"There she is!" Ten sets of wayward eyes arrowed toward the beautiful red-headed creature gliding toward them. Another warning. "She's not your average lady, savvy. No. That one's a hot-headed rebel. Don't turn your backs, men."
"Is she good with a sword?"
A large tattooed man turned and frowned, narrowing his gaze upon the man who’d spoken. "Good?"
"Good enough?” another man asked scratching his nether regions. "I ain't had a woman in months."
The Moroccan snarled and took a menacing step forward. He grabbed the scraggly pirate up by his collar and lifted him the two extra feet it took to bring him face to face. "Mind what you say about your captain."
"Aye," he said. "Captain."
The lithe red-head in question sauntered up to the Moroccan. "Thank you, Husam.” She scanned the rag-tag group and then, fisting her hands on her hips, shouted, “Now that introductions have been made, its time to capture a Royal Navy ship."
Breathing a sigh of delight...
June signals the middle of the calendar, but it also holds a multitude of milestones for me. There have been birthdays to celebrate, both mine, my rogue's, and our 2nd grandson's. Firsts like HS#2's solo drive to Alaska and the beginning of his tour of duty there. DD#2's graduation, first job, and first apartment. June 11th was also the 1st Anniversary of me getting The Call from Crimson Romance and June 15th was the 1st Anniversary of signing my very 1st book contract!!! (Heva!) The Call and that contract were for Duke by Day, Rogue by Night, Book One in my Nelson's Tea Trilogy. Since then, I've signed two more contracts, one for my little royal prince contemporary that could, Lost Treasure, Captive Princess (3/4/13 release) and two, Book Two in the Nelson's Tea Series, The Rogue's Prize. Well... today, I'm more than a faschizzle jazzed to announce that The Rogue's Prize releases in one week!!! More rum please! (Jack, that means you.)
Perfect! Strokes Jack's dredds.
Break out the writer's blade— er, exclamation points!!! Don't be chintzy. There's enough rum and bootay for all of us!!!!!!!!!!
To honor Henry's dogged refusal to die, I'm happy to introduce you to the woman sure to test the limits of his own quest for absolution, Captain Belle, aka Lady Adele Seaton. Belle is a vixen determined to rescue her brother at all cost, even if it means jeopardizing her father's fleet, his association with Admiral Nelson, King George, and future smuggling endeavors along the Cornish Coast. Not to mention, the future of Nelson's Tea. And that makes Henry a very, very focused man.
With escape in the forefront of her thoughts, Adele asked, “What are you going to do with me?”
“That is something I’ve been asking myself since the moment I saw you brandishing a sword in your hand.”
There was a gleam in Guffald’s eyes, a faint signature sign she recognized — respect, but also something more powerful — attraction. She’d seen the look on Harrison’s face. Lust! Guffald’s momentary lapse gave her an idea. She drew him in.
“Then don’t hold back,” she said. “Go ahead. Kiss me.”
His lips were mere inches away. His cynical eyes turned stormy as they examined hers. At his nearness, unbidden warmth enveloped her, setting off a maelstrom throughout her body. She could feel herself sinking beneath his blue-eyed stare. Determined, however, not to succumb and to keep her wits, she fought the inclination to close the distance and erected a barrier of anger around her. Focus, girl. Focus on what you really want — no, need. She needed to bring Captain Guffald to heel. Not the other way around. But to do so, she was going to have to tempt the devil, draw him close enough so the tips of his lips caressed hers. Then, just as he gave in to her seduction, she’d dispatch him, proving she was immune to him.
Yes, a good plan.
“Kiss me,” she repeated, her voice a tremulous whisper.
Tenderness softened his eyes. He moved in, touching his lips to hers just as she lifted her knee to do him harm. But instead of being startled, his reflexes were quick. Arrowing daggers at her, he stepped easily aside. Undaunted, she swooped underneath his arm, twisting sideways until she was behind him and whipped the chains in an effort to wrap them around Guffald’s neck. But the captain had already anticipated her attack. He countered her actions, ducking to the side before she could trap him. In an instant, he appeared behind her, pinning both of her arms to her sides.
His voice was cool, impersonal. “The cobra finally shows its fangs.”
Guffald didn’t give her time to react. He pulled her toward one of the hanging lamps where he swiftly attached one of her manacled wrists to a hook, and then pulled her other arm outward until he could latch the iron link to another hook on the bedpost.
Outraged, Adele screamed and rattled her chains. “You can’t be serious.”
“Aye,” he said, “I can.” He grinned and straightened his shoulders before easing a knife out of the waistband of his breeches.
Adele’s eyes widened. She was so furious she could barely speak. “W-What do you intend to do with t-that?” Her entire body grew rigid. Did he intend to rid himself of his current problem — her? Garrick will die if you kill me! she wanted to scream.
Oblivious to the fear and rage mounting inside of her, Guffald’s eyes took on a mischievous twinkle. How could he be so callous? For all that was holy, she was a woman! She kicked and thrust her feet into the air, desperately trying to kick him, wound him, anything to keep him from getting closer. But the more she jerked in an attempt to do him bodily harm, the deeper the iron bands dug into her wrists. As her anger became a burning fury, she yelped in pain until her bravado disintegrated.
When she’d spent her last ounce of strength, Guffald moved in closer and placed the dirk’s tip close to her throat. “You like to play games, don’t you?”
She choked down a lump of fear as he lightly stroked the knife along her jaw. “It depends on the game,” she said.
“I have a rewarding game in mind.” Guffald dragged the knife from her jaw to the tip of the collar of Winters’s uniformed coat. Adele held her breath as a grin overtook the captain’s features and he cut off the top button. Pop. She inhaled a swift breath as the now useless ornament dropped into his waiting hand. He cradled it there for a moment, as if weighing it, and then slowly lifted his gaze to hers. His sardonic smile intoned he wasn’t finished.
“What are you doing?” she gasped.
He laughed as if she was dense. “Cutting off buttons, of course.”
I hope you'll love Henry and Adele as much as I do. This book was a hoot to write and I loved every minute of it.
If you haven't read Duke by Day, Rogue by Night yet, I'm celebrating release day all month at Goodreads with a giveaway of 5 autographed copies of Duke by Day, along with celebratory swag. That's treasure for you landlubbers. Being a generous sort, I'll also be appearing on Blog Talk Radio Tuesday line-up, 6/18 1 pm ET with Daria DiGiovanni and #Writestream on 6//20 via Twitter at 12 pm ET, as well as dropping in for some rum on the Veranda with Christine Glover, June 26th. In the meantime, I'll be posting on FB and at Rogues, Rebels & Rakes too. Pirates have ways of getting around. ;)
Looking for treasure? Need a boon for your spirits? What do you do to rejuvenate before you set sail? Answer if you dare... One lucky commenter will get an ebook ARC of The Rogue's Prize!!!