Within A Captain’s Treasure by Lisa Olech
This pirate’s latest prize may be love. . .
With a single pistol shot and the swing of a cutlass, Alice Tupper saves her mistress’s life. But no lady’s maid in polite society has ever killed a duke–at least, not on purpose. So Alice sets sail for America and her new destiny–only to find herself battling pirates on the high seas. Aboard her rescue ship, The Scarlet Night, she is hailed a hero and earns her place among the crew. . .as well as the ire of Captain Gavin Quinn.
Gavin chose this pirate’s life, but he knows it’s no place for a woman, especially one as exasperating–and beautiful–as Alice. Despite his desire for her, Gavin is determined to do the right thing and deliver her to the new world. But Alice’s deepest wish is a life by Gavin’s side. Will his heart overrule his sense, and will he risk everything to pursue his greatest treasure of all?
Portsmouth, England 1686
Alice Tupper refused to look back. As the Olivia Grace pulled away from its docking, she didn’t line the gunwales with the others waving farewell to England. She stood at the farthest point of the bow instead, pulled her woolen shawl tight about her shoulders, and lifted her face to the freshness of the open sea. Her gaze rested on the thin line where the sea and the sky lay atop one another like lovers–that was where her new life would begin.
“Good day, Mistress Tupper. Ye’ve stolen my favorite place to stand.” Alice turned and grinned at Captain Fredericks. He was a joyous soul who’d already won the hearts of his passengers. Albert Fredericks reminded her of Father Christmas after indulging in an overabundance of plum pudding.
“I’ve only sailed twice, but I love standing here as the ship cuts through the water. It creaks and pops and pulls against the rigging like a bridle. When the sails fill, it’s as if she breaks into a gallop.” She ran her hands along the polished rails and fittings. “I envy you your time at sea. Once I arrive in Virginia, I imagine I’ll never sail again.” She gave him a quick smile over her shoulder. “Governesses aren’t known for their exotic travels.”
“Well, then, you’re welcome at my bow anytime.” He patted her shoulder and leaned close. “Ye can’t tell, those children ye’ve been sent to care for might need to see more of the world than their back porch.”
“I hadn’t thought of that.” She smiled at the dear man. He winked and gave her arm a gentle squeeze.
Over their first days at sea, the other passengers became a tight-knit group, but Alice was hesitant to get too close with any of them. She preferred her books, long hours on deck, and keeping her secrets tucked away. To them she was a simple Englishwoman from northern Weatherington heading to take a new position along the coast of Virginia.
A young girl named Milly made a point to seek her out. The child was terribly lonely but bright as a new copper coin. She’d been sent for by her father, and her excitement to join him in America was contagious. The old woman he’d hired as her traveling companion, however, had spent more time being sick over the rails than she had keeping the girl company.
“It’s all so thrilling, don’t you think, Mistress Tupper? Two adventurous women like ourselves out on the ocean miles from anywhere.” Milly hugged herself. “What do you suppose Virginia will be like?”
“I only know I’m to live on a fine tobacco plantation. Do you think they’ll make their new governess learn how to smoke a pipe?” Alice liked teasing the girl. Her pale blue eyes would twinkle with mischief.
Milly giggled. “Or one of those fat smelly cigars with the gold ring around the middle.”
“Yes. And I’d smoke it clear to the ring in one breath and blow enough smoke rings to make a chain.” Milly laughed and hugged her. Her companion only groaned and retched. Alice twisted at the beautiful ring she wore. It was buttery gold, and not made of smoke. She ran her finger over the A carved into the face with a tiny pearl cradled in the tail of the initial. Her only true treasure. A farewell gift from her best friend, Annalise. She’d presented it to Alice the night before she left for her voyage.
“Running off to the new world won’t erase the pain, Alice. It will only take you too far from those who love you. But if you must go, whenever you feel lost and alone, look at this ring.” Annalise placed her hand next to Alice’s. “I’m wearing its twin. This way we will forever be linked.”
Alice already missed her terribly, but Annalise had been wrong. The farther the Olivia Grace separated Alice from England’s shores, the lighter the burden of her past became. Perhaps it would be easy to erase the events that continued to hang about her neck like a noose.
A spray of chilled sea mist dampened her cheeks. A baptism of sorts. Her rebirth. She licked the salt from her lips and sighed. With each mile, a new Alice Tupper immerged from the tangled mess of the old.
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About the Author:
Lisa is an artist/writer living in her dream house nestled among the lakes in New England. She loves getting lost in a steamy book, finding the perfect pair of sexy shoes, and hearing the laughter of her men. Being an estrogen island in a sea of testosterone makes her queen. She believes in ghosts, silver linings, the power of a man in a tuxedo, and happy endings.