Disoriented by the vessel's rocking motion and his sleep-drugged brain, Drew sat up in bed and drew a sharp breath. Someone had removed his pirate clothing and exchanged them for a man's nightshirt. And what of the tiny rowboat? Obviously, someone had carried him onto a ship while he slept.
He took in the room, astonished by the elegance surrounding him. Ribbons of reflected light from several tapered candles flooded the burnished gold, paneled walls. Tibetan wood-carved masks lined the walls, offsetting the russet Persian carpet covering the floor. Beneath the window, an intricately carved bench of wood, inlaid with brass, depicted Chinese characters and amassed a collection of pillows in deep shades of red and gold. An English writing desk with brass knobs hugged one wall, and a Thai Buddha wall plaque offset the black-lacquered nightstands and massive bed.
He sensed a presence and peered into the far corner of the room. Rogan sat in a lambs-wool covered chair, smoking a pipe. The sweet, pungent aroma mingled with the bayberry candles and drifted toward the bed. Rogan rose, walked toward the bed and started to remove his shirt, belt and boots.
Drew stared into the deep onyx of Rogan's eyes and warning bells went off in his head. "What do you think you're doing?"
"I haven't slept in two days; now move over unless you wish me to sleep on top of you."
"You can't mean we're sharing this bed!" Without waiting for an answer, he asked, "And where is this bed?"
"You're on my turf now, handsome boy. This is my ship and you'll live by my rules."
"Your ship?" The accusatory words tumbled from his lips. "I should have known the rumors were true."
"Don't toy with me, Rogan. Every sane person in Hampton knows you're an unscrupulous pirate."
"Lesson number one: don't believe everything you hear about me."
"Why else would you be here?" Drew asked, his hope for escape sinking faster than the smoldering sails of the Squall. "You sailed with Cotty, and I don't believe Spottswood would involve himself with the likes of you."
With a cynical laugh, Rogan plopped onto the bed. "Sorry to disappoint you, but I'd much rather steal from pirates. And if you insist on conversing with me, although I'd rather sleep, Spottswood hired me to keep you safe. My first mate, Vane, and the crew of The Devil's Heel, have been shadowing Cotty's ship. Out of sight, but not too far away to secure our rescue. As it turns out, we're lucky they were nearby."
Drew's chin jutted out. "I don't feel very damn lucky, and I don't give a goat's ass what you engage in. Take me back to Hampton."
Rogan's bandana had vanished, the long braids uncoiled. When he shook his head, his rich, brown hair spilled over his shoulders in silky waves.
"Ah, I'd love to accommodate the hapless widower, but I'm not headed in that direction. A westerly storm is brewing and 'twould be suicide to sail into it."
"A storm?" With growing horror, Drew watched Rogan's impassive expression. "Good God, how bad?"
"Bad enough." He turned, pulled the heretofore missing bandana from his waistband, grabbed Drew's wrist and bound it to the bedpost.
Drew's stomach somersaulted through a wave of dread, not only from the thought of being tied to the bed, but from sharing it with Rogan. "I don't know how to swim; I'll drown if the ship capsizes!"
With a derisive snort, Rogan said, "If the ship capsizes, we'll all end up at the bottom of the sea." Still wearing the snug leather trousers, Rogan pulled the coverlet back and climbed beneath it. Laying his head on the pillow, he yawned and in a weary voice added, "Try not to ravish me, I'm beyond exhaustion."
"You are an arrogant—"
"I know, bastard."
"Yes. And the last man I'd choose to share a bed with much less my…my…."
"Are you going to cease talking or must I gag you?"
Drew glanced toward the octagonal window near the bed and his stomach pitched in perfect sync with the rolling tides. "How can you sleep when we're about to sail into a storm?"
Ebony eyes with pinpricks of gold met his. "I'll force myself to stay awake if you care to tell me why you cut me from your life so suddenly."
"Go to hell."
Rogan rose up on an elbow and Drew shrank back. "I'm not above thrashing your ass with a leather strap."
"I hate you, Rogan Brockport. You're a─"
"I know, a guttersnipe, a low-life bounder." Rogan grabbed Drew's chin between his thumb and his index finger and forced him to meet his gaze. "If I weren’t so tired, I'd show you how much you hate me. Do you want me to?"
Drew felt the power of the man's masculinity, the essence of his virility, slither around him, and shook his head.
Releasing his chin, Rogan dropped his head back onto the pillow. "Then if I were you, I'd close my eyes, shut my mouth, and go to sleep."
Drew's retort dried up in his throat. He sensed he could only push this newfound stranger so far. Rogan had already fallen asleep, wouldn't have heard him anyway. His dark hair gleamed against the stark white of the bed linens, and his mouth, now slack in slumber, mesmerized him. Desire simmered in his veins, like it did every time he looked at the man. And he loved looking at him. Rogan was such a thing of beauty—the sweep of his long eyelashes against his tanned skin, the fine lines at the corners of his eyes, full lips and aquiline nose. Heat pedaled through Drew's veins.
He dragged his gaze from Rogan's face and uttered a curse. In another moment, he'd be begging his kidnapper to take him as he did the last time. Hindered by the restraint around his wrist, he leaned over the bedside bureau, blew out the candles. Pulling the blanket up to his chin, he closed his eyes and willed the desire to leave him. Beside him, Rogan slept on, his chest rising and falling with steady breaths. Soon, the rhythm calmed Drew. Rogan didn't seem overly concerned about the approaching storm, so perhaps they had nothing to fear. Or had exhaustion simply taken over vigilance?
Rogan wanted answers, did he? Well Drew wanted a few of his own, but he'd be damned if he'd admit his devastation at seeing the man he loved in the arms of another. How like Rogan to pretend he was the innocent and leave Drew to shoulder the blame. Only with Fallon's assistance was he able to keep Rogan at bay, save them both from public humiliation.
Rogan had demanded answers then, too, and Drew had refused to give him the satisfaction of knowing the depth of his pain. Rogan would get no answers now, either, no matter how many threats he issued.
With every muscle in his body strung tauter than the riggings above, Drew closed his eyes and allowed the last thought of consciousness to slip away.
* * *
The Heel rolled under a massive wave. Warm hands wound their way around Rogan's neck and a warm body tumbled into his, startling him into wakefulness. Drew's long hair brushed across Rogan's cheek, and the smell of spice and pine—the man's particular scent—tickled his nose. Christ, would he ever be able to drive the intoxicating aroma from his soul?
Caught in the throes of a vicious storm, The Devil's Heel bucked again and pitched Drew's lean hips against Rogan. How many nights had he lain awake and dreamed of this moment, of Drew lying next to him, malleable and willing? He longed to bury his cock deep inside him, and at the same time despaired over this love-hate he harbored for the man. At best, he despised the weakness that prevented him from exterminating him from his heart. Caught between heaven and hell and a powerful desire to hurt and fuck him simultaneously, Rogan felt like a beast caught in a deadfall.
In his dreams, dove grey eyes beckoned him and full, lush lips parted to scream his name...Rogan...Rogan. The day Drew married Claudia, Rogan's world came to an abrupt halt, shattered by the man's public admission he'd taken a woman to his bed, cutting off any chance for future happiness between them.
At twenty-two now, Drew was no longer the young man he'd fallen in love with five years ago, but a man who'd chosen his path in life and wed a woman within months of cutting Rogan from his life. Now the man's wife lay in a cold grave and Rogan would know the reason for Drew's duplicity.
While Drew sought retribution for his wife's murder, Rogan had been planning a bit of revenge of his own. The thought of Drew's betrayal rekindled the hatred and anger Rogan had carefully stoked for years. The time had come to teach the two-faced dandy he wasn't a man to be readily discarded.
Rogan loosed the bandana around Drew's wrist and dragged him from bed. "Wake up! I want answers!"
Drew rubbed the sleep from his eyes and studied Rogan through half-shuttered eyes. "What the hell; 'tis the middle of the night."
"You must have me confused with someone who gives a fuck." Rogan dragged Drew across the room and fastened his wrists to a pair of shackles in the wall.
"What's come over you?" Drew searched his face. "Has madness struck you?"
"Madness doesn't begin to describe what I feel toward you right now." With one swift movement, he clasped the front of Drew's nightshirt, shredded it from his body and tossed it to the floor. Rogan plucked the riding quirt from the mahogany desk on his right and snapped it in the air. "I'm going to ask you only once and you will answer truthfully."
"Go to hell, Brockport."
With a flick of his wrist, Rogan brought the quirt down on Drew's ass, leaving behind a small, red welt. "Why did you cast me aside?"
A quick indrawn breath came from Drew and he shook his head.
Concentrating on the opposite ass cheek, Rogan delivered a sharp, stinging smack. "I want an answer. You can end this here, now; tell me what I want to know."
Drew's words were delivered on a gasp. "Fuck you."
Rogan tapped the quirt against his thigh and walked around Drew's slack body. He grabbed a thick clump of Drew's hair and lifted his head. "What do you hope to prove, you stubborn jackass? A reason, that's all I ask. Why did you cut me from your life?"
Drew closed his eyes.
"Well, well, what do we have here?" He released the handful of hair, slid his hand down Drew's body and clasped his cock. "You're hard. You like it rough? Does forceful behavior make your prick weep?"
Drew tensed when Rogan pumped his shaft and scraped his nails over the leaking slit. A pained whimper fell from Drew's lips.
"Very well. You have only to answer my question, lest I think you're enjoying this thrashing immensely. Are you, Drew?"
Rogan released Drew's engorged shaft and moved behind him. Cock straining against his leather trousers, Rogan studied the other man's profile. Jesus, he'd never seen anything so perversely erotic—Drew shackled, his nude body quivering with desire, his cock rock hard and oozing cream.
Rage seeping from every pore of Rogan's body, he brought the quirt up, and again Drew tensed, his ass cheeks clenching in anticipation of the blow. Rogan delivered not one, but five brisk smacks to Drew's bottom, alternating between the firm, flushed mounds.
Drew bucked forward with each blow and cried out on the last. He drew a deep breath and slumped forward, his head touching his chin.
Like a heavy fog, guilt set in. What in the hell was he doing? Rogan looked at the purple welts across Drew's ass and his heart sank. He had no right to beat the answer out of him. Perhaps Drew had fallen in love with Claudia, realized his messy affair with Rogan would bring nothing but public shame and heartache. Christ, he was nothing more than an animal, a wild beast taking advantage of those weaker than him.
Rogan tossed the quirt across the room and strained to hear Drew's whispered words. With a brisk stride forward, he withdrew a key from his trouser pocket and unlocked the shackles. He caught Drew in his arms before he fell to the floor, carried him to the bed, laid him down and loomed over him.
"What did you say back there?"
He whispered the words again with effort. "I want you, Rogan."
Certain he'd misheard, Rogan searched his face. "What did you say?"
"You heard me. I said I need you, want you more than anything I've ever wanted in my fucking life."
Drawn to the lush mouth uttering the words, Rogan dropped to the bed and covered his lips. Drew moaned and twined his hands in his hair. Rogan didn't want to think about the images flitting through his mind—images of Drew making love to Claudia. Driven by overwhelming passion, Rogan kissed him hard, demanding he acknowledge it was Rogan who intended to possess him, to mark him. Drew would belong to him forever after this.
Rogan thrust his tongue between Drew's parted lips and plundered his mouth brutally. The sound of the man's moans and the feel of his warm, clinging lips drove Rogan over the edge. He slid one hand down Drew's hip and grabbed his throbbing member amid his own pain and longing.
Despite Drew's frantic pants, Rogan broke the kiss and pulled back. "Why did you toss me aside?"
"Oh, God, Rogan, please take me."
Rogan wanted to touch him everywhere, feel every inch of hot skin beneath his hands. He needed to taste Drew's essence, suck him until he could no longer remember Claudia, would never look at another man.
While uttering something unintelligible, Drew brought a hand up and touched Rogan's face. The act undid him. He flipped Drew over onto his stomach, stuffed a pillow under his hips and straddled him.
Drew went boneless and cried out when Rogan slipped a finger into his puckered hole. With deliberate thrusts, Rogan probed Drew's insides until he found the sweet spot that elicited a strangled groan from Drew's lips.
Rogan continued to probe with his finger while reaching around with his other hand to stroke Drew's weeping cock, rubbing the juices over his palm and fingers, transferring the musky essence to his own dick.
Blood pumped through Rogan's veins in frenzied gushes and his cock jerked and throbbed. He was thankful he couldn't see Drew's face, afraid he might see an image of his dead wife gazing back at him.
He removed his finger from Drew's hole and placed his cock at the entrance. "Damn it, tell me why." Flicking his tongue along the tender skin at Drew's neck, Rogan repeated, "Tell me why." He pushed in and buried the head.
An animalistic moan fell from Drew's lips, and he rocked his bottom back. "More."
Rogan exalted in the small victory. His aching cock expanded and leaked, his desire to feel Drew pulsating around him unbearable. Patience, go slow. He's on the brink of telling you what you've wanted to know for so long.
Anguished groans fell from Drew's lips and again he rocked back, trying to impale himself on Rogan's cock. The man might, at times, say he hated Rogan, but his lover's body harbored a different opinion.
Through a shaft of moonlight, Rogan watched the decadent scene, longed to drive in hilt-deep, but he was so close to having an answer . . . so achingly close.
"I won't fuck you until you tell me the truth." He eased out to the sound of Drew's protest.
The seconds ticked by and Rogan steeled his reserve, burying only the head again and drawing a deep breath against the overpowering urge to slam forward.
Drew bore down on Rogan's hot shaft. God, how he burned, ached to slake his lust on the tight channel squeezing his crown. His emotions surged and his mind swam. For a moment, he floundered, didn't know what to do, wasn't capable of comprehending anything but Drew beneath him.
"Rogan," Drew gasped and pushed his hips against his thighs.
The act undid him. He pushed in with a bestial groan and buried his cock in the heavenly bliss. The room spun and God called forth the thunder. Drew's insides grasped Rogan's cock so tightly, he thought he might faint.
He plunged in deeper. "What did I do to cause you to turn from me?"
The hungry cadence of Drew's voice sent a tremor through Rogan. He'd never wanted a man, any man, the way he wanted Drew. He hated him and he loved him. How Rogan longed to deny him now, in the same way Drew had denied him. Flames licked over him. Drew's distinct scent and the musky aroma of his arousal cocooned Rogan in a web of ecstasy.
With a curse, he drove in hard, pulled back and repeated the act until Drew was like putty under him.
"Tell. Me. What. Happened." Rogan didn't recognize his own hoarse voice under the strain of taking what he wanted.
"I saw you with him."
The whispered words drifted to Rogan's ears and his breath hitched. He couldn't hold back. He increased his pace, and Drew rewarded him with a long, pleasure-filled groan. Like a man obsessed, Rogan fucked through his rage. Only Drew existed, his slick, hot cavern throbbing around Rogan's cock, his lips crying out Rogan's name. Sweat ran from Rogan's forehead and dampened his shoulders. He was oblivious to everything except Drew's tight hole, felt lost inside him. Only the need to erase the pain and misery of lost years existed now. That, and Drew. Always Drew.