The Devil's Heel
Gay Fiction Pirate Novella
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Copyright © 2012 Keta Diablo
Cover Art by © The Book Khaleesi
This book cannot be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any existing means without the written permission from the author. This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. The characters are products of the author's imagination and used fictitiously.
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About The Devil's Heel
“An entertaining, melodramatic romp featuring gay pirates on the high seas.”
Five years ago Drew Hibbard dismissed Rogan Brockport from his life. When they meet again at the Governor’s Ball, Rogan demands answers for Drew's abrupt, cut from his life, but his questions fall on deaf ears.
During a pirate raid of Drew's ship, Rogan saves Drew's life...and kidnaps him during the melee. Now, the perfect opportunity to extract answers from the man is finally at hand. But will the evil, outside forces conspiring to keep them apart succeed in their mission?
Stand-Alone Hawt Male/Male Novella. No Cliffhangers.
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“A dark, brooding hero to set the stage, the beautiful object of his desire beyond his reach, and the hint of some serious swashbuckling.” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“The desperate tension between the protagonists lends extra spice to their scenes together, keeping the sex at a volcanic level of heat.” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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Governor's Mansion, Virginia
From the lofty balcony, Rogan Brockport watched the crowded ballroom below and crushed a smirk. Polite society would be astonished to discover he found their existence mundane and tedious.
He lifted the goblet of burgundy to his lips, took a sip, and smiled. The foremost reason for his appearance tonight, and the object of his intense perusal, had finally arrived. The parchments in Rogan's vest pocket—a summons from the Governor—rustled when he leaned into the the railing and feasted on the one man he’d been waiting to see.
The young widower, Drew Hibbard, wound his way through the crowd, nodded to several bystanders and stopped briefly to present a white-gloved hand to the fools of Virginia's Parliament.
Attired in an ensemble fashioned after the London gentry—a mauve silk coat and snug, matching breeches—a dreamlike aura cloaked Drew. His midnight hair shimmered beneath the crystal chandeliers. The familiar angles and planes of his chiseled features immersed Rogan in painful memories of their past. Although he couldn't see Drew's soulful eyes at the moment, he knew from memory they matched his dove gray waistcoat to perfection.
A bevy of flushed, adoring maidens surged forth and surrounded him, their peacock fans fluttering like leaves caught in an eddy.
In mourning after the death of his wife six months ago, Drew's self-imposed exile had not diminished his allure or his captivating magnificence. Christ, the man embodied the word ethereal.
Rogan fought an overpowering madness to quit the balcony and seek him out, gaze into the gunmetal eyes, lose his soul in the shimmering, long, black hair, and watch Drew’s spine stiffen when he offered his hand. The widower’s distress over seeing him again would be palpable, and equal to his. He had a score to settle with the meretricious man and he'd waited, it seemed, a lifetime for tonight to arrive.
A male voice whispered from the shadows, "Brockport."
He turned his head, only to find Hugh Lethbridge's tall silhouette standing to his left. This wasn't the first time he'd met with the Governor's special agent, and it wouldn't be the last.
"I've secured a private room for our discussion. This way." Lethbridge stretched out his arm toward the corridor.
Rogan followed without question. They passed several closed doors and stopped at one near the end of the hallway.
Lethbridge turned the knob, pushed it open and directed him into a wingback near the hearth. After taking a seat opposite Rogan, he said, "Our subject at hand has arrived."
"I happened to notice." Happened to notice, hell; he couldn't drag his eyes away from the man. Rogan felt his body respond to a lurid image of Drew's sweat-soaked body straining beneath him while he buried his cock to the hilt in the man's ass. "Your missive held an urgent tone."
"My apologies if I alarmed you. The Governor has marked it top priority but we still have time."
"Let's get down to business, Lethbridge. Time for what?"
The man stretched out his long legs and crossed his ankles. "Drew Hibbard called on Governor Spottswood a fortnight ago inquiring about the bounty he posted on pirates."
Now that Lethbridge had commanded his full attention, Rogan lifted his chin. "That’s a surprise. Drew Hibbard is not in need of money, I assure you. His parents died years ago and left him ample wealth, enough to purchase the Sistine Chapel, should he desire."
"Yes, it’s in the file. A carriage accident while he was still cutting his teeth, was it not?"
"Drew was a toddler, I believe." A stab of guilt tore through Rogan, an emotion he couldn't afford to squander over the duplicitous man.
"We're also aware his late wife had accrued enough entitlements to choke a sow at the time of her death," Lethbridge added.
"Think of it. A widower drowning in yet more wealth should set the young misses in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia agog."
Lethbridge gave a short laugh and studied him for a length of time before answering. "I doubt the man will cave under social pressure, agree to an arranged marriage a second time."
Rogan held no illusions when it came to Lethbridge's shrewd perceptions. His position demanded he know every banal tidbit about those in service to the Governor. And those not in service. Without a doubt, his own background had been dissected, chewed up, spit out and locked away in some file marked private.
Growing agitated over the conversation about Drew's wealth and tragic childhood, Rogan shifted in the chair. "In any event, what does the Governor believe Hibbard is about?"
"Revenge, retribution, call it what you will."
Rogan arched his neck back. "Christ sake, over his wife's murder?"
"Precisely." Lethbridge nodded. "What a horrific event for him to witness. Barely escaped with his life and he wouldn't have if it hadn't been for―"
Rogan all but spat the name. "Fallon Steele."
An image of Fallon surfaced, a powerful, lofty man and every muscle precision- honed. Fallon had raised Drew after his parents died and took his responsibilities to heart. The man was an expert swordsman and a master with pistols. Few in Virginia dared challenge him.
"I take it by your tone you hold little love for his godfather?” Lethbridge rose and poured two glasses of port. "While the pirates raped Drew's wife and killed the crew, Fallon pitched his godson over the side of the merchant ship and followed him into the Atlantic. Locals found them washed up on shore the following morning."
Rogan took the offered burgundy and met the man's stoic gaze. "I’ve heard all the details from the local gossipmongers. The pirates set fire to the vessel, did they not?"
"Precisely, and not a soul knows if Claudia Hibbard was dead or alive as the flames roared and eventually sunk the ship.”
“Is there a point to this tragic tale, or…?”
Lethbridge cleared his throat. "We don’t know; that’s the point?” Drew purchased a schooner last week and christened it The Scarlet Squall. Word is out that the foolish man has hired a crew, old salts, men of ill-repute."
"Christ! Those who most reputable captains won’t take aboard.”
"Precisely, and there’s more.” He rolled his eyes. "He's also secured several retired pirates to sail with him."
"This is madness! Drew Hibbard has never raised a sail in his life."
"We thought not, and now you have confirmed it. It won't do to have one of Hampton's citizens, particularly one of Hibbard's standing, killed in a run-amuck pirate raid. Governor Spottswood's popularity is at its peak now with Blackbeard and a large portion of his crew dead."
"Most were captured and hung after…?” Rogan’s pulse accelerated. “After killing the unfortunate Mrs. Hibbard, were they not?"
"Most, yes, thus the reason the Governor then commissioned Lieutenant Maynard and members of the Royal Navy to hunt the blackguard down. I'm certain you read the reports—one of Maynard's men killed Blackbeard and tied his head to the bowsprit."
"What information am I missing? Why does Drew feel her death has not been avenged?"
"As I said, not all members of his cutthroat band have been apprehended."
Rogan stifled a frown as images of Drew, the man he once loved, rose behind his shuttered lids. Black anger iced his veins as one by one, the vignettes flashed through his mind. Long-standing practice allowed him to maintain a calm voice when he looked at Lethbridge. "Cut to the chase and speak clearly, man."
"By his own words, Drew heard Bloody Hitch Cotty, Blackbeard's first mate, issue the order to rape his wife and then kill the crew. Ironically, Cotty escaped during Maynard’s attack, before the survivors of Blackbeard's crew were hanged."
Catching the man's insinuation, Rogan raised a brow. "If you think to have me mollycoddle the despondent widower on his ill-fated quest to avenge his wife’s death, I've no desire to do so. Drew and I have a sordid, ugly past." Rogan paused. "A messy gambling debt terminated our amicable friendship and I'm the last person he'd ask to assist him."
A knowing smirk bowed Lethbridge's lips. "We're aware of your past association with Drew Hibbard. We dredged up enough details about the so-called gambling peccadillo … and other incidents, to know your relationship ended on a sour note."
Taken unaware, Rogan arched back. "Christ, is there nothing the Governor's spies deem private?"
"No, nothing," he answered, emphasizing the last word. "And Spottswood has no desire to order you to…what was the word you used?"
"Yes, or perhaps a better word would be cosset. My employer does not want you to cosset your prior lover aboard The Scarlet Squall."
Rogan drained his goblet and leaned in. "I warn you, whatever Spottswood has in mind, my services involving Drew will be costly."
"We anticipated that."
He had waited a long time to settle the score with Drew. It appeared the perfect opportunity would fall into his lap soon. "What does your popular Governor have in mind?"
"You, my friend, are to assume a nom de plume and become a heartless, brute of a man with a strong desire to join Bloody Hitch Cotty's crew."
Rogan's thoughts scattered like leaves in a fall gust. "Let us assume I entertain your offer, how do you propose I find this murderer? Sail the coast with a placard around my neck?"
"Don't play coy with me, Brockport. The Governor is fully aware you own a vessel named The Devil's Heel. We know you captured a fortune in bullion during your last raid while sailing under crossed swords.”
Rogan placed a hand to his chest, his smirk notable. "Surely, you're not suggesting I would engage in such chicanery, Lethbridge?"
"I am, sir, and the question remains, why? You have more than enough money to sustain you from now until Kingdom Come."
"Yes, well, soirées and government functions bore me beyond measure." He waved a hand in the air. "Somehow, they lack the thrill of adventure."
Lethbridge gave him a sharp eye. "Hibbard sails in two weeks. Might I suggest you find a way to convince Cotty you're eager to raid with him upon the Carolina coast? Something tells me you'll find him at Ocracoke, the ideal place for pirates to keep a lookout for approaching vessels."
"Ah, the idyllic waters and turquoise lagoons of Ocracoke Island."
Lethbridge downed his drink. "I've no doubt you're familiar with the location."
"What is our esteemed governor proposing?"
"It's quite simple. Should Hibbard be successful in locating Cotty's sloop and is foolish enough to launch an attack, you're Spottswood's guarantee the fool won't be killed in the process."
"What makes Spottswood think I want to save Hibbard's ass?"
The man's dark eyes sparked as he handed him a large envelope. "We don’t care if you want to save the man while he’s on a fool’s errand. I thought I made myself clear. Spottswood wants this Blackbeard and Bloody Hitch Cotty behind him once and for all.”
Rogan glanced down at the envelope Lethbridge placed in his hand. “What’s this?”
“Open it. I think the contents will change your mind about…what did you call it, the thrill of adventure?
Rogan opened the packet, thumbed through a thick pile of bank notes and smiled.
“My, my, the Governor knows how to entice a man, does he not?”
“He didn’t want to give you an opportunity to decline the offer.” Lethbridge met his eyes. "Do we have a deal, Brockport? This is twice the stipend we’ve offered for your services in the past."
Rogan continued to thumb through the bank notes as if he was balking at the offer. He loved to make Lethbridge and the Governor squirm.
“Don’t forget that Governor Spottswood has put a bounty on all pirates. He chooses to look the other way when it comes to where and when The Devil’s Heel sails the high seas.”
Rogan rose, walked to the door and turned the handle. “I like to think of myself as a privateer, not a run-of-the-mill pirate.” He called out over his shoulder as walked through the arched doorway, "We have a deal, sir."
Spottswood's man stopped him with his stern tone. "One more thing, Brockport. The governor expects you to formulate a backup plan."
Rogan stopped and pivoted toward Lethbridge, his tone dripping sarcasm. "Oh, he does, does he? Then perhaps the pompous Governor would care to relinquish his wig, leave his safe, secure mansion and accompany me on this perilous journey?"
"I meant no offense about the backup plan."
"And I meant no offense about the pompous Governor,” he said and closed the door behind him.
Rogan headed for the ballroom. With any luck, Drew would be within arm's reach posthaste. He felt like a panther on the hunt with Hibbard his prey. The man had stung him hard five years ago, broke off their affair without so much as a fare thee well.
Tonight, he would know the reason for it.
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Drew clutched the fluted glass in his hand when Rogan Brockport descended the winding staircase. His knees went weak, his throat dry. The intensity in the man's gaze as he crossed the room both terrified and thrilled him.
Rogan's rich, sable hair, tied at his nape with a brown ribbon, touched his broad shoulders and accentuated the slight widow's peak at his forehead. A long coat of iridescent gray with burgundy and gold trim and cuffs overlaid a silk black shirt and hugged his muscular torso. Knickers of the same gleaming gray fabric clung to his thighs like second skin and met a pair of black, high-top leather boots. Drew's eyes were drawn to the long, flowing white jabot with gold brooch around Rogan's neck . . . before his gaze settled on the man's handsome face.
Rumors abounded in Hampton about the scandalous accounts detailing the vicious life Rogan Brockport led at sea. The vulgar repartee bore testament to the dark side of the man—a ruthless mercenary who delighted in filching booty from the lowest order of men sailing the coast. Some said the difference between a mercenary and a pirate was thinner than a blade of grass. Others said the name of the man's three-masted frigate—The Devil's Heel—suited the man's mysterious persona.
A brief moment of guilt assailed Drew. If the accounts were true, this dark side of Rogan they spoke of multiplied tenfold after his own marriage to Claudia.
Good, God, Rogan's steps grew more strident as he advanced. He cut a path through the crowd, his dark brown eyes locked on his with a look that said he knew what was under his fine attire.
Run, Drew, run!
His feet felt nailed to the floor.
Who would believe that after all this time he still craved Rogan's touch, heard his voice in his dreams? During his marriage to Claudia, he'd lie in bed at night and imagine Rogan beside him, licking him, touching him, and yes, thrusting into him until his world shattered.
Claudia knew when they married their union would never be consummated. He'd been upfront and open with her from the onset, and she with him. She'd married him to uphold her social standing in the community. He'd married her for basically the same reason and, to soothe his wounded pride and broken heart. He loved Claudia in his own way, and she him. In many ways, theirs was the perfect match.
If not for Rogan Brockport.
Oh, God, in another minute the man would be standing before him. Too late to run now. Well, he wouldn't sate his maddening hunger beneath the man again. He'd rather die alone and destitute than to submit to the cold-hearted, two-faced bastard.
Fallon's voice drew him from his licentious musings. "I'm off to sample the fare at the buffet table. Shall I bring you something?"
Drew shook his head and stifled the impulse to ask him to stay. Even Rogan wouldn't cause a scene in the crowded room, and Drew would love the opportunity to put the guttersnipe in his place once and for all. He braced for the unpleasant encounter mere moments away.
Rogan offered his hand with a snake-like smirk, his intent, no doubt, to remind Drew of what his virile masculinity had always done to him. "Ah, Drew, widowhood becomes you. I've never seen you look better."
The stinging retort died somewhere in his throat. He saw only the beautiful physicality of the man, yet Rogan had only shaken his hand and uttered a string of sarcasm.
Rogan locked eyes with his. "Rather neglectful of Fallon to leave you to the she-cats, wouldn't you say?"
Finding his tongue, Drew lifted his chin. "There's only one beast in my line of vision, Rogan, and I can't imagine whatever would possess the cunning creature to sniff me out."
"Touché," he whispered in that sensual voice that made Drew shiver with need.
He turned his head and scanned the crowd. "Whatever you want, be quick about it."
"I want you, Drew, and I don't intend to be quick about it."
Even as Drew turned to look at him again, hot blood rushed through his veins. "We have nothing to discuss, so be about your business and take leave of me."
"Oh, come now." Rogan smiled. "For old times' sake, have a dram with me."
He'd forgotten how that sinfully gorgeous mouth could turn him to pulp. "I have no intention of imbibing with you, Brockport." He allowed his words to linger. "Ever again."
Rogan leaned in; his low words a whisper of warning. "I'm certain you don't relish a scene the very first night of your reemergence into society."
He stood so close, his distinct scent of sandalwood and pure man wafted around Drew, causing the muscles in his lower belly to throb and his cock to stiffen. Without conscious thought, his gaze ran the length of Rogan's powerful body and settled on the expanding bulge in his breeches.
Christ, help him; he had to get away from the man. "How-how did you know this was my first night out?"
"I make it my business to know everything about you, Drew." Rogan smiled. "And you're gawking at something that is taboo in polite society."
Drew brought his head up. "You really are a black-hearted son of a bitch."
"You can tell me all about it over that drink. This way," Rogan said with a flourish of his arm.
Their low-pitched conversation had caught the attention of several onlookers. Drew smiled at the crowd as if everything was as it should be, nodded, and followed Rogan through the ballroom. Several tense moments later, they arrived at a balcony where Rogan ushered him into a secluded alcove. Drew's heartbeat raced and his knees grew weak.
Rogan raised his glass, his gaze hot and searing. "I offer my belated condolences on your wife's death."
"Bullshit," he said. "As if you mean it."
Rogan set his drink on a nearby ledge. "I didn't wish for Claudia's death but it certainly makes life convenient now.”
"Convenient?" Had the man completely lost his mind? "What are you about now, Brockport?"
"I plan to call on you in the coming days." He took a step forward. "And Fallon won't put me off this time. I'm older, wiser and entirely more confident now."
"You're mad, madder than a rabid dog.” He took a step back. "I won't receive you; I have no desire to speak to you now or ever."
"It no longer matters what you desire, unless it's me again." Rogan stalked closer. "I will call on you and you will receive me or..."
"Or every person you're even vaguely acquainted with will know what once passed between us."
Drew held an arm out to keep him at bay, critically aware of the dark eyes and unreadable expression. "That is blackmail, but I would expect nothing less from a guttersnipe like you.” He drew a deep breath and gathered his composure. “In any event, I won't be at my residence in the coming days. I have plans looming on the immediate horizon.”
Rogan backed him into a wall. "You'll be available." He yanked him against his hard chest. “Like I said, I know everything about you and you’d be wise to mark my words.”
Drew didn't pull away, but moaned when Rogan claimed his mouth. The rough stubble of his day-old beard brushed against his skin, and he parted his lips under the man's seeking tongue. Without conscious thought, Drew threaded his fingers through Rogan's hair and a surge of raw hunger tore through him.
Rogan's cock pressed into his abdomen and everything rushed back—the hoarse cries and gasping moans while the decadent man drove into him. Drew's breathing deepened. Weak-kneed, he clung to Rogan, and emitted a whimper of protest when the man released him.
"So, you've no desire to receive me or speak to me? What a consummate liar you are, Drew."
His senses returning, he pushed Rogan away and wiped his lips to rid himself of the blistering kiss. "Arrogant bastard. Stand aside and let me pass."
His eyes grew hard. "Not until you tell me why you cut me from your life without an explanation."
Drew spat the words. "A cheater doesn't merit an explanation."
Rogan's eyes narrowed and for a moment he seemed bewildered. "You have sufficient evidence, of course, to back up such a scurrilous accusation?"
Low-voiced, Drew said, "The image will be locked in my mind forever. Is that sufficient evidence for you?"
"You speak falsely. I never looked at another since the day...the day—"
"It was a long time ago; what does it matter now?" Drew looked away from his penetrating gaze.
Rogan grabbed his arm again. "Christ, it matters to me!"
Their eyes locked, the floor moved beneath Drew's feet and threatened to swallow him.
A familiar voice came to him…Fallon’s. "Drew, where are you?".
Drew suppressed a sigh of relief.
Rogan released his arm and stepped aside. "Your watchdog seeks you out, but remember this: It's not over. As long as one of us breathes, it will never be over."
Drew swept past him and willed his heart to cease its rapid thrumming.