[This is a multi-part story. We previously read that Miko, the pirate commander who had originally captured Liana for his Queen, confronted Liana alone at her home and demanded that she marry him. But Liana has a few tricks of her own…
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Liana led Miko into her kitchen. “It’s cooler in here during the afternoons because the windows face East,” she explained. She carefully placed her basket of herbs on the shelf and put a kettle of water over the fire.
“You leave the flame when you are not in the room?” Miko pointed at her stove, his fierce face crumpled into a scowl.
“Yes, it is perfectly safe. This is a modern stove, from Fiji.” Liana busied herself with preparing the tea. “I have all the luxuries.”
His powerful body shook with laughter. “I see I did you a favor then! Little witch from the sea, skinny island girl who managed to start a fight between my men until they killed each other. And now our Queen says you are a goddess who deserves to live in luxury. All because of me!”
Liana didn’t correct him about his men. Ray murdered Ando so that he could abuse her without a witness, but then she caught a lucky break and Ray fell overboard to the sharks.
“You’re right,” she said simply. “Thank you.”
Nodding his head, Miko appeared mollified by her acceptance of his outburst. He paced her kitchen, examining the various pieces of crockery. His massive warrior’s frame seemed out of place in her feminine home. She tried to think of how to distract him.
“Perhaps, after we are wed, you would like to live here?” she suggested in a hesitant tone. “Do you think these rooms would be pleasing to you?”
“I shall see.” Immediately, he stalked off to stomp around her house.
Liana quickly retrieved the black shiny berries from her basket, careful to only handle the stem. She crushed the fruit with a spoon at the bottom of one cup and poured the steaming tea through a cloth into both cups, careful to leave the spoon in the berry tea. Then she added spiced honey to both.
By the time Miko returned to the kitchen, she had the cups of tea on the table along with banana bread. Savagely, he grabbed two chunks of bread and gobbled them as she sipped her tea.
“How did you find the house?” she asked.
“It’s small,” he said, crumbs spilling from his mouth. “Small rooms, small beds. A house for women and children.”
She nodded, pretending to consider that, as he drank down his tea in two huge slurps.
“Good!” He grinned. “You’re good for two things.”
“Shall I make more tea?”
He abruptly stood. “No. I am going to the royal hall to announce that we will be wed. Officially, I have to ask for the Queen’s permission, but there is no reason for her to refuse it. You are not promised to another.”
Liana fought back a surge of unexpected tears as his comment brought Ken to her mind again. Her feelings were so wild lately. But she knew one thing: after the way Miko finished every drop of that tea, he wouldn’t be around three sunrises from today.
“You don’t look pleased,” he observed. “All girls like weddings. And yours will have every luxury, since the Queen thinks you’re a goddess.”
She put her hand on her back. “I felt a pain. Probably nothing.”
Miko stepped away. “I shall go get a nurse to help you. Go lie down.” He ran out of the house.
Liana smiled as she tidied up. She took the cup and spoon he had used, boiled them in a pot of water, and threw them off a cliff, far out to sea. Then she dumped the water on the stones.
“You shouldn’t be carrying heavy pots.”
Liana looked up to find a large older woman watching her. “Are you my nurse?”
“The Queen sent me.” She raked Liana with an assessing gaze. “I’m to care for you and the babe, and you’re to do exactly what I say.”
[to be continued]
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