“You will help him, if it’s the last thing you do.”
He had to be bluffing. Lifting my chin, I met his icy gaze straight on. “You can threaten my life, but there is nothing more you can take from me that you haven’t already.”
He stepped forward, towering over me. Wow, he was tall. I resisted every instinct to cower or curl into a small ball. His hand shot out so quickly, I hardly felt the pull around my neck. My hands flew to my chest. My necklace!
The captain held up the chain, his eyes wide with victory. It was clear he was waiting for a reaction, but, except for that first jolt of surprise, I was paralyzed.
Everything fell silent except the slap of waves against the hull and the drum of his boots as he walked to the railing. I clutched my arms to my chest. My heart sped up so fast I couldn’t tell if it was still beating. He held his hand over the side of the ship. The back of my throat ached with a pain so great I thought it would tear out.
“Stop!” One hand still clutched my chest, the other reached out toward the necklace.
“Still think I have nothing I can take from you? There is always something, Princess.”
Desperation replaced all courage. “Please stop. I can help him.”
He opened his palm, one finger at a time. The gold chain slid down, dipping closer to the waters below.
“Please, I’ll do anything!” I pressed my fists to the sides of my head.
He drew his fingers in, closing them around the chain. The necklace dangled safely.
I dropped my arms in relief. “Thank—”
With one slow, deliberate move, he opened his palm.
The chain slipped through his fingers.
“No,” I cried, running to the railing. My necklace had disappeared into the roaring waters below. Lost forever.
I choked on the air I strove to inhale. “That was… that was the only thing…” The sound of my heartbeat thrashed in my ears before every emotion was washed away. Every muscle in my body tightened and my eyes twitched as they narrowed. I turned mechanically to face the heartless brute. My face expressionless, my feelings numbed. He would pay for what he’d done.
“You are in no position to negotiate. Make no more requests or the next thing I drop in the water will be prisoners. One. By. One.” He dictated to me without one ounce of regret for what he’d just done. Turning just as easily, he shouted orders behind him. “Ahmed, bring her.”