"Come back here."
"I'd rather not, Colin."
"I want to talk to you. Now."
"Colin, you shouldn't get your wife upset. She's pregnant, for God's sake."
"Look at her, Nathan. Does she look upset to you? She looks damned guilty to me."
Alesandra let her husband see her exasperation. Nathan winked at her when she walked back to the settee. She folded her hands together and frowned at her husband. "You better not get angry, Colin. Our baby might become upset."
"But you're not upset, are you, sweetheart?"
He patted the cushion next to him. She sat down and smoothed her gown.
She stared at the floor. He stared at her. "They're inside the ship, aren't they?"
"What's inside the ship?" Nathan asked.
"The stock certificates," Colin answered. "Alesandra, I asked you a question. Please answer me."
"Yes, they're inside the ship."
Relief fairly overwhelmed him. He was so damned happy the certificates hadn't been sold to a stranger he wanted to laugh.
A faint blush crept up Alesandra's face. "How did you do it?" he asked.
"Are they in my name? I never thought to ask Dreyson that question. Do I own them?"
"Are they in Nathan's name then?"
He waited a long minute for her to confess. She remained stubbornly silent. Nathan was thoroughly puzzled.
"I just want to talk to the owner, Alesandra, to see if he might wish to sell the stocks back to us. I won't use intimidation."
"The owner can't talk to you, Nathan, and it really isn't legally possible for you to purchase the stocks—not now anyway."
She turned to look at her husband. "I will admit I did interfere just a bit, husband, but I would remind you that you were being very mule-headed about my inheritance at the time and I had to resort to a bit of trickery."
"Like your father," he countered.
"Yes," she agreed. "Like my father. He wouldn't be angry with me. Are you?" she asked again.
Colin couldn't help but notice that his wife didn't appear to be overly concerned about that possibility. She smiled, a radiant smile that made his breath catch in the back of his throat. She was definitely going to drive him crazy one of these days, and he couldn't imagine anything more wonderful.
He leaned down and kissed her. "Go and say good-bye to Sara. Then you and I are going home to our castle. My leg needs some of your pampering."
"Colin, that's the first time I've ever heard you mention your leg," Nathan interjected.
"He's not nearly as sensitive anymore. The ache in his leg did save our lives, after all. If the throbbing hadn't awakened him, he might not have heard Morgan. Mother Superior told me there was a reason for everything. I believe she was right. Perhaps the shark took a bite out of your leg so you would be able to save me and our son."
"I'm having a son?" Colin asked, smiling over how matter-of-fact Alesandra sounded.
"Oh, yes, I believe so," she answered.
Colin rolled his eyes heavenward. "Have you named him yet?"
The sparkle came back into her eyes. "We should call him Dolphin or Dragon. Both names are appropriate. He is, after all, his father's son."
Alesandra left the room to the sound of her husband's laughter. She patted her swollen middle and whispered, "When you're smiling at me and showing your gentle side, I'll think of you as my dolphin, and when you're angry because you aren't getting your way, I'll know you've turned into my dragon. I'll love you with all my heart."
"What's she whispering about?" Nathan asked Colin.
Both men watched Alesandra until she turned and started up the steps. "She's talking to my son," Colin confessed. "She seems to think he hears her."
Nathan laughed. He'd never heard of anything so absurd.
Colin stood up and went to the mantel. He found the latch cleverly concealed by a trapdoor fashioned into the side of the ship and opened it. The stock certificates were rolled into a tube and tied with a pink ribbon.
Nathan watched him pull the papers out, unroll them, and read the name of the owner.
Then Colin burst into laughter. Nathan bounded to his feet. His curiosity was killing him. "Who owns them, Colin? Give me the name and I'll talk to him."
"Alesandra said the owner wouldn't talk to you," Colin replied. "She was right about that. You're going to have to wait."
"How long?" Nathan demanded.
Colin handed his partner the certificates. "Until your daughter learns how to speak, I imagine. They're all in Joanna's name, Nathan. Neither one of us can buy the stock back. We're both named as joint executors."
Nathan was astonished. "But how did she know? The stock was sold before she even met Sara or Joanna."
"You gave me your daughter's name in your letter," Colin reminded his friend.
Nathan sat down. A slow smile settled on his face. The company was safe from intruders.
"Where are you going, Colin?" he called out when his partner walked out of the room.
"Home to my castle," Colin said. "With my princess."
He started up the steps to collect his wife. The sound of her laughter reached him and he paused to let her joy wash over him.
The princess had tamed the dragon.
But the dragon was still the victor. He'd captured a princess's love.
He was content.