“When did you leave me?” A crunching sound from Polly’s throat was her answer.
Jet took a deep breath, he knew that voice. Rounding the end of the bunk, he stared at his intruder. “What the hell are you doing on my boat?” he yelled.
Sami sat up so fast, she bumped her head on the bunk above. “Jet! I can explain!”
Oh, shit. Oh, shit. She scrambled around and grabbed the shirt she’d pulled off the night before and tugged it over her T-shirt, in an attempt to cover her burgeoning breasts.
“Get down and get your ass in the galley.” He stalked out.
“Can I use the bathroom first?”
Jet fumed his way down the hall.
He had a damn stowaway!
Sami was almost in tears, but she fought them back.
He had every right to be angry. Meekly, she crawled from the bunk, straightened the sheets and cover and padded to the bathroom to do her business.
Jet poured another cup of coffee and tried to calm down. The kid had saved his life, he couldn’t exactly make him walk the plank.
“You should be.” Jet stared at Sami. “Thank you for saving me, by the way.”
That needed to be said, now he’d said it.
Sami blushed. “You’re welcome.”
“Now, what the hell are you doing on my boat?”
Sami hung her head. “I didn’t intend to be here, I was just hiding from these men who were chasing me.”
“What men?” Jet frowned.
“Angel Andrade and Rey Olmos.”
The names meant nothing to Jet. “Did you get their drinks wrong?”
“No.” Sami shook her head, it didn’t matter. There was no use burdening Jet with her sad tale. “Look, I didn’t know you were leaving so quickly. I hid, fell asleep and the next thing I knew we were out at sea.”
“Well, I didn’t want to refight the battle of the Alamo with Santoro and his gang, so I thought it was time for me to cast off.” Jet stared at the kid. He couldn’t weigh a hundred pounds soaking wet. Yet, there was something about him. Something that bothered Jet, made him feel uncomfortable. “You’ll have to stay out of my way. And you’re going ashore the first chance I get to put you off.”
“At least the embargo’s been lifted,” she mused. “Okay, that will be fine.”
Jet grumbled under his breath. “You ate my orange, didn’t you?” At least he wasn’t going crazy.
“I’m sorry. I won’t eat anymore, just some bread, maybe.” She looked at him hopefully. “Or I could cook for you if you’d let me, I’m a decent cook.”
“We’ll see.” Jet got down another cup. “Want coffee?”
Seeing his hopeful glance, Jet sighed. “Sit down.” He set about to feed his unexpected companion. “If you’re going to work around here, you need to eat. Looks to me like you need to fill out and put on some muscle.”
Sami’s expression didn’t change. “I’ve gained some weight recently.”
Jet snorted. “Really? I think you need to gain a lot more. Before we reach landfall, I’ll have you hoisting the rigs and swinging the jib.”
“Will you teach me to tie knots?”
As he put bacon in a pan, he glanced over his shoulder at the small guy. “Sure. Where are you from?”
“What were you doing in Mexico?” Jet broke a couple of eggs and added them to the bacon.
Sami’s stomach was growling. She didn’t want to tell Jet the whole story, there was no use. “I came down to help a friend.”
He seemed satisfied with her explanation. Seeing some dishtowels to fold, Sami made herself useful. “If you’ll tell me some things to do to help, I’d be glad to do them. I don’t want a free ride, I want to work.”
Jet appreciated the boy’s attitude. “Well, I’ll see what I can come up with. How old are you?”
Jet turned to face his guest. “You look younger.” His eyes roved Sami’s narrow shoulders, small hands, big eyes and...graceful neck. If he didn’t know better...
When Sami saw that Jet was looking at her really close, she almost confessed. What would it matter if he knew she wasn’t a male?
“You’d just better be glad you’re not a girl.” Jet turned back around.
What? Sami was confused. “Why?”
“Because I’d have to throw you overboard. I don’t allow women on my ship when I’m sailing. It’s bad luck. Very bad luck.”
Sami pressed her lips together. So much for honesty. He couldn’t know she was a girl. “What kind of bad luck?”
“Storms. Pirates. Shipwreck. Scurvy.”
“Scurvy?” He turned to grin at her, so Sami knew he was kidding. “I don’t think a woman could cause scurvy.”
“No, more like STDs. Actually, they’re a distraction, unless she’s naked and then she’ll lull a storm like oil on water.”
“So naked is good?”
Jet handed Sami a plate and sat down with his own. “Naked is always good. Have you known many beautiful women, Sami?”
Sami fidgeted in her chair. “Well, I had one come on to me in the bar the other night. She grabbed my crotch.”
Jet roared with laughter. “Good for you.”
Sami ate slowly. She felt extremely self-conscious. Not only because she was halfway in love with the guy, or the idea of the guy since she didn’t really know him. But she was also afraid he’d see through her lame disguise at any moment. She didn’t have her breasts flattened by the compression bra, so she sat hunched over, but there wasn’t a dang thing she could do about her small hands or feet. And she didn’t have the stupid cap to pull over her hair. Taking a sip of the coffee he’d poured for her, she looked up and met his eyes.
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