Beside him, King swiped a warm tongue over his cheek. Shaking off his daydreams with a chuckle, Sir Whitney reached out to pull his pet into his side, earning a lick on the ear. King was all the companion a man needed. He never demanded attention, compliments, or gifts, and he was faithful, unlike women who found love in another man’s arms while hers was gone out to sea.
Solemnly, he studied the ominous box that was entrusted to him, rubbing King’s neck around his collar. He’d trained the retriever to guard things. The future of the Baron’s daughter hinged on the delivery of the contents of this otherwise unremarkable old chest, and there’d been a rash of reports of stolen items among the crew lately.
“Stay here, King,” ordered the captain, putting his hand firmly on the padlock. “Guard this.”
Alert brown eyes searched his. The board floor began to pitch, reminding the captain that his command to stay with the box would also protect his beloved pet from being swept off the deck in the gale. Turning from the dog’s gaze, Sir Whitney struggled to gain his footing while he pushed the chest under a table. King watched intently as his master lashed the box to the table’s legs, which were bolted to the plank floor. Next, the captain fastened the door handle of his quarters to a peg on the wall behind it, keeping it open as an escape option for his dog. King was a great swimmer and might survive if the unthinkable happened. But would the tenacious, well-trained retriever leave his charge of guarding the chest to save himself? Over the years they’d been together, that disturbing question had lurked in the back of the captain’s mind.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish