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Sinners & Saints

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Claire and Maia were each jogging to their rooms to throw on a suit and get into the water before Jamie or Darius could press them into a chore. They both loved the crystal clear water around the island and wanted one more chance to enjoy it.
 
When Darius stepped out of a corridor, they almost ran right into him. He observed the guilty faces and bit into his apple, watching them.
 
“You both look like you’re running from a robbery or something. Why the guilty faces? Is Danny tied up in a closet? You’re running away before we leave? That only leaves one thing. You are escaping to swim.”
 
Darius looked at his watch. “We move the other boat in one hour, so you better hurry.”
 
They both ran for their rooms once Darius moved out of the way and emerged in record time to jog-walk back to the aft deck. Freedom was within reach when the glass doors opened and Danny escorted a man into the saloon. Both girls slowed to a respectable walk and almost made it outside before Danny corralled them for an introduction to the best dressmaker in Jamaica. There was a pedestal under the man’s arm that he placed on the floor and looked at the confused girls because they weren’t moving.
 
“Go on Maia, you’re first.”
 
Maia stepped on the pedestal and the man thanked her for her skimpy suit, saying it made measurements easier. He called out measurements and Danny wrote them on a pad, smiling with excitement over the gift she was giving the girls. The man was taking too much time reading the tape, so Claire looked closely and said the measurement. He glared at her until she backed up.
 
“Claire, get in the water. When I come out, you can get your measurements done.”
 
“I’ll wait,” she said miserably.
 
She could hear laughter and jet ski’s off the other side of the boat and stepped out on the side deck to look. The crew was having a last blast before leaving Jamaica, and Claire was so jealous. No wonder she never saw any of them in the water. They were restricted to the other side of the boat, away from people above deck. She was astounded at their discipline, perfect manners, obedience to the captain, and deference to Danny. When they wanted to cut loose, they were rather good at that as well. They waved from the water and received a true Claire smile.
 
Maia was finally stepping down, and the man indicated the pedestal impatiently. Claire stood straight and looked at the ceiling wishing it to be over. Twenty minutes in measurement-hell was the little man squinting at the tape for an eternity while Claire listened to the joyous crew in the water.  
 
“You are free little fish, thank you for your time.” Danny smiled at the girls as they turned and ran to the aft deck. They pulled their fins and snorkels out as fast as they could and threw them overboard jumping in after them. Claire was so excited as she pulled her fins on and dove deep to follow Maia. When they popped up, Darius and Jamie were waiting for them in the tender. Ethan waited patiently to take the tender back to Danny’s boat. They surrendered their fins, masks, and snorkels and swam to the other yacht.
 
Claire pulled a long hose to the foredeck while Maia instructed Jamie in raising the anchors, Darius was on the bridge preparing for the brief trip to the boatyard. Claire heard the healthy engines come to life and looked up in time to see Adso stepping between petunias to get closer to the edge of Danny’s deck. She yelled at him to stay but he was resolute this time and jumped toward their yacht. Claire screamed and looked down at the water for him. Before she could decide what to do Jamie went sailing over the side landing very close to Adso who was pawing the slippery hull looking for something to grab. Jamie was as still as possible in the water and talked to the cat in a quiet, confident voice as he made a grab for the skin on the back of his neck, immobilizing him instantly.
 
Darius had cut the engines when he saw Jamie go over and watched the rescue from the side deck of the bridge. Claire was waiting at the aft deck so Jamie could place Adso into the huge towel she held out. To her amazement, Adso seemed calm and happy to be on the same boat as she was and started licking the icky seawater from his coat. Jamie got a hero’s hug and waited for another towel. Catastrophe averted, the engines powered up again and all doors were closed.
 
Darius explained the docking procedure and then backed into the slip so slowly Claire and Maia could step onto the dock with their ropes, ready to tie the boat down when it stopped. Jamie was on the aft deck with a radio to the bridge, counting down the feet left before they plowed into the concrete dock. The engines were cut when they were still five feet from the back of their slip. Darius came down to show them how to tether the yacht for safety, and the anchors were released into the murky depths. The men were another thirty minutes securing the yacht, so Claire and Maia emptied the water reservoirs, scrubbed them with vinegar, and dried them thoroughly. All water lines and drains had to be emptied, refrigerators and freezers unplugged, washed, and dried completely. They gave the many bars in the saloons and decks the same treatment.
 
The checklist went on and on until they were all exhausted and dripping with sweat. Jamie went to the office to pay the slip fee for the next eight months and found someone to motor them back to Danny’s. The yacht was locked, the alarm engaged, and Jamie stepped into the waiting boat. He kissed Claire on the cheek and asked how Adso was doing. Any cat worth its claws would be freaking out by the loud outboard engine and the strong wind in their faces. She moved the towel to peer inside and announced he was fast asleep or dead. It was hard to tell.
 
Danny was waiting on the aft deck, looking pale and shaken when they arrived.
 
“Claire, I am sorry for allowing Adso to jump off the boat, I should have known better. Come here young man, you gave me quite a fright.” She pulled Adso from Claire’s arm and hoisted him close to her face, murmuring something about warm milk as she carried him inside. Adso remained calm and looked into Danny’s eyes as they disappeared toward the galley.
 
“What the hell?”
 
Jamie wrapped his hot sticky arms around Claire’s waist and then picked her up, falling backward into the water. The four of them played and kissed and chased each other for an hour before Danny called out twenty minutes until dinner. They were dry and dressed when they joined Danny at the table and got an exquisite taste of the meals to come on this trip. Two crewmen served them and brought out fresh coffee after dinner but were sent back to the galley.
 
“I am sorry for not warning you two, but no coffee tonight. These gentlemen will move us out to sea in six hours and need to sleep.” She turned to Jamie and Darius, “this will be the last bossy thing I do, I promise. Get some sleep before we leave tonight and there will be fresh coffee ready for you at midnight.”
 
Darius smiled at her, “thank you, Danny, that is an excellent idea.”
 
At eleven forty-five Jamie paced the bridge and did a double-take when Darius arrived in his uniform, a large cup of coffee with a lid, and no hair. He now sported a crew cut that actually improved his rugged looks. Maia came in after him and sat in the corner, out of the way and quiet.
 
“Maia will take you through your shift-start readings tonight.” Darius spoke into his radio to check the position of the crew and ordered the anchors up. Ethan and Steven were hanging off the side of the hull where the anchor and chains were stored. They guided the huge chains into a pattern that would prevent entanglement the next time they were released. When they were back on deck, Darius started the massive engines and crossed himself before easing the yacht toward the open water.
 
Maia jumped up and started running through the shift-start checklist, showing Jamie how to read each instrument she called out to Darius. Once the logs were updated, she kissed Darius and left. Jamie was exhausted, mostly from nerves he decided because he hadn’t lifted so much as a pencil yet.
 
Maia poked her head in the bridge and asked Darius to sleep for two hours until his regular shift started, “and you too, blondie. Steven is on his way so you can’t say no.” Jamie and Darius had an eight-hour shift starting in three hours and sweet Maia stepped in so they could get a nap.
 
Twenty-one hours later, Maia stayed after her shift to show Claire how to do the checklist and update the logs, which was greatly appreciated. It set the tone of camaraderie and team spirit in the bridge that lasted to New York, and little unassuming Maia would be richly rewarded by her captain, the next time they could spend five minutes alone together.
 
Danny sat in the saloon waiting to see Jamie come down after his shift and asked him to follow her.  They rode the elevator up two floors and stepped out on a level with no deck, but the view out the enormous windows was stunning. There were two interior doors, one of which she pushed open to take Jamie’s breath away. The room was enormous with a concrete floor, a large battered table with two ancient chairs in sharp contrast to the rest of the yacht. The afternoon sun was sharply angled, leaving portions of the room dark. There were special lights above and to the sides of one area, and Jamie was fighting his emotion with a deep breath. In the middle of those lights stood an easel and a blank canvas, waiting for him to tell a story with paint. He squeezed his eyes with his thumb and forefinger, trying to clear his vision.
 
“Come, I will show you the rest.”
 
There was a six-foot-wide cabinet attached to the wall with multiple doors that opened to reveal Danny’s gratitude. Two sections were dedicated to oil paint, professional-grade, in every color. A section for the finest sable brushes in twenty sizes, along with specialty brushes. He knew them to be handmade by a man on the island and was thrilled to have a set. Another section was dedicated to acrylic paints and brushes, buckets of clips, stacks of rags, tin cans, pallets, and turpentine.
 
Jamie was so overwhelmed he just hugged Danny and kept repeating “thank you.”
 
“What’s that?” He pointed to a chest of drawers off to the side.
 
“For a rainy day. A bit of warning though, you will find yourself in those drawers, they will reveal your true heart.” She patted his arm, “I’ve seen it, and it’s wonderful.”
 
Jamie’s attention was pulled to the other wall of the room where stacks of empty canvases, in every size, awaited his attention. He fingered through them, seeing dozens of paintings in his mind. When he next looked for Danny, she was gone. He left and tried to have a normal day, but the studio called to him, getting louder with each passing hour.
 
Claire worked with Danny during the days, preparing for the party and finding pictures of the important people on the internet, printing each of their faces to be used as flashcards. When Claire started her shift at midnight, Jamie brought the 5 lads canvas upstairs and set it on the easel. He adjusted the lights until it was lit like an afternoon in Jamaica, and the lads came alive under his tiny brushes that painted creases and shadows that summed into expressions unique to each person.
 
Painting created an energy that was barely containable, it’s how he could paint all night. It wasn’t the time for self-indulgence; he needed to be sharp on the bridge. When his watch dinged, it was time to stop, so he cleaned his brushes and sat down at the table with his big sketch pad. He drew her face, her eyes pensive and happy, her upper torso next to him in deep sleep. Every angle and every emotion was rendered during the trip while he let himself relax until it was a struggle to get to their bed. He would reach for her in his sleep as she would him, but their shifts on the bridge kept them apart.
 
If he didn’t paint when Claire went on shift, he would sleep and get up early to hit the gym. He was running the track one morning and thought he saw Danny in a corner with tiny weights in each hand. When he got closer, he watched her peering at the pages of a book while she pushed the weights over her head. He cringed at her worse-than-poor form and stopped.
 
“You can’t hold the weights like that, you will get hurt. Keep your wrist straight, that’s it, now push up.” He handed her heavier dumbbells and had her go through the same movement.
 
“Use enough weight that twelve reps will completely tax you, when that becomes easy, go to next weight up. No, not good to work upper arms on the same day as deltoids because… well, they rely on the same muscle groups.”
 
Danny looked at Jamie like he was speaking Greek and flipped through the book, trying to find the same information. Jamie could see her confused determination and wanted to help.
 
“Danny, why not let me train you, three days a week? You can meet me here after my shift and we can keep it to ourselves if you want. Now, what are your goals?”
 
On the ninth day at sea, the yacht motored into the famous London harbor, five days ahead of schedule. Darius added enough extra days to handle anything that broke on the way. The first four-thousand miles was so easy he almost chuckled when the engines finally turned off. Jamie arranged a mooring close to a dock that would lead them into downtown London, and they all breathed a sigh of relief when the banging anchor chains dropped their load into the water.
 
It thrilled Danny to have the girls together again and invited them to brunch on the foredeck. The chef outdid himself with a gorgeous buffet of delicacies and sparkling champagne in cold fluted glasses. Jamie and Darius would be another hour on the bridge, and a bit of girl talk would be nice before they were lost to their men for the rest of the day.
 
Claire could not concentrate for long. She had not been close to Jamie in nine days because of their shifts, and she missed him fiercely. She had considered what she would do to him for so long she was now in a constant state of arousal. When brunch was over, she went to their rooms, the deck, and the galley, but he was nowhere to be found. She wanted to cry with frustration but went to the foredeck to move the planters out of the plant garage and hopefully burn off some of this energy.
 
The planters were rolled out onto the foredeck and arranged in a pleasing configuration. Bent over, she pushed one of the last planters until she hit something that stopped her. She looked into crystal blue eyes that were hungry like hers. Jamie helped move the heavy load and noticed how shy Claire was around him. When they went into the plant garage for the last planter, he stopped her and pressed her into the cool wall, holding her against it with one hand while he studied her face, deep breathing, and shaking hands, that were all screaming their need for him.   
 
“Will you meet me in the pool in five minutes, Sassenach?”
 
“What?”
 
“It’s so hot here, and I need to bring my core temperature down. Be a good lass and get your suit on.”
 
Claire pulled her most conventional suit up her legs and grit her teeth when the tight garment wrapped around her core. Visions of a domineering Jamie danced in her head when she headed to the lower deck and the pool. The water cooled her off instantly as she swam the length of the pool.  
 
Jamie held her hand and walked her to the sauna room. He locked the door and handed her a large towel before dropping his trunks and walking into the steamy room. Claire loved the heavy eucalyptus scent from the branches that laid on glowing coals. Jamie would throw a cup of water on them periodically and the steam would bellow into the closed room. Claire felt like she was drunk with lust because she couldn’t speak or move, so she laid on her back and closed her eyes. She heard Jamie leave and come back into the glass walled room. When she opened her eyes, they were in absolute darkness and she was thrilled about where this might lead.
 
“Sassenach, I am too long without you. I will find you in the dark and love you to me.”
 
When sight is removed, the other senses are magnified, causing slight explosions of sensation with each touch. Jamie’s hand was lite and skipped around her body to land in unexpected places to prolong her thrill. He held her head and kissed her deeply. Her panting was audible, and she whimpered for him in agony, waiting for his next touch. When his tongue slid into her fold pushing deep into her body, she gasped and arched her back. There in the dark, he moved her legs and her body for the greatest exposure of her tiny bud and pulled her into a world of sensation that made her whole body shake with desire. To Claire’s delight, he made it last, pushing her into two ferocious orgasms, leaving her clinging to him.
 
When she could think again, she ran her hand up his slippery leg and thigh to cup balls and tease him. Something was very wrong because he was soft.
 
“What’s wrong Jamie, don’t you want me?”
 
“If you knew how much you would run away, most likely. This heat and moisture is my saltpeter love. Like the hot tub, it will not work in here.”
 
“Then I can play with you as long as I want?”
 
“Only if you want to waste your time, sweet one.”
 
Claire rolled off the platform and used her hands on his legs to find the object of her interest. She pulled him into her mouth and used her tongue to move him this way and that, getting lost in the experience and her increasing arousal. She felt him fill her mouth suddenly and his breathing was deep as his hips came off the platform. He pulled her up to straddle him and impaled her as they both groaned at the incredible feeling. He was reaching places inside her that ramped her up and made her beg. Just as suddenly, his erection was gone and she fell against him.
 
“Are you ready for lights and a cool shower, love?”
 
“But…”
 
“It’s all part of the plan.”
 
He led her out and shielded her eyes before turning on the lights. The cool water hit her body, jerking her out of the over-aroused zone she was stuck in. Jamie pulled her suit up her legs and kissed her lightly, smiling at her. Chatting about little things, they made their way to their rooms where Claire grabbed a towel and bent forward, squeezing the water out of her hair. Jamie pulled her suit off and pushed her upper body down while pushing her feet apart.
 
“Hold your ankles,” was growled out as he assaulted her from behind. Grasping her hips so he could thrust into her and marvel at how different it felt. He would not last long, so he wrapped his hands around both of her arms and pulled her to him until he came with a deep growl. Claire walked with him to the bed so they could fall into it and nap, wrapped around each other.
 
Danny was so happy to have her four companions at her dinner table again and asked a string of questions to hear all about the eight-day adventure. When the laughing woke Adso, he sat up on Claire’s lap and looked around the table yawning. When he found Danny, he jumped on the table and walked to her, jumping down into her lap where he promptly went back to sleep. Claire was horrified and stammered an apology to everybody about the manners of her cat. Danny put her hand up and smiled at Claire.
 
“It’s alright, Claire. My fault, I told him he could.”
 
Claire’s mouth closed and she stared at Danny, “you what?”
 
Danny’s eyes had a twinkle when she announced she and Adso were friends.  
 
“He has told me much about his life in Italy, but he calls it before the boat. A barking dog chased him down the dock, and he was separated from his mother and siblings. He tried to find them and saw the sunrise and fall twice as he got weaker from no food. He passed a large boat and smelled food, so he snuck inside and found something to eat. He fell asleep under a bed and heard someone crying, and it hurt him deep inside. That was you, Claire.”
 
Claire froze, listening to an accurate account of the first night on the boat after hiding from Hesser all day. She couldn’t speak and just stared into Danny’s eyes.
 
“He didn’t know if he wanted to fight for his life. The boat was moving, taking him away from his mother and brothers, so he went to sleep for a long time until his hunger drove him back to where he found food.”
 
Each person at the table was remembering where they were and what they were doing as the kitten’s story came out. Jamie was uncomfortable with Danny’s gift, and he wrapped his large hand around Claire’s and waited.
 
“He was gulping pieces of fish he found when someone screamed and it hurt his ears so he ran until a large warm hand wrapped around his body and pulled him into the air. He knew it was time for him to die, but he wasn’t sad. When other hands held him he felt soft hair cover him and take him to warm milk, like his mother’s.”
 
Claire could feel the kitten’s truth and a tear ran down her cheek. “And then?”
 
“His belly was full and he was so happy. The hands put him in a soft bed and he curled up under the soft hair. He felt safe with her, and happy. Eventually, he laid down next to the other person and found him to be gentle and caring. He felt so happy to have a mother again and a second source of heat.”
 
“Adso.” Claire whispered. He popped his head up and ran across the table to head butt her face before dropping into her lap.
 
“Thank you, Danny.” Claire stroked Adso while she struggled with a dawning notion. “So, you know we were hiding that night.”
 
“Yes dear, in the most ghastly of places.”
 
“Do you know why, and what happened after? I can explain.”
 
Jamie could hear Claire’s fright, and he looked pleadingly at Danny to stop this crazy conversation.
 
“There is nothing to explain, dear Claire. Adso has confided in me and that is all I wanted to say. Now relax, all of you. We have arrived at our first stop and we have a party to put on.”
 
They had five extra days, so Claire and Maia took Danny for a spa treatment. Facial, manicure, pedicure, and a temporary lip filler. The next day, their dresses arrived for a fitting and shoes were chosen. Danny had ordered elbow-length gloves for both of them and opened her massive jewelry collection for them to borrow from.
 
“All Claire has to do is wave her left hand around with that gorgeous rock on it. I wish Darius was more like Jamie,” she pouted.
 
“They have the same heart when it comes to the women they love, you can be sure of that, dear one.”
 
Claire recruited Maia to help her research the big players so they could feed the information to Danny during the party. Claire used the pictures she downloaded like flashcards and quizzed Danny daily until she could name practically everyone.
 
The crew was allowed two days off to wander around London and see whatever sights they wanted. Darius laid down the law to check in with him every three hours or find their own way home, and no public drunkenness.
 
Jamie brought Claire to the studio one morning, and she was bowled over with Danny’s gift. The scent of turpentine quickened her heart as memories of the art world flooded her mind. The five lads on the easel transported her to Jamaica, where she met them, looking exactly as they did in the picture. Her spontaneous kiss surprised Jamie, but he recovered quickly and took full advantage of her pressing herself against him.
 
“Let’s go to our room.”
 
“No, I don’t want to leave just yet.”
 
She kept kissing until they fell onto the table and gave in to their sudden need for each other. Claire’s naked body was pulled to the end of the table, giving Jamie an erotic view as he pushed into his wife. The table became quite uncomfortable after they satisfied their lust so Claire went back to looking at the picture. This luxury of time was so foreign after the regimented life when they were cruising, they felt rich with time and refused to rush through anything.
 
The day of the party, the yacht was moved to a dock reserved for the rich and famous. It took Darius, Jamie, and the whole crew to secure the twelve huge lines that held the yacht and stabilized it. The harbor crew was already building a custom gangway for guests to board, and their first sight would be the grand saloon with its glittering finery.
 
Workers came to move half of the saloon furniture to below deck storage and install additional lights among the planters on the foredeck. Then came the stunning flower arrangements placed throughout the main deck. The crew was busy all day washing the outside of the boat, washing windows, polishing, polishing, and more polishing. Danny checked in on the chef who had been cooking since they reached London. She noticed all four of the ovens were on and he was humming as he went from one to the other. She decided not to interrupt. The dresses and tuxedos arrived and the energy was amping up for all of them.
 
Danny hired two make-up artists and a hairdresser to get them all ready for the party and insisted that Claire and Maia take advantage. Getting Maia to sit still in the chair while two people worked on her was no small task, but when she looked in the mirror she was stunned. Her long hair was swept up and to the side for a curled ponytail that dropped down the front of her shoulder. Her eyes were beautiful with natural colors befitting her barely twenty age. Claire’s hair was pulled back with ten sections weaved together and her eyes were darkly lined and smudged slightly. They both looked beautiful and kissed Danny when they left to dress.
 
Darius came bounding through the door to their rooms and glanced around for Maia. When he looked in the bathroom, he was stunned to see her in the bath with overflowing bubbles.
 
“What are you doing?”
 
“I’m trying to drown myself.”
 
“What?”
 
“I’m taking a bath, Darius.”
 
“Why?”
 
“Because Claire said it would relax me and it was working until you came in.”
 
“Oh, sorry.”
 
Darius vaporized and Maia rolled her eyes and pulled the plug, wondering how to get all the bubbles off of her. The next time Darius came in, she was ironing his shirt, wearing a thong and a push-up bra. He stared at her until she glared at him.
 
“What is wrong with you Darius?”
 
His eyes had softened seeing her this way and he just wanted to wrap around her and stay in bed for the evening, but that was impossible.
 
“Your tux is ready.” She walked to him and kissed him, “get in the shower.”
 
Jamie looked at the statuesque beauty standing on the deck outside their rooms. Her gown was simple but fitted to her hourglass figure, and it took his breath away. She reminded him of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. He kissed her neck, and she turned to smile at the most handsome man in the world.
 
“I will be the envy of all the women tonight, Jamie.”
 
Adso was kissed over and over requiring a long bath to remove the sticky lipstick and he didn’t notice when they slipped out and closed the door behind them.
 
Darius came up to escort Maia to the party and when he saw her hair and gown, his mouth dropped open and he stared. He looked at his little love and thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world and he was so proud to be with her.
 
“I have something for you, Maia. It is your birthday present, but after the way you pitched in for the launch and gave up sleep time to help the others, I want to give it to you now.”
 
He handed her a wrapped box and watched her eyes light up when she lifted the lid of the velvet jewelry box. Her cheeks had a warm rose glow when she looked at him and he kissed her softly, afraid to smudge something. He put the necklace on her and she was swept away with her first diamond that sparkled like her eyes when she looked at Darius.
 
He remembered accompanying Jamie to see the diamond brought to the island for Claire’s ring and as they looked at settings Darius wandered to the diamond necklaces and stared at them, hoping someday he could give Maia such a gift. Jamie looked at the jewelry with him and asked to see the necklace Darius kept looking at. A single diamond set in white gold with only the prongs holding it to the pendant so it sparkled from all sides. It was beautiful and Jamie told them to wrap it up.
 
“Wait a minute! I don’t have that kind of money Jamie.”
 
“How much do you have?” Jamie gave him a look that asked, how much is your girlfriend worth to you?
 
“I have two-thousand dollars to my name.”
 
“And what is the value of a man’s life, I wonder. The life you risked when you didn’t run that first day when the entire world was chasing us? If you teach me to drive the boat, I’ll get the rest.”
 
Jamie went back to the diamond broker and spoke to the salesperson quietly.
 
“I want a better diamond in this necklace and I don’t care how the two of you work it out, but there’s enough profit in my stone to cover the upgrade. It needs a GIA certification too, if you please.”
 
When Maia joined the women in the saloon, Claire and Danny raved about her beautiful necklace. Danny had a keen eye for Diamonds and wondered how Darius could afford such a gift. Her head came up and she looked at Jamie.
 
Danny was stationed inside the entrance to the saloon where she could greet her guests, Claire stood to one side, Maia on the other. When the guests started to arrive, the photographers were snapping pictures of everyone who approached the boat in formal wear. Claire and Maia would tell Danny any noteworthy events happening in the lives of those coming in, and Danny was able to work it into her greeting flawlessly.
 
“Recently diversified and now in oil... that guy put his stock up for sale and then withdrew the offer… son graduated West Point top of his class… That guy stopped a hostile takeover this year by the skin of his teeth.. new babies, twin girls, daughter’s name is Amanda and she is doing fine.”
 
Jamie went from bar to bar serving drinks, the crew carried silver trays of ore dehors; the pianist played the baby grand for beautiful background music and Darius got locked into a conversation about buying a superyacht. As the guests loosened up with alcohol, many of them kicked their shoes off to wander out on the deck. Claire asked one gentleman if he would like to see the garden on the foredeck, and the elderly man was pleased as punch.
 
Danny snuck a few people into Jamie’s studio where each of his paintings was on an easel. They were big collectors of art and she wanted to see their reaction. One gentleman offered fifty-thousand for “Morning” and Danny thanked him for the offer but said they would soon be shown as a collection and she would send an invitation.
 
By one o’clock in the morning the guests were gone, the harbor crew was dismantling the gangway, and Darius was preparing to move the boat to their mooring. When the anchors were dropped again, it was almost three in the morning and the chef passed out tiny cakes and champagne and told them all to drink up and go to bed. The crew would have the boat back to normal by morning.
 
There was a full moon so Jamie pulled Claire to their deck and they danced slowly while he feasted on the love in her eyes.
 
“You were… perfect tonight, mo chridhe.”
 
He kissed her neck, then her chin, and then covered her mouth for the searing kiss that deepened with passion as he danced her to a lounge.
 
“Just in case you need help getting that dress off later, suppose you show me how it’s done.”
 
Claire reached for her right shoulder and squeezed a clasp to open it and the dress fell to the deck. Jamie looked at her tiny thong, thigh-high stockings, and high heels, as she released the weaved coif and let her hair fall.
 
Jamie smiled as he looked her up and down, “that is a good start, lass, come here.”