Home > Slayer of the Pirate Lord

Slayer of the Pirate Lord
Author: Rebecca F. Kenney





A cold wind whisks across my face, coaxing a tinkling sound from my earrings. The sound ignites my nerves and kicks my heartbeat into a hectic rhythm.

To calm myself, I press my hands to the chilly, damp stone of the wall behind me and watch the lights of the pier dance on the glittering black water. Shouts echo back and forth from the crew of the merchant ship to the workers on the dock, voices rough with purpose but edged with relief, because the voyage is over, and the day’s work is nearly done.

When the gangplank slams into place, I jump. Goosebumps erupt on my exposed skin—too much bare skin for a night as chilly as this. Dockhands step in to secure the clamps of the plank. The figures of the sailors on deck move more swiftly, spurred by the promise of solid ground.

“Here they come.” Sylvie elbows me. “Randy sailors looking for a good time. Loosen your laces a bit, love—show off the goods.” She steps in front of me, tugging at the ribbons of my corset.

My “goods” are already bulging over the corset’s lace-fringed cups. I bat her hands away. “Enough fussing. When have I ever struggled to snare a mark?”

She blows a tendril of fine brown hair out of her face. “Fine.”

“No doubles tonight,” I add quickly. “I get my own marks.”

Sylvie’s features tighten, her bone structure more severe than ever in the dim glow leaking through the greasy glass of the streetlamp above us. Years of this work have furrowed her skin, hollowed her eye sockets, and thinned her lips. It’s becoming harder for her to snag the better-paying customers—the men who prowl toward me with hungry grins and glazed eyes. They like my smooth limbs, full lips, and soft flesh. They like to sink their grimy fingers into the rich waves of my red hair.

Sylvie still has a bold, caustic beauty about her, a sultry viciousness that demands attention. Men are more likely to take a chance on both of us together than her alone. Which is why she likes to team up with me.

“I’m short this month, Risa,” she mutters, her thin fingers clamping on my arm. “You know what Orgul will do to me if I don’t deliver again. Is that what you want to see? Me out on the street, no bed, no square meals, and gettin’ raped by drunken thugs—”

“Of course not.”

“Then do doubles with me.”

I grit my teeth against the cold and against the familiar words, designed to burden me into submission through guilt. “What if the men want us to do things to each other?”

“It’s a show, love. Just pretend. It’s only bodies, flesh and bone and juices. Means nothing. Have a heart, would ya? Travelers have been fewer this month, and them big houses are snappin’ up all the marks with the fattest purses, not to mention The Wandering Eye opening up down the way—that bitch and her youths stealing our business—”

“No doubles,” I repeat. “But I’ll give you some of my earnings tonight.” It’ll mean less money saved toward my eventual escape, but it’s the only thing I can offer her. And she’s right—if she fails to meet her quota again this month, Orgul will kick her out of The Winking Siren.

I’ve seen the eve-walkers who get cut from their houses. Some make it on the streets a while, but they end up as bones and skin and haunted eyes, shivering in corners, holding out skeletal fingers and pleading with toothless mouths. The lucky ones get used up by the gangs in one night, bodies dumped into the bay before dawn.

Membership in a house is the only way for an eve-walker to survive here, in the teeming port city of Knockaine.

Aisu, one of our housemates, has told me I could do better than The Winking Siren, the brothel where Sylvie and I labor under the dubious patronage of Masham Orgul. Aisu says I could claim a spot at one of the high-end houses, the ones where the girls get beautiful rooms, gorgeous clothes, fine perfume, and the best of care. I’ve heard that at houses like The Royal Orchid, every girl has access to tonics for contraception, disease prevention, and arousal stimulation, as well as visits from a healer twice a month. The Royal Orchid doesn’t take anyone under eighteen, and they let you choose your clients.

But becoming a courtesan of that house requires more than beauty. The house-masters examine every applicant to ensure they are well-educated and well-versed in matters of etiquette, as well as the finer points of the sexual arts. And there’s a joining fee to be paid, along with the first six months’ dues. I’ve calculated the amount I would need, and it’s astronomical. Still, that hasn’t stopped me from scraping together every spare coin I can scrounge and hiding them in a small bag, wedged between two rafters in the attic of The Winking Siren.

Unfortunately my stash of coins diminishes as often as it grows, since I can’t pass by an outcast eve-walker, orphan child, or trembling elder without handing over a rillet or two. It’s all I can spare, most nights.

Sylvie jabs my arm with her elbow again. Several men are coming down the gangplank, single file, their heavy boots causing the wood to creak and sag a little. That’ll be the captain and the officers, along with any passengers who booked space aboard this merchant vessel. The rest of the crew will be unloading goods for hours yet.

Movement in my peripheral vision makes me turn. Three gaudily-dressed eve-walkers strut in front of the windows of a nearby pub, whose merry music is faintly audible even through its thick wooden door.

All three are young—younger than me, and I’m barely twenty. A buxom girl with a fountain of golden hair; a slim, brown-skinned young man with pierced nipples whose pants are nearly sliding off his lean hips; and a third person whose silky scarves reveal tempting swaths of satin-black skin.

“Bitches from The Wandering Eye.” Sylvie spits on the cobblestones. “We best make a move before those runneling quims do.”

She’s off before I can stop her, raising her voice and cocking her hips, doing her best sing-song pitch. I prefer a less forceful approach; I like to linger, to smile, to allow men to approach me. But Sylvie was taught to score her marks a certain way, and she refuses to listen when I tell her the old methods don’t work as well anymore. Sailors, travelers, and merchants—they want to be lured, not waylaid.

Trying not to let my cringe show through my smile, I trail behind Sylvie while she calls, “Twenty rills to dip your stick, lads! Or two for fifteen! Me and my sister, we’ll show youse a good time.”

Sister my ass. She’s at least twenty years older than me—probably more if she’d admit to it. And I told her no doubles. I should have known she wouldn’t listen. She never does.

Maybe if she did, I wouldn’t have grown up in this godsforsaken city. Maybe I wouldn’t be standing here now, watching a couple of burly sailors leer at the prospect of fucking me… and my mother.



Sylvie’s exaggerated squeals and moans bombard my left ear, while my right ear heats under the heavy breath of the man whose fat, sweaty cock is currently squeezing into my pussy. He reeks of bilge and seawater, of perspiration and sour breath. In her eagerness to score a mark, Sylvie snared two men fresh off the ship. Couldn’t wait and linger a bit until they’d had a wash—no, we had to take them immediately, right in the alley. The faster they’re done with us, the quicker we can move on to new marks.

Hot Books
» House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)
» A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
» From Blood and Ash (Blood And Ash #1)
» A Million Kisses in Your Lifetime
» Deviant King (Royal Elite #1)
» Den of Vipers
» House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City #2)
» The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #
» Sweet Temptation
» The Sweetest Oblivion (Made #1)
» Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6)
» Wreck & Ruin
» Steel Princess (Royal Elite #2)
» Twisted Hate (Twisted #3)
» The Play (Briar U Book 3)