wavessmall.jpgMy new release Waves of Time is a big hit with the readers and here is why
This new Time Travel Romance is not just a story it is an adventure in Time! I thought it would be nice to share with you a few chapters of Waves of Time and introduce Corin and Rogan to you. So sit back and enjoy the read
WAVES OF TIME
Angry over a broken contract Corin McCloud stows away on the 1800 schooner. The journey barely begins when a violent storm rolls over the schooner, throwing Corin’s world upside down and lands her in Charlotte Amalie, 1725.
Rogan Drake must infiltrate the powerful Black Council to find the pirate that murdered his brother. It has taken him two years to build his reputation as the infamous pirate--Dragon. He forgoes a meeting with the council’s emissary to keep an eye on a girl that just entered the city. She certainly wasn’t from here, not dressed so…openly. “Brave little woman, but hardly wise.” The exotic shape of her eyes reminded him of a wild cat. Add in the sensual blend of amber and chocolate, and a man could drown in their depth. “Are you untamed my little stranger?”
Can Rogan give up his quest of revenge to keep Corin safe? Will she accept her new life as his wife? Can they both survive the anger of Black Diamond, the most notorious pirate in the Caribbean?
Published by JA Creations
Copyright © 2013 Jewel Adams
All Right Reserved
Names, characters and incidents depicted in this book are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author or the publisher. This is a work of historical fiction and as such word usage, grammar and spelling can be depicted of the setting and should not be confused with current word usage, grammar and spelling.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Electronic formats are numerous for the variety of readers now available. Due to the different formats there can be problems with fonts, spacing and words. Please realize the novel is edited and copy edited, and that these types of errors can happen after the fact.
Cover Artist: Beverly Haynes
Editor: Juliette Ashton
Waves of Time is a complete revision of a previous release by Jewel Adams titled Scarlet Raven.
Sometimes in our lives there is a shining light in our hearts, Josh will always be our shining light.
Corin smothered a groan as she stretched out her cramped legs. The easy movement of the schooner through the water soon became the only comfort she found on the third morning in her hiding place.
She raised her arms up touching the bow’s hull above her head. Smiling, she let her hand run down the smooth thick wood that held back the ocean’s strength. Patting it, “You’re stronger.”
She’d started talking affectionately to the ship that first long day. Stowing away isn’t how she planned to be on board, but it worked. They would be passing the keys today. Once Captain Mac sailed beyond them Corin would make her presence known, he wasn’t the type to turn back, no matter how furious he might become. “You, my dear Captain, can get my fare from Mr. Worth and good luck to you.”
Though her decision happened instantaneously, she thought it over for the last two days. If the captain did dump her at the first port, she’d either fly on to France or stay a while and work in one of the resorts. Regardless, she was on her way and refused to let the ill beginning dampen her outlook on the adventure ahead. “Male chauvinist, how dare he refuse to take me on as one of his crew!”
Corin pushed the ugly memory away and opened one of her three remaining candy bars that Janice begged her to bring. Corin ate it with guilty relish. Her friend would understand once they met up in France. She settled back into her cubby and fell into more pleasing thoughts about the coming weeks. Anything to keep her mind off the soon to be raging man up on deck, “At least walking the plank is outlawed…”
“Ouch!” The painful hit reminded her of the cramped position she still sat in. Rubbing her sore scalp the violent downward thrust of the bow sent her hands out, groping for something to hold onto. Another rocking sway brought her out her sleepy haze. Catching her breath Corin realized the Raven must have sailed into the throes of a violent storm.
“He’ll need my help.” On all fours Corin left the confines of the bow. It took all her strength to make it to the companion way and ladder. After several attempts she finally managed to open the hatch, releasing a wall of frigid water over the top of her. Sucking in her breath she struggled on deck and using all her weight against the wind’s force she managed to close the hatch.
Holding on to it, she finally got her bearings and located the captain at the helm. Corin made a lunge for the rope rail, her hands locked on to it just as the Raven took a heart stopping drop. A wall of water washed over the side forcing Corin to hold on or be taken over with the receding water. Shaken, but knowing she must help, Corin moved hand over hand to reach the captain. His violent curse cut through the howling wind, telling her he saw her progress.
“Damn fool. Get below and crawl back into whatever hole you came out of!”
Undaunted by his anger she yelled out. “I want to help!”
“Help? Prayers will help, I’ve already lost two men! Get the picture little lady!” His hands ran frantically over the wheel, turning it to correct the lean that the full sails were causing.
“The main sail is still up!” Corin’s voice held the fear she felt.
“The storm came out of nowhere!” The broken fact didn’t change the danger.
Before she realized what she was doing she started making her way to the mast where the last crew member frantically worked. Corin shouted across the wind. “What can I do?”
His shock at seeing her vanished over the fear glaring out of his eyes. “Take the crank and help me bring her down!”
They worked in a silent frenzy to secure the sail. Once down Corin tied down the wild, flapping sail. The wind grew stronger, tearing at Corin as she fought to maintain her hold.
A shattering sound filled the air above the howling gusts. Turning, she saw one of the riggings rip loose, but before she could move, a more frightening force seized her to the spot.
Lightening blue, the unnatural glow swept over the entire ship casting it in an eerie blue light. Corin heard a scream not knowing if it came from her or someone else. Entranced by the shimmering, living light, she covered her ears against the roar that consumed her and left a swirling madness in its wake.
The nightmare struck out again drawing a frightened whimper from her parched lips. Corin tried to roll away and escape the light, but it stayed with her. Beneath her palm the warmth from the deck penetrated her flesh chasing away the strange nothingness filled with frightening images. She forced her thick black lashes open enough to face where she might be. The glare of the wood planks spread out before her. A thin line of crystal blue water pulsed where the deck ended.
“The Raven.” Corin’s breathless relief eased the tight hold in her chest. Very cautiously she pushed herself up into a sitting position. The pains started with the movement. Her hands couldn’t halt the roar assaulting her head.
After several seconds it began to ease and she took a tentative look around the schooner. The storm’s ravage force left its mark over the open deck. Corin needed to move, she looked up and over each mast breathing a little easier when she failed to find any major damage.
Wrapping her arms around her waist she moved around the deck unable to shake the feeling she wouldn’t find anyone aboard. She sat out on the cat walk for a long time before coming to terms with what happened, while the Raven drifted in the calm waters. The bright sun and blue seas made it hard to believe the fury she lived through last night.
Brushing away her silent tears she said another prayer for the men out there hoping they survived.
Corin took a deep breath and pushed her panic down, “Sitting here won’t help anyone.”
She forced the terrible thoughts away that they were beyond help as she made her way to the captain’s cabin. As she hoped, she found a ship to shore radio. The Raven didn’t have too much modern equipment, as a relic in the original state as a 19th century schooner. She was thankful the captain didn’t forego the radio. After half an hour she failed to hail static let alone a voice. Everything seemed to be working. She couldn’t understand what could be wrong. Even if the storm blew them off course there should be a ship or something within range.
Corin finally gave up and went back on deck. Seeing nothing with the binoculars, she kicked off her shoes and began the climb up the main mast. From the crow’s nest Corin made a complete scan of the horizon. She came nearly full circle before seeing the intrusion into the blue water. “Land ho!”
She took a bearing then shimmied down the mast feeling better than she had since coming to on deck. Using the hand crank, Corin raised the forestall sail. Hurrying to the wheel she swung it about to catch the wind. The sail quickly filled to capacity. Corin could only manage the one sail alone. At a slow, but safer pace, the Raven moved easily through the smooth water.
Lacking a real bearing to determine her course and hoped the approaching shallows weren’t reef bound.
Corin didn’t see any sign of a port or buildings as she ran parallel with the coast line of what she felt was a large island. She passed up the first cove not liking the brighter shades of blue waters indicating shallows. The Raven had a shallow draft, but distance in water could be deceiving. She did find an open cove free of any tell tale white caps over reefs, but decided to go on a little further.
Checking out the lowering sun she needed to make a decision and soon.
As she came around a point another larger open coastline greeted her. Sweeping out wide Corin raced across the deck and lowered the sail to half mast. She ran back to turn the wheel and held her breath that the deep midnight blue water held no hidden dangers. In as far as she dare to go, Corin released the anchor. Securing the sail she finally relaxed at the easy rocking of the Raven. “I did it!”
Her victory was a lonely one, but just as thrilling. “All those classes were worth the price.”
Corin paced the deck under the sparkling blanket of stars. The full moon made the white sandy beach glow in silvery enchantment. Tomorrow morning she would go ashore and see if anyone lived on the island. It appeared too large not to have a town of some kind. She’d seen mountains up the coast line. It reminded her of St. Thomas making her wonder how long she’d been unconscious. She knew of no other island with this terrain.
Where ever she landed, Corin decided to be cautious in her approach. The radio still remained silent, even her small portable wasn’t picking up anything. The captain’s might have been damaged by the storm, but hers remained safely stowed in the bow. She would find no answers until tomorrow.
Corin rose before dawn to be ready at first light for her swim to the beach. She regretted not being able to wear her jeans to fight off the thick vegetation; the skirt and blouse she choose were light and would dry fast over her bikini.
She wrapped her sneakers and blouse inside the skirt tied around her waist. “Don’t go anywhere Raven, I’ll be back.”
Standing on the rail her sleek dive cut through the crystal blue water. Her strong artful strokes soon brought her to the sandy bottom. Corin stood and walked into the beach ringing out the water from her thick, waist length hair. She squeezed as much water from her braid as she could before putting on the soaked clothes. The white blouse stuck against her skin making the bright flowers of her bikini show the full rounded curves of her breast. Pulling on the flowered skirt she gave up trying to unstick it from her skin and slipped the sneakers on in the water, hoping to avoid some of the sand.
The beach looked beautiful, everything she always wanted to find. It felt as if no one ever stepped foot on it before today. Corin laughed at the foolish thought and started down the coastline. Every so often she took a large piece of broken conch shell and scratched an X on a palm tree, hoping the fresh scaring would be noticeable under the moonlight.
The sun was high when she finished a rather treacherous climb over a high cliff face. Collapsing on the thick grass at the top, she felt like she’d been walking for hours.
From her perch, the cove below became visible, the sight was breathtaking. Below her cliff sat a deep inlet that cut into the trees between the cliff and the land. She absently made a mental note that the Raven could easily clear the inlet. From her vantage point she could see the reef in front of the cove’s only entrance. It ran close against the land side and would be a dangerous sail, but it could be done.
She swam the inlet to reach the cliff, but from here Corin could see an easier passage around the cliff base. She tried to avoid the jungle growth fearing she might get lost, but at night it would be a better route.
Rest time went too fast and upon rising she found an easier slope going down. Looking further up the coast she shouted out. “I knew it!”
The small cluster of white buildings must be the town she came to find. It was set back against the rise of escalating hills; before it, the massive harbor was filled with large ships. “Looks like a walk through the jungle and I’ll be home free.”
All the while she fought her way through the trees and undergrowth Corin kept asking herself why she hadn’t raised anything on the radio.
Hot and tired she broke out of the thick vegetation and onto a crushed shell road. Pushing back damp bangs she started following it. “On the way back I’ll stick to the beaches.” She thought it would be shorter to leave the shoreline she wouldn’t make that mistake again.
The sun was directly overhead when she began to hear activity from the town she approached. Corin pulled the blouse knot beneath her breast tighter, letting the shirt tails hang lazily down below her exposed midriff.
A woman carrying a lace parasol on the arm of a formal dressed man passed her. Corin smiled at them, the man touched his hat in a polite manner until the lady jabbed him in the ribs.
Corin giggled wickedly, pitying the man for the tirade he would undoubtedly receive once they were out of the public eye. She reminded herself never to be the jealous type.
As she made her way down the street into town things began pricking at her mind. Odd, minor things like the style of the clothes on the men and women alike, the lack of cars. Her head still turned when a donkey drawn cart passed by her.
But they were insignificant in light of the very bold curiosity coming from the men she passed. They themselves earned her guarded glances. Gawd, they look positively barbaric. Most of them carried swords or large knives and pistols were brandished from their thick belts. Many wore high leather boots with wide cuffs at the knees. The pants were tight of a light fabric or as loose as the large blousy shirts.
Corin nearly turned full circle at the man walking pass her. She bit her lip to keep the laughter from bubbling up and over because of his large dark hat with an elaborate feather coming down the side.
Under her breath, “Gawd, it’s red besides.”
She became enthralled by the people and didn’t notice the fact that she walked into the middle of town. She came to an immediate halt when she caught a glance of the harbor and nearly collapsed over the sight.
Large mast ships of all sizes and shapes dotted the water. At the docks stood what couldn’t be mistaken for anything but a “Spanish Galleon…”
“She’s beautiful, I’ll give you that.”
Not looking at the voice that cut through her astonishment, Corin suddenly grew very nervous and moved off the walkway to avoid the man.
Rogan had been following her for some time. The beauty caught nearly every man’s eye since she entered the town. His heated gaze fell to the natural swing of her fully curved and enticingly small hips. Raising his gaze to the satin flatness of her bronzed waist, Rogan felt his loins tighten in alarming velocity.
The exotic caress of that thick roped hair held the color of polished teak and his fingers itched to feel the softness fall through his fingers.
Wherever she appeared from he knew she certainly wasn’t from here, not dressed so…openly. He would give her credit, she was braver than most the women he knew, but hardly wise. Looking closer, Rogan watched the way her eyes took in the docked ships, floating from one to the next, all the while their deep rich brown grew larger. No, he was wrong, her eyes weren’t just brown, but amber and chocolate all mixed into a sensual blend a man could drown in. Their shape intrigued him, almost wild like a cat. “Are you untamed my little stranger?”
Keeping his distance, Rogan ignored Big Dan’s wave to go, Billings could wait, Rogan suddenly found a more interesting priority.
Corin nervously ran her fingers through the feathered bangs that hid her eyes from his. He still followed her. She pretended to stop and look over a frigate showing an odd but familiar British flag. She couldn’t stop stealing looks at the man.
Man, oh yes he was more of a man than she’d ever seen. Broad, powerful shoulders, she needed to breathe hard over the temptation they inspired. For a second she let herself daydream over how it would feel to be held by such strength. She could envision her fingertips tracing the bold line of rigid muscles. They would travel down across the large wall of copper skinned chest, sprinkled with sun-kissed hair. Heavens, he looked like Hercules, only better with that wild dark mane of silky waves.
Corin swallowed hard; she didn’t dare look beyond the deep open vee that exposed the corded expanse of his trim waist. She forced her eyes up from the bulging thighs and other more potent evidence of his masculinity and looked directly into those relaxed blue eyes.
Sucking in her breath their crystal depths trapped her own. He definitely witnessed her brazen scrutiny and silently told her he liked what he saw when he took the liberty to see her as well.
A firing blush crept up her throat and she could feel the heat radiating from her face. Unable to end what she started, her eyes fell upon his parted lips smiling confidently at her from that fierce square jaw. Instead of being insulted, Corin felt an unfamiliar heat strike hard and fast in the most womanly part of her body.
What the hell was wrong with her? Corin never reacted to any man like this, never wanted to, but she seemed incapable of breaking the spell that started between them.
The sudden ringing of a loud bell made her jump. Having severed his invisible hold over her, she moved with the crowd, hoping to lose the man and the unwanted power he wielded.
“Hear ye all, citizens and visitors of the gracious Governor of Charlotte Amalie. ‘Tis a warrant for the arrest of the pirate called Dragon.”
Someone in the crowd called out. “How much is the bounty man?”
“Thirty gold pieces my friend, if you’re brave enough to bring him in alive. Twenty if he’s dead.”
A man in back of the crowd laughed out. “Taint’ worth me life! That one’s no ordinary pirate.”
Corin didn’t know what to make of all this. Their jest didn’t camouflage the serious intensions. Her own humor deserted her.
She rubbed her bare arms when the man began to hammer the notice on the board. She didn’t like any of the feelings taking hold of her since seeing the harbor and what it held. Whispering to herself, “Charlotte Amalie? But how?”
The crowd began to break up. She walked on unsteady feet, drawn to the notice, yet afraid of what she might find. The elaborate hand writing flowed over the crisp parchment. Her eyes raced over the words until they found what they searched for--with shaking fingers she traced the date as if confirming its existence.
“June 18th, 1725…”
“It should be at least 100 gold pieces.”
Jumping back, Corin’s frighten voice spoke out, “What?”
“The reward, ‘tis not enough.”
Confused by what she just saw and having Hercules standing in front of her, made Corin sway. When his hand captured her arm she tried to break free from the heat of his touch.
“Dear lady, I fear you are overcome by Charlotte Amalie’s noon sun.”
“Yes, I guess. Please let go of me.”
His release came slow as if he regretted obliging her request.
“Does the talk of pirates frighten you?”
Something close to anger flared in the man making her wonder just how bad these pirates were.
“What? Oh no, I guess not, I’ve never known any.” Her words sounded as ridiculous to her ears as the soft laughter they earned from the man. His nearness must be confusing her. Corin couldn’t stop feeling that she’d missed something important. She needed to think and started to walk away, but he fell in step with her.
“I hope you don’t have the call to see any, my lady.”
“Why would I?”
“The waters are full of them.”
Corin heard about the thieves on the open seas. How unsuspecting ships stumbled onto drug drops and were killed for their mistake. But why didn’t she think he meant that. Why?
“Then I will be careful.”
“Are you sailing soon?”
“I…no, maybe.” Corin’s thoughts became occupied by the coach coming down the street, causing her to stop and stare as it passed.
“That’s a coach.” She could have kicked herself for not keeping her thought to herself.
His blue eyes followed her intent interest in the common vehicle passing them. “Where are you from?”
Corin didn’t miss the man’s surprise.
Rogan’s brows drew close over her lack of knowledge. The fear he glimpsed wasn’t because of the notice. Neither did he think that his presence confused her. He quickly lost any argument he should not care what her problems were, he couldn’t make himself leave her side. Rogan didn’t have to look around to know of the hungry eyes following her.
Rogan started asking her what part of New Orleans but she abruptly stopped.
Her ashen pallor made Rogan fear that she’d swoon. “What is it? Answer me!”
Her arm came up and pointed, he could see her lips were shaking too much to speak. The girl’s enlarged eyes never left the unfortunate soul the governor hung that morning. Rogan detested the practice of leaving such a sight up as a warning to others not to thieve.
Taking hold of her shoulders he turned her about and away from the ugly scene. Rogan brought his arm about her waist and gently drew her against him. An unfair advantage, due to her shocked senses, but he wasn’t beyond taking it as he led her away. His palms were alive against the gentle woman in their hold. Slim, she felt like satin and she moved sensually beneath his hold. The slight flare of her lovely hips brushed against his thigh, creating a fierce response in his tightening groin. Pure strength and willpower kept him from embarrassing them both by displaying what he wanted from the lady. Rogan didn’t remember experiencing such a strong and instant attraction for any woman, it felt unsettling yet extremely stimulating.
But for all her bold attire or lack of it, he didn’t believe the lady would willing submit to the roughish thoughts taking hold of him at the moment.
“Why did they do such a thing?”
Caught off guard, “What?”
“Hang that poor man and then leave him there. Why it’s barbaric and sick!”
“'Tis the way and not uncommon. Why, even in New Orleans they still practice hanging.”
His statement made her steps falter.
Corin wanted to run, be sick and cleanse away the fear taking root. It couldn’t be possible. Pushing the thoughts away she tried to concentrate on why she came here.
“I must find the police.”
“Law, someone in authority.”
“There is the Governor…”
“I guess he’ll do. Where is he?”
He fought with answering, “It is that way.” No, he couldn’t tell her how inappropriate her attire might be. Rogan searched the crowd looking for Big Dan and Terry, waving them back to follow.
He felt every response, no matter how slight from the woman at his side. That she didn’t refuse his hold stopped surprising him, he almost wondered if she realized he remained. No, the lady’s attention became captured by what she saw around her and she’d taken the insults given to her entreating smiles very hard. Instinctively, Rogan realized this woman wasn’t what she appeared to be. Women that gave their treasures freely weren’t affected by what the others thought. She suffered the reaction of a lady unaccustomed to the ways of the streets.
And yet he couldn’t place her with the women proper or society dames.
The nervous way she tucked her hair in back and tried to straighten her slight blouse tore at Rogan’s senses.
Corin didn’t understand why he stayed with her. The eerie feelings inside her only grew more pronounced as they walked through the strange streets. The looks she received made her grateful for the large man’s presence. More than once she caught the lecherous way men’s eyes followed her. But the disgust she glimpsed and felt from the women made her begin to shake. It didn’t take a fool to realize she wasn’t up to their standards. The only group she came close to fitting into made her own sensibilities revolt.
When they entered the cool interior of the place he brought her to, Corin took a moment to adjust to the opulent surroundings.
When the uniformed man looked curiously up from his papers Corin couldn’t put it off any longer. She turned to her escort. “Thank you for bringing me, I hope it wasn’t out of your way.”
“You can be sure it wasn’t, my lady.”
The formality he used made Corin straighten. Calling on her pride she didn’t want to show him anything that would demean herself in his eyes. She didn’t care why she felt so strongly, she just wanted the respect he held her in to stay in those beautiful blue eyes.
“I better go.” Turning away from him she forced herself to walk determinedly to the desk.
“I need to see the Governor, please.”
The man’s eyes were shameful the way they went over her. The half smile he gave her infuriated Corin beyond all the others.
“Really, and if I screamed at the top of my lungs, would he still be busy?”
His eyes grew large over her threat. Corin took a deep breath to insure he believed her. She’d done the same thing once in grade school and both times it worked beautifully.
“Come this way please.”
He opened the double doors and she followed. A portly man was seated behind a ridiculously large desk. The brocade waistcoat and vest that he wore over the lace ascot shirt nearly became her undoing. All she could think is that the man must be dying in all those garments and in this heat. Taking a peak beneath the table, she almost spoke out her thoughts over the lace stockings and garters that he wore.
“Whom shall I say is requesting an audience?”
“Miss Corin Elizabeth Ann McCloud.” She wished she possessed ten more names to throw in just so the pompous ass would have to repeat them. The whole procedure sounded comical, the man being no more than ten feet in front of them.
All he got for his effort was a rude ‘humph’.
Turning back to her, he asked. “And what is the nature of your audience?”
Having had more than she could tolerate, Corin walked past the red faced man and came to stand directly in front of the desk. She waited patiently for the man’s spectacled eyes to come up and look at her.
“Good day Governor.”
She put him in an uncomfortable position and enjoyed his dilemma.
“Good day to you, Miss McCloud.”
“I have some very tragic information to tell you, sir. If it is alright I would prefer to tell you face to face.”
The man leaned back in his chair and seemed to contemplate her rather rushed outburst before dismissing the man throwing daggers at her away.
Corin couldn’t help but turn and watch him be dismissed. It was then she realized her escort never left at all, but stood only a foot or so behind her. Flustered, she didn’t dare look him and maintain her composure, but before she turned back to the Governor, her self-appointed guardian winked at her.
“Well young woman, what is the tragedy?”
She came here to tell them, but suddenly it seemed so pointless. “I, there was a fierce storm at sea.”
“How long ago?”
“I’m not sure exactly, I must have been unconscious for some time.”
“What port did you sail from?”
“Port? It would be New Orleans.”
“When did you leave?”
“That’s only five days ago. Rogan, isn’t it too far to be that much off course?”
Corin tried not to show her agitation over the man bringing her guardian into their conversation. Rogan? Such an unusual name, but it did fit him.
“I asked what happened?”
“The storm, it was awful, there was this frightening blue light…When I came around there was no one left.”
“You mean the whole crew washed over?”
“Yes sir. Can you take out a search party?”
“And where might we start? You hail from New Orleans and in five days you are in Charlotte Amalie. I’m sorry, but you were unconscious for some time I’m afraid. When did you wash up?”
“Wash up?” His words and the meaning seemed to move through her at an incredible speed, like the blue light. Closing her eyes at the memory. “I…the date…on the notice…”
“Rogan! For God’s sake catch her!”
John didn’t need to yell, Rogan sensed her weakness even before her knees gave out, lifting her up in his arms.
“John, I’ll take care of the lady, she obviously has no relatives about.”
“I think it would be wise, she must get some decent clothes Rogan. Though it is a treat…”
Rogan gave his friend a warning glance that ended an old man’s musing.
“If you don’t mind I’ll take our leave by the back entrance, she’s already created quite a stir in your city.”
“By all means.”
John held the door for the man. “Rogan we need to talk.”
“Tonight John, right now I’ve other more enticing duties to perform.”
Nowhere to run
“Stay close to her.”
The large man smiled in understanding over the captain’s order. He would have been surprised if the man hadn’t taken notice of the lass. If only she could keep him away from the destructive course he set his life on these last years.
Dan moved back, pulling the door quietly shut in order not to wake the lady. He moved back into the shadows and took up his vigil, wondering who needed him more this night. But Terry would be with the captain should anything go amiss. That scoundrel Billings wasn’t to be trusted, but then none of the low life Rogan Drake fell into company with would come close to being called gentlemen.
Spitting on the floor in disgust he folded his massive arms across the equally expressive chest. Rogan was right about one thing; the pretty lass inside the room needed someone’s protection. That she seemed unaware of the danger following her this afternoon made her more vulnerable to what lurked in these streets.
The moon beam cutting through the open window intruded the dreamless darkness. Her arm came up to wave away the troubled thoughts invading her sleep.
Corin bolted up and gripped the soft cover against her body. “I’m…naked. Oh Gawd.”
Groping at the silky sheet she pulled it about her, berating herself for fainting. She remembered what that man said about New Orleans and she knew she couldn’t have drifted that far.
“But it can’t be possible…1725? No, I won’t believe it. I can’t!”
Corin scooted off the large four poster bed and frantically started a search for her clothes. “Damn him!”
The image of the man made her groan and pull the sheet closer as a heated blush stained her cheeks.
She stopped in front of the gown draped over the chair. Corin blew up at her bangs in disgust. “This won’t do.”
Her stubbornness not to touch the fluffy thing only lasted a few seconds over her distress at being naked. But, before her fingers could touch the lovely pink dress the voices and approaching steps set her flying back to the bed. Corin barely managed to take a relaxing pose and fake sleeping when the door opened. She kept her eyes closed and forced her breathing to be slow and easy.
“No doubt she is exhausted from her ordeal. No one’s reported of any ship going down. The Governor is going to send out a search party to comb the coast in the morning. They should find wreckage if nothing else.”
She didn’t need to see him, his presence filled her senses.
“How did the lass ever survive?”
“When she wakes I’ll be sure and ask her. Don’t leave her. We’ll be back late.”
“Be careful Rogan.”
“Aye, a pirate like Billings would love to cut my throat. Too bad he’s a coward.”
“A sneak like that is unpredictable.”
They left then, closing the door behind them.
“Pirates?” The air rushed out of her, everything was worse than she believed. “But how did it happen?”
Before her panic took hold Corin needed to get away from here and back to the Raven. If they found the schooner Corin instinctively knew she’d be lost. The ship promised the only way out of this place. “I must get back to New Orleans.”
She gathered up the clothes and laid them out on the bed. She nearly let out a squeal of nervous laughter. “A corset? Sorry, not my style.” She refused to think about the clothes, knowing she never wore anything close to them. But all were of delicate quality and exquisite to touch. Laces and satin of the richest textures she never knew existed. Corin held them up to her cheek unable to resist the pure womanly reaction to feel such finery.
The thin chemise was cool and utterly feminine against her bare skin. She held up the sheer silk stockings and moaned over not being able to wear them. Their destruction would be guaranteed as she made her way back to the Raven. With great care she folded them and placed them inside the chemise before pulling the satin bow securely about her breasts.
Corin realized the full voluptuous skirt of the dress would probably trip her without the volumes of petticoats beneath it and begrudgingly put them on. “At least until I’m out of here.”
With more haste Corin pulled the beautiful silk gown over the ensemble, thankful the buttons were in the front. The low revealing cut of the dress fought all her efforts and she didn’t have the time to waste trying to cover what refused to be hidden.
Her hands crushed the dainty slippers in her hand. “These won’t do!” On hands and knees she search everywhere trying to find her deck shoes. She almost shouted when her efforts succeeded in locating them beneath the bed where they’d been tossed.
“You are an inconsiderate lout, Rogan. They are important to me!”
After slipping them on past the mounds of lace and silk bunched up around her waist Corin clumsily came to her feet. Standing up before the large mirror was a mistake. The image that she faced couldn’t be her. Corin’s fingers nervously smoothed the gown. The evidence shattered all the denials against where she found herself. In absent concentration she maneuvered the thick dark hair into a satiny rope down over her shoulder. Taking one of the ribbons from the discarded corset she tied the braid off and let the mass of waves fall freely over her breast.
She took one final look at the stranger in the mirror with a determined glare. “It’s not real, no matter what my eyes see. I’m not back in 1725. It’s impossible!”
Corin started toward the door, stopping dead when she remembered Rogan’s order to the other man.
Unsure what to do she paced the room until stopping in front of the open window. “Oh Corin, you shouldn’t…” The distance to the ground was gentled by the small roof line below her window. To the side she spied a trellis. “Please be a sturdy one.”
Gathering up the circus of material, Corin carefully backed out of the window as she warily reached with her toes to touch the roof. Holding onto the window she eased down and took hold of the slate shingles to help edge herself to the corner. On her hands and knees she scooted back until her feet hung over the roof. Wiggling back until her waist was at the edge, her feet frantically tried to locate the trellis. Corin didn’t realize she was holding her breath until it rushed out when her feet made contact. Every rung down earned another breathless thank you that it held her weight.
She caught her breath at the bottom and didn’t have time for a case of nerves. Her unfaltering belief that this Rogan wouldn’t be too pleased by her achievement sent her moving hastily towards the lively streets.
Halting before she stepped out into the crowd on the torch lit street, Corin took in the unsavory individuals the night let loose. Earlier she only glimpsed a few of the men that could have stepped off Blackbeard’s ship. Now, they dominated the town!
Looking back from where she escaped, Corin felt herself being drawn back to the safety it afforded and the man that extended it. But his words about the search party frightened her more. Whether they searched by land or water they would never miss finding the Raven. The schooner represented the only sanity left to her-- she couldn’t let it be lost.
She only needed to gain the edge of town then flee into the woods. Corin stepped bravely out of the protective shadows. Thankfully, the docks gave her the bearings she needed.
Ignoring the crude remarks and paling stares that wanted to do more than mentally undress her, Corin kept her sight forward and tried to crush the fears reigning unchecked inside her. She saw the five burly men coming towards her. Corin decided she better avoid them and moved out into the street to cross to the other boardwalk.
The large arrogant man she nearly bumped into suddenly became a very real and closer threat than the ones she tried to escape. Keeping her eyes averted she moved to the left to step around him. When he blocked her way Corin turned to flee the menace, but he moved faster and took hold of her arm.
“Well, well, what surprises the night has given me.”
Corin forced her scream back down her throat when she met the man’s cold piercing eyes. Closing her own was a mistake that let him draw her closer. She almost gagged over the foul breath fanning her face.
“And who might the lovely be sneaking off to meet?”
Opening her eyes, she glared up at him, furious at the way he raked those evil eyes over her. “Let me go this instant!”
“The lady has spirit. I like taming the wild ones.”
Corin reached deep, past the fear, for the instilled training she held within her reach. Before she could gorge the creeps’ eyes out a roaring growl came out of nowhere, sending her flying out of the man’s clasp. Reeling against the building Corin backed away from the raging men.
A bear of a man attacked the brute holding her. His great barrel arms were clenched about the brute in a fierce hold that lifted him off the ground. A movement beyond the fighting men caught her attention. Two men were moving in against the giant from behind. One pulled out a large deadly looking knife. Yanking up her skirts, Corin moved with a speed that stunned the men. Racing up, she placed her well aimed kick, both feet made contact with the first man’s open jaw before she curled into a neat ball and rolled away with the force.
The other man, seeing his friend rolling and groaning on the ground, turned to her with a vicious curse. Knowing he’d not let her use her feet against him, Corin rose quickly and faced him as he charged. Just as he reached for her she turned, catching his outstretched forearm and tripping him, she flipped the bull over onto his back. Before he could gather himself up from the impact she delivered a stunning blow to his windpipe, rendering him unconscious.
Low, like the animals she feared would follow, Corin crouched in readiness. The gathering crowd of men stepped away from her as she backed out of their circle. Only once did her attention drift long enough to insure the unknown friend was alright. The man lying at his feet said he no longer needed her help. The angry shouts that earned the giant’s call sent Corin’s heart into her throat. “Rogan!”
She realized the giant must have been her guard and having no desire to face the rage she heard breaking through the crowd, Corin deftly gathered her skirts up and took off running down the street towards the tree line.
Bursting into the underbrush she kept heading towards the shoreline, unfastening the buttons as she ran. The lovely dress and petticoats were catching on every branch and briar she raced past, slowing her flight. “God, he’ll kill me for this if he catches me!”
In answer, she heard the violent thrashing behind her and knew it could only be one man. Practically ripping the garments away, kicking free of the yards of silk, she burst forward, carried by the fear that her pursuer instilled.
Gaining the beach Corin ran across the sand to the water’s edge, turning she ran in the ankle deep curls of gentle waves as she raced to the rocks. She could never outrun him. She scurried with an agile swiftness over the jetty and back into the tree line. Finding a thick group of bushes that hid her stark white chemise, she crawled down and waited, fighting not to breathe.
When he tore through the trees, dragging the torn remnants of her dress with him, Corin froze in terror. Panic seized her and she searched for escape only to have the coming search party rekindled her determination. The Raven must be saved. Her gaze froze as the moon caught Rogan’s furious stance, outlining him in a golden display of bulging muscles. Biting her lip to stop its quiver her gaze never left him as he followed her tracks to the water’s edge. Corin could feel the fury vibrating across the distance as he scanned the shadowy water.
She almost screamed when in his rage he threw the dress into the water.
Even after he finally left the beach Corin stayed hidden fearing he was only waiting for her to move. The moon was skipping across the starlit night sky telling her there was little time to reach the Raven and get her moved to safety.
Taking a chance Corin moved back out into the open. Hearing nothing, she quickly moved over the rocks and onto the next beach. Racing across the sand she didn’t look back until she reached the next obstacle.
Finding that he didn’t follow the disappointment she felt confused her. She shook off the feeling and tried to eliminate him from her memory, along with all the other unsettling sights she faced in just one day.
The water felt refreshing on her heated skin as she swam out to the Raven. Stepping onto the quiet deck she stood there knowing she couldn’t give into the aching exhaustion. Her muscles were vibrating under the strain. Her eyes darted across the deck to the horizon. Already the sky was lighting.
Using both hands and all her remaining strength she hauled in the anchor line. Hurrying, she went and raised the main sail to its capacity knowing she needed the speed it afforded to reach the reefed cove.
The sun was just peeking over the water when she steered the Raven out to the open sea. Corin started the race along the shoreline watching for the cliff when it came in view the sun shined on it turning the sheer rock face a brilliant orange. And like a beacon it guided her to the mouth of the reef. Dropping the sail to half mast Corin held her breath as she pointed the bow towards the breaking waves. The small crevice between the reef and the land mass didn’t look as open as she’d thought from her perch on land.
Too late to turn her about, Corin bit down on her lip as the Raven cut through the pass. Seconds turned to years before the schooner cleared the threatening passage. Still continuing into the deep cove she would have to cut the sail and pray the inertia would be enough to take them into the inlet, but not far enough to ground her against the narrow end. She refused to think about how she would ever manage to back it out again. She hoped the Raven would forgive her for putting them in such a perilous position. When the bow entered the inlet Corin released the anchor hoping it could stop them soon enough. The trees folded about them like a cocoon. Corin’s nervous gaze watched the mast become one with the trees as they slowly came to a lazy stop.
She surveyed her accomplishment and clapped her hands over the results. The cove sheltered by the reef allowed only an easy current to lap against the hull.
The exhaustion she fought folded in on her in weighted hits. The shade of the trees proved too inviting. Corin stretched out over the deck and gave up the battle letting the unexplainable dangers and one formidable man carry her into a troubled sleep.
“I swear, I saw the mast veer landward, past the cliff, Captain.”
Rogan didn’t doubt his first mate’s words. Terry possessed the eyes of a hawk and the instincts to match. “We’ll make another sweep of the cove.”
Whipping the massive wheel about Rogan brought the Tempest full circle.
“Lower the main sails, we’ll coast in for a closer look.”
“That reef’s got a wide berth Captain.”
Not as dangerous as one illusive wench! The beauty hadn’t left his thoughts for a moment.
Rogan rocked over the simmering rage that finding her dress instilled. It didn’t equal the fierce anger and disbelief Dan delivered over what the minx did to Billings’ cut throats. Dan wasn’t one to exaggerate and if Rogan didn’t know him as well as himself he would swear the man had been sipping the rum.
Believing that slip of a girl could overtake two muscled brutes just wasn’t acceptable. That she’d taken off to escape him infuriated Rogan beyond his iron control. The fact she succeeded didn’t help his pride much.
What she ran from is what Rogan wanted to discover and was determined he would. He held no thoughts that she might have perished in the water, after everything he’d learned about her he’d be a fool not to take her trick for what it was.
Eventually, she’d show herself again and he would wait until she did.
This search proved as futile as he’d suspected. The woman wasn’t about to show herself until she was ready. For some reason he didn’t expect the Governor’s search party to discover any more wreckage than they failed to find. It seemed the lady wasn’t incapable of lying. If she did drift to Charlotte Amalie so would some evidence of the ship or bodies of the crew.
The large knuckles grew tense. Rogan cursed the strange woman that seemed to have embedded herself under his thick skin.
The memory of Brian’s laughing smile stole away the enchantress’ haunting eyes. Closing his own Rogan fought back the painful childhood memories of his only brother. “I will get him, Brian, I swear.”
Rogan’s harsh vow passed through his clenched teeth, angry because he’d let this woman steer him away from where he should be; something he’d not allowed to happen in nearly two years.
Building a reputation as the notorious pirate, Dragon, had not been an easy accomplishment. Not when the real man was anything but a thieving renegade. Insuring he obtained an invite into the inner circle of the powerful Black Council Rogan became one of the very men he loathed. Only gaining an invitation to the Black Council would get him close to the man he sought.
Black Diamond’s identity was only known to the trusted inner council and Rogan was slowly opening the doors to become one of the Black Council.
That bastard Billings was the closest he’d come to gaining an introduction, thanks to the Governor and old friend, John Kent. John was the only man besides Dan and Terry that knew his true identity and Rogan’s purpose for being here.
He really needed to talk to John about the reward. Thirty gold pieces was hardly prestigious enough for the Black Council. An old family friend, John held more concern about someone actually seeking the Dragon for the reward than Rogan’s motives.
Tonight, he would finalize the plans with Billings over the raid that would insure his introduction. He knew perfectly well that the council sent Billings to seek him out for their own purposes.
Rogan’s sharp gaze turned cold over the prospect. Dragon never raided with another present. Rogan tried, unsuccessfully, to avoid their test. Every raid he made to build his reputation was accomplished without bloodshed or actual booty. The threatened captains were more than willing to glorify the plunder and foul deeds of the dreaded Dragon in exchange for their oath of secrecy over the truth. To insure they held their vow Rogan always made sure they knew he could change his mind the next time.
Raiding a British merchant with Billings his previous success wouldn’t be allowed to continue. Somehow Rogan must waylay Billings. It would be hard to control his anger in front of the man after the way he accosted Miss McCloud. Dan couldn’t go with him tonight after what he’d done to Billings because of her. Antagonizing Billings wouldn’t get Rogan what he wanted.
“Whatever it takes Brian, I will find your murderer.”
I hope you have enjoyed meeting Corin and Rogan and the beginning of their exciting adventure! If you would love to see what comes next Waves of Time is on sale at Coffee Time Romance Bookstore for 50% off that makes it a steal at $2.50