Captain Katherine Wakefield looked out toward the sea from her seated position in the sand. The moonlight glittered across the sweeping waves. A bonfire raged next to her, its flames reaching skyward in an attempt to grasp attention of passing airships.

The island wasn’t big enough for her to escape the sounds of laughing and dancing and the playing of instruments back toward the wreckage of her crashed ship. The revelry basked in the glorious night of the holiday dedicated to lovers. Cool wind came in off the sea with the smell of salt and freedom.

Katherine’s thoughts rested more on rescue. Why should she be distracted with thoughts of love and romance this eve? Especially when the only person she would want to celebrate this occasion with was probably miles away. And that person was hardly befitting a captain of the Imperial Armada.

“Captain Wakefield,” came a voice from behind Katherine.

No. Not her. Not here, not now, not tonight.

Katherine got to her feet and, without turning to face the woman behind her, said, “Captain de la Fuente. Come to rub salt in the wounds, have we?”

“Not at all,” came the amused response. Katherine could hear the woman’s footsteps in the sand. “In fact, I have come here to rescue you, my captain.” Arms looped around Katherine’s waist and pulled her into a tight embrace.

“Unhand me, pirate,” Katherine said, setting her jaw and clenching her fists.

The pirate captain moved her lips closer to Katherine’s ear and whispered, “Is that what you really want?” She could practically hear the widening grin in the woman’s voice as she added, “Just say that it’s what you really want, and I’ll do it. Your wish is my command, my captain.”

Katherine opened her eyes, shoved away from the pirate, and spun on her foot to face the other woman. But as soon as she did, she knew she had made a mistake. “Isabella, I–”

That was the only opening the pirate needed. She dashed in and pulled the Imperial captain into a dance. “Yes, my love?”

Katherine frowned. “What are you doing all the way out here?”

“Why, chasing you, of course!” Isabella said. Katherine took careful note of the way the embers of the firelight reflected and danced in the pirate’s chocolatey brown eyes. And the way the pirate’s lipstick glistened across her lips, a mischievous smirk threatening and teasing the Imperial captain’s sense of propriety.

“Well,” Katherine said with a resigned sigh. “I’m glad you found me.”

“As am I,” Isabella said with a grin. She released the Imperial captain and began to walk away toward where her ship hovered close over the island. “Though there is a price for me rescuing you.”

“Oh?” Katherine said, raising an eyebrow. “I should have known there was something. What is it?”

“One date,” Isabella said, a laugh tricking through her words.

Katherine frowned and said, “Fine. But this time, I get to say where you take me.”

About the Author

“I’m Cassidy, and I like pretty much any speculative fiction. Anything that breaks away from the norm. And definitely anything that has interesting aesthetics in the way that steampunk does.”