Hey, its disclaimer time again! I own nothing, it all belongs to American Girl/Pleasant Company and so on. I know the drill.

The name of the ship was the Mercury Queen. It was big and tough and looked like it belonged to pirates who preferred cold weather to tropical. It had been a whaling ship at one time, and still fitted out for the unpredictable cold seas she often sailed in, with her hull built of reinforced oak, rounded so that the pressure of any ice she encountered would lift rather than crush her. She was about one hundred and fifty tons with a crew of seventy. All three of her masts carried a crow's nest, with the highest being upon the main mast, of course. The figurehead was that of a rather worn, busty but fierce-looking mermaid with what was once carved, billowing white hair.

Felicity and her compainions boarded through the sally port in the side of the ship, so that they would not have to be rowed nor climb any rope ladders, which Felicity was grateful for even though Ben had offered to climb with her. And his eyebrows had jumped up and down flirtatiously when he had said so. She assured him with an equally flirtatious grin that there would be other ways in which they could be cozy.

They were greeted immediately by a great deal of the crew, all grins and handshakes. Their captain was a stout, hardy forty-something-year-old man named Amos Crisp, who sported red, weather-beaten cheeks and had more hair in his queue than on the top of his head, which was why he was seldom seen without a cap of some sort. The only woman who dared to call the ship her home was Captain Crisp's wife, Clementine, who looked just as old and weather-worn as her husband but carried the same spark of adventure and ease with ship life as he did. Felicity's first impression was that they were well suited for each other.

They met the coxswain, a hard-looking man who did indeed seem that way until he opened his mouth and an unexpected soft voice came out. His name was Boonie. Then there was the bosun, who's name was Flem, and was a tall skinny, middle-aged man with toothy grin. There was , the ship's carpenter, who sported a thick grey moustache that curled up on the ends, even more so when he smiled. The captain's mate was a younger, more strutting type, with red hair and outrageous freckles, who seemed to be almost too young to hold such a position. There was the amiable cooper and cooper's mate, steward and cargomaster, deckhands, topmen, and an oddball assortment of mariners who made being at sea their life. Most of them had been in the king's navy at one point or were the sons and descendants of whalers, fishers and netters, and some didnt know who their fathers were at all and didn't mind saying so.

Lord Eric said he only employed the best seamen available that hadn't already been caught by pressgangs or King George himself. These were men who risked their lives to ensure that the duke's shipments got to their destinations with as little trouble as possible. They were not a pretty lot as far as looks went, but each fellow's personality was as unique and hearty as any Felicity had met. Some were quiet, others were boasters and roughhousers, but if Lord Eric trusted them, so would she.

Captain Crisp led the party below decks himself to show them to their cabins. Ben could not be kept from Felicity, and was ready to fight, argue and force his way to her if necessary if anyone insisted on trying to separate them. Eric was fully aware of this, and allowed it. Elizabeth wanted Arthur with her, and Lettie was content to bunk alone, for she was eyeing the ship with a new interest that made Felicity curious. She had thought Lettie would be too leery of ships to actually take an interest in one ever. But the dark girl tapped her chin and looked around like something interesting was on her mind.

They were all invited to the captain's cabin for supper that the meantime, Ben followed Felicity to their own little cabin to freshen up before dinner and get acquainted with surroundings they would be calling home for the next three months. Ben himself brought their trunk in and sat it down at the end of the slender cot-of-a-bed that they would be sharing. As they both stared down at it, they could tell they were both thinking the same thing: the bed was awfully small in terms of space.

Feeling amorous and playful, Ben sidled up behind Felicity and slipped his arms around her snugly. "So...what shall we do?"

Felicity grinned, feeling Ben's breath along the side of her neck. "I suppose we shall have to sleep on our sides since there is not enough room for the both of us to sleep on our backs."

"Or," he suggested flirtatiously, "my body could be your bed."

She giggled wildly. "Oh, you would like that, wouldn't you?"

"Oh I would indeed."

She turned about within the confines of his strong arms and gazed at him thoughtfully. "We will be quite in each other's space during the length of the trip, you know. It might perhaps be like a test of sorts. To see how much we can stand of each other on a sea voyage."

"I promise to be on my best behavior."

She feigned disappointment. "Oh. How unfortunate."

"But if you require special attention..." He could not resist kissing her smiling lips. The kiss turned into a deeper gesture, with mouths opening and tongues colliding hungrily. Her hands clasped his face and his embrace tightened, and when they broke for air they were both breathing heavily.

" 'Tis so unfair," Felicity inhalked shakily, "that we cannot act upon our passions for fear of my becoming pregnant. Why must it be that way?"

"There are things we could do," Ben suggested uncertainly, "But the way I feel about you I do not think I could stop myself from doing more than I mean to."

"Like...what we did in the maze?"

"Aye. That and more."

"Like what?"

Ben winced an eye uncertainly. "I would rather show you than tell you. But that will be for another time."

Felicity slapped his shoulder in jest. "And how do you know about such things, anyway?"

"Like I've told you before. I watched. There are ways a man can please his woman without pregnancy."

She pretended to be suspicious of him. "How do I know you haven't done more than just 'watch'? There are things you could have done that there would never be any proof of and that I would never have to know about."

His voice grew as soft and serious as his facial expression. He drew her close again and said ever so emotionally, "Because I love you. Have I not hurt you enough already? I could never be with you and have such immoral acts upon my conscience. To have you finally believe in me and trust me again and lie about being with other women? I couldn't do it. I nearly lost you forever because of my selfish behavior. I would not risk it again. If I had done anything immoral before I came home to you and your family, I would have told you. I cannot hide anything from you. Our marriage will be completely honest."

Felicity gazed at him, wanting to believe him, feeling there was truth in his words, in his eyes, and a person's eyes never lied. Ben Davidson had always held his true feelings in his eyes. That had never changed. She nodded slowly, her smile turning as soft as his. "I believe you, Ben. I want our marriage to be based on honesty, too, as well as love."

He hugged her hard, making her feel like a squished doll in his tight, love-driven embrace, but it made her grin. Ben's love was fierce and physical, consuming and obsessive, but she would have it no other way. If they were to make a new start with each other, they had to be completely honest, in deed and in words. There were no lies in Ben's physical attentions, that was for certain. She hugged him back with all the firmness she could muster.

After a moment of not moving, Ben asked plainly, "Lettie does not like me, does she?"

Felicity moved back enough to look at him. "That is only because she does not know you. After all she has been through she is not exactly willing to befriend everyone she meets."

"Do you think she will like me?"

"Perhaps, in time." She cocked her head inquisitively. "Why is it important that she like you?"

"Because she is your friend. Anyone who is important to you is important to me as well."

She rested her palms upon his broad hard chest and smiled affectionately at him. "I am touched that you would consider that, Ben. I will try to make Lettie see that you are a good man."

"Even if I'm really not?" he asked a little shyly, thinking ill of himself, which was plain to see.

"I am thinking you really are, Ben, when you are not hot-headed. We are supposed to be moving forward, remember? The past is to be left here in Bristol. I wish to take none of it home to Williamsburg with us."

He brightened back up at the sound of that. "All right, then." He looked around the little cabin, at the round portal that was their only window. Its shutter was open, revealing the evening sky over the darkening city of Bristol. "We have a little time to spare before we go up to eat...shall I light the lantern yet?"

"I suppose you may as well, it will be dark in here soon."

With reluctance, Ben released his hold on her and went to the nailed down table alongside a wall to look for the tender box. As he worked, he asked," Anything in particular you'd like to do before we go to dine with the captain, pretty Lissie?"

She folded her arms across her chest and regarded him flirtatiously. "Ah, back to that, are we? You are insatiable, Ben Davidson!"

"Just you wait, Felicity Davidson-to-be! You have no idea how insatiable I will be!"

She snickered at him wickedly.

He got their lantern hanging from the rafter lit, then turned to her with a mischievous gleam in his eyes. "How about we try out that sliver of a bed?"

" 'Try it out' how?" she wanted to know provokingly.

"Let's kiss!" And he came at her, arms opening, mouth eager. Felicity cackled wildly and got onto the little bed on her knees as Ben grabbed her into his embrace once more and planted hard, relentless kisses on her throat and collarbone. Her fingers twined into his hair, messing it, loosening the ribbon that held it back, but he didn't care. Anywhere she saw fit to touch him was just fuel for his already raging fire of want. He groaned his longing for more with the turning of his face as he explored her mouth from another angle.

A knock on the door interrupted their necking. Elizabeth's familiar voice called out, "Felicity, Ben? May we come in?"

The breath left Ben's lungs as he dropped his head onto Felicity's warm chest. She giggled and stroked his hair as he murmured, "Could she not have waited five more minutes?"

"I do believe that in five more minutes you would have been even more irritated than you are now!"

Ben grumbled something unrepeatable. Arthur Pratt called out, "I say! Anyone for cards?"

"At least your Lettie knows the value of privacy," Ben mumbled submissively.

"Oh shush now, Ben. We shall have the whole trip home to do whatever with one another. Let us practice restraint for now, all right?"

Grumble grumble.

She chuckled again then said louder, "Just a moment, Beth!"

"Whatever do you need a moment for?" Elizabeth asked from the other side of the door. "Is Ben up to no good?"

"He's trying to be," said Ben under his breath as Felicity, grinning, moved past him to stand and straighten her skirts.

Felicity unlocked the cabin door and opened it wide. As Ben assumed she would, Elizabeth looked Felicity up and down, then gave him an inspective look as well. "Benjamin Davidson, if you even try to take advantage of Felicity during this trip, I'll-"

"Elizabeth," sighed Ben tolerantly, "I would never do such a thing. Lissie and I have been sharing a room at Bel Hall, as you know, as even the duke himself knows, and even then I did not take liberties. What makes you think I would venture to do so now?"

Elizabeth's hands went to her hips. "Because you are no longer at Bel Hall, you have somehow managed to get back into Felicity's good graces, and 'tis obvious to everyone how eager you are to be...well, physical with her!"

Felicity slapped a hand over her mouth to keep from haw-hawing.

Retorted Ben, "Really, Elizabeth. I see you are back within Felicity's good graces yourself. And are you not sharing a cabin with Arthur?"

Elizabeth's face quickly went red. "That is different! I am not a lust-driven man, and I insisted Arthur remain with me because we all know he does not take to sea travel very well!"

" 'Tis true," agreed Arthur dramatically. "The sailors tend to look upon me unkindly if I remain up top hugging the main mast for extended periods of time. But I can assure you that in all cases of my rooming with Elizabeth that she has never once attempted to take advantage of me in any aspect!"

This produced guffaws and snickers from both Felicity and Ben. Elizabeth whirled about at Arthur and exclaimed, "Arthur! You are supposed to be helping me look out for Felicity's best interests!"

"Of course, my love," replied Arthur happily.

Felicity looked at Ben. "The well-trained husband."

Ben grinned back at her, nodding his mutual agreement. "The well-trained husband."

Arthur turned nearly as red as Felicity's hair while Elizabeth shook her head at Ben irately. It seemed like no one knew what to say after that, so Arthur said with a sheepish smile, "Why do not just sit at that little table there and play a game of whist?"

"Oh why not," sighed Ben, winking at Felicity. "We have some time to spare, and whooping Arthur at cards will take my mind of certain other things..." Hearing Felicity laugh in response to that made him feel good. Like he could rein himself in.

For now.

A late dinner in the captain's quarters proved to be entertaining as well as playful. The captain's quarters were not that roomy, weather-worn and rugged, but warm with its cast iron stove and candles lit in nailed or bolted down holders. Ben and Felicity was fascinated by the array of maps framed upon the wall. Lettie was invited to dine with them as well, for the duke had let it be known that he wanted her treated with respect, dignity and courtesy by all. The quiet dark girl sat on Felicity's other side, taking in the sights and sounds with a curiosity that made Felicity smile.

Elizabeth and Arthur sat across from their friends with the duke and his son. Captain Crisp sat at the head, of course, offering Lord Eric every courtesy as befitted a man of his rank, but Eric also let it be known that he did not want to be treated any different than a crew member, nor did he wish to be called 'Your Grace,' 'My Lord,' or anything other than , or simply Eric.

"Well then, Simply Eric," said the gravelly voiced Captain Crisp, raising his glass to the man who's employ he and his crew were in, "I would hope ye would at least allow me to toast a welcome to young Master Thomas 'ere, whom I have not seen since 'e began wearing breeches!"

"That I can allow," agreed Eric with a grin, and beside him, Thomas beamed and raised his glass (albeit with two little hands because the thick heavy glass was too heavy for just one).

"To young Thomas Covington, the future Duke of Bel Hastings and God-willing, a future man of the sea! May yer breeches stay drier than your nose on this trip!"

There was laughter and the clinking of glasses all around. Also at the table was the captain's mate, the freckly-faced fellow who eyed Felicity with more interest than Ben was comfortable with. The mate's name was Tad Licklighter, and although he seemed pleasant and friendly enough, Ben still did not like the young man's eager gaze upon Felicity, who was blissfully oblivious to young Mr. Licklighter, much to Ben's relief.

The lively talk soon turned from the captain's excellent supply of rum and other spirits to the course the ship would be taking. "We'll be keeping to the north," Crisp told them all satisfactorily. "But not so far north as to rile the Danes haunting Iceland, of course."

" 'Ice-land'?" inquired Felicity with sheer fascination. "Is there really a land made up of ice, Captain?"

Crisp laughed throatily, pleased that one of his lovely young passengers took interest in their whereabouts. "Well, Miss, that's what it's called, but I was there myself when I was a lad, learnin' the ways of the sea at my pappy's side. I can tell ye that it's green and fruitful once ye gets past the 'bergs and the Danes!"

Felicity looked confused. " 'Bergs'?"

"Ice bergs," said Mr. Licklighter good-naturedly. "They're mighty slabs of ice, some bigger than a barn, others bigger than a ship even! Many a good ship has been lost to the likes of em', Miss. Ye gots to be careful when gettin' around 'em. They can be right deadly!"

"My goodness!" marvelled Elizabeth, with a hand to her cheek. "Will we encounter any of these icebergs on the trip?" The wonder in her voice matched the look on Arthur Pratt's face.

"Probly so," replied Crisp. "I've rarely been a-sea an' not seen one!" When his passengers looked concerned, he added with a chuckle, "But don' ye worry none. Yer sailin' with the best . His Grace-er, 'simply Eric' wouldn't risk a voyage with any other crew!"

"That is for certain, my friend," said Eric with a smile.

"And what did you mean about the 'Danes haunting Iceland'?' Felicity asked, mesmerized. Beneath the table cloth, Ben's hand found hers and gave it a delighted squeeze.

"Eh? Oh, all I meant by that was the Danish govern Iceland and sometimes we overstay our welcome when we do business there. I know a fella there who gets this mighty fine wine imported from France...ah, but that's a story for another time." Captain Crisp's eyes sparkled mirthfully. "I can't very well disclose certain adventures in front of respectable ladies and a duke, can I?"

"Please," said Lord Eric mindfully, "just call me Eric, or , remember?"

"With all due respect, Mr. Covington, I meant the young future duke."

Laughter pealed around the table. Felicity wanted to inquire more about this 'Iceland' that wasn't icy after all, but didn't get a chance to when Elizabeth asked first, "You mean there are pirates in the north? I was told pirates preferred the tropics."

Crisp shrugged pleasantly. "First of all, Miss Cole, everyone prefers warm weather to cold, but if there is a place a pirate thinks he can, er, do what pirates do, then he'll go there, warm weather or not!"

"Fascinating," marvelled Arthur Pratt. "Absolutely fascinating! Do you think we shall encounter cold-weather pirates, Captain?"

"Can't say fer sure as yet, Mr. Pratt. It just depends!"

This comment sparked a round of "There was this time we met up with" stories, Some of which Felicity found interesting and others not so much, so she turned her attention secretly to how Ben had her hand upon his leg under the concealment of the long burgundy tablecloth, stroking absently in no particular pattern the back of it, caressing her hand upon its laced glove as he listened with rapt interest in the Captain's third pirate story. Felicity, too, appeared engaged in the story, but in actuality she was contemplating something mischievous.

Ever so smoothly she removed her hand from Ben's and without any given inclination that she was doing anything more than following along with the conversations, grabbed him between the legs.

"WOW!" Ben blurted loudly and startlingly as she quickly withdrew, fighting the urge to laugh howlingly as he sat bolt upright in his seat. everyone turned their attention toward him, and Felicity, too, gave him a pretend-curious look. His brown eyes were wide as he stared at her, gulped, then turned a shade of red Felicity hadnt seen since the apples in her family's trees had ripened last year. She gave him a wicked smile.

"Something the matter, Ben?" asked Lord Eric, with a confused but grinning face. Beside him, young Thomas giggled rambunctiously, for Mr. Davidson had looked nearly like a cherry with big eyes.

"Wha-? Er, no, I-I just found that, er, the Captain's tale most interesting." He looked again at Felicity, who batted her eyes at him in mock innocence and slipped her hand beneath the table cloth to caress a crazy trail with her fingertips upon his thigh. It was a sheer, delicious, devilish delight to watch him squirm so. He inhaled deeply and licked his lips.

"Interesting?" repeated the Captain, befuddled. "All it turned out to be was sea-gull poo!" said he of the story he was in the midst of telling.

Ben cleared his throat shyly, nervously, shifting about in his seat. "Ah! Yes, well. That was a rather, er, unique situation you and your men were in, sir."

Mr. Tad Licklighter chuckled at him. "Mr. Davidson, sailors get pooped upon all of the time when they are up in the crow's nest."

"Ah, I see..."

"I say, old man," commented Arthur, confused at Ben's behavior but in good humor nonetheless, "are you quite well this evening?"

"Yes," said Ben, shrugging stiffly, trying to appear relaxed and failing. "Why wouldn't I be?" He glanced at Felicity, who smiled. Sinisterly. "Please, do continue, Captain."

The captain shrugged as well, seeing as how the young captain simply appeared to be fascinated wtih tales of sailors getting pooped upon, and got back into his tale without further hesitation. The story picked up right where he had left off, and after a minute or two, Ben leaned back toward Felicity as much as he could without getting attention and whispered, "Girl, you are going to be the death of me."

Felicity snickered.

With a secret smile, he added, "I will tell you now that later tonight you will certainly pay for that bit of mischief."

"I certainly look forward to it!" she whispered back with a sly grin.

So now Ben had to sit there with a merciless erection in his breeches and nothing to be done about it until dinner was finished. The captain was so eager to set sail in the morning that he did not want to go below decks to try to sleep the night through, therefore he attempted to keep everyone engaged in conversation until late, when Felicity and Elizabeth were yawning into their napkins, trying to be polite and conceal their tiredness. Only the captain, Lettie, Lord Eric and were still bright-eyed. Young Thomas had falled asleep in his seat, his head laying upon folded arms upon the table. Not necessarily gentlemanly manners, but the boy was exhausted and everyone else was either too tired or too tipsy to care.

"Well," said the captain at last, looking around at the yawning women and the sleeping lad, "I believe I have kept everyone hostage at my table long enough! Simply Eric, I do believe yer boy will wake with a crick in his spine if 'e's kept in that position any longer, and I can see that the ladies are quite spent. Let us call it a night, shall we?"

"Let's!" said Felicity and Elizabeth together. They smiled and blushed as the captain laughed heartily.

"Captain," asked Elizabeth, blinking herself wider awake, "are we not to see your wife this evening?"

"Ordinarily, yes. But she has cooked a great deal for the men in the mess, and she has had a lot of mending to do for this trip, but she shall dine with us tomorrow. Clementine likes to stay busy, the Lord bless her, and there is always plenty to do on a ship."

The men rose, then Felicity, Elizabeth and Lettie. There were plenty of stiff legs and backs, and one groaning, yawning little boy who's father picked him up in the gentle, loving way only a parent could do to carry him below to their cabin. After their "Good evenings," the bell clanged for the changing of the watch as Ben and Arthur escorted their ladies below deck as well.

Felicity was yawning uncontrollably as she and Ben approached their cabin door. Smiling craftily, Ben's hand moved down her back to her fine little rump and gave it a squeeze. "Oh surely you are not going to play the part of the sleepy damsel tonight, are you?"

She turned to look at him through drowsy green eyes there in the corridor's lantern light with her back against their door. "Mmmmmaybe. Ben, I had no idea the captain was going to tell such tales. He is a very likable and entertaining fellow, but he does tend to carry on so! Are you not completely drained?"

"Nay, I am not, pretty Lissie, because you and your mischevious ways have ignited a spark in me. You didn't think I would let you get away with it just because its late, did you?"

She cocked her head and looked pleading. "Ben, I'm sleepy! Can we not play another evening?"

He braced himself on the door with his hands, his arms becoming barriers by each side of her pretty red head to keep her from slipping out from in front of him. He leaned in close and nuzzled her neck arousingly. At the sound of her pleasured sigh, he said, "I cannot let you sleep until I have had my sweet revenge upon you."

"And just what sort of 'revenge' did you have in mind, Captain Davidson-of-the-Legion?" she murmured absently, already giving herself over to the sensations his lips ignited upon her super-sensitive skin.

"Oh, you will see, my beauty," he teased. His hard, hungry kisses moved form her neck to ther throat and then on down to her collarbones, where he nipped playfully. She groaned approvingly, and he boldly sucked on the hollow where her collarbones met, which sent erotic chills spiraling thorugh her entire body, making her back arch involuntarily and her arms hold around his neck harder.

With one hand he held her firmly against him, with the other he fumbled the cabin door open, scooped her up into both arms and shut the door with a boot when he swept her inside, all while kissing her mouth vigorously. He wanted her so badly he could devour her. He crossed to the skinny bed they would be sharing for the entire trip and laid her down upon it, placing himself nearly on top of her. They kissed passionately for a few minutes before Ben moved back to her neck to torture her some more with his explorative kisses. She sighed, moaned pleasurably and held to his shoulders as her mind spun, willing him on to do whatever he liked.

She had begun to fully understand what Ben meant when he talked about agony and frustration. Her very own body squirmed to have him closer. He was intense, eager, his lean toned body hard and warm, even fully dressed as he was. When he touched her and kissed her the way he was doing now it made her want to scream with wanton urgency, to abandon all thought of pregnancy,marriage and waiting and just allow herself to be swept up in their mutual need for the most intimate connection possible. Sometimes she wanted to just let whatever happen...happen. Ben aroused in her something so utterly fierce and manic that she almost believed it worth any risk. He had the ability to either excite her into a frenzy, or relax her so completely that she definitely didnt care what happened next.

Ben's soft parted lips trailed down her chest to the edge of her dress's low neckline, where he could kiss the very tops of her breasts, making her release a whimper of need. Felicity could feel his warm breath through the fabric of her gown, his rapid breathing as he brought a hand up to squeeze one of her breasts despite the obstruction of the corset she wore. She sighed and shifted restlessly against him, wanting to feel more of his touch elsewhere, and on her bare skin, not her dress.

He dragged his tongue across the delicate, hyper-sensitive flesh just above the neckline and murmured, "Tell me you want me, Lissie. Tell me that you want to be mine and that you will be forever! Tell me what makes you feel good and I shall do it." In a bold move of sexual urging, he covered the tip of the breast he was caressing with his mouth and kissed hard. Surely she could feel the pressure he applied through her clothing, because he knew he could. Desire tightened his breeches ferociously. "Anything, Felicity," he begged needfully, kissing her breast hotly. "Anything in the world you want I will give you." Kiss. "I will do it!" Kiss. "Felicity?"

When there was no reply, he lifted his head to look at her...then sighed, chuckling submissively. She was fast asleep! Mouth open slightly, chest rising and falling in the manner of one who had dropped off under such relaxation that sleep had become instantaneous. Though her hold on his shoulders had slackened somewhat, she still had her arms about him. She had been exhausted, after all.

"Ah, my Lissie." Ben simply studied her for a moment, an amused smile crossing his face. He was supposed to be seducing her, not sedating her! But she had been right; Captain Crisp's dinner had been rather lengthy. Thinking about it, he too was tired, but he had been willing to put that aside for some intimate play. His love, however, was unable to fight her exhaustion, and Ben decided it better to just let her sleep. The ship hadn't even left the quays yet, and God only knew what lay ahead of them before they reached home.

If they even reached home.

Ben slowly and carefully removed himself from her and stood up to remove his coat and boots, losen his shirt from his breeches, which were mercifully feeling like they were returning to normal size. He blew out the candle in the lantern hanging from the beam of the low ceiling. Then he even removed the dainty shoes of his sleeping bride, along with her mobcap, and she didn't stir a bit. Already in deep sleep, no doubt, he mused with a grin as he slipped between her and the bulkhead to take her carefully into his arms and pull her close. In sleep, Felicity snuggled back against him, her body instinctively seeking the warmth and solidity of his, which he was more than happy to oblige.

So this was how it was to be for three months, maybe four, depending upon weather and other circumstances? Constantly aroused without any release but for what he provided for himself? Sleeping beside the love of his life without touching her intimately or consummating his intense desire for her? YES, his brain commanded scoldingly. She does not want to be pregnant at sea, nor out of wedlock! You CAN fully appreciate her situation, idiot! And you just got her back. Do you really want to risk losing her again over your foolish, selfish wants and desires? She is your future wife. You will be married to her soon. Just LOVE her, for pity's sake!

"I do love you, Lissie," he whispered softly above her ear. "I will not push."

But he did grin, simply out ofacceptance. It was going to be a long trip.

Author babble: So another part has begun. would you guys believe me if I told you I never meant for this story to be this long? I stated out writing it knowing exactly what I wanted to do, but it has seemingly taken on a life of its own, and now I'm just going wherever it leads me. What happens next is beyond me. I just start typing and things will happen!

BTW: anyone seen the extras on the Felicity Deluxe version yet?