Chapter Three

Five days had past since Chelsie had arrived and each morning when she awoke, there was always fresh fruit and water laid out next to her for a morning meal. She didn't understand why the person would not show their self. Surly they knew that she meant no harm. Why would she when they did nothing but supply her with nourishment? Perhaps there was more than one person, a tribe of some sort somewhere on the island. Chelsie had not ventured far from the shore in hopes that there might be a ship to rescue her, but she had an urge to explore the beautiful island in all its wonder. She doubted that a ship would arrive anytime soon, it could even be years for all she knew. Who knew where the pirates were heading or that the ship had sunk? At that realization, Chelsie's chin trembled and fresh tears prickled her eyes. She could be stuck her all her life and no one would know what had happened to her.

Andrew! He would look for her, she knew he would. He loved her, and he would not rest until he found her, she was sure of it. What was she to do in the meantime? She needed to survive until she was found, that's what. She had hope that she would be, but knew she has to remain well, and that meant, searching the island for food and shelter. She was growing tired of sleeping on the ground, so perhaps if she had to build her own, then she could make a bed made of moss as well that she had found in a damp spot near a few trees where the sun rarely hit if it ever did.

She was a little nervous when she began treading from the sight of the shore, fearful that she might get lost, but she quickly dismissed the feeling. She had to do this. The constant breeze that always engulfed the island brushed past her, lifting tresses of her hair from her shoulders and pulling it from her oval face. Branches and vines above swayed gently in an undistinguished rhythm.

After what seemed forever, she began to hear the ushering of water. She picked up her feet and raced through the wilderness toward the sound. When she broke into the small clearing, her spirits lifted. A stream! Her laughter rang out, carried by the wind as she ran to it, uncaring that her tattered gown was getting wet. She had found fresh water! Leaning down, she cupped the cool liquid and brought it to her lips. It tasted as sweet as it looked. She splashed and ran through the clear water as if she were once again the carefree child she once was when her parents were living.

For hours, she lounged near the stream wearing a simple white chemise, her gown discarded on a large rock to dry. She was so peaceful for the first time on the island that her eyes began to drift shut. Her thoughts were of home as she fell asleep.

"What do you mean taken?!" Andrew boomed. His voice was filled with rage as he stared at the gray haired man before him, the aged man's eyes glaring into his own, but he could not keep his anger under control.

"I received a letter this morning of my nieces kidnapping and the demanded ransom." Running a chubby hand through his hair, Edward scowled darkly. How could this have happened? Why could it not have happened until after the wedding to make things final, then those pirates could do what they wanted to that little bitch. Ever since she was a young girl, her parents both spoiled her rotten, giving in to her every whim. But her parents died young. If only Chelsie knew what kind of accident other than the story she head of her parents' carriage running over a cliff because of the highway men. It was all true after all, but what no one knew was that he had been disguised as one of the highway robbers. The thought would have brought him pleasure, but damn his brother left him nothing in his will. Everything - the money, the house, every single thing belonged to Chelsie. When she married it would all go to her husband. That why he needed Andrew. They had a deal and he needed that money. He hired Andrew to seduce his niece, but their luck ran out when those pirates snatched her away from their grasps. If anything happened to her, everything would go to auction and he wouldn't get a thing out of it. The nerve of his dead brother to gift him with his niece and not give him a thing in return.

"Are you listening to me?"

Andrew's voice cut through his thoughts. "What?"

"I said," Andrew growled through clenched teeth, "what are we going to do? Will we pay those damned pirates their ransom?"

"I don't know." Edward turns his back to the younger man, making his way across his study and around his desk to take a seat. Andrew followed close behind on his heel, placing his hands upon the wood as he stared at Edward.

"We have too! If we don't, we won't get Chelsie back. If we don't get her back, you don't get your money, and I don't get her land, and I want that land, Edward. She is my only way to it. If I don't, there are many other lords who would be after it."

"I'll think of something," Edward said simply.

"You had better."

With that, Andrew spun on his heel and left the room, shutting the door behind him. His boots thudded noisily upon the dark marble floor as he strode down the hall, his eyes filled with fury. He had to find a way to get Chelsie back. He couldn't trust that pig of an uncle of hers. Andrew needed the girl, but not only for the Kinsdale land, but when he first set eyes upon her, his lust rose to heights he could not imagine. She was a beauty, there was no mistaking that, and he loved to take control. He knew he could break her. He would make her beg and plead for him to take her, to give her commands and to make her obey is every word. And if she disobeyed, there would be consequences.

He closed his eyes as his hand reached for the door, his groin tightening against the strains of his breaches at the image. He would find a way to get Chelsie back. He had so much in store for her.