Turk’s ship, the Tiree, left the island of Crete and the grieving Simon far behind as it sailed on through the Mediterranean waters with Leigha as its only cargo until it would make its next stop off the coast of the continent for more slaves. Disturbed by the confusion of the new feelings Leigha stirred within him, Turk spent much time with her and soon stopped thinking of her as his slave, knowing instinctively that her spirit was too strong to be dominated in such a way. He was as content as she was to live each day separately and not allow any thoughts of what was to come to enter their minds as the Tiree sailed on through the warm days to its next destination.
Leigha kept up a silent guard against Turk at first, hiding well her anger and fear of the powerful man but even she could not keep this up for long against his overtures of friendship. Realizing his mistake in his rough treatment of her at first, Turk had changed his attitude towards her, for he was amazed to find that she was unlike any other woman he had ever known. The women of his country were bred to be subservient to men while the women he had known in England were pale, simpering lilies. He found Leigha to be not only beautiful but intelligent and strong of will, a combination that brought his interest and respect. His treatment of her became gentle and caring, seeing to her every need. His bright and lively conversation soon brought her out of herself. Once Leigha knew that Turk would not make any further sexual overtures towards her, she relaxed her guard enough to find that he was an unusual man, and her natural curiosity took over. A strong friendship soon developed between the two as the Tiree sailed on.
Leigha was soon allowed to go out on deck whenever she pleased, a privilege that she enjoyed immensely. Seeing that Turk’s men were too afraid of engaging his wrath to do anything upsetting to her, she allowed herself to relax and enjoy the sea in all its wonders as she had never been able to before. She could often be found walking around, watching the men work, or standing at the railing, gazing out towards the unknown horizons. She soon felt that if she had been born a man, she would have become a sailor and made the sea her home. Turk’s heart warmed further to her when he saw how great she loved his true mistress, the sea. He spent many hours with her, teaching her the workings of his ship and the currents of the wind that moved her.
Turk ensured Leigha’s safety with him by warning the slavers to stay away from her at all times. He knew that any advance on her by them would shatter the comfortable limbo she had allowed herself to relax into. Kashim grumbled incessantly to the others about Turk’s treatment of their prize, claiming he would spoil her for the sultan, and he would not take kindly to that. He said nothing to Turk about this however, not daring to push the captain and so loose the threat he had made about throwing Leigha overboard. Kashim was not aware that Turk would sooner throw the slavers off of his ship than the woman he was surprisingly growing to love.
Lee, Virginia Dagon’s Blood Kindle Edition.