Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Genie’s Awakening by Jewel Quinlan only $.99

A Reverie Resort Vacation


Blurb:

Visit Reverie Resort, a luxury hotel on a tropical island where vacationers come to enjoy their wildest dreams but get more than they ever expected…

Genevieve, a Jinn, comes to Reverie Resort for one last vacation before she must go before the Afrit tribunal and formally declare that she has no powers. She hopes to enjoy one last taste of a luxury beyond even what she is used to before being cast out of her own dimension to live among humans.


But something goes wrong. Instead of the spa weekend she's expecting, she finds herself on a remote, barren planet being auctioned off to the highest bidder and has no way to contact her hosts to correct the situation. Is there really a mix up? Or do her hosts have sinister intentions toward her? In the meantime, she finds her new owner, Colin, to be quite attractive for a human...

Where you can buy it:

Add it to your shelf on Goodreads

Enjoy this excerpt:

Will turned to address the men again, but did not release her from his grip. “Have a good look at this beauty, gents.”
As they gawked at her, she stood straight and proud as though daring someone to try and claim her, returning their gazes with scathing, cold eyes, her fair lips pressed into a tight line. After one quick scan of crowd before her, she shot an icy glare at Will, who let go of her and backed off.
Colin chuckled. Could this petite thing be the reason for the bruise on Will’s cheek? She radiated anger, was so alive with it that it cast off her like the heat of a flame.
Will strolled to one corner of the platform as though nothing dramatic had just occurred. “Now, where shall we start the bidding?”
“What skills does she have?” asked one of the men.
“Yeah, can she work a terminal?” asked another.
“A bit scrawny for farm work. Looks like the most she’d be able to do is keep the house clean,” someone else commented. That was followed by snickering from the cluster of men around him.
The woman tossed her head and the dark strands of her hair gleamed onyx in the light of the double suns. “I do not do menial labor.”
She reminded Colin of warrior princesses in tales. And it was obvious to him that she was unused to being handled the way she was right now.
The trader wagged his eyebrows and strolled to the other side of the platform. “Who cares what skills she has? Come now. Let’s start the bidding. With a woman of this quality, why would you ever want her to leave the bedroom?”
The deep multi-toned chuckle of men followed his statement. But Colin wasn’t among them. Instead, he frowned, and started making his way forward to end the show.
“Who will give me twenty credits?” the trader shouted. “Twenty credits for the loveliest creature you’ve ever seen.”
The woman stood with her head held high, eyes distant, stance hard as the rock that formed the distant red mountains of Garrulus Four.
The men shuffled and murmured amongst themselves. Given the kind of lives they led, beauty was a luxury far outweighed by the many other qualities they needed in a wife. This lot of men were used to leading quiet lives, and they wanted women who did the same or went along with it at least. The woman on the platform would not fit in with this plan. Even if one of them could afford her, Colin doubted they’d be able to handle her.
Will’s eyebrows were high with shock. “Nobody?” He stopped his movement on the platform and pulled his head back in an exaggerated way, making his potbelly poke forward from the coat he wore. “No one will pay twenty credits for this gorgeous creature? That’s a bargain for someone like her.”
Colin saw one corner of the woman’s mouth quirk upward in satisfaction, and he grinned again. Obviously, she felt like she was winning so far, but what would be the consequences? She’d already stated she wouldn’t work, and she’d failed to declare any skills. If all she had to trade was beauty, she was on the wrong planet.
“Eighteen credits then. Who will pay eighteen?” Will called, an edge of desperation in his voice now. “You’ve all become shy suddenly. Suffering from performance anxiety, perhaps? Who wouldn’t be with her around, eh?” He chortled and leered at the woman.
Colin could see the men glancing at each other. Who would be crazy enough to take on the beautiful spitfire? That’s what it came down to, their masculinity. Clearly they found themselves lacking, because none of them were brave enough to bid.
As the silence stretched on, a warm wind whooshed through, audible in the vacuum of stillness. It was only then that the woman’s stance thawed. Her shoulders rounded, and worry transformed her eyes from their sparkling glare to the round-eyed, lost look of an innocent. The pink lips softened and parted revealing surprise at the group’s rejection, and Colin’s heart went out to her.
“Eighteen credits!” His hand shot up in the air before he even realized that the words had left his lips.

  

About the Author:

Restless by nature, Jewel Quinlan is an avid traveler and has visited sixteen countries so far. Lover of ice cream, dark beer, and red wine she tries to stay fit when she’s not typing madly on her computer concocting another romance novel. In her spare time, she likes to do yoga, hike, learn German, and play with her spoiled Chihuahua, Penny.

For more information about Jewel Quinlan

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Breaking Roadblocks (Bend Over #4) by Brina Brady - Coming Soon!



BREAKING ROADBLOCKS will be released on November 10, 2017 and is now available on Amazon for Pre-order. Which gives you plenty of time to catch up before book 4 goes live.

Buy links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

On Release Day, you can read it with KU.

Blurb

With their marriage on hold, Shane begins to stumble. All he wants is to be Julien's husband but he just can't seem to make the right choices when it comes to proving to Julien that he is his top priority.

To make matters harder, Shane is being forced to see the hatred in the world. Being in an interracial BDSM relationship isn't welcomed by all. Most surprisingly from Shane's so called friends and others from their small BDSM community.

Julien and Shane work together breaking through roadblocks to stay together as a black and white BDSM couple. No matter how hard Shane tries, he gets in his own way, with a little help from a couple of people actively working against them as a couple.

The couple fights against their enemies to stay together. When things get rough, they fight for their love.

This story is steamy hot, but it isn’t just a story of BDSM. It is a story of love and hate with a well-deserved HEA end to the series.


Other books in the Bend Over series are here:








Monday, 30 October 2017

The Jackal's House (Lancaster's Luck #2) by Anna Butler - Release Blitz




Length: 114,000 words approx. 

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Design: Reese Dante 

Lancaster's Luck Series

The Gilded Scarab (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK 

About The Series

Lancaster’s Luck is set in a steampunk world where, at the turn of the 20th century, the eight powerful Convocation Houses are the de facto rulers of the Britannic Imperium. In this world of politics and assassins, a world powered by luminiferous aether and phlogiston and where aeroships fill the skies, Captain Rafe Lancaster, late of Her Majesty’s Imperial Aero Corps, buys a coffee house in one of the little streets near the Britannic Museum in Bloomsbury.


So begins the romantic steampunk adventures which have Rafe, a member of Minor House Stravaigor, scrambling over Londinium’s rooftops on a sultry summer night or facing dire peril in the pitch dark of an Aegyptian night. And all the while, sharing the danger is the man he loves: Ned Winter, First Heir of Convocation House Gallowglass, the most powerful House in the entire Imperium.


Blurb


Something is stalking the Aegyptian night and endangering the archaeologists excavating the mysterious temple ruins in Abydos. But is it a vengeful ancient spirit or a very modern conspiracy….


Rafe Lancaster’s relationship with Gallowglass First Heir, Ned Winter, flourishes over the summer of 1900, and when Rafe’s House encourages him to join Ned’s next archaeological expedition, he sees a chance for it to deepen further. Since all the Houses of the Britannic Imperium, Rafe’s included, view assassination as a convenient solution to most problems, he packs his aether pistol—just in case.


Trouble finds them in Abydos. Rafe and Ned begin to wonder if they’re facing opposition to the Temple of Seti being disturbed. What begins as tricks and pranks escalates to attacks and death, while the figure of the Dog—the jackal-headed god, Anubis, ruler of death—casts a long shadow over the desert sands. Destruction follows in his wake as he returns to reclaim his place in Abydos. Can Rafe and Ned stand against both the god and House plots when the life of Ned’s son is on the line?





Excerpt

I like kissing.


Like Ned, I’d spent years in hiding. His constraint had been matrimony and the sense of honor and duty that would never have allowed him to be unfaithful to the mother of his sons. Only her untimely death had released those bonds. Mine had been less noble: I had no desire for a court-martial and a dishonorable discharge from Her Imperial Majesty’s Aero Corps. Most of my encounters over the years had been quick and furtive, but I’d taken every chance I could to practice my technique.


I not only liked kissing, I was good at it.


Fast little kisses to start with, kisses that barely made contact with the skin of Ned’s throat, kisses meant to tease. He tilted his head back to let me in, closing his eyes. His mouth opened on a soft sigh. I hoped he was giving himself up to the pleasure, losing himself in it, that nothing mattered to him at that moment except the feel of my mouth on his throat and lips. I hoped so. I wanted to please him.


I kissed and licked the delicate skin under his ear until he choked with laughter at the tickling. He tightened his grip on my hands and tugged at them until I raised my head. Ha! He’d lulled me into trusting him there and took full advantage of it. He swooped to capture my mouth with his, cutting off breath and thought, bringing a dizzying warmth with his hot tongue, and making me moan.


Of course, they were very manly moans.



Anna was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She recently moved out of the ethnic and cultural melting pot of East London to the rather slower environs of a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside, where she lives with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo. 




Saturday, 28 October 2017

Holographic Havoc by L.M. Brown - Release Blitz with Guest Post

950F3955-E505-477C-9D60-EA8BD1915791

Book Title: Holographic Havoc
Author: L.M. Brown
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre/s: Romantic Comedy, Futuristic (Near future)
Length: approx.18,300 words/49 pages
Release date: October 27, 2017

Blurb

Hayden Knight’s job is simple. All he has to do is sell his father’s latest invention to Tate South, the Acquisitions Manager of the biggest supplier of the best in cutting-edge technology. The virtual assistant is designed to help the user in all aspects of their life, but Hayden views the holographic helper as nothing but a nuisance. Keeping his annoyance to himself is relatively easy until a major technical glitch causes Tate to see and hear Hayden’s assistant. 

Hayden and Tate are thrown together while they try to figure out what has happened, and the chemistry between them is electric. Hayden soon finds that convincing Tate that he needs a Holo-Assistant isn’t as important to him as persuading him he needs Hayden in his life. 

The attraction is mutual and the sparks fly. If only they could get rid of their holographic third wheel.



Goodreads

Guest post

Private Information – What's That?

How many of you have seen an advertisement on social media today that has been tailored just for you? 

Everyone who has been on Facebook, I'll bet.

I have lost count of the number of times I have seen Kit Harrington, Sam Heughan, or Jensen Ackles on my feed wearing a t-shirt that says never underestimate a woman born in August who loves Game of Thrones/Outlander/Supernatural, depending on who the actor is in the picture.

That tells me that someone somewhere is farming information about me including my gender, my date of birth and my TV viewing habits.  I do watch more shows than those three, but they are the ones I tend to end up chatting about online.

My birthday is set to private, though apparently it is somewhere out there for the ads to pick it up.

No doubt you have seen similar adverts.

If you are on the internet, you can't go anywhere without information about you being gathered along the way.  If you do your Christmas shopping online you'll no doubt be bombarded by ads for things you would never purchase for yourself.  I get some of the weirdest novelty items on my feed throughout January – yes, I am a last minute shopper and haven't even started it yet – until eventually they disappear and the usual stuff (books!) reappear.

Our online wanderings are traced and our information is harvested without us being able to do a great deal about it.

In my new book, Holographic Havoc, the gathering of personal information is still happening in the early 22nd century and is as much a part of the lives of people there as it is our lives today.

Even though the story is a romantic comedy, there are some underlying truths within it, and one of those is just how scary it is that how our personal and private information is all online for the taking, if someone has the key. 

Still, we wouldn't want to be without the internet, would we?   LOL-cats after all are a writer's biggest distraction.

Excerpt

Hayden finally gave up on sleep at half past six, got out of bed and stumbled to the bathroom. 

His assistant followed him. Unfortunately, there was no way for Hayden to turn off the assistant for a little privacy. The first time it had hovered beside him while he took a piss he had tried to shut it down. That was the moment he discovered the assistant was a permanent fixture in his life. The only way to remove it would be to undergo surgery to remove the neural implant, something his father wouldn't allow until he had thoroughly tested it. 

The Holo-Assistant, a highly advanced piece of technology was the brainchild of his father and Hayden was one of the guinea-pigs testing it for him. A program designed to manage all aspects of a person's life, from scheduling appointments at work to ensuring a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. It was every app a person could ever want, all rolled into one holographic assistant. If Hayden had known what he was letting himself in for, he would have thought twice about it. Not that his father had given him much choice. As head of the marketing department for Knight Inventions, it was Hayden's job to sell the product and his father believed that the only way for Hayden to truly believe his sales pitch was for him to have experienced the wonders of the invention for himself. 

Hayden tried to ignore the holographic nuisance as he stepped into the shower and closed his eyes. 

A loud groan coming from outside the cubicle caused Hayden to jump and bang his elbow on the tiles. "What the hell?" 

He rubbed his eyes and eased open the shower door. Hovering in front of him was a holo-screen playing porn. The actors were giving it their all, moaning and groaning loud enough to wake the dead. His assistant stood beside the screen with a stupid smile on its face. 

"Shut down film," Hayden snapped. There was a time and a place for porn and this unholy hour of the morning wasn't it. 

"Would you like an alternative?" the assistant asked, bringing up a long list of titles and stills from what appeared to be every porn film Hayden had ever watched and more besides. 

"No, I bloody don't," Hayden replied. 

"I believe you'll find it will assist you in maintaining your schedule." 

"Excuse me? What schedule are you talking about now?" "

As part of maintaining your well-being I have allotted you time to masturbate." 

Hayden goggled at the assistant. "What did you say?" 

"I have allocated you time to masturbate," it obligingly confirmed. "With the assistance of a film of your liking it is estimated that you will require two minutes for this task." 

"Oh for crying out loud." Hayden slammed the door, shaking the glass, and shut out the frustrating hologram. He wasn't sure what annoyed him the most, the fact that the wretched program had allocated him time to wank, or that it had only allowed him two minutes for the job.

About the Author

L.M. Brown is an English writer of gay romances. She believes that there is nothing hotter or sweeter than two men in love with each other… unless it is three. When L.M. Brown isn't bribing her fur babies for control of the laptop, she can usually be found with her nose in a book.


Social Media Links Blog/Website |  Facebook Author Page  | Twitter Google+

Giveaway

To win a $10/£10 Amazon gift card please visit LM BROWN'S blog and leave a comment on the new release announcement post.

Entries must be received by midnight GMT on 4th November 2017.

A winner will be chosen at random on Sunday 5th November 2017.

RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE


October 28

October 29

October 30
 
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Friday, 27 October 2017

Bitten By Desire (Regent's Park Pack #3) by Annabelle Jacobs - Review Tour



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 78,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Natasha Snow

Regent's Park Pack Series

Bitten By Mistake (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Bitten By Design (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

Two lovers from rival packs. Have they come together only to be forced apart?

Alec Knight, a beta in the Regent’s Park pack, guards his heart carefully. Ghosts from his past keep him alone and angry, any hope of a relationship impossible while guilt from the pack wars still haunts him. With the anniversary drawing near, Alec needs a distraction.


As a lowly member of the Primrose Hill pack, Mark Appleton isn’t used to having his alpha’s attention. Lately he’s had more than his fair share, and not for the right reasons. Despite growing suspicions that all is not well, Mark tries hard to do better, but constant criticism leaves him desperate for a stress outlet.


Sex is a good way for shifters to let off steam, and while their packs attack each other with accusations and lies, Alec and Mark work out their frustrations in bed. Pillow talk and shared secrets lead to a closeness neither was expecting, but when pack relations reach an all-time low, any future for them seems out of the question.


If they want to be together, they’ll have to go against their alphas’ wishes—except Alec won’t and Mark can’t.


Review

Falling for a member of a rival pack was always going to complicate things. Doing so when the Alphas of both packs have just issued official complaints about the other to the Alpha Council is quite possibly the worst timing imaginable. So of course that’s exactly what happens to Alec and Mark. One steamy night together to deal with the mutual attraction and blow off some steam might seem like a great idea; in practice it doesn’t solve anything but only leads to a world of problems, especially for Mark.

If you’ve read the previous two books in this wonderful series (and I highly recommend that you do read them first) you will know that the Alpha of Mark’s pack is a nasty creature. In theory Mark should be low enough in the pack’s hierarchy for that not to affect him personally. However, circumstances beyond his control have put Mark on his Alpha’s radar, which means neither he nor those he cares for are safe.

Alec is a member of a good pack with an honourable leader. His problems don’t stem from internal strive but from long held personal issues and deep rooted guilt and resentment. The fact that he desperately needs to keep Mark safe while not being in a position to do so, only adds to his stress. Which only made it all the more rewarding that opening up to Mark turns out to be the first step he needs to take in order to deal with what has happened in the past and start the process of putting that part of his life to rest while embracing a brighter future.

This book is action and tension packed. There’s never any doubt that Mark and Alec face an uphill, if not impossible, struggle to establish the all too obvious bond between them. They are irresistibly drawn to each other and fulfil each other’s needs to perfection, while trying to balance pack dynamics with personal need.

I don’t want to say anything else about what happens when things come to a head, except that what happened had me reading with my heart in my throat, not sure how the situation could possibly be resolved, never mind lead to a happy ending. I should have more faith in Annabelle Jacobs’ fabulous story-telling and plotting talents. The climax in this story was amazing, heartstopping, and perfectly fitted everything the story promised.

In short, Bitten by Desire completely lives up to the standard set by Bitten by Mistake and Bitten by Design. All three are very sexy, very well told, and very thrilling paranormal tales. I do hope there’s more to come in this series. 





October 12 - Gay Book Reviews, Mikku-chan, Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings
October 14 - My Fiction Nook
October 16 - Nerdy Dirty & Flirty
October 20 - Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
October 23 - Jim's Reading Room
October 25 - Making It Happen, Diverse Reader, Gay Media Reviews, Lelyana's Book Blog
October 27 - The Way She Reads, Bayou Book Junkie, Book Lovers 4Ever, Love Bites & Silk Ties, Sexy Erotic Xciting

Author Bio

Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with three rowdy children, and two cats. An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They're usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.


 
Email – ajacobsfiction@gmail.com 


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Thursday, 26 October 2017

Kidnapped by the Pirate by Keira Andrews - Release Blitz




Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 85,000 words

Cover Design: Dar Albert @ Wicked Smart Design

Blurb

Will a virgin captive surrender to this pirate’s sinful touch?

Nathaniel Bainbridge is used to hiding, whether it’s concealing his struggles with reading or his forbidden desire for men. Under the thumb of his controlling father, the governor of Primrose Isle, he’s sailing to the fledging colony, where he’ll surrender to a respectable marriage for his family’s financial gain. Then pirates strike and he’s kidnapped for ransom by the Sea Hawk, a legendary villain of the New World.

Bitter and jaded, Hawk harbors futile dreams of leaving the sea for a quiet life, but men like him don’t deserve peace. He has a score to settle with Nathaniel’s father—the very man whose treachery forced him into piracy—and he’s sure Nathaniel is just as contemptible.

Yet as days pass in close quarters, Nathaniel’s feisty spirit and alluring innocence beguile and bewitch. Although Hawk knows he must keep his distance, the desire to teach Nathaniel the pleasure men can share grows uncontrollable. It’s not as though Hawk would ever feel anything for him besides lust…

Nathaniel realizes the fearsome Sea Hawk’s reputation is largely invented, and he sees the lonely man beneath the myth, willingly surrendering to his captor body and soul. As a pirate’s prisoner, he is finally free to be his true self. The crew has been promised the ransom Nathaniel will bring, yet as danger mounts and the time nears to give him up, Hawk’s biggest battle could be with his own heart.


Excerpt

1710

If pirates were to be the bloody, savage end of Nathaniel Bainbridge, he wished they’d get on with it.

The windswept deck was damp beneath his bare feet, prompting thoughts of the dewy grass of home. What he wouldn’t give for the freedom to run across the fields of Hollington Estate, wind rushing in his ears over the steady thump of his heart, the world falling away in his wake.

Instead he was confined by an endless, restless sea taunting him with its wildness. In England, he’d heard countless tales of villainous pirates and their dastardly deeds. People spoke as if the ocean teemed with the brigands, but the voyage had been mile after mile of…nothing.

Nathaniel shook his head at his foolishness. Not that he actually wanted pirates to attack their ship and massacre them. If only he could move, he would keep boredom at bay.

He gripped the railing, longing for dirt beneath his nails, scratches on his palms from tree bark as he climbed and explored, wonderfully aching muscles from hours in the lake. If he could only run a simple mile. Hardly any distance at all, but trapped on the ship, that much clear land would be a marvel.

He wiped sea spray from his eyes. If only the ability to run and jump and swim was worth anything at all in his world instead of being childish folly he was supposed to have outgrown. Men did not climb trees or swim for hours, and certainly they didn’t run for the sheer pleasure of it the way he had at Hollington.

Of course, the estate wasn’t theirs anymore, sold off to pay debts, so even if he made his way back to Kent one day, he would never return to those rolling hills. Its verdant trees and round, tranquil lake would now be home to another family.

No, for the foreseeable future, home would be Primrose Isle, a new colony his father desperately wanted to see flourish. Walter Bainbridge had found his fortunes in England not the least bit fortunate, and as a governor in the New World had the thing he loved most dearly: power.

Nathaniel’s future bride waited there. Elizabeth Davenport stood to inherit quite a fortune, and for the colony—and Walter—to thrive, alliances had to be made. So Nathaniel would do the only useful thing he could and marry.

He brushed a fresh spray of briny seawater from his face as he stared out at the endless night, keeping a firm hold on the rail. His untucked shirt flapped in the breeze, the lower fastenings on his breeches unbuckled under his knees.

In the dark, there was no one to comment on his state of undress, and he supposed the crew didn’t care a whit anyway. His trimmed hair curled at the ends in the dampness, and he tucked a lock behind his ear. It had been his little act of rebellion to cut it much shorter than most gentlemen. He certainly wouldn’t be wearing dreaded wigs, either, if he could help it.

Clouds conspired to hide the stars and razor-thin crescent of moon. He shivered in the late September night’s chill; he really should have worn his hated shoes and jacket.

At least the wind was no longer the bitter cold of the mid-Atlantic as they neared the West Indies. He shifted back and forth on his feet, lifting them like a racehorse stamping at the starting line.

The Proud William was fairly large, a merchant ship carrying a cargo of salt fish and forged metal tools to the colonies. But when he’d attempted even a light trot around the main deck, the crew had reacted with consternation at best, hostility at worst.

Running was his very favorite activity and the thing he excelled at most in life—much to his father’s disgust. Swimming in the lake in summertime, cutting through the placid water with sure, even strokes, was a joy as well.

To be surrounded now by endless water but unable to dive in and soothe his cramped muscles was the worst torture. He’d asked the captain if he could at least climb the mast or sail rigging and had been flatly refused.

So he stood by the starboard rail and sometimes paced, careful to stay out of the crew’s way. At least he had been told their progress was swift, and that after a month’s voyage—thirty-one days and some thirteen hours since they left England, to be exact—they would reach the island in a fortnight if the wind held.

He was informed that some ships took several months to reach the colonies. Ships could leave London the same day and arrive weeks or more apart. Such was the way of the sea.

Staring out at the nothingness, he stopped his restless shifting and squinted. The weak sliver of moon had valiantly escaped the clouds for a moment, and Nathaniel thought he spotted a strange kind of movement. The night took on shape before becoming uniform once more.

Perhaps it had been a great ocean creature surfacing—a whale or giant squid, or some kind of mysterious monster.

He chuckled. Earlier that evening, Susanna had read aloud fables from one of the old leather-bound tomes they’d brought from home, and his imagination was clearly running wild.

She’d always been the far more indulgent of his two older sisters, and he knew she’d packed books he’d favor, although she certainly had a taste for adventurous tales rather than the sentimental stories ladies were supposed to read. They’d both enjoyed the diary of a naval captain who’d served on several ships of the line and described life aboard in vivid detail.

Although the cabin Nathaniel and Susanna shared was tiny, at least they had privacy. He really should rejoin her in their cabin to sleep and end another interminable day, but the walls closed in on him, and it felt like a prison. Susanna’s thunderous snores didn’t help matters, but he couldn’t begrudge her anything.

For the hundredth time, he wondered what his life on Primrose Isle would be like. The colony was only a few years old, and there had been whispers of struggles with agriculture and trade, rumors of corruption and settlers packing up already.

He’d be forced to work for his father or at some other respectable job procured for him, like Susanna’s husband, Bart. Handsome Bart was thirty and penniless, but of good breeding and an agreeable disposition. He and Susanna had insisted on each other, waiting several years until both their fathers gave in and agreed to the match.

Bart seemed happy enough to do Father’s bidding, including leaving early for Primrose Isle some months ago, not knowing at the time Susanna was with child. When Walter Bainbridge made a demand, it was met. Sometimes Nathaniel marveled that a man he had rarely seen since childhood could loom so large.

Susanna and Bart had hated to be parted, but she was needed to oversee the packing up of the estate and auction of the more valuable items. Certainly it couldn’t have been left to Nathaniel, who wouldn’t have known where to begin given he’d spent as much time outside away from the ornate house as he could.

Nathaniel had considered refusing when he and Susanna were summoned. But what would he do? Where would he live? His marriage to Elizabeth had been agreed upon by their fathers, and should he fail in his duty, Walter would disown him. He’d have nothing, not even a roof over his head.

Bile rose in his throat. No, that would not do. So onward to Primrose Isle he went, to marry as his father saw fit. All he knew of Elizabeth Davenport was that she’d lived with her wealthy family for some years in Jamaica before her father joined forces with Walter to establish a shipping company on Primrose.

Well, he also knew her writing was unfailingly neat, and from Susanna’s recounting of the letter, that Elizabeth enjoyed needlework and greatly looked forward to sharing her life with him.

He’d received her letter just before leaving England and had burned it in the grate in his room. At least the voyage was a worthy excuse for not responding. And as much as he’d wished to stay in England, he couldn’t allow dear Susanna to sail the perilous Atlantic alone.

Although with how smooth their journey had been, completely lacking in beasts of the deep or even a gale of note, he apparently hadn’t needed to fret. Still, it was done.

He’d accepted years ago that he was feeble-minded, and although he knew he should be grateful for the opportunity to hold a position of at least some stature on the new colony, he dreaded the notion of truly being under his father’s thumb once more.

It had been blissful having his father overseas for years. He supposed he should feel remorse for such churlish thoughts, but there was so much else to consume his stores of guilt.

So much else indeed.

He turned away from the rail, resigning himself to another long night in the swaying hammock. Susanna was of course sleeping in the cot in the only cabin their father could afford now that he’d squandered so much money.

The cry from above pierced the night, and Nathaniel jumped a mile.

“Sails!”

In the flurry of activity and shouts, he pressed himself to the ship’s side as the crew emerged from the hull like ants. Nathaniel squinted into the darkness, turning to and fro and seeing nothing.

Then he spotted it—the hulk of a ship emerging from the night, not a single light flickering upon it, drawn to The Proud William like a moth to flame. With a sickening twist of his stomach, he realized he had indeed spotted a monster, and it was upon them.

He raced down to the cabin, bursting inside. Chestnut curls unpinned and tumbling over her shoulders, Susanna bolted up on the cot, her book thudding to the floor. One hand pressed to her round belly, she cried out, “What is it?”

“I think it’s pirates.” He could hardly believe the words as he uttered them. Had he wished them into existence by grumbling over boredom? Oh, what a fool he was.

The blood drained from Susanna’s sweet, round face. “Pirates?”

“I don’t know what else it could be.” He threw open a trunk and dug for his sheathed dagger, cursing himself for not raising the alarm sooner. His mind raced, thoughts jumbled as he grasped the hilt of the weapon and tossed the leather scabbard aside.

The thunder of the crew’s footsteps shook the ceiling, dust motes shaking loose and shouts filling the air. Susanna looked down at her nightgown, despairing.

“There’s no time for petticoats or any of that nonsense.” She threw her flowing green gown over her head, her voice muffled by it. “My God, it really is pirates, isn’t it? Oh, I think I’m stuck.”

Nathaniel helped tug the material down over her swollen belly. She emerged from the folds of soft fabric and peered up at the ceiling, as if she could see through the hull. Footsteps scuffled and thumps reverberated, tense voices shouting commands too distant to make out clearly.

Susanna whispered, “No gunshots. Must be too many. The crew isn’t fighting them. Help me pin this shut.” She had stopped wearing her corset, adopting what was apparently a new French style while she was with child.

After he’d pinned the material enough that the robe-like gown would stay put, drawing a prick of blood from his fingertip in his haste, Nathaniel yanked on his stockings and refastened his breeches below his knees before jamming his feet into his buckled shoes. He wouldn’t face these brigands in a state of undress.

He tucked the dagger into the back of his trousers and whipped on his sleeveless waistcoat, fingers clumsy on the buttons. But there was no time for his cravat or jacket. Raised voices already echoed down the corridor. He spun about, belatedly hoping to find something to bar the door.

Susanna had apparently had the same thought. “The trunks aren’t heavy enough. Besides, it will only anger them. It’s no use.”

“Get behind me.” He urged her to the back of the cabin, which was barely wider than the breadth of one’s outstretched arms.

“Be sure to mind your tongue,” she said. “You know how thoughts can sometimes go right from your head and out your mouth without pausing for assessment.”

He huffed. “What exactly do you think I’m going to say to pirates?”

“Shh!” She slapped his shoulder. They waited, listening.

More pounding footsteps, and shouts that possessed an undeniably feral quality. The hair on Nathaniel’s body stood on end, his mouth going dry. Perhaps the pirates would pass them by. Perhaps they’d plunder the cargo and be done with it. Perhaps—

The door burst open, almost flying off its hinges, and Nathaniel barely held in his yelp. His heart drummed so loudly he was certain the two invaders could hear. One of them brushed matted hair from his eyes. They both wore ripped and stained trousers as baggy as their shirts, and their boots were worn out.

The long-haired man’s beady gaze raked them up and down, and he asked his squat companion, “You ever fuck a bitch with pup?”

Nathaniel’s stomach swooped. How do they know? Susanna was hidden behind him. He lifted his chin, forcing strength to his words. “You shan’t lay so much as one filthy finger on my sister.”

Ignoring him, the squat man leered, baring snaggled, yellow teeth. He answered his friend’s question. “Good and juicy, I tell you.”

Behind him, Susanna dug her fingers into Nathaniel’s shoulder. Heart in his throat, he yanked the dagger from the waist of his breeches, brandishing it toward the pirates. “Stay back!”

The two blinked at Nathaniel, then each other, before bursting into raucous laughter. The long-haired man said, “Oh no, we’re done for, Deeks!”

Heavy footfalls sounded in the corridor, brazen and commanding. Spines snapping straight, the pirates stepped aside as a man filled the doorway, shoulders almost brushing the frame. He was tall enough to duck slightly as he entered, and his sharp gaze swept the cabin, which had never seemed quite so small.

He wore black from head to gold-tipped toes—open-collared shirt, trousers tucked into knee-high boots, and a long leather coat that flared out behind him. A pistol was tucked into his wide belt, and a cutlass winked from his hip. Gold gleamed on the belt buckle, matching the small square earring in his left ear, rings on his fingers, and the tips of those black boots.

The ends of a red sash dangled over his hip, the only splash of color aside from the gold. He had to be twice Nathaniel’s age, his face weather-worn, a scar jagging across his left temple. His dark hair was cut fairly close to his head, a surprise since Nathaniel had expected all pirates to have long, unruly hair like the animals they were.

His trimmed beard shadowed his strong jaw. In the low light, the color of his narrowed eyes was impossible to ascertain, but Nathaniel imagined they must be as black as the pirate’s soul.

He might have been the very devil himself.

Nathaniel’s palm sweated around the handle of the dagger, and he hated the tremors in his outstretched arm. His throat was painfully dry, and he croaked, “We—we don’t have anything of value. No gold or jewels worth your effort.”

Susanna added, “Even my wedding ring is plated.”

Tully, one of the Proud William’s young crew, had entered the cabin. The man—the pirate captain, undoubtedly—glanced to him. Tully nodded. “’Tis true. Only clothin’ and trinkets in their trunks.” He sniffed dismissively, tossing his reddish hair. “Nothin’ hidden anywhere in here we could find since we left London.”

Nathaniel had thought better of the crew, but saw now how na├»ve he’d been. It must have been Tully who had informed the pirates that Susanna was with child. “What a coward you are, Tully.”

He snorted. “As soon as I got a good look at the flag, I knew we were done for. Everyone knows the Sea Hawk will gut you from stem to stern once you’re in his talons. I ain’t dying for cargo I don’t give a fuck about and a captain who treats us like garbage.”

“Your destination is Primrose Isle?” The pirate—this Sea Hawk—demanded, his tone low and calm.

“Yes,” Nathaniel answered. “It’s a new colony.”

Tully nodded. “Her husband’s there. We’re to drop them off with their father. The old man’s the guvnor or some such thing.”

At this, the Sea Hawk seemed to jolt, but a moment later the ripple had vanished and he was still again, fearsome and dispassionate. Nathaniel thought he must have imagined the hiccup.

Yet a gleam entered the captain’s devilish eyes, and dread slithered through Nathaniel. The Sea Hawk loomed nearer and demanded, in the same deliberate but undeniable manner, “Your name, boy.”

Heart hammering, all he could manage was, “Uh…”

“This one’s called Bainbridge,” Tully offered.

“Bainbridge,” the captain repeated, barely a whisper now. “As in Walter Bainbridge?”

Fingers going numb around the dagger, Nathaniel nodded. He’d have bruises where Susanna clung to him, her sharp exhalations ghosting over the nape of his neck. There was no sense denying it. “Our father.”

“You’re the son Walter Bainbridge killed his wife to achieve?” The captain’s focus sent chills down Nathaniel’s spine.

He couldn’t hide his wince, and had to nod. His mother had never even held him before the rest of her lifeblood drained away. Susanna had been but six, spying through the keyhole, and she’d confessed it all after Nathaniel’s endless badgering when he was a lad.

Strange how he could experience the aching, hollow absence of a touch he’d never had, even after eighteen years.

The captain’s eyes glinted. Good God, the man was enormous. Nathaniel was tall enough, five feet and seven inches or so, but this monster towered well over six feet. It was all Nathaniel could do to hold his ground and not stagger back against Susanna. The tip of his blade quivered mere inches from the villain’s black heart.

The Sea Hawk gazed down at them as though they were prey he was most eager to consume. “Your father is a liar. Corrupt. An evildoer in silk stockings and a curled wig.”

Nathaniel swallowed hard, hand shaking. Could he lunge and push the dagger into this vile man’s heart? Not that he had much love for his father, but who was a pirate to talk of evildoers?

The Sea Hawk’s eyes glowed with hatred. “Your father cheated me. He was tasked with justice, with fairness. Instead he conspired to steal from me. He branded me a pirate when I was a privateer.”

“Aren’t they the same thing?” Nathaniel blurted. As the Sea Hawk’s nostrils flared, Susanna dug her nails into Nathaniel’s shoulder.

“No, they fucking are not,” the pirate gritted out. “Privateers are licensed. Legal. Privateers follow rules. Laws. Just as your father was supposed to as a judge in the Court of Admiralty in Jamaica. Your father tried to strip me and my men of everything we’d worked and suffered for. We escaped him, but in the years that have followed, he has never paid the price.”

Dread consumed Nathaniel. His father’s greed and avarice would once again bring suffering. If not for Walter’s mounting debts, Nathaniel and Susanna would still be safe at home, waiting until she had her babe before making the journey. Hollington wouldn’t have had to be sold at all, and now they faced God knew what at the mercy of pirates.

Oh Lord. Please spare Susanna and her child!


Bile rose in his throat at the thought of any harm coming to his sister, terror clammy on his skin. Sweat slipped down Nathaniel’s spine. “I…” He racked his brain for something—anything—to say, some means of escape. His dagger shook, and he licked his dry lips. “I’m sorry.” He had to fix this.

A slow, ghastly smile curled the devil’s lips. “You will be.”

Author Bio

After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, fantasy, and paranormal fiction and — although she loves delicious angst along the way — Keira firmly believes in happy endings. 
For as Oscar Wilde once said:

“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”