Thursday, June 14, 2012

excerpt from The Flight of the Black Swan

by Jean Roberta

Here is an excerpt from my lesbian pirate novella-in-progress, set during the American Civil War.

Emily, the narrator, has sailed to America aboard the Black Swan with the Green Men, all refugees from Her Majesty's Navy who could be hanged if their sexual preference were discovered. Emily was aghast to learn from Captain Roger, her husband-of-convenience, that the Green Men had no lofty motives for helping the northern side defeat the slave-holding Confederacy. The Green Men simply want to intercept a blockade-runner, a southern ship carrying precious cotton and tobacco which have been in short supply since the beginning of the war.

After a thrilling battle on board the Dixieland, in which Emily tests her newly-acquired ability to wield a sword, an unexpected passenger is discovered: a beautiful mulatto woman in a cabin with a dead white man lying in a pool of blood.


As soon as the last man had left the cabin, I impulsively threw my arms round the naked woman who stood like a strong tree in a virgin forest. Her heat and her scent were intoxicating, together with her courage. "Woman," I told her, "you need to be properly covered."

Her warm laugh was full of innuendo. "So you say," she teased. "But you prefer me this way." I couldn't deny it.

Mary Ann's skin felt as soft as velvet, and her hands, encircling my back, felt slender and wise in their own right. She was clearly no manual laborer of the field or the kitchen. I wanted her shamelessly, regardless of what she had done.

She showed no hesitation in pressing herself against me, bosom to bosom. I was sure she had loved a woman before.

I couldn't bring her naked onto The Black Swan, even surrounded by the Green Men. "Hi there!" I called. "Sweeper! Someone!"

[Note: Sweeper, who was born female, prefers to be called Alfred.]

As it happened, Martin [Roger's lover] heard my call and came to the cabin door, where he stood transfixed. "Good Lord!" he said.

"Lend her your jacket, Martin," I begged. "For my sake." And so Mary Ann was wrapped in Martin's oversized jacket, which thoroughly hid her charms. She looked very odd in it, but perhaps no more so than I did when I first donned men's clothing.

The crew of the Martha Washington [Union ship] herded the remaining southerners off the Dixieland, and the prisoners offered no resistance. They undoubtedly believed that the Queen's Navy, the greatest force on the world's seas, was assisting their enemy. As I learned later, the destruction of vast southern plantations by the Union army must have caused the proudest families of the south to believe that the whole world was united to destroy them.

Whilst guarding Mary Ann from harm (as I thought), I watched the Green Men carrying as much booty as they could onto our own ship. The Dixieland was despoiled with shocking speed, and left to continue sinking to the bottom of the Atlantic to rest with other relics of lost civilizations.

I brought Mary Anne onto the Black Swan, but where was she to sleep? The captain's cabin had been crowded enough with three occupants. As Roger accompanied several of his men on their way to the hold with bales of cotton, I caught his sleeve. "Husband!" I said. "Mary Ann must be kept safe. May she and Sweeper occupy the First Mate's cabin? We have several vacancies now."

For a moment, Roger looked offended by my reference to the loss of several of his men. He may even have dreaded the prospect of having three women on board. However, he was a practical man. "Yes," he answered shortly.

I had no intention of leaving Mary Anne alone with Sweeper. "You're free now, my dear," I told her, knowing well how ambiguous a concept is freedom. "You'll be safe enough in my cabin. I'm the wife of the captain, Rodg - Captain John Greenleaf, who shares his cabin with the First Mate. Alfred must share our quarters, but he's harmless." I hoped this to be true.

"You-all have some queer notions,” remarked Mary Ann.

"We outrun the law," I told her bluntly. "And so must you. Sodomy, theft and murder are all crimes in Her Majesty's Empire, and even in rebel states."

Mary Ann laughed. "Crimes for some," she agreed.

In our new quarters, I pulled out a pair of trousers and a shirt of mine for her to wear. My breath caught in my throat as she slipped Martin's jacket off her shoulders and handed it to me. She stood calmly in her bare skin, the fuzzy hair on her head half-undone from its tight plaits. That on her head matched that between her thighs. As her hands moved, her tender pink fingernails drew my gaze.

I could see at once that my clothes would not fit the woman in front of me. She was at least four inches taller than I, and although she was slim for her height, her proportions were different from mine. Her accent sounded completely and comically American, but her features spoke of Africa.

"I have nothing you can wear!" I wailed. "You shall have to stay out of sight until I can sew you a gown." I realized at once that I would have to make her clothes from whatever I could find. Raw cotton wouldn't serve until it was spun and woven. And I would have to mend our damaged sails before we could return home -- if that was Roger's plan.

"Miz Emily," she said in a half-mocking tone. "Don't fret. I'll make do." She embraced me as naturally as though she had done it every day of her life. I felt completely wrapt in her musky smell, which was not at all offensive to me.

Tears stung my eyes as I returned Mary Anne's embrace. "I love a woman," I confessed. "We made vows to each other, but I lost her. I married the captain to keep up appearances."

"Uh-huh. Child, you're not the only one," she replied. "Now I'm here with you, and we can keep company."

I leaned forward to press my lips to her fuller ones. A spark of energy passed from her to me like a streak of lightning. The hunger that burned in my loins felt like the symptom of a magical spell. I kissed her passionately, and she returned my fervor, but my conscience (if that is what it was) warned me not to go too far with one I hardly knew.

"Sweetheart," she murmured, stroking my short hair as though she loved its smooth texture. "I won't hurt you."

I believed her. "Mary Ann, are you all right?"

Her look of endurance showed me that she was not suffering more than she could bear. I dreaded to imagine the sort of treatment that had been her lot. "Don't worry yourself about me, Miz Emily. I've known men before. I'm the kind of woman that keeps hold of herself no matter what. I want to taste you, and get his stink off me." She winked. "Are you going to keep your men’s clothes on while I'm buck naked?"

I laughed and unbuttoned my shirt. She peeled it off my bosom, further hardening my little nubs. They felt so tender that the stroke of coarse fabric could almost make me spend. My trousers quickly followed, and I threw them into the nearest hammock to serve as a kind of cushion for our bodies.

We lay together in the tight embrace of a swinging bed intended for one. Beneath the softness of her skin I could feel a layer of hard muscle, and it comforted me. Whatever happened, she seemed capable of defending herself. As could I, of course.

I knew she was capable of killing a man. We had nothing to hide from each other.

The heat that arose from her womanly breasts carried a combined scent of salt and blood-iron. It seemed to come from the heart of the earth itself. I kissed each of her generous dark nubs, and rejoiced that she didn’t push me away. I wanted to explore the mysteries of her body without reminding her of past violations. She seemed to read my thoughts.

"I want to have you, Captain's Lady. You're not like a boy now." My skin tingled where hers pressed against it, and my hips moved of their own accord. How I had missed the touch of a woman who reveled in the communion of female curves!

Mary Ann left burning kisses from my collarbone to each of my aching bubbies and down to my heaving ribs, my narrow waist and the valley of my navel. Liquid from my womanhood smeared my thighs. I could not honestly tell her I loved her yet, but I wanted her more than I had ever wanted anyone else. One of her capable hands slid down my belly to the opening that awaited her fingers. I could already feel the tremors that were the first phase of a full-out climax.

"Emily!" Roger's voice accompanied the sound of his fist pounding the door. "Let me in! I must speak with you."

“Hush,” whispered my new lover. In an instant, she had pushed two fingers into my cunny, and was pinching my exquisitely sensitive little button of flesh. Never had I felt such ecstasy and such panic! I held my own fist against my mouth to prevent any sound from coming out as I spent and spent.

“There now,” she whispered. “You needed it.”

“Emily, dear! Can you answer me?” called Roger. His anxiety gave the slightest quaver to his manly baritone.

We were like a threesome in a French farce, and I could hardly prevent myself from laughing hysterically.

“One moment, Roger!” I replied, trying to emerge from the hammock with a silent economy of movement. I pulled my clothes from under Mary Ann, found a blanket and threw it over her. Buttoning my shirt as I went, I reached the cabin door in a few strides, my bare feet padding on the wooden floor. For an instant, I wondered if Mary Ann had ever crept barefooted to her master's bed.



  1. "You-all have some queer notions,” remarked Mary Ann.


    This sounds like huge fun, Jean. Complicated, too.

    I hope you'll finish it so I can read it!

  2. Jean - If you don't have summer classes, try to work on this. The world needs more female pirates.

  3. Definately. The world would be a better place with more female pirates in it. If men were kidnapped by Emily and Mary-Ann, we'd be in no hurry to be ransomed.


  4. Thanks for the encouragement! I just need to work out some plot snags. What started out as a story under 5K has expanded into a novella of 10 chapters, but now I think it needs at least 12. Mary Ann is demanding more space, lol.


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