumes were already unlocking the caged memories. “And are you honorable, Annora?”
“I might not be.” His smile was hypnotic. I knew I should have sent Henri in after him.
“Evander.” He introduced himself while handing me the potion in a small tin cylinder. “Want to grab that burger?”
“What about your shop?” I asked.
“Colette has been asking for a raise; I’ll let her earn it now.” The spark in his eyes gave away the devil within him.
The juices ran down my throat. Oh, he was right. This was a damn good burger, fried egg on top of an Angus beef burger with pepper jack cheese.
“Another beer?” Evander questioned me, waving down the waiter.
“Why not? You’re taking me back to my ship.” I told the man another round for the both of us. “Oh, could you bring a slice of the key lime pie?”
“So, captain, what brought you to our tiny island? Not many ventures here.” He asked, sipping on the long neck. “Most consider this place to be dangerous.”
“I imagine the seventeen-year-old you’re trying to impregnate doesn’t feel that way.” I winked at him over the burger.
He choked on his beer. “Excuse me?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, did I misconstrue what was happening?” With his eyes bulging from his head, it was hard not to laugh.
“That obvious?” His fork sliced through what looked like the perfect piece of the pie.
“I’m not sure if it was how disheveled her hair was or her shirt that was hurriedly tucked in. But for sure, it was the death stare she gave when we left. She thinks you’re hers. Are you?” I asked with a mouthful of stolen pie.
“Hardly.” He said, watching me lick the whipped cream from my fingertip. “You ready to head back to your ship?”
I was thankful that I brought my riding jacket with me. The crew called me the ice queen after Jaspers saw my arms covered in goosebumps during the melting heat. But the jacket wasn’t for the cold. It was to protect me from the razor-sharp saw palmettos that the four-wheeler was cutting through.
The brush opened up to the lightly packed streets of Darby’s Rock. Evander took the turns hard, forcing me to hold on tighter to him. The port was littered with the most modern, sleek, and state-of-the-art yachts. The smaller boats were hidden not allowed to dock on this side.
“Which one is yours?” He eyed a few of the large ones.
I did my best to feign a laugh. “What makes you think you’re getting invited on?”
“Are you telling me I’m not?” He turned and faced me.
Still sitting on the four-wheeler, Evander’s face was coming closer to mine. The heat from his breath grazed my lips. I jumped off quickly before he could plant one on me. At this moment, I wanted to leave his trifling ass in the sand, but everyone was expecting him.
I took a deep breath. The salt air was a relief after the exhaust from the four-wheeler. “Fine, but you better act like a gentleman. I have enough salty dogs aboard my ship.”
He helped me into the dinghy, acting like the perfect gentleman. He even tried to take control of the little engine. But I wouldn’t let him. I still hadn’t told him which ship was mine. I thought the element of surprise might trigger more.
It wasn’t until we reached the outskirts of the harbor did he finally see a massive three-deck, 18th-century frigate ship. The flags were up, waiting for our arrival. Even the cannons peeked from behind their flaps, all eighty-seven of them. Henri threw down the ladder as I landed the dinghy into its rig.
“You’re a fucking pirate,” he said, climbing after me. “A mighty sexy one at that.”
Henri’s eyes flashed red when he took my hand. “Welcome home, captain.”
I only smiled as I led Evander into my room. If the men were smart, they would have everything set up. But unfortunately didn’t.
“Did you come to Darby’s Rock to rape and pillage, Annora?” Evander questioned me by pulling my body flat against his. There was no question that he wanted to pillage me with what was pressed against his leg.
A knock at the door gave me a second to breathe.
Bryce, the ever so thoughtful chef, came in quickly with a pot of peppermint tea and a tray full of sweet buttermilk scones.
“Do try not to break anything.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t want to feel your wrath, darling.” I gave her a wink as I slipped her the small tin cylinder.
“Would you like anything ca... sir?” Bryce asked cheerfully.
“You wouldn’t happen to have anything cold? I don’t think I could drink tea in this heat.” Evander had unbuttoned a few more buttons on his polo, exposing his tan hard chest.
“Of course we do. It would be downright cruel to the men if we didn’t. Would you like sweet or unsweetened tea?” Bryce quickly left with Evander’s order, leaving us alone again.
Luckily for me, he was enamored by everything that filled my room. I propped myself up in the window nook. Though living on a ship with brazen men, I tried my best to keep myself feminine.
Bryce came back, and Evander downed the sweet iced tea quicker than an overheated dog. He found room next to me on the cushioned bench. My heart raced. I wanted to punch him for doing this to me.
“Why have I never seen you at port, Ms. Annora?” His eyes worked their way from my face to my chest and all the way down.
A gentle breeze came through the window. It was welcomed but gave me chills. Evander leaned in and kissed me. My hands pressed against his chest. They were supposed to push him away, but instead, my nails dug in deep. My fingers quickly worked the buttons open as his mouth devoured mine.
“Hold on.” I barely got out the words.
I got up and made my way to the armoire. The idiot followed me. He couldn’t keep his hands off me. I’m not going to deny that it wasn’t what I wanted, but it wasn’t supposed to happen. I reached into the bottom of a black box and pulled out silk ropes.
“This is going to be fun.” Evander’s raspy words caress my neck.
I bound his hands and lead him back to the bed. He fought me for a minute, actually overpowering my tiny frame. All 6’4 of him pulls me under him. “Shit,” I thought. This wasn’t supposed to go this way. He wraps the ropes around me and traps me with more kisses. Ducking out of the ropes, I tie him to the bedpost.
Mounted on top of him, I watched his eyes burning with a look that hadn’t filled them in years. I never imagined this amount of resentment. I should have left him on his rock with the little twit that thought the world of him. All my memories made it easier to leave him high and dry.
“Where are you going?” He was out of breath.
“I’ll be right back,” I said in my sweetest voice possible.
The men were all waiting for me outside the door. We waited. It wasn’t going to be long before his memory would come back. I savored my last bit of freedom. Evander was thrashing around in the room. I pounded back on the door with every pound of the bed on the ground.
“Annora!” Evander barked my name. “Annora, untie me.”
Henri waited for when the spell would attach itself to me again. I collapsed in his arms. Too many memories filled my mind, driving the pain deep into my soul.
“You did the right thing.” Henri pressed his lips deep into my hair. He breathed in my scent, and it calmed me.
“I hope so because I’m not going back there ever again. I don’t care how badly we need him back. He did this to himself.” I held onto the resentment. I was never going to forget that feeling again.
“Annora!” Evander’s voice pierced through me. “Annora, if you don’t untie me, I’m going to hand you over to the council myself!”
From the sound of it, we had our Captain back. The crew of Darcy’s Revenge, who had been camped out during the whole escapade, let out a cheer. At least they were happy. Henri gritted his teeth as we both walked in to untie his brother.