I have to apologize for not posting this yesterday - real life got in the way....
The scene - It is the first time Finn assists Captain Sebastiano with his bath...
The flutters swirled wildly out of control as there came a knock at the door and Iñigo bade entry to two men carrying a large bathing tub made of hammered brass.
Water must have been already heating, for it wasn’t much longer before those same two men were lugging in buckets to empty into the tub. With each splash, Finn’s mouth grew drier and her palms clammier. Her heart hammered against her ribs and her nervousness rose tenfold as the last bucket was emptied and both men left. Iñigo bolted the door behind them and turned to her, saying, "Show a leg, Finn."
Finn glanced at the table, where the lash still lay, then back at the captain. He smiled, as if he knew what she was thinking. "If you think you might outrun me, dear boy, by all means, try to grab it."
"I’ve no need for a whip." She shook her head. "I’ll end your life with a blade."
"Of course you will." He turned away from her, and she was certain her heart actually ceased to beat as he parted the black silk shirt he wore and tossed it onto the chair.
Her gaze swept over his bared back, her mouth suddenly as dry as sand. His skin was dark—bronzed by both sun and heritage. At the slightest movement, thick cords of muscle bunched across his shoulders. For one daring moment, she imagined what that part of his body looked like—that part now covered by snug black breeches.
She jumped, then sat up, swinging her legs over the side of the hammock. Heat swelled inside her, until she was certain her face must be a flaming red. It didn’t stop her from easing down and crossing over to him on trembling legs. "Aye?"
He turned, smiling at her muttered growl. "Ah, I only had to repeat it once. Good. You are learning."
She averted her eyes, but not before catching her first glimpse of his nude chest. That damn heat swelled further at the sight—beautiful and bronzed and—
Where the devil had beautiful come from? She swallowed hard. Her thoughts caused almost as much discomfort as his bared body. They made her giddy, almost faint, and her wobbly legs grew wobblier still. The lack of food was most likely the cause behind it. There could be no other logical explanation why she was on the verge of collapsing.
Of course, why should his chest fluster her the way it did? Why should it make her so shaky? It made no sense. It certainly was not the first time she’d ever seen a man’s bared chest. Beauregard's crew often went shirtless beneath the hot West Indies sun. There were many times when she almost wished she could do the same, rather than sweat beneath those powerful rays.
But flustered she was. She swallowed hard, trying to ignore the funny tightening in her belly. Gaze remaining focused on the floor, she muttered, "Aye."
"Feeling a bit priggish, dear boy?" Iñigo asked mildly.
Her head jerked up and she hoped he couldn’t see the blush burning her cheeks. "I beg your pardon?"
"Priggish. Embarrassed. Surely I’ve nothing your own clothes do not cover as well."
She was as impressed by his command of English as she was embarrassed by his state of undress. Were it not for the curious, almost musical, lilt to his words, she would guess English was his native tongue. This wasn’t the time to dwell upon it, as he awaited her response—
"No, of-of course not." Her voice cracked, much to her dismay.
He chuckled. "If it bothers you, you may wait until I am in the water, then."
Relieved, she nodded. "If you’d not mind."
She turned, wincing at his dry chuckle of, "I’d not mind." Water sloshed, spattering on the floor and her belly twisted when he sighed appreciatively. A moment later, came his almost-purred, "You may begin, Finn."
She took a deep breath before turning to see Iñigo relaxing in the tub, eyes closed and head resting back, arms resting on the rim, long-fingered hands at ease as they dangled over the sides. His expression was one of a man at total peace.
A washrag and a small cake of soap lay on the chair beside the tub. Willing her knees to stop quaking, Finn forced herself to cross over and lift both items, one in each hand. Kneeling, she dunked the rag into the hot water before mangling the soap with it. "Captain?"
Without a word, Iñigo sat up, leaning forward and resting his forearms on his drawn-up knees. She had to tighten her grip on the soap to keep from dropping it as the water sloshed to accommodate Iñigo’s big body. It rose above his hips and was still quite clear, giving her more than a bit of an enticing peek at the firm curve of his backside.
Her hand trembled as she splopped the rag against his smooth skin and began washing him. She pressed into his flesh, lathering his golden skin to a foamy whiteness, struggling not to notice how solid he was, how broad his shoulders were, how wide his back was. Tried not to notice the way those thick bands of muscle bunched with the tiniest hint of movement.
Scrubbing the back of his neck, she was nearly overcome with the maddest urge to lean forward and nibble swarthy skin she’d bared. The soap slipped from her grasp, plunking into the water to send up a showering spray of droplets. "Oh, bloody hell!"
"Take care, Finn," Iñigo growled, lifting his head to peer over one shoulder. "You’d not like it if I thought my life might be in danger."
"I—I apologize." She thrust her hand into the water to scrabble about for the soap. Gritting her teeth against her rising curse, she managed to snag it on the third grab.
Iñigo let out a long, low purr of satisfaction as she resumed scrubbing. Water beaded along the swells of muscle on his shoulders and down his back. Instead of making his hair limp, the steam made the black waves curl about his nape and his temples, appearing to make it even thicker.
She clutched the rag and soap in a fist as she moved around to the side. The groan teasing her lips was even harder to suppress. Her hunger forgotten, she leaned over to drag the rag over his chest. One whiff of his clean, masculine scent, and her knees almost buckled.
He leaned back and she hesitated, glancing down at the now sudsy water hiding his most secret part. Nothing ventured. She dipped down to scrub his inner thigh.
Iñigo lunged forward to seize both soap and rag, nearly toppling her face-first into the tub. Catching herself on the tub’s rim, she managed to regain her balance, sputtering, "What the devil—?"
Iñigo's expression was one of pure disgust as he snarled, "Get yourself dressed, boy. I can finish this myself."
A firm hand to her breastbone accompanied his order, shoving her back and away from the tub. Landing on her backside with a jarring thud, she stared, unable to decide whether she ought be angry or confused. A sudden giggle rose in her throat. He reacted only when she’d ventured down between his legs, and she swallowed it as quickly as possible, not wanting to anger him further.