Novo Arkhangel’sk

All Rights Reserved © 2005 by Payton Lee No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or by any information storage retrieval system, without the permission in writing from the author. Contact Payton Lee at http://www.paytonlee.com Email: pyoung8@cfl.rr.com Ebook authorized for free download only by Payton Lee. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations or persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author. There is one exception. It is a character named Volk. His personality is based on someone I know, Dr. Phil Kane. Phil created his own character for this book. He helped write some of Volk’s dialogue and we discussed the ending for the character together. It is at Phil’s personal request that I inform you of his invented Volk, the Cossack.

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Dedication
I wish to dedicate this book to you the reader. It is for you I write. Thank you for sharing the movies of my mind. I would love to hear from you. I give special recognition to Dr. Phil Kane.He created the character of Volk Zolotov for this novel. This character is a reflection of Dr. Kane’s personality. It is his persona for the readers to enjoy as if he were with you in this historical romance.

Payton Lee

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Chapter 1
“There is no need to stand in the dark,” Alexander chuckled. “I have already heard you intend to leave Mother Russia.” “Ah my Czar,” Adrik remarked sipping his vodka. “I would be nervous leaving if I did not have complete confidence in your court information.” Czar Alexander entered the room as his servants hurriedly ran behind him to ignite the lamps. Alexander was nearly as tall as his ancestor Peter the Great. His black wool uniform gave him a more impressive stature. His curly silver blond hair, blue eyes, and rose-colored cheeks softened the stern looks of the uniform. In the light he faced his cousin. How often had the court commented on uncanny resemblance of the men? Adrik could have been a twin brother instead of his cousin. It was the Romanov blood in their veins. The blood of Peter the Great. Alexander looked up at the oil portrait of his famous ancestor. He wondered what Peter would have done in his situation. There was war on three fronts. They could not surrender to the Turks or the Persians. Alexander had just returned to Saint Petersburg after signing a peace treaty with Napoleon. “I am now free to retake Sweden and Finland to expand Mother Russia’s borders once more.” Adrik walked into the light. There was only one strong difference physically between the cousins. Adrik’s right cheek had been scarred from the arch of his eyebrow downward across his cheek to end at the fold of his lower lip. It had been the only time Adrik had lost concentration during a battle. He swore it would never happen again. It had not. “You say this to obtain my approval. You know I cannot.” Alexander sighed. He motioned to the servants to remove themselves from his private study. Once the two men were alone Czar Alexander walked to the large mahogany door, closed it, and set the bolt. Alexander still did not speak. He walked to the large cupboard, retrieved a bottle of vodka, a glass, and poured himself a drink. Leaning his massive frame against the cupboard he stared at his cousin. “I could consider that remark treason.” 3

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“You could indeed,” Adrik agreed crossing the room to find a comfortable chair. “Before you do, would you mind sitting down cousin. I find I am weary and I would like to sit.” “There is no need for you to leave regardless of our political views of Napoleon or the French,” Alexander insisted. “There are plenty of battles for you to win for me. The Russian army respects you. They follow you. You have proven your skills to all of Russia.” Alexander sipped his vodka. “I need you cousin.” “I am tired of war,” Adrik confessed quietly hoping that would be a reason for the Czar to allow him his voyage to Unalaska. Alexander arched his regal brow. “That I do not believe. War is in your blood. It is the blood of Peter the Great. It is Romanov blood.” “I am weary of it,” Adrik insisted softly. He drank more of his vodka and sat down on the large chair after Alexander seated himself behind the large ornately carved desk on a matching chair. “You simply prefer to battle the French,” Alexander stated. “Your wife is dead sixteen years. Release her from your mind.” “My wife was Polish,” Adrik corrected. “Her benefactor is French and still alive,” Alexander replied. “With the new French alliance, you will be able to find him.” “Deveraux is traveling onboard the frigate ‘Rouge’. They are probably rounding the Cape right now. I always know where he is. My informants as good as yours, my Czar,” Adrik remarked casually twirling the glass and its clear liquid hypnotically before his eyes. Alexander rummaged through the papers on his desk. “Where is it?” “I do not intend to resign my commission,” Adrik responded. The two cousins were so close they knew what the other was thinking without a word being spoken. “The paper is the fifth from the bottom.” Alexander retrieved the commission. He read it carefully. “You are asking me to send you to Baranov’s Novo Arkhangel’sk? Now? How long has it been since you began building your house there?” “Yes, I will take commission there and continue to train my Cossacks. Most of them are already waiting for me,” Adrik answered. “My house is complete. The furniture, household staff, and servants were sent by ship last year. All of which you are aware most Noble Majesty.” “Of course I know these things,” Alexander replied triumphantly. “You have been building this dream for some time. It is a dream.” 4

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“There are new fortunes to find,” Adrik repudiated. “It is not a dream.” “These reasons are more believable, but not your true reasons,” Alexander countered. “I have other reasons that you will not try to comprehend,” Adrik assuaged. “You still believe you will find your child there?” Alexander scoffed. “Your Polish bride never even told you if it was a male or a female child.” “When Magda died, Deveraux took the child. They traveled the world and it was reported he left the child at a Russian settlement on the Kodiak. These Russians left with Baranov to resettle in Novo Arkhangel’sk,” Adrik informed. “You know this. I have shared the story with you many times.” “This child is now sixteen? A man child he would be in training in the Russian army,” Alexander reminded. “If it had been a girl child, she would have been married to a settler in Novo Arkhangel’sk.” Alexander reread the commission. “It never made sense to do it. Why send your child to the farthest reaches of Mother Russia?” “I’ve never understood it myself,” Adrik agreed. His mood remained somber. Alexander had not been aware he had kept in contact with the child’s governess. When she married to escape Deveraux she sent a letter requesting Adrik to assign her husband to the colony. It took awhile, but after calling in many markers, Adrik knew his son was indeed living in the Amerikan colony. His mind returned once again somber remembering that day nearly eighteen years ago. The scene played once again in his mind. The heat of the summer was unbearable. The prisoners had been chained to the tree stumps ready for execution. Catherine had requested him to personally behead the traitors. He was one of her favorite officers and the Romanov blood running through his veins made him her official at the executions. He had not even known the names of the traitors. Young, strong, and in the prime of youth he raised the ax. One by one the heads rolled. He would be lying to himself if the deaths did not make him sick to his stomach, but these were traitors to the Czarina. He turned to hear his wife crying over the crowd. “Merciful God, Adrik, stop!” He strained to see her. A voice behind called him back to his duty. He saw the face of his brother in law sneering at him. 5

Payton Lee g “You serve a whore. Catherine had brought them together when they were children. “Send for me and the Cossacks. cousin.” “I could command you to stay by my side. Deveraux and his wife had left for places unknown. Catherine gave Adrik time from duty to find his wife. “When do you intend to leave?” Czar Alexander’s voice retrieved him from his inner pain. She could never love a man so loyal to Catherine he would murder his own wife’s family. They were educated together. The letter said it all. Several hours later he went to the rented house his wife and he shared. The pain was still great. When the executions were completed he left quickly to a small copse of trees where he vomited. Petersburg was equivalent to losing his arm.” Alexander rose slowly. When he calmed his queasy stomach he returned to his unit and filled in the necessary paperwork to be sent to Czarina Catherine. “What else is on your mind. and shared most everything. cousin?” 6 . Deveraux. He found Magda in France two years later. The Czar will return to claim Mother Russia and her Polish people. Adrik brought the axe down. “I will be putting some of my households in order and will leave before the first snow.” “I would not?” “No. Deveraux had kept on the move.” Alexander stated. He heard Magda screaming hysterically and cursing his name. Adrik relived those moments. “And if I need you?” “The world is quickly growing smaller. They were closer as cousins than the Czar was with his blood brothers. Magda was gone. “You could do this.” “Unfortunately I love you too much to make such a command. He poured another drink and brought the bottle to the chair. had betrayed him. but you will not. Adrik lifted his glass for a refill. Losing Adrik in St. Magda was living in Deveraux’s mansion.” “So soon?” Alexander questioned. his friend. Magda told him their marriage was over.” Adrik replied.” Arthur spat at him. We will return to be near your side. battled together. his companion. Adrik continued his duty. They had finally stopped running when Magda had become deathly ill.

” Adrik teased.” Alexander rose from the chair and stood over Adrik with a large grin upon his lips.” Adrik added. I have received the same information from my Cossacks that are already living there on my lands. Visit the man. Kodiak is growing smaller and Novo Arkhangel’sk is growing more powerful.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “I have been receiving reports on our settlements in Unalaska.” Adrik arched his brow. Yuri Koslov.” Alexander clarified.” Adrik argued.” “You would benefit in studying the Russian Orthodox faith. “You must be my eyes and ears there. There are reports of barbarism. He wasn’t too surprised that his cousin. “You are right cousin.” “I’m not certain I trust the clergy. I trust the clergy as much as you do. His house borders the house you have built.” Alexander related sitting upon the chair next to Adrik.” “You’ve heard Baranov hired an English ship builder. The Russian American Trading Company under Baranov is growing stronger.” “Another reason I am in a hurry. “I am certain the priests are most informative and vigilant in their scribing. What other things have you learned.” Adrik was smiling.” Alexander laughed. “That is if you are intent upon this move to this Russian settlement. I must know what Baranov and the company are doing. “It is reported the overseer of your settlement estate is not honored. cousin. “You will learn that Baranov has indeed hired an English ship builder. There is none more loyal to Mother Russia in Novo Arkhangel’sk. I should take more interest in holy writ of the Orthodox Church. He is your neighbor.” Adrik shared. “Must I find religion to be informed in Novo Arkhangel’sk?” “You will find it is the best and safest way to effectively communicate with me. Czar Alexander had information about his interest in the shipbuilding business. This man’s grandfather was with Peter the Great and learned directly from the masters of Europe and England. but the design and building of many ships is being handled by a brilliant Russian. “Mistreatment of natives. slavery of both peasants and 7 . and maliciousness. cruelty. The house Igor Petrovov occupies claiming to be its lord. “The same as during the war only priests handle the letter exchanges instead of runners. “I doubt I would ever be as enlightened as you.” Alexander advised. It was obvious his cousin and the Czar knew everything about his plans before or at the same time he did. “Use your seals and I will use mine.

“You will receive monthly reports.” “It is not a disagreement. I do not intend to have Baranov’s allegiance switch to those of the Amerikans.” “I agree. “I suggest I come to Baranov as a retired general. “I would not have him removed. He will think I come to take over his governorship. “You may allow Baranov to know he has my support if required.” Alexander sighed. “For now. “I cannot change my thinking. I leave that decision to your discretion. unbolted the lock and left the room with Adrik remaining there. the Czarina’s favorite lady in waiting entered the room.” Adrik began.” Adrik responded. Chapter 2 Adrik drank the last of his Vodka and was about to leave when Monique.” Alexander shared. He is a brilliant businessman. “You are not a religious man. He has already been challenged many times by the Russian portion of the Russian American Trading Company. He is under constant watch by those who are jealous of his governorship and those that want his authority in business.” “I am most interested in Baranov. He will be nervous to know I come as a full general and Grand Duke.” Alexander announced.. but we do not need to let him be aware he has the Czar’s support.” Alexander tsked.” “I swear to you this will not happen.” Adrik stated. 8 .” Before Adrik could respond he raised his hand for silence.Payton Lee g natives was explicitly prohibited by Mother Russia and Czarina Catherine.” Adrik responded. “Forget this disagreement we have and enjoy the party. yet you still do not accept my happiness with my mistress. “Later we will discuss your suggestions for leadership when we invade Finland and Sweden.” “This will be a most interesting voyage. but when the interests grow more important than the Czar it is time to keep a close watch.” “I hope someday you will. He walked to the door.” Adrik promised. my Marie is waiting for us at a celebration she prepared for my return.” “I regret.

” Adrik was surprised. “You leave my husband when he needs you most. “My Orthodox name is Elizabeth.” “It is something I must do. They were still friends even if the Czar and Czarina had drifted apart after their initial marital bliss. I am told you have been building a home there and many of your Cossack soldiers are already there.” Many times the Czarina had summoned him. He is also a brilliant tactician in his own right. “A child you do not know. When he entered. she was quiet.” Adrik excused. This is an occurrence she never believed would happen. “Why have you summoned me. “The Czar has many brilliant capable advisors and generals. Adrik followed Monique to the private study.” “You still seek this child. Louise?” Adrik chuckled taking a seat. Without looking up from her stitching Czarina Elizabeth commanded.” Elizabeth sighed. “Only you are allowed to call me Louise.” “I do not speak of generals or war. That is my name. 9 . She looked up from her needlework and stared directly into Adrik’s eyes. Louise?” “I am told you leave in a month or two for Unalaska. General Adrik Romanov. the Czarina was already there working on a religious sampler to be used in the Palace chapel. Here and now she spoke with firm authority. “I believe I will find information on my lost child in Novo Arkhangel’sk. “Please take a seat.” Adrik replied quietly.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “Her most Noble Majesty Czarina Elizabeth requests your presence in her private study. “He is like your brother and you desert him for this mythical child. gentle.” “When I become Russian Orthodox and take vows of the Black Order. Since he first met Louise before she married Alexander.” Adrik stated firmly.” Elizabeth complained. Why do you go?” There was no need to try to hide his true feelings from the Czarina. nor have ever known. Elizabeth rolled her eyes. I will call you Elizabeth. That is because you are a pagan!” Elizabeth laughed.” Elizabeth contradicted. “He does not need me. A child you may or may not ever find. and never allowed her voice to rise above a whisper and was most submissive.” “So formal.

I call them leeches of the foulest nature. The church maintains control over them. “ It is true I do not. like you. How can you think you have?” Adrik queried. He had no ideas to what the Czarina was referring.” Adrik gasped. These new advisors inflame his delicate ego and fill his head with nonsense. “No. “I pray every day for his soul and his return to the church and my heart. perhaps I might be forgiven. “I believe you do not.” “That is utter nonsense. She is the one that gives proof of his manhood. “I feel perhaps I love my husband more than my God.” Elizabeth wept. Such gibberish is a strong part of the church.” Adrik recognized. If I devote myself more to God. the generals do not mix with the foreign spiritualist advisor company the Czar now keeps.” “Surely none of his generals. This is why God has punished this handmaiden by allowing her babies to die. even though he was a cousin by marriage.” “And Marie is hardly a darling of the Russian Orthodox Church.” Adrik was stunned. It keeps the poor sheep coming back to them for forgiveness.” “You have not failed the Czar in any way.” Adrik expounded vehemently. These new advisors are leading him further away from the church into the hands of decadence and sorrows. A Czar. She turned full front to face Adrik. I also see the subtle changes in my husband. a general.” “It is not nonsense! Alexander’s mistress Marie has provided him with children. “With all that I am. 10 .” Elizabeth’s face softened.” Elizabeth informed. but he dare not touch the royal person.” Adrik countered with distaste. How could such a beautiful woman in body and spirit even think such a thing? There was no doubt in his mind why he chose a secular view of the world and kept a religion and God out of it. “I do not understand your Noble Majesty. He rose from his chair and began pacing.” Adrik smiled at his hostess. He wished to hold the weeping Czarina in his arms to comfort her. “I have prayed and prayed to God to forgive me and allow my husband to return to our marriage.Payton Lee g “You may call them advisors. He disagreed with anyone taking a mistress after the vows of marriage to one another. “Neither do you.” “You really love him. You do not attend these ostentatious parties provided by my husband’s mistress. but I do hear the gossips of the court.” Elizabeth laughed and put aside her needle. a soldier.

If you would watch how he is changing.” “I forgot the question.” Adrik raised his hands and his tilted his head upward in exasperation. I must press the issue. It was a personal matter and he kept his opinions to himself. “Alexander has a powerful mindset. You choose not to answer it.” “I doubt I could persuade the Czar to do anything. He has done so many times.” “And you believe Deveraux has a purpose of visiting your child there?” “Yes. He will once again dock at Novo Arkhangel’sk. He has no reason to call on the port other than to see my offspring. “I think you did not. “God punishes me by allowing Satan to make a fool out of me with Alexander’s mistress. But you do not answer my question. If you could see his friends and how they are leading him you could talk to Alexander.” “In many cases this is true. “Exactly.” Adrik insisted.” Elizabeth sat against the back of her chair. but he did not agree with adultery. Only recently have I noticed his continual trips to this far 11 . You would persuade him. “He and Magda sent my child to be fostered where I could not find him. “Why do you feel you must leave? There are still plenty of Russian Wars to be fought.” Elizabeth snapped. “We have deviated from my purpose.” “Then you do not understand your own power.” Adrik replied.” Finally a smile crossed Elizabeth’s lips. “I do not want you to leave.” “That is the same thing Czar Alexander said to me.Novo Arkhangel’sk w may do as they wish. I must learn humility and devotion to God. “Did you think it might be for trading with the Russian American Trading Company?” “Deveraux’s holdings and interests have never been with furs. Why must you leave now to find this missing child?” “Deveraux is on a voyage that will take him to Unalaska. He has been most careful around you with his new ideas and companions. “From the beginning we thought and felt many things in a similar manner. “Perhaps you and your husband think more alike than you know.” Elizabeth agreed. I do. She regretted her harsh tone instantly.” Elizabeth uttered trying to control her tears. Alexander adores you as an elder brother.” Adrik quipped.” Elizabeth arched her brow.

Adrik attended the celebration party. Petersburg.Payton Lee g settlement of Mother Russia. She stood next to Adrik and placed his hand in her small hand. 12 . “I hope your pain is eased by a stronger love for another.” Elizabeth sighed sadly.” Adrik promised. Even if you leave my husband. These were not the people a Czar should be associating with. He wanted to be kept informed of these spiritual vultures. “After all these years you still love her?” Adrik lifted the Czarina’s hand to his lips. He noticed how Alexander seemed to be entranced by the spiritual ideologies of the guests. whom he did not trust at all. “I have hope.” Adrik responded. yes I still love her. Adrik clicked his heels. “I will observe these advisors and I vow to keep in contact with you and Alexander. bowed. There is no other reason and no other explanation. and left the room. “There is always hope. “Most gracious and kind Noble Majesty. Before he and his close companions would leave for Unalaska. Elizabeth was correct. Adrik wanted to be kept informed not only of the French.” “I will attend this party tonight and meet these people.” “All love is pain as I well know. I will still have hope and pray more earnestly. he would contact his support in St. He could only hope that Alexander’s strong and logical mind would win out. If I could stop loving this woman the pain in my mind would be eased. He noted these strange new advisors and was not impressed. If this pain is love. Petersburg.” Elizabeth countered.” Elizabeth rose from her chair. I am not without my own support in St. Even beyond her betrayal and subterfuge.” “That has not happened for me.” Elizabeth’s large blue eyes gave her gratitude without the words.

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The governor would be unable to control the high nobility such as Igor Petrovov. He couldn’t even go to Governor Baranov. Baranov’s own position was constantly precarious.” “Ah. Of all the insufferable men in Novo Arkhangel’sk. let me take you in my arms.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Chapter 3 “Catherine!” Catherine increased the speed of her strides. She believed her family was not aware of her friendship with a 15 . What would it take to get this man to leave her alone? She had spoken to her father. it is not foolish for me even to hold you in my arms for such a short distance. He reminded her they were boyars and therefore subject to the nobility and their ways. Her brothers did try to guard her. This was a foolish moment.” Igor countered.” Igor requested pathetically. She glanced to the side and recognized the large chestnut Don. Her father understood her contempt for the man but assured her there was nothing he could do. “Catherine. I will carry you to your house. She had emerged only moments ago from the heavily wooded copse near her home and heard the horses’ hooves. Catherine had gone to her brothers. why did this one have to want her? In two breaths the massive horse Igor rode was now trotting by her side. It would be impossible to make it to home before Igor Petrovov would be upon her. Behind Igor at a sensible distance were the highly trained Cossacks. The only thing they could do was being near her if there would be an instance where she and Igor could be in the same place. She recognized the voice in the distance. “That is quite foolish considering I am only a small distance from home. Catherine continued on towards the house with her quick steps.

Today Catherine received a lovely fur pelt she was carrying in her basket after their lovely picnic. Yuri Koslov knew more than anyone the implications of Igor Petrovov’s suit.” Catherine was relieved. Inwardly he was raging.Payton Lee g native Tlingit. Her brothers must have been with their father discussing the new ship they designed. and Eduard running toward her. He would move heaven and earth to protect his youngest child from this wicked and cruel man. It was a beautiful ship based on a French design. Her brother was intent on rescuing her. “We will take her home to Papa. To Catherine’s relief she saw Arman. Protection came naturally to them now. Dimitri. but there had been a slight chill in the air.” Brody stated. The Cossacks primarily stayed to themselves and their horses. One brother left Novo Arkhangel’sk with his friend and was serving in the Russian Army. Once a month they would meet at the secret hiding place in the forest and have a hot meal provided by Catherine. Her friend Tonishia might bring her warm furs and on occasion a small silver or gold nugget as friendship. but followed orders. Igor’s reputation was established early upon his arrival. He turned his horse toward the mansion nearby and motioned the Cossacks to follow him. Three more brothers were now serving as Captains. Every time he found a chance to be near Catherine her blasted brothers interfered. The Cossacks who arrived only a few months ago despised him. They must have seen her from the house and were coming to her rescue. Catherine’s five brothers had captained a ship by order of their father. The four older brothers were the most protective of her. “We have been waiting for you. You know how much I care for your lovely sister. The colors of autumn were brilliant as a canopy for the secret picnic. His temper flaring he raised his crop to strike the Don repeatedly.” “It is my pleasure. 16 . the master ship builder. “Thank you noble prince for offering to escort my sister. The horse reared in distress. Father waits for you in the study. Brody. She had left herself vulnerable to Igor’s pursuit. A few moments more and the brothers had surrounded her to walk her home. they were married and fathers also. “Ekaterine!” Dimitri called. He was stationed in an outpost guarding the city of Okhotsk. After all. but altered for the Pacific winds and currents. What an end to a beautiful day.” Igor smiled. Peering from the window Catherine saw her father with a worried brow.

They remained calm but followed Igor at a distance. “Beast. Tonishia. His brow still furrowed with worry. Yuri cleared his throat. This family gathering was about her. Yuri pointed to an empty chair next to Sofia.” Arman laughed hugging his sister closer. Sofia’s face showed sadness and worry. She felt it. “Only a beast would cause injury and pain to a fine animal such as that horse.” 17 .” “Obviously the Cossacks agree with you.” Obediently Catherine walked to the chair and sat. all of us!” Arman exclaimed. “Do you believe you are so special to be the only one with friendships in the Tlingit camp?” “And Mama and Papa?” “They are good friends with Tonishia’s parents. how can we protect you when you visit your friends in the forest and do not let us know when and where you go?” “Visit my friend?” “The Tlingit. Catherine felt her heart fall down from her chest and churn inside the pit of her stomach.” Brody agreed. Arman enclosed Catherine in his arm. for the purpose of informing me that the prince has requested your hand in marriage. Somewhere inside Catherine knew her life was going to make a drastic change.” Arman stated. Arman led Catherine past the living area into the large dining area. Yuri sat at head of the immense dining room table. She was certain she saw rage in the Cossacks eyes.” Eduard mumbled. “Come Katya. An unbearable silence followed. She happened to note the Cossacks grim and firm faces. Dimitri opened the large wooden door and held it for Catherine and her other brothers to pass. we have much to discuss. Mama and Papa are waiting. “Ekaterine. sit down. “So sister. Governor Baranov is here by request of Prince Igor Petrovov. “It is typical of the man.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Catherine glanced at the horse and saw a blood streak.” Dimitri added. On the left side of Yuri was her mother. Their backs were rigid. “You know?” “Of course we know. “Ekaterine. Catherine’s sense of foreboding increased when she found Governor Baranov sitting on the right side of her father.

” “You must find a husband in Okhotsk. Dimitri. He treated her as a younger brother and not a younger sister to the consternation of their parents.” Catherine was sinking fast in a mire of emotional quicksand. Grigori. It meant she and her family could not refuse the marriage. I have no choice but to present it. He was the one that shared the love of nature and the ocean with her. You will spend the winter there. He had always been her favorite big brother. Fabiyan.” Catherine felt her mouth drop. She is not young enough to take this voyage with winter approaching. “You will go to Okhotsk and help Grigori’s wife. She agreed it was the only way to save her 18 . Vanya. “We have only one hope. She needed a few moments to sort things out. It seems Grigori’s wife is with child and she is not doing well. there is nothing we can do. She hadn’t even noticed her brother Fabiyan smiling at her from across the table. Petersburg. She thought of the pros and cons of marriage. Fabiyan. is also with child and cannot leave her business. “No.” “Dimitri will act in my stead as patriarch of the family.” Catherine remained silent. Sofia took Catherine’s hand in hers. If Dimitri.Payton Lee g Catherine tried to remain silent. Funds and materials arrive from the private funds of a Grand Duke. “What do you mean.” Yuri stated.” “I truly regret this proposal. A Grand Duke was funding the hated Igor Petrovov? This meant a royal member in the Romanov family supported Petrovov. “Fabiyan returned with a letter from Grigori. Your sister. You will be forced to wed Prince Igor. “It is the only way we can protect you from marriage to Petrovov.” Sofia ordered gently. He has asked Mama to come to Okhotsk to help.” Sofia added.” Baranov apologized. “Prince Igor has powerful relatives in St. but if Prince Igor insists.” Catherine squeaked. “My child. and Jasha agree on your choice the marriage will take place.” she choked. A sense of foreboding was replaced by a sense of doom. we do not wish this marriage. but she could not. “It is the only way to protect you. Naturally I will not let Mama leave me. and Jasha will accompany you and watch over you as guardians. Papa.” Yuri decreed. “You must leave Novo Arkhangel’sk immediately. Her inn and boarding house is more important to the trading ships during winter in Novo Arkhangel’sk. Catherine had thought of marriage. Find a husband in Okhotsk or if you return unmarried there will be no choice. who is still unmarried.

Sofia.” Yuri responded. even though she felt she was too young for such things. and their family had lived on many lands and many climates. She will leave for winter and not return until spring. She could help her brother.” Catherine replied simply. Sofia was well aware of the Russian winters. Jasha would be sailing on another ship that would be his after many more years of sailing under Captain Kreschev as first mate. her husband. “I am relieved a solution to this quandary has been found. and the new baby. Catherine thought about the men in Novo Arkhangel’sk. Fabiyan’s ship was ready to set sail. but things Lara. “You are right. and the new baby would need. All things considered. Marriage wouldn’t be too bad. and find a husband. Sofia was packing trunk after trunk with necessities not only for Catherine. was a soldier.” Catherine agreed. Her own brother. The following day the family was refitting the “Relentless”. Until Catherine’s return there will be no discussion of marriage. Alexander Baranov remained silent listening to the discussion.” “Catherine must remain for the birth of Grigori’s child and several months after. his wife. He was kept waiting in the immense library for nearly an hour. There was no one here she would even consider.” “Yes. Sofia also packed many medicines for Catherine. for the voyage to Okhotsk. He turned to Catherine. She prepared Catherine for the bitter cold she would face. Grigori’s wife. “What do you think?” “It is the only way. 19 . Yes. Papa. Catherine received little sleep for her mother’s instructions and warnings. Alexander Baranov visited the manor home of Prince Igor Petrovov the next afternoon. this was the answer. a trip to Okhotsk to find a husband would be the best solution. There were many soldiers there. Papa. I will need to know how long Catherine will be gone. “I presume you will find an acceptable husband in Okhotsk in that time period.Novo Arkhangel’sk w marriage to Igor. Grigori. Lara.” Catherine locked her hand with her mother’s hand and squeezed lovingly. He finally spoke. I will report to Prince Petrovov tomorrow that a family emergency has arisen and your daughter must return to Mother Russia. “Katya?” Fabiyan asked his sister affectionately. Dimitri’s ship.

Ekaterine must leave for Okhotsk. His fingers were covered with golden rings covered with precious stones. All in Novo Arkhangel’sk were aware of Igor’s explosive temper. 20 . “When will Koslov meet with me to arrange the dower and prepare for the wedding?” Baranov cleared his throat. Her brother’s wife is with child and is having a difficult time. and quilted velvet Turkish smoking jacket. “You have delivered my proposal?” “Yes. “The meeting must be postponed for a time. and her older sister is again with child. He knew his response would require the utmost tact. black leather boots. Prince Petrovov. “Her mother is too old. The servants scattered in his wake and hid within the corners of the house to hide from the prince. “Postponed?” “The Koslov’s have a family emergency. “And she must go? Why Ekaterine?” Spittle flew from his furious mouth.” Baranov replied meekly. Surely there would be floggings and canings if any of them crossed their master’s path. Igor’s mustache had been slicked down with grease. He despised the prince but one in his precarious position must present humility to nobility. Baranov took a breath of relief that Igor had left the room.” Igor glared at Baranov.” Baranov explained logically.” Igor was so angry he stormed out of the room. He made a quick exit from the manor. “She is the only one to assist her brother’s wife.” As Baranov finished his sentence Igor rose from the divan in a rage.Payton Lee g Prince Petrovov made an impressive entrance in his silken Turkish trousers. Casually Igor walked to the massive horsehair stuffed leather divan and sat upon stretching his legs upon the cushions.

please!” “I am aware of your correspondence with your Cossacks and your secretive following of Deveraux. Adrik sat down on a leathered sitting chair. “Adrik. “There was nothing to begin with. “Tante. “No. I also know you suspect you have a son that is living or has lived in Novo Arkhangel’sk. Tante. He remained silent and motionless while he stared out the window.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Chapter 4 The elder woman sat on the comfortable fainting couch in the sitting room.” “What are you going to do even if you find this son? Have you even a name?” Adrik sank into the chair.” Sveta informed testily. you cut me with a sharp knife.” Natasha had secretly sent 21 .” “Tante. “Tante.” “Bah.” Sveta reprimanded briskly. I must. you will find it still pains you.” Sveta stated quietly. Igor is cruel and barbaric. She watched her nephew’s back. “There you are definitely wrong. You know how I feel about such corporal punishment. I intend to fund a making of Baranov and Koslov ships. He ran his fingers through his hair and rubbed his temple. That is why you built that house there and why your cousin Igor Petrovov is living there as its master.” Adrik sighed. It has nothing to do with the heart and my past. “I go for business purposes.” “Watch your tone. He has instituted caning and flogging as punishment for Aleuts and servants. Sveta finally broke the silence.” “You have never recovered from Magda’s betrayal. my darling what troubles you so? Must you make this move?” Adrik slowly turned to rest his eyes lovingly upon his beloved aunt. you think for my age I have become ignorant? You think I have lost my intelligence?” “Tante. Worse yet. I have heard from some reports the boy holds a strong resemblance to me. If you insist upon this move to that remote outpost to escape your heart. Your heart still bears the scars of pain. “What is to recover?” Adrik snapped. I have read numerous reports as you have. I have no name. understand I must find my child or I will never have a heart.

” Sveta teased.” “Then heal your heart.” Sveta said stubbornly. “You will have a heart when you take a wife and begin a true family. It is time you start a true family. The servants came and went with serenity. All the servants seemed comfortable and devoted. He was thrown out. No wonder he never thought of marriage 22 . you even sent him away hoping he would behave and not embarrass or anger the Czar.” “And will this woman be happy?” Adrik chuckled. We sent him there at the request of my second husband’s sister. and brought happy warmth to make a home. Sveta did make life comfortable for him. “I know this Igor well enough. She dared never reveal such information that could incriminate her or allow her to fall under the wrath of Deveraux should anyone learn these notes were to Adrik instead of a mother she claimed it was. but he couldn’t even serve in the Russian Army. You will be happy and I will be happy.” “And if I meet and marry a woman in Novo Arkhangel’sk? Will you leave this comfortable home and move there?” Adrik queried. Sveta ran the house well. He has always had brutal tendency.” “Gossip?” Sveta snarled. “You will make her happy or I will make you miserable. So make some children for me to spoil. “My darling Adrik. Marry!” “It isn’t as simple as just marry. There never was grumbling.” Sveta grinned. “I lost three husbands and not one child was given to me in those marriages.” Adrik admitted. you are judging without proof. Lots of babies.Payton Lee g information to Adrik about their movements. The thoughts of a new home and life started to entice him.” “As always you are accurate. She made this house a warm and loving haven. “Yes it is! Find a woman. Sveta was an excellent mistress of the manor.” Adrik smiled lovingly. marry her. Because of Igor’s royal blood name the Czar requested you to send him to the Russian colony so he would not have to kill him. “You will have little choice in the matter. and make babies. He is a wicked sinful man. “I will reserve my judgment and not listen to gossip. Leave this memory and begin to live. “And when you go what are you going to do about Petrovov?” “Tante.” Sveta advised. He may be a prince. “Including my heart. economically.” Adrik clucked. All of this you did for your me. He looked forward to coming here after his stints at the war fronts.

How accurate his aunt was. cold food. “The sleighs could be filled with warm furs.” Sveta remained silent. “You intend to cross Siberia on horseback in the mid of winter.” “We are taking sleighs filled with supplies. and even seal from Unalaska. my darling. nephew. She betrayed him. freezing weather. This new home in Novo Arkhangel’sk would not. Adrik shook the thoughts. He turned to his great aunt and knelt in front of her on one knee. I never will be a Cossack. You will do this as a Cossack with Cossacks. “Perhaps you would come with me and fill my house.” “You seem contented.” Adrik charged.” Adrik promised. I will miss this haven.” Sveta informed. “Adrik. She realized she had provided too much of a haven for Adrik.” “I will see what I can do. It is you that is going to change. mink.” “Open campfires. “I prefer the closed carriages to the theater and the blazing fires in this warm comfortable home. Not I. We have taken advantage of each other. He doubted he would find just the right woman. “I have enjoyed this situation as much as you. He needed to marry and raise children. Sveta began laughing heartily. and freezing shelters. Sveta tried in vain to talk to Adrik and convince him to stop this search for 23 . “You rascal. You never had need for the care of a wife as long as I was here and managed your household. wind and snowstorms. Do I look like one of your men? Truly I am not created for that kind of several thousand mile trek.” “I would try to talk you into coming with me.Novo Arkhangel’sk w to create a home.” Adrik returned to his comfortable chair facing the marble faced fireplace. I would move to the frozen Siberia with you if you married again. I have spoiled you already. He tried to make Magda happy.” Adrik grinned. “I had to try. Perhaps he could make a woman happy.” Sveta laughed and playfully swatted Adrik’s shoulder. Or did it have to be the right woman? Perhaps he would open his mind just a little and look for a woman he might find interesting. “I’m not to old to start again with young ones. Grand Duke Adrik Mikhail Peteravich Romanov. Then his thoughts turned grim.” Adrik suggested.” Sveta responded cheerfully. It was though she read his thoughts. He loved her. “Guilty my love. He had one waiting for him.” Sveta beamed. She destroyed his being. She would miss her nephew. fox.

Sveta rose to leave the room.” Adrik remarked. 24 .” Adrik wished. He received word continually from his troops and was deeply troubled by the reports. “At least promise me you will look for a wife. but was stealing from Adrik. Igor had proved to be a continual problem in the Russian aristocracy. “Really. Sveta did not trust Igor and tried to tell Adrik the relative was not only an incompetent leech. it was only a matter of time before he accomplished it. “I imagine you will. At ten o’clock in the evening was the time she would go to her rooms and prepare for bed. Petersburg. The only exceptions would be if she were at the theater. She certainly did not agree with his choice of Igor Petrovov to manage property that Adrik was having built. Sveta did not want him to go to the new Russian American outpost. with his violent episodes. “What prays upon your mind?” “I was thinking about my trip.” “You have my promise. Sveta was painfully aware of the monies already spent. “There are small villages all along the route we will take. It was time to intercede and search for his child. Once he settled on doing something. Czar Alexander had called Adrik in and requested that Igor be sent to Siberia or face trial in St. or guest of the Czarina. party.” Adrik vowed. “You are deep in thought. Adrik refused to respond to her questions regarding the matter. Even when Adrik was a child he had a stubborn mind. She was a creature of habit. He came up with the idea to send Igor there with his most trusted Cossacks. “Good evening. He considered this promise to be an oath.” Sveta interrupted. I find I am looking forward to the challenge. Tante Sveta.” Sveta sighed.” Adrik returned hoping to recover from his dismal thoughts. He wondered if that wasn’t part of the reason he couldn’t convince his aunt to accompany him. Sveta turned and after a long sigh she said.Payton Lee g Magda’s offspring. Tante. His Aunt did not know how her former sister in law had begged Adrik for intercession to save her son’s life. Even Alexander Baranov seemed to capitulate to the strong willed violent Russian Prince. Adrik thought of his disputes with Sveta regarding Igor Petrovov. It isn’t until we are a few hundred miles from Okhotsk that we climb the mountains and there is little civilization.” Sveta responded. Adrik had heard that Deveraux was once again visiting the Russian outpost. Sveta of course was correct about Igor.

The house was dark. “You’ve come to say farewell?” “Yes. Monika was his mistress for the past seven years. The stairs did have a small lamp showing the way to the second floor and the huge expanse of the carpeted mahogany staircase. silent as a companion. Adrik didn’t need light to find his way through the gate. Her voice carried behind. Monika was a good mistress. go up the steps. insert his key and enter the house. and coverlet. Monika slept peacefully in the midst of the gigantic bed especially created for her lover’s six foot six body. and managers. but he enjoyed the aftermath of the lovemaking. The sheets were made of the finest Chinese silk and rustled seductively with Monika’s sleep movements. Such nearness to Czar Alexander’s dearest cousin ranked high in the need to know. Monika stirred. It was time to visit Monika. 25 . It was the new moon so no light shone down upon the entrance to the solid brick townhouse in St. He couldn’t bring any feelings of remorse upon leaving her. Monika was a good lover. The sky was black except for the twinkling of stars. She was a wellknown guest at all the princely parties. Her eyes fluttered open. Monika’s body was fragrant. She was good in bed. Adrik always felt comfortable in the bed. Monika was a sought after party guest. The bed mattress was filled with down feathers. Many knew and some suspected she shared a bed with the Grand Duke Adrik Romanov. Do you believe I wouldn’t know?” Adrik shook his head. warm and inviting. He never would have mentioned his mistress in the presence of his beloved aunt. and invisible to the world. It was the deep sleep the warm body and soft bed allowed him. He would say farewell and assure her that he would continue to support her household through his royal solicitors. Silently he walked up the stairs and entered the master bedroom. He would truly miss Tante Sveta and his home.” Monika opened her arms to welcome her lover. investors. “A man has needs.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “Are you going to visit Monika?” Adrik gasped. as were the pillows. How did she know about Monika? Sveta laughed as she left the room. Petersburg. Will you be gone long?” Adrik removed his clothes and entered the bed. “Come to me for a proper farewell.

It was a good life and Adrik had been a wonderful lover. He was gentle and yet orgasmic. Others knew she was the mistress of Grand Duke Adrik Romanov. Her life was a party and would continue to be so. Monika was aware that once Adrik left for the outpost she would have many suitors. Chapter 5 26 .Payton Lee g The moment was invigorating. She was free from marriage fetters but it allowed for large amounts of money bestowed upon her. She was not upset or frightened. Monika did not quiver. or cry. When she was promised monetary security there was nothing to worry for. It wouldn’t be long before she found another patron. Monika was young and beautiful. This was her life and she loved the game. The life of a mistress was sometimes better than a wife. She was seductive and compliant. Adrik held Monika for a long time after and promised he would provide for her until she found another lover. She had no complaints. quake.

“Yes. We want to protect you.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Catherine was looking forward to her voyage. She knew she would even if meant marrying a Cossack.” Sofia added stroking her daughter’s long blonde hair. I can see it would give a good view. There were so many things she needed to take with her if she was to stay in Okhotsk for the winter and find a husband. She would be married before she returned home. “You know you are loved in this family.” Sofia took her daughter’s hand. How often had he stared out the window? It looked down directly on the family area of the Koslov household. I have added some of my own cases that you will be taking with you. Mama.” Sofia commanded. “Grigori’s wife will need all these things for her and the baby. Sofia squinted in the bright sunlight. “What is it. 27 . She was royalty on the island of Novo Arkhangel’sk and with her family. She would. It was a few days before she sailed with her brothers she saw a figure in the window staring down at her. “Read every word of this on your voyage. A family crisis needed to be addressed before a betrothal would be considered. Mama. She closed the last case she was using for packing. You will need to know all these things before you marry. but the best protection is your responsibility.” Sofia handed a small leather book to Catherine.” “I will. Yuri could not make any marriage arrangements until Catherine returned from Okhotsk. Her small leathered hands enclosed Catherine’s hands over the book. It seemed to her like she was packing for months instead of days. Find a husband in Okhotsk.” Catherine pointed. You must know these things to help Lara in childbirth and after.” “I promise. The height and stature of the shadow matched Prince Igor. When the shutters were open it would be easy to watch her and her family. She turned her back on Catherine because she didn’t want her daughter to see her cry.” “Go now. Of all her children. I have written everything down for you to know in this journal. We are fortunate he has not responded in a tirade. “Jasha is waiting outside with a cart to move your cases to the ship.” Catherine vowed. Katya?” “I believe Prince Igor has been watching us from that window. Catherine shuddered. Igor had not spoken to Baranov since he delivered the news. Catherine could not rid herself of the feeling of being watched. Sofia entered the room with the grace of a Grand Duchess.

Sofia would miss her Catherine very much. It gave her warm protection from the chilly sea winds. “Are you alright?” Ivan asked in concern when he felt her quiver. He didn’t need a sixth sense to know Catherine did not enjoy Igor’s nearness. Jasha. Catherine knew her mother was crying. Facing Prince Igor was frightening and the thought of being forced to marry him was terrifying. but she admitted to herself she was a coward. Ivan squeezed his sister’s hand. There were so few in Novo Arkhangel’sk that tolerated Prince Igor’s presence he could count them on his one hand. Catherine nestled close to her brother.” Catherine dared to growl back.” Catherine climbed onto the cart and punched her brother’s arm. “I am now. Catherine felt very secure between her brothers. Catherine touched her mother’s back with a soft stroke of her hand. bright. She completely ignored Igor and his attempt to assist her mount the cart.” “More cases?” Jasha laughed. She was the most beloved. “We are pleased such a lovely. “Mama is sending Ivan along with several more cases. Igor turned instantly when he heard the door open. Her outfit didn’t stop the chill down her neck when she stepped outside her home. Instead. and beautiful woman has come to our family. She wore this type outfit many times on her sea voyages. She straightened her back and walked out of the house to find her brother. I am so fortunate to be born into this family.Payton Lee g Catherine was her special child. “What is the meaning of this garment. She marched toward Jasha. Igor’s presence always seemed to unnerve her. Naturally she would miss her mother and father. I treasure your protectiveness and love.” 28 . “You look like a boy.” he snapped. Ivan placed the last case upon the cart and mounted the cart to sit next to Catherine. Tears threatened to choke her as well. I shall be warm. A mother should never admit such a thing. She wore silken Turkish pants stuffed into knee length leather boots. Catherine had dressed in a warm bear fur coat with matching hat. “This ship will sink for the weight of your wardrobe. Yet it was true. She was looking forward to the sea voyage and the time with her brothers. Being near Jasha gave her a feeling of security. He glared at Catherine when he recognized her in the outfit.” “Regardless of my appearance. Catherine turned quickly and left the room.” Catherine whispered.

A partition was built to separate a privy area that included a copper tub for bathing.Novo Arkhangel’sk w In the distance Catherine could see Fabiyan’s ship. Yuri followed the plans with a few alterations based on knowledge of the currents and winds of the northern Pacific Ocean. Catherine also relished the power of the winds. The coverlets were furs lined with satin and blankets made from European wool. He reached over her lap and squeezed her hand. Gabrielle had a square-rigged foremast with a main mast devoid of square features. She was so focused on the trip she didn’t notice several Cossacks and Prince Igor all on horseback were following the cart to the river docks. Catherine found her mood jumping from joy as she looked forward to the sea voyage. the ocean. Igor took this opportunity to lift Catherine from her seat on the cart. Her design was unusual. 29 . How beautiful she was. Ivan must have sensed his sister’s vacillating emotions.” Catherine looked into her brother’s laughing blue eyes. and weather. “Stay close to us. to anger mixed with a touch of fear and rage to know Prince Igor was nearby and following the cart’s course up the river to Gabrielle. How could anyone force her into doing anything against her will or better judgment when her loving family and big brothers surrounded her? Ivan pulled cases while Jasha tethered the horse and secured the cart. Her clothes would be stored in hand carved ornate armoires lined with cedar. He pulled her to his lap. The trading of the Koslov family had brought the family wealth and comfort. She was christened ‘Gabrielle’. Yuri designed her following a Dutch plan he was first introduced to by his grandfather. Fabiyan bragged continually about her sailing in the currents and wind. Every voyage Catherine participated in was a spiritual experience. to melancholy missing her family. The cabin bed was large and filled with down feathers as were the pillows. His bragging was accurate since his sail time was shortened by one full week with the sleek Gabrielle. He reined his horse behind a warehouse near the docks. The linens were from Erin. Sofia had even packed fragrant soaps and soft towels for Catherine’s baths. She felt better already. Awaiting Catherine on Gabrielle was a comfortable cabin including all the comforts of home. It carried a fore and aft main sail.

Fabiyan and Jasha held their brother back. No man dare manhandle a woman in his presence much less his baby sister.” Catherine wiped her lips with the fur sleeve of her coat. It was nearly brutal as he forced her mouth open to slip in his tongue. His hand stroked her arm. This is something she would discuss with her brothers. She was not prepared for what happened next. “I do not belong to you. His head dipped lower and soon his lips covered Catherine’s lips. Her brothers were older.” Jasha whispered. Dimitri.” “I have declared you as my betrothed. They also saw Dimitri’s rage. When Igor’s tongue slipped into her mouth she choked again from a sour taste. “Know this. Igor heard Dimitri. Igor’s hands held her face. My father has not signed documents. You are mine. If 30 .” “We are not betrothed. You are mine. “We are boyars. What good would it do to challenge Igor now? We will take our sister safely away.” Catherine’s blue eyes looked directly into his cold brown eyes. Dimitri saw the swollen lips and the drop of blood on Catherine’s lips.” Igor stated boldly. Your family will suffer should you betray my suit. Ivan. He was threatening her family. “None of that matters. When their voices were nearing he released Catherine. “I have declared that you are mine. She could be a wife by blackmail. “Remember this well while you are gone.” Igor chortled wickedly.” Igor repudiated. Truly this man was evil. agreements. wiser.Payton Lee g “At last I can speak with you alone. Grigori. Fabiyan and Jasha saw the swollen lips and the blood. I suggest you remember this. but worse as he pulled her closer. The pressure was discomforting in itself. You family could suffer if you bring any shame to my name and integrity. Fabiyan. or betrothal papers. Shock was a mild word when Catherine felt Igor’s lips on hers. and Jasha calling Catherine. He has not even declared any such betrothal. At the moment Catherine felt she would faint for lack of air she heard her brother’s say her name. Her lips were sore and she thought she felt the warm flow of a drop of blood. “Remember you are mine. and had more experience in life with men like Prince Igor than she did. She couldn’t breathe. Fabiyan. He was in a rage.” Catherine insisted struggling to break free of Igor’s grasp. and Jasha when she had the opportunity. He was forceful with his kiss. He is a prince. She gagged when Igor’s mouth covered her lips.” Catherine was jolted.

” Dimitri walked on Fabiyan’s right side. “We’re taking you away from this. “Shh. At last she was on the ship. Catherine walked to the full sized bed anchored to the floor. She wanted to cry for joy once Fabiyan held her. we will be short a brother and ship. He would think of her naked beneath him while she was gone. He took her hand and led her down into the cabin area.Novo Arkhangel’sk w you are imprisoned. As the captain. She cuddled like a small child in her brother’s arm. Dimitri turned red with rage hearing Igor’s debasing words.” The three brothers and Catherine laughed as they boarded Gabrielle. Igor laughed ghoulishly. Fabiyan cradled Catherine in his arms. She had been told about the cabin refitted for her on the Gabrielle. Catherine gasped in surprise. A Cossack would be a far better husband. “Take care of my betrothed. Fabiyan opened the door with pride. he had the largest and most luxurious cabin on the Gabrielle. Do not fear. “No. but she was overwhelmed with the beauty and comfort of her cabin for the voyage.” He was pleased with himself for finally catching her alone and stealing a kiss.” Fabiyan agreed. “So would I. To the Koslov brothers their baby sister Catherine was a princess in every respect. Her arms circled his neck.” “He has no right!” Dimitri snarled.” The three brothers surrounded Igor’s horse. “Let us rescue our sister.” Fabiyan stated putting Catherine down. Remember we were paid in advance for the next shipment from Okhotsk. She would be a superb prize indeed.” Fabiyan whispered in her ear. At last she was in a haven of safety. “But to confront him now would weaken our ability to protect Katya. She sat on 31 . Her hand caressed the polished carved wood. She buried her face into Fabiyan’s woolen coat. Fabiyan raised his arms for Catherine. Jasha walked on Fabiyan’s left side.” Dimitri calmed down. “I’d rather Katya marry a Cossack than that foul princely toad. The satin backed quilt was made from Russian mink. “I’ll take you to your cabin. She felt Fabiyan’s strong hand stroke her head.” Catherine looked up lovingly toward her brother. but the cabin next to his was fitted for the comfort of a princess. Catherine fell into Fabiyan’s strong arms. Katya.

the young cabin boy of Gabrielle entered carrying a large tray.” Catherine smiled and fell back on to the bed. Catherine left the bed and joined her brothers at the table. partly because of Jurg’s cooking. Tonight you will stay on board. settings.” Feliks. but their smiles to her indicated that even if something were the matter they 32 . Okhotsk is only a month away. “Now that you are safe and comfortable I shall attend to my duties.” Fabiyan grinned broadly. Catherine lay down on the bed kicking off her boots. and Jasha entered the cabin. Dimitri. You will be safe tonight.” Fabiyan replied. The carved bathing tub was mahogany with a copper lining for the tub. Lenya removed several platters. Behind him were Lenya and Dima carrying more trays. Fabiyan had one of the finest cooks on board. Dima and Feliks removed the covers and began serving the food. There were two armoires anchored to the floor on the inside cabin wall. “Enter. They placed everything upon the table. Jasha is going on the Sonia. and napkins. Vasili Kreschev is captaining her. She was anxious for her adventure to begin. She felt her swollen lips. She sensed a mood in her brothers. Jasha is learning the trade as we all have.” “Dimitri? Jasha?” Catherine inquired. Fabiyan. His crew was hale and hearty. Fabiyan was there to pull out her chair.” Catherine giggled. “Igor knows he cannot board.” “When do we sail?” “At first light. My crew and I will stand guard. She was safe from him for now. “I think I shall be quite comfortable here.” Fabiyan answered. She noted the carved privacy screen was East Indian Teakwood. She closed her eyes and snuggled into the mink coverlet. “Bless you. Fabiyan. We’ll arrive in winter and stay in port until spring. A carved table with two matching chairs was in the center of the cabin. “Enjoy the luxury.Payton Lee g the feathered mattress and glanced around the room. Catherine had realized she had fallen asleep when a gentle tapping on the door woke her. “Dimitri has gone to his ship. A Cossack seemed to be a vast improvement over Prince Igor. They did not follow them into the cabin. He laid them neatly on the table.

He invited the Prince on deck filling his cup again and again with potent vodka. but they were boyars. They were not about to worry their baby sister with the stupidity of a man they had taken an oath to make certain would never marry their precious and most loved sister. They could not confront and toss the Prince in the brink as he did so richly deserved. The brothers had a fine line to walk. The obnoxious drunken Prince was obviously trying to flaunt a betrothal. The Cossacks picked up the unconscious prince and unceremoniously threw him over his great Don horse with Igor’s belly on the saddle. Fabiyan explained to Igor his sister was not feeling well and she needed a rest. The brothers were furious. it must concern Igor Petrovov. Dimitri was a problem as well. It was Fabiyan that handled the intrusion. He calmly assured the Prince he could see Ekaterine when she awoke from her nap.Novo Arkhangel’sk w had no intention of sharing it with her. The Koslov family was the wealthiest family on the island. She was right. Prince Igor had returned to Gabrielle drunken and raucous demanding to see his betrothed. After a time even Igor succumbed to the vodka. which had never been agreed. It was obvious the Cossacks had no respect for Prince Igor. If she would guess. 33 . He passed out. This brother was ready to charge at the prince with fisticuffs.

Payton Lee g 34 .

“I’m not sure this small village has a full keg for you. I might thaw out and my brain would work once more. mosquitoes. Your horses would die caught in the swamps.” “Gnats?” “Thousands of them swarming over you. The scarf was stiff with ice. “Faddei’s brain doesn’t work at any time. I do not wish anyone to know who I am.” “I am sorry. The mosquitoes drain your blood like vampire bats. your highness.” Faddei taunted. “You would prefer the warmth?” Ilya taunted. I would not!” Ilya responded. In the summer it is Hades in perfection.” Ilya informed.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Chapter 6 “Ahead is a hot meal. “Most assuredly. “It is safer for all of us to be what we are. “My brain seems frozen.” “You would need a keg of vodka to even begin to thaw you out.” Adrik teased. and some vodka would warm me.” Faddei stated. “You go insane just from the gnats.” Faddei shouted through the winter winds of a Siberian storm. getting in your face and into your clothes. “No.” Adrik commanded. Cossack soldiers on our way to Okhotsk. you will stop addressing me at your highness.” “Faddei has never traveled this tundra land. and a warm bed. “Faddei.” Faddei apologized. Perhaps a warm fire. Why did we have to travel in the middle of a Siberian Winter?” “Perhaps you would prefer the Siberian Summer?” Adrik queried.” “What does it matter?” Ilya laughed. a soft feminine body. Adrik pulled the woolen scarf covering his mouth with his fur lined leather mitten. “He has no concept of Russian gnats. The snow melted from the body heat and froze on the wool from the driving wind. a good bath. “Wouldn’t you?” Faddei complained. or the dangers of the swampland of the thawed Siberian countryside. It is a frozen wasteland now.” Adrik defended. but you can travel.” 35 . “It is this bitter cold I need refuge from.” “As if your brain and mouth could work together. “With the warm summer are perils not found in the Siberian tundra during winter.

” Ilya shared. it usually meant troubles.” Adrik laughed. Joseph had purchased a small cabin here and built it into this prospering business. How many people did he know that were hiding from the Tsar’s army. or other incidents of Tsarist Russia. religions. Spring was nearly upon them.” Adrik stated directing his request to the gruff heavyset man pointed out to him upon their entrance. Joseph Remorsky eyed the travelers warily. He wondered if those horrors were real or Ilya was teasing him. As young soldiers of Mother Russia.” “Look up ahead. law.” Ilya interrupted. Joseph was only skeptical of Cossacks.” Adrik reminded. “It is strange that there is so much snow here. It was a haven for traveler’s criss crossing the tundra lands of Mother Russia.” “Good innkeeper. Why else would Deveraux visit this outpost so often? “I believe there is shelter ahead for our animals. Cossacks traveled through this area of Siberia rarely. A Cossack took care of their horses before their own lives. and a place for our baggage carts. Novo Arkhangel’sk would be a new beginning for him. Ilya remained outside with the horses and carts.” Faddei cried jubilantly. draperies. When the Cossacks did travel through this town. 36 .Payton Lee g “You have seen these things?” Faddei asked curiously. and lifestyles. Is that no so. He wanted to be at the port of Okhotsk before the spring melts. and other necessities would be arriving to the port for transport on his hired ships. “Adrik and I have crossed these lands many times. The three ships he had hired would be in port. He housed people of all races. I smell food. Adrik?” “We were also stupid. Usually there is only ice and cold. “There is the village. foodstuffs. “It is next to a hostelry. we were called to duty here and all along the Chinese and Manchurian borders. rooms. “We lived through all the Siberian Tundra would throw at us.” Ilya pointed out. Ilya’s words were so very true.” “Ah. servants. The new furniture. “There is smoke in chimneys” “First we will find shelter for our horses. He would soon be in his new home. To this day he still worried he would be taken as prisoner for the robbing life his father had led. This small village put them only 200 miles from Okhotsk. Their arrival would be just in time. He desperately hoped his instincts were correct and he would be able to find his child in Unalaska. we have need of shelter for our horses.

These horses are tired. “He is an enterprising businessman.” Adrik ordered.” 37 . nodded and turned on his heels to return to his Don. “His pricing made me angry. “Come into the hostelry when you are finished. And do a thorough job. hungry. “You almost gave me away in the hostelry. We wish to stay only a few days to rest and then be on our way. your highness. Finish with your animals and I will show you them to you.” Faddei excused. How often were Cossacks the harbingers of troubles? “We are going to Okhotsk. I warned you not to call me that while we travel. I only have three rooms available.” “Faddei.” “You can cool your temper by currying your horse and the two cart horses. “Where are you going?” Joseph queried bravely.” Adrik chortled. “My stable is out back. “Our business is to feed. Faddei was right behind him muttering.” Adrik smiled.” “I charge 5 rubles per day per person. “The man should be arrested and hung.” “You have no business in Reln’sk then?” Joseph asked relaxing somewhat. He was well aware of serf and freeman trepidations regarding the military and Cossacks in particular. “Take your horses and carts there. He must be from the upper classes.” “I lost my head. Why do you complain?” “I do not like robbers. If these were upper class Cossacks they could well afford such a price. “Do you know who…” Adrik raised his hand palm out to Faddei for silence. warm.” Adrik pulled out his purse and paid 100 rubles for four days. and rest our horses. and eat as well. “We will warm ourselves.” Joseph said smiling happily. It wasn’t often he received so much money at once.” Adrik chastised. not yours. rest. Adrik’s response was soft. It is large enough with plenty of hay and oats. cold. good innkeeper.” Adrik replied. In his heart he trembled.Novo Arkhangel’sk w They were known to be the Tsar’s right hands. and need attention. I will not fault him for that. Then we will be on our way. Perhaps he could buy his wife a pretty dress. “That’s robbery!” Faddei shouted angrily. “The expense is from my pocket. He is a thief!” Faddei complained. “We are happy to pay for it and thank you for your hospitality.” Joseph informed. This was a powerful man before him.

After he filled the manger with hay and oats he walked outside to the covered well. I will sleep with Adrik. “Again I thank you for your hospitality.” Joseph replied pointing to the right. Joseph brought in a large wooden bowl of hot stew. Ilya had been with him as a friend since he was a teenager and he was trained into the Cossack Regiment of Tsarina Catherine. Only after he was certain that Angel was warm and comfortable did he leave the stable. Thank you for the hot food to warm our hungry stomachs.” “Finish your work!” Adrik retorted grinning.” Ilya remarked. “They are my daughters. He placed a warm woolen blanket over her he had pulled from one of his carts. He would make certain his men would not cause trouble. He noticed Faddei looking at the two girls. Faddei and Ilya were good and faithful friends. Adrik made no mind to Joseph’s statement. you are a Cossack. “Faddei smells like his horse and I do not wish to sleep in the same room with him until he bathes. You hold my heart most dearly.” he warned. Is there a bath house?” “Through that door. “Ah my Angel. You are so loyal to me.” Faddei chuckled. There he pulled out two buckets of fresh water and put them in front of his horse. He stroked her mane lovingly and spoke quietly to her. You are so faithful.Payton Lee g “I should be a businessman.” Adrik led his horse into the largest and warmest stall. “Right after we eat we will use the bath house.” Adrik laughed. you would be finally content and less grumpy.” “You will sleep with the horses first!” Adrik teased.” Faddei raised a brow. He looked to the innkeeper. “Your hospitality is most gracious.” “You could never be a businessman. Adrik continued currying Angel for another hour. “If you complain anymore I shall have you sleep with the horses. When the five men entered the inn they found a table was set and two pretty young girls were placing hot food upon a table for them.” 38 . “I would be treated better. “If you could find a woman to say those words to. He found a brush and began gently currying her.” Faddei grumped. “I do not wish to sleep with you either.

“My God. “Would be Faddei’s problem. “I am most serious.” Faddei took the young woman’s hand. It seems Marta has found the way to Faddei’s heart.” Faddei insisted. They had several helpings. “After all.” Ilya replied taking another gulp of vodka. we may stay for several more days. it was obvious it was homemade by a talented cook. and I do the cooking for father’s guests. “I hope you will not eat like this every night.” Marta replied laughing. It was as if some magic was suddenly cast upon him. sister. “With cooking like this. “That. and the boat trip.” In the meantime Marta and Faddei were having their own conversation.” Marta snapped. He handed them to Marta.” “Indeed. You do approve of course?” Adrik thoughtfully stroked his jaw. for the journey. The food was not only hot. you did suggest we take ourselves wives in Novo Arkhangel’sk. I think I shall.” Faddei rose and took Marta’s hand.” Marta crossed herself. “You are jesting with me. It is through his stomach. My mother. “We will soon have no food for our other guests. “For you and your mother. Marta looked directly into Faddei’s eyes. Did you cook this food?” “Yes. Ilya laughed and swallowed his vodka. some of it.” “I am Faddei Barchov.” Marta the eldest of Joseph’s daughters laughed.” “And what of Joseph Remorsky?” Adrik chuckled.” Ilya agreed. There was magic there. The young woman captivated him. “I can see you and your friends are enjoying it. Ilya leaned toward Adrik. She would be good for him.Novo Arkhangel’sk w When the five men sat at the table they ate like starved men. “I am Marta Remorsky. “Come. I will talk to your father. Faddei is merely starting a little sooner. “You will help Faddei with the dowry?” “Yes. “It would be wise to have a woman who can cook well with us. We hope not to run out of food while we are here. you are serious. Will you marry me?” Adrik choked on his tea.” “What is your name?” Faddei asked. 39 .” Adrik wiped his hands on the linen napkins and removed several more rubles from his wallet. our stay in Okhotsk.

The next day Marta and Faddei were wed in the village Russian Orthodox Church. cold swim. Joseph was happy and Adrik felt it was a good investment for the short stay in Okhotsk. There they enjoyed a hot steaming soap bath.Payton Lee g Adrik and Ilya left the table and went to the Bath House. 40 . his younger sister. He and Ilya would benefit from the fine cooking of Faddei’s new young wife. Adrik had paid Joseph a thousand rubles for his daughter. shave and haircut provided by another of Joseph’s relatives.

“I am captain. It was an old trick he used with his sister. you would wager. you do have a point there. He loved his sister with all his heart and he was proud of her seamanship.” Fabiyan sighed heavily. Catherine knew Fabiyan’s stance very well. “My officers may be making wagers with the crew to come up with money to pay our wagers.” Fabiyan told his sister happily. “Yes.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Chapter 7 “Well. He is the best so far. “You would wager quite a lot on me so you could compile a small fortune.” Fabiyan teased turning his back to her. Katya. “It is a possibility. He would pretend he didn’t care. Katya.” “Well.” “Just the officers?” “Of course.” “Who is the favorite?” “You. “He will give you great competition.” Fabiyan grinned. “Haven’t you practiced lately?” “Katya. It would not look good to the crew to see me climbing the mainmast and being beaten by my baby sister!” “Well. “How much money are you betting?” Fabiyan turned around and raised his brow with innocence. He paused a moment and added. He had a broad smile on his face.” “Are you saying he will beat me?” Catherine laughed slugging her brother playfully.” Fabiyan responded quickly. This was important to him or he wouldn’t act as though it wasn’t important. “Would I wager on such a contest? Me? A Captain?” He placed his hand over his heart and feigned surprise. He folded his arms and looked at the ocean as if ignoring her question.” Catherine laughed. He practices every day.” 41 . are you up to it?” Fabiyan queried. “Who is my competition?” “A German on my crew. of course. He had bet heavily on her ability to climb the main mast rigging in the shortest time. “Maybe I did place a small wager on you with my officers. Otto.” Catherine replied crossly.

“What?” Fabiyan gasped. “I’m merely collecting a portion for my talents. Fabiyan. I won’t participate if it isn’t half.” “Half. Have Otto ready. It soon became her favorite sport when on board a family ship. “Very well. “I’m tired of making you richer. It had been far too much fun to beat her brothers. Forty minutes later Catherine was swinging down from the top of the main mast to the deck. “I love the contest. A sailor who won every climbing contest shared with an admiring young girl his secret of success in winning.” Captain Kreschev laughed.” “A woman gambling is unheard of!” Fabiyan choked.” Jasha grinned. She had never shared the knowledge with any one including her family.” Catherine replied. “Fabiyan. The sailor’s knowledge gave her an edge that no one else on the family ships would know.” Catherine demanded. sister. she was ready to win.” “Agreed. It is one of my goals to beat her on the climb. “I’m not gambling.” Fabiyan warned humorously. “Someday I will find out her secret. Otto was still climbing up. He used the ground powder of seashells and crustaceans on his hands. Catherine changed her clothes to a comfortable silken tunic and trousers.” Fabiyan conceded.” Catherine returned in like humor. After putting on her soft kid boots she rubbed her hands with the fine powder and put the box away.” “Katya. “Half or nothing.” In her cabin she pulled out a box that contained fine white powder.” Catherine tossed her brother a smile and walked toward her cabin.Payton Lee g “Then I want a part of the purse. The challenge of climbing was Catherine’s favorite sport. “Ekaterine always wins. “I will prepare and return to deck in thirty minutes. you are!” Catherine returned. The powder gave him extra gripping power when climbing the wet rigging ropes. “I will share the purse. Her choice of clothes allowed for free movement.” “Half?” Fabiyan croaked. After tucking her long hair under a woolen knit cap.” 42 . but I think this time I should get a portion of the purse. The crew was cheering loud enough for the Sonia’s crew to hear. “It appears your sister has won the contest again.

” sighed Catherine. “We share that love.” Kreschev chortled.” “And a fine captain you would be. She was with her brother. She loved the voyages.” “There are times I wish I had been a son. Looking up at her older brother Catherine replied. Many times Catherine would work the rigging. “It is unfair being a woman. “I love the sea. The Gabrielle was even more comfortable than her room on land.” Fabiyan squeezed his younger sister. Catherine was enjoying one of those wonderful full moon nights when Fabiyan came to stand next to her on deck. She did love her brothers and Fabiyan in particular. the happier she was. “Your sister is known across the ocean for her talents.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “I would like to see that. Katya. and even scrub the deck with the sailing mates. sails. Even at night Catherine would be on deck. the Gabrielle. “I would be on my way to being a Captain of my own ship. The ship was a warm and inviting home away from home. I think. I am a female so I must run away from my home to prevent my marriage by looking for another.” Several days into the voyage Catherine felt a surge of new life running through her veins.” Fabiyan teased placing his arm lovingly around Catherine’s shoulders.” Catherine complained. She loved the sea. I have enough brothers. Fabiyan was following the warm tropical currents to the Sea of Okhotsk. and the night.” “I know.” “Just as it is unfair being a man. The sea was a part of her just as the sea was a part of them.” Fabiyan agreed. The further away she was from Prince Igor. “This is a good thing even if she is a girl. the daughter of the ship builder and the sister of the captain. She loved watching the stars and the ocean. 43 . “Look at my lot. Catherine was at peace. The crew easily accepted her. The cook on the Gabrielle loved his vocation as a hobby. Thanks to her brother. She was after all. It was a sense of freedom and hope.” Jasha beamed proudly. but I happen to love my younger sister very much.” Catherine smiled broadly. “You are enjoying yourself too much. She didn’t miss her family too much. She has never lost. Fabiyan loved food and loved to eat. the food was excellent on board.

” Fabiyan stood erect and stroked his chin.” Fabiyan advised bringing his sister closer into his arms and patting her shoulder.Payton Lee g Catherine was startled. “What? It is wonderful to be a man. stop this blushing.” Now Catherine was really curious.” “Woman?” Catherine choked. Most of all we must face every day what we fear the most. hold land. “Come Catherine. “Terrifying. “I have to know what this fear is.” “Not so wonderful. We must work at a trade from sunup to sundown. It is part of marriage. Sometimes with children. money. Her brothers had never talked to her like this before. “Oh this is quite interesting brother.” Fabiyan chuckled.” “Face every day what we fear the most?” Catherine queried. I fear you women far too much. How would it be difficult to be a man? A man could Captain a ship. “How could men possibly be afraid of women?” “You could break our hearts. You could reject us. We must provide comfortably.” Fabiyan jested. “How could a man be afraid of something every day? He would kill the fear first. You could stop keeping us warm in our beds.” Catherine blushed crimson. “Why.” “Ha!” Catherine countered. “Do you really think so?” 44 . “Perhaps this why I have never married. and certainly rule over a wife. power. We must take all responsibility for our family. but worst of all. “All you have to do is merely cast those beautiful blue eyes at a maiden fair and she would fall at your feet in worship. How do you kill them? With a gun? With a sword? With a mirror?” “Sometimes with overwork. “You could even stop feeding us.” Catherine crossed her arms over her chest.” Fabiyan’s eyes twinkled with merriment.” Fabiyan’s lips curled into a smile. the woman is our greatest fear.” Catherine laughed nervously. I feel I could not survive such rejection. “Sometimes we do. Why with a look you could break my heart. “I had no idea we women were so dangerous. kill them. Soon you will learn what happens between a man and woman.

family history.” Catherine joked snuggling into her brother’s comforting body. 45 . I am a boyar. That is my oath. She clenched her fists and shook them at the heavens.” Catherine gasped. Catherine sat down on floor next to the trunk. After breakfast Catherine returned to her cabin and searched through her trunk to find the book her mother had written for her and maybe for others? It was midwifery. What was she? “I am eighteen years old. She allowed her brother to walk her to her cabin. My brothers are kind and loving. I am the twelfth and youngest child. I have ten brothers and one sister. “It is too late now to begin reading. I love my family.” Catherine recited. or he will face nine brothers and a father. I am well traveled and educated of the world.” Fabiyan answered honestly. journals. “I hope marriage will not be to frightful for me. wasn’t it? Her mother loved writing about everything. She found it under several white cloth napkins to be used for the new baby. knitting patterns. herb books. I’ve forgotten all about it. Catherine had always admired her mother’s talent for writing. and so do you. “How did you know about the book?” “Before we left Mama told me to remind you about it half way through the voyage. I am the daughter of Yuri and Sonia Koslov. I will not marry any man that does not equal my brothers.” Fabiyan promised.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “I do.” Catherine agreed. Sonia wrote recipes. “Have you started reading mother’s book yet?” “Book? Oh my. and even husbandry. She hoped she would someday find a talent. I will never submit to a marriage.” “Did she tell you what it is about?” Catherine questioned quirking a brow considering their recent conversation. Perhaps in the morning?” “In the morning.” Slowly Catherine began her search for the book. “No. Then the question struck her. She suddenly laughed out loud. “And I am running away from a beast to be shackled by marriage to what? Another beast? Who and what am I?” Catherine sat straight. “I am and will be somebody some day! I will not be terrified of any man. Mama only told me that it is reading for a woman and woman only to understand her nature.” “For your husband’s sake it had better not be.

46 . What did that require? Catherine sighed and returned the gown back to the trunk. The baby clothes her mother had packed captivated her. Catherine put it down. In her mother’s handwriting she explained this was the same dress that all of her children were baptized in. woolen blankets. Catherine gently stroked the gown. The gown also smelled of sweet cedar. It was elaborate with pearls stitched in floral design over the entire dress. and the soft white cotton napkins. She repacked all the baby clothes and started to read the book. and blankets. There were also cloth shirts. but to have one a husband is required. She had preserved it for her grandchildren. Would she have a child to wear the gown? Is this what was missing from her life? Does every woman want a child? Did she want a child? Yes. She had sent it with Catherine for her next grandchild to be baptized in. Catherine held the gown as if it were the most precious Chinese Porcelain.Payton Lee g Instead of reading the book. booties. she felt she did. On the top of the dress was a matching bonnet. There was a note in the bonnet. bonnets with silken ribbons. So far all of her grandchildren had used the gown. mittens. There were several soft knitted buntings. Everything smelled of sweet cedar. Under the dress was elaborate taffeta flounces giving the dress a full look. This was a most precious heirloom. Near the bottom of the trunk she found a delicate satin christening gown.

She didn’t know what she expected Okhotsk to look like. They only knew that the money was sent from one of the Romanov Archdukes. Catherine remained in her cabin as the Gabrielle docked and unloaded cargo. Grigori and his wife Lara. Catherine would be there to help Lara. Yuri and Catherine’s brothers wanted their sister safely married and this length of tenure in Okhotsk would be the answer. A few hours later Catherine saw the city. She should be able to find a husband in this bustling city. China. Japan. India. Grigori’s letter indicated Lara’s due date would be early next month. It was planned that Catherine would be there for the birth and through winter until spring. “I’ve obtained a carriage and a wagon to take us to Grigori’s home. and even the Sandwich Islands. At least that was Sonia’s part of the plan. The city was main port for trade with the Aleuts. Large sea eagles were flying about. Catherine’s plan was to escape Prince Igor. and learn motherhood with hands on experience. This would give her nearly eight months with Lara and the baby. The Gabrielle was a much faster ship by design. Catherine did not know that the three ships had been secured for hire in the next spring. It was planned for Dimitri and Jasha to unload cargo. Logically the city would be large. trade. and continue to the warmer tropics for the winter and return in spring. Dimitri and Jasha’s ships would not be in port for several days.” “I am anxious to meet Lara and see Grigori. Okhotsk was already quite cold for late autumn. “Come Katya. find a husband. None of the Koslov family was aware of their cargo. Unalaska. Her first concern was her brother. 47 .” Catherine replied putting her fur coat on.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Chapter 8 The shore of Okhotsk appeared on the horizon. but was enchanted by the solid stone buildings along the port and how the large the city was.” beckoned Fabiyan.

“Grigori lives well. We do not have that in Novo Arkhangel’sk. The butler bowed and addressed Fabiyan. I will take you to her. nor we informed today. The family was also wealthy enough to provide for comfort and servants.” Fabiyan responded. A well-dressed servant appeared at the carriage and opened the door to assist Catherine from the carriage. Grigori had a large comfortable home built. Prince Igor and Governor Baranov. but not formally dressed. The door opened when the carriage stopped. good man. They passed the Russian Military barracks just outside the city and Grigori’s home was beyond the barracks. Grigori at home?” “Captain Grigori is at the barracks. The carriage pulled into the stone road leading to a stately mansion of gray stone. In Novo Arkhangel’sk her parents never considered such type of formal affront of servants. “Captain. we would prefer to be shown to our rooms and settle in. This is merely an extension of Mother Russia’s aristocracy.” “I take your point.” “Perfectly all right.” “Thank you. we were expecting your visit. It was built with having plenty of room available for the Koslov family visits. “You must remember. Is our brother. Lady Lara is in the library resting. and the baths are prepared. and instructed professional servants. Fabiyan alighted directly behind her and placed his hand on her waist. groomed. “As you wish. With the boyar wealth of the Koslov family. Catherine was taken to a large suite done in bright yellow and gold 48 .” Catherine replied seriously. but forgive us for not greeting you at port. They entered the home and the great hall. They did have house helpers.” Fabiyan stated.” Catherine whispered over her shoulder to Fabiyan. They followed the butler to rooms on the East Wing of the large home. Consider our aristocracy. We were not certain of your arrival. dear. When in Rome do as the Romans do. I will see to it that your trunks are taken to your apartments. Several steps led to the large double oaken doors with ornate brass handles. or would you prefer to see your rooms first?” “Since my sister in law is resting.” Fabiyan replied. “We did not expect a welcoming party.Payton Lee g The ride to Grigori’s house turned out to be nearly an hour out from the port.

it’s in my trunk over there.” Catherine responded. “Why?” 49 . “ A bath sounds wonderful after a month or so of bathing at sea. thank you.” “I hope Mama can reach across the sea with Catherine. Fabiyan walked into the hall to greet and speak to his younger brother. He checked on his wife. my name is Mary. but it was much larger.” “Let’s find Catherine. The room was not as luxurious as her cabin. The camp doctor is concerned for her. “Vanya is again with child so she could not come. “Have you brought Mama’s book with you?” Fabiyan asked without hesitancy.” Catherine replied. It is painful for her to walk. Grigori smiled at his brother and they shared a strong embrace.Novo Arkhangel’sk w colors. not like Mama at all. Her health would not be up to such a prolonged sea voyage and stay. They were very close siblings.” Grigori shared. “Her ankles and legs are swollen. “You are quite worried about Lara?” Fabiyan queried. Is Mama upstairs?” “Papa would not let Mama come. Instead Mama has sent instructions with Catherine to help Lara.” While Catherine was enjoying her bath.” Fabiyan remembered.” Fabiyan suggested. “Is it really that bad for Lara? Mama had many children and I do not remember it being difficult for her. their butler. Catherine had just finished dressing after her bath and was preparing to come downstairs when Fabiyan knocked and entered her suite.” Grigori sighed. Fabiyan was in the parlor when he heard Grigori’s voice speaking to Hans. Mary. She was still sleeping in the library on a fainting couch. I was sent to assist you. Fabiyan took the room directly across from his sister. The bathhouse is currently available. She had barely been in the room a moment when a knock on her door announced the visit of an upstairs maid.” Fabiyan answered holding his brother in his embrace. We try to let her rest as much as possible. Lara. I’m so happy you are here at last. “Lara is fragile. “More than you can understand. Grigori returned home. Would you like to bathe now?” “Yes. “Yes. “Good Afternoon.

“Is this tea from her book?” 50 .” Lara murmured between sips. Grigori went to the Library and Fabiyan went to assist Catherine.” Catherine recited from memory. Her eyes were dull and her pallor was pale. this is my younger sister. you must be so tired of hearing my complaints. Catherine.” Grigori answered quickly. “Mama wrote about that.” Lara replied leaning against her husband seeming to pull strength from his nearness. “It is more like Grigori told me hoping Mama had some answer for it in the book she wrote for us. welcome Fabiyan and welcome to our home. “How are you feeling?” “Not well and uncomfortable.” Catherine retrieved the book from her trunk and left the room with Mary following behind her. Grigori and Fabiyan followed. He lips brushed her forehead. Catherine. They returned with a brew of hot tea and flask of cold water. Catherine offered a large smile in return. She suggested a herb tea mixture and drinking lots of water. “You know of my complaint?” Lara asked weakly trying to bring a smile to her lips.” Lara said weakly.” “I have brought you some herbal brew our mother recommends for your complaint. It is a toxin in the blood near birth. “Is something wrong with Lara?” “Her ankles and legs are swollen and painful. “Lara my darling. It was an effort for her to smile at Catherine. “I’ll get the book and we’ll make the tea for Lara right away.Payton Lee g “Did Mama offer written advice on breeding problems. “I must be horrible to live with right now if even you know already.” Lara looked beautiful but frail.” “Of course.” “Hmm. Grigori sat upon the fainting couch next to his wife and held her gently. this tea is delicious.” Catherine responded. “My darling husband.” Lara accepted the tea and sipped the hot brew.” Catherine stated offering a cup of steaming tea. during and after childbirth. “She is here to help you with much of my Mama’s advice. or just childbirth?” “Of course Mama included herbs and remedies for problems.” Grigori introduced. “You of course remember my older brother Fabiyan. She seemed so tiny with a large swollen belly.

The physician seems to be of no help whatsoever to you.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Catherine nodded.” “I’ll take my meal with Lara. “No more laudanum.” Lara stated softly. Catherine pulled some pillows from the headboard and placed the silken covered feather pillows under Lara’s knees. “I would appreciate any help. She has learned many herbs and cures from many lands. ignorant due to limited experiences. She felt discomfort but tried not to show it. Gingerly she lifted the hem of Lara’s dress to look at her legs.” “And I trust you. She was placed comfortably on the feather mattress. We should put many pillows under your legs. “I’ll make it for you. Can you help me to do that. Mama has catalogued all of them.” “Mama says a woman in confinement should refuse laudanum.” Lara cringed when Catherine gently pushed on her leg.” Catherine repeated from memory. Perhaps it was comforting to have another female family member nearby. He was worried about Lara. I think you should be in bed and we need to keep your legs lifted up. I would do anything to alleviate my darling’s discomfort.” “Mama says that physicians are not only encumbered by their own ignorance of natural man. “It is not good to walk much until we get this swelling down.” Catherine remembered. Grigori?” “If it will help. It was why he sent the message to his family in the first place. He bent over Lara and gently picked her up. The physician suggested I walk more.” “Somehow I truly believe that.” Grigori responding rising. A chambermaid had already turned down the bed. her husband carried her to their room. Grigori showed a sign of relief. Mama knows many medicines.” Lara sighed. “I may not need the laudanum tonight. She felt better already. You won’t need it any way. “I’ll send dinner upstairs for you. Her legs were already feeling somewhat better in the elevated position. “I trust my family and Mama. You’ll be better.” Lara replied hugging her husband while in his gentle arms. Effortlessly. She turned to Lara. It is bad for her and the baby growing in her. Her legs were sensitive. “The tea seems to be helping and my legs feel more comfortable. “Would you like that?” 51 . “Mama even writes of an ease for this malady of confinement. they are in addition.” Catherine volunteered. but it is so painful.

” Lara concurred. “You’ve heard of him?” “He left a lasting impression on Okhotsk before he departed. At first the conversation was light. Fabiyan received his opening when Grigori stated. We only learned that he left Mother Russia before the Czar had to deal with him. I came here right after he left with several Cossacks. His reputation is black. We didn’t know where he went. “I see you are quite surprised. “The same.” Fabiyan related. Prince Igor. There were also several instructions and missives from their father that he needed to share with his brother. Grigori.” “Prince Igor? Is this Prince Igor Petrovov?” Grigori asked furrowing his brow. We will shoot the unsuitable suitor. yet their stays in Okhotsk were rarely longer than the time it took to sell cargo and outfit for another journey. “This is not a difficult problem.” Fabiyan concurred. that is most unsuitable.” Fabiyan began. There was Katya. and so much more. We are told the Prince Igor has blood connections to a cousin of the Czar. He loved his brother and brothers. He also needed to share with his brother his reasons for staying in port. but Fabiyan felt it was the time to discuss Ekaterine and her secondary reason for being here with them in Okhotsk. He was protected by a family relation high up in the royal bloodlines. the Tlingit problem.” 52 .” Grigori raised a surprised brow.Payton Lee g “I would like that very much.” “It is not so easy when the suitor is a Prince with powerful connections in Saint Petersburg. Baranov’s interests. “It seems our young sister has a suitor. He wished he knew where to start. How long will Katya be able to stay with us?” “We will both be staying through the winter. I have much to share with you. Several hours later Fabiyan and Grigori were enjoying a cognac and tobacco smoke in the library. He decided to begin with Katya. “Lara seems happier and content with our baby sister by her side. Taking a sip of cognac laughed. the trade with the Sandwich Islands. the problems with the Russian American Company.

Our only means to save her was to bring her here. peasant.” “Yes. “Why didn’t you marry her to someone it Novo Arkhangel’sk? Not that I’m unhappy you brought her here. It is good Papa built his shipyards much further upstream and hidden in the inlets. His corruption. He has issued his plea for our sister.” Grigori suddenly realized who the suitor was.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “Well brother. His cruelty to people and animals. Petrovov is nobility.” Fabiyan explained. and Indian peoples of our land.” Fabiyan explained. but stay at a distance.” “Igor built a home next to ours.” Fabiyan explained. On command they will flank Igor. We lose some profit to Baranov and the Russian American Company.” Grigori agreed. particularly the horses. and power to our home. Although Baranov is Governor. The Cossacks patrol the grounds. greed. Baranov even finds troubles trying to control the Prince’s thieves.” “Petrovov carries his connection to nobility like a sword.” Fabiyan shared. and greed seem to hold no bounds. We are watched and all our cargoes thoroughly scrutinized and tallied.” “Are the Cossacks that went with him the thieves?” Grigori asked. “They keep to themselves. Petrovov has his private criminals that thieve on the tallies. They have field practice every day.” Fabiyan informed. Lara is much happier and more comfortable with Katya’s care and mother’s knowledge. The lowest of animals in Novo Arkhangel’sk have aligned themselves with Petrovov. Now. disgust the Cossacks. “The Cossack situation is quite strange.” “That is the problem. Grigori sat down on a large leathered chair. “How is Papa fairing with Petrovov. he appeared in Novo Arkhangel’sk with the Cossacks.” “That is his reputation. We will marry her and in the marriage state we can protect her from Prince Igor.” “The Cossacks care for their horses like children. “We are fortunate that Igor has left our business and family alone. “I can see their contempt for Prince Igor. “His power and wealth has created dissension and fear within the boyar.” Grigori commented. but the all the people of Novo Arkhangel’sk. brother. “It is Igor Petrovov. With a hard gulp he uttered. He has taken and used his power to create many problems for not only Baranov. “He has brought his evil. It is here we must find our sister a husband that all of us will agree upon.” 53 . violence.

“I will make it known my younger sister is visiting and would enjoy invitations to such gala parties.” Grigori chuckled. In the first place.” “Since he is nobility. “Do you know of any men here and now we can review?” “Most of the officers are already married. yes there is a chance our cargo might contain some Chinese herbs.” Fabiyan agreed. “I do want her to be happy. “Dimitri and Jasha will be taking new cargo and sailing to India and through the Sandwich Islands until spring and then return to Okhotsk. such a strike might cause our family to lose our business and some of our lives. and silks.” “What about others here in Okhotsk?” “There are many men looking for women here.” “Perhaps even a bit of Japan or China?” “Knowing Dimitri as I do.” “Until now.” Fabiyan supplied uncomfortably. 54 .” Grigori concurred.Payton Lee g “Until now.” “Will Dimitri and Jasha be participating?” “No. “Igor’s fascination for Catherine is detrimental in every way.” “It is imperative we find our Katya a husband. we would never allow a man like him to marry our sister.” Fabiyan replied. they will not.” Grigori understood. If our family denies his betrothal. I will think on it. would be happy with such cloth and teas.” “Good.” Grigori responded. and we are invited on a regular basis. he shall cause our family great tribulation in our business.” Grigori pondered stroking his chin. If Igor marries Catherine we might have to kill him and suffer the consequence. teas.” Fabiyan answered looking beyond the window to the dark starry sky.” “Mama. and then judge them for their worth. I will be most selective. “You can see what a problem this is. “We are caught in the middle of two evils. If he struck her once we would have to harm him. “There are no shortages in parties. “Still I can think of a few.” Grigori laughed. “We may have different means to expose our sister to them.” “Perhaps some nobility give parties here that boyars attend?” Fabiyan questioned in hope for a proper and fitting brother in law. I am not certain I want them for family.

teas.” Fabiyan answered grinning broadly. 55 . “To our family. “I intend to impress the Grand Duke. Our three ships have been consigned for a trip to Novo Arkhangel’sk.” “And what about you?” Grigori queried.” He held his cognac in salute.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “The prices we would get from the herbs.” “By whom?” “None other than the Grand Duke Adrik Romanov. and spices will make Papa happy. “I am here to watch for the two ships from Russia and a group of Cossacks accompanying several wagons. “Where will you be going?” “Surprise.” Grigori tossed back his head and roared with laughter.” Fabiyan replied. I will be staying here.” “For how long?” “Until Mayday festival.

Payton Lee g 56 .

” Lara comforted.” Lara insisted.” “And the ones that are proper do not want to move to Novo Arkhangel’sk.” Lara offered Catherine placing her three month old son in his cradle.” Catherine sighed. 57 .” “And what would Grigori say to having a sister and brother in law about?” “We are both in agreement on this matter. Catherine played with his toes and Stefan gurgled happily. blond curly hair.” “I really prefer to stay at home with our little man. I may have no choice.” She stared at the adorable baby boy with his sapphire blue eyes.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Chapter 9 “Grigori and I would love to have you join us. “Would it be so horrible to stay in Okhotsk with us?” Lara asked. “It would be wonderful staying here and watching Stefan grow.” Catherine complained. Stefan.” “Don’t be discouraged. even with the offer of a ship and percentage of the family business. and round pink cheeks. She twirled the little feather bird hanging above Stefan’s cradle. “Won’t you please consider staying with us?” “Unless the perfect man walks in today.” Catherine replied leaning over the cradle. “It seems only Stefan brings me joy and happiness. You can even live with us. “Your brothers’ are only concerned to find you the most proper husband. “It would give you more opportunity to socialize with the male population while we enjoy a fine meal. “We want you to stay here.

Make certain Marta is comfortable. The couple was a matched attractive set.” “It is your anniversary. are you certain you do not wish to join us? The cuisine is wonderful at the Falcon Shore. With all the soirees. “Catherine. and Fabiyan have provided these past months. “I will walk to the docks and find where the captain of the Gabrielle is. The cuffs and collar were decorated with bright red piping.” “We have only a month or two left before Fabiyan’s consignment and cargo arrive.” “You are too old. teas. Lara.” Adrik told Ilya. To him. Other men hoped to become part of the Koslov family by marrying Captain Koslov’s sister. “At last a room with a bed and heat!” Ilya rejoiced. and shopping you. He still wished to keep his true identity quiet and down key even in the city. the brothers’ quickly weeded them from the suitors. His black leather boots polished to a bright shine. Lara wore a blue woolen gown with matching greatcoat and bonnet. He wore his red sash decorated with insignia and medals. Faddei took Marta directly to the fireplace where he helped seat her in a chair. Her cooking throughout the last of our trek has kept our spirits happy. It was a simple hostel Adrik had selected. Unfortunately for the men. Many men were envious of Captain Grigori Koslov because of his beautiful wife. He looked so handsome in his full dress uniform. balls.” 58 . the simple woman of the village was more valuable than her weight in gold. I noticed the Gabrielle in anchor when we passed the port.” Adrik teased.Payton Lee g “Come my darling. A marriage for Catherine was necessary. We must have a husband for you by then.” Lara insisted taking Grigori’s arm. The three men and Faddei’s bride entered a hostel in Okhotsk. “I really do prefer to spend a quiet day at home. We would be half starved by the time we arrived here. “Marta wouldn’t have looked at you twice. you goat.” “Or Catherine can stay with us. I should have married her myself. Then is the time to return to Novo Arkhangel’sk. I am exhausted.” Ilya laughed. Faddei was not only her adoring husband he was her servant.” Catherine reminded.” “I have to admit Faddei’s marriage was wise. His saber hung in shield from a black leather belt.” Grigori requested motioning Lara to him. “You and Faddei get settled into the hostel. but Catherine would need to be happy and comfortable in the marriage.

“What would you be wanting to know from us? Cossacks are lubbers. It is the largest house in several miles and it is made of gray stone. Adrik saluted Ilya and left the hostelry to walk to the docks. Maybe I should learn to be a Cossack instead of a tar.” The sailor took the rubles and whispered.” “The Czar wants Cossacks in Unalaska?” “There are nearly a dozen already in Novo Arkhangel’sk. He was nearer to Novo Arkhangel’sk and his missing son. It wasn’t very long at arrival at Okhotsk docks he met several sailors talking outside a pub.” another sailor replied. Sails are no interest to a Cossack.” “If you are crew of the Gabrielle.” the sailor volunteered boastfully. “I thank you for your service. could you tell me where the Captain is?” Adrik asked hopefully. “Maybe I will remain with the sails. A once handsome young lover is aging quickly. They were discussing the Gabrielle and her lengthy stay in port. “Me old? Goat? You should look in a mirror. The sailors eyed the Cossack suspiciously.” “And I shall lean upon your bent body. “His brother is Captain Grigori Koslov of the Russian Hussars.” Adrik offered several rubles to the sailor. Would it be this easy to find the captain? “Captain Fabiyan Koslov is staying with his brother at the Gray House near the military camp. They move on horses. “I sail on the Gabrielle and we’ve already brought Cossacks there.” “Learn to ride and care for a horse and come talk to me. I am to be shipped to a place in Unalaska.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Ilya looked surprised and placed his hands over his chest defensively. Soon you will need a cane to walk. “I must learn to ride a horse?” the sailor laughed. “I never knew Cossacks were so rich. but I am to be part of the Gabrielle’s cargo. He was feeling hope and relief after a long separation and too many wars. The oldest of the group questioned the tall well-dressed Cossack.” Adrik returned with humor.” Adrik chortled.” 59 .” “That may be true. You can’t miss the house outside the camp. Adrik approached the sailors and introduced himself to the sailors.

” Adrik restated. You have slept several hours. Adrik was interested to know where the other two ships were. If you follow me to the parlor. Silently she left the parlor to find the wet nurse. He heard a rustling noise of blankets moving in the crib and decided to look. “I best prepare for your waking. well formed lips. He had consigned for three ships. Several moments later a butler responded by opening the doors. Aren’t you a handsome lad? Blue eyes. I will announce you to Captain Fabiyan. sir?” the butler queried. healthy pink cheeks. and soaker. The ships were consigned from the Koslov family of Novo Arkhangel’sk. “Captain of the Gabrielle. and trading with America and the Sandwich Islands. “Well my little darling. He saw the piercing blue eyes of an infant looking back at him with interest. Captain Fabiyan is in residence.” Catherine put down her embroidery. Two ships were coming from the long route carrying his household goods and servants. He truly wanted to become a businessman and forget soldiering. The one time I saw him. She walked to the table where she had previously placed fresh napkins. What’s 60 . blond curly hair.Payton Lee g Adrik smiled at the sailor and left quickly to return to the hostel. At the door of the gray stone house. “Currently the Captain is working on his charts in the library. “Yes?” “I’m here to see Captain Koslov. He walked to the large oak double doors and knocked with the brass knocker. Another purpose of his move to Novo Arkhangel’sk was involvement in the fur trade. shipbuilding. Adrik tethered Angel on the hitch post. He was interested in meeting with the captain of the Gabrielle.” Adrik requested. Once in the parlor he noticed a crib. “Yes sir. Adrik returned to the hostelry found Ilya and told him he would be going to the Koslov home near the military camp. “Hello little one. There he would remain until the captain called for him or met him. She folded the clothes carefully next to the crib. Adrik was also looking forward to the sea voyage. “Which one.” the butler informed. I imagine you will be wet and hungry when you wake and your Mama will be home soon.” Catherine cooed looking over her needlework to the sleeping infant. You remind me of my own son. He had his fill of war.” Adrik nodded and followed the butler silently to the parlor. gown.

but he is not my son. You have a handsome son.” She cut off her question. Where is my intelligence? “That may be true for some men.” What a stupid thing to say. Why am I thrilled she isn’t the mother? “No. This was a stranger holding her nephew.” Carefully Adrik returned Stefan to his crib. I believe that. “Ah. everything is perfect. but a man doesn’t care or change an infant.” The last remark struck the humor bone in Catherine. He felt like he was holding his own son and enjoying the feeling of a baby in his arms.” Catherine looked into those deep blue eyes. He was wearing the new soaker and gown she had laid out.Novo Arkhangel’sk w this. Good Lord she is beautiful. This stranger was handsome. And I see someone has prepared for such an event. But I can’t think with her in the room. “I have heard such tales. Adrik lifted Stefan into his arms and walked him around the parlor. “Thank you sir. a frown?” Adrik picked Stefan up. 61 . She shook her head to regain her logic. Stefan was changed. He skillfully removed the wet soakers and napkins.” “What is this?” Fabiyan interrupted. It felt wonderful to hold the baby in his arms. His eyes followed her long blond hair to her brilliant sapphire blue eyes. She didn’t even try to stop the tall handsome stranger from coddling her nephew.” What a beautiful smile. “Yes. He was immediately lost in her beauty. Stefan was soon dry and happy with a fresh napkin and clean soakers. And how do you know. “And we Cossacks care ever so tenderly for our horses. “I just never expected to see a Cossack capable of changing an infant’s napkins. “You changed him?” Catherine asked quizzically. “Did I put something on wrong?” Adrik queried turning possession of the infant to his aunt.. Gently Adrik wiped and cleaned Stefan’s bottom with a soft cloth.” Adrik replied quickly. She walked briskly to the stranger and reached for Stefan.” Catherine uttered without thinking. but I have cared for all ages of men on and off the battlefield. “Good day to you. He is my nephew. I see the reason for your discomfort. He saw before him a perfect figure dressed in a light blue satin gown. “Cossacks are more than horse riders. He couldn’t help but stroke Stefan’s soft blond curls. He was dressed as a Cossack but his manners and speech indicated a stronger education.” Catherine laughed. Adrik sensed her presence and looked up. Catherine was dumbstruck. Catherine walked in the parlor to find a perfect stranger holding and talking to her nephew.

Send Grigori to the library when he arrives.” He had seen the two look at each other and came to the conclusion that at last his sister had brought a proper suitor.Payton Lee g Adrik straightened. What on earth did that smile mean? Fabiyan was ecstatic. He offered his sister a broad smile as he left the parlor. He felt it. His clothes are Cossack but they are made of the best materials. “Come. “Catherine.” He opened his arm to the open door. “I hope Lara and Grigori return soon. “Captain Fabiyan Koslov?” Fabiyan clicked his heels together and bowed.” Catherine responded watching the handsome stranger leave the room. He walks like nobility. Fabiyan studied the stranger as he took a seat. 62 .” “I’m sure they will.” Fabiyan ordered. Catherine felt a strange shiver run down her back. soon he will be hungry. His speech shows a lengthy education. Suddenly his brain righted itself. Stefan is awake?” “Yes. This was a fine man for Catherine. we will discuss matters in the library. His boots are made of the best kid leather and polished to a shine beyond the simple Cossack. “At your service.

At last some sense would be applied. He did not like being confused. Adrik did not allow his face to show surprise. “No.” “Good. Adrik nodded. To allow anyone an insight into thought by such expression was weakness. “No. and a ship.” Fabiyan explained. He couldn’t understand why a slip of a woman would be discussing the cargo consignment with him. He only had been with her for a few moments. 63 .” Perhaps he was concerned that a woman would be brought on board.” Fabiyan started and then hesitated. “Catherine has discussed our contract?” This question took Adrik by surprise. we did not. “It is my intent to live there at least that long. He could find out about where the other two ships were. He also wanted to start loading his private belongings on board the ship in port.” Fabiyan stated.” He wouldn’t allow this Captain to see his confusion with the question. “We offer a large purse. He worried at that moment for Faddei and his wife. “And you are willing to live in Novo Arkhangel’sk for at least six months to a year?” These questions were beginning to confuse Adrik. we can begin negotiations on the contract. “You are not married?” Again Adrik was surprised at such a question. His many years in the Romanov court had trained him to show no facial expression or emotion. “I will begin.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Chapter 10 Fabiyan would need to know more about this stranger. Czarina Catherine was his greatest teacher in the art of intrigue. there will be a partnership with the family business.

“Yes. Adrik rose and his face did show anger. the finest of the lot. Igor laughs. a younger man in a Hussar uniform entered the room. and of course there is Prince Igor.” Grigori addressed upon entering the library. have a full marriage. “What is going on here? What are the two of you talking about? And what is this nonsense about Prince Igor Petrovov intimidating me?” Fabiyan was surprised by Adrik’s anger. The missive was more numbers then anything else. “I meant no insult. Baranov. The missive Otto sent contained information of mishandling of funds and unnecessary cruelty to Aleut slaves. This includes our governor. His interest had been peaked when the offer included a ship. The merchants are terrified of him. since I have not have word of Prince Igor in some time. “You know of Prince Igor Petrovov?” “I have heard of him.” The last he heard of his cousin had come from his German manservant. Adrik returned to his chair. since he fears reprisals from the royal nobility as all do.Payton Lee g Before Adrik could ask a question. He returned his eyes to look at his brother and remarked.” Fabiyan stated firmly. “I believe you might tell me.” Fabiyan revealed. He was once more in control of his emotions. We want to make certain he will not intimidate you. Grigori stopped just inside the door and stared at Adrik. He is not generally one of my topics of conversation. When the merchant’s complain. but recovered quickly. He wanted answers and anger would prohibit that. Baranov can do nothing. Fabiyan. “He looks a bit old. “Igor 64 . takes what he wills. “You requested my presence.” Once his anger was revealed. “Igor holds his royal affiliation like a sword over everyone in Novo Arkhangel’sk. Grigori immediately put his hand up in defense. At this point he had no idea what this Captain Fabiyan Koslov was discussing. Otto. It is our wish that Catherine be happy.” That comment was the last straw. His calm had returned. and walks out without payment. Igor walks into a merchant’s shop. Adrik released it.” “Then you might have heard of his current misdeeds. at last Catherine has brought us the right one.” Fabiyan expressed enthusiastically.

whip them. We managed to bring her to safety in Okhotsk.” Adrik kept his stern face although he wanted to smile.” Fabiyan added. especially American ships. He demands betrothal to our sister. After all. He wondered why he had not heard of any of this from Otto. He reminded her he was royalty and we were boyars.” Grigori replied. Igor was sent to Novo Arkhangel’sk to get him away from Mother Russia. but we must find her a husband.” “Such mistreatment of the Aleut slaves is expressly prohibited by Imperial decree. or even Governor Baranov against noble and relations to royal blood?” Fabiyan grumped. Petersburg. “Prince Igor consistently reminds us of his powerful relative. He merely laughed and threatened to do it to her. Czar Paul had asked Adrik to intercede since Adrik was planning on building a home in the Unalaska area. “If I thought it were possible I would go to the Czar myself. These men raid the port and lighten cargos of many ships.” Adrik stated. boyars. “Surely you could take this to the Czar?” “And if Prince Igor denied it?” Grigori suggested. strip them naked.” Adrik reminded. “Fortunate so far. “Once my Mama tried to stop Prince Igor. and then use them. why haven’t you gone to the Czar?” Adrik queried. If he continued his brutality and thieving the Czar would have to have him killed. “His pleasure is to take young daughters and wives of the Aleut slaves. This changed when he developed an interest in our Catherine. Little did Captain Fabian Koslov know he was speaking to the royal relative of Prince Igor Petrovov.” “If you know these things and have proof. It would be helpful to get the problem Prince out of Mother Russia. I am not without my own noble contacts. “What recourse would we have? God is in the heavens and the Czar is in St. He would own all that we had. 65 . We managed to take Mama away. Adrik knew Igor was the spoiled apple relation and nothing would surprise him. “Has Igor interfered with your family and shipping business?” “We have been fortunate that his tastes do not include shipping and building ships.Novo Arkhangel’sk w has established a power base of thugs. A husband who is not afraid of Novo Arkhangel’sk and Prince Igor.” “You can be assured I will not be intimidated by Prince Igor.” Fabiyan continued. Igor was an embarrassment to the Russian Royal family. Would a nobleman listen to struggling merchants.

“We have prewritten papers of this agreement. You may read them. but not yet. His ship. He was far above a mere Prince.” 66 . “I am agreed. “They will be acceptable. He pulled out papers from the desk. We would need at least two to three weeks. This was an arrangement after all. They thought he was a suitor for their sister. “We should finish this betrothal contract. and with complete concentration. but his dream for a new life in the New World and a business was being handed to him.Payton Lee g “It is the only way we can save our Catherine. Adrik read the papers slowly. the ship. After all he was cousin to the Czar. He would have a warm body to sleep with.” Adrik consented. he was tired of war. He would raise these children.” “You know all these things and you are agreed to everything?” Fabiyan questioned hopefully. a portion of the Koslov shipping business.” Suddenly the strange conversations made sense. There it was. Why not a wife? He was moving to a new home. when do the nuptials take place?” “When would you like them to occur?” Grigori asked. This was a lucrative contract.” “We still wish our sister to have a happy contented marriage. and our business from the claws of Igor. Their sister was the woman in the parlor. our family. “Once I sign this. With the deal would be a wife. He would find his son and impregnate the young Catherine.” Fabiyan replied confidently. “This includes children. not like the love he thought he had with Magda. Betrothals such as this were intricate and detailed. Marriage was an arrangement. Marriage was working for Faddei. his wife. With this he would get a ship. carefully. Although this is an arrangement. Children? Yes. He would never be that foolish again. The new home would need a mistress. he was Grand Duke Adrik Romanov. Igor did need to be contained. He needed no more wealth.” Fabiyan handed the papers to Adrik. “What of Dimitri and Jasha?” Grigori asked. He would agree to this. Should he explain exactly who he was and what he was doing there? Yes. He was going to Novo Arkhangel’sk. he would have children. “My wife will want to be a part of this and we want Catherine to have a lovely wedding. He could indeed protect their sister from Prince Igor. There would be no love. it is hoped children will be issued. and a partnership in the Koslov shipping business were there in black and white.” Grigori added. and a wife.

Where would they be? I see only the Gabrielle in port. I would like to discuss the reason I am here. you can begin this evening by joining us for the supper meal. He had just contracted his sister to a complete stranger. “You did not come here to court my sister?” “I met your sister for the first time in your parlor. the end result was a good match for his sister. and the Sandwich Islands. “I will soon bring the Gabrielle into dock. I will see when you bring in the Gabrielle and send the wagons to be loaded. “The ice within the port waters is nearly melted. He would deal with Catherine and her temper later.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “Agreed. and Sonia. Yet. but this Cossack was still a surprise. folded it and put it in his waistcoat.” “I have with me several wagons I would like loaded on the Gabrielle as soon as possible. He wasn’t sure what or whom he expected. Everything he had wanted from this move to Novo Arkhangel’sk was literally dropped in 67 . He took the quill and signed his name. Relentless.” Fabiyan and Grigori looked at each other with surprise. Right now he needed to discuss the consignment with his customer. “Yes. China. India. He had greatly benefited from this chance meeting of the lovely Catherine Koslov and her brothers. Do you agree?” Fabiyan flushed with embarrassment. He was surprised to have the Cossack be the representative.” Adrik responded. he felt good for the choice. A legal firm from Okhotsk had handled all the consignment with the Koslov shipping office in Okhotsk. In the meantime I think it will be a good idea to court your sister. That is if you have no further business today.” Fabiyan sat down on the chair behind the desk. “She is most beautiful and I am quite amendable to your contract.” Adrik stated with authority. signed the second copy. They are expected back in Okhotsk within the month. Yet.” Adrik replied. He returned the first papers to Fabiyan. I am here with people and wagons to load on the ship.” Adrik smiled smugly. “I will be staying at the Okhotsk Hostel. “The Relentless and Sonia have continued on with a trading mission to Japan. He had made a mistake about the stranger. Within the next two months Russian ships will be arriving in port to load the consigned ships.” Adrik laughed. but I am here to question the consignment of the Gabrielle. Somehow he would handle Catherine.” “Good. “Now.” Fabiyan informed.

“There is only one more thing. “What do you really think of him?” Fabiyan arched a brow. and besides you are Katya’s favorite brother. She had little to do with this arrangement other than talking to the man. and proper gentleman.” Grigori responded because he was current head of this household. powerfully built.” Grigori jumped from his seat and left the library leaving his cheroot to burn out in the spittoon.” A few minutes after Adrik had left the library Grigori addressed Fabiyan who was sitting at the desk with his hands folded.” 68 . “He is well educated. “Oh no.” “You tell her.” Grigori sat down upon the desk. “I cannot believe you made a marriage contract for Catherine to a man we don’t even know. My only fear is that Katya will not. Several hours later Lara and Grigori were changing for dinner. and gentle. I feel good about him. “I do want to make a good impression on my betrothed. As he walked toward the library door he turned and flashed the brothers a broad smile. “There is nothing to worry with me as husband. You contracted this.Payton Lee g his lap.” Grigori excused. “He seems to be intelligent. I have time to bathe and change into clean clothes. The only missing want would be finding his son. “We were getting desperate. brother.” Adrik explained. I saw him caressing Stefan. I allow you to tell her the good news. Grigori laughed and held up his hands defensively. “I think he is a good match. I am a bit rumpled from my journey and I have taken no time for rudimentary hygiene.” Fabiyan ordered.” Adrik understood the warning and smiled. I believe Dimitri and Jasha will agree. During this time Grigori told her of the marriage contract and the stranger selected. well schooled. “We are ten brothers that would not look happily upon our youngest sister troubled in any way. Katya was engaged in conversation with the Cossack.” Fabiyan added determined to elicit understanding.” Lara scolded putting on her long string necklace of perfectly matched pearls. I merely walked into this arrangement. “When do you serve the evening meal?” “Our dinner meal is served at 8:00 in the evening. I believe it is a good match. “Good. He lit a cheroot. I really do. Mikhail Adrikovich Romanov.

but the two of you look especially quizzical. It is most likely his wife would know his violence. It would be horrible to be married to such a man. “I know this is your anniversary. Then the nobility would force Baranov to strip our family of all our land. business.” Lara spun around and demanded.” “Catherine has told me of the beast. Then we will share.” Grigori shrugged his shoulders and followed his wife. “No! You and your brother contrived this. “We wait for Fabiyan to join us. and trade.” Catherine was sitting in the parlor holding Stefan when Lara and Grigori arrived. but I will miss Catherine. Igor will demand a marriage contract. “Prince Igor will begin to tear at our family should Katya not return with Fabiyan. Lara turned and laughed.” “I will miss her also. You and Fabiyan will need to persuade your sister. I love her company and Stefan adores her. She tossed her head and with a smile replied. Without a husband.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “Desperate? How can you consider it desperate for such a beautiful young woman as Catherine?” Lara demanded. “Why? Why is it so important to send Catherine home with a husband within this time frame of your brothers?” Grigori took his wife’s hand and kissed her knuckles lovingly.” Grigori agreed.” “That is true. “Today is our anniversary and I will get that special bauble anyway. I will draw my own conclusion about this Cossack. we have to send her back with a husband. “Still. “I tried.” 69 .” Lara grinned.” “I love having her living with us as well. “Besides. “We will need help with this one. “I see your points.” Lara agreed. I was hoping she could stay longer with us. “A secret indeed. It is as if you know a secret perhaps?” Catherine queried. We as brothers would retaliate. The facts were frightening even to him. but will you help us introduce her betrothed?” Grigori pleaded.” “What if I promised you a special bauble for our anniversary?” Grigori suggested.” Grigori whispered.

Payton Lee g 70 .

A Russian nurse raised him. raised by his enemy. Adrik faked shock.” Adrik responded happily. I have found a bride.” Gasping for air Ilya attempted an answer.” Ilya spat out the vodka he was choking on. “Don’t yell at me. “Why think it so unusual for me to take a bride? It works well for Faddei. “Did you find your Captain Koslov?” queried Ilya sipping vodka. “That is a smart move. “I was beginning to worry for you.” “Mikhail was not raised by Deveraux. I am one of the few that knows all of it. “Faddei is not a widower accused of murdering his wife. She refused to come with you. She wanted me to marry and that I will do.” Ilya defended.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Chapter 11 “At last.” Ilya greeted Adrik when he entered the hostel room.” “I still plan to have her come live with me. “More?” “I’ve signed a betrothal contract. Maybe you fell into the port?” “Just the rain. 71 .” Adrik replied shaking off the raindrops from his greatcoat. “Much more!” Ilya looked up at his lord. Deveraux has paid for his upbringing to hide him from me. “I know the entire story.” “It suits me to take another wife. “You won’t have Sveta to take care of your home. I will need a wife to manage the home in Novo Arkhangel’sk while I pursue my business interests.” “So tell me about how this marriage will help you in your business interests?” Ilya asked sipping more vodka. Ilya. “I found Koslov and much more.” Ilya agreed.” Adrik stated defensively.” Adrik snapped angrily. He is also not looking for a missing son.

“Then I would not have to endure your sarcasm. Maybe this sister is stone deaf?” Ilya suggested.” “Would this sister be afflicted mentally or physically? Perhaps this sister is so ugly they hide her face. “Now tell me your story before I fall asleep from your boorish wit. my friend.” Ilya growled. Go on tell me all about your good fortune this day. beautiful. Sometimes I think you are more dry British than wholly Russian.” “Sometimes I wish you were stone deaf. “If you are going to be sarcastic there is no purpose to continue. “I could be stone deaf and you still would tell me everything. “He has demanded a betrothal contract with the Koslov family for the younger sister.” Adrik informed.” Ilya gasped.” “Partnership with Koslov shipping? Your own Koslov ship? They build the best ships in Russia and could compete with the top British and Dutch ships.” Adrik teased. At least he felt it was good fortune and good news.” Ilya snorted.” Adrik crowed. “Naturally I suit the need quite well.” Adrik bragged.” Ilya laughed.” “Insulting me will only make matters worse.” 72 . “And you need more money of course. “In fact the sister is young.” “Who is this woman you will marry that brings the Koslov family to the Romanov coffers?” Ilya asked with interest.Payton Lee g “It seems the dowry not only includes money. He really was happy inside and wanted to share his good fortune and good news.” Adrik began to explain.” Adrik snarled.” “You will be happy for me to learn that this marriage brings a partnership with Koslov shipping as well as my own ship. Catherine. He couldn’t help but be curious about obtaining a Koslov ship from a marriage contract. “I know you well enough to know you are quite pleased with yourself. and intelligent. “At last I have your attention. “Then why would she want an old dog like you?” Ilya queried “and still give you a partnership with a ship?” “It seems my distant cousin Prince Igor has something to do with it. “It seems the Koslov brothers have a younger sister that needs a husband immediately.

at least not yet. for your ship and partnership of course. You should never forget this. and your enemy. and even boyars. Adrik selected a mink cap that matched his mink collared greatcoat. He bathed. “They are willing to share all that they have to protect Catherine from Igor. “Yet I cannot see how they knew what to offer you. black woolen trousers with his calf length black woolen boots. He is vicious. I warn you now without even hearing these stories you have heard today. and used a lightly scented fragrance of spice. “I am most interested in how you think you will deal with your pig dog of a cousin if you are marrying this girl as a protector. but Ilya’s remark reminded him that Grigori had said he was too old for the beautiful young Catherine. “I also know you. He wore a delicately embroidered white satin waistcoat with a white satin ascot. “When they find out. “The Koslov family agrees with you.” Ilya remarked with interest.” Adrik considered wearing his court dress for dinner. They all fear the noble. On the trip Adrik warred with himself. The royal nobles are more terrifying to peasants. After his manservant offered several choices. “Otto is like most in your service. The carriage he hired pulled up in front of the hostel.” “They do not know I am Grand Duke Adrik Mikhail Peteravich Romanov.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “That sheep dung shouldn’t marry a musk ox.” Ilya elucidated as he broke some black bread from the loaf left over from his noon meal. Igor is not your blood. slaves. I understand the trepidation of your Koslov family.” Ilya spat contemptuously.” Ilya agreed.” “There is no doubt on that.” Adrik told his friend. I can protect her. It would be a bit much for a Cossack.” “I have heard many things about my cousin this day that were never put into the missives I have received from Otto. cruel. Picking up the clay jug. or even that Igor was his cousin? He thought about how he really 73 . Should he tell the family exactly who he was.” Adrik admitted. Adrik’s son was eighteen years old and his future bride was close to that age. shaved. he poured vodka into a cup. He walked to the table and took a chair across from Ilya.” Adrik responded seriously. He boarded and was driven in style to the Koslov Gray Stone Manor House. serfs. Adrik decided to wear a European cut woolen suit coat. I would like to be there. a grand duke.

He would be truthful now and bear the consequence. no less. was a good decision. to sign the contract? I have not had a suitor or interview get further than having to move to Novo Arkhangel’sk. Fabiyan.” Suddenly there was a large lump in Fabiyan’s throat that threatened to stop his breathing. The tall handsome one. this stranger. Ilya called Igor his enemy. It was he that sent Igor to Novo Arkhangel’sk to save his head from the axe. There was anger. many women were wed by contract and did not know their spouse. Grigori. “The old one. Fabiyan entered the parlor and smiled when he saw Catherine holding her nephew. not his blood. How could her brother 74 . “Lara and Grigori told me you had a surprise for me. Soon she would marry. I would wager he is younger than our Eldest brothers. Lara retrieved her son. “You signed a betrothal contract? With whom?” “The Cossack you were talking with today.” Catherine teased. I do hope it is a happy surprise. What would he say to Catherine? They had always been truthful with each other. with wide eyes. she would marry a complete stranger. brother. Her voice was controlled. Her first and strongest emotion was fear. “Such a face.” Fabiyan countered. but her mind had shattered in several different emotions. Still. He had always thought of Igor as blood family. Then the thought of a strange man touching his sister that way changed his mood and his smile turned to a frown. You will be returning as a married woman. How did this betrothal contract come about? How did you convince this Cossack. “He isn’t that old. Ilya’s words echoed in his mind. Czar Alexander had warned him that if Igor continued on his current path of cruelty and debauchery it would be the axe. Ilya’s remark troubled him deeply. albeit a mistaken identity. He believed she would make a wonderful mother and that his choice. What was worse.” “Tell me. Yet.” Grigori interjected. Fabiyan furrowed his brow and glared at Grigori for that remark. A Cossack. “Today we signed your betrothal contract. Stefan. “Catherine. has agreed to live away from Mother Russia?” Catherine demanded. Catherine turned and looked at her brother.Payton Lee g would handle Igor.” Fabiyan replied casually. you may return with us to Novo Arkhangel’sk and no longer worry about Prince Igor.” Catherine’s hand automatically went to her chest.

my lady.” The stranger in discussion entered the room. “Catherine. your betrothed. She especially did not want to tell Lara the man actually changed Stefan’s napkins and soaker. The fear came back to the fore once again. “Let us return to the subject at hand. remember?” Lara jumped into the conversation holding little Stefan even closer to her breast. The scar on the side of his face seemed to disappear in the aura of his presence. She couldn’t comprehend a stranger holding her baby.” Catherine sneered irreverently. She would no longer enjoy her caring and loving family.” a voice boomed from the hall. He was gentle with Stefan. “What do you mean HE WAS GENTLE WITH STEFAN? Are you telling me this stranger was holding my child? Why would you let a stranger hold my son?” Lara was trembling with fear and anger. I am your brother. He shook Adrik’s hand and walked with him toward Catherine. and I have been consigned to take to Novo Arkhangel’sk.” 75 . I also just know he will be good to you. “My name is Adrik. my new betrothed. Her freedom would soon be lost and would be under control of a strange man. Fabiyan walked to greet Adrik. Jasha. “I saw him gently stroking Stefan’s face. Not once had he asked the man his name. a husband.” Fabiyan replied quickly. but it was not a Cossack. He hadn’t even looked at the nuptial papers. Catherine gasped.” “How fortunate for us that he is your future cargo. The man was extremely handsome dressed formally. “It would appear this Cossack is part of the cargo Dimitri. He was dressed handsomely in the current European cut suit.Novo Arkhangel’sk w arrange this marriage without getting her opinions? Catherine also felt sorrow.” Catherine knew better. I want only your happiness. Does he have a name?” Fabiyan was suddenly at a loss. It was the same man in the parlor earlier today. “Indeed I do. “I didn’t say he was holding Stefan. well educated. and I don’t believe Prince Igor can intimidate him. but decided this was not the time to discuss the gentleness of the giant stranger. “I have a good feeling about this match. I love you.” Fabiyan replied defensively. He is strong. His hair was cropped professionally and he was clean-shaven. “Was this the only needed attribute for your decision?” “Catherine.

It would be desirable to have a mutually acceptable contract. the housekeeper. “Madame. She still reserved judgment about the marriage to the man. but it is getting late. “I appreciate your kindness. I will withdraw the betrothal. but then they never had entertained any of the Cossacks from Prince Igor’s household.” Adrik responded. Catherine was surprised to the point of complete speechlessness. I am honored. do you agree?” Catherine nodded politely. The Koslov family observed the impeccable manners of the Cossack. It entered their minds that this was no ordinary Cossack. The meal was simple Russian foods. she would be his possession for the rest of her life. He turned and looked at Catherine. but Adrik again surprised the brothers and Catherine with his wit and intelligence. The bride rarely had anything to say in the matters of betrothal contract. It is my intention to give us both a time to learn a little about each other. This was shocking and completely unheard of with Russian family marriage agreements. He seated her and then took the chair next to hers. Goborsky had taken Stefan to his nurse after she announced that dinner was served. I am aware you were given little interaction with this contract. This Cossack was giving Catherine an opportunity to decline the marriage. “If you find me to be an absolutely abominable future husband. After all. I have a long ride back to the hostelry. Adrik offered his arm to Catherine. The conversation at dinner was light. Is that fair enough?” Fabiyan and Grigori stared at each other. Adrik noticed Catherine’s eyes sparkled when she gave him the agreeing nod. Mrs. Fabiyan took the chair opposite Catherine. My friends are awaiting my return. I am also here to express my desire for your hand in marriage. He was not only handsome. but he was offering her the opportunity to learn about him and hopefully he would learn about her. Goborsky. The man impressed her. Mrs. After the meal Fabiyan and Grigori invited Adrik to join them in the library for a cheroot and cognac. She accepted it and together they walked into the dining room. She could hope for at least an agreeable marriage. The glimmer in her eyes gave him hope for at least a contented marriage. Lara was seated at the head of the table and then Grigori took his seat at the opposite head of the table. He noticed Catherine’s 76 . He boldly stated. entered the parlor and announced dinner.Payton Lee g Adrik bowed politely.

” Adrik stated happily. Fabiyan chuckled. Good.” Catherine acknowledged. Even the men she had met in Okhotsk had been single minded.Novo Arkhangel’sk w hand on the table.” Lara included so she would be present. they were considerate of her feelings. “I appreciate your invitation but I do not enjoy shopping. belligerent. This would be his first test. moods. He placed his large hand on top of her small one. “I would like to call on you tomorrow morning if that would be acceptable to you. This was a most unusual Russian male.” Grigori interjected making certain he would be there to see how his sister would be treated. That would be a most enjoyable outing. “Is there something you would enjoy doing in Okhotsk?” Catherine found her chance to test the waters on the open mindedness of her future husband. He thought every woman loved to shop. Prince Igor was the worst of the lot and he was the nobility. “Thank you. 77 . likes. “I would really like to visit the Gabrielle. “I will arrive in the morning. It was unusual for a woman not to like shopping. Most of those Russians were drunk most of the time and she had witnessed their brutality and cruelty on occasion. “You of course will be our chaperone?” “We will be your chaperone. “We’ll be expecting you then. perhaps?” Adrik suggested. He was like her brothers. He could hope that was the case. but if his future bride took an interest in sailing it would be an interest they could share. Adrik was confused at the humor at his suggestion. Catherine glared at her brother. Catherine had attributed it to their European upbringing.” He turned to look at Fabiyan. “I thought you would enjoy going into Okhotsk for a shopping trip. after all she was the daughter of Yuri Koslov the Captain and ship builder.” Catherine whispered. and wishes. I haven’t been able to visit her since our arrival. Her recent experience had been with the current Russian males living in Novo Arkhangel’sk.” Adrik couldn’t believe his ears. she did not recoil at his first touch. Even her father was not a typical brusque Russian male.” “I would like to visit the Gabrielle myself. After all he did seem to be different from other men she knew.” “I have no objection. and objective to her interests.

Payton Lee g 78 .

Now tell me what you are dressed up for. “You didn’t hire one with the carriage?” questioned Adrik as he finished buttoning his elaborately embroidered shirt collar. The day was already warm and the remaining ice in the harbor would be melted.” Ilya suggested slyly. my good friend. Adrik looked at Ilya’s reflection in the mirror. “A dockside doxie?” Adrik chortled putting on his shirt. Adrik sat down on the bed and retrieved his dress coat.” Ilya replied.” Ilya informed filling a cup with tea. “Eat your breakfast. he wanted to meet the Grand Duke’s future bride.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Chapter 12 “The carriage and horses are ready as you commanded.” Adrik laughed boisterously. Ilya not only wanted to see the ship.” 79 . Adrik raised his brow with doubt. “They wanted too much money. It was a good day to visit the Gabrielle. “Thank you. He had just completed shaving and was ready to dress in a clean Cossack uniform. “You’ll need a driver.” Ilya replied sitting down on one of the two chairs in the room they shared. “Where do intend to start looking this day? The market?” “I thought perhaps the docks. he would admit to a curiosity greater than a cat.” Ilya replied half-heartedly sipping his tea. “Since when have you worried about my purse? You talk of a wife and worried about my purse? Are you ill?” “I could drive you at no cost to your purse.” “I could tell you I am looking for a bride. He was well dressed in a clean Cossack Uniform with boots brightly polished.” Ilya announced entering the hostelry room. Faddei and you have succeeded at such an undertaking. Ilya.” Ilya grunted breaking a piece of black bread from the loaf. You wish to meet my intended. “Your curiosity will one day be your undoing.” “Is there something wrong with looking after the Czar’s favorite cousin? Someone needs to protect you. “Aha! That is the way of it. He held up his hands and looked at his nails. If he were asked.

You think I have no right to worry for you?” Adrik reached across the table and patted Ilya’s shoulder. She would make his life at home comfortable. I have always been at your side during a campaign.” Ilya stated raising his brow.” Adrik replied drolly.” Ilya grumbled. Adrik inquired about Faddei. “I have not known you to even look at a woman since your young marriage. I must live with this woman and I would like to live with her in peace. The conversation convinced Adrik he was doing the right thing by taking a wife.Payton Lee g “You think this young maiden would cause me bodily harm?” Adrik queried between his laughter. Ilya. If I can win her as a friend I would be happy. Faddei and Marta were obviously having a wonderful time together. “She might.” Ilya reached across and put his hand on Adrik’s shoulder. He would find out how to do that during the courtship.” Adrik shook his head with mirth. They even had food and drink delivered to the room. “Come then my friend. He had not seen his other friend since their arrival in Okhotsk. He learned that Faddei and Marta had not been out of their hostel room since arrival.’ 80 . “I see your point. Let us meet my betrothed. ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. You must understand this is a marriage of purpose. “This is a contract yet it is a marriage. “I appreciate your concern.” “I do care. he would have to make sure she was happy as his wife. Catherine would have a life of luxury and he would have a mistress for his new house. You have lived in your widower misery like a martyr all these years. I see no reason to change that now. He put on his coat. On the way to Gray Stone Manor. Yet. Ilya admitted he had listened at the door and heard laughter. “Then why do you go to such trouble to impress the maiden if you have the signed contract? Don’t tell me you do not care. He remembered as a young officer his general reminded the men often. You will remember that I am still incognito!” “Yes! Yes!” Ilya agreed mockingly rising from his chair and heading toward the door to open it for Adrik. There is no love or emotion. Of course. “I shall be your best silent servant driver.” Adrik rose from the chair. Suddenly you announce a marriage to a maiden nearly the same age as your offspring. It is a contract. I will not believe it.

The fact you have no intention of correcting this mistake! The fact I will wed this mistake is of no consequence to you.” “What is wrong with my clothes? I wear them all the time on Gabrielle. Fabiyan had entered the room right behind Lara. You’ve already signed the contract. The man is thoughtful. Adrik stepped backward. “I fail to see the point of you trying to convince me this stranger is a wonderful betrothed. “He’s brought a carriage. You have little time to change your clothes.” Fabiyan returned. Catherine. “He didn’t know if Grigori had a large enough comfortable carriage for all of us.” striding into the parlor Lara announced to Catherine. “Your clothes do not show your soft and beautiful femininity. Catherine spun around.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “He’s here. “I couldn’t agree more.” Catherine groaned. It isn’t your life you have ended. rolled her eyes. “That is thoughtful. climbing up to the deck. rowing to the Gabrielle. and turned to leave. is!” “You could at least try to see some good in this. My future is in stone. Her nose rammed into a coat of wool and scent that was quite pleasant. She was wearing her white linen shirt decorated with fine embroidery in bright colors. I would think for our outing today it is practical. He noticed Adrik entering the room behind Catherine.” She had been looking out her bedroom window when she noticed the carriage approaching. He picked up Catherine’s chin and grinned. “He’s here.” Catherine turned to glare at her brother. A fashionable dress simply would not do. At least she thought it was a wall. I have no say in this. It is mine!” “You could try to make this work. On her waist was a black wide belt. Her black silken Turkish pants tucked into soft kid leather boots. A large wall stopped her movement. “I hope you don’t intend to change this lovely outfit. “Good? How can anything but good come of this? I came here to wed. She allowed her anger its release.” Fabiyan grunted angrily.” Catherine snapped placing her hands on her hips. Fabiyan folded his arms across his chest. It is done! The fact you made a mistake thinking I brought this stranger to you.” Catherine took a calming breath.” Fabiyan stated glancing at Catherine. and sailing Gabrielle into port. What is.” 81 . These clothes are quite suitable for being loaded into a dinghy.

just as Adrik said.” “The men you know are brothers or blind?” Ilya joked His jest made Catherine laugh. “Shall we be off then?” Brushing Adrik’s shoulder she moved around him and pranced out the door heading for the front door and the parked carriage. “I’ve been called many things but no one has ever called me beautiful. 82 .” Catherine smiled broadly. sister in law. I am grateful I was allowed to drive. May I ask who you are?” Catherine queried.” Ilya teased leading her to the carriage. if I were to learn about a gentle Adrik. my lady?” Catherine was in a much better mood. “He said I was beautiful?” “As you are. He coughed politely.” Catherine was taken back for a second. She failed to wait for her brothers. “Are you Ekaterine? Are you the betrothed?” “I am. “I know Adrik as a brother. madam. Catherine looked up at him and quietly stated. We trained together in the military. We have known each other since we were boys. or betrothed. and tall bearded Cossack.” This man was a filled with humor and his wit was extraordinary. I fear I would be condemned to hell forever.Payton Lee g Adrik tried not to laugh. She stood on the stairs for a moment to inhale the fresh aromatic scent of springtime. “Good Day. “Are you a friend of my betrothed or does a Cossack usually drive carriages?” “I think you know the Cossacks well. wide. curious one. “You are friend of the Adrik?” “I proudly say that I am. Graciously Catherine accepted Ilya’s arm. This man was pleasant to be near and for some reason she felt comfortable with him as she did her brothers. We were raised together as children.” Ilya answered bowing slightly. The sun was warm. Yes. To meet you. She hoped to find out about her future husband. da?” Ilya chortled.” Ilya chuckled walking toward Catherine. “Would you accept my assistance to light upon the carriage. We fought together in the Russian wars. I am his friend.” Ilya greeted merrily removing his fur cap. “You are more beautiful with a smile. “Is he a gentle man?” “My lady. I volunteered to drive this carriage. Standing at the carriage was a large. “You are beautiful. It becomes you more than the frown you wore leaving your house. Catherine was hopeful at this point.

Adrik took her bridle as she began prancing nervously. It was at the same time Fabiyan voiced his concern over her silence. “I have not noticed. Fabiyan would respond with jest. She had watched the Cossacks riding back home and like them.” Catherine answered coolly. There was something unique about how he set his horse. She neighed and shook her head. Adrik stepped from the house to see his betrothed and his friend laughing with vigor. “I understand your wrath with me. She understood what he meant instantly.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Catherine couldn’t help herself. but even you understand that this must be. He was as strong as he looked. She laughed and laughed as Ilya lifted her onto the carriage seat. “Have you noticed how my betrothed rides?” “I am pleased you are interested in Adrik. and Lara walked to the carriage. but something was different. brother. but in her heart she knew she couldn’t be angry with him for very long. Grigori.” “You will be in that cold corner for sometime. she spoke of her shopping excursion and plans for the day. Lara initiated most of the conversations. It was a warning to any that upset her master. Grigori responded to his wife with his wit and suggestions. but in his equestrian ability?” Fabiyan chuckled. If he were calm he would think clearly. How does he ride?” 83 . He was feeling completely inadequate and as nervous as a schoolboy with his betrothed and his best friend was laughing with Catherine and enjoying her company. He spoke quietly and stroked her nuzzle to calm her. Angel always helped him calm his mind. It was something he wanted to do very much and seemed to be far away from his capability. Catherine was in her own world. As for Ilya. A sharp shard of jealousy thrust into his brain. He gritted his teeth and walked toward Angel. Catherine’s laughter was contagious. It was over an hour later and just before they entered the city of Okhotsk that she finally figured it out.” Adrik growled marching toward his horse. Angel sensed Adrik’s dark mood. Ilya took his position on the carriage. The comfort of his horse’s understanding comforted him and he calmed his anger while stroking Angel. He mounted as Fabiyan. Calm was his secret weapon during any battle. It was a habit he developed whenever he was not in a clear thinking mode. She concentrated on Adrik’s riding. “How long will you place me in the cold corner of the earth?” Fabiyan questioned. “The others will be out soon. He joined her in robust enjoyment. Adrik rode as one with his horse.

many young women were left without many young men as suitors. Adrik had more enemies than he realized and Ilya knew that Adrik did not take these enemy threats seriously. “He rides like the Cossacks in Novo Arkhangel’sk. His good friend Adrik would be a lucky man to have such an observant wife. With all the wars in Russia. she didn’t want her brother or brothers to ever forget she was a Koslov with tempers as theirs. Look. not his. This one rides stiff like the military. There was deep military there. He would make certain. he and he alone would assist his future wife down from the carriage. He would never let any man come between him and his wife. “Sir. Ilya could take his humor to the shops with Captain Grigori and his wife.” Catherine sniped in return. that would never happen ever again! “Madam. and realized this match was reasonable for her desired results.” Catherine explained. “Just how often were you watching those Cossack riders?” Fabiyan interjected. She was certain of it. He was older than she was. “The Cossacks ride as one with their beasts. This was his future bride. Some young women were often matched with much older men. She simply would not let her brother get any ease for his faux pas. Arriving at the port Adrik reined Angel in and quickly dismounted. but he rides like Grigori. She could end up marrying an old man. but he didn’t look older than her oldest brother. It could have been worse. It is as if they are both looking for attackers. Even though she was resolved to go on with this marriage.” “I don’t understand?” Lara questioned.” Adrik stated clicking his heels and offering his hand to Catherine. Fabiyan remained quiet. but he is one with his horse. Catherine had to admit Adrik was handsome and well built. Once upon the docks Catherine 84 . No. but military sit straight and tight. Ilya heard every word and smiled thoughtfully. Arman. “Just occasionally.Payton Lee g Grigori and Lara were paying attention now that Catherine had finally spoken. the horse’s head moves exactly in synchronizing motion with his masters.” Catherine mimicked taking his offered hand and allowing Adrik to aide in her descent from the carriage.

” “What viper bit you?” Ilya laughed. I will see you later this afternoon. Once again this jealousy appeared from deep within his being. She saw Lenya and Dima. There she saw many of the crew standing about waiting for the first mate.” After stating those words Ilya turned his back on Adrik and remounted the carriage taking the reins. He announced all the men of the crew would be invited to the marriage ceremony. “She’s a fine woman. Catherine! He must see to Catherine. The crew stood at attention for their captain. Adrik was frozen in shock. Two longboats were on the way to the Gabrielle. it was not a man of the sea. It was an act of possession Catherine and her brother did not misunderstand. my good friend! You will take your humor and continue to delight Captain Grigori and his wife as their driver for the shopping trip. Ilya very rarely spoke to him in such a manner. He put his other hand firmly upon her hand. Without a word he picked up Catherine’s hand and placed it upon his arm. “My dear Lord. “Ilya. Fabiyan interceded instantly by introducing Adrik as Catherine’s betrothed. It saddened and angered them to have a man with possession of her. I could tell right away. The crew did not misunderstand either. To make matters worse. They knew Catherine as a free spirit. but their faces showed irritation. You are a lucky man. It was an act of possession to all the surrounding males. Catherine stopped and looked for Feliks. you’re jealous. Her brother Fabiyan was directly behind him. He suddenly stopped laughing and became very serious. It was a man of horses.Novo Arkhangel’sk w moved quickly to the pier she believed Gabrielle would use as the slip. Adrik found Catherine in the middle of the seamen joking with them. He learned to listen to his friend on these rare occasions. He remembered how he and Catherine had been laughing together when Adrik had appeared at the door at Gray Stone Manor. 85 . He immediately walked to the pier. He walked briskly to Catherine’s side. Fabiyan went on the first longboat with his first mate and other officers. After assisting Catherine.” Ilya was extremely serious and looked Adrik directly in the eye. It was a Cossack. Adrik walked briskly to Ilya and nearly pulled him down from the driver’s seat. Fabiyan quickly issued orders and the men had other things to concern them. Some men still grumbled. Do not foul it up with your stupidity and temper. When Ilya did speak to him like that is was really serious.

India. “We moved there when it was still Shait’ka. He shivered from the icy blast coming from the ocean. Then we lived in St. Dima only laughed more. Adrik turned to stare at Dima. I received an education in Europe. You seem to have learned many things about me. “But I do love the sea. the one I was born on. I know nothing of you. Dima couldn’t stop his chuckle.” 86 . My older brothers moved with us and soon we had a fleet of ships. He did want to learn as much as possible about his future bride. and was on board when our mermaid was born. It was the land of the Tlingit peoples. “I do not have the experience or skills. Catherine took her seat and pulled Adrik’s hand to sit next to her. Father had traded with the peoples and wanted to start his own ship building business.” Catherine blushed. “Da.” Dima beamed.” “When did you move to Novo Arkhangel’sk?” Adrik questioned. and we lived on the ship until I was four years old. We traveled throughout the Orient.” Dima teased. “My parents were sailing my father’s ship when I was born. “Our mermaid cut her teeth on the pilot wheel.” she began to explain.” Catherine admitted. “Dima sailed with my father. Petersburg for several years. Even my brothers had captained ships for others. Even in his current incognito personality he had never really dealt with the masses and he was used to his noble ranking and respect. He had a sense she was a woman of spirit. “My other brothers are sailing all over the Pacific Ocean.” Catherine shared proudly. Only my oldest brothers stay at home and work with father. He had built many ships for others but only one for himself. “Is that true?” Adrik growled. but I never lost my love for the sea.” “And would you like to captain a ship?” Adrik inquired. The angry glare that tore Calvary men apart did not have the same affect on the seamen. “Cossack! Your attempts to aid our mermaid is like watching a sand crab try to teach a shark to swim.Payton Lee g Adrik boarded the last longboat and offered his assistance to Catherine for boarding.

Novo Arkhangel’sk w 87 .

Payton Lee g Chapter 13 “I am what you see before you.” Adrik answered simply. 88 .

She wondered where he received the scar. I have to admit I was captivated by their harmony with the beasts. He was quickly losing control of his libido. “I watched you and your horse ride as one like those Cossacks.” Adrik gently captured Catherine’s chin with his thumb and forefinger. It was as if he could see right into her. and run her fingertips lightly over his scar. run her fingers through his hair. Could he be falling in love? No. It was beautiful. Could this young woman be observant and acquainted with studies of behaviors? “When the Cossacks came to live near us. but it wasn’t that the Cossack was a world traveler. As he looked upon her he noticed how beautiful she really was. I watched them practice drills. Couldn’t he? “On what do you base your observations?” “Our family lived in Saint Petersburg for a few years. “I also lived in Saint Petersburg for a time. I have traveled through Europe. and even sailed to the Sandwich Islands that your brothers are so fond of. Japan. he couldn’t allow that. She was also feeling uncomfortable sitting so close to the man she would marry. She wanted to touch his face. She was learning nothing about him. More importantly what were these strange fluttering she felt in her body when she was near him? “Where did you live?” Adrik removed his stare from Catherine’s eyes.” Catherine agreed aligning with Dima’s observations. That was silly of course. “I see. and military. He wanted to taste them.” “On what do you base this assumption?” Adrik questioned with a smile.” Those lips were inviting.” Catherine shared. like a Cossack. He needed to divert his lustful thoughts. but your presence is far more than mere Cossack. If only they were alone instead of a longboat with four other men. It could never happen again. I often observed the aristocracy and the military in all those parades.” Dima interjected. aristocracy. visited England. “Were these travels a result of 89 . He could be happy. India. but you also show the aura of nobility.” Catherine felt those eyes penetrating her. She was feeling strange things. “You think that is so?” “I believe it as well. He sat straight up to respond to Catherine. you ride with your horse as one. I have lived in Moscow. What battle was it? Was it a battle? Slowly he was learning things about her. This hadn’t happened since he was a young lad. Adrik quirked a brow. “Your dress is Cossack.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “I think there is much more.” Catherine wasn’t certain what answer she expected.

It was obvious that Catherine was well acquainted with climbing this ladder. Her bottom was feminine and well formed. From the apparent ages of some of the crew. “Take me to the hold. He looked off to the open sea and responded wistfully. The trousers she wore accented that particular portion of body. Just who did this Cossack think he was? “Captain?” Adrik inquired once again. After all. Catherine’s choice was practical. and some even were tragic. Her movements were exact. He vowed he would not allow his lust to cloud his thinking. Adrik was his future brother in law 90 . His answers never answered her questions. some for training. the seamen were busy with the longboat. He couldn’t believe the order just shouted to him. some in search. He found none of them were paying attention to Catherine or his best glare. Catherine was the first to climb onboard.” This man was an enigma. Adrik’s discomfort brought him to the thought that if he was so stirred by the sight of Catherine’s derriere. Instead. I would see it. Adrik watched her climb the ladder. she was the daughter of a shipbuilder and seaman. His answers seemed only to create more questions in her mind. He would have to get control of his libido and his jealousy.Payton Lee g battles?” Again to her surprise he didn’t answer directly. Fabiyan did not respond at first.” His tone was gruff and commanding. He turned to glare at the men in warning. some for education. He enjoyed the view of her climbing. Adrik climbed the ladder after Catherine. How far could she go to find out what occurrences had shaped this man? Silence shrouded them after that question until they arrived at the ship. some for pleasure. so would the men with him. Fabiyan was waiting for them on deck. A rope ladder was lowered when the longboat approached. He must get his thoughts focused on something else. He was the captain of the ship and he generally gave the orders. “Captain Koslov. “Some were for battles. some for knowledge. Adrik couldn’t imagine climbing that ladder in a dress.” Adrik called. Once on deck he watched silently while Catherine greeted each of the mates as if she had grown up with each of them. Fabiyan determined it would not be wise at this time to take the Cossack to tow for his impudence. Magda had cured him of that. His manhood followed his thoughts and Adrik was soon in discomfort as his breeches tightened. Adrik’s thoughts turned lusty watching his Catherine work her way up the ladder up to the deck. they could have raised her.

If he continued he would have to reveal who he was and lose his important anonymity. I have missed Jurg’s culinary talents.” Dima snorted. I will try to learn all I can about him. It’s almost aristocratic. Let’s get to work and bring Gabrielle to slip in port. Katya. I will be boarding six horses in the hold. Perhaps he had been too sensitive to the man’s love of his horse. He had been revealing too much of himself recently. “You really sure you would marry the man?” “He does have a way about him. since the captain is not on deck. If he was that caring for his 91 .Novo Arkhangel’sk w and a representative for the man who hired his ship for cargo. These horses are trained and valuable Dons. He had not seen one rat. At any rate. Do you not smell the delights coming from the caboose?” “Mmm.” Fabiyan conceded. “Maybe we should investigate the caboose first.” Dima stated in hearing range of Catherine.” “Alterations?” Fabiyan questioned warily.” Catherine returned. Fabiyan and Adrik were below deck and inspecting the hold. One of them will be.” Walking briskly he directed his guest toward the lower decks and stairs that would take them to the hold.” Catherine gave a small curtsy. “I hope you understand. Captain Koslov.” “Changing a ship is the captain’s way.” Adrik admired. Horses as you are aware are not seaworthy animals. They are precious cargo. “It’s nearly time for the noon meal.” Catherine grinned. “I will bear the cost of the changes.” “After we eat. He had rarely seen a cleaner hold in his many trips aboard ships. “I will need to make a few alterations.” Dima responded.” Dima laughed. bowed slightly and responded. I would see to their comfort. “Bossy man.” “Aye.” Adrik offered quickly. sir!” Fabiyan replied gruffly. I will work at making our contract amendable. We should wait for his return. “Thank you.” “You always did tempt fate and challenge destiny. “You’ll do fine. It is the Cossack way.” “Of course I understand. my fate is sealed. “At your service. “You do keep a tight ship. “He’s more than he seems. Angel. He turned clicked his heels. but did spot two cats lounging in a corner.

her bed. She removed her hat and let the breezes waft through the tendrils of her hair. She and Dima had enjoyed Jurg’s meal. Gentle waves rippled silently across the horizon. vegetables.” Catherine had been working with the sails.” Adrik said simply. Fresh tears rolled down her cheeks. pine. Home. A gentle breeze caressed her face. Novo Arkhangel’sk was a dirty smelly city. “Come with me to the saloon. His leather boots barely made a sound on the smooth freshly sanded deck. Catherine took a stretch and found she was soon gazing out to sea. Then she thought of Adrik. Catherine continually was amazed at Jurg’s talent for taking simple staples of fish. She was lost in her memories of home. Catherine didn’t hear Adrik approaching. A tear rolled down her cheek. He couldn’t help it. and ocean breezes. Catherine had a talent of mending the smaller tears the men seemed to miss.Payton Lee g horse. Slowly he walked toward her. There was a fresh clean scent filling her nostrils. She woke up every morning to the smell of cedar. It was so serene and calm. The sails had been kept in good repair throughout the stay in the winter seas. She longed for home.” “I’d like to stay and oversee the construction if you will allow. but her family lived on the river north of the city. He signed the charter agreeing to live in Novo Arkhangel’sk. “I will be aboard her as well until we sail. I’ll send for carpenters when we are in port. but would he? Would she be forced to live with him in other places? 92 . She had checked the sails with Dima and was sitting near the bow repairing some sails.” “Thank you. Okhotsk was a city with dirty streets and dirty air. and her friends. her forest. Catherine hadn’t been this homesick before. “You want to stay aboard the Gabrielle?” Fabiyan offered. and bread to create incredible meals. potatoes. It was almost a surreal vision. Her blonde hair was floating in the air reminding him of golden pennants in the wind. her room. “I will agree to your required changes. She missed the sea air.” Adrik requested humbly. Adrik had come on deck and watched Catherine standing facing the open ocean. Dima went below deck to return the mended sails to the sail room. She looked like a Viking goddess. he should be good to his sister. I can already taste Jurg’s meal.

the more Catherine demanded. Was this beautiful young woman distressed to tears for marrying him? Adrik pulled her into his arms. The more Adrik teased. he was simply a man. Cossack. admiral. Without crushing her he pulled her closer into the hardness of his muscled body. “Is it possible such a beautiful view has brought sadness?” Folded in this stranger’s arm. and it really didn’t matter. This was more than a brother’s protection. It was also very pleasant. and more importantly seductive. Was this clean fragrance cedar? Pine? Until now the women he had known wore perfumes. His desire became a need. He looked down. Yes. It was a wonderful new strange experience. She wasn’t fast enough. She felt a new sensation tingling throughout her body right down to her toes. They were both facing the open sea. warrior. general. There was a growing want to discover the heady feeling that had first entered. Adrik inhaled Catherine’s scent. His body took control once again over his clear mind. Adrik tasted Catherine’s lips with little nibbles progressing to delving deep into the sweetness of her tongue. All past was erased from his mind as he enjoyed the perfection of his betrothed. this man could protect her from Prince Igor. “What is this?” Adrik asked removing her hand and gently touching his thumb across her cheek. Adrik was lost in the moment. In a movement of synchrony their lips touched and a fire ignited within their being. She realized it was Adrik and brushed her hand across her cheek to wipe away her tears. It was a warm secure feeling. A man with desires and needs exceeding lust and desire. She couldn’t remember if she was breathing or not. Catherine’s bones had turned to jelly.Novo Arkhangel’sk w The hand on her shoulder caused Catherine to turn with a startle. She felt it. There was a change in her. He was no longer the Grand Duke. Adrik hardened quickly. Catherine began experiencing sensations that were completely new to her. A desire began to grow inside. This man created something within her that she never knew or felt before. He was lost in his passion. She sensed a change in him. Before another thought could 93 . Was she trembling? Yet she felt warm all over. Catherine was serene in the comfortable arms of her betrothed. Catherine felt comfortable. This scent was fresh. The question was out before he realized he didn’t want an answer. His desire became more than a want. clean. Catherine turned to look up at Adrik.

Dima became rigid. Catherine looked at her brother blankly.Payton Lee g enter his mind he felt a hand on his shoulder.” Fabiyan stated angrily. pain brought him out of his lusty passion that would not have led to anything good with his future bride.” Fabiyan barked. While he turned to face the interloper he felt a fist ram into his cheekbone. and Faddei with other Cossack comrades would have a frolic in the taverns they visited during the brief respite between wars and battles. There were many times he. 94 . Adrik found his was enjoying this brawl. A quick tug and the adversary landed on his back with Adrik on top of him applying his own fists in battle. rolled out from under Adrik and rose to his feet. “Gentlemen!” Fabiyan growled. It was also true that there was no quarter or tolerance on the Gabrielle for disorderly conduct. He was furious to see Catherine’s swollen lips.” Fabiyan frowned at Adrik and looked at last to his sister. Catherine had first recovered from her condition of jelly. Dima had a punch that felt like a kick of a mule. Such a fight was not unfamiliar to him. Hitting on Dima’s body was like slamming into iron. Could this man that he had come to like hurt his beloved sister? Adrik rose to his feet and brushed his clothes. She was aware of their fighting. she struggled to stand. She was still catching her breath. This particular brawl was most enjoyable because the physical exertion and sometimes. “What is the meaning of this fracas?” Dima responded instantly. “Brawling on my ship is a punishable offense. He also focused in on her swollen lips. “The cad was taking liberty with our girl. Once Adrik left her standing to take fist to Dima. His kisses had turned to a mindless jellyfish. Ekaterine. Dima and Adrik heard the boatswain’s whistle. And he did feel pain. The first blow was followed quickly by another blow to his abdomen. “I did lose my head. Fabiyan noted his sister’s unusual behavior. He stumbled forward and charged the body like a bull. “You have made improper advances. Adrik rolled to his back to view a frowning Captain Fabiyan Koslov. Adrik. but couldn’t yell or shout. Adrik felt like he hit a solid wall but continued the charge until he wrapped his arms around the adversary’s legs. Ilya. Instinctively he broke away from Catherine to place his body between her and the interfering hand.” Adrik admitted readily.

He also wanted to stay on board the ship and personally supervise the building of the stalls for the horses and wagons. “I am Captain on this vessel. “Ekaterine is at home at the sea and aboard the Gabrielle as if she was a master seaman. and since I wish to work on the stalls in the hold for our horses. He dare not even grin at the Captain’s diatribe. I think it would be a good idea to stay on board. Punish him? The Grand Duke? “I am not a mate. Ilya would have told Fabiyan that Adrik was none other than a Romanov and blood cousin to the Czar himself. “Does my future wife always act like a mate?” “Yes. “I’ll take you to the cabin now. “My quarters. Captain. Fabiyan had certainly not paid attention to the signature. Curse this body for responding to him like that.” “Crystal.” Fabiyan laughed. “That I am sure of.” “I will show you your cabin later. Punishment? A little physical labor would be good for him.” Fabiyan ordered. Do I make myself clear. She ran to the stern and helped the mates raise sail. There was no doubt in his mind that Ilya would have told Captain Fabiyan that Catherine’s betrothed was of the highest nobility in Russian aristocracy. or the man that brought hot passion to her body. or the highest nobility daresay me.” 95 . It was obvious Fabiyan had not read the nuptial contract since the signing of it. Czar.” The sailors immediately took their places and set sail to the Port of Okhotsk.” Adrik responded. “Sails. and laws are not questioned and obeyed by all that are on my ship.” “This is going to be an interesting marriage. orders. Sarakov and will barbarize the deck on the first watch for the next five days. Adrik watched Catherine begin her chores and questioned Fabiyan.” Fabiyan agreed. Captain? If I am to barbarize the decks for the next few days. Papa saw to that. At least he had the arrogant Cossack to submit to his command.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “Tomorrow you will report to Mr. No one save God. Adrik couldn’t believe his ears. My word. He imagined Ilya’s outrage at the Captain’s punishment.” Adrik commented.” Fabiyan knew this was a challenge he had to meet now. He was happy he did not allow Ilya to accompany him.” Fabiyan responded. My mates and master will see to the Gabrielle’s voyage to her slip in port. Catherine found her legs again and couldn’t face either her brother. “Bring her to port.

” “Would you build ships for them?” “Our family has built ships for our family. It was large enough for him.” 96 . “Until we met you. He sat down on the chair next to the table and poured wine from a flask into a glass. as did the soft feather bed. You will be protecting her with us in short order. is a unique design. you will be sharing it. “None of her suitors would or could ever stand up against Igor. “She does not know how beautiful she is. There were chests secured near the walls that were made of cedar. Since you will be her husband. Your punishment remains.” Fabiyan replied firmly. He opened the door. She has not realized we brothers have kept the riffraff at bay.Payton Lee g Fabiyan walked to the cabin nearest the captain’s quarters.” “So contracting her to someone across the sea would solve this?” Adrik could not understand the reasoning behind the solution to Igor’s tyranny. Gabrielle.” Fabiyan responded informatively. She is beautiful. My family would have no choice but to take what we could and possibly move to the territories of the Americans. We have protected her from unsuitable rakes many times. Adrik walked into the cabin and was surprised. I was near giving up hope. “You do not care for the Russian Navy? This ship. “Does this mean I will not bear your wrathful punishment? I will be your brother in law?” Adrik queried. “I will not tolerate any brawling on my ship. The room was fit for a Romanov.” Fabiyan scowled. I am her brother. He leaned against the armoire. Her lack of suitors she believes has been to her simplicity and lack of interest in men and interest by men in her as a woman. our business. Adrik.” Fabiyan informed. The armoires were carved artistically from the finest wood. “Made just for me?” “Actually this is Ekaterine’s cabin.” Adrik commented. but I am not blind. The mink coverlet looked inviting. “As for your impropriety? I can understand your attraction to my sister.” “Catherine doesn’t seem to know how desirable she is. our trade.” “That seems to have gotten her into trouble with a courtship by your prince. The bed was large. The quarters were luxurious for a freighter ship.

When you feel her fly across the ocean you will be amazed at her performance. Why would you not share this knowledge?” “Things changed when our Mother Empress Catherine died. I ask again. there simply was not the interest in the Navy when Czar Peter ruled.” “Ships?” 97 .” “I look forward to it.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “Aye. He moved the family to Unalaska. Even during the years of Catherine. my lady is unique. We fled Russia when her son Paul became Czar. Papa has always had a special instinct for the future. We sailed along the islands and lived on board our ships. what of the Russian Navy.

Payton Lee g Chapter 14 “The Koslov family started in the business of trading two decades prior. How many times had his father instructed him to follow his instinct? He always did. 98 . His instinct had served him well many times in the past. goals.” Fabiyan shared. We had five ships when we moved our families. and business interests with Adrik. He instinctively knew it was time to share all of the family Koslov ideals.

” Fabiyan replied lifting the flask in offering.” Fabiyan sipped his wine. “Czar Alexander is not his father. He promises a good profit in Amerikan markets. “How many ships do the Koslov family own now?” “We own eight ships and are currently building two for buyers that are interested in our family’s designs.” Fabiyan chuckled. Fabiyan. He had even inherited Peter’s love of sailing ships. but soon you will be family. but he is not Peter the Great either. “What business interests does this buyer possess?” “John Astor is starting in the fur business.” “I think that depends upon the purpose of your interested party. Yet. Adrik did have a taste for new lands. “Are these interested parties the Amerikans?” “Yes. Papa met with him last year in the Amerikan territories south of Unalaska. Their country was founded on daring. ideas.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Adrik’s interest was piqued. He was so much like Peter. Czar Alexander is not his father. and business interests. and court intrigues. Adrik sat down on the other chair and took the offered flask. “How much of the noble court do you know? Our Czar is busy with soothsayers. The Koslov family could present their ideas and plans to the Czar for consideration.” Adrik’s interest had been piqued.” Adrik chuckled. she would be a good hostess. The fact he felt her respond to his kisses made him confident of his own 99 . Little did Fabiyan know just exactly how close to the court his future brother in law truly was.” Adrik prodded. Alexander was far too interested in his soothsayers and court intrigues. For a moment the soft flesh of his intended bride came into his thoughts. He was interested in new business markets. His ancestor also appreciated the softness of a good woman. Prince Igor could be the most dangerous of all. these Amerikans have curiosity and daring many Russians do not have. Adrik. “Does this bother you. He knew that as long as he held her with respect and lived in her land. Adrik was fully aware of Alexander’s lack of interest in the Russian Navy. I should not share this with you. as a Russian I mean. There is danger in our business. He has little or no time for the Russian Navy or ship building designs. The blood of Peter the Great truly ran through his veins. Alexander did not have the interest in expanding Mother Russian as Czarina Catherine and Peter the Great had. Catherine would be a good wife. Fabiyan was correct. wars.” “Ah.

It was then she saw the speck moving. Lighthearted bantering was tossed about between the ships. With great will he calmed his body and prohibited his lust from controlling his mind.” On deck Adrik was once again treated to the vision of his future bride. 100 . Before Catherine could turn toward her brother. Adrik focused on the port. Alas. There was excitement on both ships as they neared each other entering the port. If she had been. Perhaps it was the forbidden fruit? When they were married he could satiate his physical needs and work at keeping a comfortable household. It was in his mind that staying aboard was a good thing. perhaps there would have been at least one suitor to offer his protection. He obviously didn’t find her attractive. If only she could be beautiful and seductive.” “That is comforting to know. Squinting her eyes she focused on the beam and mast.” Fabiyan responded relaxing against the chair. After a few more years he would captain his own ship as Fabiyan did. Fabiyan. Jasha was first mate. Catherine felt his presence. She felt left down. the watch announced the Sonia’s presence. It was in her mind that many a maiden’s head would turn at such a beautiful face and body. Many had served together on other Koslov ships. She turned her head and viewed the golden god.Payton Lee g powers of persuasion. The Koslov family promoted their mates after experience and shows of knowledge and leadership. It was happening again. Yes. Catherine sighed heavily. “I must admit I am most interested in my future with your family. Her figure was curvaceous and invitingly sensual. She wasn’t beautiful or seductive. As his wife could she bear the possible unfaithfulness? Could a man turn down such offers from seductive and beautiful women? He suddenly turned his gaze toward the port. Both crews knew each other well. he was indeed handsome. It was the Sonia. With a heavy heart Catherine turned her eyes toward the open sea. Catherine’s choice of male attire only made her more desirable. “The ship is setting sail. Even the sons had started off on the ships as cabin boys and had to work their way up to position of Captain. Her hair was blowing in the wind like golden waves. there was no suitor. We’ll go on deck and watch Gabrielle sail to port. He could not allow that. He was lusting after this future bride. He was losing control of his body.

This one? What happened to him any way? Did he meet a sailor and his head got in the way of a fist?” Adrik could stand no more of Jasha’s teasing and barbed tongue.” Adrik removed his hand. “I was bold. “I am Adrik.” Catherine was embarrassed in her forward question. He was thwarted before his second step. “Adrik. a Cossack? Are you certain of this choice? A sailor would be appropriate for you and the family. I see you have selected a strong and handsome husband. His mouth often moves before his mind thinks. Fabiyan watched the fists clench and stepped between the two men.Novo Arkhangel’sk w After the ships had docked and the planks laid down Catherine’s arm was once again secured by her betrothed. He stepped forward to take a piece of meat from the pretty young face. “Catherine. quiet. I’m certain he will give Prince Igor a second thought or three. Fabiyan stayed behind to talk to Jasha. “I am Jasha. “Can I hope my betrothed finds me interesting enough for a good dinner companion. Adrik grinned understanding Fabiyan’s warning to his younger brother. Happy to meet you.” Jasha continued his joyful reunion. Those funny feelings along with a quick intake of breathe caught Catherine with the strong hands around her waist as Adrik assisted her into the carriage. and unobtrusive. He is a rash headstrong young man. He looks formidable.” Jasha babbled. Adrik walked her down the plank followed closely by Fabiyan. She bowed her head. little brother?” Fabiyan warned sternly letting his eyes speak in unison with his voice. She turned to watch as Adrik closed the door. “Little sister. Jasha came rushing forward to pick up his sister and twirl her around happily. “Will you be coming for dinner?” Adrik looked up to his betrothed with a small grin. this is our brother Jasha. Laughing at the glower bestowed upon him by the man he took his sister from. Isn’t that true. Taking her seat next to Lara. He took Adrik’s hand and shook it heartily. He placed a firmer grip on Catherine’s arm and guided her to the waiting carriage. A woman is to be soft. Ilya held the small door open and placed the step down for Catherine to alight. Catherine’s brother. It was merely an inquiry.” 101 . He once again took possession of Catherine firmly planting her hand in the crook of his arm. What this man must think of her.

An inquiry? “I must stay on the ship. She would never be a man’s possession. The snub offended Adrik. Catherine held her chin up and straightened her spine. I’ll be down shortly. The thought infuriated her. She was better at sailing than some of the crew. He is so late coming home.” “Mum. Nicholas is ready for bed. She is to serve the man and bear children. She would learn. She glanced to see Adrik speaking to Ilya. Peter?” Natasha questioned the young man when he entered the parlor.Payton Lee g The boost to Adrik’s hope for happiness with a young beautiful bride was quickly lost. “Peter. but I want to say good night to Peter. Her family was powerful in Unalaska and they would be living there. The face seemed familiar. There is much to do. What was he thinking? What did it matter? He would keep occupied until the marriage. bubbled as she rounded the corner. She rose from the comfortable chair and straightened her gown. he wanted to build the stall in the hold for angel. “I am ready for bed.” Adrik responded coldly.” Diana the family governess stated addressing Natasha. She must conduct herself in the proper accepted manner of a wife. Tears choked in Catherine’s throat at Adrik’s response.” Natasha instructed walking toward her three-year-old son and taking him from the arms of the governess. Yes. She was well educated and probably smarter than the Cossack.” 102 . She could ride like a Cossack. “We have kept the meal warm for you. but she couldn’t remember where or why. A wife is merely a possession of the husband. He would make certain his horse was well cared for. she would make a life for herself as well as being the wife of the Cossack.” Elizabeth. Adrik looked at her. We will both be kept occupied until the day of the marriage. eat your meal. She couldn’t believe her brothers would stop caring for her and allow the man to humiliate her. “Where have you been. Not only was there the punishment. She turned her head and ignored him. Ilya seemed to be quarreling with Adrik. the vivacious seven year old. “And where is my Elizabeth?” “Here I am. That is what her parents had always told her. There is nothing a person cannot learn. She must conduct herself properly. It was once again she focused on the profile of her betrothed. Two can play at the game of marriage.

“What have you been up to this day?” “Oh Peter. Napoleon. your bunny is a wild animal. Don’t tell Mama or Papa. They are domesticated to help mankind. “Horses aren’t wild animals. Eight years ago Natasha had met and fell in love with a Russian Naval Officer. Whatever he said to her she believed to be the truth. “Of course my darling. “My dear Liza. It had been two years since they had moved to Novo Arkhangel’sk. He felt he had been born to the city. Natasha had been his governess when his mother died. “We keep horses in cages. Petersburg.” Peter greeted with a small peck on her cheek. He was handsome. Elizabeth frowned. Peter loved St. I found a bunny in our yard. and Czar.” Peter touched his forefinger to little Elizabeth’s nose. He hugged her tightly. Another bright smile beamed with her new thought. Her daughter adored Peter. In Elizabeth’s eyes.” Peter offered wisely for his tender sixteen years.” Elizabeth replied quickly running to Peter. knight.” “Sweetheart. I have her hidden in the garden near the wall. A brilliant thought crossed her mind for reply. only her father was smarter than Peter. Natasha had always been truthful with Peter. I don’t think it will like be caged very much. Instead she raised him with Francois Deveraux as guardian. It is used to running in the wild. I had Bryan build a cage for her. During the war against the French Dictator. 103 . Mikail clearly loved Natasha and he had been a surrogate father to Peter. Natasha told him many times that for his protection he could not know. Natasha fled France into Prussia. She continued to care for Peter throughout his childhood. didn’t you tell me that wolves eat bunnies?” Peter raised a brow and wondered what Elizabeth was thinking now. but the man paid for a life of luxury for Natasha and her young ward. Natasha’s husband had been transferred here and Mikail insisted the family come to live there. and most of all smart. Peter opened his arms for Elizabeth. Petersburg for a time. strong. She had always trusted him as her big brother. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone. Peter always felt Deveraux hated him. She jumped into his arms. Peter was her king.” “Yes Mama. Deveraux’s money still came and they moved to St. To this day Peter did not know who his father even was. He was not her son.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Natasha laughed. I will listen to Nicholas’ prayers and then you must be in your room for me to hear your prayers. “Peter. I don’t think they’ll let me keep my pet.” Elizabeth frowned once again.

He also watches you spend your lunch and early evening near the prince’s grounds. He watches out for you while you work on the ship. “Muddles needs to eat. If not from blood. “Your Mama is waiting upstairs to hear your prayers and Peter must eat his meal in peace. Peter went into the kitchen.” “You know everything. I would like to speak with you in the study when you are finished. Even Lieutenant Mikail couldn’t stop the evil prince to protect you. It is too late for me to do it now. they were definitely siblings of the heart.” “I’m careful. the Aleut cook preparing fresh bread dough. Will you feed Muddles for me? Please Peter?” “Of course little princess. “You were watching those Cossacks again. Elizabeth was not only precocious she was also very bright.” Peter admitted.” Peter volunteered. “Yes my little love. you are protecting the bunny from the wolves.” “There are wolves in our woods?” Peter crooked a brow. “Yes. Ruth. It is like watching the Ballet in St. The Cossacks are not worth getting into trouble with that prince. “My brother works for the Koslov family. They sent their youngest child back to Mother Russia so the prince could not get her. “Come little one. but Prince Igor is evil and dangerous.” Ruth reprimanded.” Mikail stated carrying his daughter to the staircase that led to the upstairs.” “Then my bunny is happy to be caged in our stable.” Mikail commanded.” Elizabeth paused a moment to give Peter a kiss and then slid from his embrace to be picked up by her doting father.” 104 . young man. He found Ruth. Petersburg.” Ruth warned. I didn’t have time to give him greens and turnips. wolves eat bunnies. “Late again.” Peter laughed loudly. that is why you must never wander outside alone.” Her little hands cupped Peter’s face. I am protecting him. Peter. “Da. “Yes. don’t you?” Peter teased to avoid confessing. The wolves won’t eat him. “Eat your meal. He is a cruel man. “Even the Koslov family fears him. I have this love of their horsemanship. I understand your love.Payton Lee g Elizabeth and Nicholas were his siblings. He is an evil man.

Be careful.” Ruth warned. She had taken his meal out of the warmed oven and put the plate on the table. 105 . He is anxious for spring to arrive and return his daughter to him.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “I know. “I see Yuri Koslov pacing across the ship deck. Mikail was waiting for him in the study. “They love her as we love you.” Peter sighed. He saved some greens and turnips to give to Elizabeth’s new pet. Peter finished the job quickly and walked briskly back to the house. A promise is a promise. Peter finished his meal quickly. It is rumored among the ship builders that the Koslov’s will take their shipbuilding business and ships to Amerika before they would allow Igor to take her to wed.

“I have heard that Deveraux will be returning here to take you to France. It is his plan to place you in a military academy. “Take a seat.” “I am Russian!” Peter exclaimed. 106 .Payton Lee g Chapter 15 Mikail looked up from his navigational charts when Peter entered. He pointed to a chair and instructed. He didn’t like Deveraux anymore than Deveraux liked him.” Slowly Mikail laid down his quill and looked Peter directly in the eye.

but Igor carefully ignored the boy and his family. He had private conferences with Prince Igor. I will be training you with Lieutenant Grogorsky.” Natasha whispered. He could be recognized.” “Ruth tells me he watches the Cossacks practice. He gladly accepted the chance to train as a naval officer. Deveraux would be furious if he found out the boy had been doing laborious and strenuous labor.” “I agree. She had let him know where his son would be. She would end this thing with Deveraux.” Mikail revealed. Mikail was appreciative. Peter could not be denied his heritage.” “You would do this for me?” Peter questioned with surprise. “When do I begin?” “Good. Mikail was good to him.” Mikail replied. but this was a special placement. he is the blood of princes. His height and strength had increased the past year. He looks so much like his father. “What did Peter say to your offer?” “My love. I have talked with my commander and I wish to offer you a position of training on my Ship the Renov. “That is dangerous. Mikail and Natasha had no idea what happened between the men. Mikail had agreed with Natasha when she wrote a letter to Peter’s father three years ago. He was very much like his father. “You are like a son to me. in a few weeks we will begin your training amid ship. “Yet. “He is his father’s son.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “Most Russian boys are already in training at your age. If someone were to tell him how much 107 . and it pleases Natasha. It is a good thing the boy will be with me.” Mikail answered kissing Natasha on the forehead. It is time to end it. Later that night in the arms of her love. Natasha questioned Mikail. The Cossacks belong to Prince Igor. It is another reason we took him far away from Russia. The thought made Mikail chuckle. The training he had received this past year building ships in the Koslov shipyard would serve him well. Deveraux wanted the boy to be a milksop like him.” Natasha shared. Deveraux had followed them to Novo Arkhangel’sk. It would be made for a son.” “That he does. None of us have been happy with Deveraux looming over us with his money and power. For that. He was happy Peter was so willing.

” Catherine complained in frustration. You agreed they wouldn’t do. I love you very much.” Mikail crooned. madam. When the seamstress took the gown Lara said in exasperation.” “And I know one.” Natasha giggled touching his manly organ that was swelling beneath the sheets. “Besides. “I’ve been away for several weeks. In more ways than one.” “Part of that is true. I’ve missed you. She had been complaining since the seamstress had placed the wedding gown on her for the final fitting.Payton Lee g he resembles his father it would not be good. He certainly wants the ship considering he is living aboard the Gabrielle. Then this Cossack comes that meets all requirements.” Lara argued. I simply cannot imagine what has caused such a change in you. the ship.” The fact 108 .” “And I you. They simply couldn’t or wouldn’t measure up to the task. I have heard he is quite comfortable on board. I don’t want the boy to find out that way. “So at least we know he won’t miss the ceremony. Grigori has told me as much.” Catherine sat down on the chair in a huff. I am fond of him. “It is such a pleasant thought to know the man I marry will love a ship more than me.” Mikail sighed heavily. He wants you. “This gown is too long and ill fitted.” Lara agreed. Fabiyan?” “Surely you don’t believe he won’t show up for the marriage? He signed a contract. Catherine fidgeted the entire time the seamstress basted the hem and marked the shoulders for adjustment. “What is wrong Catherine? You have been irritable these past few weeks and getting more so every day. He isn’t afraid of Prince Igor. Truly it cannot be pre nuptial nerves?” “Pre nuptial? That is truly an odd way to put this marriage contract. Have you seen Jasha. and your home. “You are a good man. who wouldn’t want a young beautiful woman like you? You have had several suitors these past months. Natasha looked up into her husband’s eyes. Ever since the day you went on the Gabrielle and Jasha returned. You simply have not been yourself. “Do realize the man I am to wed has not even sent a note these past few weeks? He doesn’t even know I exist.” Catherine replied pouting. Lieutenant Mikail. I don’t even know if he’ll show up for the wedding.” “Yes.

Her face was filled with happiness and enthusiasm. “I thought Catherine had brought him. When he arrived here at Grigori’s house I found him playing with Grigori’s son and talking to Catherine. “Do you think it any different for me? There are many times I have felt my Grigori loves his unit more than me. “I hope so. “How nice to see your happy face again. I took him into the study and we discussed the contract as well as Prince Igor.” Catherine pivoted her head to look out the window.” Lara stated firmly. “From what I have seen of the man. “Dimitri is here. I do approve Catherine’s choice.” It was that brief look outside she spotted the carriage arriving.” “I don’t know. but she couldn’t believe she could be as seductive or as beautiful as Lara. “Catherine didn’t exactly make the choice.” Catherine hesitated.” Fabiyan said hesitantly. Catherine bubbled in delight. she would be going home.” Lara sighed. Emerging from the carriage was Fabiyan. Dimitri raised a brow. “You are a woman. She didn’t share these thoughts with anyone and they festered inside creating her tempers for the past weeks. She hoped Lara was right. Home at last! Catherine turned to Lara.” Dimitri told Fabiyan. Although she would be married. It wasn’t until after he signed the contract did we learn he was actually a part of our cargo. and then Dimitri. Then he holds me in his arms at night and I make him forget that unit. Lara shook her head and smiled. “It seems to me that is the way of it for most wives.” Dimitri and Fabiyan were discussing Catherine’s fiancé when they walked into the hall.” 109 .” Catherine announced to Lara with joy. “It will happen. Jasha. You will make him forget that ship. She was ecstatic to see her brothers. Adrik agreed to everything and guaranteed he would be capable of protecting Catherine from Prince Igor.” Fabiyan enlightened. “Explain that!” “Adrik is the representative for our shipping cargo client.Novo Arkhangel’sk w of Adrik seeming to ignore her and staying on the Gabrielle bothered Catherine a great deal. She ran toward the door and then down the stairs.

and a hearty greeting of spinning her around like a young child. Do not worry. “I am so happy to see you Dimitri!” “I am thrilled to see you little one.” ‘Follow me. “He is suitable and fortunately kind to the eyes.” Catherine looked into the soft loving gray eyes of her older brother. I need your assistance. This will intimidate Prince Igor. Instead let us celebrate our return home. Fabiyan and Jasha were discussing the next voyage when they noticed Dimitri suddenly becoming rigid.” Dimitri inquired. “Fabiyan and Jasha will show you the way. He is acceptable. which means he is cunning and trained in the military.” Catherine soothed. We had to make a decision. brother. kiss on her forehead.” Dimitri laughed. He is a Cossack. “It will be a good arrangement. Dimitri sipped his vodka and read through the document carefully. That seemed to be the strongest obstacle with the other suitors. “We will survive somehow if you are not comfortable with this arrangement. I couldn’t return without a husband.” Fabiyan volunteered. 110 .” Lara offered walking toward the brothers after her descent from the upstairs. It was if he was suddenly in agony.” “Are there refreshments? My mouth is yearning for a good vodka.” Dimitri was quite serious as he held Catherine firmly in his arms.Payton Lee g Dimitri saw Catherine descend the staircase and opened his arms to her. He is powerfully built. Dimitri mumbled as he read. Time was running out for me. “In the study you will find your refreshments. They watched as Dimitri turned to them and mouthed words. “Tell me truthfully. Are you content with your future husband? I just learned he was Fabiyan’s choice. “Come with me Catherine. He has also agreed to live in Novo Arkhangel’sk. He gave her a powerful hug.” Several minutes later Fabiyan had served Dimitri his vodka.” “I will have dinner served as early as possible. “The contract is in Grigori’s study.” “The man is acceptable.” Lara informed. not your choice. Fabiyan opened the large drawer in Grigori’s desk and handed Dimitri the rolled contract documents. He and Jasha savored a brandy. You can review it while we drink. Catherine returned Dimitri’s greeting with hugs and kisses of her own.

Novo Arkhangel’sk w Fabiyan rose from the chair. Fabiyan walked to the desk. When he caught up with her several years later in France.” Jasha gasped defensively. He is not nobility.” Fabiyan groaned. He couldn’t be nobility.” Dimitri was shaken. “What?” Jasha shouted. Why we couldn’t protect Catherine from any husbandly cruelty if she married the nobility. “Dimitri? Are you alright?” Dimitri’s pallor was near white. “I saw no need. “Adrik is a Cossack. Fabiyan furrowed his brow. “It is also rumored that he murdered his first wife. “Did you read this contract?” “I was here when he signed it.” “The Grand Duke! The one that is the cousin of the Czar Alexander and the Czar’s closest family advisor?” Jasha moaned sinking back on his chair. 111 . Jasha jumped from his chair and was at the desk in four quick strides. He works in menial labor on the Gabrielle. Perhaps we can convince him to change his mind. After he looked at the inscription he weaved unsteadily. “The marriage is in two days!” Jasha groaned. “It seems Fabiyan has betrothed our sister to the nobility.” “Nobility? The entire reason for Catherine to wed would be to protect her and our family from the nobility and their influence. How could they protect their sister from one deadly noble husband only to turn her over to a more powerful and perhaps deadlier noble husband? “What have you done?” Dimitri repeated.” “He could be all of the above including loving labor if he were the descendent of Czar Peter. “The same. he killed her right in her lover’s home.” Dimitri sighed. It seems she ran away from him with one of his close friends. “I will talk to the man. “Did you read the signature?” Dimitri growled. what have you done?” “What do you mean? What is wrong?” Dimitri rolled his hands into fists. The strong tall captain leaned over his brother to read.” “Read it!” Dimitri snarled pointing at the signature.” Fabiyan suggested hopefully.” Dimitri finally found his voice. “Fabiyan. “Our Catherine’s Adrik is non other than the Grand Duke Adrik Mikhail Peteravich Romanov. He made no changes!” Fabiyan replied defensively. “Good God! What is it.

” Jasha suggested.” “We will speak of this later this evening with Grigori. We must also speak to Grigori and come up with a different plan. Catherine found that most strange. He had punished the Grand Duke. “We will say nothing of this to Ekaterine. They spend the evening talking to each other.” “Shouldn’t she know?” Jasha insisted. and Dimitri were in their cups. “We must speak to him immediately. I do not think she will want to stay here.” Fabiyan informed.” Dimitri sighed. We have started negotiation with a John Astor.” Dimitri added forlornly.” “He drinks heavily?” Dimitri inquired sending a glare to Fabiyan.” Fabiyan also hoped he wouldn’t lose his head. Fabiyan. “Perhaps if we gave him the ship without marriage he would consider breaking the contract. “No. Fabiyan was sweating and his palms clammy. Her brothers rarely drank preferring tea to strong drink. The meal was quiet. “She is already homesick. “I’m afraid after we take this cargo to Novo Arkhangel’sk we must make plans to move to the Amerikas. “It is too late to travel back into Okhotsk.” “We will go to meet him first thing in the morning.” Dimitri commanded. Jasha. Two ships carrying the cargo for us still have not arrived in port. Adrik had been forced to barbarize the deck of the Gabrielle. “We sent Ekaterine here to protect her from nobility only to betroth her to a noble more powerful than the corrupt low noble we have at Novo Arkhangel’sk. I believe Ilya gives instructions for the offloading of the ship in port to put cargo in the Sonia. Ilya.” “We will have to hide Ekaterine when we arrive home.” Dimitri stated firmly.Payton Lee g “He is most interested in the ship. but it is for the meal.” Dimitri proposed. We would move near to the camp of this man. he does not!” Fabiyan replied defensively. “It is true that he meets his comrade Ilya at the tavern. Why didn’t he look at the papers earlier? A groan erupted from his lips. “Adrik is usually at the tavern in the evening meeting with his comrade. “Or she could stay here with Grigori and Lara until we have safely moved. “It is her life!” “We must say nothing until this is in order. There would be nothing stopping the Grand Duke to cut off his head.” Jasha reminded.” Fabiyan shared. Grigori 112 . “First we must break this contract. How could he have gotten into this situation. Give me another Vodka!” Lara announced dinner nearly an hour later.

Grigori raised a brow at his older brother. read the signature and paled.” Grigori took the sheath. He showed surprise at the intoxication level of his brothers. the stern solemn captain and elder brother drinking so heavily.Novo Arkhangel’sk w entered midway during the meal. Dimitri had given up on the glass and now toted the crockery bottle of Vodka. Grigori excused himself to join his brothers in the library. “What is this?” Grigori questioned. He never recalled Dimitri.” 113 . his son. “Look at the signature. playing with his new son. there was one occasion. Dimitri pulled out the last parchment sheath from the contract and gave it to Grigori. “No! What have we done. Well. It was the birth of his first child. After doting upon Lara.

I’m certain I am correct on the matter. He was brushing lacquer on the pinewood when the four brothers walked into the hold.Payton Lee g Chapter 16 Adrik had already eaten the morning meal and was finishing the stalls for the horses in Gabrielle’s hold.” Dimitri stated stepping forward.” “Actually we are here to discuss the opportunity to break the contract. Adrik stepped away from the stall picking up a rag to wipe his hands. “We wish to discuss a matter with you. “The ceremony is tomorrow. 114 .” Fabiyan interjected.

I knew there would be no one more capable of protecting your sister from Igor. A vicious vindictive enemy has kept him from me. You handed me everything I needed. “I didn’t kill her.” Jasha growled quietly.” “After you killed one wife you have no need of another including my sister. He realized immediately his cover of being a simple Cossack was gone. I also wanted the ship. closest cousin to the Czar. “I understand anyone. We couldn’t bear…” Adrik raised his hand to stop Jasha’s verbal attack. Petersburg. “Why hide this from everyone? We would never have dared to offer our proposal? It was our purposed to protect our beloved sister from nobility. wish to move to Novo Arkhangel’sk?” “I have a son from Magda. your family. “It is true I held my dying wife at her last moment. I am aware of the growing trade and profit to make with the Amerikans.” “Reveal yourself?” Dimitri questioned. Adrik had heard Jasha’s comment. She was dying of disease. She was finally capable of easing Deveraux’s control over her.” Dimitri being the eldest and most experienced of the brothers pursued the conversation. With the war I could only send someone in my stead to begin building a home for my son and in the future me. I am tired of looking after my back in the St. “But you killed your first wife. but why the link to our family? More importantly why is a Grand Duke. “I take it you have read the signature on the contract. even nobility wishing to own a Koslov ship.” Adrik replied taking a seat on a stool. I was hoping to be at sea before I revealed myself.” Adrik couldn’t tell anyone that Magda had died of an overdose of her addiction to opium. I want the ship. and I am in need of a wife. I am tired of war. “Silence!” Fabiyan whispered nudging his younger brother. I wish to begin my own life and business in Novo Arkhangel’sk. I want the Koslov connection in Novo Arkhangel’sk. I arranged for her Naval husband to be transferred to your home.” “I knew it. “I knew what I was doing when I signed it. Still Deveraux had followed her. “And I needed connections. I will 115 . Five years ago I received a note from my son’s former nanny.” Adrik responded.” Jasha pushed his way through his two older brothers.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “I don’t want to break the contract. You knew this. He leaned against the stall and sighed heavily.

The Czar knows where I am going. Francois made certain Magda saw the execution. What else do wish to know?” “Francois Deveraux?” Dimitri queried. At this moment they are enjoying my absence in the court. I will treat her with the highest respect. “One and the same. “I would never cause hurt or pain to your sister. Not even to your sister. We can protect our women from cruel brothers as boyars provided the husbands are not nobility. It would behoove me to treat her well.” Fabiyan suggested.” Adrik explained. 116 . I ask you to keep this secret. and coveted her. “My identity must not be revealed until I am safely in my home in Novo Arkhangel’sk.Payton Lee g need a wife to be mistress of my home. These are the only people I trust in court. These enemies include Prince Igor. When I was called upon for my duty to the Czarina.” “Even believing your innocence in the death of your wife. It would not be good for my enemies to know my current whereabouts. For all these years Deveraux had hidden my son from me.” Dimitri nodded and turned to his brothers. Ilya has convinced and reminded me that I have many enemies. He heard many stories about the once favored Frenchman in the court of Czarina Catherine.” “We must tell Catherine. “Deveraux and I were once friends. It would not serve him well to learn I was coming to Novo Arkhangel’sk.” “Prince Igor does not know you are coming?” Fabiyan asked latching on to those statements. it included the execution of Magda’s brother for treachery. I am not pleased in any means by what I have heard these past years of Prince Igor.” “Why is this so important?” Jasha queried. It is unfortunate you finally have learned the truth. He met my wife. I am also the only one that curtails Prince Igor.” Adrik replied. and so does my Aunt Sveta. He took her from me. She was carrying my child. We never meant for Catherine to marry even a more powerful nobleman!” Dimitri explained. “I believe him. Francois made himself available to her consistently. I need her to be a content mistress of my house. I intend to end his cruelty and tyranny. “I will never give you cause to worry for her. Magda. Everything fit. you must understand the Koslov family are boyars and highly protective of the women in our family. Adrik rose suddenly and raised his hand. The Czarina Louise knows my goals. “My good friend.

” Jasha insisted. My mother felt sorry for Igor since a cruel father raised him. My man in Novo Arkhangel’sk has sent reports continually since Igor was sent to build my house. When you offered a partnership through marriage. Such lofty titles are not relevant in a colony that finds existence difficult enough. but I will repair the damage and put Igor in line. I also have enemies in the court that would have used this information against me. “I have already done that with my punishment of barbarizing the decks. “For what reason? I am the husband she will need. It was always my intent to offer a financial partnership with the Koslov family. I am sorry for what has happened in Novo Arkhangel’sk. “Indeed. his father would not hear of it. I instructed them to build near the Koslov home and shipyards.” “Barbarizing the deck?” Dimitri questioned in shock. I have also built these stalls in the hold. “The house near ours is yours?” Adrik smiled.” Fabiyan complained. it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Petersburg.” “You would reduce yourself to the level of a lowly laborer?” Dimitri asked in surprise.” “Your house?” Fabiyan gasped. You see. why did you send him and why haven’t you stopped him?” Dimitri asked somberly. I will end his tyranny and there is no need to warn him in advance.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “No. “What you have told me enlightened me more. Her sister died in childbirth and although my mother offered to raise the child. There is no more for her to know. “Novo Arkhangel’sk is hardly the court of St. and your sister is quite lovely. but I made a promise to my mother to keep Prince Igor from harm. “The war interfered in many ways. A fine job if I do say so myself. Czar Alexander felt Igor was an embarrassment to the family and only allowed him to live if I sent him far away. I did investigating of the colony before I sent Igor and my man to build the house.” Adrik answered. I did just that. that is something I think she should know. the Czar has never been pleased with Igor any more than I have. 117 .” “Catherine should know.” “If you are aware of Prince Igor and his cruelty. He looked to Fabiyan. I kept my promise to my dear mother and saved Igor’s life.” “She is to be a Grand Duchess.

He would treat her well. Dimitri was breathing easier.” Adrik defended. I am still transporting my household. “We are in the process of loading everything onto the Relentless and Sonia. He looked forward to the marriage with such a young beautiful bride. “I didn’t know!” Dimitri groaned. “The last ship will arrive in time. 118 . He is currently living with the Volgarski family. He would like to be there and raise his children.” “We still have several weeks before we leave harbor.” “Your last ship still hasn’t arrived.” Dimitri pursued. even though he was Grand Duke and of the inner court of the Czar. “I rather enjoyed the hard work.” Fabiyan informed.” Fabiyan defended. “It is not the same. “I have to keep rules aboard my ship or the crew will fall apart. “He and Dima were brawling. give her what ever she desired. He missed out on so much due to Magda’s hatred.” Fabiyan countered. He simply would not allow himself to fall in love. It was soothing and kept my mind clear to concentrate on my future plans.” Adrik commanded authoritatively. It had kept his mind off of their beautiful sister and that enticing kiss. He would not lose his head for ordering punishment upon the Grand Duke. He is a most promising shipbuilder. keep her happy in his home and maybe she might even give him a child or two.” Adrik reminded. The only change is that now I will be the brother in law transporting the household. “I hired you for the purpose of transporting my household to Novo Arkhangel’sk.Payton Lee g “I didn’t know he was a Grand Duke.” “That doesn’t change anything. “We continue on with the ceremony and nothing has changed.” “Father has recently hired a young lad named Peter in the shipyards. Little did the brothers know how much Adrik had appreciated all this laborious work. “Who is he?” “My son’s name is Peter.” Adrik insisted. “You are the one who hired us.” “The captain is in his right and it is his duty to keep discipline on a ship.” “I’m interested in your son. “What do we do?” Jasha asked of his brothers and Adrik. Labor is healthy for the soul.” Fabiyan responded defensively. The future husband of his baby sister was interested in a true partnership with the Koslov family.” Dimitri shared. You aren’t the representative.” Fabiyan sagged against the hull in relief.

” Dimitri told Adrik. Her mother and father loved each other. He suddenly felt very old. “I will select the proper time to tell your sister!” Adrik snarled. “She will be told before we arrive in port at Novo Arkhangel’sk.” Dimitri ordered. Of course he would be interested in ships as his father was interested. He was desirable. Her future husband was handsome. but she was from a colony.” “I don’t like it. Their son was created on their wedding bed. By the way your highness. Catherine could only console herself with the facts. Peter had been born one month before his nineteenth year. there is a strong resemblance. He had only been eighteen when as a Captain he had executed Magda’s brother. She remembered his kiss. he would 119 . the stall is excellent work!” “I intend to remain incognito.” “As I think of it now. She was so nervous she felt ill. His hopes were finally nearing fulfillment. “While we are here we will observe the loading of cargo on the Sonia and Relentless. More importantly. “Enough Jasha. “That would be my son. “This makes me most anxious to begin our voyage. Her brothers and sister loved their spouses. In a few hours she would be a wife.” Catherine allowed Lara’s maid to dress her in the wedding gown. Of course his son would be strong and intelligent.” Adrik beamed.” Jasha continued pushing it too deeply for his older brothers.” Jasha’s words stung Adrik like the sharp end of a sword through an appendage. She was fifteen. “She does have a right to know who you are and that the man she married already has a son nearly her age. or was he imprisoned in a time warp? Was he really going to marry an eighteen-year-old woman and he was thirty-four? He remembered he was eighteen when he married Magda. Please do not refer to me as your highness.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Adrik felt a pride surge through him. They both had the strong blood of Peter the Great running through their veins. Adrik will do nicely. It was different in Unalaska. They had a home and they loved each other. “When will you tell Catherine?” Jasha pursued. Did he realize how young Catherine was. Most marriages in Russia especially with boyars were arranged. What did a wife do? What would be expected of her? It wasn’t the same as Grigori and Lara.

She couldn’t help but wonder whose advice they had taken for the wedding apparel. but she would not see it as a God. she was very uncertain about her future with the man. Catherine respected that simple pure faith of her sister in law. Another carriage followed. even for a Cossack. He was dressed in a full tail white satin coat. He wore a silk ascot that matched a silken white shirt. night. The waiting seemed to be endless. These men did not look like Cossacks at all. Two men stepped out. There was something familiar about him. stockings and slippers were in black. At least they would have some common ground. Something deep inside her made her feel he was not what he seemed. She didn’t recognize the man or the woman and wondered who they might be. She loved the Gabrielle and the sea. Catherine’s greatest problem was the one true God. They looked grand. The next coach carried Priest Vladimir Chitikov. and the life of animals including the animal man. breeches. A man dressed in the same manner as Ilya alit and offered his hand to a young woman. In her life she believed in nature. 120 . Catherine recognized Ilya who was dressed nearly identically to Adrik with the exception of the tailcoat. Marta was taken by a maid to the second floor to be with the bride sometime before. Catherine had quickly learned upon her arrival last winter that Lara was a devout Russian Orthodox. the four seasons. How many times had her father advised to meet any fear head on. He may not find her attractive. His blond hair was neatly cut and quite curly. With so many Gods. The woman bowed her head when she took the man’s arm. Tension struck her again. Lara greeted the priest and knelt before him for a blessing. He loved the Gabrielle and the sea. but she found him attractive. In her mind there might be a greater intelligence. day. once the fear was met it was conquered. Once her beaded veil had been placed upon her head she happened to look at the window. Would this nervousness end? There was only one thing she could do. His vest was red satin. matching vest and breeches. A coach arrived. The woman was dressed in a fine mink cloak. The wedding was to be private with only a few people invited. but she had been exposed to a different life. how would anyone ever know the right one? Adrik waited in the study pacing nervously for the ceremony to begin. There was something very unsettling about him. He was a handsome and a dashing figure. Catherine recognized Adrik. His stockings were white and his shoes were soft white leather. Catherine couldn’t get a good view of her.Payton Lee g stand up to Prince Igor. Yet.

When he first met Catherine he felt she was the type of woman he was looking for to run his household. after battle. Perhaps if he and Catherine created a child he might be able to convince Sveta to move here with him. war. Was he truly out of his mind? Had a pretty face turned his good judgment into insanity? He warred within himself reminding his good sense he needed a wife to live in Novo Arkhangel’sk. He would need a woman of strong character to make his Unalaskan home comfortable and run it well. He would like to have her near him. and the court. move near his son. but today you are as skittish as a cat.” Faddei added. “The Grand Duke returns. before battle. I’ve seen you in the royal court in Saint Petersburg. 121 . He needed a mistress to run his household.” “Nor have I. He loved Sveta as he would his mother. In this remote place it would be good to have the comfort of a good woman lying in bed with him.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “Your noble highness. His refuge would be one of the remotest places from Mother Russia. After all it would be his haven from the world. Adrik had made the decision to leave the court.” Ilya chuckled.” “Silence!” Adrik barked testily. As the moment approached Adrik had doubts that were countered with logic. “I’ve seen you in battle. “I don’t believe I have ever seen you this nervous. I have even seen you surrounded by women.” Ilya chortled. and seek refuge.

” Several minutes after the ransom boxes were secured in the study.” 122 . Adrik strode to the door and shouted after Ilya. I plan to use it kissing the lovely bride I will steal away!” Adrik turned to chase Ilya. Ilya!” Adrik threatened. I am still to retain my Cossack identity.” Ilya laughed holding up his hands in surrender. He was in no mood for Ilya’s great humor today. We will be needing them shortly. “We are ready to begin the betrothal ceremony. The laughing friend could be heard all the way down the hall. There were times that were serious. “I wish to hold onto my tongue for awhile. “I can still remove your tongue from your flapping lips.” “I think I will check on the ransom box in the carriage. His marriage to a young woman of an unknown country was serious. Grigori entered. “bring in the boxes.Payton Lee g Chapter 17 “Watch yourself.

Novo Arkhangel’sk w Adrik walked to a large black lacquered box. The teardrop pearl beads stopped just above her lips that were rouged and looked extremely inviting. The priest had just placed the men in proper order when Fabiyan and Jasha entered the parlor. Behind them were Dimitri and Catherine. crucifix. You are a fortunate man. His future bride’s dress revealed a slender throat and a revealing amount of cleavage that was a positively delectable sight. Adrik was not about to tell the priest he had not only been part of a Russian Orthodox marriage ceremony. Ilya nudged his friend. The priest discussed the ceremony as if none of the men had ever been a part of the marriage ceremony before. his bride would be that vision. Her flaxen hair was completely hidden by an elaborately beaded and embroidered veil.” Grigori led Adrik. “Bring this. Catherine was in mid room when she crossed a sunbeam. icons. Grigori advanced quickly across the room to take his wife. but the guest list was nobility in Saint Petersburg including the Czarina Catherine. and Faddei into the main parlor of the great stone manor. He picked it up and handed it to Ilya. If Adrik could create a vision. with your hands occupied it may be more difficult for your mouth to work. and artful flowered embroidery that matched the exquisite veil. The gown was square shouldered gathered just below the breasts where a jeweled ribbon circled until it became a bow under the velvet ermine lined cape held by a silver jeweled chain lying across the soft feminine shoulders. Lara’s arm. Her arms were covered with satin elbow length gloves. and teardrop pearls embroidered into a floral pattern.” 123 . A small altar. crystals. “She is lovely. seed pearls. Before Adrik’s eyes his bride sparkled like a million diamonds and a thousand rainbows when the sunlight reflected light from the Austrian crystal embroidered into her headdress and gown. The nudge helped Adrik to remember to breathe. Grigori introduced the men to Priest Vladimir Chitikov. He was of the black robe and important in the Okhotsk Russian Orthodox hierarchy. Ilya. His breath was taken from him. Adrik looked over his shoulder to see his future wife enter the room. Her dress seemed to float around her as she walked. and altar cloths with the priest in full regalia were in residence in the parlor giving it the appearance of a small chapel. The gown had many small pleats with the hem covered with tiny seed pearls. It was similar to a fabric he had once seen on a trip to India. There were Austrian crystals.

“These candles symbolize the spiritual willingness of the couple to accept the blessing of the Church through this Mystery. wisdom. The crowns represented the crowning of the king and queen in their own homes. justice. and integrity. Christ. Their hands would remain joined for the rest of the ceremony.” The priest then held the symbolic wedding crowns over Adrik and Ekaterine’s head. “The candles are symbolic of the lamps of the five wise maids who had the wisdom to fill them with oil and greeted the bridegroom. and of the Holy Spirit. The priest began reading the prayer for the joining of hands. “The ring symbolizes each weakness of singularity when united as one is the perfection of strength in each other. “The servants of God Adrik and Ekaterine are crowned in the name of the Father. and of the Son. It was a moment Ekaterine would not forget. Here was this strong fearless Cossack that looked so fragile she thought a harsh word would bring him to his knees. He looked so handsome and strangely enough.Payton Lee g Dimitri stood by his sister as she took her place next to Adrik. she didn’t catch the groom’s noble name. Besides. Adrik took Ekaterine’s right hand and held it firmly but gently in his right hand. The candlelight reflected in Adrik’s eyes like small diamonds.” Ekaterine was trembling with the atmosphere of the moment. Lara was so involved in the wedding and thinking of all the events of the marriage including the next day.” The priest continued on through the rings.” The priest 124 . fragile. and Holy Spirit. “Join these thy servant to one mind and one flesh. “You will rule with fear of God. Priest Vladimir Chitikov held the rings over the bride and groom’s head making the sign of the cross.” the priest orated. Adrik and Ekaterine accepting the candles continued on with the ceremony. The ceremony began with the blessing of the rings. “Adrik Mikhail Peteravich Romanov servant of God is betrothed to Ekaterine Sofia Yurivich Koslov the maid of God in the name of the Father. Son. Even the priest did not consider the names he read from the card. or their own kingdom. who would think a Grand Duke would be in Okhotsk marrying a boyar in a private ceremony? Fabiyan and Jasha each lit and candle and offered them to the bride and the groom.” Catherine was too nervous to pay attention to the name the priest had used for her betrothed or she might have recognized the name. They stood before the priest.

O bridegroom. “It is time for the bedding and I have a special gift for you. and glad as Rebecca. The common cup of wine is presented to the couple to symbolize the sharing of joy and sorrow. Christ in the person of priest leads them in the way they must walk. She had a special gift for her sister in law and it would be the last kidnapping of the night. The celebration would continue for the next two days. the token of harmony. She had been accustomed to heavy cotton and linen nightdresses. walking in peace and working in righteousness as the commandments of God.” Catherine felt strange in the negligee. Still holding hands. Lara did not try to kidnap Ekaterine until just before midnight. Before Catherine could protest. She looked down and could see all of her body through sheerness of fabric that formed softly over every curve. “I’ll help you undress. Adrik and Ekaterine knelt before the priest for the reading of the Epistle and the Gospel reading of the marriage Christ attended when he changed the water into wine. The walk represents Christian living is a perfect orbit. rejoicing in thine own husband. “Be thou magnified as Sarah.Novo Arkhangel’sk w reminded the couple the crowns also refer to the crown of martyrdom since every true marriage involves immeasurable self-sacrifice. As Adrik and Ekaterine drank together from the cup the priest impressed the symbolism that sorrows will be halved since the burden is shared. which she couldn’t because it was a 125 . a simple straight shift with ribbons to tie together for shoulder straps. the drinks were dispersed. Even Ekaterine drank some fine Madeira wine and imported French Champagne. A hymn was sung as they walked. Adrik used nearly all of his ransom gifts as his new wife was kidnapped several times by her brothers.” With this the religious portion of the wedding was completed. Faddei. Everyone was in a gay spirit. After a seven course filling meal.” Lara led Ekaterine to the bed. Lara took Ekaterine’s hand and led her up the stairs to her room. and do thou increase like unto Rachael. It was a translucent pink. “Be thou magnified.” The priest then blessed Ekaterine. On the bed was placed a sheer nightgown made of the finest silk India had to offer. Once in her room Lara closed and locked the door. Adrik and Ekaterine returned to their original places and the priest blessed Adrik. and even Marta. When Adrik wasn’t looking and was drinking with Faddei. The priest led the walk in a circle around the table on which were placed the Gospel and the Cross. Ilya. as Abraham and increased as Jacob.

He had brought plenty of gifts to ransom his bride.” Lara laughed and pulled Adrik along. “I would give you my heart.” She led him up the stairs to Catherine’s room.Payton Lee g special gift. Lara removed Catherine’s hairpins and brushed her hair. He was in the spirit of the wedding day and enjoyed the ransom games.” Adrik walked to the lacquered box and pulled out a silver brooch in the shape of heart encrusted with small Austrian crystals. Several drinks later he watched when Lara approached. He wondered when she would be playing the game since she hadn’t tried once to kidnap Catherine. I would lock and bolt the door.” Lara pushed Adrik in the room and shut the door behind him 126 . Lara talked the entire time about her wedding day and preparing for the night. “What would you pay to ransom her?” “All that I own. Everyone was having fun.” Lara teased. He noticed Lara was missing. If I were you. “I do not need everything you own. “I take your heart and lead to your bride. “I have hidden your bride. Adrik wasn’t too concerned when he looked about and couldn’t find his new bride. She was smiling and laughing. I would be interested in a pretty bauble.” Adrik returned happily. “Your bride is held captive in here. I have my husband that cares for me.

Novo Arkhangel’sk w 127 .

There was a small oil lamp near the bed. First he put out the lamp. It certainly was better than a drunken mob carrying him and intruding upon his lovely gentle bride. Even with his first wife he had never completely undressed in front 128 . He focused his eyes to see Catherine’s silhouette resting upon the bed. Adrik wiped his face and began to undress. This was a unique kidnapping Lara had conspired. “What are you doing?” “I am shaving. “Good Evening my lady.” Catherine was comforted with the knowledge at least Adrik was considerate. He turned and looked into the darkened room.Payton Lee g Chapter 18 He heard Lara laughing as she walked down the hall and the stairs. “Rest for awhile. She waited quietly as he performed his shaving with a straight edge. Catherine was curious and asked. He walked to the bureau and light a lamp. He poured water into the bowl.” Catherine replied.” Adrik said soothingly.” “Husband. Adrik took the soap and brush to create a heavy lather that he applied to his face. I fear my beard is coarse and would not have it offend my new bride.

“What is my life now?” “Do you think a husband knows all the answers of life and marriage?” “Don’t you?” Adrik tilted his head backward and laughed. “Do you want a child?” “Oh yes. Removing his clothes slowly and carefully placing them on the chair next to him he finished undressing. As she was about to answer his question his hand slipped lower to cup her breast.” Adrik whispered as his tongue laved her earlobe.” Catherine managed to breathe out. His arms were well curved with powerful biceps. Catherine found Adrik’s touch sent new sensations that reverberated through her entire body. I do not know you. The golden body that approached the bed mesmerized her. but think of the fun of learning together. “I am coming to bed. “No. I do not. Broad shoulders were well muscled. 129 . His chest was flat and muscular.” “Yes. Neither of us know what this marriage will bring us.” Adrik chuckled. “Are you afraid of me?” “I am not afraid of you. I am from a large family.” Catherine gulped. I do not know what is expected of me now and in the future.Novo Arkhangel’sk w of her. His lips moved down to suckle the welcoming breast. “Yes. “A sad lot. What is a wife? What is a bride?” Catherine sighed softly. I am afraid.” He was silent for several more minutes. Adrik’s humor was contagious. “We are a sad lot.” “And why is that? What are you afraid of?” “The unknown. He whispered. He busied himself with learning every inch of Catherine’s body. Slowly he walked to the bed where the dim oil lamp would reveal his nudity. Ekaterine. do you want a child?” His hand plucked at the ribbons that tied the gown together at the shoulders. It was all she could think of to say.” Catherine laughed. I do not know what a wife would expect of a husband. “The first question to know each other is this. Fine golden hair accented his chest tapering down to his narrow hips and ending where her eyes were focused now. He knelt on the bed and slid under the covers to slip next to Catherine. His lips brushed Catherine’s neck. She gasped and his fingers played with the hardened nub. I do not know what a husband is to do. “I want lots of children. The feelings were new but wonderful physical feelings. I want children.

It was heaven. Adrik wasn’t certain what he should do. Her body needed and was yearning something. something that was driving her to a frenzy that required finding a release. and back. Never had he felt such energy in lovemaking. Together they climbed the heights of ecstasy. A moan followed his perceiving the virginal membrane. He stopped moving. He kept his elbows bent to prevent Catherine from having to endure all his body mass. He needed to touch her everywhere as she stroked his arms. A heat was building inside that was pleasant yet demanding. Catherine was on fire. This experience was soon reaching an ethereal level for Catherine. Every touch of Catherine’s fingers sent charges surge through Adrik’s body.Payton Lee g Catherine arched her back to give Adrik full access to her breast. shoulders. Even Magda had not been a virgin. Catherine surrounded him with her tight warmth and he pushed forward. He also didn’t want to cause Catherine any pain in this mutually satisfying and wonderful lovemaking. He couldn’t just stop. She could not be denied to squelch the flame by a small pain. Catherine’s movement signaled Adrik to proceed. Beneath him Catherine shuddered. Slowly he began to enter the warm wet sheath. It was a twinge that didn’t seem to matter when the fire she was feeling was beginning to flare into a nova. Adrik 130 . Catherine made his decision. He lifted her nightgown over her head. He was in the throes of passion that had gone well beyond a withdrawal point. When she felt something enter her she instinctively opened her legs to allow easier access to the heated apex. Magda had been cold at best. First there was the realization this was the first virgin he had ever encountered. She cried in triumph when she reached her peak of physical pleasure. Adrik was near bursting with desire. He dipped his fingers into Catherine’s womanhood testing for her readiness to accept him. but never had their lovemaking soared him to such levels of sensation. Sounds of pleasure and desire eminated from her lips. She was returning his kisses with a passion no woman had offered him before. He was rewarded with moist warmth and murmured ardor. Her hands began to roam on Adrik’s body causing small moans from his lips. A small cry erupted from Catherine’s lips when she felt a twinge of pain after Adrik had entered her. Maria was a professional. She moved rhythmically after the last twinge of discomfort. It was a welcome for him. Catherine arched into Adrik that successfully broke the thin membrane. He spread her legs with his knees as he positioned his body over hers.

He bathed in the glory of the lovemaking and his extreme good fortune in obtaining not only a beautiful young wife. With feelings of comfort. He couldn’t take his eyes from her sleeping body. It was her name in a loving tone that thrilled her beyond words. He felt like roaring like a lion. security. The mumbling of Adrik was her name. muscled. oh Catherine. She remembered she was married and then her body tingled to remind her of the lovemaking on the wedding night.” Adrik mumbled. Her finger reached to touch the scar on Adrik’s face. He couldn’t lose this passionate woman and live. Catherine woke before the first light of the day. and chest. She looked like a lovely child sleeping soundly in his arms. and large body next to her. but strong willed. both bodies were moist from volcanic exertion. He felt powerfully protective. he lowered his body down to slide next to her.Novo Arkhangel’sk w roared in triumph when he released his seed into Catherine with spurts of unabated pleasure. The delicate feminine touch began a exploration of the massive man who was now her husband. A curious finger touched the strong body sleeping next to her. and the exhaustion of the day and love making. Those muscles were rock solid. At first she was a bit disoriented when she opened her eyes and felt a warm. He was also delighted that she was timid. Catherine’s eyelids became heavy. which by now was a tangled mess. “Catherine. It was at this point he realized he would treasure Catherine for the rest of his life. arms. Adrik stared at his new wife. His nose tickled by her golden hair. Before Adrik collapsed upon his new wife. Catherine was descending from her heights of ecstasy. He would not let any harm come to her as long as he breathed. She 131 . The kerosene lamp was still burning casting a golden glow in the room and upon her sleeping husband. Adrik remained awake for a while longer. Adrik stroked her arm from her shoulder down to her fingertips returning on the same path. Catherine was also subservient. She snuggled into Adrik’s arms with serene comfort. Catherine was making purring sounds like a comfortable feline. She responded by lightly kissing his chest with her lips. Despite the cool weather and warm blankets. but brave. but a passionate one as well. Catherine felt the several scars on his shoulder. At last his eyelids became heavy with sleep. She was soon sound asleep in her new husband’s arms. She always seemed to know what to be as the moment required.

“I am feeling a bit tender. Holding his ribs with hilarity informed Adrik. He was shocked at the size of the stain.” Adrik picked up the sheet and walked it to the door. Catherine felt that kiss was incredibly seductive and her body began to respond to the seduction. She rose wearily and with shaky legs to grab her heavy mink lined brocade robe from the chair.Payton Lee g carefully touched the scar and traced its outline. I do need a hot bath. Catherine heard the demands for the sheet.” He lowered his head and his mouth found Catherine’s lips. “I am certain we both would enjoy it. and Grigori. “Your visit so early this morning is most unwelcome. as did Faddei. Adrik released her hand. Opening the door he flung the sheet into Ilya’s hands and growled. Returning to slumber after their morning exercise. When she put the robe on her arm she noticed the virginal stains on her thighs and crusted virginal blood on her womanhood. It was to be proof the marriage had been consummated.” “Early Morning?” Ilya snorted. Adrik also rose from the bed and put his heavy Ermine robe on. He returned to the bed and glancing at Catherine observed she was already tying her sash. Looking down on the mattress as he pulled the sheet for the revelers outside the door he gulped hard. Her finger was taken to his mouth where he kissed the tip and slowly sucked the tip into his mouth.” Adrik laughed to calm his growing libido. From the look of this sheet I do hope your young wife is alive and well?” Catherine appeared at the doorway looking quite flushed from the teasing. “Have I hurt you?” Catherine walked toward the bed and gasped. She would need a bath. “He thinks it is early morning!” Ilya roared with laughter. In moments they were entwined in the passions of a man and woman that they both enjoyed tremendously. Adrik arched a brow. “Holy Madonna!” he exclaimed. Please send 132 . She too was shocked at the bloodstain. Adrik and Catherine were rudely awakened by gruff male voices and fists pounding on the door. sir. “I am quite alive. but unharmed. Jasha. Perhaps you are exhausted. Let me get rid of our unwanted guests first. “Good Morning. Suddenly her hand was trapped in the large strong hands of her husband. Dimitri. “It is nearly noon! You are a slug a bed. I am also in need of a bath. With a large smile he addressed his new wife.

“You will love Russia’s colony. This time he returned to the Grey Stone manor in the evening for dinner and for an evening of divine pleasures with his wife. If the marriage remained happy. my son’s life. It was her book that told me everything I needed to know. If lust was the marriage factor of contentment. and our little Stefan. Grigori.” Lara sniffled. and Fabiyan loading his cargo on their ships. Adrik smiled broadly at the dumbfounded group. “You saved my life. Adrik picked her up in his arms and carried her to their cabin that had been her cabin. magnificent animals. The revelers returned to their merry making. pristine rivers. “I shall miss you. When Catherine began her walk toward the boarding plank. Adrik spent a lot of time with Jasha. Catherine was a wanton and quite happy for it.” “And you will be warmly welcomed.” 133 .Novo Arkhangel’sk w Mary my request. It was a foggy morning when the carriage arrived at the port of Okhotsk carrying Lara and Catherine. It is a land of majestic mountains. Catherine floated around the house in her contentment. Please see to it. vast forests. “I have treasured this time with you. dear sister. “Perhaps Grigori and I will visit Novo Arkhangel’sk with Stefan in a few years. kicked the door shut with his foot and allowed the bolt to fall. Lara was amused and pleased. Dimitri.” Lara sighed. She found Adrik to be a wonderful lover.” “Mama saved your life. Together they found a shared delight in being a wife and spoiled little Stefan immensely.” “Send my love to Mama. “We also require some sustenance before our bath. he moved swiftly to help her aboard. Adrik stood on deck waiting for his wife to finish her goodbyes. and a wonderful people. it was yet to be tried. He placed her on the soft mink coverlet.” Catherine stated humbly. The last of Adrik’s ships arrived in port soon after their marriage. and brought more love into our house.” Tears were plentiful as Lara and Catherine exchanged their last hugs goodbye.” He turned walked into the room. The beauty of the land is beyond description. “I look forward to our first night on board.” Catherine beamed. He knelt by her side and kissed her lightly upon her lips.” Proudly and with chin up she turned to return to the room. They became very close in those last weeks.

Payton Lee g “How did you know this was our cabin?” Catherine queried trying to squelch her rising lust. Instead he was turning into a pontificating dominating husband. “I’ve been living in it these past months. my Angel.” Adrik replied covering Catherine with his body. and large dowry. She could never remember her father. He rose from the bed abruptly.” 134 . Adrik walked quickly to the door and left the room before he said anymore. a ship. No one ever ordered her. Catherine’s anger rose like an artesian spring. This is our cabin. She cried hysterically. You are ever faithful and loving. She was comfortable and neighed a friendly greeting. Even her father would speak to her with kindness and explain situations. “I wish women had the temperament of you my lady. Adrik gained control of his anger by going down to visit Angel.” Adrik said stroking his horse’s nose. She remained in the cabin long enough to change into her comfortable pantaloons and silk shirt. “Ah. or brothers ever speaking with such dictatorial demeanor. “This is not your cabin. Just before she was about to go on deck she felt an overwhelming need to cry. He didn’t appreciate Catherine’s tone.” Angel took her hoof and pounded the deck floor.” Adrik barked.” Catherine had never been spoken to like that in her life. She wanted peace in marriage. He would never allow a woman to walk over him again. Sobbing softly her eyelids closed into a deep sleep. He was getting a home. I would be more welcome and I am certain far more comfortable. “I think I should bed down with you in your stall tonight. “You’ve been living in my cabin?” Catherine snapped in surprise.” Angel shook her head and whinnied. She picked it up and threw it at the pine door. “Captain Fabiyan gave me this cabin to use. sister. “Of course you are correct! I cannot let her throw me from my bed. Magda had left a deep memory that he believed he could not erase. mother. Who did he think he was? He was a Cossack! She was a boyar. Catherine rose from the bed and found a brass figurine. She was exhausted from the emotional drain. How could he be so foolish? He was beginning to believe he could have a happy marriage. Tears flowed and flowed. He was also getting her. I will be in this bed every night and you will be there as well.

and rum were consumed. They were well off to sea when a tipsy Grand Duke Adrik Mikhail Peteravich Romanov entered their cabin. It is better to ask me. The discussion lasted well into the morning and several bottles of brandy. 135 . There they talked and drank brandy. vodka. What has happened? Is there trouble so soon?” Adrik agreed to talk.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “Talking to horses are we?” Fabiyan questioned from behind Adrik. The men went to the captain’s cabin. “Angel cannot give you the answers regarding my sister. but never cruel. She is stubborn.

she would laugh uproariously at the inebriated state of her husband. but not impossible to hold her mirth. If she didn’t. Catherine woke with a start.Payton Lee g Chapter 19 Adrik made a great deal of noise entering the cabin. He was comical to watch and Catherine found it difficult. Catherine had never known Adrik to drink this heavily. he found them trapped.” Catherine chuckled. Looking up to her husband’s face she noted a quizzical look. She watched as her husband floundered in the cabin. Cursing he called for Ilya and sat down on a chair. She took the boot heel in one hand and the boot toe in the other. “Ilya is on the Sofia. She bent his foot forward and easily slid off one boot. Catherine ignored the strange look on Adrik’s face. Obviously this was not the normal way he removed his boots. Slowly she walked to the chair holding her robe and took it. After she 136 . After tugging and spinning in several circles he pulled the coat off allowing it to drop in the center of the cabin. and your Faddei is sailing aboard the Relentless. She slipped into her heavy brocaded fur lined robe and wrapped it securely. His breeches seemed to cause less of a problem until he realized he had not removed his boots. She rose from the bed. “Perhaps I might help?” Catherine knelt before him. Adrik managed to unbutton his waistcoat and as he attempted to pull out his arms. His vest and shirt ended up entangling him and also were left lying on the cabin floor. To this point in time. He made vain attempts at removing his clothes.

mon petite. Yet. “Yet. Once she tucked Adrik in the bed under the coverlet it was time for her to ready for bed. Adrik was making no sense. He rose unsteadily from the chair. How or when did she throw him from their bed? Waving his hand in the air Adrik declared. I have been content with our agreement. “The reason is you. This was the first time she had ever heard such a noise from him. “Have we sailed into a storm?” he uttered.Novo Arkhangel’sk w removed Adrik’s other boot she straightened and smoothed her robe. Mon petite. His abdomen was covered with only a small amount of blond curly hair that rippled across his chest. She picked up Adrik’s leg that was dangling and put it gently on the bed. but are truly kind. It was that moment Catherine realized that she was actually developing a fondness for her new husband. His abdomen was rock hard and narrowed to a slim waist. Of course as inebriated he was she couldn’t expect him to make sense. Be kind to me. Catherine allowed her chuckles to escape. Catherine wondered which battle caused what scar. Catherine was speechless. her husband passed out cold. “Is there a special reason for your libation this evening?” Adrik grinned menacingly. He has told me much about you. His shoulders were broad and muscles rippled strength along his arms. There were a few scars.” Adrik replied in a slur. Indeed he has! A stubborn woman you are.” Adrik weaved slightly as if fighting to stand erect. your dear kind brother has given me great insight. Madam. Before Catherine could answer.” “How have I offended you?” Catherine asked innocently. The room started to spin in dizzying circles for Adrik. “We have agreed on our wedding night that both of us will learn our roles. She couldn’t help but stand by the bed and admire the strong muscular body. She fought to keep the smile from her face. Her husband was a funny drunk. Catherine selected a warm fur coverlet and covered her partially naked husband. He weaved toward the bed and barely making it without tripping. he fell onto it.” “As have I.” Catherine bit her lip to hold back the laughter. She was indeed grateful he was not a violent one. Adrik rolled 137 . “You drive me to madness. His breeches fell to the floor and he stepped out of them. you throw me from our bed. A loud snort startled her for a moment until she realized it was Adrik snoring. Be kind to me.

” Catherine laughed. He took in a deep breath of the fresh ocean air. “Well husband.Payton Lee g over and sprawled across the bed leaving little space for her. “Mon Dieu. Adrik squinted to look at the commonplace competition on board a ship. It was obvious she was not in their cabin. Did Catherine do this? He was amazed at the wifely service she provided. soap mug. He stroked his chin and felt the coarse hair of a growing beard. The sun was shining brightly through the window of the cabin when Adrik finally woke up. His head was throbbing and he felt a bit sick to the stomach. She had ten older brothers. “Just whom has thrown whom out of this bed. He still felt a bit dizzy. His attention was drawn to the center of the ship just below the main mast. He stopped in horror to view his new young wife at the top and the 138 . Didn’t she know? Didn’t she understand? The thought of maybe she didn’t care frightened him more than her risking her life.” Adrik groaned holding his head. How could she endanger her life? Especially now. “Oohhh.” he reminded his aching head. Of course she would know what toiletries were required for a man in the morning.” She pulled two extra heavy blankets from one of her chests and placed them on top of bear rug in the center of the cabin floor. brush. Adrik walked on deck feeling a little better after his toilet and meal. after he was sleeping on his side he no longer snored. He would recognize that cute derrière even in those pantaloons. He strained and recognized the cute little swaying bottom. Slowly he swung his legs over the bed and opened his eyes. In a split second his mood changed from terror to rage. Of course. and towel were neatly laid out for him. save me from this new liquor called rum!” A knock at the door announced the delivery of a breakfast by the Gabrielle’s cabin boy. “This is why you seldom imbibe. Slowly he rose from the bed and walked to the stand where his razor. her life was more precious than ever. The one man looked very young. Adrik winced in pain as the knocking continued. Catherine took a pillow from the bed and offered her sleeping husband a gentle wifely kiss. “Enter!” Adrik groaned. Feliks. she had not even slept there. A large group of sailors were loudly cheering two men in competition climbing the main mast. He charged through the collected sailors to stand under the main mast. Adrik chuckled until his head began pounding. Turning to check the bed he realized not only was Catherine not next to him. His tongue felt like someone had walked on it after they poured a bucket of sand in his mouth.

The crew stared with shock. “You should be proud of her. Catherine has been climbing the main mast since she could walk. Captain. you bet on it?” “She doesn’t risk her life.” “Aye. “Will he hurt her? Should we interfere?” Dima questioned.” Fabiyan cautioned.” Fabiyan looked at the furious Cossack with confusion.Novo Arkhangel’sk w tar she was competing with still climbing.” Adrik glared at the captain of the ship. I will not have my wife risking her life like this again. As her husband I hereby forbid my wife to participate in this again. Her smile was met with a look of confusion from her brother and a look of anger from her husband.” Dima agreed reluctantly. “Wasn’t that grand?” Her answer was a growl from Adrik as he grabbed her arm and pulled her across the deck.” Fabiyan replied in surprise to the angry husband. “You not only let your sister risk her life. Shock stopped any resistance at first. Her life now belongs to me. “I always win a fortune with her. “Isn’t she magnificent?” Fabiyan bragged. “He won’t harm Catherine. The exercise filled her with happy energy. She placed her arms akimbo. I think it best not to interfere at this moment. Possession? Catherine wouldn’t like that at all. “It would be prudent to wait and watch this one.” Adrik spun around in a rage. It is more so at this time. She nearly floated to the deck. She looked down to see her brother and Adrik below her. Catherine thought she had won when he released her. As Adrik neared the door to the decks below and their cabin Catherine planted her feet and ended up being dragged behind him until he realized what he was doing. Dima approached Captain Fabiyan. “What is going on…whoosh!” In an instant she was placed on Adrik’s hip and carried into their cabin. He was about to shout in fury at Catherine to come down immediately when a powerful hand grabbed him on the shoulder.” 139 . What did he mean more important at this time?” Catherine continued to wave at the cheering crowd before descending to the deck. She is the undefeated champion on the Gabrielle. “As her brother you may well be proud. we’ll take him on. “If we hear her cry out.

Adrik wasn’t certain. ANGRILY!” Adrik paced back and forth before he answered.” Adrik pursued. Do you understand?” Adrik sat next to Catherine and took her in his arms. Where this strong sense of protection came from.” Adrik informed. I want our child. Adrik gently placed Catherine on the bed. How did he know? Why didn’t she know? A baby? Instinctively she stroked her flat stomach. I don’t want to risk losing this child. “My God. How 140 . “I will not allow you to risk your life and that of my child. Neither emotion sat well with him.” “If I knew. “Patience. The protection was there. “Surely it is because you are afraid to challenge me? I’ve been winning these contests for the past six years. “You are forbidden to participate in this contest. She was in shock. Since you are full of answers.” “My darling young wife. “I’d like this behavior explained. He was angry and frightened. What did she see there? She saw love. Catherine blushed to her toes for the question. He meant it and it felt good. perhaps you will share your great wisdom. “Yes. She would have her own child. “I wouldn’t have asked regarding your behavior. and concern.” Adrik fumed. You come along and whisk me away. “I was enjoying my win. Reaching the cabin. He controlled both so he would not frighten Catherine. you don’t know do you? You are such an innocent.Payton Lee g Fabiyan chuckled and placed his hand firmly on Dima’s shoulder. “I am thrilled with your condition.” Catherine grumped.” “The facts are you have not had your woman time since our marriage. She looked into Adrik’s eyes.” “For what purpose?” Catherine snapped. I don’t think I could bear that again. tenderness.” “This has nothing to do with the fact you are agile. “I beg your pardon. Catherine crossed her arms and sent a challenge to her husband with her eyes.” she demanded.” Catherine sat in a stupor.” “When did you last have your menses?” Adrik queried. You are carrying my child. Really I would. He raked his fingers through his hair in frustration.” Dima shrugged and walked off to continue his duty. “Is this true?” Catherine choked.

She was barely able to ask the next question. I wish to raise this child with all the love I am capable of. There was sympathy for this great Cossack. “Is she still alive?” “She is dead. Would he accept it? There would be no way of knowing unless she tried. What could he say? “Adrik!” “Yes. Magda died fourteen years ago.” Adrik wished to say no more. Adrik felt vulnerable. Should he tell her everything? No. He held his breath. Magda was sixteen. Facing hordes of enemies was easier than this new married life. “Our child is extremely important to me.Novo Arkhangel’sk w wonderful.” There it was out.” Adrik leaned over Catherine and kissed her forehead.” Catherine kneeled by her husband as he sat on the bed. He couldn’t bear that again? “You are a father? I mean you were a father? Your child? You were married?” The questions flew at Adrik before he realized what he had let slip. “You want our child very much. He was concerned. “Your son lives?” “Although he has been successfully kept from me. I saw my son only once. Then his words entered into the translation of her mind. not yet. Magda viewed it as obligation. “What happened?” “I was married at age seventeen. Is there room in your heart for the two of us?” 141 . He cared. and has grown into a strong young man. Her hatred has kept me from him these fourteen years. He was two years old. She left with hatred but bore me a son. Adrik would be worried if anything happened to his child. I do know he is well educated. This was an opportunity for her to show loving sensitivity. He was the father of her baby. Adrik. After hoping just for a compatible relationship and rescue from the marriage of a cruel noble she had before her a perfect husband. He was worried.” Catherine demanded. Any stubbornness of independence on her part abated.” Catherine was once again stunned. “Tell me. He would only reveal as much as he had too. I was married. Her hatred of me extends with a cold reach beyond the grave. I thought it was love. She left me when she was four months enceinte. Catherine sensed deep sorrow in the words of her husband. cared for.

He dresses and acts as a Cossack. “There is something about him that does not match his Cossack identity. “Come we have work to do. I intend to finish the trade of our original cargo and stock up on foodstuffs.” Fabiyan chuckled. We will soon be landing at Petropavlovsk.” Catherine promised lovingly bending to brush a kiss across Adrik’s forehead.” “That I do not. A knock at the door disturbed their play. Adrik barked. “What does he hide? What need to hide? That concerns me the most. He was hard instantly. He wondered how many other of the crew suspected Adrik’s true identity. He quickly grabbed her and pulled her onto the bed.” “I still do not trust that man. would that harm our Ekaterine?” “Wouldn’t it?” Dima questioned.” Fabiyan assured. “Who is there?” The response was a worried sounding Captain Fabiyan Koslov. He pushed Dima toward the stairs leading to the top deck. It was absolute enjoyment for the both of them.” Dima explained. “I feel it. “He seems a good man and good choice for husband to my sister.” In unison the response was heard. This lusty enjoyment was never a part of marriage with Magda. but nothing could or would compare to this copulation experience. Captain Fabiyan. I am concerned for my sister. Dima is here with me. “You continually say this. A surety of this marriage was the lust between them. or did they? As Fabiyan stood on the deck he questioned Dima. You must think me crazy. The bed was and is an enjoyable playground for them. “Go away!” “I would assume that means we do not have to concern ourselves for the welfare of my sister. Catherine laughed and giggled as her lusty husband began removing her clothes and showing his tender and flaming concentrations of love making. He enjoyed sex with mistresses.” 142 . yet I have no proof. The Cossack is not a complete person.Payton Lee g “We can raise our child together.” Dima complained. “It is I. Just what is it that bothers you?” “He holds himself like a nobleman.” Fabiyan knew that the apparently simple Cossack was actually a Grand Duke incognito. Even if he were not as he seems. but it is as if he holds back his nobility.

He had heard nothing against the Grand Duke’s name or person. We will be patient and watch. He had to admit he was still concerned.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Fabiyan knew Adrik’s secret. Why did a Grand Duke hire ships. or at least part of it. and want no one to know whom he was or where he was going. It is obvious he will protect her. Why did he hide? “He is good to Catherine. This uneasiness is something we share. send his household as cargo. Everyone would have gossiped about a Grand Duke being in trouble with the Czar.” 143 .

” Volk crowed knowing he would impress the sisters.” “Most likely the Grand Duke will be arriving soon.” Volk stated in confidence. Volk is a boisterous and energetic leader with great knowledge and the respect of all the Cossack family in Novo Arkhangel’sk. “Let us know what it says. bald. but it was evident by the disarray of the blouses and the swollen lips.” Peter handed the sealed paper to his leader. It was Volk who would be the leader in the absence of their Grand Duke. Volk was also the trusted friend of Grand Duke Adrik Romanov the commander and general of their small Cossack group.” Several minutes later a clean-shaven. “Peter. Peter had brought his announcement at an interesting time. Both women were dressed. “He has written in his last letter that his household will be arriving in early spring on three ships he hired. my friend! Meet Vanya and Tanya.Payton Lee g Chapter 20 “Volk! Volk!” Peter called to the door of the small wooden cabin behind the large manor and the lodge of the Cossacks.” Peter snickered. Volk was the lead Cossack.” He turned to the women.” “Of course. “I would only interrupt the sisters’ enjoyment for a post from Adrik. The darlings are enthralled with me. We all know this. They are sisters. Why wouldn’t they be? You are the center of the universe. 144 . blue-eyed Cossack appeared at the door. “There is a post from Okhotsk. “Give me the post. A young boyarina with long black hair was in one arm and another boyarina with auburn hair in another. It is most likely from the Grand Duke. He has indicated his plan to do so in many of his past posts.

Volk sat down in the large comfortable chair and indicated to Peter to sit down in the other. Peter enjoyed his visits with Volk. Peter. suddenly a large guffaw followed by hilarious laughter. He hadn’t met any of the Tlingit women. Like Volk. then a snicker. The brother was to find her a husband. Peter remained silent watching Volk.” “The girl who left here because of Prince Igor’s pursuit?” “The very same. Peter also conceded to the fact that the house was clean and comfortable primarily because of Volk who was fastidious and rarely drank anything other than hot tea. let us see what news the Grand Duke sends to us.” “The sister was not good enough for an offer? I’ve seen her. Volk read the post from Adrik. The rest were sailors who were already married or took a liking to Aleut slaves. I’ll have more time to spend with you undisturbed. “Be off now. The women grabbed their shawls and each bestowed a small kiss to each one of Volk’s cheeks. He found our Grand Duke. Most of the Russian men in Novo Arkhangel’sk were gruff and unkempt workers. The small house was always clean.” Peter expounded in surprise.” “Now that you have disturbed my pleasure. Come in. He imagined that was the result of many of the local women enjoying Volk’s vivacious personality. he has married Ekaterine Koslov. Ekaterine is beautiful. and quite comfortable. He had several firearms hanging above the blazing fireplace. Of course. or at least the pretty ones. Throughout Peter’s private musings. the cabin was comfortable but practical. A table of fine wood and carving with matching chairs was in the center of a set of large well-stuffed divans. Our Adrik has not only married.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “I’m sorry my little loves. He knows about Igor’s unwanted advances. 145 . He noticed a grin. Business to attend too! I’ll see you tonight. Captain Fabiyan Koslov believing Adrik to be a Cossack made him an offer to marry his sister. Come by and bring me supper. Volk often charmed the Aleut women and Inuit women. Peter entered the small cabin. “Volk?” Volk responded to Peter still laughing. warm. Run along now!” He turned into the house and returned with the two woolen shawls the sisters had worn. but Peter was certain Volk would be able to charm then as well. “You won’t believe this. The Koslov family sent little Ekaterine to her brother in Okhotsk. It turned out to be several pages long. Volk smiled broadly and patted each on their buttocks.” Volk invited.

it is said the new ship Yuri is building for his daughter’s husband is the finest yet.” “I can hardly wait to tell Prince Igor he will soon be evicted by our master.” Peter admired.” Volk replied rising from the chair. “The Gabrielle is so quick they should be here any day. He has sent his orders for his arrival. “Everything that Adrik hoped to accomplish once he arrived here. The other irony of this trip is he had actually hired the ships from his new family. The three brothers are bringing Adrik’s household on their ships. His wife still does not know at this point.” Volk informed.” “Blessed be the Saints. “Da.” “Adrik has ordered that only the Cossacks are to know of his arrival and greet him when he lands. “Yuri is giving as dowry a partnership in the family trade business and a ship. Adrik was revered as the Cossack troupe’s leader. A ship designed by Yuri for his daughter.” Volk confirmed.” Peter gulped. “When do we tell the dung lord.” Peter beamed.” “I’ve seen that ship. “It seems our Adrik’s cover fooled the brothers nearly to the wedding. she will learn soon enough when they arrive here. but what are our Grand Duke’s orders?” “We’ll go to the lodge and talk with our Cossack brothers now. Yuri Koslov gave a rather large dowry.Payton Lee g “It seems to protect the girl from Igor. The rules he had ordered them to live by were difficult.” “Does the Grand Duke give any date as to his return?” Peter questioned. He would have both of us killed.” Volk replied seriously.” “I don’t understand.” Volk laughed again.” Volk guffawed. However. Grand Duke Adrik. Adrik will be sailing with Captain Fabiyan Koslov on the Gabrielle. There is much to do and I believe there is little time. “Even I would have stood up to the Prince for that dowry. the most noble Grand Duke Adrik Romanov. There is no other sailing vessel as fine and sleek as that one. They work on it day and night when they can.” 146 . That is why Adrik secretly sent this missive on a Russian Naval vessel several weeks ahead of his sailing. “So it shall be. his cousin will now master the manor and there will be no more cruelty to man and animal. Adrik on the other hand can crush the vermin Igor with his thumb. He was missed in this strange land. “What?” Peter questioned impatiently.” “You could never challenge Igor any more than I. “He should be arriving shortly after this letter.

Volk was warmly greeted. “All in good time. Czar Alexander has no desire to take the life of royal blood. He did not question those orders. even if it were Peter that had brought the missive. “The first news is that Grand Duke Adrik Romanov is expected at any moment. Volk was the representative for Adrik in the welfare of his troupe. and before the night. The Naval Captain had given his sailor strict orders to avoid the manor and Prince Igor. Even Governor Baranov could not keep him in check for Igor’s noble bloodline. All the Cossacks had remained in the lodge awaiting the news after a sailor had delivered the post to the Cossacks and addressed to Volk Zolotov. He did not mind avoiding Prince Igor and the manse. but if Igor continued in his ways there would be no choice. Some of the Cossacks had married Aleut women. These Cossacks had their own homes. The Cossacks cheered. “What news in the missive. All in the Russian navy that patrolled Russia’s colony knew of the Prince and avoided him. He had been given this information when Adrik sent him and the Cossacks to Novo Arkhangel’sk. Entering the lodge. after the practices.” Volk shared. The sailor had been informed these were the direct orders from a Grand Duke of the Romanov blood. greedy. The Czar had no idea 147 . These men were the closest to the Grand Duke and his personal bodyguards.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “If we are not to tell Prince Igor of the arrival of Grand Duke Adrik. a love for his Tante Sveta. and completely disreputable. “We will all learn our commander’s orders together.” Volk answered. All of them would be found there at this time of day. so he did not have the information Volk had.” “It was a request by the Czar.” Volk responded. “It’s been too long here under that vermin cousin of Adrik. He did not read the instructions from Adrik. The prince was power mad.” Ivan queried. and a promise to his mother. He was to deliver the post personally to the Cossacks in the lodge. Volk knew he must share the information with all the Cossacks or he would show favoritism. what is there to do?” Peter queried. The Cossacks admired their lead man as much as the Grand Duke. some had married boyarina women in the five years they had come to this land. They also had deep respect for Ilya and Faddei. I never understood why Adrik sent him here.” He picked up his pace to the lodge the Cossacks shared as a common home. The Czar believed that once the monetary corruption and debauchery of the court had been removed from Igor’s nearness he would be less of problem. but still enjoyed the comradeship of the lodge.

Natasha knew that sometime soon Adrik would arrive to claim his son. Although Peter respected his adopted father. “Continue. Initially Volk had been introduced to Peter’s adoptive family with an invitation to dinner. he was not a Naval officer. It was past time he took Peter in the fleet. At the request of the wife. Mikail Volgarski turned the offer down politely. Volk had noticed the boy watching their practices during his lunchtime from working for the Koslov family and the shipbuilding. Mikail admitted it was his love for Natasha that held him back this long. Volk knew instinctively this Peteravich was indeed Adrik’s son and was born with the heart of a Cossack. who happened to be the guardian of his son. She played the part well. He noticed the resemblance of the boy to the Grand Duke instantly. Mikail felt better knowing the lad Peter was near at hand. When he was on his patrols. Volk agreed with Mikail outwardly. He vowed to take Igor in hand upon his landing. go on. He had promised Volk that as soon as the Napoleon problem ended he would be traveling to Novo Arkhangel’sk to begin a new business other than war. Adrik in turn had kept constant correspondence in return.” Peter beseeched. Adrik had personally signed the transfer papers. Adrik had written Volk a naval lieutenant had brought his wife and family to the town. Mikail stated his love for the boy as his own. but this was the center of the Russian colony. Peter talked excitedly about Volk offering to train Peter as a Cossack of the royal court. but he also knew Adrik would be arriving soon to claim his son. For all his life he had not been happier than the day he turned to find Volk standing behind him if full uniform. Natasha had blushed at the statement. Peter was by blood a prince. There was no doubt in Volk’s mind he had stumbled upon Adrik’s son. Instead 148 . He was by blood a Cossack. “The boy must leave for his home soon. Natasha had encouraged her husband to keep Peter near. Volk looked at the boy with a wide smile. He wished his adopted son to follow a Naval career.” Vladimir demanded. He took him in and promised training with the Cossacks whenever time would allow. He was by blood a Romanov. Adrik had been kept informed of his cousin’s behaviors from Volk’s pen. The true reason Adrik had chosen this place was not only the Koslov shipbuilding business. Natasha and Mikail had been excellent hosts to the vivacious Volk.” “Yes.Payton Lee g Igor would thrive in the wilderness and develop unsavory alliances.

” Vladimir agreed. Since that time Volk had been a protector of the lad.” Volk allowed no more exuberance.” “Of course. It will be called upon at any moment to transport the Grand Duchess to her new home.” 149 . Volk had merely agreed. “Our Ekaterine is Grand Duchess. “Surely he’s not bringing her to the manse. Indeed they would be busy for some time. well. She did not want to face the wrath of the Grand Duke learning his son was on some Russian Naval Ship somewhere in the Bering Sea. The Cossacks had commented on the resemblance of Peter to their Grand Duke. and sex are worse than a field of excrement. liquor.Novo Arkhangel’sk w he made an agreement with Mikail that he would train Peter after work hours and on weekends until the Naval order of conscription arrived. “A toast to the Grand Duchess. When Volk shared the news that Adrik had married Ekaterine Koslov. “It serves the bloody bastard Igor.” one man shouted. Volk continued reading the entire missive to the group of Cossacks.” another called out. She would do everything she could to prevent Peter from disappearing into a naval apprenticeship. “Apparently the Grand Duchess is to be treated in the same style as the court. Adrik would be coming for his son. The group laughed heartily. “Adrik does not wish this announced until he returns. The smell of their bodies. Nor does he wish anyone to know of his arrival until that time as he arrives. He spoke of the Grand Duke in glowing terms. We are to ready the carriage sent. Peter began to see the Grand Duke as a knighted hero. Many weekend nights Volk had invited the boy in to hear his wonderful stories of war and bravery.” Volk shared as the last command. Volk never mentioned any names. Natasha breathed easier for the extra time. “What else does it say? Peter pursued.” Vladimir gasped. the Cossacks cheered and raised their glasses in toasts. it would give Igor time to steal all the crystal and silver.” a Cossack snorted. Peter learned at great deal about the Grand Duke from Volk. “Obviously he does not know what kind of vermin live there. Volk had even shared the story of how Adrik’s wife had betrayed him and had died in his arms after seeking her for two years. “It would not be wise to give Igor any advance notice that his royal cousin would be arriving soon.” “Da.

She pulled his ear. Only the Cossacks know. but now she would lose her adoptive son. The Aleut women refused to go near the house because of Igor’s bestiality. Volk remained with the Cossacks since many assignments were to be made and plans set to order. Natasha sat down at the table directly across from him. “I also noticed that you have a sprint to your step and a large smile. Still he was so happy his hero would be arriving he nearly burst.” Natasha laughed. but it is a deep secret. and fish. “Mum?” 150 . Peter noticed her pale expression.” “ I swear to secrecy. Peter left for home thrilled over the imminent arrival of his hero the Grand Duke. Has something wonderful occurred?” Natasha was thinking Peter had met a young boyarina that caught his interest. he would send his Cossacks to their Aleut wives and have them clean the house as best as possible. beets. She adores you and looks forward to sharing her secret bunny feedings with you. “Grand Duke Adrik Romanov is expected to arrive imminently. Spill it out!” “Ouch!” Peter cried. cabbage. He drank some tea to down the lump. “You know about it?” “Of course. “Very well.Payton Lee g Volk thought about that. Peter arrived later than expected.” Natasha reached over the table again.” Natasha teased. “It’s nothing. Peter knew he couldn’t say anything. Once Volk heard of the arrival of the Gabrielle. You aren’t supposed to know. but it would still take some time.” Natasha reached over to pat a loose curl into place.” Natasha chided. Of course he would create a diversion to draw Igor away from the manse. How do you think it gets so fat? What brings you home so late? I worry so about you. His adoptive mother met him at the door.” The news struck Natasha like a large blacksmith hammer. “I feed it greens every day. She had prepared for the news many years. The servants coming along could handle that quickly. It was true. “Elizabeth went to bed in tears. “You set me to great worry. She instructed him to sit at the table and pulled out a warmed supper plate filled with potatoes. “Don’t tell me nothing! I know you far to well.” Peter choked on a potato. After serving Peter.

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” Catherine responded to the movements and her husband’s voice. How can it be I have learned to love you so much? I would never have believed it. Instead she rolled closer to Adrik’s muscle hard body. Her abdomen had grown these past two months at sea. Adrik smiled and pulled her into his frame. The Koslov family was in trading and business that included humanity. yarns. but was in no hurry to wake up. The Koslov family would never be able to correct the destruction of the first Russian traders. He would stay in the comfortable bed a bit longer. The slavery and genocide tactics of the Aleuts would also take a century or two to make right. Captain Fabiyan had known for many years there were no longer seal furs in the Aleutian Islands. Haida. “I swear to you my blood. Captain Fabiyan followed the currents and the Aleutian Islands routes. The Koslov Captain never traded nor gave the Aleuts. She stopped questioning when her girth and appetite increased. Slowly he removed the heavy mink quilt. I will guard you with all that I am. He looked down upon his still sleeping young wife. Adrik palmed her swelling belly with his free hand. Their mutual agreement relationship was hardly followed anymore. Adrik tamped his thoughts. Anyone seeking to take you from me will face death. so he traded Russian woolen woven blankets. At least in the bed their passions for each other brought them up to passion few couples could ever share. He chuckled remembering how she had continued to question his announcement she was with child. The over hunting they did would take another century or two to make right. or Tlingit 152 .Payton Lee g Chapter 21 Adrik rolled to his side raising his body with his arm. He recovered his wife with the mink bedcover and tucked it in lest she catch any chilly breeze. The Gabrielle was seriously a fast ship and was ahead of the Sonia and Relentless by days. and foods for the Aleutian carvings and art works.

It would be the time to tell his young wife the entire story and his true identity. Catherine looked up into Adrik’s eyes when his arms embraced her. As much as she had come to mean to him. Soon I will be home. “Oh no. “Da. with all that I am. Catherine would be enjoying her home once more. kind. kindness. It was fresh cedar pine. He secretly hoped Catherine could love him. but primarily prepared tea for drinking. She was there on the bow. He seemed to be thrilled with the child growing in her. but he would not tell her. intelligent. “Are you chilled?” Adrik questioned bringing her closer to his body. but she never spoke the words. “You love this place. The sun is shining. They carried vodka and rum on the ships. She felt protected and safe. gentle. Adrik had never once whispered to her he loved her. Stepping behind her he smelled the fragrance of her. It was time to reveal the truth of his identity. Adrik walked on deck. Her husband treated her with pleasure. Did she see love there? They made love at night. Their marriage had continued on as it was declared to be. Never again would his heart become an open living wound. and strong. He loved her with all he was. Catherine considered this marriage an arrangement. but he never once said he loved her. You’ve seen many parts of the world. To the side he watched whales blow spouts as his young wife was also watching. During the voyage he would often find Catherine there staring out to sea and looking for the land of her adopted home. Their marriage was an arrangement. She was passionate.” Catherine expelled enjoying the warmth of Adrik’s body. the weather is beautiful.” Adrik commented.” “You were born on a ship. The waves cut beneath the Gabrielle like a hot knife upon butter.Novo Arkhangel’sk w any alcohol of any form. It had been the last port for the trip. The nights he spent in the bed with her had given him more pleasure than he could ever have hoped for. Adrik found he became nervous the closer the ship approached their destination. The sun was shining brilliantly in the sky. Petersburg…” 153 . and affection. The winds and weather had been favorable. Yet. She was everything a husband could ask in a woman. The next port would be Novo Arkhangel’sk. You were educated in St. Igor was no longer a fearful presence. The scar tissue was too deep.

“Royalty? Nobility?” “Da. What would become of her? “You did not seem to hear what your married name would be during the vows. She took it out on Adrik.” Catherine then opened her heart whatever may be would be. I am before you as your wife seeking protection from such that call themselves nobility. This is tragedy that will some day create a horror not only for royalty.” Adrik stated calmly. I could find little beauty in the people so dark as their hearts. I watched you carefully. my family.” Catherine interrupted. “I agree Igor is below swine and should not carry royal blood.” Catherine snapped before Adrik could finish his sentence. Would this be the end of his wedded bliss? Would another wife turn on him? Would he lose another child? By God.” “I was not frightened. Her voice revealed an anger deep within for she did not truly know what her married name was.” Adrik whispered his mouth becoming quite dry.” “Not all the nobility are so dark and cruel as you think?” Adrik gulped nervously. She suddenly felt weak kneed. It is filled with depravation and greed. “Just what is my married name?” Catherine growled. The serfs suffer and the noble play.Payton Lee g “Those years in St. She had never even thought about it. Adrik gently took his thumb and rubbed her cheek. and my friends. Petersburg cold. dark. She had left her home to find protection against the nobility. She carried the baby of a nobleman not a Cossack. I thought during our wedding you were so nervous or frightened. Think me so foul?” There he said it. “As do I. Catherine spun around so fast she felt a bit dizzy. Now she finds she married one. NO! He swore silently. “Yet. It was too much to bear. The education was necessary. Petersburg were the loneliest in my life. but for the people.. “I missed my home. “You are the wife of 154 . He would talk with Yuri Koslov on his arrival. filthy. The anger was directed internally for her own lack of information. The great and noble Igor Petrovov. You think him fine and noble?” Catherine laughed and turned her face back toward the sea. “I sacrificed all my heart for that which was necessary. Catherine raised a brow. but he does. I swore to my being I would never sacrifice in such manner again. I found your St. Or was she dizzy for Adrik’s words.

I doubt there is anything you would do that I would question. I know you will use the Romanov name wisely. Adrik was proof of that.” Catherine melted into Adrik’s arms. She believed him. or might. Together we can make it a paradise. Catherine needed to sort things out it was true.” Catherine believed Adrik. Tell me why you love it so. It seemed the right thing to do. He would protect her. She did not want him to see her fear. or pain.” Catherine bent her head. It is a choice you make. or you can use this title for all the good that can become of it. Your family is kind. He was too afraid to see hatred in her eyes. even if I would will it. “You will never be under my fist. She would take time later. He had also given his promise she could use the royal name to help and give. “Tell me why this Unalaska is your home. You can hate me for what I am.” Adrik replied grinning. Do you find me so foul? Have I treated you as a beast?” “No. “Da. but for now she would deal only with this moment and Adrik’s kiss. wife. She did not want Adrik to see her shock or weakness. Her courage and faith returned. You are the Grand Duchess. Still I am now not only of nobility. “I shall protect you. She needed a moment to clear her head.” Catherine turned her face.” Adrik replied.” 155 . and it did not matter he was royal blood. I am Grand Duke of Russia and cousin to Czar Alexander. Adrik did not force Catherine to face him. “You have not. Our child will be titled.” “Romanov?” Catherine choked. not hurt and take. and you can make it to be as you choose.” Adrik lifted her chin and his mouth slanted over Catherine’s lips.” Catherine whispered. I have seen it.” “Da.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Adrik Mikhail Peteravich Romanov. “You did not answer my question. “You would allow me to use the power of your name? I would not be held under your fist?” “ I see only good in you. You can undo all the hatred and damage Igor has created and my name can protect you. “I believe you. Our offspring can be all that royal nobility should be. Once again she turned to face him. and with it the title. I know even that. All royal blood was not evil. You love this land. Several moments later Adrik released Catherine’s lips. “You are kind. Your title can be used with power for the good. but royal nobility. Nobility can be used for right.

There is simplicity of life in the naturalness. This was not the land described to him in the court of St.” Adrik answered. but not your wife!” Catherine shouted pulling away from Adrik. Her hands balled in fists. He was totally confused by Catherine’s sudden change in temperament. or should I say your royal nobility?” “I prefer Adrik and always have. The air is fresh and sweet. Petersburg. How much he truly did want to see this land through Catherine’s eyes. “What upsets you now?” “You found it necessary to inform my brothers of your identity. “This is part of that beauty. “Enter. “They learned the day before our marriage. A mammal so large can fly from the heavy waters.” “I look forward to feeling such things. Catherine pointed. I would be quite put out if you or anyone in the Koslov family would address me any other way.” “Fabiyan knows. “Arghhh!” Adrik watched Catherine disappear below with an open mouth. He could not believe her description of this land he would be living in.” Catherine marched to Fabiyan and popped him in the cheek with her fist. I see the power of graceful eagles. A humpback whale breeched the waters on the fore side of the ship. “He has a right to know just whom he married me too.” “Tell me Adrik. “The land is so beautiful an artist cannot even capture its beauty on canvas. A mammal soaring to the heavens and saying greetings to the world. What now? Catherine pounded on Fabiyan’s door. I seem to feel the power of the land as I become one with it.” Catherine suggested.” “We should tell my brother. Everything is clean. He was quite surprised by Catherine’s reaction.” Adrik responded. “My brothers felt it necessary to hide your identity from me!” Catherine stomped across the deck. as does Dimitri and Jasha.” Adrik informed. I look at the power and majesty of the mountains. 156 .Payton Lee g Catherine folded into Adrik’s arms.” “I can hardly wait to see more. “ They knew? They knew all along?” Catherine shouted pushing Adrik away.

” Adrik promised. Petersburg. Her marriage to this stranger was still too new.” Fabiyan verified. He was also nobility. Adrik moved towards her.” “He did! Today. “You didn’t know that at the time of the betrothal. “I was in Okhotsk to move to Novo Arkhangel’sk. I am permanently moving to Novo Arkhangel’sk. She wouldn’t believe anything just yet. did you?” Fabiyan rose from the floor still favoring his lip. “I hate St. He’ll take me from my home!” She had vocalized her fear.” “That is true. How could you? How could you marry me to a noble man? How could you not tell me?” Catherine screamed. In all her time in St. “His royal nobleness told you I gather. the everything. “Didn’t expect that from a Grand Duchess. “You needn’t worry over that. He hired our ships. I do not. the court. or even facts. He heard what really was bothering her.” “He’s a bloody Grand Duke!” Catherine shouted as she choked and tears began to flow. “Probably because of this exact behavior. Petersburg and especially her experience with Igor left her doubtful of honor and sincerity. It was a release for her to realize what frightened her and why she was angry. the city.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Fabiyan was not expecting the hit and fell backward with his chair underneath him. “Still it is true. Adrik had followed Catherine to her the captain’s cabin.” “This is true?” Catherine questioned warily.” Catherine did not allow herself to believe the promises. “You will not have to live anywhere but your home.” Catherine reminded her brother. Ekaterine. “You don’t understand do you?” “No Ekaterine. “Are there any other concerns?” Adrik heard his voice question coldly. “Ekaterine!” he exclaimed palming the reddened swelling on his cheek and lip. four months after our marriage.” Fabiyan dared say. This is a man that can protect you from Prince Igor. While you knew the day we married. The body language signaled Adrik it was not the time to fold Catherine in his arms. remember? I had even hired your family ships. She moved away. 157 .

” 158 . “Of course. Adrik didn’t hear Catherine stutter hesitantly. He knew it was the time to leave. “We will live as man and wife in our own house!” Adrik’s temper was near boiling. He bolted from the Captain’s cabin. in time after it is built.” Adrik grouched.” Catherine announced stubbornly.Payton Lee g “We will live with my family. “We will live near your family.

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Chapter 22
That night Catherine found herself sleeping in her bed alone. She tossed and turned realizing she needed the comfort of her husband next to her. His body was warm. The powerful muscles gave her a sense of security. She greatly missed his lovemaking. How he made her body sing. She spent a lot of time in euphoria after he brought her to the heights of ecstasy. She fretted the entire lonely night that she had pushed her new husband too far. Why did she act the way she did. Even she couldn’t give an answer for her behavior. Would she say she was sorry? No! She would never be weak. Yet, she was weak. She was carrying a royal child, a prince or a princess. Her child would need a royal father. Yet, she would not succumb or give in. She would not live in St. Petersburg. She hated that city, the people, and the aristocracy. Still, on the other hand she was married to the aristocracy. What did it matter? She liked her husband. She was happy. He was good to her. Well, today he wasn’t. Catherine tossed and turned with her mind and heart in turmoil. Below in the hold, Adrik bedded down in the hay near Angel. He fared no better than his wife in their bed. Of course he didn’t know that. He was chiding himself for not telling Catherine in the beginning of their marriage. What else did he expect as a reaction from her? He had been a coward and deserved her anger. He deserved her anger, but she was still his wife. At least he told her exactly where they would live and it was not with her family. Of course there had been no need to be so sharp in his tone. Didn’t she understand he had been pushed to far? He was a man. He had limits. Should he apologize? No, she must learn to be a wife and take him for what he is. Angel whinnied sensing her master’s distress. “I didn’t ask for your opinion,” Adrik growled. Angel stomped and neighed. “Quit laughing at me,” Adrik groused. “I choose this soft bed of hay.” Angel just shook her head. It was well into the morning that Adrik in the hold, and Catherine in the lonely bed, finally fell asleep. 160

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“Captain, I haven’t seen our Ekaterine this morning,” Dima commented on deck. “I found this person asleep on the hay in the hold next to his horse. Might I think there is a problem?” “Only a small one,” Fabiyan replied. He couldn’t tell anyone yet about Adrik’s true identity. He would keep his promise with Adrik. His arrival would not be heralded in Novo Arkhangel’sk until he had his manse and Prince Igor in hand. “A lover’s spat.” “So soon the spats begin.” “Perhaps it is true love between them,” Fabiyan commented. Dima arched a brow with doubt. “No, Dima. The words between them would not cause such behaviors if they didn’t care for each other,” Fabiyan informed. “I think this will be and is a good match. I feel it.” “Captain,” Feliks addressed. “We are approaching the channel waters.” Fabiyan took his place near the helm. He would be focusing on his ship. In a few hours they would be sailing into the port of Novo Arkhangel’sk. Dima received instructions that upon docking he should send a messenger to the Cossacks at the manse of Igor Petrovov that Adrik had arrived. It would be this simple message only. Catherine woke up to the sun shining directly in her face through the cabin porthole. She woke up with a start realizing how late she had slept. Quickly she washed and dressed. Adrik woke to movement and complaint from Angel. Angel sensed they were near land. The scent was in the air. Adrik brushed his clothes off and walked on deck. He saw Catherine immediately standing next to Fabiyan. Her face showed excitement. It was then he noticed not only how late it was into the day, but the majestic mountains were a vision just off the water that took his breath away. He crossed many mountains, but these were different. It was a beauty before him. Adrik focused on those mountains and the clear blue waters. He watched as blow spouts announced the great whales. Eagles flew above him in the azure blue sky. The air had a fresh sweet scent. There had not been a bloody war in these lands. Adrik could understand Catherine’s love for this land. There was a power here as big as the mountains before him. 161

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Adrik stood mesmerized by the scenes flowing before him. He wasn’t aware of how long he stood on the deck watching. He realized only that this would be his home when the ship slowly made its way into a dock. Catherine remained silent watching her new husband on the deck. He had completely ignored her. What would her future be with this man? He was nobility and even worse, he was a Romanov. What could have brought a Romanov to this land? At least she was home. She was home with her family. It would be wonderful to sleep in her own bed in the warmth and love of her family home. Catherine watched Dima jump to the dock and move quickly to talk to one of the local men. Obviously Dima gave him a coin. The man then rushed off to a horse and galloped toward the channel area where her home was located. Soon her mother and father would be arriving. Catherine observed Adrik returning to the hold. It was several minutes later he returned with his horse, Angel. There was actually a jealous thought as she watched him bring Angel. He treated that horse with such affection and tenderness. Yet, Catherine had to admit he treated her well especially in bed, at night, when making love. With a sigh Catherine pushed all those thoughts from her mind. Soon she would return to her cabin and perhaps await her parents. She wanted to run home immediately, but she knew her brother would not allow it and of course there was still Prince Igor to deal with. She would wait for her father and mother to arrive at the port and take her home. As for Adrik, he could do whatever he needed to do. The horseman galloped into the midst of the Cossacks waving a small piece of paper. It was a missive sealed with red wax and a royal seal. Volk pulled his Don from the troop and rode directly to the man and retrieved the missive. “You are Volk?” “I am,” Volk replied and grabbed the missive. He ripped it open and read the parchment. “It is time!” The Cossacks knew immediately what Volk meant. Half the Cossacks broke off and galloped to the manse. Those Cossacks would be taking Igor on a hunt and remove him from the manse. Adrik would arrive while Igor was gone. Adrik insisted upon the element of surprise. It would be the best way to handle Igor. 162

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Another set of Cossacks rode to the barn and pulled out a large black carriage. Four white horses were pulled out and groomed to pull the carriage. Volk and five Cossacks rode toward the town. Peter watched the unusual happenings from the deck of the new Koslov ship. The ship was nearly complete. He would be leaving for Naval training when it was finished. He loved his adopted father and could not disappoint him even though he wanted to stay with the Cossacks and Volk. These past months being with Volk and the training with the Cossacks seemed more natural to him than ever being a sailor. He wondered what was happening. His attention was brought back to the ship when the foreman called his name to continue his work. Yuri Koslov was on board and watched the young boy follow the movements of the Cossacks in the fields near his yard. The foreman had followed Yuri’s eyes and was reprimanding the boy to pay attention to his work. The foreman believed Yuri would be angry for the worker not working or paying attention. The foreman was incorrect. Yuri’s attention to the boy was the direct result of wondering what fascinated his young worker. He then noted the Cossacks and was surprised. The Cossacks were every bit regimental in movement and this new behavior was quite questionable. Yuri had become curious. Yuri walked up to Peter and asked, “What is happening?” Peter looked up to the inquiring eyes of the master ship builder. “Sir?” “I know you ride with Cossacks after your hours here. Quite unusual you know? The Cossacks remain amongst themselves. They do not allow outsiders in. I find that most interesting,” Yuri elucidated. “I believe you know what is happening down there. Don’t deny it.” Peter was given a moment of respite as they watched Igor emerge from the manse and mount a waiting Don. The group rode into the northern forests. “You see,” Yuri indicated waving his finger. “The Cossacks have ignored Prince Igor all these years. Suddenly they ride him into the woods. And he goes willingly. Are they going to kill him?” Peter’s head snapped to look at Yuri Koslov. His answer was quick. He didn’t want anyone to think the Cossack soldiers were murderers or henchmen. “No!” “Aha! I knew you are aware of what is going on,” Yuri chirped triumphantly. “What is happening? Obviously it is important.” Yuri was 163

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acutely aware of his environment and had been the basis of his success. If he ever allowed his senses to dull he would fall prey to surprise. Surprise is bad in business. “Tell me, lad!” Peter remained silent one more moment. He considered what he should reveal and that what he should not. “The true owner of the manse is coming to claim his home.” “A great man?” Yuri queried. “Yes, a Grand Duke. He is a Romanov,” Peter revealed. The news did shake Yuri. What did this mean? Why would a Romanov move to Novo Arkhangel’sk? Yuri did not say another word. Instead he turned and walked briskly to his home. He would tell his wife the news. When Yuri arrived at home, Sofia greeted him warmly with a broad smile. “Our Fabiyan has returned with Ekaterine,” Sofia bubbled. “Hurry, we will greet her at port. She has brought a husband with her.” Peter finished he work and returned to his home. He greeted his adopted mother, Natasha, with an adoring peck on her cheek. He was excited. “I believe the Grand Duke has arrived.” Natasha dropped the ceramic bowl she was carrying. It dropped to the floor and smashed to pieces. Natasha paled. “Mother?” Peter asked in concern. Natasha dropped to the kitchen chair. She needed a moment to collect herself. She hadn’t seen the Grand Duke for sixteen years. In that time she had raised his son as her own. Peter was grown now, but she still found it difficult to face losing him. Peter knelt at his adopted mother’s knees. “What is it mother? Are you feeling well? Shall I send for a physician.” “Dearest Peter, the pain I am feeling cannot be touched by a physician.” Peter looked at his adopted mother curiously. Natasha stroked Peter’s hair. “So. When do you think this Grand Duke will arrive?” “Imminently. He sent word only a few days ago. I told you remember?” “Of course I remember,” Natasha sighed. “It just seems this is happening so quickly.” 164

hoe many Grand Dukes do you know that would come to an outpost such as this?” Peter ate a slice of dark bread with butter. His presence here could affect us all. Czars.” Natasha stated. Adrik had already left the ship with his horse. That was the last she had seen of Adrik. He was a Grand Duke.” “Eat your meal.” “How fortunate for me.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “What is happening quickly? Why does this Grand Duke upset you?” “He is from our past. Catherine chuckled a little as she remembered how difficult it was for Adrik to lead Angel down the gangplank. Remember my son. After all.” Natasha gasped. “Yuri Koslov seemed upset at the arrival of a Grand Duke. She had a great deal of last minute packing. You will be off to the Koslov yards again tomorrow and you will need your rest.” Peter answered excitedly. You are very late once again. and the science of it all.” Natasha laughed. Catherine busied herself in the cabin. Even the horse had acquired sea legs. “This Volk has influenced you tremendously.” Peter sat down at the table and spooned the cabbage soup thoughtfully.” “Has he hurt you?” “No my darling. Angel struggled on land for nearly an hour before Adrik saddled and rode her.” “You mustn’t say such things. She was waiting for her parents. Eat your supper. “How do you know this?” “You know the Cossacks let me train with them and I was given the missive from the Grand Duke. She would also be planning an opportunity to meet with Grand Duke Adrik Romanov. “This was and is all secret. A Grand Duke’s arrival could mean many things. He tells me stories of wars. I’m not certain I like this Grand Duke. She couldn’t begin to 165 . You are upset. Angel stretched out her legs in a full run. She was carrying a child.” “He is fascinating. “It is curious. Let Adrik take off and do as he would. It was best to wait until all the hold was emptied. but I don’t think any of the Cossacks or Volk would mind me sharing it with you. she was married. She was safe enough from Prince Igor. generals. I learned all of this when the missive came. I will explain all of this later. He knows so much of everything. He even owns the manse that Prince Igor claims is his.

” “Well of course. your brothers. 166 . Catherine was actually afraid at that moment. On the horses are four of my eldest brothers. He folded his hand over his and led her up to the deck. Catherine didn’t hear or notice Adrik’s entrance. Catherine was for the first time in her life unsure what to do. It is time to go to our home. She felt Adrik release her arm from his firm grip. The docks were often noisy after arrivals. and to the carriage. “They look formidable. our carriage awaits. “My Cossacks will bring all these later. Brody.” Adrik noticed with a gentler tone. on to the docks. Six white magnificent geldings pulled the carriage. “You have everything secured I see. She took advantage of the release and took off in a full run to her father’s open arms. Adrik remained still and watched his young wife greet her parents.Payton Lee g fathom what a Romanov would be doing here and what plans Adrik would have. “Who are those people?” “They are my family. He stood straight.” Catherine quipped. For now. In the carriage are my mother and father. but paid them no mind. She continued to finish all her last minute packing. His stance was that of a position of power. It was Yuri and Sofia Koslov. He watched quietly during the hugs and kisses of welcome. come with me. Just as Adrik opened the door for her to enter a smaller simpler carriage pulled up next to the docks.” Catherine’s head snapped up to look at her husband.” Adrik raised a brow. She jumped when she heard him call her name. Even during her stay at St. On horseback riding next to the carriage was Arman. Timidly Catherine took her husband’s arm. Petersburg she had never seen a finer carriage. “Ekaterine.” “My Mamma and Papa?” “No. Soon her brothers had dismounted from their horses and had surrounded their sister. It was the most magnificent carriage Catherine had ever seen. It was Adrik’s opportunity to her to greet her parents. Should she break away from her husband and run to her family? What would a Grand Duke do? We he consider that insubordination? Would he punish her? Would he punish her family? In her indecision and hesitancy Adrik questioned her behavior. they are my brothers. Cheslav. and Eduard.” He extended his arm for her hand. Catherine heard carriages and horses.

” Adrik silenced Volk with a hand movement. Yuri was analyzing the current situation.” Adrik stated enthusiastically. and Amerikas. He didn’t realize Yuri Koslov was watching him closely. Ekaterine’s mamma. He never approached a situation without thinking about all aspects. Your family is quite the talk in building your own service ships and your trading with the Orient.” 167 . “You are Ekaterine’s new husband. At the same moment Volk appeared at Adrik’s side. “First I must take care of our living arrangements. A Romanov! Sofia walked to her husband’s side.Novo Arkhangel’sk w His watchful eye on his wife kept him intensely occupied. We welcome you into the family. It was not always good to be the talk of the St. It suddenly struck him that his daughter was now a Grand Duchess. There is much to do. It was important for Adrik to take possession of the mansion while Igor was away on the hunting trip the Cossacks had lured him on. He addressed Sofia. “Thank you madam. “I am Sofia Koslov.” Adrik broke his watch on Catherine and nodded stiffly to Yuri.” Volk interjected. Sandwich Islands. Petersburg. Nothing could please a father more than his precious daughter marrying not only into nobility but royal nobility. “Your Royal Highness. we must make haste. “You are the Grand Duke?” “He is and we have important things to do. “I am looking forward to discuss your ship building and trade. I am very pleased to be a part of the Koslov family. Yuri approached Adrik and cleared his throat.” Sofia was flattered. Yuri was concerned.” Yuri’s face paled. You are known in St. Petersburg court.

His arm was about her quickly as he showed her back to the carriage.” “Thank you gentlemen.” “Your royal highness. Volk rode next to Adrik and they conversed intensely. We have a large home you can move into. We are running out of time. Volk?” Cheslav chided. “You needn’t worry about acquiring living quarters. 168 . Volk Zolotov. but your family and the whole of Novo Arkhangel’sk.” “Not with the Cossacks!” Brody exclaimed. Adrik took the opportunity to retrieve Catherine. It will give you more time to spend with Ekaterine.” “Grand Duke?” The brothers chimed. My young women will be waiting with a hot meal to serve me this evening. “You are invited to ride with my wife. His wife brought him many a story nearly every week. especially here in Novo Arkhangel’sk.” Volk intruded. In a small community the gossips tongues wagged continually about the certain irresistible charm of the Cossack leader. There are other matters of greater importance not only for the Grand Duke. Volk turned and raised a brow. “We welcome you to the family. Soon they were in the carriage and it pulled away.” “Concerned over missing an important rendezvous with one of your many women. we still must establish our living arrangements.” Arman greeted. “Catherine. “Actually I needn’t worry for that.” Arman and Brody stood on either side of their sister. “Our baby sister will not live with the Cossacks.Payton Lee g Chapter 23 Adrik walked to Catherine pushing his body between the large brothers. Adrik rode along side the carriage on Angel. No one had noticed her pregnancy and he was becoming concerned for the physical stress of the reunion. “We simply must be on our way. but I already have lodging. While assisting Catherine into the huge carriage he turned to Yuri and Sofia.” Yuri agreed and took Sofia’s hand.

In return Adrik receives a portion of the Koslov shipping. “It is an arrangement. “Tell me daughter. Sofia took her daughter’s hand. She noticed her father’s continually glances toward her husband.” Yuri inquired. Grigori.” Catherine responded timidly. the new baby. “Which Romanov have you married? We didn’t catch the man’s name.” Yuri agreed. “I do not know why. You both now carry the titles.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Catherine continued to talk with her parents about the trip.” Catherine smiled. She truly had forgotten she was now a titled woman. As his wife. Where had he seen that face? “Grand Duke Adrik Mikhail Peteravich Romanov.” Catherine informed. or the facts of the marriage itself.” “The Grand Duke wants these things?” Sofia queried in surprise. “Adrik is a Grand Duke and therefore the only true protection from Prince Igor.” Sofia retorted. and his own ship.” “Your Mamma is correct. She chose the facts. He treats me kindly and with respect. He hadn’t kept up with the Romanov family for sometime. He was also curious about this Grand Duke. He gave you this right. That familiarity was driving him to extraction.” “He seemed to want the Ship and a portion of the Koslov trade.” Catherine answered. “How could I ask his purpose? He is a Grand Duke!” “He is your husband. A note from his cousin would buy him a trading port.” “I’ve never thought about it in that light. and her experiences in Okhotsk. He also looked very familiar. trade. “He is your husband first. She looked out at Adrik many times wondering what this man Volk and her husband were discussing. You have a right to know his dealings. “He is your husband and a man. “He could buy and sell his own ships and trade.” “Have you asked?” Sofia pushed. Something was triggered in his memory and he was struggling to remember. how do you feel about this marriage?” Catherine stood on the precipice of baring her entire heart and the feelings of love and passion she had developed for her husband on the sea voyage. Lara.” Catherine replied. I am offered a life of comfort and protection. He has never explained these things to me. you are a Grand Duchess. first cousin to Czar Alexander. She was a Grand 169 . “No. In the bed he will wear no title.

He was not surprised by his cousin’s larceny or perfidy. He knew the family spoke fluent French. “Your Mamma is quite efficient in such manners. Volk wanted his conversation with Adrik to remain private.” Sofia insisted. He reported all of the current illegal operations of Prince Igor. He could barely contain his anger when he heard his beautiful horses were mistreated by Igor’s whip. Sveta had trained the servants. He catalogued everything in his mind and placed them in a critical order.” “I think you should also work on this arrangement.” Sofia chided. servants.” “I believe Adrik considers this an arrangement only.” Catherine shared. The stealing of Adrik’s purse continued throughout Igor’s stay in the manse. As for the stealing of Adrik’s funds for the manse. Your Mamma has seen to it. “If you need guidance. Volk reported Igor’s perpetual cruelty to slaves. He understood completely when he learned that all the servant or slave women hid themselves from Igor’s presence.” Catherine smiled broadly. “Then change his mind. and animals. You will not be happy unless this achieved.” Yuri teased. Volk and Adrik continued their conversations in Polish. he had expected it. Volk was aware that the Koslov family was a well-educated boyar family. “Make this a marriage.” “I do need advice.Payton Lee g Duchess. It is within your power. Why should she fear this man? She was his wife! “I’ll ask him when convenient. I shall assist you. English. He felt certain from what he currently knew about Catherine she would be a good mistress of the home.” Sofia assured. Igor had fallen in with disreputable traders and suspicious English and American ship Captains. He chuckled to himself. “She trained me in very little time. The first order of business would be to take personal control of his manse and household.” Catherine hesitated. what he knew about 170 . Adrik was sickened at Volk’s reports of cruelty.” “We’ll get to work on it as soon as you are resettled. I am quite happy in my marriage. “And guidance. Soon the Sonia would be arriving and his selected personal servants would be present to make his home comfortable. Igor was not beyond cruelty to anyone that fell in his path when he could use his name and power. and Russian.

” Sofia pleaded. he felt closer to her than he ever felt to Magda.” Catherine slid closer to her mother on the carriage bench. Was Adrik. “Surely the duke is not going to set the prince right now?” Catherine watched in horror as Adrik dismounted as well as Volk and all the Cossacks. and attempted to come to her aide. it is true. Catherine lost all courage and found she was breathing shallowly. recognized them. Their courtship was nearly as brief as his courtship of Catherine. At this point he knew more about Catherine than he ever learned about his first wife. “Come my sweet. Adrik walked to the carriage and opened the door. Grand Duke that is the most noble and wealthy relative of Prince Igor!” “To my sorrow and pain. Thankfully her mother knew her fears. “Do not take my daughter into that viper’s pit. She didn’t get over her trepidation that quickly. Her eyes glanced from her husband. It was another thing to enter the manse that had been permeated with Igor’s excess and lusts. Yet. 171 . “Your home?” Yuri found his tongue. Even before I met your daughter I was planning to return here and was given order by the Czar to correct many things. he still knew very little about his current wife. it would not be too far. going to challenge Igor immediately? Why did she have to be there? She had always been terrified of coming anywhere near this manse once Igor took possession. Yet. daughter. “It is you.” “There is another day to do all this. and new son in law. She did not want to go into that manse of Prince Igor. Catherine had avoided every nearing this manse after Prince Igor had moved in four years ago. Sofia and Yuri looked at each other. Adrik comforted his inner marriage worries with the knowledge at least Catherine was at home and near her family. He thought he was in love with Magda. He knew little of who and what she was. Her hands turned sweaty in fear. “Why do we stop here?” Sofia questioned. It was one thing to know her husband could indeed have power over Igor. we are home. Her eyes widened with fear. The carriage stopped in front of Igor’s manse. If she would flee from him for any reason. the Grand Duke.” Catherine choked.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Catherine.

he couldn’t stop. He wouldn’t let this perfect life slip through his fingers. He was pushing. Aleut. Do not worry for your daughter. Adrik turned to Yuri Koslov. but joined the couple.” Those words infuriated Adrik. “ See that you do. He was not leading. This was the manse he had designed and had built to be his home. yet still gentle. This young wife was carrying his child.” Yuri growled. He knew it was wrong and a general always listened to his troops. Manage it to the best of your ability. Still. Of course this was his house. They were only a few feet from the steps of the manse when two boyarina women called out to Volk. “Surely moving into this manse can wait a few days. Unlike the great wisdom of battle he learned in being patient. Her hands were sweaty and trembling.” Then she spoke directly to her daughter.” Adrik moved his arm in command for the livery to continue. “Come Catherine. His tone brooked no quarter. Why couldn’t he remember this was unfamiliar terrain? He had not even scoped out the battleground. Volk had been standing in the background. appeared from the other side of the manse and ran towards Volk. Give yourself some time to remove Prince Igor’s touch and replace them with your own touches. “My livery will continue on to your house. He propelled Catherine toward the manse with strength. “I love you.” he ordered extending his large hand into the carriage. I will protect her. His beautiful concepts of life and marriage were here and now. This is not your home yet. his beautiful young wife.Payton Lee g Adrik would not be countered. and Volk had told him his son was indeed living in Novo Arkhangel’sk.” It was as if Sofia could predict the future. I fear you have not yet realized the stench of your cousin and the treacherous demon he is. He was not going to let anything stop him from taking possession. He took Catherine’s trembling hand and assisted her down from the carriage. A third woman. He had no fear of any man much less a building. Strength is within you. 172 . He found he was impatient and pushing his will. No! Not now. Yuri attempted to come to her aide. He couldn’t stop. He was here at last. Tentatively Catherine touched Adrik’s hand and began to rise. “You are welcome in our home at any time should you find the need. It wasn’t Igor’s. Now this home would have a mistress.

and rum glasses. Boris was already explaining that no woman dared come to clean the house as long as Igor was master. produced from the good earth.” Catherine winced. Boris explained his wife and several women were now inside cleaning and had started as soon as their husbands had ridden off with Prince Igor. “I am only a thirsty man. Would it be possible to control the number of conquests?” Volk looked over his shoulder while walking toward the two boyarina. Catherine was propelled into the hall as Adrik greeted the Cossack. Her olfactory senses were immediately assailed by many foul odors. Rancid food was still lying about on table with half filled stale wine. “I think you should come to the master bedroom alone.” 173 . “Women are like vodka. and imbibed with a fiery spirit. as well as ashes from cigars and the remnants of the cigars. Occasionally some peasants were brought in to clean. She suddenly felt nauseous. Terrified she watched the coach holding her parents pull away. Standing in the doorframe was a lovely young Aleut woman Catherine recognized as one that had recently married one of Adrik’s Cossacks.” Boris addressed. She wondered what their fathers would do if they would know of their flirtations. Her mother told her to pull from the strength she had within. The door opened as they neared the steps to the manse.” Volk laughed.” Adrik shook his head with mirth. but it was soon filthy again after one of Igor’s parties for his cohorts from town. A man must drink down their strong clear beauty in great drafts. “It would be helpful for you to walk with me into the manse. She recognized the young women. “Most noble highness. Adrik wasn’t thwarted. “My friend you could drink the sea.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Adrik sighed in exasperation. If only she could just stop her heart from racing. Strength. She saw the young woman’s husband standing next to her. There were urine stains on the floor. What were those horrible odors? Adrik was immediately assailed by the odors as well. “Your magnetic personality can be quite an irritant at some occasions. There was simply too much to do in such a short time. vodka.” Again Catherine felt her body being propelled forward guided by Adrik’s strong arm against her back.

The room smelled worse than downstairs. She didn’t even notice when Boris’ wife left the room with her bucket to get fresh water from the well. He then left the room with Adrik. “Catherine. you have returned. 174 . “No. For the first time she felt a slight movement in her womb. I am delighted. entranced by the beauty of her homeland. They would have to spend time at the Koslov home until his manse would be made livable once more.” Igor oozed.Payton Lee g Adrik nodded. She was concentrating on these wonderful thoughts when cold hard hands suddenly pressed on her shoulders. It was as if her baby sensed it was home. He knew he would have to back down and take up Sofia’s offer. He felt her slip from his hand and held with gripping fingers.” “How could this happen? How can any man of nobility live like this?” Adrik groused. There was also a strong scent of sex in the room. “Are you well?” Catherine shook her head in misery.” Boris explained.” Boris ordered his young wife to take Catherine to one of the chairs near an open window. Catherine was too ill to care at the moment. Catherine felt woozy and nauseous. Filthy clothes of all sorts were scattered across the bed and floor. Even Adrik who had smelled the death of war found his stomach turning. She faced the open window and inhaled the fresh sweet air. I need fresh air. Igor smelled of horse and foul body odor.” He moved to Catherine. A terror she had dreaded finally showed. She felt so much better breathing the fresh sweet air. He pulled her up and around to face him. “My wife and the others can barely stand the smells at a small periods of time even with the windows open. “We will need several days to have this manse cleaned up properly before it is livable. Catherine could barely stand and was fighting to hold down the bile threatening to spill out and add to the stench of the room. She was sick from the odor of Igor and once again the parlor of the manse. “And to my surprise you have graced me with your presence. “I’ll follow you. Automatically she placed her hand over her abdomen. It was a true wonder carrying a child. Her child would be a prince or princess. Catherine was gazing out the window.” Catherine automatically shrank from Igor’s touch. Adrik was appalled when he walked into the master bedroom. Several filled chamber pots were in different places and reeked.

Catherine began pushing away with all her might. It was a vain fight since Igor enjoyed her resistance even more.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Igor took her weakness and silence as an invitation to his lust filled body. He laughed mumbling something about he would enjoy training her in the obedience responses. She wretched until her she felt her insides had been turned out. At this point Catherine was ready to swoon into unconsciousness. Just as a black curtain was about to fall. He drew her to him and slanted his mouth over hers. She could no longer hold the bile. Her bile erupted and she managed to turn to the window. 175 . Igor was away from her.

“Greetings Cousin!” He dared look into Adrik’s eyes. I will send you to your parents until this manse is in order.” Adrik requested.” Adrik soothed. My servants will be arriving soon. “I meant this to be a good home coming. Catherine sank into Adrik’s chest. He hated the military as he hated Adrik. Catherine. What he saw terrified him. “My little wife. I promise. please take the Duchess to the Koslov manse. Igor looked up at his attacker with rage and masked his surprise and anger immediately. He turned to Igor and pulled him to his feet by his tunic.Payton Lee g Chapter 24 Adrik yanked Igor away from Catherine and slammed him against the floor in one swift movement. He hated the Grand Duke and had been jealous of Adrik’s title and wealth since he was brought into the family circle by the Czar’s command and the request of his mother to Adrik’s Aunt Sveta. He watched Catherine turn to the window and helplessly watched her as she emptied the contents of her stomach. She just whimpered in Adrik’s chest. “Boris. connections. He was regaining his breath from his hard shove to the floor. Adrik was next to Catherine holding her gently and rubbing her back. It was little. Igor cringed in the presence of Adrik. She was sobbing from terror and embarrassment. but it was all he could think of to ease the discomfort of his young wife.” Igor did not hear the conversation. He put on his best façade. “ I’ll join you later. At last he was developing underlings that would work for little and do all the labor and excessive work. He certainly didn’t want to work for any of it. He wanted a life of luxury and ease. Adrik had attempted to train him in soldiering. Things were just starting to go well and the Grand Duke shows up. He was just about to claim his bride. Adrik held onto Catherine walking her to the door and then released her to Boris’ care. He provided the information. He was noble and therefore he was more delicate than the common peasant. and nobility. He whispered into Catherine’s ear. Boris stepped over Igor attempting to assist the Grand Duke and his Duchess. Adrik’s eyes were deep 176 . Work was for peasants. It will be better. He would profit the most.” Catherine could not respond. He also was checking his person for any cuts or bruises. He hoped Adrik would visit and leave quickly. but he failed miserably.

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midnight blue and filled with rage he had only seen directed at enemies of the czar. “I have heard of your perfidy, but I could not even imagine the levels to which you have achieved,” Adrik declared deceptively quiet as he picked invisible lint from Igor’s tunic. “I guarantee you that your duplicity has come to an end from this moment on. You will answer to me from today forward.” “Of course. I am your most humble servant as always,” Igor seeped convincingly. “Your belongings will be moved to the small cottage behind the manse. You will have no contact of any kind with servants, Aleuts, or Tlingit. I will be watching your visitors and your habits,” Adrik decreed. “There will be no more debauchery of any sorts. Am I clear?” “I am at your service, cousin,” Igor bit out. The Grand Duke’s arrival would indeed put a clamp on his activity, but he was clever and would continue on even if hampered. “I would ask one small favor.” Adrik raised a brow in question. “Please dear cousin, do not place me in the cottage. I intend to take a wife and she is most delicate. She is used to comfort,” Igor requested choking internally on every word of his plea. He was used to commanding and now thanks to the damnable Adrik he would be forced into a humbling role. Adrik of course knew he was referring to Catherine. The irony of his pathetic cousin caused a bubble of laughter to rise from his chest. It was wonderful. How long had it been since he truly laughed? “Unfortunately my wife finds your presence apprehensible. I must insist you live in the cottage.” “Your wife?” Igor asked nearly swallowing his tongue is shock. “You have never married!” “Recently I have acquired a young bride,” Adrik taunted. Then he turned on Igor for the kill. “And should I ever see your filthy hands upon her again I will kill you with my bare hands.” Igor’s eyes widened. Again he saw that violence reflected in Adrik’s eyes. What did he mean, your hands upon her again? Suddenly it came to him in a wave of jealous rage. “Catherine!” “Yes,” Adrik replied menacingly. “Catherine Koslov is now the Grand Duchess Romanov. We were married in Okhotsk several months ago. You will respect my duchess and keep your distance.” 177

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“This is impossible!” Igor snarled. “I stated my suit long before she sailed to Okhotsk for the partition of her brother’s wife. She’s mine. She can’t be your wife!” “Oh but she is!” Adrik thundered. “My wife finds you appalling and quite frankly so do I. If it not were for your mother and the honor I hold for Tante Sveta I would gladly turn your head over to the Czar. As it is, you are on a slender tether. If I find you anywhere near Catherine, or hear her utter even a small complaint, I will lock you in irons and send you off to Siberia.” Adrik stood to full height and gave ominous warning, “ You know of me to understand this is not a threat. I give you my promise. Get out of my sight.” Igor stomped from the room. He would go to the banishment of the cottage, but first he needed to get really drunk. He remounted his horse and left for the town tavern. Igor needed strong vodka and his new comrades. Adrik paced for a moment in the parlor. The smell was too much even for a man used to the smell of the war dead. He walked outside to the compound and spoke to several Cossacks. They brought Angel to him. Once he was riding Angel he felt a comfort once again that he had not felt since they entered his manse. He would never have believed his haven would have been so fouled by his cousin. He wondered for just a moment if his manse would ever be the haven he dreamed of all those lonely nights in the battlefields. This would be his haven, his new life, and of course there was his son. He wanted desperately to be settled before he greeted his son. Volk had already shared with him that the boy was here and shared the love of horses, and the Cossack life. Volk had told him young Peter had begun basic training in the Cossack skills. Of course all of Adrik’s Cossacks had recognized the boy’s likeness to his father, but not one had revealed the truth to Peter. Adrik found himself riding the grounds of his new estate until it was sunset. “Is she asleep?” Yuri asked Sofia when she came into the kitchen from the stairway. Sofia walked to her husband and placed a loving hand on his shoulder. She allowed him to brush her knuckles with his lips. All these years of marriage and they loved each other more every day. “Yes, after my calming tea she finally sleeps.”

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“Our baby was terrorized by that manse. The Grand Duke was insane to take her there. The filth of Prince Igor would not be easily removed.” “I cannot believe it myself. I could see our Catherine was near hysteria when he dragged her into that manse,” Sofia agreed. “I should like to bring him to tow on that regard, especially carrying his child.” Yuri’s head snapped up. “His child?” Sofia sat on her husband’s knees. She leaned her head on Yuri’s shoulder. “Our daughter carries our grandchild and her husband knows this. Yet, he put her through such terror. He should have realized nothing will stop Prince Igor in his lustful appetites.” “Igor’s filthy hands touched her,” Yuri strangled vehemently. “I should like to cut off those hands. Where was her husband? Where was this Grand Duke when she needed his protection? There is some evil that simply cannot be held in check.” “Catherine told me her husband removed Igor’s hands, but she was too ill to remember much of it,” Sofia explained. At that moment the entrance of their oldest son, Arman, interrupted their conversation. “Grand Duke Adrik requests your temporary hospitality for him and his wife,” Arman announced. “Imagine asking hospitality for our baby sister. Of course, if he were not a Grand Duke I would like to blacken his eyes, not welcome him.” “What have I done to earn such disfavor?” Adrik asked entering the room behind Arman. He bowed to Yuri and Sofia. “Where is my wife? I hope you have given her shelter. I sent her to you with Boris. It appears my manse is in need of a good cleansing. I had no idea of its condition.” Sofia stood and squared her shoulders. She braced for battle with the czar’s greatest generals. “Your wife knew of the condition. We all knew of the condition, but you would not hear us.” Adrik had prepared himself for humility when he rode to the Koslov compound. He knew he had been wrong, and this was the first time in his life he had turned away advice from those that lived in a battlefront. He was a military genius because he always listened to his generals and aides advice. “Tis my great folly that I did not.” “You admit you were wrong?” Yuri gasped. “I do,” Adrik replied simply. “Can my wife and I seek shelter here until my servants arrive and the manse is repaired?” 179

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“And what of Igor?” Yuri demanded. “Will you clean him from the manse?” “From Novo Arkhangel’sk?” Arman added. “Igor has been moved out of the manse. He is under my control,” Adrik stated. He said the words, but in his heart he wondered if Igor would ever be under control. He thought the reports from Volk had been exaggerated. Today he realized those reports had only scratched the surface of Igor’s treachery and debauchery. Yes, he said brave words. How often had he led troops into battle with such brave words? This was a battle he had to win. He wanted this haven, his son, his wife and not to forget his new offspring now growing in Catherine’s womb. Sofia would not be deterred by such brave words. “I do not believe that propaganda anymore than you really do. Igor under your control? Even the Czar couldn’t control that Prince. He scoffs at all authority. Baranov is an ant hill under his feet.” Sofia walked up to Adrik and gazed directly into his eyes. “If you truly believe your own words, then I shall have no recourse but to shield my daughter from your folly.” Adrik raised his brow in surprise. No woman had ever spoken to him like this with the exception of his beloved Tante Sveta. At that moment he felt a fondness grow for his new mother in law. Yuri had noticed the movement of the brow as a sign of anger. He would protect his beloved wife and daughter even at the cost of his own life. “What my wife speaks is very true and wise. I stand with my Sofia. I will shield my daughter from such foolish thinking.” Adrik couldn’t help himself. He began laughing. “My dear parents. I cannot begin to appreciate your welcome into the family and your home. You do well as advising generals. I will indeed procure your assistance in protecting my wife, your daughter, and obeying the Czar’s command to bring peace and order to Novo Arkhangel’sk. The first step would be to bring Prince Igor to tether.” Yuri and Sofia looked at each other with surprise. They had braced themselves to battle to the death. The believed they were offering their heads. Instead they found the Grand Duke to applaud their bravery and request their assistance. Adrik felt their surprise and understood it. “Don’t be too surprised that I take advice and help from any who offer it. I depend on my generals and advisory staff to defeat enemies and aide in the winning of battles.” He walked to the table and sampled a piece of black bread. “If you 180

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wouldn’t mind I would like to eat right now. I find I am famished. I am also bone tired and would take rest before we begin the battle plans.” “I apologize for my lack of hospitality,” Sofia chirped happily. She took an immediate liking to this humble Grand Duke, and husband to her daughter. “I’ll prepare a meal for you.” “I’ll prepare a room for you,” Yuri offered walking toward the door. “I would prefer to share the bed with my wife,” Adrik suggested. “I have first quieted her enough to sleep,” Sofia responded. “It is better for her and your child to have the comfort of an undisturbed rest.” To Sofia’s surprise the Grand Duke relented once again. “I would not cause Catherine any undo disturbance. I will eat and sleep under your protection,” Adrik stated. He took a chair at the table and held his head in his hands. “I am so tired. I am so very tired.” Sofia ladled a large helping of hot salmon soup into a bowl and placed it in front of Adrik. She pushed the black bread with butter nearer to him. Her last offering was a large cup of hot tea. He ate the simple fare as if a starved man. Sofia thought it odd that a royal would enjoy a simple soup and the black bread of peasants. Yet, before this noble enjoyed her food as if it were a grand banquet. It showed her that this general fought and lived with his men. Her contempt changed to admiration. He also desired to sleep with his wife. In his eyes she saw true concern. She could feel he loved her daughter. Was her daughter wrong when in Catherine’s terror she stated their marriage was merely a convenience for him? Sofia was never one to mince words. “You love her.” Adrik’s head snapped up from his meal. “Madam?” “You truly love my daughter, don’t you? And for the sake of your soul, do not lie to yourself!” Sofia exclaimed. Adrik was no longer the royal Grand Duke, he had transformed into one of her sons. “I have been told this was only a marriage of convenience. The same type of marriage we sent Catherine to Okhotsk to obtain. It hasn’t turned out that way. She loves you. I can see it in her eyes. I can see you love her.” “Madam, to save my soul I will confess to you. I love Catherine. I don’t know how or when, but it happened. I could hope your daughter would learn to love me. I wish it so, but not once has she stated such.” Sofia’s hand reached across the table and gently squeezed the Grand Duke’s hand. “How long had your jar been so empty?” 181

All the men in our troop had desired her. but we are not Magda’s family.” “It was then my jar emptied. There were those that believed you murdered her. “It was the talk of Russia’s Court for sometime. “Indeed I thought I was in love. but Czarina Catherine commanded our marriage as a political tie to strengthen Polish relationships. Magda?” “Yes. Perhaps eighteen years.” Sofia replied simply. “Da. she was exquisitely beautiful.Payton Lee g Sofia’s hand was as comforting as his mother’s hand. How many times had he heard that analogy with his troops? “ I believe I have been empty for a long time. I ignored the contempt I felt from my wife and her family when they were near.” “What happened?” Sofia inquired. What is the rest of your story?” 182 . One of the conspirators sentenced to death was Magda’s brother. Oh do not look so surprised. Their family had always hated me. but you thought you loved her. “You heard of my first wife. He certainly wouldn’t lie to a woman as noble as Sofia. I was the envy of many. It was if he was speaking to his dear mother. I was under honor and directive by Czarina Catherine to end the revolt of the Polish trying to gain the throne. Magda was a vision. Why not bare his soul to this woman? He felt an affinity with her. Of course Magda stayed with her family most of the time. “Release that pain. There were many that knew of your wife’s addiction to opium.” Adrik confessed.” “You knew it was political.” Adrik reminisced.” “Sometimes it is hard to stop feelings when the experiences of the past were so painful.” Sofia scolded gently. “We hold no political views. We are merely a close family. She was a polish princess that was the dream of men and I was thrilled when Czarina Catherine had betrothed her to me. and others that believed she died of her own will and addiction to opium.” Sofia advised. “When you release your sorrow you will open your heart to the love that is free for the taking.” Sofia stated knowingly. He couldn’t lie to himself any longer. He knew exactly what she meant.” “I understand your trepidation about our Ekaterine staying here.

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“The traitors were caught and held in a make shift prison near the home of Magda’s family.” “I should see her. He knew some how she would not patronize him. They had enslaved him far too long. The butler was rude as always. The mansion was opulent to the extreme. He could feel the straps of his living hell loosening. He relived every moment of that day.” 184 . Magda’s family was wealthy and of noble Polish blood. Adrik wanted those bands of pain released.Payton Lee g Chapter 25 Adrik wanted to tell his side of the story. cape.” the brother sneered contemptuously. Handing the butler my sword. I brought my good friend Ilya with me. We had only been married six months. I went there happily to greet my wife. or even cast blame upon him. I thought I loved her. We planned on several quiet moments before the Czarina called for us once more.” Adrik said rising from his chair with worry. “Of course a Russian child would make any Polish princess ill. If he released his burden it would finally free him. and hat I questioned him where Magda was in the house. “The butler answered the door to the mansion that was nearly a palace. Although uncomfortable in the lair of my in law family. “She is quite ill. She was someone he felt comfortable with. How fortunate was he to find a woman such as Sofia? The comfort of a kind ear and the security of knowing your emotions are kept sacred were offered by this magnificent woman.” the brother stated in irritation. I felt euphoric at the prospect of being with my new wife once again. Many Russian Palaces did not equal this lavish residence. I had been away from Magda for four months. offer him sympathy. He knew Sofia was right. ‘ Adrik continued. He wanted to tell Sofia. He ignored my inquiry. I was so happy. “What is her malady?” “Magda is enceinte with your child.” “Magda will be at supper. Instead one of Magda’s brothers came to the parlor where Ilya and I sat enjoying a cognac the maid had offered us.

He was thrilled and worried. “A blessing? There is no blessing in carrying this babe. but now she was venomous. “I am no darling to you!” I learned much in your absence.” Adrik held her hand. This is what makes you ill!” “It is not this sweet nectar. I find I have other options.” Adrik palmed his cheek.” Adrik shared shaking his head in disgust.” “She is my wife. She reached for her opium. I am tired constantly. “Even as a woman she seems spiteful and unhappy. Perhaps you might feel better. It brings me no pleasure to offer life to yet another Romanov. He was furious.” Ilya alleged. “Do not continue using this poison. but she is still abusing opiates.” “Darling. He could not trust himself to control his emotions. She looks a bit pale. He was going to be a father. my lord. up the staircase and toward the wing in which Magda’s suites were housed. “I must see her!” He walked briskly past her sneering brother. She doesn’t look ill. “Magda was never what I would call a contented wife. Magda slapped his face with great strength. He wouldn’t harm his wife and especially now in her delicate condition. I am ill every day. Without knocking he entered the door to find Magda sitting on the day couch allowing her maid to brush her hair for styling. He knew Magda was never happy with the mandated marriage. He walked out of the room to calm himself.” Magda snatched her hand away. 185 . “What is it?” Ilya questioned meeting Adrik at the top of the staircase. “My love! I heard such wonderful news.” Adrik attempted to console. “It is this leech growing inside of me. “I don’t know. His anger was always vented at enemies. no man had ever dared touch his person. Adrik slid to his knees taking Magda’s hand and kissing her knuckles tenderly. You bless me with our child. He dearly wanted to strike Magda.” Adrik snarled. How could his wife say such things? He was overjoyed at impending parenthood. I will not be happy in such a marriage I was forced into.” Magda snarled. “Swine!” He heard a loud thud against the door and china smashing to the floor.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Adrik was speechless. “I will see you at supper.” When the door was closed behind him he heard Magda scream after him. No woman had ever slapped him.

He would pretend to befriend the Poles and endear himself to Magda and her family. He hated Adrik’s striking good looks.” Several hours later Adrik and Ilya walked into the great dining room to find Magda in conversation with a Frenchman that Adrik recognized from the Russian Court.” “I am truly at a loss. his wealth.” Deveraux replied haughtily. and now he had the love of his life.” Ilya volunteered. His plan would work perfectly and Magda would be his. “Supper will be soon. Petersburg. He had been in love with Magda since he met her three years ago. Deveraux had been hatefully jealous of Adrik in St. “General Deveraux. his title. and nearly everything that seemed perfection in Adrik and his reputation. He was the master of all as he played all of them for their weakness. He smiled wickedly. The more he obtained. Now he wanted Magda.Payton Lee g “A Grand Duchess of the Romanov name who seems to despise the Russians and life. He already had won Magda’s attentions. When Deveraux had returned for a visit and learned Adrik and the object of his affection had married by Decree of the Czarina his hatred increased ten fold. I think nothing will make her happy. We should prepare. healthy and handsome physique.” Adrik admitted. I am in need of a bath. He would use the child she carried to torment the Grand Duke for as long as he lived. He vowed he would still obtain his Magda from the hands of the stupid Russian. It made no matter to him who ruled any land. He was furious when he learned the Czarina had arranged a political marriage with her favorite nephew and the Polish princess. The Grand Duke had everything. Francois Deveraux. He learned it so well he was now a wealthier man than all of his wealthy noble relatives combined. the more he wanted. “My good friend. His jealousy and dark heart of envy had led him into the training of the darker sides of political power. Tomorrow he would have her. He left France in the dual role of monarchist and Jacobin.” “I have been friend to this family for sometime. and he would offer the Poles information for money as well. He was the master of duplicity. He set his plan in motion to forever separate the Grand Duke and his Duchess. “This is a surprise to find you here. He would continue his profitable role as spy among the Poles for the Czarina.” “I agree! We both smell like our horses. 186 . Deveraux had been born a poor relative of a French noble family.” Adrik addressed.

“Can you ever trust a spy.” She took the cheroot from her brother’s mouth. sweet. It was obvious.” He looked to Adrik and spoke far too sweetly. “I would take care with any word spoken. “Enough!” Adrik growled. “Come wife. my dear?” Adrik approached Magda. power.” Adrik was furious with the impertinence of the Frenchman. They had hoped dearly the young Grand Duke would have become a casualty of 187 . “I hate this brat you have created in me! Your brat has made me ill! It shall ruin my figure. It was obvious the Frenchman was purposely aggravating the Grand Duke.” Magda sneered. she laughed and agreed with him. Ilya had remained silent next to Adrik. “Do not be upset. When he mentioned his feelings about Deveraux to the Czarina. Deveraux immediately took advantage of the situation. He moved to Magda’s side and protectively put his arms about her shoulders. we should retire to our rooms.” Adrik crumpled into pleading. He didn’t know what to do or say. but he was still evaluating the situation.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Adrik did not wish to continue any conversation with Deveraux. In St. Magda turned on him with a vengeance. and money it would bring. Magda’s family accepted Catherine’s plan of marriage to the Grand Duke for the prestige. He was pained and shocked. and ruin my life! If I could lose this Russian swine growing in me I would!” Adrik was crushed by those words.” “Leave me. Placing the cheroot in her mouth she inhaled the smoke. The alliance Czarina Catherine hoped for was almost non-existent. Adrik would dearly love to use his Shashka and sever the Frenchman’s tongue. He took the cheroot from Magda and threw it on the floor. Ilya was also aware this was hostile ground. A woman as beautiful as Magda is so delicate and needs to be comforted and treasured. Magda’s temperament had turned from snippy to hostile. The look on Adrik’s face gave Magda a delight. “I am enjoying my conversation with General Deveraux. There was an inner voice that warned him the man was completely untrustworthy. “Leave me!” “Our child. He had to get the young hotheaded Grand Duke out of here before something happened that could not be repaired. Magda then took a brandy snifter and poured herself a cognac. Petersburg the Frenchman would have been flirting with death. He smashed the remainder with his foot.

“I will do as the Czarina orders. The wedding had been planned knowing the Grand Duke would be dispatched to a war front the next day. He had been wounded four times and he was only eighteen. “It is worse I am afraid. He hated executions. There are six? I thought our security brought in four. The executions will be in the afternoon. Magda couldn’t believe she conceived from the wedding night. Instead they were burdened once again with his presence and their daughter was now carrying the offspring of a noble Russian. Grand Mere wishes your presence at court. Alexander had remained awake to greet them. The packet had been sealed by non other than Alexander Romanov.” “Deveraux?” Ilya and Adrik questioned in unison. opened it. I will have to ride hard and fast to be there. Then he squeezed Adrik’s shoulder. Petersburg immediately after that. Yet it must be. I too despise executions.” Adrik acknowledged. The missive was urgent.” “Two more were apprehended based on information from that French spy. At the moment she was only interested in the handsome suave Frenchman.” Adrik was used to death. Grand Mere demands that your Shashka execute the six men.” “I will see to it. It was the only night she had to endure his physical presence. Adrik took the packet. His face was grim. but it was death during battles. his cousin and future Czar of all Russia. Alexander placed his hand on his cousin’s shoulder.” Alexander stated softly.” Alexander was silent for a moment.” Ilya responded. There was nothing noble about the deaths. It was a short trip from Ursus to Warsaw. Adrik and Ilya left immediately. I am expected in Kiev this week.” Alexander informed pacing in the room restlessly. “Grand Mere wishes this matter to be ended quickly with a public execution. “I know how you feel. To Ilya’s relief a Cossack appeared at the door holding a missive for the Grand Duke. 188 .” “When? The trials?” “The trial will be tomorrow morning. especially public ones. I must leave tonight.Payton Lee g war. He was back again and demanding his husbandly rights. “Da! How did you know?” “He is visiting Adrik’s wife’s family. “There are more traitors. “You will return to St. Alexander raised a brow. and read it.

The responses were written down. Most convenient to find two spies here in Poland. He was met with Russian condemnations and foul words from the prisoner. Neither men could hear much from their location. He couldn’t believe he married into a family that hated the Russians this much. A valet had prepared a hot bath. He would never be an executioner if it had not been the Czarina’s command.” Alexander remarked. In fact they were belligerent throughout the trial and after sentence. He couldn’t believe that Magda trusted the very man that delivered her brother to the executioner. Safe trip your highest majesty. The trials began although the verdict was predetermined. Here are your orders. Their presence for the trials was strictly propaganda. but it wasn’t necessary. and fresh clothes for Adrik. The men had been caught in guerrilla tactics against the Russian Army and sedition had been documented in detail. Ilya had been treated in similar manner and arrived in time to walk together to the trials. It was obvious the marriage did not reap the benefits the Czarina had hoped for. Francois Deveraux.” Adrik was roused early in the morning after only a few hours sleep. He did understand how important it was as propaganda to have the citizens of Warsaw see a royal blood execute the seditionists. He stood tall and in full uniform. Alexander had billeted him in one of his family’s mansions. None of the men denied the charges. Ilya and I must rest. Jurek was cursing him. Adrik. Adrik raised the Shashka. “I must leave now. He was Magda’s favorite brother of the five brothers. The first four prisoners received their fate at his hand.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “That explains his presence here. The shackled prisoners were brought in and faced the judges. One by one the charges were stated. Six blocks of wood had been prepared and Adrik’s Shashka had been sharpened. It was his brother in law. In the early afternoon the prisoners were brought to the public square. “I’ll look at them tomorrow. barber and shave. Adrik approached the fifth prisoner tied to the block. They had been allowed several hours for prayer and preparation with meeting their God. 189 . Adrik and Ilya took their places in the back of the room facing the judges. The Russian spy network had done a thorough job. After he had been dressed a large breakfast was served.” Adrik accepted the package. Jurek.

washing the execution blood from his body. holding her. Adrik had already received his new missive from the Czarina. Magda would be his and the child was merely an advantage to use for control and manipulation with Magda’s hatred for her husband. consoling her. He bathed. “She must be removed from her family. He finished the last execution. Adrik’s rage could not be controlled. He had known of the planned executions as a spy for the Russians. and looking at Adrik with contemptuous eyes.Payton Lee g It was the moment he raised his Shashka he heard Magda’s screaming.” 190 . Deveraux as a trusted friend of Magda’s family had learned of the family treasons. Petersburg. This would turn Magda away from Adrik forever. Adrik couldn’t look at Magda or Deveraux. Jurek looked up at Adrik. Deveraux’s jealousy of Adrik would be sated with denying both Adrik’s wife and child. Adrik’s temper flared. Deveraux had planned this scene. “First I must get Magda.” Ilya urged walking toward the stables. She was cursing him. Magda would see her beloved brother executed under the hand of her husband. Suddenly there was a silence. Ilya had set out a fresh uniform that was suitable for the swift travel required by the time constraint to arrive in St. straining from his bonds. and cursed.” Adrik fumed. As Jurek cursed him he raised the Shashka and brought it down severing Jurek’s head. He brought Magda here to witness the execution. Deveraux was with her. My child must be born in St. The scream from Magda would haunt him for the rest of his life. He allowed his mind to fill with rage. The plan was faultless. He turned Jurek in knowing Adrik had been selected as executioner. Petersburg. “We must hurry.

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“It is not the time for my wife to be involved so closely with that treacherous spying Frenchman Deveraux. “He is the French shining example of the country’s bloody duplicity. “Forget this foolishness.” Adrik sighed.” Volk commented.” “What happened then?” Sofia asked breaking into the intense emotions the Grand Duke was showing.” Adrik answered.” “Your wife will not come willingly. and his troop of Cossacks were reunited for the purpose of arranging for the Treaty of Jassy. it returned empty. He is poisoning her mind.Payton Lee g “You will abduct her?” Ilya asked in surprise.” “All the more reason to have Czarina Catherine command her presence in the Russian Court. and her command had been sent to Ursus. Magda had 192 . He would send an upholstered and comfortable carriage to Ursus with the Czarina’s orders. “Deveraux is with her. Petersburg Court. “Ruling our empire has truly exhausted her. It would be the easiest answer. “Our Czarina looks older. Volk. She is my wife. Forcing a hard ride or argument might cause problems with the pregnancy.” Adrik contemplated that as a solution. “Of course you are right.” “Robespierre is both a leader and tyrant. You can send for her after you meet with the Czarina. “It is hardly an abduction. Petersburg under her tutelage. Adrik. A command from the Czarina will order her to the St. It is comforting to know that the Czarina has agreed to bring Magda to St. Petersburg to meet with Czarina Catherine.” Ilya commented. Deveraux orchestrated that scene. “It is most tragic that after all the loving of a great mother queen. Ilya. and she will slow our pace.” “I couldn’t agree more.” Adrik sighed in relief.” Ilya implored. “The Czarina informed me that although my private carriage. He did not want any harm to come to his unborn child. “I returned from my missive two years later. she must rescind her freedoms for fear of the blood running of the French Revolution.” Adrik agreed. The men traveled to St.” Ilya countered.

” Adrik acknowledged. My heir. “She appeared loyal to Magda and Deveraux to protect my child. “Yes.” Sofia stated in wisdom. Even Deveraux tried to dampen her increasing appetite for the drug. I found Magda in her boudoir. There were only rumors that she disappeared into the southeastern portion of France. Her skin was a white bluish color. The cleansing of these old wounds was painful. There was no doubt Magda had chosen luxury and wealth. It seems the maid had always remained loyal to the Romanov family regardless of Magda’s hatred and addictions. The servants we free about gossiping even in front of visitors stopping on their way to Germany. Petersburg. Ilya accompanied me. Her eyes were black pits and her hair was dry and sparse. She found new and different ways to obtain more and more. but necessary. Natasha. She had borne my son.” Sofia uttered as a strong statement. A note had been sent secretly to one of her inquiries. “Where they were hiding my son from me. Apparently Natasha stayed with Magda as her only companion to ensure safety and protection of the Romanov child. Tante Sveta had sought information for me. but only bone.” Sofia placed her hand on top of Adrik’s hand.” “Deveraux. Sofia would have a strong and unobstructed marriage for her youngest daughter. He reached for the hot tea and sipped at it. The chateau was opulent and well staffed. The woman who had been my 193 .” “This Natasha’s true loyalty was unknown to Magda. “Natasha had written to me about the place Magda and Deveraux were staying. It was her assurance and prompt for him to continue. It stretched not across flesh. The note had been written and sent by Magda’s Russian maid. It was the first time in my military career I went incognito.Novo Arkhangel’sk w disappeared. “I returned for a rest to my home in St. “I was shocked to see her lying on the bed. Finally we gained entrance. No one knew where she had gone. The entire staff knew of her addiction to opium.” Adrik cleared his throat. I found their hiding place. I went immediately to the chateau in the south of France.” He choked. We both felt it would be safer to travel into France and gain entry into the chateau. The told of how ill the mistress was and they didn’t believe she would live another night. Adrik nodded. “Did you ever find them? How did you learn of your son?” Sofia inquired.

” “So you have come to haunt me? I laugh at you.” Magda snarled. Your price to pay here is never to see …to see… your son. He was heart broken at the sight of his once beautiful wife.” Ilya encouraged.” Natasha urged. Peteravich. so happy. I wanted to take my son. “Come with me. Specter. He will kill you if he finds you here. “I must see my son.Payton Lee g wife and was only eighteen years of age looked to be at least a hundred years old. Natasha promised that if I would flee and live.” “She led me into a separate wing of the house. yet I knew to win a battle would not win the war.” “Listen to her. He is coming to her room. hurry. and so comfortable. We left and I heard Deveraux searching the room for 194 . Perhaps I am close to death. You killed my brother. If he could get her away from Deveraux and from the opium he was certain he could make her well and beautiful again. my son. which I truly do not believe I shall. Specter. France is a bloodthirsty place. How strange that you would appear to me now. He screamed in pain when he found her dead. but Natasha wouldn’t hear of it. You will never have your son.” “Magda. He was beautiful.” Natasha replied. she would try to keep in contact with me. I heard him curse my name. I feel so light. I held her cold lifeless body and cried. There he was. All they need is a hint of conspiracy and you will be beheaded. “I will take you to your son. I’ll make you well. Specter. He believed I came into her room and killed her. you are a murderer and damned to hell in eternity. your son will be kept from you always. We heard Deveraux and his men approaching the room. I followed Natasha into the nursery. I cried!” Adrik shared with Sofia as if it was an offense to cry. We heard Deveraux enter Magda’s room. Should I really die as they tell me.” Adrik argued. like his father. Ilya came up behind me with Natasha. “But hurry! You will be no good to the boy dead. come with me. Natasha commented on how much he looked like me. I have beaten you. “I spit upon your face. The boy was too young to go on such an exhaustive trip. I wanted to go back and kill him with my bare hands. Listen to me. Adrik. I must take him. Her eyelids flickered open and she saw me. Come with me to my home. He believes it is you.” Adrik pleaded. “Go away.” “She died at that moment. Natasha led us to a secret staircase that led out of the chateau. “Deveraux has heard there is a tall blonde stranger in the house. He would have his son and his family dreams once again.

” Yuri stated from a dark corner near the entrance to the kitchen. His news slowly sank into his brain. the entire story. I love my cousin. When Alexander finally became Czar I returned to St. to transfer to the new frontier of Novo Arkhangel’sk. The move to Siberia was brilliant. Peter didn’t even concern himself with our whereabouts. Soon my staff and the rest of my belongings will arrive. I learned of the trades open in the frontier. She ordered Ilya. By this time Peter was about ten or eleven years old. Adrik bolted straight up when he heard Yuri’s voice. The Czarina knew I would be in danger from Peter. “And your son is here in town at this very moment. He was relieved to learn that what he heard of the Koslov family was true. and left when Peter reigned. It broke my heart.Novo Arkhangel’sk w me. Germany. Petersburg.” “Siberia?” Sofia asked with surprise. They had been fiercely loyal to Russia. The Cossacks are the finest in all of Russia. While in Siberia and visits to Okhotsk I learned a great deal about your shipbuilding and trading family. India. Czarina Catherine knew Peter would not harm his son Alexander.” “A wise move. She wrote me when she could. “How long have you stood there?” 195 . Mikail Volgarski. “A Romanov in Siberia? Was it Czar Peter? We left Russia when he was anointed. but Deveraux would never stay in any place long enough for me to reach it. In Russia Natasha told me she had met and fell in love with a Russian Naval Lieutenant. We had time to find the most talented Cossacks in Siberia. There was no condemnation. and I to Siberia to train a regiment of Cossack guards. He woke the sleeping boy and I heard my son crying. “Deveraux buried Magda and took my son and Natasha across France. Alexander played his grandmother and father quite well. the Romanov family. I heard Natasha soothing him. I had just returned from Siberia. I started with the house near yours. They were wise to realize Russia would not be a good country while Peter was Czar. I knew I would follow my son here.” Adrik concurred. It was all out. as he feared. Italy. I was able to authorize the papers allowing Natasha and her husband.” Adrik felt incredible relief. Confession was good for the soul. We had the time to train a crack regiment. and finally Russia.” “You’ve heard from this Natasha since then?” Sofia queried. but I am tired of the court and intrigue. Our group fought with Alexander in the war with France. I will soon see my son. Many of the Cossacks here are from the Regiment. “A wise decision of Czarina Catherine near the end of her reign was a command to me. Volk.

” Yuri stated. Mikail. Petersburg on business when I first heard rumors from France that you had murdered your wife. “You are not responsible for her death.” Yuri took a chair next to Adrik. Czar Peter the Great. He is good with his hands. A part of Mikail’s heart was aching. “I have to admit I was quite concerned about my daughter and her well being when I first learned it was you she had married. “Remember my daughter carries your child. Volk had shared with me his tutelage with Peter. Her child will also be your blood. You must not punish yourself for those things you had no control over. “He’s here. “Da. and respect. His captain had kept everyone on board to spit polish the entire ship.” Mikail attempted in comfort. extremely intelligent. “How do you know of my son?” “Peter works on my ships. Of course Mikail knew the real reason Adrik Romanov was in Novo Arkhangel’sk. care. She is a good woman. Adrik beamed with pride. Natasha had raised Peter as her own son. Peter Romanov. I know this. “We knew this event would occur. Mikail knew Adrik Romanov was here for his son.” “I am grateful and promise you Catherine will have attention. your highness.” Yuri replied. Indeed he was home. folding her in his powerful arms. He adopted Peter and loved the boy just as if he was his son. He is so like his great grandfather.” Adrik vowed. You can also be assured I will care and raise our child with tenderness and love. I had been in St. She will need your attention as well. He had known since this afternoon of the Grand Duke’s arrival.” Adrik looked into Sofia’s sympathetic eyes and then turned to gaze into Yuri’s understanding ones. Mikail Volgarski embraced his wife. He was home.” Natasha whispered running into her husband’s arms as he entered the parlor. and I have recently learned shares your love of horses with the Cossacks. The captain was terrified when he heard a Grand Duke had arrived at the outpost town. She had been waiting for her husband in the parlor since she had tucked her young children in bed.Payton Lee g “Long enough. 196 . I offer her a life of luxury and contentment. He and Natasha would have a large hole in their hearts.” Sofia reached her hand across the table and patted Adrik’s hand. Now was the time the boy’s father would claim Peter. He felt her trembling. He knew Natasha’s heart was hurting.

” Mikail whispered into Natasha’s ear. and currently acting has a housemaid to help clean the manse. “Your nobleness. I want Peter to understand the entire story. There was still the issue of meeting his son. There Igor would be frozen and out of trouble. an Aleut woman married to one of his Cossacks. but it’s so hard. “I agree on your course. If Igor could be caught in his illegalities there was a chance Adrik could have him sent to a Siberian camp. don’t we. Adrik felt guilt about the fear Catherine had endured in the manse. “She is Natasha Volgarski. Here in this family fold he felt comfortable. He rolled up his sleeves and began helping the servants clean and air the manse. He wondered how he would arrange the meeting. His tears fell onto her soft fragrant hair. “I must talk to the Grand Duke. He must let me tell Peter first. “Send her in. The man was contemptible to say the least. I will go with you tomorrow and call upon the Grand Duke. We must be the ones to tell Peter of his true heritage. “I know. He hastily pulled a chair close to the fireplace and dusted it quickly with a cloth. This Koslov family was not at all like Magda’s family.” Dakod announced. sweet? Come. His knees felt weak. It bothered him not to have her warm body next to his at night. Did she bring Peter with her? After all 197 . Adrik grinned.” Adrik whispered. there is a woman here to see you. “The admiral has given us a day leave and then must prepare in case the Grand Duke calls upon him. It’s just so hard.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Natasha buried her face in Mikhail’s naval jacket. Her tears flowed freely. Adrik wondered how he would act and what he would say.” Mikhail pulled Natasha closer. It felt good for him to work physically. His thoughts were broken at the entrance of Dakod. He was told she was still resting. He realized during that breakfast he respected and loved his new mother in law as much as he respected and loved his Tante Sveta. we will retire now and get a good night’s rest. His stomach filled with butterflies. The thought brightened Adrik’s mood. He missed that and realized this young upstart willful woman was beginning to mean a great deal to him. Of course we know better. This was one time he wished he could have strangled Igor with his bare hands. It’s right. Can you make us tea?” Adrik ordered and requested.” Adrik rose early and returned to the manse after a pleasant breakfast with Sofia. It still surprised him how much he loved this wonderful woman.” “Natasha. Catherine was on his mind.” Natasha sniffed.

His mood sobered slightly.” Mikail chuckled. you appeared. The blood of Peter the Great certainly runs through his veins. “Natasha. Would you share the humor with us?” “It is just that you really don’t appear to be dressed as expected of a Grand Duke. “And this is your husband?” “Mikail Volgarski.” Adrik invited. and dusty from his cleaning. Adrik pulled another chair forward and allowed Dakod to serve. The lieutenant clicked his heels together and offered a respectful bow. Adrik pulled the chair for Natasha “I see you find something humorous. How proud could a man be of his son? “Then your man. “He’s loved building and wood since he was a boy. He glanced at Mikail and noticed a smile dancing across his face that Mikail seemed to be fighting. They were spotted. Adrik looked at his clothes. at your service. welcome.” Natasha addressed with a curtsy. His love for Cossacks and horses seems to be another inherited trait. “Your Royal Highness. I don’t believe I look like a Grand Duke of the Russian Court.” the lieutenant replied clicking his heels and bowing once again. His sleeves rolled up.” Natasha related factually.Payton Lee g these years what would he say? What would he do? He turned at her voice.” 198 . stained. but as we were to take him into apprenticeship. “I had hoped to interest him in the Navy as his great grandfather had great love and interest in. “Please enter and have a seat.” Adrik smiled. I’ve waited a long time for this moment. Lieutenant Volgarski. “No. Adrik turned to see Natasha and a tall handsome Naval Officer next to her. You are lovely. Volk will take him through the courses in Cossack training.” Mikail added. He started laughing.” Adrik greeted.” “I won’t apologize for that. His boots were scuffed. You haven’t changed much in these years. Those were the same words Sofia had used.” When Dakod appeared with tea. “Where is Peter?” “Peter is currently at the Koslov shipyards working on a new ship.

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“That is why we are here,” Mikail stated somberly. Standing behind Natasha, he placed his hands upon her shoulders. It was an action to represent his support. Natasha took a deep breath. “Peter was never told he was your son, the son of a Grand Duke of the Romanov family. We feared for Peter. Since we did not know how Peter would react to the knowledge and his dislike for Deveraux, we decided not to tell him until this time would come.” “His dislike for Deveraux?” Adrik asked in surprise. “Deveraux hated Peter. He was Magda’s son, but he was your son. His moving constantly and the monetary support were strictly in hatred to you. First you married the woman he loved and bore your child, not his. Peter is an intelligent child. He rarely saw Deveraux but reacted to the hatred with disgust and dislike,” Natasha shared. “Peter had been told his mother died. We never told him how she died. We didn’t tell him she died of her addictions. Peter grew to consider me his mother. I loved him as a mother. I loved him as my own.” Natasha spoke as tears gathered in her eyes and threatened to stream down her face. She needed a moment to collect her rampaging emotions. “When I met Natasha and we married I found I loved the boy as my own. We have treated him as our own son,” Mikail added. “I understand this,” Adrik answered. “Still, this is finally the time to for me to know and recognize my son.” “It is your time, but we have come to ask you to allow us to tell Peter the story. Let him hear it from two people that have loved and raised him,” Natasha begged. “Give us this time before he faces you. Otherwise we might alienate him from both you and us.” “There is wisdom to this,” Adrik agreed. It pained him to wait even longer for the reunion with his son, but it was best to handle it this way. “How long will you need?” “We promise you we will talk with Peter tonight,” Mikail vowed. “We will contact you tomorrow and let you know how the news was accepted and if Peter will need more time to adjust.” “I will await your words,” Adrik assured. Natasha finished sipping the last of her tea and placed the cup on the saucer. She reached for Mikail’s hand to assist her in rising from the chair.

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Mikail helped Natasha from the chair and put his arm protectively around her. “We thank you, your nobleness. You will hear from us tomorrow.” “Good Morning, mother?” Catherine greeted her mother while walking in the kitchen. She walked to the table and taking a plate from the shelf placed a slice of black bread upon it. Sofia poured her daughter a hot cup of tea and placed it before Catherine. “Are you feeling better?” “Enormously better,” Catherine replied lovingly. “It was wonderful to sleep in my own bed in my own room. I felt safe. I felt secure.” Sofia sat next to Catherine and lovingly rubbed her daughter’s back. “And your baby?” “Oh Mamma, I felt little fluttering. It was such a wonderful feeling. I feel as though this child of mine is real at last.” “I know,” Sofia stated softly remembering those times she carried Yuri’s children. She remembered carrying Catherine. She was an active child. There was a time near birthing she saw Catherine raise her fist in the womb. “I remember sharing those movements with your father. We both enjoyed those wonderful sensations. You must share them with Adrik. Somehow I sense he will thrill to movements of his child growing in your womb.” Catherine froze. She had rested well because she was home in her room and her bed. The thought of Igor’s manse brought back the fear and dread. “Mamma, I can’t live in that place, Igor…” Sofia embraced her daughter. “Hush my child. Adrik is at the manse right now making certain every scent of Igor is removed. It will be a lovely home. You should be at his side aiding him and assisting in the creation of your home.” “Mamma, I’m,” Catherine hesitated. “I’m so frightened. Igor is violent. He’s cruel, and he touched me. He hurt me.” Catherine began to cry. “Adrik is a good man, I know it. You will be safe with him,” Sofia assured her daughter. “How would you know what kind of man Adrik is?” Catherine demanded in a sharp voice that startled her mother as well as herself. Catherine had never spoken to her in such a tone. Sofia understood her daughter was also a woman that was hiding secret fears 201

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and hopes just as she had when she married Yuri so many years and children ago. Sofia also understood her daughter needed to grow as a woman and be in charge of her own home and children. Oh yes, Adrik and Catherine would have many children. She was certain of that. Yuri had spent several hours talking with her after Adrik went to bed in Fabiyan’s room. They both had heard the story of Adrik murdering his first wife. They both shared fear for Catherine when they learned their daughter had married Grand Duke Adrik Romanov. Sofia and Yuri were both relieved when Adrik had so willingly shared the story of Magda with them. There was a distance between Adrik and Catherine they knew both of them had to surmount before they could find happiness. It was the happiness that both Yuri and Sofia shared together that they wanted for all their children. “Your husband came for you last night,” Sofia raised her hands for silence when Catherine immediately gasped thinking he was taking her back to the manse. “He came to sleep with you. It is his right as husband, but when your Papa and I explained to him you were very upset and needed rest; he listened to us and slept in Fabiyan’s room. He agreed that you should stay here with us until the manse is completely redone. He has removed Igor’s person from the manse and banished him to a servant’s cottage. Igor is aware that he is never to step foot in the manse again. Igor fears the wrath of his most noble cousin. He is now aware you are the Grand Duchess Romanov. Igor dare never touch you again.” “Do you think I can believe this?” Catherine hoped. When had she started to love Adrik? She wasn’t certain when. It must have started when he held Grigori’s son so gently. Her mother’s confidence was something she needed to draw from. “I believe it,” Sofia comforted. “You should be shoulder to shoulder with your husband building your home, and your life together.” “Like you and Papa.” “Just like me and Papa,” Sofia smiled hugging her daughter. Catherine finished her hot breakfast and returned an hour later in her working apron gown. Sofia looked up and granted her daughter a smile of pride. “I’m going to say good morning to Papa and then walk to the manse,” Catherine offered to her wise mother. “I’ll be helping to put our home in order.” She nearly danced to the shipbuilding area close to docks and the river port. When she neared the newest ship she stopped in her tracks. What on earth was Adrik doing on board the Reflection? Didn’t her mother tell her Adrik was at the manse? He was even working on the 202

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deck boards. It took her father’s personal instructions and training. When did he have time? Catherine walked faster to confront Adrik when he turned and watched her approach. It wasn’t Adrik; it was a much younger Adrik. It was a boy Adrik. The thought arrived like a bolt of lightening and thunderclap struck mercilessly. This was Adrik’s son. The son he came to Novo Arkhangel’sk for. The boy waved. Catherine approached. “Have you seen my Papa? Yuri Koslov.” “The master is below,” Peter replied smiling at the beautiful young Koslov daughter. He walked to the ladder and assisted Catherine onto the deck. “I think have seen you here before,” Catherine commented. “What is your name?” “Peter,” he replied simply taking her hand. “I started in training just before you returned to Mother Russia.” Catherine was amazed at the likeness. Should she say anything to Adrik? Yuri came on deck and greeted his daughter. “Ekaterine!” Yuri greeted opening his arms. “Are you feeling well?” “Very well, Papa,” Catherine replied. “I came to wish you a good day and tell you I will be going to the manse.” Yuri embraced his daughter. He whispered in her ear. “That is a good thing, Katya. You should be in control of your new home. I find I am most comfortable when your Mamma sets up and controls our home. Don’t you agree?” Catherine laughed. “I do agree indeed. Papa, Mamma has already instructed me to face my duty.” Yuri smiled. “Then go now. Run along.” Peter assisted Catherine from the deck to the ground. “Should I walk you to the manse?” “No, I will be fine. Papa needs you here.” Catherine walked to the manse with a happy heart. Of course her mother was right. She needed to command the cleaning and decorating of the manse. It was time to run her household. She was after all a Grand Duchess. The ostentatious title still made her chuckle. Who would believe a simple boyarina would hold such a designation? She held the Romanov name in her homeland. She would not be forced to endure the Russian Court. Adrik had promised her that. Nearing the manse she saw Adrik standing on the stone steps in the front of the manse. He was escorting a beautiful woman to a carriage. He was talking to her. Then she watched him take her hand and brush his lips 203

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across her knuckles. Catherine felt an emotion of jealousy that was so strong she nearly exploded with it. This was a new emotion. Never had she felt jealous. Why would she now? Catherine shut her eyes trying to calm her raging mind. How dare he? Was he already choosing a mistress? Of course, that is what a Grand Duke would do. His wife was impregnated with his child. He would seek relief elsewhere. Damnation if he would. He will suffer through this pregnancy like she would. If he thought he married a quiet little mouse he would be in for a large surprise. She also realized she loved him and sharing that love with a mistress was inconceivable. No, she would not let him take a mistress! Catherine closing her eyes caused her to miss seeing the Russian Naval Lieutenant emerging from the manse and bowing to the Grand Duke. She did not see the lieutenant assist the woman into the coach and follow her inside. Instead Catherine opened her eyes and marched like an attacking General toward the manse. Adrik returned to the parlor and was assisting a servant pull down draperies from the large windows for cleaning. Catherine entered the room to watch her husband in a process assigned to laborers. She nearly smiled. Wasn’t that why she loved him so much? He simply was not a pompous aristocrat. “Adrik.” Adrik turned to sound of his young wife’s voice. “Catherine! You are feeling well?” “I feel much better after a sound sleep,” Catherine replied. “If you have time I would appreciate a private word with you.” Adrik nodded to the servant handing him the last heavy drapery. He strode to the chairs by the fireplace and held one of them for Catherine to sit upon. When she was seated he sat on the chair next to it. He believed he was going to hear a lecture on why his wife would not live in this house. It didn’t matter what her wishes were. When he had the manse cleaned and decorated to his dictates it would be a lovely house for him and their children. He would listen to her complaint and wait patiently for the manse to be finished. In the interim he would live with her in her parents home. That would comfort her. He was bowled over by her tirade. Adrik tamped down the laughter that bubbled from his insides listening to the tirade and salty language Catherine was using. “Grand Duke and nobility be damned,” Catherine swore. “I will never tolerate sharing affections of my husband with a mistress. I realize such lurid behaviors are socially acceptable in the Russian Court right up 204

You walked her to the carriage. When Mikail transferred to Novo Arkhangel’sk they brought my son here. She was elegant and beautiful. I am not certain where or when. but I forbid it. He never dreamed he would ever hear such sweet beautiful words. “My dearest Katya.” Adrik could hardly contain his humor. but what does that have to do with her being with you?” Catherine demanded once again claiming her anger. She loved his strength and the feeling of safety and security she had when near him. His hands stroked her soft hair. I miss you when you are not near. Adrik leaned to take her hand. Adrik took Catherine in his arms. she was jealous. “But I saw you with a woman just now. She could only be worried about courtesans if she really cared for him. madam.” Catherine opened her mouth to reply with a tacit response until what he said entered analysis in her brain. You must know her. “We started with an agreement. “Natasha was my son’s governess for all these years. Better yet. We married. He pulled her tight to his chest. Catherine said she loved him. I would not think of it. He was never so happy in his life.Novo Arkhangel’sk w to the Czar’s bedroom. Adrik could no longer control the chuckles. We were discussing how to 205 . She is married to the Russian Naval Lieutenant Mikail Volgarski. “I love you!” A blush filled her cheeks. I knew you were my destiny. “My dear. With all the military training he had received of covering his emotions he replied. I love you. Throwing back his head he laughed. It was wonderful. He wouldn’t think of it? Just what was he doing with that tart a moment ago? Her lips snapped shut. She was warning him to be faithful.” Catherine’s eyes rounded in wonder. This bit of a girl was threatening him.” “I know her. She simply stared at him. but from the moment I met you in Okhotsk. that was Natasha Volgarski. This personage alone will fill any of your procreation acts or lustful needs. She raised him as her own. If I ever find out you are having an affair. His wife told him she loved him. When did she fall in love with Adrik? Could she pin point when it happened? She knew she missed him this morning when she awoke and his warm body was not near. I saw you kiss her hand!” Adrik couldn’t believe it. an arrangement. consummated the vows and now our child grows within you. The woman he loved also loved him. or any type of connubial relationships you are warned there will be dire recompense.

Peter left her mind.Payton Lee g break the news to Peter that I am his father. The thoughts of meeting his son. She had missed her husband last night as well. It was a political strategic move. Why would he not know who his father is?” “It was politics and is politics. This time was hers. She wishes to tell him. Everything in our lives is governed by politics. Her eyes filled with passion. “My first marriage was a political maneuver by the Czarina to unify a Polish royal family with her chosen Romanov. Even the lowest serf is merely a puppet of politics. me.” “Then let’s not be political. I promised her I would wait. There would be another time and place for his son.” “I don’t think I will ever understand how you could leave your son for others to raise. It is a fine spider weaving and we are all caught in the web. Adrik needed little encouragement. The war campaigns are political. The parlor door was closed.” Adrik related. He returned her kiss passionately. She framed Adrik’s face with her hands and pulled him down to her lips.” Catherine said temptingly. 206 . Adrik and his Catherine spent a few hours alone locking out the politics of the world.

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This time there was nothing. When she finished he looked at her quizzically. “There are many things we have never told you to protect you. “Please come into the parlor. She was saying the words over and over in her head.” Natasha replied nervously. I stayed on as your governess. Although he rarely drank he already downed two cognac drinks.” “Protect me?” “You are my heart child.” Mikail requested. “Your mother and I wish to talk to you. “I haven’t seen him. “Of course. You have known this from the beginning. “I was your hired governess. He rose from his chair. Has he threatened you? Has something happened? Are we in trouble?” Mikail nudged him toward the large settee. He had dreaded this moment since he learned the Grand Duke had landed here. Natasha began.” Natasha choked out. Suddenly his stepfather stepped into the room. We have something to tell you. Your mother died when you were a toddler. “I’ll bring Peter. He was also smoking a cigar in the house. “You haven’t seen him yet. “Sit down Peter.” The tone of Mikail’s voice was ominous. She was wringing her hands constantly as she paced the floor. He sipped the cognac.” 208 .” Peter entered the door and looked about the kitchen. What would Peter say and do? Would they lose his love forever? His head spun toward the door when they heard Peter enter the back door by the kitchen. The room was dark.” He followed Mikail into the parlor. “What is it?” “It is the Grand Duke. no.Payton Lee g Mikail was just as nervous waiting for Peter to come home. He couldn’t imagine what was going on.” Peter complied. Natasha was so nervous she didn’t notice her husband’s unusual behavior. Peter was like a son to him. I did not bear you. His adopted mother rushed to him kissing his cheeks and hugging him tightly. He was often late and his dinner place was always waiting on the worktable. Mikail watched his wife carefully. He admitted that he was just as worried sick. A lamp was usually left burning for him. He braced his arms on his thighs and waited. She was practicing what she was going to say to Peter. Peter felt a cold chill run down his spine.” Peter furrowed his brow more confused than ever. He worried for the health of his wife.

His breathing became erratic. He knew Natasha was not his mother. He was afraid of asking because it would hurt if it weren’t true.” Mikail explained. “He would have to be a royal noble to authorize such orders. He knew the fear he held over Natasha. His father was 209 . She sat down on the large sofa in the parlor.” Peter’s natural logic added two and two. He did everything possible to keep you from your father. Even under Deveraux’s cruel control it served you well. He knew how Deveraux had always upset Natasha when he was near. He did not know any facts of his parentage. He has many enemies beside Deveraux. He was a Prince. He was the son of a Romanov. This was going to be the hardest part. “Deveraux is a man who hates your father. “He signed the papers to give me this assignment. He was the son of the cousin of the Czar. She would lose her Peter.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “Deveraux?” Peter gulped.” “Yes. He knew it would be difficult for her to discuss this. He was reeling from this encounter.” “And when Natasha could contact him. “Peter. Your father was fighting many battles for Czarina Catherine and Mother Russia. Then Mikail came into their lives. He loved Natasha and he loved Mikail.” “Why are you telling me this now?” Peter requested. He felt his heart pounding through his chest. He was the son of a Grand Duke.” Mikail inserted.” Natasha whispered. your father is Grand Duke Adrik Romanov.” Mikail answered for Natasha. “Deveraux would move you to another location or country. He had never questioned because his imagination had terrified him. What happened or will happen now that caused his loving Natasha and Mikail to have this conversation? “Your father has been planning to meet you for sometime.” Natasha added. It was difficult at best to even contact him. He was royalty. “His guardianship did protect you from your father’s Russian enemies. “He made the arrangements for our family to come here to live. He dreamed Mikail had fathered him and unknowingly left for sea not knowing he had been conceived. Was Deveraux his father? This was a man he disliked immensely.” Natasha replied wringing the handkerchief in her hand.” Peter felt as if some one had crushed his chest. He hoped Mikail was his father.” “Your father is also of the nobility. “Deveraux kept control of you by having the French court name him your guardian.

” “First he had to deal with his wife and family. I love you both and consider Elizabeth and Nicholas my siblings. “I sensed he knew when he came here to ask permission for you to be tutored with the Cossacks.” Natasha warned. “I understand Prince Igor has already been removed from the manse and is drowning his sorrows in an inn near the docks. They raised him as a part of this family.Payton Lee g here.” “I believe Volk already knows who you are. “I don’t want to lose you. He loved his family. I love you too much. “What next?” “When you are ready. Mamma.” Mikail advised.” Natasha stated. He will wait for you to come to him.” Peter replied. we will take you to Grand Duke Adrik.” “We spoke to him today. He couldn’t and wouldn’t forget that fact. He would have seen you.” She sagged wearily against the sofa. He wasn’t certain what to say or do next.” “You won’t lose me. Natasha and Mikail thought Peter had become hysterical.” Peter rose and walked to Natasha. What will Volk say? What will Master Koslov say? This is too unbelievable.” Mikhail informed. “Why hasn’t he come for me? He arrived yesterday. We wanted to tell you. Suddenly he felt like laughing.” Natasha stated factually.” Natasha enlightened. He was still twirling with many thoughts. Now I learn the Grand Duke Adrik Romanov is my father. “Peter? Are you alright?” Mikail asked in concern. You would have seen Adrik. Peter. Catherine Koslov Romanov is my stepmother. but one thought remained loyal. “This is incredible. Mamma. He had just arrived. “I just suddenly thought about what news this would be for Volk.” Peter vowed.” “Once Yuri Koslov meets his new son in law. “I have lived my entire life with you. You do look so like him.” The humor left as quickly as it came. It is very hard for him. “We asked him not to seek you. He gave into the feeling. “And Prince Igor. He had to take control of the manse. “He will know you are Adrik’s family. I am a higher prince than he!” “And so you would be a greater enemy to Igor. but he promised 210 . The thundering of his heart had made it to his brain. I didn’t want your meeting to be that kind of shock. Peter. You look very much like your father. Emotions were flowing inside Peter’s brain like rapids in a mountain river stream. “He has promised not to push you into meeting him.

He should know his father’s innocence should he ever hear those rumors Deveraux initiated. She heard Deveraux coaxing her and encouraging her anger. Did he dare ask the question that had troubled him since he was a child? Yes. “How did my mother die?” Natasha turned pale. She closed her eyes and remembered the flight with Deveraux. She never had prepared to answer this question. She was very ill even before you were born. “Yes. and Nicholas when I was at sea. He gave her more and more opiates. now was the time to ask. The cold bath made him cry and bring air into his lungs. It was true. He was going to meet his father. Is this wrong of me?” “He has feelings for you. She washed him. Mamma? Do you truly believe he has such feelings for a son he has never met?” Peter challenged. Little Peter came to life because of her care. He directed his question to his adoptive mother. She never thought it would be asked. He gave her the opiates. he has a strong love for you. You are a good man. And I do not believe it wrong that you do not have such feelings for your father yet. I convinced him you would be safer with me and at first you were too young for such a strenuous journey. “Your mother died when you had just turned two. Natasha had taken him still born in her arms. “I have no feelings for him. He was struggling to sort out many thoughts. Her mother had often told her of the nobility babes being born with their mother’s drugs in their blood. You are his son.” “He is a good man. I trusted you to take care of my Natasha. “You are like him in this respect also. He sacrificed a lot for your safety. She heard of the execution. “You mother left 211 . Perhaps he should know the truth. Even without seeing you grow. She put her thoughts together and attempted to answer calmly and correctly. They will come.” “What illness?” Peter asked without thinking.” Mikail agreed. Elizabeth.” “Do you truly believe that. She gave him his life. He has always wanted you. He should never blame his father.” Natasha scolded. Dear Peter wasn’t even breathing when he was born.” Peter remained silent for a few moments. “Was it a broken heart? Did my father break her heart?” “No!” Natasha answered more sharply than she meant. He should know his mother died from opiate abuse. he has strong feelings for you. She didn’t sleep for weeks as she helped the baby survive his withdrawal from his mother’s opiate addiction.Novo Arkhangel’sk w he would wait.

Will you come with me?” He looked to Natasha and Mikail for support. “We will go as a family. “Yes my love.Payton Lee g your father with. Natasha gained control of her shaking when Peter had asked her and Mikail to accompany him.” Adrik replied uncharacteristically domestic. but he still found her seductive enough to make love to her in the parlor of their new home. All of us. His mother was a harlot and an addict. Mikail bent to whisper in her ear.” Peter’s face revealed his shock. Adrik’s heart was as light as air while he buttoned Catherine’s gown. Her husband loved her.” “Elizabeth? Nicholas?” Natasha whispered proudly. Unfortunately she couldn’t imagine any way to tell this truth gently. He put his hands on her shoulders sending her shivers of his strength.” “I think we have begun rebuilding this empty house into a warm home. She told him she loved him. He never believed such a marriage would be possible for him. This marriage with a stranger was happier than she could have ever hoped for. Natasha immediately regretted being so blunt.” He brushed his lips across her neck. Peter still looked to them as his family. He was still her adopted son. He told her he loved her. She could have told Peter in a gentler fashion. Peter bent his head. but this love making in the parlor was heaven on earth. Grand Duke Adrik Romanov will meet the Volgarski family. He was still reeling with happiness. She loved him. Natasha felt confidence and hope for the first time since she took possession for the care of Peter Adrikovich Romanov. 212 . This was going to be a wonderful home. Mikail came to stand behind Natasha. She died because of her addiction and abuse of opiates. This was his bloodline? What was his father like? Was he like his father? Was he like his mother? He had to know. and for Deveraux. Today he believed anything would be possible. It would be even greater than his home in St. Their passions were always pleasurable. Her smile broadened as she turned to glow in her husband’s loving eyes. He had to know now! “I will meet with my blood father tomorrow. Was this joy truly possible? Catherine was glowing in the aftermath of their lovemaking. She was getting fatter with their child. “We’ve delayed cleaning our home.

“I would be happy to serve my most noble Grand Duke husband. Or did she grow more beautiful every day? “Tea my darling?” Catherine offered pointing toward the teapot. It was early afternoon when Adrik walked outside the manse in the direction of the Cossack main house and stables. but do not let her work to hard. “What is it?” Catherine queried noticing her husband’s attention. They were practicing a unique horse movement used in attack with Shashka.” He accepted the tea and continued to stare at his wife. She nearly floated to the door to unlock it and called for Dakod. She was correct. “Help your mistress.” He turned to Dakod. She turned to grab a bucket of water and wash rug.” Adrik laughed and sat down on the chair next to the teapot. Silently he returned to his manse and returned to a fully cleaned parlor. “I was just thinking of how happy and at peace I am. Carefully she wrung out the rag and started wiping the wooden mantel. Then he saw the boy. After all. It had been too long since he was riding with his Cossacks. He watched the two-hour training session with immense pride. I do not want you to harm yourself or our child. That is a command. He had a home that Catherine would make comfortable and beautiful. Adrik came up behind his young wife. His step was lighter and his mood truly happy. but the sight of his son on horseback mesmerized him. He promised Natasha to wait. “The Grand Duke would be most appreciative of a hot cup of tea poured by the Grand Duchess. He would write his Tante and invite her to his home. he had everything she asked for.” Adrik commented. He would ride Angel in exercise with his Cossacks.” He smiled and left the room. “Do not over do. Peter looked like him. 213 . You are in a delicate condition. It took all his will power to stop him from running to his son and holding him.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Petersburg run by his beloved Tante Sveta.” “Except for?” Catherine surmised. He watched Volk and Peter dismount and walk laughing together toward the stable. He was so proud. He quickly took cover behind a large copse of cedar pine. He rode like him. He saw his son with Volk. I must go now and see to the rest of the manse. They would have a child to enliven and bless it.” Catherine stated firmly. His wife sat on a clean chair with a cup of tea. “Everything in my life is near perfection. “Then we will spend the rest of this day working to make it our home. He did not believe he had ever been so happy in his life. She never looked so beautiful.

And then I shall enjoy the comfort of your room for a pleasant night’s rest. a pleasant night’s rest. He would have it. “Indeed. 214 . I watched him from a distance today. Of course you want to be acknowledged as his father. I find it honorable that you kept your word and waited for your Natasha to inform Peter of your parentage. He was recognizing her importance in his life.Payton Lee g “Peter. Am I wrong to want my son?” Catherine felt closer to Adrik for his question. “Peter is your son. He is your firstborn. I am starved and I believe that Sofia Koslov would have prepared a feast fit for the Czar by now. Of course the pleasant night’s rest may not include a long sleep. His wife had been gentle with his soul. You are right to want him. He was asking her approval. He is your blood. “Come. She promised me this morning. “A pleasant night’s rest in my bed?” “Indeed madam. I wanted my son and I still want my son.” Adrik teased. You need that security in your life. He would be putting his soul in Catherine’s hands.” Adrik replied seriously. He was asking her opinion. even though I was given a wonderful wife and a child I will raise. let us return to your home.” Catherine concurred. “He was the reason that brought me to Okhotsk. He prayed she would care for it.” Adrik was pleased. my son.” Catherine arose taking Adrik’s offered hand.

Adrik could not remember feeling more comfortable or at ease. glances of passion. He was already hardening with passion. The table radiated with laughter and happiness.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Chapter 28 The evening meal was full of warmth. 215 . and lots of food. Catherine remained at his side. and every now and then an affectionate touch. Throughout the meal he and his wife shared humor. family. Adrik was looking forward to this evening with his wife. Everything was wonderful until after the family meal when a guest appeared at the door.

” Ilya explained.” “Do not forget the duplicity of our own Great Czarina Catherine and the unfortunate demise of her husband to gain control of the throne.” “I’ll be as brief as possible. Igor. This is foolishness.” “Have you heard anything such as this?” Adrik solicited. He walked outside to the waiting Ilya and Volk. Adrik nodded and motioned to go outside. little power.” Volk said brashly. “Igor had been drinking heavily and talking too much.” Adrik promised.” Volk addressed seriously.” Volk brought out reluctantly.” Both Volk and Ilya had pushed Adrik too far.” Ilya added.” Adrik raised his arm angrily. You always have been. Ilya lost his temper. His alliances are unsavory to say the least. It is suggested he 216 . Yet.Payton Lee g “Volk. If his cousin was now dealing in treachery he wanted proof and fact. We have learned he took a ship to the Aleutian Islands and is firming up alliances. “Both Volk and I also fear personal danger to you. I will not have Igor compared to the great Romanov family of Russia. “Even our own Czar Alexander’s part in the demise of his father is in question. “What is it?” “We have word of your cousin. “You are blind to Igor and his danger. “He gathered his close associates and is moving toward consolidating his interests here in Unalaska. Ilya. “We need to speak privately your Royal Nobleness. “We have heard that Deveraux was in the vicinity. What type of alliances?” Adrik queried. If there was trouble she felt she should know of it. More surprising was the tall faithful friend behind Volk. and even less intelligence. He was brought in silently on a small boat from a Northern port used by the French. they were concerned for his safety and welfare.” “You speak of alliances. “His alliances are for control of trades and furs. “If I am gone for awhile do not wait for me. I will meet you in bed.” Catherine frowned. “I will not rest until you are next to me. “There is more news.” Volk informed ominously. He turned to Catherine and brushed his lips across her forehead.” Adrik recognized in surprise when his faithful friend walked into the Koslov kitchen. Our child needs its rest. You believe because he is your blood there is no danger. “Silence! We are only discussing a cousin that has little money.

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planned to meet secretly with Igor. This does not bode well, my good friend.” This news was an electric charge that ran through Adrik. His anger turned to rage. Deveraux! That man had interfered once too often in his life. Now, when his life was finally coming together this man had entered his life once again. There was a strong urge to murder Deveraux. Volk and Ilya felt the rage radiate from Adrik’s body. “Do you know this to be fact?” Adrik whispered far too softly for the comfort of Volk and Ilya. “Has Igor met with Deveraux? Where is he?” “It is said that Igor had met with Deveraux,” Volk replied. “Deveraux was also here shortly after the Volgarski family arrived.” “Otto had informed me of Deveraux visiting and his visit to the Volgarski,” Adrik sighed. “He tried once again to gain control of Peter. The Volgarski family held firm. He no longer could frighten or intimidate the family.” “Where is Otto?” Ilya questioned. He had not seen Adrik’s trusted valet and butler since their arrival. It was strange indeed. “He was instructed to take a ship to meet the Sofia and return with the other servants. His purpose was to instruct the servants on their new responsibilities in this new land. After being in service at the courts of St. Petersburg Otto knew this new land would be a veritable culture shock and agreed to Adrik’s request instantly,” Volk answered. He personally had given Adrik’s personal missive to Otto. Adrik was still raging about Deveraux being close. “I want Deveraux found! Every Cossack available will search for the man. I want to know where he is and what he is doing every minute he is here. See to it!” Volk didn’t bother to respond. He knew Adrik’s temper and any further words would be futile. He simply nodded and walked away to give instructions to his Cossacks. The thoughts of sharing his day with the Grand Duke’s son left with the anger he noted in Adrik’s eyes. He would gladly clean Deveraux’s blood from his Shashka. He focused on being the first to find Deveraux. Ilya was now left alone with Adrik and the seething rage Deveraux’s name had wrought. “I want Deveraux found, Ilya.” Adrik commanded. His thoughts were in turmoil. Why now? Why did Deveraux have to return now? He would soon be united with son. He had a beautiful loving wife. They 217

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were going to have a child. He was with a family he adored. Everything was full of joy and happiness. Deveraux and his black soul just had to come and darken Adrik’s happiness. If there was ever any man he wanted to murder, it was Deveraux. “My noble lord,” Ilya addressed. “If it is possible, you know the man will be found and watched. Remember he is your enemy. It would be wise to watch him and learn just what his treachery is.” “Or not find him and be taken by surprise with his treachery,” Adrik growled. “Where Deveraux walks, darkness, pain, and sorrow follow. He must be found, Ilya!” Adrik remained silent for a few moments and then turned toward the Koslov house. “I want guards placed around this house and the manse. My Katya is to be guarded closely without her knowing it. I will not have the Frenchman and his foul stench come near my love and my happiness. No, Ilya! Not again!” Ilya saw the same rage in Adrik’s eyes he had seen sixteen years ago. Deveraux was a devil. He was a devil that he would gladly destroy on sight. Once he found out what the devil was up too he would gladly sever the man’s head from his body. “It will be done!” Ilya was not yet finished with Adrik. “We all feel the same as you my Lord. I know you have no doubt of that, but you must heed my warning and watch your back as well. Deveraux you see as an enemy. Now your own cousin shows his true colors. He has allied with your sworn enemy. You must see Igor for what he truly is, your enemy!” Adrik knew it was the truth. He had never gotten over killing his brother in law even though the man was a traitor. He didn’t want to think anything right now. He wanted to be in the arms and comfort of his wife. He had found happiness here and for this brief moment that was all he wanted. He nodded understanding to Ilya and turned to walk back into the house. Adrik felt questioning eyes when he walked into the Koslov manse. Fabiyan, Dimitri, Hedeon, and Jasha stared questioningly. His love, his wife looked at him with confusion. “That did not take too long,” Catherine commented lifting the dishes from the table. Sofia took the dishes from Catherine’s hand. “You shouldn’t be lifting anything.” Then Sofia whispered into Catherine’s ear. “Look at your husband. He has been upset. Something is wrong. He will tell you if he wishes, but if not let it be. I will tell you he needs the comfort of his wife. Go to him. Hold him. He needs you.” 218

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Catherine understood the wisdom of her mother’s words. Adrik’s facial expression was controlled but she sensed something in his eyes. It was fear combined with a glint of rage. Those eyes had unsettled her. She immediately walked to her husband and took his arm. “Come with me to the garden.” The garden was outside. The thought of Catherine walking out to possible danger stopped Adrik in his tracks. He was still shaking with rage that Deveraux would be near. Catherine looked up expectantly at Adrik when he stopped moving. She squeezed his arm with concern. “What is it, Adrik?” Adrik did not want to bring his nemesis into this house or his happy marriage. “My darling, I simply do not want to go outside yet again. Why don’t you go to your room and rest? I will enjoy a drink and story with your brothers. Then I will be with you.” “If that is what you wish.” “It is,” Adrik said simply. Catherine stood on her tiptoes to place a loving peck on Adrik’s cheek. She placed her fingertips on his lips and offered him a look of promise for later. Adrik followed the men into Yuri’s study. There they shared a drink of hot tea, for they rarely drank, a discussion of the day’s events, problems, and ship designs. The brothers and father ceased speaking when Adrik entered. Yuri as the patriarch was the first to speak. “It is obvious to all that what news your men brought you bodes ill will,” Yuri stated. “Does any of it affect my daughter? Our family? Be truthful with us.” “It could affect all of us. Of course the intent will be directed at me, but I do fear for all of us,” Adrik admitted. “Tell us,” Fabiyan encouraged. “It is Deveraux, my nemesis. He is here,” Adrik stated. “This bane of my life is treacherous. He does not care who he hurts or destroys as long as he hurts me.” “Does he hurt you?” Dimitri queried. It seemed impossible to hurt a Grand Duke, nobility of great wealth and royal bloodlines. Was it possible to hurt such a man of great wealth and power? “Deeper than a sword to my heart,” Adrik replied choking on his own emotion and admission. 219

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“What can we do to assist and protect our family?” Hedeon volunteered. “He strikes at my family. He plays both sides to win his gains. He would stop at nothing, even death to divide a family and create hatred,” Adrik announced. “Furthermore, we have learned he has met with Prince Igor.” “That does not bode well at all,” Yuri commented. “We will be on our guard. I have many workmen and special friends that will help watch over our family and our shipyard should these be the targets.” “Special friends?” Adrik questioned furrowing his brow. “I came to this land before Baranov, before the infringement and murder of the Tlingit people. We were amazed at our common interests even without a common language. Soon we learned each other’s tongues. We shared our knowledge and our friendship. We have maintained this friendship and trust through these trying times.” “Does Baranov know of this?” Adrik asked. “No,” Dimitri answered. “Yet you tell me,” Adrik responded. “You are family,” Yuri teased. “Baranov is not.” Adrik remained silent. He marveled at the Koslov family. They were very unpretentious, but more powerful for it. They didn’t trade in furs, they traded in everything needed and wanted in this land and Russia. They built their own ships and captained their own ships. They had wealth and power in yet unseen force. “I feel safer already. With my Cossacks, the Koslov family, and your Tlingit, I believe this would be a force able to meet and destroy the entire Bonaparte Army.” Adrik did feel comfortable and his thoughts drifted to his wife waiting for him upstairs. “I think I will retire.” It was then he remembered he wasn’t sure which room was his wife’s room. He had slept as a guest in Fabiyan’s room last night. He didn’t want to be a fool so he sought Sofia. “Which room?” Sofia knew immediately her new son in law’s plight. Up these back stairs. It is the fourth room on the right. She is waiting for you.” Adrik felt light on his feet. He took the steps two at a time. He found the door and tried the handle. It was open. He entered and his heart stopped. Catherine was standing in front of the fireplace. The light from the fire gave him a perfected silhouette of his young wife’s body. He noted for the first time the growing waistline giving evidence of his child growing within her womb. The sight made his desire for Catherine even stronger. 220

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Catherine felt Adrik’s presence. She turned and opened her arms. Adrik needed no more encouragement. He ran into her arms folding her into his hard muscled body. He held her for moments with no words between them. She felt wonderful tucked so perfectly against his frame. He felt her breathing. These had been the happiest moments of his life. Every day seemed better than the last. He would die protecting this. His head dipped to the soft skin on Catherine’s nape. He nipped playfully. Soon he would once again be making love to his wife. Catherine felt warm and safe in Adrik’s arms. Every day he surprised her showing more attention and love than the previous day. Yet, there was something missing. To be a true wife was to bear the burdens equally. Something happened outside with Ilya and Volk. She was certain of it. They wouldn’t have come to the Koslov house unless it was important. She wanted to share Adrik’s burdens, as she would want him to share her burdens. Catherine looked up into Adrik’s passion lit eyes. “What did Volk and Ilya want?” Slowly she moved her fingertips over Adrik’s chest. “It was nothing,” Adrik replied huskily. Catherine’s gentle machinations were bringing heat to his body. “I doubt that Ilya and Volk would both come to the Koslov home unless there was something,” Catherine countered. “Does it have to do with Prince Igor? Tell me Adrik. As your wife I am half of you. I cannot be half of you unless I am allowed. I will share everything with you.” Adrik was surprised at the accurate logic of his young wife. “Yes, it was about Igor.” Catherine pulled back. “That is not enough, Adrik. I have already surmised that. What is happening.” Adrik bent and kissed Catherine’s head. “It is reported he left Novo Arkhangel’sk.” Catherine sighed with relief. Once again she placed her head on Adrik’s chest. “Is there more?” “I do not know if he plans on returning. He has also met with Deveraux,” Adrik shared. “That alone bodes trouble.” “Who is Deveraux?” “A vermin of lowest form. Deveraux is a traitor to Russia and France. He lives for his own welfare and exists on hatred.” The venom of Adrik’s last statement actually frightened Catherine. She felt him tense and tremble slightly. It was then she was determined to find out exactly who this Deveraux was. Right now she would comfort 221

His child was growing in his wife in this home and this loving family. Suddenly her baby reacted to the challenge. Deveraux was instantly forgotten. The baby moved under his hand. This was here and now. The rest of the evening was spent in euphoric ecstasy. “Our babe moves!” There was wonderment in his exclamation.Payton Lee g Adrik in her own special way. He lifted Catherine gently and carried to their bed. She looked up and watched as Adrik’s face lit up with joy. She took Adrik’s hand and placed it on her abdomen. She gasped as she felt the child move within her. 222 .

He wrote a letter to his beloved Tante. He took a vellum paper from her desk and dipped the inkwell. To his happiness the baby moved under his hand. He was certain he had not woken his Catherine. He invited her to live 223 .Novo Arkhangel’sk w Chapter 29 Adrik stretched in the bed. Turning on his side he leaned on his elbow and stretched his arm across sleeping Catherine. Quietly he dressed. Stealthily he removed his body from the bed. The sun had just risen when he went to the desk in her room. He wanted to tell her every joy. She was sleeping soundly again. His hand gently splayed across Catherine’s naked abdomen. He didn’t want to leave it too soon. This morning he had once again made love with his wife. The thrill of fatherhood was something he savored more than he could believe himself.

Her husband the Grand Duke with his shirtsleeves rolled up and dipping rags in buckets to clean their new home. How lucky she was to have found him for a husband. Faddei and his new wife Marta. He assisted Catherine and quickly led her to the port. He was looking for Otto. Heaven was found in Novo Arkhangel’sk. I am writing to her my great happiness. “Now you will have your servants.” Fabiyan shouted. Adrik was the first to disembark from the carriage.” “Until you came into my life darling Katya. “More important than a letter to the Czar. Ilya. “Wake up sleepy heads. She would try to be the best wife she could.Payton Lee g with them. Catherine stretched her arm across the empty bed. We have much work to do!” Adrik smiled broadly. He looked up to his bride’s shining face.” “You haven’t talked much about her before. She would work even harder at being the best Duchess for her Duke. He did not at anytime command her like a lesser being. I am sending a letter to my Tante Sveta. she was the only joy and love of my life. Together they nearly ran down the stairs for breakfast. “An important letter to the Czar?” Catherine’s voice started Adrik. milady Duchess. strong but not demanding. Her blue eyes sparkled like fresh clear glacier pools. She was awake instantly when her hand did not find the warm strength of her husband. A smile crossed her lips when she remembered yesterday’s love making on the parlor floor and how they dressed and spent the rest of the day working together to clean the manse. 224 . The manse would be prepared by the time she arrived.” Rising quickly he opened the door for Catherine. She was still savoring the glow from her love making this morning.” Catherine observed. She looked like an angel with her blond hair failing like rivulets down her shoulders. Hearing a scratching noise she turned to find Adrik scribing at her desk. He was loving and kind. “More important than the Czar.” Catherine beamed in the affection she heard in Adrik’s voice. What a wonderful man she had married. At last I have. Just as Adrik finished the letter and Catherine had dressed there was a knock at the door. I am telling her she was so right about you and my life. “The Sofia and Relentless are arriving in port. She must mean a lot to you. and a proper home. He wrote that to Tante Sveta. For years Tante had wanted me to find you.

“Igor is mad to fuel such fires against the Czar’s wishes. He cares only for his drink and revelry. “Your nobleness. That has not worked so he has contacted arms dealers in the Amerikas and Russia.” Adrik suggested to Catherine. She nodded and turned to direct the off loading staff. darling.” Catherine swelled with pride in her husband’s confidence with her.” Otto greeted. He already assigned complete command of their home to her hands.” Otto spat out. I have instructed the staff as to their new duties for you and the manse in this new land.” “Igor cares nothing for Russia or his nobility. “You will be able to settle them in and instruct them as to the needs of the manse. “I have the evidence.” “The Czar specifically has remained neutral to the dissension on the Sandwich Islands. He has stolen from the Russian Amerikan Company. She didn’t notice the Cossack guard surrounding her. your nobleness. “So this is the Grand Duchess. She was crying now at the happiness she felt with her husband’s trust. He cannot afford a war on that front. but I have receipts of his business with the trading company and the selling of illegal furs to the Russian buyers. It would be the perfect mate for his nobleness in this new land. He knows of England’s interest there and the Amerikan interest.” He bowed dutifully “Your most faithful servant. He offered guns to one of their kings and has been trying to steal them from the arsenal of the Russian Navy. “You told me you have evidence of Igor’s thievery?” “Yes. All he had heard of Catherine had been kindness and goodness. Adrik pulled Otto aside. the people of Novo Arkhangel’sk. He worried desperately for Catherine knowing Igor had desired her.” Adrik groaned. What are you going to do with it?” 225 . Not only has he stolen from your coffers. He had been relieved to learn her parents sent her to Okhotsk and was thrilled when Adrik informed him they were married. A beauty to behold. She cried at the silliest things lately. She did not want Adrik to see her tears.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Adrik found Otto and waved him over. I will have the household sent to the manse.” He was truly happy for his Grand Duke. While in service at the manse he had seen Catherine Koslov and knew of her. and gives Aleuts rum he gets from certain unscrupulous Amerikan connections. He has also attempted to launch a war in the Sandwich Islands between two of their kings. “Perhaps you will direct your staff to the manse.

Yuri smiled and ended the math class. “It will serve them well. The muscles beneath his shirt rippled with power. The people of the town had only known Prince Igor who was nothing like this royal blood before them. Soon his home would be filled and Catherine would make it a home. 226 . A sense of camaraderie with the Cossacks and their leader joined the workers. The dockworkers were filled with wonder as they watched the Grand Duke lifting heavy objects and placing them on the carts. the Grand Duke seemed to enjoy all his physical labors. Together Ilya and Adrik walked into the cozy parlor of the Koslov home. Have you heard he is with Deveraux?” “Yes. Ilya had worn a path between the docks and the manse. would do such laborious work. His thievery. and treachery will put him there for certain. Catherine.” Yuri explained. A voice belonging to Sofia Koslov called the boys into the kitchen for their cooking lessons. companions. cousin to the Czar. It was unfathomable that a Grand Duke.Payton Lee g “That will be determined by Igor. for they must take their turn in the caboose aboard ship as they apprentice for mate status. would be acclimating to the new manse and land. Ilya beamed with the news his wife was efficiently putting everything in order with the capability of a seasoned military general. “Cooking lessons for boys?” Ilya laughed. of course. The manse now thoroughly cleaned and outfitted would be ready for them in a few short days. It appeared he was accustomed to hard labor. and you must be aware of how dangerous that news is. learn your lessons well.” Otto muttered following the Grand Duke past the docks up to the gangplank.” He sat in a comfortable leather chair and beckoned Adrik and Ilya to join him. The servants. Adrik spent the day with most of the Koslov brothers unloading his household furniture and seeing to the proper loading of the articles on wagons. Yet. The numerous grandsons were under tutelage in mathematics of Yuri Koslov. He kept Adrik informed of the security of his lovely wife.” “It appears Igor will be spending the rest of his life in the frigid confines of remotest Siberia.” “He should be hanged. “Go.

“If you excuse me. “I wish you to be there with me. “Cooking lesson?” “I would prefer to learn Sofia’s cooking in case I might end up having your company in the middle of a battle once more and having to eat the efforts of less talented men than the Koslov family. and the boys will learn astronomy. “Here.” Catherine requested. I think I will join the cooking lesson. He offered folded vellum to Adrik.” She took his hand and he followed meekly.” Yuri added. It appears the entire family is paying you a visit.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “And they must learn to sew as well as the finest tailor. He has been working for us over a year now. You will receive full privacy of course. English. As close as he was to Adrik. please. but the jest was needed. “We’ll go to the library and wait. She walked to his side and took his arm.” “A mend so fine a good Northwester could not shred the sail in a storm.” “How fortunate for me.” Catherine chuckled entering the room behind her husband. She took a crystal glass and poured her husband a fine brandy.” “As well as we could know the lad.” Yuri informed. “A mate should be able to mend a tear in the sail that would turn a tailor green with envy.” Adrik gulped. He needed the love of a wife to give him strength. and Spanish languages as well as Latin to read old scripts. I can see you are nervous. it will help calm you. I will be meeting my own son.” “Peter. “A message arrived from the Volgarski family shortly before classes began. this was a time their friendship and bond would not be enough. “Come.” Adrik took her hand in his and kissed her knuckles gently.” 227 . After dreams and years. You must give me strength. I seem to have found wobbly knees.” Catherine looked up longingly at her husband. “You know my son.” Adrik laughed.” Ilya looked at the couple and knew he would not be needed. “Yes. “I want to be there with you. We have prepared the library for your meeting. Once in the library Catherine seated her husband and walked to the decanters of liquor kept on a table.” Adrik raised a brow. His fear still intact. Returning to her husband she offered the glass. French. They will learn the trade of ship building as your own son is learning. This was a strength he did not offer.

“And he is probably just as nervous wondering why his father would desert him for sixteen years and suddenly appear.” Catherine chided refusing to drop the point she was offering to her husband.” It was this tender scene Fabiyan entered. “Yes?” 228 . His hand instinctively stroked her swelling abdomen as he bent to kiss her sweetly. Fabiyan cleared his throat. He will not understand the politics that kept you apart. I’ve been kept from him. politics stole him from you. “You must be honest with Peter.” “You are a great help. and politics kept the two of you apart. a strong handsome boy like his father. She sat seductively on Adrik’s lap. If you don’t tell him the truth on everything. Their baby responded immediately to the father’s hand. Catherine snuggled into Adrik’s broad warm chest. but he must be told of them. “Yes.” “Oh God. “Peter is a fine boy. How he loved her for it. not the Russian Court.” Catherine teased mercilessly. Behind was the Volgarski family.” Adrik gloried in the impishness of his young wife.” Adrik chortled. Catherine and Adrik looked up at the elder Koslov brother. “It is difficult for a strong young handsome man to understand that politics created him.” Catherine smiled lovingly and stroked Adrik’s strong chin. He felt like a coward for the first time in his life. In unison they questioned. Suddenly he is told his father is here to see him. She was easing his worry. “He can only love you as I do.” Adrik replied sipping the fine tasting liquor. Why. “As our child will grow in family love and not the Russian Court.” Adrik whimpered. wife.Payton Lee g “Shouldn’t I be? I haven’t seen my son since he was two. Catherine. I could easily have fallen in love with him. but he was reared in family love.” Catherine responded wisely. You would have to been born and lived in the bowels of the Russian court to understand all of that. my love. “That is if I hadn’t met and fallen desperately in love with his father first. you will lose him forever. He’s a fine boy. “You’ve met Peter?” “Yesterday.” Her eyes changed from love to seriousness. He must know everything. We will raise our child in family love. by accident.

” Adrik choked.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “The Volgarski family is here for their appointment with you. “Elisabeth.” Fabiyan knew the children would be too young to understand all of this. “I have been told we bear a remarkable resemblance. Catherine gave her brother a look of gratitude. “Come. The boy stood just past the doorframe and stared at Adrik. Nicholas. Her husband was stunned as he returned his son’s stare. He stepped back and looked at his son directly in the eyes. Perhaps this was not the right thing to do. Nicholas looked to his father for permission. Once they saw him. “I am sorry. “Peter. Catherine rose and stood next to Adrik. He had been raised in a loving family. He left with Fabiyan after Mikail nodded his permission. I am so sorry for many things.” “Very true. It made sense. He pulled his son into his arms and hugged for dear life. Natasha had told him they kept this secret to protect him from his father’s many enemies. and behind them was Peter.” Peter responded bowing politely taking the offered hand. When he learned who his father was. There was no doubt he was the son of the Grand Duke. She had wanted to remain by her husband’s side. The resemblance was remarkable. son. It was looking into the eyes of his past. but it was something he needed to do. they would know he was Adrik’s son. son. He rose slowly and offered his hand. The family walked in and took seats with the exception of Peter. She also thought about how wonderful of a husband and father her brother would make. Mikail holding Nicholas. would you like to come with me and see if Grandmere Sofia has some sweet cakes to eat?” Elisabeth jumped from her mother’s lap and took Fabiyan’s offered hand. When it happened he wasn’t sure what to do.” “Father. I…” Peter didn’t know where to begin. She felt it was necessary for Peter to see this solidarity in their marriage. What had his father a need to be sorry? Surely what he had heard of the intrigues of the Russian Court he would have never known love or perhaps been murdered in his sleep? Adrik led Peter to a chair next to his. Yet. She would have to work on 229 .” Fabiyan announced moving to the side allowing Natasha holding Elisabeth. he had hoped for such an embrace. It was the only thing he could think to do.” “Father. He felt his son turn stiff. Apparently this is true. there is much I must say to you. I have wanted to hold you like that just once for these sixteen years.

Payton Lee g matchmaking for him and find him a suitable and happy mate as he had provided for her. He told him of all the politics and intrigue of the Russian Court and Deveraux that kept them apart. Peter felt the blood connection grow toward his father. 230 . there were questions. He told him of the night Natasha had let him peek at Peter. Yet. He was proud of his royal father and all that he endured to see his son safely raised. his trek to the French castle to find his wife and watch her die in his arms. the desertion of his wife in the arms of Deveraux. through the execution of his uncle. Peter listened patiently as Adrik explained the politics of marriage and how he came to be his father. Adrik told Peter everything from the moment he was conceived.

“What do you want to know.” Peter stood straight after he rose from his chair. his father. just as his father had been. Mikail. He had revealed his very soul to this young man who was his son. and his stepmother held their breath. I have just learned that you signed my father’s…I mean Mikail’s papers 231 . What did they expect of him? He decided to be truthful. He needed her strength right now more than ever. He sensed Natasha. She spoke for her weary husband. He finished and sat back in the chair reaching for Catherine’s hand. “There is still something unclear in my mind.” Peter began.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Χηαπτερ 30 Adrik felt drained. Her hand curled into his as she sat on the armrest of her husband’s chair. “I have learned that you sent money to build this manse some five years ago. Peter? Now that you have heard your father’s story.

You raised me with love. with all the love a birth mother has for a child. “I will begin to live with my father. Mikhail. When Alexander took the throne I was ready to leave then.” He turned to Adrik. It was imperative that I get you away from Russia as well. but the French and Napoleon brought me back into the Russian Court and into war.” He turned to Natasha.” Peter was touched. We even anticipate a stepbrother or stepsister for you. but you dear mother are my heart. I could be no prouder of you than I am now. as a mother should. Alexander. but none of the great Russian intrigues. I wanted this place for me as well. from the Russian Court?” “I learned of Natasha’s hope to take you to this colony five years ago.Payton Lee g three or four years ago to transfer him to this duty. He could and would ask for nothing greater than that. I went into exile as ordered by the Czarina knowing her death was imminent and Peter would take the throne over her beloved grandson. The move to Novo Arkhangel’sk was a blessing for all of us. Peter.” This time Peter knelt in front of his father and offered his embrace to his father. “Will you accept this relationship?” Adrik fought the tears forming in his eyes. At the end of it I realized how tired I was of all of it. “How could I not? Natasha has raised you. His father had borne all the loneliness and pain for him. I will ever be a part of this family. Then I met Catherine. You are my son. He held on to Peter as if he held on to life itself. your stepmother. She sent me into exile to protect me from Peter who certainly would have had me murdered. The only thing lacking was my peace with you. “My son. We shall go on from here. I am their big brother as certain as I am the blood brother of the child growing in my stepmother’s womb. I am tired of political intrigue. I cannot lie to you and tell you it was entirely for your protection. Here his father was telling him how proud he was of his son. father. This is your family as much as you are mine. I had my fill of it when Czar Peter took the Russian throne. “You have my peace. and I am proud of the man you are becoming. He had a good life and a loving family. My wife was and is the answer to my prayers. of Elisabeth and Nicholas. Adrik took him into his chest and let the tears flow freely down upon the hair of his child. Was it to keep me away from your enemies. There was still time to be with his father and grow in the shadow of the Grand Duke here in this colony of Russia with little. I am tired of it all.” 232 . as did you.

He served Adrik faithfully. The commission to full Captain of a Russian ship had come to Mikail Volgarski by order of the Czar. Adrik and his son Peter worked and played together as if there had been no separation.” The months flew by after that day. The manse was polished. Catherine had visited her Tlingit friends during the summer.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Catherine found tears flowing from her eyes and looked to see Natasha biting her hand and choking on her tears. He fussed over her like a worrying mother hen. Adrik had been even more attentive than she believed was possible. Baranov had no idea that the Czar via couriers using the Russian Fleet under Mikail Volgarski’s command received regular monthly missives. “It’s alright my love.” “I know. She was even more excited about the upcoming birth of her own child. He was so in love with Catherine he felt as giddy as a schoolboy and could deny Catherine nothing. It was easy once he planted his loyal and talented friend Otto in Baranov’s circle as auditor and accountant. He learned her good Tlingit friend had delivered a boy child and Catherine attended the birth. We still have his love. personally seeing the missives to Russia were handled properly. Adrik and Catherine enjoyed the manse they called their home. It seemed to have transformed overnight from the dreary sad place it had been under Igor. Everything is all right. We have not lost our son. “I am so proud of him. Mikail rose instantly and pulled Natasha in his arms of loving protection. Who was more capable than a woman that had grown up running an inn with her family? She handled the parties and the running of the household servants with an ease Catherine often envied. the Grand Duchess Romanov. Governor Baranov often joined the family for the dinner meal and reveled in the non-interference policy of the Grand Duke Romanov.” Natasha wept openly. Natasha and her children were 233 . Catherine was nearing full term. Baranov had no idea that Adrik kept careful watch over the dealings of the Russian Amerikan Company. I am so proud. Even Sofia had been quiet in the background knowing her son in law was at times a bit unbearable with fussing. and place of warm welcome to one and all under the dictates of her new mistress. Adrik allowed her brothers to accompany her as her guardians knowing full well that the Tlingit would not appreciate a Cossack guard. shining. Marta had taken over the task of running the manse. Of course Mikail knew who was truly behind his promotion.

They both heard the carriage stop in front of the manse. This would be his last for the year. and Volk. Two things still concerned him. he mastered. The other Koslov ships would continue their trade in the Orient and the Sandwich Islands during the winter. Everything he learned. He could continue his trips throughout the winter and return in the spring. It was happiness beyond anyone’s measure. Jasha began trading with new Amerikan posts along the southern shores of Unalaska and even into Spanish ports bringing trade items for food and clothing. She tired easily and according to Sofia.Payton Lee g often guests at the manse for the duration of Mikail’s longer voyages patrolling the coast of Unalaska. He still found her attractive even in her less than complimentary slim state. The new Koslov ship captained by Jasha was trading along the coast of the Amerikas. She relished those days when she was so tired and her husband carried her to their bed. Adrik was certain of it. They were specter shadows in his life he couldn’t seem to shake. Otto. He would tuck her in like a child. He had not heard from Tante Sveta and no one had heard or seen Igor or Deveraux. This is what Adrik had come to this colony for. This is what he had and he treasured every moment of it. The last ship to enter the harbor was the sleek Gabrielle. but they still made love. His Great Great Grandfather would have been proud of this boy. Fabiyan had made two trips to Okhotsk this summer. but it would a fitting a longer painful punishment to let him pine away in outer Siberia. November had arrived in Novo Arkhangel’sk and the port would soon be closed to ship travel. To his consternation he was losing. In a 234 . He would stand by her bedside until she fell into a comfortable secure sleep. Adrik was playing a game of chess with his son. The pregnancy was taking a toll on her physical prowess. It would be best to sever his head from his neck with a Shashka. Peter. Peter was more than an apt student. He was intelligent beyond Adrik’s hope. rest was the best prescription for her. She knew he would wake her when he slipped into bed. He agreed with Ilya. Then he would kiss her on the forehead. In the spring they would bring their wealth back to Novo Arkhangel’sk. Once Igor would be found he would be tried and sent on the fastest ship to Mother Russia in irons and sent to Siberia to live out his miserable life. Adrik had put Catherine to bed earlier in the evening. He was careful of her delicate condition. Catherine was tired and allowed her husband to pamper her on any occasion.

” Sveta stated as Fabiyan removed her cape.” “That she is. My father talks of you incessantly.Novo Arkhangel’sk w uniform motion the Father and Son rose from the game and walked toward the front door. “Are my eyes deceiving me. A permanent guest I would hope by the baggage we picked up in Okhotsk. It was strange to have a carriage arrive this late at night.” Adrik introduced.” a voice uttered from beneath the hood. “Dearest Tante!” Sveta patted Adrik’s back and peered beyond her nephew to see Peter standing in the soft glow of a lantern. Peter Adrikovich Romanov. but a sainted angel. She crossed herself and exclaimed. “Tante?” “Who else would be fool enough to brave the open seas and this lout you call a brother in law? Just to be with her favorite nephew and his new young wife. The figure was covered from head to foot in a mink lined hooded large fur cape. Where are your manners? Wouldn’t you invite an old woman into your home for some warm brandy to warm her old bones?” 235 . child. “I have brought a guest for your manse. I feel as though my legs will never function normally again. “And here at last. Fabiyan grinned. or is this a specter fooling me? It looks like the child you were so many years ago!” “Tante. “At your service. I was beginning to think you were not real. I have been on ships for far too long.” Adrik boasted. It nearly surpassed your entire household. A shrouded figure appeared in the hall. Which reminds me. He carried on his face a smile of secrets and looked somewhat like an impish boy. He removed her hood and kissed the white coiffure with adoration.” Adrik recognized the voice immediately. The butler had already opened the door allowing the chill of the evening enter the hall.” “I received no letters. Fabiyan entered behind the shadowed figure. His toothy smile seemed to illuminate the dark hall. Peter came forward and offered a stiff by reverent bow.” “You can’t possibly be Russian with that Irish blarney in you. meet your grand nephew. “You exaggerate my belongings. She inhaled sharply and pulled away from Adrik. “I was too busy putting together my retinue to join you in this God Forsaken Colony and enjoy your new family.” Adrik raced to Sveta’s side. I was beginning to worry that you had disowned me when I received no response from my letters.

He felt immediately a kinship to the feisty old woman.” “Such civilization here?” Sveta teased.” Sveta laughed. He had sent the servant to Marta. Don’t deny your heart too long for a self-inflicted punishment that was not deserved. “It is my hope to become a man just like him. Sveta turned her attention to Peter. Very well done indeed.” Sveta advised.” Sveta pursued. He had not seen his sister in two months. boy. It seemed happiness surrounded him since he landed on this God Forsaken Colony. The larder of the Grand Duke and relation to the trading Koslov family was always well stocked.” Sveta agreed but turned an impish smile to her great nephew. “I have been filled with glowing reports and virtues from her brother. I too have been denied watching you grow into a man. “Come here and give this old woman a hug. “I am yours to command.” “Where is Ekaterine?” Fabiyan asked looking about the room. A servant scurried from the room after receiving orders from Adrik regarding the requested drinks. She would know exactly how to make Sveta’s favorite drink.” Sveta smiled.” “I also told you of her stubbornness.” Peter acknowledged quietly. I should like to at least see the end of it. He led Sveta into the lavishly decorated parlor. “However.” Adrik laughed.” She turned 236 . then this paragon of a wife must be sitting on the right hand of God next to the angels. Fabiyan. I will send for some hot brandy flavored with apple cider and cinnamon. “Do come into the warm parlor. I want to meet this wonderful woman you married. “Indeed you did. “You have mastered the guile of your father to placate an old woman.” “Thank you. “And more so. come in and warm yourself by the fire. Learn from their mistakes. “Yes. He loved her lavender scent. don’t make the terrible mistakes he has made. very good. just the way you like it. You look just like your father.Payton Lee g “Oh Tante.” Fabiyan defended. “You are a fine looking specimen.” Adrik replied laughing. Learn from your elders. “Come with me.” “Ah.” Peter willingly walked into the old woman’s arms. If your son thinks I am a saint.” “That is a fine thought. and her temper. He ordered a small repast of Sveta’s favorite foods as well.

It was the making of a complete family he was now a part of. The very man your wife was running from. “Tante. You didn’t tell her you were the protector of that vermin.” Adrik responded. “Ah yes. “This fop didn’t tell me his sweet sister was so close to term. Poor girl. Prince Igor. but this old woman enjoys these simple repasts. Peter was shocked at Sveta’s tirade at first.” Sveta replied savoring another sip of the hot brandy treat. Traded for a ship and a part of the family business. I heard. “Indeed fine enough for the crown heads of all Europe. “I put Catherine to bed earlier. although I don’t understand her reasoning. When she is tired I am told it is best that she rest. The meals on board these awful ships were good.” “I didn’t think…” Fabiyan stammered. I worry for her.Novo Arkhangel’sk w to Adrik.” Fabiyan queried once again.” Fabiyan protested. And you never told her she was marrying a Romanov. Fortunately for you I hear she has fallen in love with you. She kept sanity in his life and he wanted her to share every bit of happiness he now had. Sveta set down her cup and waited an answer.” “Close to term?” Sveta gasped. but not the same as these pleasures. You should be flogged for that nonsense. He missed his Tante Sveta’s barbs very much indeed. My heart has the greatest sympathy for her. Sveta was served first and savored the brandy and sweet bread. Yes. I heard everything from her brother. It must be lunacy.” Adrik laughed until his ribs hurt.” Adrik joked. “I must admit I am famished and missed this treat very much. The servants arrived with the hot cider apple cinnamon flavored brandy and trays of sweet breads with cream butter for a small repast.” 237 . but he soon realized it was all good sport with two people that loved each other. Fabiyan told me of the dowry. it had been two months since he has seen Catherine. “Tante.” Adrik excused. of course.” “Jurg is a fine cook. “Where is your wife? Where is my new niece that you waited so long to find?” “It took me awhile to find a woman with all the right qualifications and dowry. she is close to term and tires easily. “He simply can’t count well even after his thorough math lessons from his father. “Where is Ekaterine.

” “Obediently.Payton Lee g “I…I… well I never…” Fabiyan stuttered. “Is Ekaterine alright? She is not having any problems is she? I mean. Show me to my room. your servant. Peter was living with them.” Adrik answered calmly.” Sveta stated.” 238 . Tante Sveta had completed the family. “Sofia assures me that everything is well with her and the child. Catherine would soon bear his child. Everything was wonderful.” Adrik replied.” “Since everything is as it should be. well…” “Catherine is fine and healthy. nephew. “And I am warmed and glowing from this fine fare. I believe I shall retire for the evening. He was so happy he thought he would burst from joy.

“My tutelage with the boy before your arrival proves my abilities. your nobleness. “What is with Tiber?” Adrik questioned. your nobility. Ilya rode up to Adrik and reined his horse. This set Angel’s nerves on edge.” He continued to watch Peter Romanov with pride as the boy went through the paces with the Cossacks. He was having difficulty calming Angel. “Dealing with the fair sex cannot be taught.” Volk bragged. Ilya’s horse was fidgety.” Volk laughed. Ilya reached over and patted Tiber’s neck. and moved its head from side to side. pranced.” 239 . The Don snorted.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Chapter 31 “Your son will soon equal your talent in formations.” “We are discussing horses?” Adrik chuckled. “You are born to it. “He is feeling my nervousness.

child. Plotting my demise I am certain. There were none of the intrigues of Russian Court in this virgin and pristine land.” Ilya muttered. Sveta fell in love with this land as easily as she fell in love with Adrik’s new family. and content. “Are you feeling well?” “Actually.” “You worry too much.” Sveta greeted when Catherine entered the kitchens.” Catherine slept late in the morning. comfortable.” Ilya warned.” “That is what makes me nervous. We are too complacent. She was feeling strange and her back was hurting. Sveta was quite happy and content here.” Catherine greeted taking a seat next to Marta and reaching to pour a cup of tea. “Good morning. “You’ve slept late. “We haven’t even heard about Igor and Deveraux’s whereabouts. Yes.” Adrik smiled. Why create a black cloud to cover such contentment?” “It is complacency that creates this nervousness. This complacency opens our vulnerability. Sveta loved her new niece and would visit the Koslov family or Sofia would join the women nearly on a daily basis. She would join Marta for a cup to tea after breakfast. You have enemies my friend. No one ever talked about anything but happiness. my friend. but we moved here for contentment. “Relax my friend. I fear I kept tossing and turning keeping Adrik awake most of the night. Peter. my friend. “Enjoy our contentment. He and his father had quickly made up for their long separation. I didn’t sleep well.” Adrik chided.” Catherine replied sipping her tea 240 . They can reach across an ocean to get you. We must always be on guard less our contentment be ripped from us. Baranov was competent governor and with Adrik’s silent support.” Adrik smirked. things were improving in Novo Arkhangel’sk. “They have probably returned to Deveraux’s chateau. Tante.Payton Lee g “What sets your nerves. Sveta enjoyed the homey kitchen in the morning with the sun shining through the windows. “My life has never been so at peace. “Good Day to you dearest. She was grateful Adrik had let her sleep since she tossed and turned most of the night. She assumed he was out practicing formations with his Cossacks and his son.” Marta noted knowing Catherine and Adrik rose early and spent quiet time together before beginning their day. The two women enjoyed these quiet moments. her grandnephew. had finally moved into the manse. Catherine was a daughter she had always hoped for.

“Have you felt back pain?” Catherine’s eyes widened in awe. Lying there seemed to make the birth process longer.” “I’ll get that.” Sveta suggested. “Hurry back. She reached for the teapot. “He was kind enough not to wake me when I finally found some rest.” Catherine grinned.” Marta replied rising from the table.” Otto appeared behind Marta. Marta?” Catherine queried hopefully. It was rock hard.” “That’s perfectly fine with me. “In the meantime.” Sveta insisted taking the teapot and lifting it to pour Catherine more tea. The Grand Duchess was about to give birth to Adrik’s child. would you like some more tea?” “Yes.Novo Arkhangel’sk w hoping that would make her feel better. We must get you to bed. “Is it very bad now? Back pain?” Catherine nodded and inhaled quickly when a band tightened around her middle.” “We have time yet. Marta..” Marta interjected. but we should call Sofia.” Marta answered. “How precious. She remembered being put to bed upon the first pains. our child is soon to be born. A worried look creased his brow. She thought it would have been nicer to sit with Catherine. It was about thirty seconds in duration. “Da. it is uncomfortable those last days. “As I remember it will be awhile before you can eat. His loyalty to the Grand Duke was beyond question. She kept her hand there until the banding stopped.” “Your time is near. I want to remember with you.” “Did you feel the burden was to great before your son was born. her child would be born soon. “She is not only the Grandmere.” Sveta conceded. “All night.I. and Sveta over some tea instead of lying there. “Your time is here. she is the midwife. “I.” “My darling. “Very well.. Sofia. A most capable midwife as I remember.” “I’ll request Otto to send a footman for Sofia. little Josef’s birth. please.” Sveta cooed.” Marta whispered. “Perhaps your burden is becoming too great. She preferred staying at the table rather than lying abed. He worried for her well being as 241 .” Catherine squeaked as another band wound around her. She thought of those long hours Marta was confined there between the sheets. Marta noticed the discomfort and immediately placed her hand upon Catherine’s abdomen.I’m not hungry. She didn’t want to consider hurting and feeling this bad for too long.

Once out of the kitchens he spun and ran to find the Cossack guard Rolf left behind to guard the Grand Duchess. I will send word to you. Rolf ran to the Koslov compound to locate and bring Sofia. Deveraux stared at Adrik.Payton Lee g if he were the father. In the Royal Court or in Russia anything could happen during the birth. The hatred he carried for all these years grew in intensity. “Should we accompany you?” one daughter in law asked Sofia. The illegal harvesting of otters continued with their connections. darlings. Calmly Sofia took the news of her daughter’s imminent confinement. “It will be awhile before the baby comes as you well know. They were close to their small boat and a quick sprint through the woods would get them 242 . They had sneaked into Igor’s cottage to obtain his secret records. Deveraux and Igor had been concerned that Adrik just might search the cottage and find them.” The women nodded and continued making the black bread. but there was always a chance they could have been found. It was because of Adrik he could never have his darling Magda. Igor would be returning to the Continent with Deveraux.” Igor sneered to his companion. Sofia was in her kitchen with two of her daughter in laws discussing the next day’s meal when Rolf burst in upon them. Here in the rural wild country of this land who knew what could happen to the royals. “Your Royal Nobleness. are you in pain? Should I prepare your bed? Should I…” Catherine waved him off before he finished speaking. “There. The Orion Star is finished today and will be put afloat. finish your work here. They will be hungry and need their food this evening. Even Marta’s son’s birth was not a comfort to him. This would be his last opportunity to kill him. Deveraux with his money had left many associates hungering for more. Igor had them well hidden. The presence of a royal Prince stopped Deveraux from having his throat cut. Your husbands are working hard this day.” “Your command. They would live in France and run the illegal Empire from there. Just please send for Mama.” Sofia explained. he is so pompous and sure of himself. “Everything appears to be as it should.” Otto bowed clicking his heels together and backing out of the room. They had just returned from an extremely profitable journey. “No. Once told of the Grand Duchess’ condition. I would like to enjoy some time here drinking tea before my confinement.

He watched Adrik’s face pale. Adrik felt something slam into him nearly dismounting him. Do not even think of anything evil less it befall. They had never revealed this to any alien. Adrik was enjoying the formations and beamed with pride watching his son. He pulled out his pistol. His hired ship would be gone before anyone knew it was there. He was shot. It was an Inuit that had taken them down the secret passage. He had been shot before. In the heat of battles she had been in. Her master was not in control. these foreigners knew of it. took aim for Adrik’s heart and pulled the trigger. Yuri Koslov. The blood spurted out from his back near his shoulder. Raven’s Head. not even their friend.Novo Arkhangel’sk w there before anyone figured out where the pistol shot came from. 243 . He saw the men and he smelled the Inuit. There was no time to investigate. Angel was used to the smell of gunshot. Ilya heard the shot and immediately looked to the Grand Duke. Ilya. This time there was no adrenalin of battle to keep him going. a Tlingit friend of Yuri Koslov was still on watch as the chief had promised. Adrik was too big of a man. “Enjoy this wonderful time. Adrik’s horse displayed nervousness. He felt it. He leaned over to his right.” A pop sound was heard. This was different. It would be a means of escape if they needed it. and the shock was always the same. The slamming into the body of the lead. She felt her master begin to slide from her back. Angel began to snort nervously and paw her hoof. Angel was even used to the smell of blood including her master’s blood. Angel knew it. Ilya saw Adrik slipping he jumped to the ground from his mount and tried to get Adrik back up. He looked beyond to see the telltale trace of smoke coming from beyond the hedges near the cottage. Her master always sat perfectly upon her back. Dizziness overtook him. He mounted Angel behind Adrik and took the reins while desperately holding Adrik’s unconscious form. the burning pain. The Tlingit would create rockslides and close the path against intruders forever. They had used it before when Baranov had brought the Russian Navy to take possession of their beloved land. Now. Raven’s head frowned. Angel felt it. The Tlingit knew of the secret way. it never unnerved her. The chief must be warned. His seating had shifted to the point of worrying her.

Raven’s Head had watched the older stranger lift the pistol and shoot Catherine’s husband. He trusted none of them anyway. older man. Because Adrik was wounded. His next move was to command the Celtic Ring. Volk then literally pushed the young prince into the manse and ordered six Cossacks to surround the manse and one more to stay by Peter’s side until he returned. They were friends with the Raven Clan of Tlingit. Volk did not waste a moment. Raven’s head ran silently through the woods and weaved in and out of the trees until he arrived at the Koslov compound.” Arman put down the axe. Volk remounted Peter’s horse and ordered the remaining Cossacks to return with him and form a second circle around Adrik. “The man. a formation to surround and protect a leader. He walked to the eldest brother. Volk ordered the rest of the Cossacks to place the formation around Adrik. who was currently splitting wood. a royal. He propelled forward on his horse and charged into the middle of the Cossacks and their formation.” “So close?” Arman thought a moment. see if Katya needs our help. or commander by taking their horses to provide a circled ring of protection. “Da. Volk heard the shot and watched Adrik slump. There was nothing he could do. Katya’s husband. “You heard the thunder?” Raven’s Head questioned in Tlingit. Go quickly. Volk’s ring rode with thunder and was at the manse quickly. Volk leaped from Peter’s mount and forcibly pulled him off the horse. “Welcome brother. His first thought was of course a coup.” Arman answered. He jumped onto the horse carrying Peter. Once the Celtic Ring surrounded Peter. A stranger. accompanied by Prince Igor shot him. He saw the blood pouring from Adrik’s back. “Can you follow them?” 244 . The shot had been close.Payton Lee g Angel snorted at the extra weight but responded to the commands of the rider on her back. the ring headed towards the manse slowly. has been shot. “It is not unusual to hear it for the hunters. Raven’s Head knew the moment Arman understood his meaning. They headed toward the manse. He was unarmed and what would a Tlingit do to explain to the Russian’s what had happened.” Arman greeted seeing Raven’s Head. He trusted only Yuri Koslov and his family.

“Go quickly. His father was also with his two younger brothers. “Holy Mother!” she cried out. “Mama.” Vladimir responded. The next thing I knew Volk was behind me on my horse pushing me down. They left immediately for the Romanov manse. “I heard gunfire. “Where is Adrik? You brought Peter. I feel so strange.” Vladimir repeated.” “It could be a hunter. I will get my family.” Catherine answered.” Sofia comforted. It would be dangerous for a lone Tlingit.” “It is your time. “Of course. and Eduard. Suddenly she felt warm water gushing down her leg.” “Adrik!” Catherine exclaimed worriedly. you would have been more concerned for his father!” Catherine rose suddenly and began to rush to the door. I was surrounded by Cossacks and brought here. We took no chances as to the target. I waited for you. Catherine accepted her mother’s embrace and snuggled into her bosom. “Nyet. baby. “We should be taken you off to your bed.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “No! They go the way of the settlement. I feel strange. It was obvious to Sofia her daughter had entered the final stages of partition.” “Someone tried to shoot you?” Sofia gasped.” He ran into the house and called for his father and three brothers that were still in the house. A band of intense pain stopped her in mid track. “The shot was too close. The five retrieved their pistols and muskets. “What is the meaning of this?” Marta demanded. but where is Adrik? If you were so concerned for Peter. The secret way must be closed forever. She did not like this abrupt intrusion in her kitchen at all. He looked out the door and toward the practice grounds. 245 . Sofia had just entered the manse and went immediately to her daughter.” Marta suggested nervously.” Peter replied in confusion.” Arman agreed. The entire atmosphere had been charged with anxiety.” Raven’s Head also wanted to return to his camp and warn the elders and chief these killers knew the secret way and were shown by an Inuit. Brody. “I don’t even know. He quickly explained what Raven’s Head had told him. Have you called your husband yet?” “No Mama. “Nyet. No sooner than Catherine replied her stepson was literally dragged into the manse by a Cossack. “A shot was fired. Cheslav.

“It is your waters. darling. The baby is coming.” Once Catherine was in bed. Quickly! Otto!” Otto was in the kitchen instantly. He wanted to be here when his child was born. She felt the tears roll down her cheek. Sofia comforted her daughter. Although they pretend to big and strong it is well known they usually faint. I’m sure they are keeping Adrik downstairs and waiting. 246 . You have your own business to take care of. if they are left in the same room. Under Sofia’s order he picked Catherine up and took her to her room.” Catherine nodded her head obediently as another contraction filled her with pain. We must get you to your room. Catherine’s labor intensified in those short minutes she was in Otto’s arm waiting for the bed to be prepared. Catherine was now feeling labor in full force. Concentrate on birthing. “Adrik! Where is Adrik? He should be here. Sofia stayed ahead of them and started preparing the bed. You have a whole new wonderful life you need to bring into the world.Payton Lee g Sofia ran to Catherine. “A man usually remains away during the childbirth.

“Holy Mother of God!” Peter cried and tried to run out to his father. She wanted to be with Catherine. 247 . He was held back forcibly by Vladimir. He saw the blood running down his father’s sleeve. She saw the horses in the circle and knew something was terribly wrong.” Vladimir reprimanded.” Four Cossacks assisted Ilya to ease Adrik down from Angel after they made a make shift litter from a door pulled off the nearby tool shed. Gently they carried Adrik into the manse. Adrik was slumped over Angel and was staying on the saddle by the sheer strength of Ilya.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Chapter 32 Sveta remained downstairs. She knew something happened to Adrik. Peter watched through the window as the second ring marched slowly to the house. She slowly rose from her chair and edged her way to a window. but she felt an uneasy dread. Then he saw his father. “It would not do your father any good to see you shot as well. “We do not know what this is.

Oscar. What are we to do?” Sveta remained at the window. fetch Sofia Koslov.Payton Lee g Covered with Adrik’s blood Ilya was the first to enter the manse. That way there would be little movement to make the wound worse. “take Adrik to the guest bedroom down the hall from the master bedroom.” Peter stated. She hurriedly prepared the bed for the men to place her nephew upon. We’ll remove his clothes and wash his wound. Get the two eldest daughter in laws to help with Adrik and birthing until the physician arrives. “Adrik lives. The movement put Adrik back into the pain forgiving blackness once more. “Ilya. She is good with medicines. Faddei. It will be difficult but with help she can handle both. He raised his Shashka and bolted from the kitchen. Her breath had been taken away when she saw her beloved nephew.” “Sofia is here. was he dead? Then she heard him groan. His wound bleeds. We must interrogate the assassin. I’ll get Sofia to leave Catherine.” “If he fights me. go to the Koslov camp. His hand gently touched his father’s cheek. Carefully they 248 . In a flash Peter saw Volk leap onto his horse and ride toward the hedgerow. he will die!” Volk retorted. “Catherine is in partition and will soon deliver her child. I saw smoke there. Adrik’s eyelids fluttered at the gentle touch.” “Do not kill him. Oscar. “Katya?” “She is coming. Volk. Terror gripped her heart. Sveta moved quickly in front of her nephew’s litter and walked briskly up the steps to show the way to the guest room. Faddei came forward. Ilya took his dagger and simply cut Adrik’s clothes off.” Ilya lied. but I do not think it is fatal. “We need Sofia and Catherine. go to town and bring the physician.” Volk came in behind the litter. do you think it was Prince Igor?” Peter questioned anxiously.” Ilya’s face turned pale. He looked so pale. “Where is Catherine? It would not be good for her to see her husband in this condition. I am going to the hedgerow by Igor’s cottage. His voice was shaky. He motioned the litter bearers to move Adrik to the guest room. His brow was etched with worry. We should take him to bed and clean his wound first. I will track the shooter.’ Ilya warned. Adrik will need them.

“The divine watch over you my noble lord. Yuri told Volk the Tlingit had recognized Prince Igor. It was where they began on foot to track the assassins. She then poured the Vodka over her hands and washed them to return to her daughter. “Pig swine. Catherine was sitting and panting heavily in the bed.” Volk spat. He passed out once again when she probed for the pistol shot. the pistol ball would have found a target in Adrik’s heart.” Adrik woke as Sofia cleansed his wound of all fabric. There was no exit wound so Ilya knew the pistol ball was still in Adrik’s back. but Tatiana would stay with her. and he was about to become a father. and then told Sofia that Catherine had crowned. This was good. It was at that time her two daughter in laws appeared. Yuri explained to Volk that a Tlingit had seen the shooting and saw the two men run into those woods. Ilya knew that if Adrik had not leaned slightly to talk to him. “I’ll skewer the French pig and hang his intestines out for wolves. The baby would be delivered momentarily. Sofia rushed into the master suite. Sofia took the eldest into Catherine’s room and told her daughter she had to prepare for the birth. He was filled with rage that his dear friend’s life came so close to ending. She gave instructions to Elsa about the poultice and bandage to be placed on his shoulder after she removed the ball. Elsa.Novo Arkhangel’sk w placed Adrik on his stomach and washed the wound. Yuri’s description matched Deveraux.” Ilya laughed uneasily. Brody’s wife went with Sofia to look at Adrik’s wound. It caused Adrik to scream even in unconsciousness. but it was obvious the bone and muscle tissue surrounding it would be bruised. A loud scream from her lips announced the presentation of a tiny blonde head. Sofia had been told quietly that Adrik had been shot and needed her attention. It was easily reached. Yuri met Volk and his seven Cossacks at the cottage. The bone had not broken. “Let’s hope we can get this over and done with and you do not suffer with fever. but it was the other that shot the Grand Duke. 249 . Taking a fresh bottle of Vodka Sofia poured it over the wound. Marta had come in and waited for Sofia to finish removing the shot. the ball would be easy to extract and there was no internal damage. It appeared to be lodged in his clavicle.” Faddei had managed to get Marta to take Sofia away from Catherine. Yet.

” Sofia repeated. “Adrik. Ilya looked at Faddei when they heard the sound of the newborn. He wanted so desperately to see his child born. “She is so beautiful. One of his family members should maintain the vigil. He wanted a daughter. The wound was cleaned quickly. this baby radiated beauty. The pink little lips puckered in the abrupt temperature change. Holy Mother of God. it was nearly a white blonde. She wanted desperately to see her new grandniece or grandnephew. She promised herself there wouldn’t be anything that Sofia would want that would not be gotten for her. “Let me take the child to him.” It was then she noticed her mother’s worried face. You must rest. She was holding her new daughter. Mother of God. She also vowed she would learn all she could from Sofia about medicines and herbs. He will be so happy. She remained seated on the chair in the corner watching her Adrik breathe. “I want to see his face. It didn’t matter that Ilya and Faddei were staunch sentinels by his bedside.” Ilya whispered. The baby’s limbs were perfect. “Rest now.” Sofia ordered her daughter. “Something has happened. what a time for this to occur. I have never seen such expertise in surgical matters. Sofia has the hands of the royal court’s most skilled physicians.” “But I want to show him his daughter. but didn’t want to leave Adrik’s side. “His child. Those lips were perfectly formed.” Faddei touched his friend and comrade’s shoulder. The blonde hair was thick and curly. Adrik! What happened?” Sofia sat on the bed and took the baby from Catherine’s arms.Payton Lee g With her mother’s encouragement and several pushes later. where is Adrik?” Catherine asked. She felt tears of joy stream down her cheeks. Holy Father. a little baby girl emerged into the cold world.” Sveta sighed in relief. Did you know that? Adrik will be so pleased. The child was incredibly beautiful. “My God. Sveta heard the cries of a newborn. The shot pulled quickly with little more damage. Now she loved Sofia.” “You need your rest now. 250 . Sofia found it difficult to continue with the necessity of cutting the cord and tying it. “At least he will live to see it. She continued with sheer will and efficiency of practice.” Catherine insisted. Even for being newly born. Her fingers stroked the tiny cheeks. She had liked Sofia. This was the very first granddaughter born into the family.

” Catherine wept attempting to rise from the bed. She just knew it. Faddei and Ilya forced him down. before you were wounded.” Sofia ordered Marta and Tatiana. and his Cossack comrades were standing next to him. Perhaps she did not love him.” Sofia replied softly brushing the baby’s hair with her fingers.” Adrik whispered in wonder. don’t you agree? You must get better quickly for her and your child. She was tired. “It is not good for either of you to see each other. their baby. Then he saw his Tante. Still. “Katya. He forced his eyes to open and then to focus. “He will be fine.” “Baby. He recognized he was in a room.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Catherine held her breath. “I must go to her!” He tried to rise. He winced in pain. She brushed her lips across his knuckles. “Do not trust her. It would be bad to shock her like this. We haven’t even told her about your wounds as of yet. Sveta took her nephew’s hand in her small hands. “She went into her labors this morning. Keep her in bed.” Catherine took the herbal mix without force. “Give her the medicine. darling. you wife is quite busy at the moment. Adrik was waking due to the dulling pain he felt on his shoulder. It was just before her mind succumbed to sleep she realized how much she had fallen in love with her husband.” 251 . “He’s dead?” “No. She has the fiery will of her father. where is my Katya?” Adrik questioned. “I must be with her. The medicine will make her sleep.” “I need to be with him. She couldn’t imagine life without him. he was wounded. “I promised I would be with her. there was her baby. “Hold her. yet. She was too busy to be with her husband? Her husband whom had just been shot? “She is giving you a child.” “Busy?” Adrik moaned. in a bed. She came to him as soon as she saw he was awake. There would be time to sneak from this bed and find Adrik later. The men smiled at him when he opened his eyes.” Ilya scolded.” Sveta related with a large smile. Hold her nose if necessary. He would love his little girl. He was so disappointed when he realized the woman he had learned to love was not with him. as he had believed she had learned too these past months. “Darling.” Adrik protested. He is sleeping and you must sleep.

They would be long and slender. but until this moment he still felt the warrior blood pulse through his veins.” She took the baby to Adrik’s side and opened the blanket so he could look at the baby. It had been boys and only boys.” Adrik commanded offering his free arm.Payton Lee g “All in good time. Her hair was a golden white.” Ilya responded pushing him back down into the mattress. Tears glistened in his eyes as he looked to Sveta. Ilya and Faddei assisted him. She couldn’t stop beaming over her new granddaughter. Adrik started to sit up. He wanted to hold his child. Ilya and Faddei turned their heads quickly so Adrik would not see the tears in their eyes. Adrik stared at the little newborn sleeping contentedly in his arms. The Koslov family was a handsome lot. She was careful not to move the bed lest she cause her nephew more pain. She is as beautiful as an angel. She was a heavenly vision and he had created her.” Something happened during those moments Adrik held his new daughter in his arm. In her arms was a small bundle wrapped in a white soft woven blanket. Sveta swooped down on her nephew and sat next to him and the baby. “I made her. Sofia entered at that moment. “She is truly the most beautiful child I have ever seen. and this beautiful baby. Her beloved youngest daughter would give her a granddaughter. “Give me the child. He watched her little hands move.” Sofia replied knowing he was also concerned for the well being of his wife. Her lashes were long and dark blonde. but with the royal Romanov blood the child they created was beyond beautiful. Her brows were dark blonde like her lashes. you are awake. He changed from a warrior to a husband and father. He had felt the same way when Sofia had brought his son to him. This baby was the most beautiful child she had ever delivered. Faddei understood more than most. “Katya?” “She is resting comfortably. He had wanted to forget war and the battles. I bring your daughter. “Good. I 252 . Sofia complied immediately. his son. At this moment the only thing that mattered in life was his wife. Her pink lips formed a perfect bow. She had helped birth all of her grandsons. That is why he built this manse. It was a heady feeling when he recognized it. Her nose was tiny and pert like her mother. Her face was creamy white with pink cheeks. He fought the pain in his shoulder. She’s mine!” It was the emotion in that statement that brought tears to Sveta’s eyes. “It wore her out giving birth to this angel. She was beautiful.

I must admit I shall have to learn to be the best soldier in the world. I must thank her for her labors.” “And I will be at your side fighting off all her suitors. “Soon Kira will be hungry. Peter. “Of course none of them will ever be good enough for her. She turned and gave Adrik a beaming smile. and a new baby. You must rest. I have money to spend on a beautiful Kira and I intend to spoil her ruthlessly. “I will obey. If you rest now. your wife recovering. I give you warning. heir to the Romanov name. “I see you are already improving. “Has Peter seen her?” Peter stepped out of the shadows.” Sveta raised her brow.” Adrik laughed despite the pain in his shoulder. This man. I will speak to Rolf and Vladimir. “Indeed I have father. her daughter’s husband. You are currently wounded. “You men figured out that it was Igor and his new friend that did this to you. I will name her Kira!” Sofia bit her lip holding her emotions.” Adrik said happily as he reluctantly allowed Sofia to take his new daughter. You would send me off that you may confer with your comrades. the light! Yes. and of course the close knit Romanov family living here. Have you thought of a name?” “Not until this moment. I will need all my skills to protect this beautiful sister you have given me.” Sveta rose and walked to the door.” Adrik whispered with awe. you will heal faster and then you can visit your wife to reassure your worry as to her well being.” She raised her hand in silence knowing Adrik would deny it. but she is exquisite. I should take her back to her mother. When Sofia left he turned to Sveta.Novo Arkhangel’sk w thought you were a beautiful child. “Please check on my wife. most beautiful light in the universe. this child would be the light of the Koslov family. He never wanted his dear Tante to worry over treachery.” Sofia laughed. I do not even mention protecting your son. “I also need to confiscate six of your Cossacks to take me into town.” 253 . “She is the greatest. had picked the perfect name for her granddaughter. He was still staring at his daughter. Kira.” “And you will be crowded by ten vicious uncles and currently eight male cousins. The Cossacks need to surround this building to protect us since we do not know where Igor and Deveraux are. I will be up tomorrow to see to Katya’s care personally.

Rage replaced the emotion. his long lost son. As for spoiling my little Kira? You will have a great competition with me. 254 . your Tante is correctly assuming they were behind the assassination. He had a beautiful adoring wife. Of course they understood.Payton Lee g Adrik laughed.” Sveta returned with a gesture of blowing Adrik a kiss and left the room. Not Here! By God! Not Here!” The venom in Adrik’s voice even terrified Faddei and Ilya. Tante. “Even we do not have the confirmation. There would be no others so inclined in this new land. This was protectiveness. He had everything he hoped for. Yet.” Ilya responded. “Find them. “She was with you every moment since you were brought in.” Adrik’s softness of holding his daughter left him. I will not live in fear or intrigue for the safety of my family. Volk is tracking the shooter. and now a beautiful little daughter. Of course he would protect them. Ilya and Faddei. “How did she know it was Igor and Deveraux?” Adrik questioned. “Well that is three things that are taken care of.

Volk was amazed at the stupidity of the men. Volk jumped backwards at the first rolling rock and quickly vacated the premise returning to the 255 . He could follow their trail on a moonless night. They would create a rockslide that would close the path forever. It was a common occurrence. They had to protect their land. they would use it again. but they were there for a different reason. He also did not know that the Tlingit were already ahead of them and were watching the men escape. and he knew it was close. Yuri knew immediately it was a rockslide. Volk was ahead of the Cossacks and the Koslov family. This Inuit guide had endangered their camp. The Tlingit warriors began moving the heavy boulders to topple on the path. He quickly located and followed the trail Igor and Deveraux had left. If those white men knew of the secret path. when they heard the thunder. They would have captured the assassins for the Russians.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Chapter 33 Volk was one of the best trackers in the Cossack regiment. Volk did not know that Igor and Deveraux were already in a small boat headed for the French Ship in a hidden Fjord.

If they attempt to kill a Duke. “Come.” Yuri told Volk after his rage was in control.” Arman answered reasonably. “There is the start of a rivulet here. we are on land and four legged beasts instead of the smooth waters. it is too late to return to the manse. Deveraux! I will kill you with this blade! Come to my shore again! I will kill you. He was on his horse and racing around the massive boulders heading toward an unknown river port. He stood in his saddle and raised the Shashka over his head. He was red with rage when he met Yuri. “Rocks. His legs and rump were hurting already. “I’d best this Cossack in a ship. Volk was furious with rage. “I will rip his flesh from his bones. “Katya’s security is the issue here. The French ship was already out to sea. they have blocked the trail.” Volk muttered reining his Don toward the town.Payton Lee g tracking party. It must lead to a river. I did not know of it. They were too late. with Yuri. “Unfortunately. but instant. They concentrated on riding and catching the Cossacks.” “We heard the rockslide.” Yuri commented. “Who taught these Cossacks to ride anyway?” “It is an art. His motion was fluid. “First we must catch him. The troupe rode hard until they came to the northern ports. We must mount our horses and ride quickly to the northern ports of the Island. and his sons following. like seamanship. They would ask the Tlingit to watch all borders for this enemy. big rocks. We have lived here longer than all Russians and still he 256 . We will go to my daughter’s hostelry.” Cheslav commented angrily.” Yuri and his sons felt the same rage but kept it within.” “Bah. “He eludes us too easily. It was all the brothers needed to hear. They wanted to flay the assassins’ skins. There would be no safe haven on this islands where the Tlingit would be. eat and rest. The Cossacks were behind him. but ran back to his mount and took the reins from Brody. let me get them on a ship!” Brody complained.” Volk cursed. They would deliver Igor and Deveraux personally to the headsman’s axe. “I will kill you.” Arman complained angrily.” Brody grumbled doing his best to keep up with the thundering horses of the Cossacks. “You have to admire their skills.” Yuri prodded. they would not stop at a Duchess.

Ilya told him that Sofia’s care was the best he had ever seen. Otto was there to help Adrik to dress. Chief of the Tlingit. The Spanish will have nothing to do with him. According to Ilya he would heal quickly. “I will speak with the Russian Officers and Naval Officers in Novo Arkhangel’sk. There will be no safe haven in Mother Russia for those two. “Adrik?” Adrik sat on the chair and took his wife’s hand. the Amerikan coast. and not a natural occurrence.” “You will each take your ships with a full contingent of our crew and a few Russian Soldiers to search them out. Adrik found it difficult with his tight sore muscles and the wound.” Then Yuri turned to Volk. “Igor has connections with disreputable Amerikans there. It was now even more imperative to watch over the Grand Duke. And now thwarted by a rock fall. He knew that rockslide was man made. Then she saw her husband. Adrik slept comfortably with the aid of Sofia’s herbal painkillers. “You will see to it that soldiers will sail with my sons?” “Done. even the finest surgeon in St. How are you feeling?” 257 . They had escaped. “Unfortunately they have the rest of the world to hide in. “It is I. She focused her eyes to see Otto moving a chair toward her bed. “It is the only place to go to this time of year. He must talk to Dark Shadow.” Arman looked at his father. but it was accomplished. Yuri understood.” Volk vowed. He knew the trail was secret and he recognized the signs of a Tlingit scout. “Arman. He brushed his lips across her knuckles. you take Mitka to the Sandwich Islands.Novo Arkhangel’sk w escapes us through unknown trails.” “Or.” Yuri decreed. but without knowing exactly where Igor and Deveraux would be he didn’t want to be in the wrong place.” Brody disagreed. Catherine woke to movement next to her.” “The Sandwich Islands.” Volk replied simply. Brody. you will take Nitka to the Amerikan Coast with the same contingent. I had to make certain you were all right.” Brody reminded. This attack on a Romanov will be reported to the Czar. “As a seaman I think I know where they will go. He woke early the next morning. Petersburg.” Cheslav said knowingly. He wanted to sail with the brothers.

Her pain medicines are also more effective. “Holy Mother of God. Are you uncomfortable? Was it difficult for you? Are you well?” “I know you well enough to know you are avoiding telling me your thoughts. He was deeply concerned for the knowledge and the men’s safety. Adrik encased her small hand in his large ones. The only cloud in the sunny sky was Prince Igor and Deveraux. You choose well.” “Isn’t she beautiful. Katya. and my soul. He would never allow that to happen again. “What is it?” Catherine questioned worriedly. He had nothing to worry about. or the Koslov men.” Catherine babbled forgetting Adrik’s concerned question. “You will not avoid my question. the Cossacks. Yet. Catherine and his Kira were safe for the moment. and right down through her soul. What concerns you then if it is not pain?” “I am in pain.” Catherine accused softly. into her heart. He was also furious with himself for letting his guard down with such enemies near at hand. this heaven could be easily disturbed. Peter was safe for the moment.Payton Lee g “I heard you were wounded. He was also thrilled at how happy she was about the baby. I need to know you are well. my life. He was concerned for all he loved. our Kira? Mama told me the name you gave her. “Are you in great pain?” Catherine leaned forward to stroke Adrik’s cheek. but not so bad.” Adrik responded hoping Catherine would not press further.” Catherine smiled lovingly at her husband and thrilled to the happy sensation his sweet kisses caused burning down her arm. His frown crossed his face without thinking. He knew she was in good health. She noted Adrik’s brief frown. “Who shot you?” She looked 258 . She was concerned for him.” Catherine stated rising from the bed. my Duchess. my love. He never wanted to return to Russia now. “Heavenly! Thank you my love. He saw how happy his wife was. my Duchess. “I’m fine. “It’s nothing more than a bee sting.” Adrik replied lovingly. Your mother is more talented than any Russian surgeon that has ever tended my body. and him. He wanted to stay here in this glorious happiness forever. “And what of you. He had heard nothing from Volk. I love you so much I feel as if I will burst with the joy of it.” Adrik consoled. He took Catherine’s fingertips and lightly kissed each one of the tips of her fingers.

” Kira seemed to stare into her Grandmother’s eyes. He stared in wonderment. you are beautiful and smart. At that moment his daughter Kira announced she was awake. You will want for nothing. He little fists flayed at the air and her legs flexed. Otto left the room allowing Catherine her privacy for nursing. She held little Kira securely in her arms and cooed to the newborn. but she had heard of it before. wet. You are so beautiful. ever! “He knows Peter would never go willingly with him. “Yes little one. Kira was his precious newborn daughter and no one would interfere with her.” “He’s here?” Catherine choked. “My little darling. Fear ran rampant in her thoughts. He is insane. The warrior had died completely. Sofia entered and brought fresh napkins and a gown for Kira. or the little daughter he and Catherine had created. He picked up the little girl and laid her on the end of the bed.” “Other than sick. Her little pink cheeks flushed with the energy it took to let everyone know she demanded attention. It was a sickness that destroyed the mind and great danger for everyone in the path of it. Catherine simply could not understand such hatred.” Sofia whispered taking Kira to her mother. twisted. We will face this together and defeat him. “Was he trying to get Peter?” “I don’t know. but he wouldn’t let Deveraux interfere with the happiness he had found. Deveraux had taken Adrik’s wife and son.” Adrik sighed. “I was told it was Deveraux. He was raised and trained for death. Adrik remained and watched his daughter suckle her mother’s breast. We must see to your being fed. Perhaps destiny had given him his first shrewish wife and abandoned the care of his son to 259 . Adrik. He hid Adrik’s son from him. Her mind was filled with a thousand questions. Before him was life. Otto was closest to the crib. and insane hatred?” Catherine said vocally bringing up the most possible reason for the attack. Those eyes revealed to her his love and his trepidation. “He will not stop.” Adrik did not have time to respond.Novo Arkhangel’sk w directly into Adrik’s blue eyes. These things weighed heavily on his mind. This moment he would treasure for as long as he lived. She quickly changed the baby and wrapped her in a fresh woolen blanket. and hungry. I don’t understand this attack. I promise you this. He fought the choking in his throat and tried in vain to prevent emotional tears from falling.

Payton Lee g a loving family so he could serve the Russian Royal Family faithfully.” Catherine chuckled. Oh dear God please never leave me. Adrik picked up his daughter and kissed her forehead lovingly. Tears came freely. He proudly showed his father in law his daughter.” Catherine was struck by her husband’s oath and terror. Adrik felt his wife’s reassuring hand and found his emotions had overcome him. She saw his tears and knew they were not from pain. “I love you. I would be a shell without you. Sofia had witnessed the couple’s joy with each other and had remained quietly observing in a dark corner of the room near the door. “This child is beautiful. Kira had nursed and was sleeping soundly. He was sobbing. Catherine quickly covered her breasts by buttoning her nightgown after she placed the sleeping Kira between her arm and Adrik’s arm.” 260 . I swear to you my allegiance at cost of my life. Thank you for my daughter. “Never have I felt such wonderment. It was Yuri and Volk. She truly is a Romanov Princess and the granddaughter of Yuri Koslov! She is the loveliest granddaughter ever born to the Yuri Koslov family. she is the only granddaughter born to the Yuri Koslov family.” Catherine gasped at the reminder her father vocalized. “We will not part but by death. Her daughter was a princess! Adrik rose slowly from his knees still holding little Kira in the soft white woolen blanket. Never leave me. Yuri walked in first.” She gently placed her hand upon his head and stroked her fingers through his blond curls. he bolted from the chair and knelt by the side of the bed. Let me see the Princess Kira. “Holy Mother of God!” Yuri exclaimed. “I have heard I have been given a granddaughter. It is spiritual. he would not be denied. “Papa. When Catherine had covered her body. Only that shadow of darkness will ever separate us. His facial features radiated like she had never noticed before.” Regardless of the pain in his shoulder. He raised his head and took his wife’s hand kissing her fingertips. He wore a broad smile. Sofia opened the door. Catherine heard strange sounds and looked at her husband. my love. They stared at each other lovingly until a knock at the door brought them back into reality. Now it was his time.

I went around the rock fall and the Koslov family took me across a trail that cut us close to the waterway they used. What have you learned?” “A Tlingit described the shooter to Yuri Koslov and his sons.” “And what if he comes on a Russian. “Where is Peter?” “My son is sleeping in that room across the hall.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “Don’t argue with your Papa!” Yuri laughed. “They could not return to Russia.” Adrik stated heatedly. Yuri believes they will go to the shelter of the whaling harbors of the Sandwich Islands or the coasts of Amerika down to the Spanish forts.” Volk was in a rage. “This is a personal affront. “He escaped from me! I cannot live down that personal insult.” “We will get him. He wanted to speak to his Grand Duke. Once outside the room they walked further to the room Adrik was using. but could not fault Yuri for wanting to hold the angelic cherub. “I’ll keep a watch on the northern end all the time. He would not upset his wife. The English and the Russians will not let Igor or Deveraux near a ship. “Let me hold the angel. out of the fjord. the bastard!” Volk spat out angrily.” 261 . They will be arrested on sight and sent to the most northern climes of Siberia. He wanted to know who shot him and if Igor and Deveraux had been caught. It was Deveraux. or English?” Volk grunted angrily.” “No my lord!” Volk nearly shouted red faced. He is safe and guarded by Ilya. but he wanted information. A French ship will never enter without our knowing. Then they escaped. It is a personal insult. That worry was put aside. Deveraux and Igor attacked you under my watch.” Adrik attempted to assure Volk. Their French ship was already full sail. In the room. Adrik was aware of Volk’s uneasiness without being told. He had been relieved when Yuri and Volk returned. “He escaped us after a rock fall separated us.” “They will return and we will be ready. I will see to it. and into the sea. I have also set guards around the manse and compound. He motioned to Volk to go outside of the master bedroom to give them privacy. Dutch. “I will send missives to Alexander. We missed them.” Adrik reluctantly gave up his Kira. Volk remained silent long enough. Volk broke his silence. past the channel.

“I also cannot split myself in two. “The Koslov’s are outfitting their ships now. Peter. “They will carry a missive to be sent to the Czar. He loved his Cossacks as his brothers.” Adrik beamed with pride for his son.” “Perhaps Captain Volgarski.” Peter began. should they try to return. “Yes. I had them and then there was a rock fall. In this case I wish it were so. Too bad for them that a ship is difficult to hide. “I heard Volk had returned.” “Father?” Peter interrupted entering the room. He knew Volk must seek to establish his prestige and honor once more.Payton Lee g “Logically it would be either location.” Adrik agreed. I will hone my blade until it will slice a hair in quarters lengthwise.” “Yuri is already outfitting his two eldest sons ships. “My family will never be safe as long as they roam as they wish. He also took it a personal affront. This cursed country aided their escape.” “They’ve left Novo Arkhangel’sk?” “They’ve left the Amerikas on a French Ship. “You will work with Ilya and Volk on such matters.” “As will I. “I will discuss a voyage with Yuri to track them. He also knew that Ilya and Volk would die before they would let harm come to Peter. “It is my duty as your son and Prince of Mother Russia to be a man and protect my family. He knew Volk well and knew Volk would have taken this as a personal failure.” Adrik remarked thinking Volk planned to go with them on the voyage. He also respected Volk’s feelings about Deveraux’s escape. They would not go further south.” “As I have.” Adrik voiced powerfully. we will prepare for such an event.” Adrik revealed.” 262 . Our Shashkas will drink blood soon.” Peter requested. Volk. father. The Spanish hate the French and Russians. “There is still a chance they would try to return.” “Did you capture them?” “They escaped me.” Volk growled. One will go to the Sandwich Islands.” “I wish to go with them. He recognized himself as a young man in his son.” Adrik stated. “If they find them.” Ilya was behind Peter and heard that Igor and Deveraux had eluded the Cossacks.” “But you hate the ocean. they will bring them to me. It is better if I stay here. the other will go along the coast of Amerika.

He spoke with Yuri daily. Adrik had sworn he would never again let his guard down. After his time with Yuri at his manse or the Koslov home he could be found in a very domestic setting holding his baby daughter after her last feeding of the night. They had taken their families with them. Brody had reported there had been no sight of the French ship down the coast of the Amerikas. and thrilled she had married a man to protect her. Peter sat in a corner on the floor playing a game of chess with Faddei. He trained daily with his Cossacks. It was a quiet night in the manse. Their wives had already made several voyages with them. 263 . They could tell she was deeply in love with her husband. He would hold Kira and rock her to sleep in front of the fireplace in the parlor. Both brothers were doing a good trade. They had heard from Arman and Brody. Their sons were already sailors. He was drawn into the Koslov family like a hungry man to a great feast. Sveta and Sofia were now closer than sisters. His little girl had just been nursed and changed into her fresh bed clothing. The ship builders had always been fond of Catherine. He had met the Tlingit who had seen Deveraux shoot him. His wife was of the loving Koslov family and he flourished in her love. It was fortunate they were not living in St. Most of them had known her since she was a gangling young girl and watched her grow into a woman. Yuri had convinced the Tlingit to trust Adrik. Petersburg or they would have to build another house for all the gifts they would have bought for Kira. Arman had sailed to the Sandwich Islands and a whaler had seen the French ship at Lahaina’s whale port. Catherine was at the desk studying house accounts. It never ceased to amaze Adrik how happy and loyal the Koslov family could be. They loved the cold snowy weather. It reminded them of home. Sveta sat in a comfortable chair working on her needlework. Adrik had recovered quickly from his wound. They were furious at Prince Igor’s lust for Catherine.Novo Arkhangel’sk w The winter came to Baranov Island. Both women doted on their beloved Kira. The Tlingit Crow tribe had agreed to watch for the Frenchman and warn him should he land his boat on the island again. The Tlingit were on watch constantly since it was discovered the Inuit had brought the Frenchman through their secret way. Adrik was in the great rocker chair rocking a soundly sleeping Kira in his arms. One of the ship builders had made the chair for him as a gift to the family.

Volk burst into the manse parlor. Catherine couldn’t believe what a contented happy marriage she enjoyed. He would occasionally glance up at Catherine and catch her eye looking at him. He adored his wife. the leader of the Russian Cossack Army and terror to Russian enemies. Between them they exchanged their silent devotion to each other. 264 . Adrik couldn’t believe he had found such joy and pleasure in married life.Payton Lee g It was this time of the day Adrik loved the most. The peace was too wonderful to last. She couldn’t believe this gentle loving man was once the fierce Grand Duke Adrik Romanov. All heads turned to a noise in the front of the house.

“Please. He quickly placed his hand on Peter’s shoulder. “Take Kira to her room and the nurse. “No.” Volk blurted out without a breath. I will go with Volk and Ilya. “I will be with you. Protect them here for me. and Tante Sveta. I will take Ilya now and go to the place the Tlingit suspect they will land. “They have also sighted the sails of the Mitka. Catherine took Kira from his arms and spoke softly to Sveta now standing nearby. I would perish without you by my side.” Adrik was already upright. “You must stay here with Kira. Catherine had walked to his side the moment Volk burst in the room. do not go into danger.” Adrik allowed Sveta to take his six-month-old daughter. The Tlingit have spotted the French Ship. It has returned from the Sandwich Islands.” Adrik’s tone brooked no quarrel.” Peter looked up to Adrik pleading with his eyes. Catherine held to Adrik’s arm. It is my vengeance.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Chapter 34 “I have word from Yuri’s man. Deveraux and Igor are my enemies. This is my battle. my Catherine. She whispered softly so only he would hear.” Peter had risen from the floor and walked toward Volk.” 265 .

Adrik and Yuri were encouraging him to learn the language. Igor had known the men that worked the furs for him in that area. Adrik was amazed at the swiftness of the Tlingit on foot.” Igor boasted. Adrik saddled his Angel.” “And for us to hire only the best Inuit scouts. He was studying the English language.” Catherine choked out. powder.” “With my life. guns. Around them were the four thugs who would assist them with their plan. He knew where their cabin was hidden. Sveta was spending the night with Sofia. Sveta always preferred to be busy when she was worrying for her beloved nephew. Adrik smiled to her as he walked out with Ilya and Volk. Yuri was mounted and waiting for them. Then they sent the Inuit to take care of the guards. “The Inuit led us right into the lion’s den beneath their noses. Peter remained in the manse with his stepmother. “I told you Adrik would lead his favored Cossacks away to where the ship would land. and of course the promised rum. The trap had been set. He took his arms before the men left to saddle fresh Dons. “If I do not end this.Payton Lee g Adrik nuzzled her neck and replied just as quietly. The two women were planning a special surprise gift for little Kira and would be working on it together. it will be a shadow over our love and peace for the rest of our lives. It was their hope to soon venture more often into the Amerikan land and develop trade relationships with Amerikans. Trust me my sweet. Catherine had fed Kira and the nurse had taken her to bed. The Tlingit would lead the way. They knew the Mitka was behind them.” Deveraux snickered. A Tlingit was on foot ahead of them. All they had to do now was to slip in the manse. but 266 . Those Inuit would have done anything for money. She again squeezed his arm and released him. It wouldn’t be much longer. Igor and Deveraux waited for night to descend. The Inuit were a stealthy group and easily overpowered the Cossacks guarding the back perimeter and back of the manse. not for pelts. They had left the French ship two days earlier in the dead of night. It was a moonless night and it was easy for them to leave the ship without being seen. “I know my cousin well.” The men watched from the deserted cottage that was supposed to be Igor’s home.

as a military man must. I know the truth. “Yes. She found it difficult to concentrate.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Eastern and Oriental spices and goods for foodstuffs. but you sent my uncle to the axe! It was you that sent word of the Czarina’s enemies. You gave the opiates to her to keep her by you. He married my mother. They told me you took my mother away.” Peter replied smoothly. “It was her wish to keep you from that barbaric Russian murderer. She believed all your lies. your father has told you why I kept you from him. Catherine was once again going over the house accounts. You knew of her weakness for opiates. For what?” “You insolent brat! I loved your mother with all that I am. She witnessed the horror you had created!” Peter exclaimed angrily. The execution of my uncle was such an order. and materials. She was afraid she would swoon if she stood. They also wanted to bring Amerikans into Unalaska for their knowledge of trades and skills. “It was a sick twisted mind that deprived a father of his son. Every moment or two she would look out the large window hoping to see a sign of her husband or Cossack coming with information about her husband.” “My father followed his duty. You gave my uncle to the axe all the while you pretended to be his friend and compatriot. Neither Catherine nor Peter heard the entry of Deveraux or Igor. He gasped for air. It was you that killed my mother!” 267 .” Igor pushed his way past Deveraux to leer at Catherine. Peter happened to look up and saw Deveraux’s face. They told me the truth. She remained seated. He followed orders. “You kept me from him to hurt him. “You dare enter the household of the Grand Duke?” “I dare do anything I choose little pup.” Deveraux snarled insanely. “I can tell by your impudent tone. “You. Upon Peter’s gasp Catherine looked at her stepson and then followed his eyes to the doorway. She loved me! The Czarina Bitch forced her to marry a man she hated. Then you took my mother to see the horror. I was your weapon of choice to impale his soul. Ilya and Volk were there.” Peter said bitterly rising from his chair. She saw Igor and felt faint.” Deveraux sneered. I kept you and protected you for her and my love for her.

Catherine immediately rose from the desk and attempted to run to her stepson. Igor grabbed her in mid step. The one took his club and rammed it on the boy’s head. “I am a man grown and ready to fight you. Her screams were caught in her throat. She feared for her stepson’s life. “Take the boy. He would take this fine sword with him. the Inuit took their hostages into the night.Payton Lee g Catherine watched Deveraux’s face turn from a haughty grin to a look of insanity. He fought with all the strength he had. She was the most beautiful woman in Poland. There was blood covering his head. Deveraux followed after he picked up Peter’s Shashka. This is my home!” “Silence! You are Polish! The only reason you live is because you are Magda’s son!” Deveraux warned angrily. enough!” she pleaded quietly. Perhaps I should take yours?” Igor stepped in between them. The sword was most likely a gift from the Grand Duke to the boy. The other Inuit was already using another rope to bind Peter. He did manage to reach for his Shashka but did not reach it in time. Deveraux looked at Adrik’s wife. The Inuit supplied rope to tie her hands and feet. “She is mine by right! No one shall have her save me. you will return to France with me. “Peter. My Magda was beautiful. The Inuit were upon him. The hilt was studded with precious stones. but the Inuit were looking forward to the promised rum and had no patience for a fight. I have agreed you may take the Russian slut. “The only reason I live is for the value of blackmail in your black soul. His one arm held her as he stuffed a cotton cloth in her mouth. Peter’s body sagged limply on the floor. Soon they would have their promised rewards.” Peter retorted bravely. It was our agreement!” “I only want Peter. “Come boy. He took the silky cravat from his neck and tied it over the cloth and around her head. Adrik never had her heart. “Igor told me you were beautiful.” Deveraux smirked. “Come!” Two large strong Inuit walked into the manse parlor. On Deveraux’s order. His revenge was complete. He took her body. Peter was too shocked to respond quickly enough. He had 268 .” “You think so?” Deveraux laughed maniacally. “I will not go to France with you.” “I am Russian!” Peter exclaimed stubbornly.” Deveraux laughed.

He was happy Sharp Claw had looked in the manse before he left to track the Inuit.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Adrik’s son and wife. Ilya. The house was quiet. “Where?” It was the only question necessary. “Burnt Beak and Sharp Claw will lead us to the area and point out the house. They have taken Peter and Katya! Sharp Claw has followed them to Novo Arkhangel’sk. He held up his arm. and Volk were not aware of the Tlingit listening to a sound of the forest and returning the call. Sharp Claw watched his enemy the Inuit take the woman and boy from the house. Curses flowed from Yuri’s mouth. A Russian Shashka pushing into the ribs loosened their tongues. 269 . the child is safely sleeping with her nurse. History would repeat itself. Adrik. The one Cossack guard in the back of the manse had been clubbed and dumped into a shed. He followed them stealthily as they made their way through the pine forest into the town. The Cossacks were waiting and the hapless French sailors were brought to Adrik. and the Cossacks followed the Tlingit to where the ship anchored. The Tlingit disappeared into the forest.” Adrik paled. His Catherine? His son? “Kira?” “No.” Yuri assured. Ilya. Burnt Beak spoke to Yuri. Again. Burnt Beak’s brother remained to watch the manse. The French sailors were at first speechless. They were surprised at the Russian before them spoke their language so fluently. Otto was among those unconscious that were taken into the kitchen. Yuri knew his sons would go quickly to the manse and secure it once more.” Yuri informed. A small boat did leave the ship and made its way to the shore. Those few servants still awake were quickly clubbed and tied. After the sailors had told the Cossacks of Deveraux and Igor disembarking further north of Baranov Island and meeting with the Inuit that the Tlingit returned. The Inuit had waited until most of the household servants were in bed sleeping. Adrik. Silently Deveraux and Igor slipped out of the back of the manse. Deveraux and Igor have hired more Inuit. they were not aware of Tlingit eyes still watching the manse. The Cossacks guarding the manse were not aware of the invasion. He had also run quickly to the Koslov camp and spoke to Ivan Koslov. “Where is Deveraux?” Adrik demanded in fluent French. Volk. “Deveraux has tricked us! Sharp Claw.

Another Cossack was sent to Captain Volgarski’s home asking him to take the Russian Fleet to impound the French ship. She was shouting at Igor. “Let me go.” Igor snarled. and her hold. Six of the Cossacks remained with the sailors. An older Aleut woman was waiting for them. Peter regained consciousness. It was Deveraux’s plan to rest a day in the log house and then proceed to the ship anchored in the cove during the cover of night. It was Adrik’s plan to at least keep the ship in anchor without their crew. The sailors had little use for Deveraux other than the money he paid. 270 . He was left in a dark room. The Inuit knew this was Tlingit territory and would not stay for any length of time. He heard his stepmother. but was terrorized by Prince Igor.” Catherine seethed. His arms and legs were bound and he was lying on a bed. They despised the pompous Russian Prince. He pulled her chin with his cupped hands and kissed her lips. Adrik could at least cut off Deveraux’s escape route. She had hot broth ready on the hearth and the house was warm. “I will tame you my little shrew. Igor laughed. Her head snapped and her body followed nearly toppling the chair. The sailors were to be held as prisoners. Light shone from the crack beneath the door. Adrik would be trying to find his family when Deveraux would be far out to sea with them. I am a married woman. He would be gone shortly after Adrik found his son and wife missing. the sailors. They quickly disappeared. He would be on the ship and return to France with his prize. and rum. Catherine bit his lip. powder. Deveraux and Igor arrived at the log house just before dawn. Her body was moving the chair she was bound to. The Inuit were given their guns. They were told to tie them and walk them back to Adrik’s manse. Igor slapped her face with all his strength. Two sailors had stayed in the house with the Aleut waiting for Deveraux’s arrival. She feared the Frenchman. her captain. Whenever possible she faded into a corner. Slowly his eyes focused on his surroundings.Payton Lee g Quickly the thundering hooves of the Cossacks were on the hillside of Baranov Island as they rode hard toward the town of Novo Arkhangel’sk. I am not yours.

” Igor whispered into Catherine’s ear. His hand was unbuttoning her gown. he quieted and thought of his mentor. He could continue to hurt Adrik for Magda. 271 . He suckled greedily. “I think it is time my pretty one to look over my prize. but another child. He sat down and began to eat. Near your hand would be a window open if a door was locked. How many times had Volk taught Peter to become one with his environment? Look at the entire view and miss nothing. Near your hand would be a weapon if you could see it. Igor put those fingers to his lips and licked them maliciously. Adrik had a child with this woman. One merely had to see it. Volk would find a way to be free of them.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Peter heard the slap and fought furiously against his bindings. “Milk for a child! My cousin whored you didn’t he? You’ve had his child. Peter was too grown to keep in line. He pushed Igor to the side. Volk. “Enjoy her breasts for soon I will be keeping her in my cabin day and night filling her with my seed and growing my own crop of children. His mouth descended cruelly upon her right breast. How would Volk handle this? Volk would not fight the bindings. Realizing it was useless. sons for me.” With those words he reached down and squeezed a breast producing yet another drop of milk falling upon his fingers. Igor turned and walked to the table of food. standing erect he licked his lips. a baby? Deveraux was instantly by Catherine’s side. He would get that child and keep it from Adrik for Magda.” Deveraux uninterested in Igor’s sexual interests was paying complete attention at the announcement of a child. Igor’s head snapped up suddenly. “Suddenly you want my woman?” Igor growled. Catherine gasped when her bodice felt the chill of the room and Igor’s hand grabbed her left breast roughly. “Milk!” Igor exclaimed looking down at Catherine.

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but not yet completely weaned. Her teats were dripping small droplets of milk due to the recent manhandling.” Deveraux calmly replied indicating the leering sailors. “You don’t need to share it with the rest.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Chapter 35 Deveraux pulled a chair next to Catherine. the child must still be an infant or a little older. although she knew exactly who Deveraux was. How old is your child?” Catherine turned her face in both anger and shame. She was about to scream when she realized the French sailor was shouting back that he wanted nothing to do with taking a child.” Deveraux smiled. “I know you were married less than two years and the milk? Well. He rose from the chair and slowly walked to a French Sailor. “I see it is true. Catherine learned the taking of another man’s wife appalled 273 .” He pulled her bodice together carefully buttoning it. “You do not wish to discuss this with me?” Deveraux said quietly. They spoke in French but Catherine understood every word. He was a sailor and wanted nothing more to do with the Russian pig or the demented Deveraux. Igor had bared her to the waist in front of complete strangers. “Don’t cover my view!” Igor snarled. “Of course you are embarrassed. He gently squeezed Catherine’s hand.

Volk. Deveraux stood next to the fireplace close to Catherine contemplating how he would return for the child of Adrik. Sharp Claw shrugged his shoulders. Igor rose from the table grabbing his cudgel. Peter was not mentioned. I could not live if Catherine were not by my side. Igor reacted immediately by grabbing Peter’s Shashka and hiding it on the stool next to the table where it stays hidden under the cloth. He looked up to see Adrik enter and scan the room. If there are only four we will handle it. I cannot allow them to hurt my Catherine. Adrik.” The Cossacks stepped back in acknowledgement. we do not want them to know our numbers until the last moment. They could not believe or understand how Volk and Adrik had suddenly appeared.Payton Lee g the Frenchman. Peter is like a son I never had or will have.” Adrik answered softly holding Volk’s shoulders. or could be more. “Igor is also filled with hate and jealousy toward me.” Volk replied. Together they walked quietly to the front door and in one push of great strength the door fell to the floor under them. It is me he wishes to destroy. He sensed the Inuit had left.” Adrik stated walking toward the house. I will no longer allow him to hurt those I love. and the Cossacks.” “Which is why I must go. Volk held him back. Tears began to stream down his cheeks. “Volk. They may or may not be in there. Sharp Claw showed the house to Yuri. Adrik nodded. Deveraux is filled with hatred toward me. Deveraux and Igor were surprised. That is all. The French sailor stormed out of the house telling Deveraux he would return to his ship and speak to the Captain. let me go. “Or at least let me be by your side. but he wasn’t certain. “Could be four. If more.” Volk turned to the Cossacks. “My lord. “Your wife is not hurt.” “My son?” Adrik asked angrily.” “No. 274 . Igor bruised her a little. The Inuit are dangerous warriors.” Adrik choked. Igor stood next to the table and moved slowly toward the Shashka. “Wait here for a time after we enter the house. The Inuit are more dangerous when drinking rum. He slammed the back of the sailor’s head.” “I will go in there. No one should know where they were. If something happened to her. “How many men?” Adrik queried Sharp Claw in the broken Tlingit he had learned.

The Inuit struggled with him and I’m afraid they were a bit rough. Deveraux and Igor looked to the door at Adrik’s shout. He would not die in the shadow of his slayer. Volk’s arm was resting on the hilt of the bloody Shashka. His body was upon her before she saw the movement of his body. Volk felt the blood filling his lungs. He yelled “Mamai” as he pulled her and the chair down. his Shashka followed the order of Volk’s beating heart. It gave Adrik the moment to rush forward to his young wife.” Volk cursed under his breath. Had he been killed? It didn’t matter. He would not die on his knees. Volk wheezed painfully. As he reached for the door bolt he felt the slicing pain of a Shashka in his back. Deveraux. “My lord Adrik?” 275 . She buried her face into the heavy goat hair coat he was wearing. Looking around they found blood. Igor. He felt her heart beating and her arms reached out to him. there was only a sailor. Deveraux stood in shock as Igor’s blood covered his clothes and Igor’s head rolled before him. Adrik pulled his knife and was cutting Catherine’s bindings as he shielded Catherine with his body. He told her the Cossacks were coming just as they came charging in through the door. With great power the sword severed the head of Igor. Catherine was in his arms. The wound was fatal. He knew it instantly. bodies. nose. His legs dropped beneath his body and he knelt on the floor losing his breath. As far as he could see. Ilya found Volk kneeling.” He bolted to the door. It was the moment Volk looked for.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “In that room. severed heads. Deveraux made his mistake when he moved toward Igor. and a French sailor raising his arms in surrender. His concern was Catherine. He did not see Volk slaying his enemy. His concern for Peter had removed his years of battle sense. but the blood gurgling from Volk’s ears. His lips moved automatically kissing the top of her head and reassuring her everything was fine and she was safe.” Deveraux stated casting his eyes to the door nearest the kitchen fireplace and table. Adrenalin pumping through his veins. After his shout he knew the Cossacks would be charging in. “He may not be awake as of yet. He looked up to see the Shashka swing around just before the blade severed his head. The body was another sailor. Ilya knelt next to his friend and saw not only the back wound. He knew a body was lying on the floor. His breath labored. and mouth. He raised his arm with his Shashka and his body followed. “If one hair is mussed on the boy’s head I shall kill you slowly.

“Go with your father and brothers.” Volk laughed coughing up blood. He found Peter kneeling in a pool of blood holding onto Volk’s jacket.” Catherine’s head was still throbbing from the hit to the head she received. for I have slain the enemies of Mother Russia and now I die in honor. “Just make certain there are lots of women mourning my body. Wrap his body securely.” Peter wailed. This was too much like Magda again. “Get that out of here!” he ordered angrily. Sofia and Sveta must be worried for her and Kira will need her.Payton Lee g Adrik was lifting Catherine when he saw Igor’s head lifted by a Cossack and Deveraux’s head in the hand of another.” Volk closed his eyes and his breathing stopped. Yuri saw the bloody mess first. a noble death is the hope for all Cossacks. He saw Ilya holding Volk’s body and Volk trying with all his strength to motion Adrik with his arms. He would not have his wife see such a gruesome sight.” Adrik vowed.” “There is much to be done here. His body immediately ran to the cries of his son. “I will not leave Adrik.” Adrik lied.” Volk wheezed in agony. and then he watched Adrik bring Catherine to him. He looked to Adrik. “Silence lad. and give me a fine funeral. I will be home soon. “It will be alright.” Adrik comforted. Remember all I have taught you and I will live on. “Her brothers and I will take her home. “We’ll get you home to the many loving women who will spoil you to health. He opened his arms and took his daughter. “The finest of all funerals will be yours great Cossack. I will take his body upon my horse and we will return to the compound. Adrik watched his wife leave the house when he turned to the scream of his son Peter. you will go with Ilya and tell Baranov what has 276 . Peter. Volk. She felt nausea and decided to retreat with her father. He had seen enough of wounds to know when one was fatal. He spotted Yuri and led Catherine into her father’s arms. She had been through enough. The odor in the room was affecting her as well.” Her father’s words soothed her. “I have slain my lord’s enemy and I have nothing to fear from the Czar in spilling royal blood. Without instruction he folded his arms around Catherine. but she stood still planting her feet firmly on the ground. He pulled Catherine into his chest and held her head there. “We will take his body to the compound in honor.

She wanted desperately to hold 277 . Catherine was looking out the window. Sofia tended to Catherine’s bruises. It seemed it had been hours since she began her pacing in the parlor. He gave the women the uniform giving them verbal instructions for the funeral. She knew Adrik was safe.Novo Arkhangel’sk w occurred here. Volk had died in honor and even though he killed royal blood. She had slept through the entire matter like the child’s nurse. How true were his words. and Peter. After Catherine ate she bathed as if to wash the scent and filth of her captor’s. She admired him and knew he was a true friend of Adrik. The Cossack had killed enemies of Russia and had no fear of the Czar’s reprisal for taking the life of royal blood without order. Walking out the door he viewed the Cossacks drinking to their fallen leader and comrade. Sveta brought Catherine food. Kira was still sleeping. He ran to the manse. Adrik was proud of his friend’s valor. Certainly Catherine must be hearing this.” Once Adrik placed Volk’s body upon the bed in his small cottage the news of Volk’s death spread like wildfire. Allow them to leave with a warning never to dock here again. Tell the captain their duplicity with these Russian enemies will be reported to the Czar. Sveta and Sofia had kept vigil and hugged Catherine when Yuri returned with her in his arms. Several wives of other Cossacks were allowed to enter and prepare Volk’s body. He held onto the uniform allowing his tears to fall. Catherine was also aware of Peter’s great admiration for the Cossack. The Cossacks told her brother Ivan about Volk’s death and his heroic acts. He must return to Catherine. She scrubbed so hard her skin was bright pink when her mother brought her a towel to dry. Adrik selected Volk’s finest uniform. He had his Catherine. She felt grief at Volk’s passing. For a moment Adrik allowed his stern noble visage to crumble. Faddei. Death was the final haven. This was his present haven and he would keep it safe until that final breath. Catherine felt no sorrow at the news of the death of the two fiends. Petersburg. Deveraux and Igor were dead. Volk was a great Cossack and a great friend. He thanked the heavens for protecting Catherine from seeing the headless bodies of Igor and Deveraux. They were singing the funeral laments. Adrik pulled his thoughts together. In moments several women were at the door lamenting the Cossacks death. take the sailors to the manse and take all of them to the French captain with the news of their benefactors’ death. Kira. Adrik stiffened. He needed to hold his wife in the calm and security of his manse. She changed into a soft silken nightdress and the soft lambs wool wrapper. It was the one he wore at court in St.

Catherine giggled and took her husband’s face in her hands. “My love. He had a new wonderful life with her and Kira.” “And I believe so has my daughter. husband. It was her husband and he was running toward the manse. She folded her arms around Adrik and looked up into his face. Woodland wildflowers had been made into bouquets that lie upon his body.Payton Lee g Adrik and heal all these wounds and hurts that began so long ago. It was then Catherine saw the shadow in the night. He kissed her forehead.” Adrik’s lips descended upon Catherine. He smiled down at his wife and looked directly into her beautiful blue eyes. Beneath his body were cedar and pine branches. Adrik looked into the light of the hall of his manse. Catherine picked up the edge of her wrapper and ran to the front door. Take me to your bed. At last my dream is come true. They would have many more children and all his wounds would heal. peasant. his life. nose.” Adrik lifted his wife into his arms and carried her into the house. Catherine wanted to begin healing them tonight. There were nearly forty women mourning Volk. “Your wish is my command. At last they were safe. and his salvation.” Adrik began healing at that moment. He stopped at the steps for a moment and held his breath. She was his angel. He saw Catherine framed in the halo of the hall candlelight. Catherine looked like an angel.” Without missing a step he went up the stairs two at a time. eyelashes. Catherine noticed his hesitation and ran down the steps. and Aleut in an equal blend. “At last my nephew has found his happiness. Everyone in the house heard the master bedroom door slam shut and the bolt put down. eyebrows. There she opened it before Otto was in the hall. Behind the Cossacks were the minstrels and behind the minstrels were the lamenting women. Volk’s body dressed in his finest uniform lay upon the wooden wagon. The Cossacks followed the caisson. The clouds of darkness were lifted from his soul. and finally settled on her lips.” Sofia smiled in return. Sveta grinned and took Sofia’s hand. Three days later a funeral procession made its way through the streets of Novo Arkhangel’sk. It was the end of his enemy. “This is the dream I once had of my strong handsome husband taking his bride into his house. The women were Russian boyarina. 278 . “My love. There we will make love for many hours.

Ilya handed Peter a book written in Volk’s hand. The mound was covered with river stones and the image of Zolotaya Baba was placed as Volk’s marker. 279 . The mound had been prepared for Volk’s burial. Ilya. he wanted Peter to have the book. Ilya told Peter it had been Volk’s request that if anything happened to him. Catherine. His most prized possessions were buried with him. Sveta. Although he missed his comrade. Adrik remained next to Catherine holding Kira in his arms during the interment. As promised. and Peter led the procession. It was his memoirs combined with military strategy he had learned. it was a feeling of euphoria as he looked to the future with his family. and her family followed the procession. After Volk’s body had been interred. It was fitting that the golden goddess would grace the grave of such a vibrant Cossack. it was a magnificent funeral. Kira.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Adrik. The procession returned to Adrik’s property and a quiet shaded glade.

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” “Not another son? That would be three for mother Russia.” Alexander guffawed.” “I heard that is why you wed the lovely boyarina.” Alexander taunted. 281 . “The Kira is my wedding dower from the Koslov family. Petersburg 1811 “That is a fine ship you brought into port.” Alexander stated. I shall not have to share my daughters in service.” Adrik crowed. Catherine is again with child.” Alexander replied. “We are hoping for another daughter.” Adrik stated seriously putting his cognac on the table.” Czar Alexander commented to his cousin sipping his cognac. and your new young son will grow to be a fine man like his father.” “I have a lot to envy. I am doing so. “Kira? Isn’t that the name of your oldest daughter?” “Yes to both. “Precisely why I want another daughter. “You told me I would fight Napoleon again.” Adrik laughed happily. I need you.” “Yet you appear in St.” “My days of battle are over.Novo Arkhangel’sk w Επιλογυε St.” “But the greater prize was my Catherine. She is the finest ship on Pacific Ocean.” “Your daughter is lovely. you were offered a ship. Alexander’s features hardened. “There are times I envy you. I believed you intended to stay in that savage colony. Petersburg after you send your resignation as supreme general of the Cossack armies. “I wish I had been offered such a prize.

” Alexander laughed heartily. “And a finer dower no man could hope for. It is not savage. I had to meet this woman that has taken away my most trusted and favorite cousin and general. My life has changed from the warrior you need. yes. It is the place I wish my children to grow.” Alexander teased lightly. I am grateful that sour goat did smile upon me and take my father’s dower. I would be useless in battle. Adrik stroked his wife’s abdomen and bent to kiss his child growing in Catherine’s womb. “It is I that find great joy in the loving machinations of my husband. The land is wild. for he had felt it. I had to meet the woman that bewitched such a sour old goat. Inside Alexander was being torn apart inside with envy.” Alexander sighed enviously. Adrik moved swiftly to his wife’s side taking her arm and lovingly patting her protruding belly. He was bound to the throne. Or could he? Alexander understood Adrik’s pain. There are no political intrigues. It is my home.” 282 . I only can concentrate on my family. “You sent for me most noble Highness?” Catherine greeted bowing slightly. “I have found happiness. He knew of the political intrigue. His cousin did have the freedom to leave where he could not.” Adrik answered. “We have returned to sell all our Russian holdings and return to Unalaska.Payton Lee g “Russia’s colony. “Indeed. yet beautiful. How many things had he tried to ease his pain? For a time as a young man he found solace in his wife. Louise. “Most noble Highness. I treasure it and will keep it. The Czar took her hand and brushed his lips lightly across Catherine’s knuckles.” Catherine laughed taking her husband’s hand and placing it upon her womb. Perhaps he should readdress his life with his Czarina? He would think on it when this war with Napoleon would finally be finished. “Such a goat is quite randy as our growing brood shows.” “Would I could find such peace.” Catherine grinned. The air is sweet and clean.” “Then why have you returned to Mother Russia with your dowery and family?” Alexander questioned. Catherine was Adrik’s tonic. Alexander looked upon Catherine’s countenance. The Czar and Adrik rose from their chairs. My concerns now center on my family. The door opened and the guard announced the entrance of Grand Duchess Catherine Romanov. Even a sour goat could ask for more.

” “I believe Baranov is aware of it. your most noble highness. Still. As long as I am Czar he shall retain his governorship.” “I need all the help given. “You take interest in politics. He was acutely aware of the power shared with him. “Mother Russia’s control in Unalaska is on a slender thread at its best. but it would be a power in trade. She couldn’t help what she was and knew. Unalaska offered Adrik anonymity. The wealth of the Romanov family and the wealth of the Koslov family combined would lead to a bright future in the new land. Baranov was a public figure and would go down politically. “Ah yes. The Koslov family was powerful in the art of trade and merchandising. I grant them his name and recognize them as his legal heirs. She was intelligent and political. Yuri Koslov was already contacting the new American country of the United States. and merchandising.” “There is one more thing. His title meant nothing. He relied on her knowledge and understanding of the country they lived in. you must warn him that the Czar is a long way from Okhotsk and the American Trading Company. She had even taught him the Tlingit dialect. Your vast holdings will be special bonuses for my new generals of war. Have your solicitor bring the papers to me for signatures. His wife was much more than beautiful. How much did he want a child? He wanted an heir. It was simply Catherine. She is royalty of a sort. Adrik had two of them already and a beautiful young daughter with another on the way.” Adrik grinned.” Catherine stated boldly. The children of his mistress were healthy and strong. shipping. How he longed for the peaceful happy 283 . Return to your Unalaska quickly before I am taken to physicians for too much sweets. “Thank you for your kindness. commerce. The merchants have the power of money and trade even a Czar cannot control so far away. “Some political intrigues are common talk. The Inuit is a princess. I have read his request regarding his children. the Baranov question.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “Quite frank too!” Alexander quipped. I will purchase all your holdings for a fair price. What had he done wrong to God and Russia that all the children his wife bore him died.” Adrik reminded.” Catherine replied modestly. The silent controlling power even greater than a royal power. “Your joy is too much for this serious Czar.” Alexander raised his brow. but bastards. There was a new future there including trade.” Alexander stated holding back the emotions building inside. madam. Our family will pray and bless the great Czar Alexander.

Perhaps we could send a message to Jasha’s Sonia. and Arman brought his family on the Mitka. “She’s climbing the ropes on the masts!” “Again?” Catherine laughed. She races sailors on the rigging. Petersburg with their two grandchildren. “Go now and send the listing of your estates and your required amount. Tante. “Her Mama is the undefeated champion of all the Koslov ships.” “It is a good thing my wife is so occupied.” The estates were settled quickly between the solicitors and the royal household. and Fabiyan’s Gabrielle.” Sveta groaned. “You weren’t on the ship during our voyage here. “It is a good thing you keep your wife so occupied.” Adrik agreed readily. Kira is in no real danger. It seems our little Kira has taken to the same hobby her Mama once enjoyed.” “Again? What does she mean again?” Sveta gasped. Frankly. Fortunately she is only four and her little legs haven’t won or gotten her very high. I’m grateful her Mama no longer climbs the rigging in contest. It set his mind in motion. “Kira was taught by her Mama. I do not think my heart could bear to see the Grand Duchess climbing a ship’s riggings. “You keep me with child on purpose?” Catherine questioned warily. if you do not do something about that child!” Sveta warned catching her breath. 284 . Dimitri’s Relentless. Sveta and Sofia went on a shopping spree in St.” Adrik shared.Payton Lee g oblivion Adrik had found.” “Holy Mother of God! You allow this?” Sveta breathed heavily collapsing on a chair. The crew would never allow that to happen to their little pet. Brody brought his family on the Nitka. Petersburg our loving mothers have bought.” “Of course not. “You must do something! Kira! Kira!” “What is it Tante? Is Kira hurt?” “She will be. “We will need all these ships to hold the purchases of our Sveta and Sofia. “We aren’t even a sea yet.” “Do not forgot the Romanov family heirlooms that must come with us. she is in the family way.” Adrik shared.” Sveta came into the cabin out of breath and terrified. “That will take up nearly the entire hold of Kira. We might need all these ships to hold the half of St.” Catherine chuckled. Adrik laughed at all the purchases and teased it was a good thing Yuri had come with his ship Katya.

my love. “My wife has spoken. “We agreed upon a large family. She pushed Monika toward the gangplank. I heard you returned to St. Adrik raised his arms in surrender. She didn’t see the beautiful woman walk the gangway onto the ship. “Get your hand off my husband!” Catherine snarled.Novo Arkhangel’sk w “Would I do such a thing?” Adrik asked innocently splaying his fingers across his chest.” 285 . I was disappointed that you did not contact me. Petersburg. Even Sveta seemed to know who she was. but before he could utter a word a hand grabbed Monika on the shoulder. Catherine hugged Kira and instructed her nurse to take Kira below for a nap.” Catherine grinned. I will tear your hair out by the roots. And I am quite content and happy in my marriage. Good luck to you. I’ve waited so long for your return. He noticed Monika.” Catherine watched proudly as little Kira had climbed ten feet on the rigging and was now making her way safely down. Monika. I am quite content with my little wife and family. I had hoped you had tired of your adventure to the colony.” Monika backed away slowly looking to Adrik for assistance. We leave tomorrow for our home. if you come near Adrik again. Her mouth remained open as the woman took Adrik’s arm. “Adrik. “I fear all you have heard is true. Catherine had never seen a more beautiful woman. The Grand Duke is married to me. You will find another lover soon. I will scratch your eyes and scar your pretty face should you even try to speak to my husband. Adrik choked. I must see to my active child.” he added beaming proudly. and Papa to Kira and Nicholas with another waiting to be born. Did we not?” “Oh you. “You may sell your wares somewhere else. But I hear you have sold all your estates. Beneath her were several of the crew keeping a close watch on the impish child they loved as their own. Monika spotted Adrik and walked to him.” Monika purred touching her finger to his cheek. A wife need not keep us apart. I was also told you have taken a wife. “Excuse me. Adrik appeared on deck a moment later with a calmer Sveta. No woman dare come into my territory without suffering severely. if you haven’t already. You are a great lover and I’ve missed you. Catherine turned immediately when she heard a sensuous feminine voice request a visit with the Grand Duke.

I am completely happy with my wife. husband.” Sveta raised a brow. Catherine stomped by Adrik and spoke to him quietly. 286 .” “Well perhaps. “I swear to you there is no such thought in my mind. She had never been spoken to like that and wives never interfered in their husbands’ intrigues. “A good woman there. I do wish to see these islands of paradise I’ve heard so much about. After I shred her skin from her bones I will flail your flesh with a whip!” Adrik feigned fear. One I’ll need to train to compete with her sister Kira for master of the rigging. He was happy. His life was wonderful and he would enjoy it until his last breath.” “What? No adventures? Do you wish to see England? India. But then we will go home where I can keep you in line.Payton Lee g Monika huffed and walked down the gangplank. the Sandwich Islands?” Adrik teased. the Sandwich Islands. “I am your obedient servant.” Catherine chirped. “Do not think I will ever tolerate a mistress. He was completely and utterly happy.” Adrik laughed heartily. “A very good woman.” Adrik grinned broadly. He was laughing so much as of late.” “Something you must never forget. We will have a new daughter by then. “Let’s go home.” Catherine replied thoughtfully. China.

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