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  • Writer's pictureSloan McBride

Drink Up Me Hearties Yo Ho!


Merriam Webster’s Dictionary states romance as the following:

· A medieval tale based on legend, chivalric love and adventure, or the supernatural

· A prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usual heroic, adventurous, or mysterious

· A love story

· A love affair

· An emotional attraction or aura belonging to an esp. heroic era, adventure, or activity

· Something (as an extravagant story or account) that lacks basis in fact

My definition:

· The moment when two people meet and sparks fly

· When he goes out of his way to do something to make her smile

· When she fumbles her words, or her step falters because he looks at her

· When he can’t go another minute without seeing her

· When she can’t stay away even though she knows he’s dangerous

· When he can’t stay away even though he knows he should

Think Romeo & Juliet although all love stories don’t have to end in tragedy. My stories while fraught with a fair amount of obstacles and danger end happily.

Forbidden love is one of my favorites. My Time Walker Series is all about forbidden love, instinct, and daring to break the rules. Forbidden gives it that extra edge—the unexpected. I add lots of bantering and humor now and again to break up the tension. Toss the reader into another era and that adds a little something too.

Excerpt from “THE TREASURE

Celeste sneered at the object of her hatred. The pirate captain—Blackbeard. Tall and confident in the dimming daylight, he gripped the hilt of his sword as he debated with the greedy merchant.

“Ye’ll have more than enough profit,” Blackbeard snorted. “And ye’ll see no better price from the British.” The hand on the sword flexed. “Take it or leave it.”

The merchant rubbed his hands together nervously for several seconds. “Done.”

Blackbeard’s reputation was well-known. He intimidated anyone who looked upon him, including her. But her anger was strong, her hurt raw.

Her hands squeezed into fists. Fingertips itched to embed a dagger into Blackbeard’s chest, but only after he revealed the whereabouts of his treasure. One day I will be the thing he fears. Her stomach clutched with the murderous thoughts. A lady would not think such things. There was surely no hope for salvation.

“Come on, Cecil,” Gruber, the bo’sun barked. “There be work to be done, boy.”

“Aye,” she grunted.

Bare-chested, with a knife strapped to each bicep and a cutlass hanging at his hip, the bo’sun yelled too much and stank of scented oils they’d lifted from a British frigate. Like the rest of the haggard crew, he believed her to be a lad who’d lost his family and land during the War of Spanish Succession, a deception required to get on board ship. How she'd managed, filled her with amazement and a certain measure of dread.

Trudging up the plank to grab another sack, she narrowed eyes on the blackguard captain. The torches mounted on the rail kept back the darkness of night, but not the darkness in her heart.

“Gruber,” Blackbeard bellowed in a deep-timbered voice.

Celeste unsteadily heaved another sack to her shoulder, hiding her face as she passed the heartless pirate and his thunderous glare.

“Aye, Cap’n,” Gruber replied.

“I wish to make way afore we lose the tide.” Blackbeard lifted his nose into the salty air. “A storm is brewing. We needs be gone afore it arrives.”

“Yes, Cap’n. Move yer arses, lads. Blackbeard wants to set sail,” Gruber hollered.

And I want to see Blackbeard swinging from the mast on a short rope. Celeste kept the thought to herself, but the imagery in her head was vivid.

Blackbeard took his sloop Adventure and slipped out of port. He made haste in returning to the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the lead ship in his armada which sat anchored in the distance, silently awaiting his return.

The stench of dung rose from the hold where the livestock shifted restlessly. Four swivel guns on the plundered ship pointed at the dock. The trigger-happy pirates itched to fire upon the small contingent of armed townsfolk standing guard.

Sweat beaded her forehead as she grabbed one side of a barrel of flour, and another pirate the other. They set it at the top of the plank, and she rolled it to the deck and down to the accumulating contraband. Other members of the crew lowered boards by pulley into the hold to unload the traumatized livestock. During the voyage, she’d slipped unnoticed into the hold as often as possible to care for and soothe the animals.

One crew member handed over two jittery goats. She took the lasso and guided them to a young lad who waited anxiously on the dock.

Hours of relentless hauling caused a backache. Grainy eyes itched. Rubbing them caused blurred vision. Even the cramped quarters on the sloop and a threadbare hammock sounded good to her right now.

“One barrel left to unload,” Gruber said. “Get it done so we can haul anchor.”

Celeste rolled the last barrel to the dock, and the townsfolk scurried away with the goods. Blessedly alone, she glanced at the ship where the others readied to leave.

An eerie calm stilled the air. Her salty lips thinned. Shaking off the jitters, she breathed in a dose of fresh air before heading back to the ship.

A shadow moved in the corner of her eye then a dagger pressed against her throat piercing the skin. A trickle of warm blood dripped down her neck. The assailant looked like a cloud of peat smoke bundled into a person. Its black eyes had no substance.

Bedtime stories her papa used to tell her about wicked magickal creatures that snuck up on children at night played through her head. “What are you?” she said.

A crackling rumble came from him as he raised the other hand which held some sort of small pick. No doubt he meant to stab her with it. Celeste kicked out, catching him off guard. She dropped to the ground grabbing for the dagger in her boot.

Before she could grasp the handle, a tall, striking man engaged the blackness. With the grace of a sword master, he twirled and sliced off the assailant’s arm then his head. The bedeviled creature disappeared. Her brain barely pieced together what had happened,certain her tired eyes were playing tricks. Mere seconds expired until she stared into the frowning countenance and turbulent, brandy-colored eyes of the stranger. He raised two fingers to her temple and pressed.

“Cecil,” the bo’sun called.

Celeste jumped, dazed, and looked around. Why was she still standing alone on the dock?

“Get your arse up here or be left to swim with the fishes. We be breaking way. Release the bowlines.”

“Aye, aye, Gruber,” she yelled and raced to slip the lines loose before they pulled the plank.

The hi-jacked schooner and Revenge, the smaller sister to the Queen Anne’s Revenge, joined the rest of the flotilla. If the wind held true, it would take two days to reach New Providence. Celeste prayed for good weather.

She varnished and tarred over the caulk used to repair holes in the hull of the ship. A sailor’s life left her with callused fingers and dry, sun-drenched skin—conditions an upstanding lady should not have. A wig and gloves helped, but the coloring on her face and neck were hard to conceal when she wore a gown. The socialite women often stared and giggled behind their fans. Celeste wiped the sweat from her forehead. It would be worth it in the end. She hoped.

“’Twas a good voyage, boy.” Gruber offered a grimy smile. “I canna wait to get me a woman, though. Too long at sea can addle a man.”

She was not ignorant of the ways of men and women. Too often, men from the village where she’d grown up seduced young women into their beds, or behind the bushes. Not her, though. She was invisible to men’s eyes with her less than ample bosom and narrow hips. “Will be good to sleep in a bed,” she replied.

Gruber nodded in agreement. He had been instrumental in teaching her to become a better sailor, and how to survive on a pirate ship. With shorn hair, bound chest, and breeches and shirt two sizes too big, she played the part. Sadly, he’d been the closest thing she’d ever had to a friend. She gazed longingly at the flag ship for the armada. Her ultimate goal was to earn her way onto the crew of the Queen Anne’s Revenge. Only then would she find the opportunity to slit Blackbeard’s throat.

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