Read A Pirate Princess Online

Authors: Brittany Jo James

A Pirate Princess

 

 

 

 

A Pirate Princess

 

By: Brittany Jo James

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Conlee,

Most husbands in the world wouldn’t
selflessly sacrifice for their wife the way you have. Without you, I couldn’t have even attempted to follow my dreams. Words can’t express how much I appreciate you.

I promised you that one day I would be able to pay you back for all the wond
erful things you’ve done for me and our sons. Well, I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you. Maybe one of these days, right?

You’re the best man in the world a
nd I’m so blessed to have you.

I l
ove you.

PROLOGUE

 

May 2, 1649

It has been
four months since I left France in search of new territories to claim for the country. My crew and I landed on several small islands. All have two things in common. First, Spain claimed them years ago from tribes of Arawak Indians. Second, their new Spanish inhabitants tried to kill us.

We
were relieved this afternoon when we once again spotted land. This island, like the rest, is claimed in the name of Spain. The difference is that these people are friendly. We are encouraged to stay and discuss trade or cohabitation with them.

This beautiful
island is called Cuba. And its capital is Havana. The land is not the only thing here that is breathtaking; the women are enchanting as well. One young lady, in particular, caught my eye. She is the Spanish governor’s daughter and her name is Amada.                      –Marin St. Aubin

May 14, 1649

We are still in Havana, Cuba. The Spaniards are very cordial to us and we learned a lot about this land and the neighboring islands as well. I suggested a potential marriage between Governor Ricardo’s daughter, Amada, and myself. I begged her to be my bride and her only reservation is that she refuses to leave Cuba and her family. She is very close to her father and has resolved that I should retire from the French Navy and move to Havana permanently. That is, if I want to marry her.                         –Marin St. Aubin

May 21
, 1649

Amada
agreed to marry me and her family has consented. A big wedding is planned for tomorrow afternoon! On a more troubling note, three travelers entered Havana today. They had news for Governor Ricardo. They said that an unknown disease was spreading around neighboring islands. The messengers said it was extremely contagious, killing thousands by the day.

I
hope that it is only a rumor. However, at dinner tonight, one of the men began vomiting and complaining of stomach cramps. The other two men looked fearful but the sick man said he was fine. I have faith that this disease is harmless. I am too excited about my bride to think of anything troublesome. –Marin St. Aubin

May 22, 1649

I am writing this with haste. Unfortunately, I have much more important things to concern myself with than writing now. However, in case I have been infected with the disease I need to explain what happened in Cuba today so that whoever reads this shall know of our demise.

I wrote yesterday about the travelers who came to Havana, and how one was sick at dinner.
He was found dead this morning and his body was completely yellow, even his eyes! His two travel companions were gone! We spent the day preparing for the wedding in order to banish the thought of disease. I married Amada and our joy was overwhelming. However, by the time we were ready for our wedding feast to begin three of our guests collapsed with stomach cramps and nausea.

I hoped it wa
s just a coincidence until the governor started holding his stomach as well. Amada ran to him and when he looked up at her I saw his eyes. The part that was once white had turned yellow, just like the dead traveler’s.

He begged us to leave
and I tried to coax Amada to the ship for a quick escape. I feared for her wellbeing along with the health of my crew. She still refused, clinging to her father and completely ignoring me. The governor said that we should leave for France so that I can return this ship and buy my own with the retirement money I shall receive. He assured Amada that by the time we return he would be well and everything would be back to normal.

Finally, I threw her over my shoulder and ran. Her brother and his wife came along.
As soon as we sat sail I ordered my entire crew, including my new wife, to bathe in scorching water and use the strongest soap I could find! Several of my men are scrubbing the ship from top to bottom as I write this.

I hope that will kill
any impurity. No one is complaining of sickness yet but the disease strikes rapidly. Amada swears she shall never speak to me again. If we are all on the verge of death then she will not have to!              –Marin St. Aubin

June 1, 1649

Amada’s feelings for me are unpredictable. We have a normal marriage for one wonderful night then she glares at me for days, crying for her father. The good news is that we are all healthy. The disease struck at Havana so instantly that we would show symptoms by now if any of us were sick.

Instead of
sailing straight toward France we circled the Caribbean Islands, hoping for a sign of relief from Amada’s father. We sailed to Hispaniola today to ask them for information about Cuba but they refused to let us off the ship. They demanded to know where we came from and when I told them, they screamed “Yellow Fever!” With that, they shooed us away from their island.                        –Marin St. Aubin

September 1
, 1649

Although we still have not left the Caribbean to sail toward France, things have improved greatly with my wife. She
has floated around the ship with a smile on her face for days! I am afraid to ask what has put her in such a wonderful mood. –Marin St. Aubin

September 5
, 1649

We are finally sailing toward France! My wife consented yesterday to “go wherever I tak
e her, happily as can be.” It is such wonderful news! –Marin St. Aubin

September 6
, 1649

I received even more good news from Amada today! She let me know the reason she
is so happy now. She is expecting a baby! How wonderful life shall be, spending it in Cuba with her and a strong, healthy little boy! We will arrive in France by December or January if we have no delays. Amada says our son should arrive in March.            –Marin St. Aubin

November 5, 1649

We are already experiencing delays on our journey. The weather is bad and we have been set back time and time again. Guillermo, Amada’s brother, predicts bad weather for the next several months. Our son might be born right here on the ship. Amada’s pregnancy is certainly not having any delays. It seems to be progressing as normal.   –Marin St. Aubin

December 13, 1649

We have had more bad weather. At this rate we shall not get to France until February. Amada is growing larger by the day. Novia, Amada’s sister-in-law, says that our son will probably be here sooner than expected. Since my wife is so small and this is her first child, Novia says it might be closer to the end of January. –Marin St. Aubin

January 1
, 1650

Ba
rely any progress has been made on our journey. We had an easy trip on the way from France to Cuba, but going home during the winter is hard. We have still not seen the arrival of our son but Amada feels that it will be soon. Novia, who shall deliver the baby, says that we have three or four weeks to wait. I am almost certain we shall not be home until the beginning of March.                           –Marin St. Aubin

February 2, 1650

I am writing to calm my nerves! Amada is in labor. Novia says she is surprised our son has waited this long to arrive. I keep trying to check on my wife but Novia will not speak to me about it, just Guillermo, who relays information to me. He says Novia worries that my wife is to small and frail to have this baby on the boat. If we were in France with proper treatment it would be better. I am really worried. –Marin St. Aubin

February 3, 1650

This shall probably be the last time I write. My life is over anyway. My strong, handsome son is not even a boy. Amada gave me a skinny little girl with black hair. My beloved Amada was so happy, although weak. She named the baby Corisanda, which apparently means, “Flower of My Heart,” in her native language. That was the last thing she said to me. A few seconds later, my wife died.

I was asked to pick Corisanda’s middle name. I have thought about it through all of this, and have settled on Aleene. That means
, “Alone,” in my own language and that is exactly what this girl must be because that is what she has made me, as well. I cannot stand to look at her. If I cannot have Amada I do not want Corisanda Aleene either. I asked Novia to take care of her for now. I do not want to go back to France. I want to keep sailing the ocean until I die. –Marin St. Aubin

ONE

 

February 2, 1668

On other days, the calming water would have rocked the ship’s passengers into a soothing, tranquil state. Today was a different story entirely. No matter how serene the ocean was
, the mood of the pirate captain could not be tamed. This day every year brought the greedy, spiteful, unhappy man into a worse state of miserable agony. The pirate crew kept their distance and his daughter hid in her cabin beneath deck.

“CORI! CORI!” T
he gray-haired captain wailed. “Where is that blasted girl? She has less sense than a starfish.”

“Yes, sir?” the brunette beauty answered hastily as she ran up the stairs and onto the ship’s main deck.

“Where have you been, you ignorant child?” The pirating captain of
The Beloved Loss
demanded.

As usual, Cori did not know what to apologize for first. “
I am sorry, Father. I was in my quarters. You told me not to burden you with my presence today, so I thought you wanted me to stay…”

“Shut your mouth
! Do not talk to me today. Calling you to assist me run this blasted ship was a mistake. Get your
derriere
back below deck and do not let me catch you out again! Do not think about eating dinner tonight either! I would have one less mouth to feed if you starved to death!” Captain Marin dismissed her with a shove toward the stairs. Turning to search for his only helpmate in times of trouble, he screeched for his second wife. “SHARLENE!”

Thankful that she was forgotten once again, Corisanda Aleene St. Aubin rushed down the creaky stairs to her
below deck cabin. Her aunt was bustling around nervously, waiting on the young girl to return unharmed. “Oh, Corisanda! I was hoping this birthday would be better than the rest.”

“It is never better, Aunt
Novia. It only gets worse every year,” Cori said with a ragged sigh, fighting back her customary birthday tears.


Si
, this is a hard day on everyone. One beautiful woman was taken away but another replaced her. I must get back to work. Cleaning the ship without you is a tough job!” Novia said with a consoling hug.

Cori tried to smile, “The girls will help.”

The ship’s maid rolled her eyes with derision, “The poor children are still so homesick for their families they can hardly lift a rag. If only we could return them to Argentina without Captain Marin knowing it! Seeing innocent children ripped away from their parents
to become pirate hostages should be enough to break even Marin’s cold, black heart!”

Novia bustled out to continue her daily chores, l
eaving Cori sad and alone. She heard the story of her birth many times. Her uncle and aunt relayed the heartbreaking tale over and over again, trying to answer Cori’s questions without crying.

Refusing to return to his homeland after Amada’s death, Cori’s fath
er turned to a life of pirating and ale. He never returned the French Naval ship. It was converted into a speedy vessel, perfect for making a quick getaway with whatever treasure could be stolen or killed for. Gold, spices, jewels, children, or furs were worthy objects for illegal traders. At the present moment,
The Beloved Loss
was on course from Argentina to Hispaniola. More islands would be sacked and then the pirate crew would sail directly to Africa in order to trade all their gathered loot for gold and silver.

Cori knew with certainty that most islands in the Caribbean would be invaded before setting sail across the Atlantic, but one island
was safe from Captain Marin’s rage. The island of Cuba would be completely ignored. He circled it each year but had not stepped foot on it since the last time he left, over eighteen years before.

After Cori’s mothe
r died and Marin began pirating most of the original crew had been killed, traded, or abducted by other unlawful sailors. Only one of Marin’s ex-Navy crewmen remained by his side. Yvet, the ship’s Gunner, was the only enduring crew member with the same Navy experience that the ship captain had.

Other members had been picked up along the way. Guillermo and Novia, as happily married as possible under their captive conditions, had been on board since the
Yellow Fever attacked Cuba. Cori’s aunt and uncle were her only companions.

The rest of the pirates were
as evil and immoral as the devil’s own crew.
Perhaps the worst,
Cori thought,
is Falco de Vries.
Falco, a Dutch pirate from the Netherlands, seemed to be a man with no past at all! No one knew any details about his family or life before
The Beloved Loss
except that he had a mother who he rarely spoke of. All the crew truly knew was that he searched the sea on an old, rugged, slow, stolen boat until he found the one ship he was looking for, Marin and Sharlene St. Aubin’s.

Now, a
t only twenty eight years old, Falco was Marin’s Quartermaster. Sometimes called a First Mate, the Quartermaster was the ship’s second-in-command, only under the captain himself. Excited about taking over
The Beloved Loss
as soon as possible, Falco had the most wicked goal Cori could imagine. Not only was he being rewarded with Marin’s ship, he was also being gifted with Cori’s future. Cori rolled her eyes, not wanting to think about the man she was being forced to marry within the year.

Falco did not see the marriage as
an outrage, like his fiancé did. As a nickname, he called her
Mevrouw
. After years of questioning him about the meaning behind the word, he finally told her it was the Dutch term for
Woman
. Cori hated his term of endearment as much as she hated him.
Who calls their future wife, ”Woman?” Dutch is a revolting language anyway, none of their words sound romantic!
She chastised him more than once, “Call me Cori or Corisanda, not
Mevrouw
or woman!” He forced his laughter, trying to ignore Cori’s attitude until he could properly punish her.

Two crew members joined the ship with Falco. His lackeys,
Zeeman and Klaas, were always by his side. She would stick her tongue out or glare at them when only the two of them were looking. Zeeman was the ship’s Carpenter, taking care of any damage done to the vessel while sailing or attacking. With barely more sense, Klaas was the pirate crew’s Surgeon. “Useless trash,” Cori mumbled as she thought about Falco’s two baboons.

The crew held one lone wolf
who was almost as bad as Falco. A Frenchman named Laron, a notorious womanizer, was the pirate ship’s Boatswain. Third in command, under Marin and Falco, Laron barked orders left and right, making sure every pirate took care of his or her proper duties. Cori caught Laron staring at her quite often and snarling his nose at Falco.

He
wanted Cori for himself and hated the Quartermaster with a passion.
What luck,
Cori thought
. The idea of another man loving me enough to keep Falco away would be wonderful… if the man was any better than Falco himself!
Laron was not as coldhearted and malicious as Falco, but he had a totally different set of problems that Cori could not stand.

The last member of the pirate
crew was Cori’s stepmother. Sharlene, Marin’s deceitful wife, joined
The Beloved Loss
when Cori was only five years old. She was French, like Marin, and turned to a life on the sea to escape a prison sentence she was wanted for in south France.

Sharlene was a
thief, traitor, and deceitful con-artist, among other horrible things. She had hair even longer than Cori’s and it was as bright red as a flaming fire. She was small framed and slightly shorter than Cori but had a grip tighter than any man on the ship. Sharlene hated Spaniards, Dutch, English, and basically everyone besides Marin. Although she kept her distance from most of Marin’s crewmembers, she was very close to Falco.

Marin, on the other hand, only despised
Cubans. Anyone from Cuba could not be tolerated by the captain; his heart could not handle anymore reminders. Sharlene and Marin made Cori’s life as miserable as possible. Cori’s stepmother lied to Marin, continuously trying to get her step-daughter in trouble. It was no secret that Sharlene hated Cori with a passion, almost as much as she hated Cori’s late mother, Amada.

Before Sharlene came along, Marin
detested Cori but only showed it by completely ignoring her. Once he remarried, Sharlene convinced him to punish Cori at every possible opportunity. Cori tried to escape and Sharlene encouraged Marin to let her go but he never would.

He
had caught her trying to flee at least twice a year since Sharlene came into the family. She was whipped, criticized, humiliated, and deprived of food for days. Cori had not tried to escape for many months but she hoped for the chance to get away soon. She planned to successfully flee before being forced to marry Falco de Vries. Death would be heavenly compared to a life as the cruel and brutal pirate’s bride.

The beautiful young woman sat on her sma
ll bed, cuddling her blankets closely around her. She contemplated her situation with Falco. He joined the pirate crew when Cori was only eight years old. Marin loved Falco like the son he never had and always wanted.

Six years after Falco joined the crew when Cori was fourteen and Falco was twenty four, Marin
announced that Falco would be his successor as captain of
The Beloved Loss
whenever Marin decided to retire. The crowd cheered, they were happy Falco was being thusly rewarded. Cori had been in attendance, watching the festivities from the back of the room to not draw any attention upon herself.

When Falco stood
to thank Marin and accept his reward, he surprised the whole attendance, especially Cori. “Captain,” he said, “Honoring me as the future commander of this fine ship means the world to me. It is the second biggest dream I have ever had. There is only one thing in this world I would want to possess more than
The Beloved Loss
. As a matter of fact, you are the only one who could give me that gift, as well.”

Cori recalled every word as if it was only yesterday. Marin laughed heartily in high spirits and jokingly asked, “What on Earth could you want from me besides my ship, son? It is all I have.”

“The one thing I want is Corisanda.” Everyone on the ship went silent. No one blinked. Each pirate froze, not sure what to do. Then, all at once, the ship crew turned to stare at the captain’s daughter. Marin seemed to be in shock for a few long moments before Falco turned to him again, “I am asking permission to marry your daughter, when she comes of age, of course.”

Still silent for a moment,
Marin’s suddenly sad eyes turned to Cori and he considered the pretty little girl he barely knew. He cleared his throat and smiled, feigning cheerfulness again. “Why would you want Cori, son? Have you lost your mind? Surely you could find a more comely girl than her anywhere you wanted to look! Nonetheless, if you still want to marry Cori when she turns eighteen years old then she is yours. Let the drinking begin!”

When her father said the last few words, Cori came to her senses enough to run. She cried in her below deck quarters the entire night.
If Cori had not known what he was truly like, she would be thrilled to marry Falco de Vries. The pirate ship Quartermaster was tall with darkly tan skin from being in the sun so much. His clean-cut hair was golden blonde, the color of sand.

Oh yes,
Cori thought to herself,
Falco is a handsome man. He is vicious, heartless, conniving, and unjust but he is handsome.
Falco had a charming way with words, he could sound romantic and loving but it was all just a game. He was evil, through and through.

Cori looked into her small hand-mirror, trying to wipe the tears out of her eyes. Novia told her
daily how closely she resembled Amada. “Which parts look like her?” Cori would ask in curiosity.


All of them”, Novia would always answer. “The only difference is that your skin is lighter than hers. It’s like a perfect mixture between your father and mother’s, not too dark but not too light.”

Cori was definitely a beautiful girl, and Falco de Vries
was aware of that. She had black hair that flowed down her back and ended barely above her derriere. Corisanda was very petite; her Uncle Guillermo teased her about being skinnier than a rail. However, Cori was taller than Novia by quite a bit, with long, slender legs. The young beauty was tan from spending her whole life in the sun and in shape due to exceptionally hard work for a girl her age and size.

Cori agreed with her father.
Falco must be crazy to want to marry me.
Being raised by pirate men was not a good idea if you want to create a ladylike, mannerly wife. Cori was extremely feminine in her looks, catching gasps and stares from every man she passed when she was allowed to venture onto an island. What made Cori so different from most girls was her enjoyment of adventure, love of games, and her bothersome tendency to get into trouble.

Her long legs were put to th
e test many times when she was caught pulling tricks on Zeeman or Klaas, her favorite morons to provoke. She never tried to anger Marin, Sharlene, or Falco out of complete fear for her life. Guillermo and Novia were safe, being Cori’s only companions. And the only reason she did not antagonize Laron was because she did not want him to think she wanted his attention. Yvet, the only man besides Marin left from the original Navy crew, was never mean to Cori like the rest of the pirates were. He certainly was not nice to her though, out of respect for Marin. Cori felt that Yvet pitied her, somewhere deep down in his tiny pirate heart.

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