A MAN INTENT ON JUSTICE...
After seven years of battling for survival on a pirate
Kit Frazier returns to England to right a wrong and make
peace with what he lost. But once in London, he finds
himself unexpectedly at sea, caught in his swirling
attraction to the beguiling and elusive Maddy.
A WOMAN DETERMINED TO BE FREE...
Maddy will do anything to escape the desperate
of her life, and helping her cousin Rose catch the man of
her dreams seems an easy enough task--until Maddy meets
handsome pirate captain Kit. The dashing rogue has only
purposes: to rescue the boy in his care and to seduce
into his bed.
A LOVE WITHOUT END
With each heated encounter, Kit pulls Maddy off her stated
course. But when treachery threatens them all, she will
to choose between a respectable future and wicked,
One English boy shackled to the mast. That’s what Kit
Frazier saw as he crept over the side of the slave ship.
One boy of about seventeen years, feet tied with rope,
shackled with iron. There was blood dripping to the deck,
too, but Kit couldn’t see from what wound.
Bloody hell, this was a trap.
He wasn’t sure what tipped him off. Everything was
The man on watch stood like a statue on the foredeck, not
even bothering to whistle. Kit cocked his ear toward the
hold. No sobs. No low moans. So, no slaves trapped
either. Just the one English adolescent, his dirty blonde
hair a mat that obscured his face.
Kit crept around the edge, slipping through shadows. He’d
spent years on this boat as a slave, and coming back now
made his hands slick with sweat. If he had any sense,
turn and run now before it was too late. What did he care
that another English aristocrat had been abducted for
ransom? But once, long ago, he’d been chained to the
waiting for a ransom that never came. He couldn’t leave
this boy to the same fate.
A flash of yellow teeth caught his attention. Kit froze,
peering into the blackness, waiting until he heard a
telltale pop of knuckles. That had to be Abdur, the one
like to whip the children. Kit smiled. Suddenly he
care if it was a trap so long as he could strike against
nightmare of Venboer’s slave ship.
Kit crouched, wiped the sweat from his hands, then struck.
After two years as a free man, he was faster than Abdur.
And stronger too. The bastard collapsed to the deck. Kit
even remembered to cushion his fall so that all was done
silence. Then he looked around. One down, how many more?
Three that he could see, spaced behind barrels set much
obviously along the rail. Perfect spacing from which to
attack. Not so good for defense. Kit slipped behind each
one, his panic easing now that he was in action. One by
one, they fell. Easily done, but it took too much time.
Kit looked around again. The boy had raised his head to
listen. Sharp ears that one, but was he smart? Would he
know to keep quiet until Kit could effect a rescue?
a huge risk, Kit slid Abdur’s knife across the deck,
at the sound. Not so loud, but not so quiet either. And
sadly, no help against the shackles. But at least the boy
would be able to defend himself while Kit went in search
the key. Or a heavy axe.
The boy didn’t appear to move as the blade settled against
his leg. But a blink later, the knife was gone and he was
drooping more where he sat, presumably so he could cut the
rope at his ankles. So. The kid was smart too.
Kit began to creep toward the forecastle. The slave key
Three figures stepped out of the shadows, two large men
flanking their very large captain. Kit spun around. Two
more men stepped behind him, one of them the watchman who
had jumped down to join the fray. Five to one with the
still chained to the mast.
Then a miracle happened. The boy stood up, his iron
shackles dropping to the deck with a clang. Kit raised
eyebrows in surprise. Apparently, he was rescuing a
lockpick. Which narrowed the odds to five against two.
Better, though he doubted the boy really knew how to
Still, things were definitely looking up. Especially
he could see the boy’s wounds now. Swollen face from a
beating, jagged cut along his arm, but nothing that would
keep him from swimming to safety.
“I knew you would come,” Venboer gloated and Kit slid his
attention back to the bastard who had destroyed so many
lives, Kit’s included. “He looks like you, yes?”
Kit shifted into the cocky drawl that he knew irritated
Venboer. “We English are a pretty lot.”
The bastard released a growl, low in his throat. It took
moment for Kit to realize he was trying to chuckle. “He
will do well in the dens, I think. Pretty enough for the
women, but strong enough to be used by men.”
To the side, the boy stiffened in horror, his jaw clenched
tight. Kit too, had to repress his visceral response.
seen what happened to the pretty ones in the dens. Some
things were worse than death, and that was one of them.
Meanwhile, Kit tried to appear as if he weren’t choosing
between death and worse than death. “No one paid the
Venboer shrugged. “Not enough.”
“How much? Maybe I’ll buy him.” Kit drawled as he turned
inspect the boy. It was a ruse. He didn’t have near
to buy a slave, but it gave him an excuse to catch the
prisoner’s eyes. With a tiny flick of his eyes, he
indicated the far rail. That was their best escape,
assuming the boy could swim. He took a step forward. “He
looks a little sickly–”
Venboer’s men attacked. The bastard never had been one
idle chat. Kit had been ready for it, but hoping to get
a better position first. No time now as the back two men
suddenly lunged. They were trained sailors, well versed
sea fighting, and armed with cutlasses. Kit, on the other
hand, had only his daggers which were light enough for
swimming and little use against a large, heavy sword. But
at least the boy could escape.
Kit leaped aside, then began the game of feint and dash
while simultaneously listening for Venboer’s other men
behind him. He narrowly missed being gutted, but was
slowly, steadily pushed back into Venboer and his other
Hell. He was running out of time. His two attackers had
slowed down, stepping sideways in order to flank him
It was now or never. Kit abruptly spun around, giving
back to his attackers while he threw.
Venboer’s first mate fell to the ground, a knife sticking
from his throat. Kit didn’t allow himself the time to
smile. Later he would relish the satisfaction that the
who had beaten him nightly for months was finally dead.
Right now, while the others were gaping at the first mate,
Kit spun back and threw again. The one closest to the boy
The boy? Bloody hell! The idiot was supposed to be over
the side now and swimming for his life. But no, in an
admirable show of bravery, the kid was lifting the dead
man’s cutlass–in the wrong kind of grip–and closing to
side. Damned English honor. Now they were both going to
Except they didn’t. The fighting closed in tight with
Venboer lending a hand. Against cutlasses, Kit wouldn’t
usually have stood a chance, but the boy had a special
genius for interfering at just the right time. First it
a rope, kicked beneath one man’s feet. That gave Kit time
to use his last throwing knife and thin their opponents to
Then the boy tossed Kit the cutlass. No small feat given
the weight and heft of the blade, but Kit was able to
it out of the air in time. Better and better. But two
against one was still hard fighting, and Venboer was
Kit couldn’t hold them off for long.
“Go!” he barked at the boy. “Swim!”
There was a moment’s hesitation, then the boy abruptly
on his heel and ran. A moment later, Kit heard a telltale
splash and felt an inner release. If he did nothing else
his misbegotten life, at least he had saved one boy. He
grinned at Venboer.
“Your prize has escaped.”
The bastard actually grinned. “The boy is nothing. You
“That’s what I meant,” Kit countered with a maniacal
“I’m leaving.” It was a bluff. Kit threw himself into a
rush of speed and ferocity that would never win him
against these two. They were too good and he was too
and all three of them knew it. But it was Kit’s only
With luck, it would force Venboer to kill him. He’d
die than be enslaved to this bastard again.
Luck was on his side. Venboer hated the sound of joy,
especially a slave’s. So while the bastard flinched away
from Kit’s bizarre laughter, Kit was able to press close
slice him across the chest. But he paid dearly for that
victory. The other sailor struck before Kit could move
aside. A crippling blow to this leg that had him
to one knee. He felt the slick wash of blood and knew the
gash was deep. He was done for, but maybe he had one more
swing left in him. He took it gleefully.
“For Jeremy!” he bellowed, then stabbed upward. Throwing
all his weight behind his thrust, he pierced Venboer like
fish on a stick. The bastard’s mouth gaped open, his eyes
shot wide and then he dropped in the slow fall that men
when their heart has been pierced.
Victory! And now...death. In order to make the thrust,
had to exposed all of himself to the other man’s swing.
neck, his arm, hell, his whole right side was open for
gutting. And yet in that moment, a sense of satisfaction
entered his soul. He’d saved a boy and ended Venboer’s
reign of terror. All in all, a good way to die.
Except the blow never came.
Confused, Kit pulled his guard back up, scrambling for
footing while trying to figure out why he wasn’t dead.
enemy’s cutlass was raised for the strike, but his eyes
wide and his back was arching in clear agony. What had
The boy! The damned stupid, honorable, wonderful boy had
not swum away! He’d merely pretended to jump overboard,
then had grabbed a cutlass from somewhere. He’d used it
cut open the bastard’s spine.
They would live! They would both live!
Kit tried to grin. He tried to laugh and dance a jig.
Instead, he dropped to all fours, his breath shallow with
pain. Looking down, he saw his leg was slick from blood.
Not as bad as it could be. He’d live if it could be
stitched up and he didn’t die of fever. But he was
on the deck of Venboer’s slave ship with no surgeon in
sight. He couldn’t swim now, not trailing blood the whole
way. Couldn’t run far either. And he damn sure couldn’t
man the slave ship with just himself and the boy.
He quieted his breath a moment, willing his pounding heart
to ease. He eased himself to the side then stripped off
shirt to bind his leg. And as he worked, he listened for
human sound. Nothing. No pounding feet. No screams of
outrage. Just the himself and the boy on the quietly
rocking boat. Was it possible? Had Venboer been so
confident that he’d put no more than nine men on the ship?
Was Kit now in possession of a fully sea worthy galley
Kit suppressed a grin. A dozen things had to line up
perfectly for this to work. But he’d just cheated certain
death and killed Venboer, the worst of the Barbary
On tonight of all nights, he was feeling lucky. He
at the boy who was still standing frozen, his gaze locked
the body at their feet.
“Look at me, boy. What’s your name?”
The young complied slowly, his words barely audible.
“Alexander Jacques Morgan, sir.”
“Well, Alex, can you row? Can you row a boat straight and
for a mile?”
The boy blinked then nodded. He was coming back to
clarity finally entering his eyes as Kit gave him
new to focus on. “I’m a damned fine rower, sir.”
“Good man, Alex, now listen. I can’t leave the boat.
There’s things to be done here.”
“But you’re hurt.” The boy’s eyes dropped to where the
shirt was already turning red.
“I’ve had worse,” he returned which was true enough, but
he’d never had to stitch himself up while preparing a ship
for ocean voyage. “Now see those two lights over there?
You’re going to row straight over there. Up the beech two
yards is a shack that serves the best rum in Africa.
There’s a man behind the bar knows English. I named him
Puck since he looks just like you’d expect, ‘cept he’s
black. Give him this, and tell him it’s time.” He yanked
chord off his neck and passed it to the boy who blinked
at the ugly broach.
“What is it?”
“A peacock, I think, but that doesn’t matter. Tell Puck
“Tonight?” the boy asked, hope sparking in his eyes.
“For...” He couldn’t even say the word, so deep ran the
“Yes,” Kit answered, his own voice cracking on the words.
“For England.” After seven years, Kit was finally going
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