Raphael pulled out a paperback and handed it to me. The cover, done back in the time when computer-aided imagine manipulation had risen to the level of art, featured an impossibly handsome man, leaning forward, one foot in a huge black boot resting on the carcass of some monstrous sea creature. His hair flowed down to his shoulders in a mane of white gold, in stark contrast to his tanned skin and the rakish black patch hiding his left eye. His white, translucent shirt hung open, revealing abs of steel and a massive, perfectly carved chest graced by erect nipples. His muscled thighs strained the fabric of his pants, which were unbuttoned and sat loosely on his narrow hips, a touch of a strategically positioned shadow hinting at the world’s biggest boner.
The cover proclaimed in loud golden letters: The Privateer’s Virgin Mistress, by Lorna Sterling.
“Novel number four for Andrea’s collection?” I guessed.
Raphael nodded and took the book from my hands. “I’ve got the other one Andrea wanted, too. Can you explain something to me?”
Oh boy. “I can try.”
He tapped the book on his leather-covered knee. “The pirate actually holds this chick’s brother for ransom, so she’ll sleep with him. These men, they aren’t real men. They’re pseudo-bad guys just waiting for the love of a ‘good’ woman.”
“You actually read the books?”
He gave me a chiding glance. “Of course I read the books. It’s all pirates and the women they steal, apparently so they can enjoy lots of sex and have somebody to run their lives.”
Wow. He must’ve had to hide under his blanket with a flashlight so nobody would question his manliness. Either he really was in love with Andrea or he had a terminal case of lust.
“These guys, they’re all bad and aggressive as shit, and everybody wets themselves when they walk by, and then they meet some girl and suddenly they’re not uber-alphas; they are just misunderstood little boys who want to talk about their feelings.”
“Is there a point to this dissertation?”
He faced me. “I can’t be that. If that’s what she wants, then I shouldn’t even bother.”
I sighed. “Do you have a costume kink? French maid, nurse . . .”
“Catholic school girl.”
Bingo. “You wouldn’t mind Andrea wearing a Catholic school uniform, would you?”
“No, I wouldn’t.” His eyes glazed over and he slipped off to some faraway place.
I snapped my fingers. “Raphael! Focus.”
He blinked at me.
“I’m guessing—and this is just a wild stab in the dark—that Andrea might not mind if once in a while you dressed up as a pirate. But I wouldn’t advise holding her relatives for ransom nookie. She might shoot you in the head. Several times. With silver bullets.