Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Rise and Fall of Port Royal

Port Royal was once a shining jewel of shipping and commerce in the Caribbean on the island of Santiago. Founded by the Spanish in 1518, the village was built on a sandy spit of land at the mouth of Kingston Harbor. Spain ruled over the island for nearly a hundred and fifty years before it was invaded by the English who took control in 1655 and renamed the island Jamaica. Soon Jamaica had become a chief sugar exporter. By the late 1600’s, Port Royal was one of the largest English cities outside of Europe. It was also known as the most “wicked and sinful city in the world”.

Here’s why.

Port Royal was a safe haven for privateers, buccaneers, and pirates. How did that happen? First, we must understand why the city was important. The harbor was large enough to receive many ships, upwards of five hundred or more. The waters were deep enough to anchor very close to the shore and bay acted as natural protection from angry tropical weather. The English didn’t have enough resources to protect their hold of Jamaica and it’s unofficial capital Port Royal. They were surrounded on all sides by an enemy with which they were at war, Spain. And so they turned to privateers and pirates to help defend the city.
in some areas shallow enough ships could careen and make repairs. It proved an ideal outpost for trading goods with easy access to all the shipping lanes. And, because it sat on a long finger of land, the

Situated in a sweet spot between the Spanish Main and the Atlantic, the location was perfect for, say, attacking ships laden with Spanish treasure and launching attacks on Spanish coastal towns. The pirates were pretty much given free sanction to pillage and plunder and the stolen goods would come through Port Royal. Pirates, merchants, and locals became stinkin’ rich, the Crown received a quarter of the gains, and the city was protected. It was a win for all involved. Well, except the Spanish. Yep, life was good in the booming port. Debauchery reigned as spoils were spent. Taverns and brothels were full and rowdy.

Even as the England and Spain drew a truce, Port Royal was the place to be to make a fast fortune. The seed had been planted. Craftsmen, slave traders, and entrepreneurs came in droves. The town rivaled cities like Boston and London. Its narrow streets and two thousand two-to-four story buildings crammed on just over fifty acres and boasted of a population of almost eight thousand. And while pirates were no longer needed, a former and notorious pirate captain, Henry Morgan, had been appointed the Lieutenant Governor. Over time, the port was no longer the sanctuary for pirates as it once was. Still, much to the displeasure of upstanding citizens, Port Royal had a reputation of being the “Sodom of the New World”. Drinking and prostitution were as rampant as ever. It had been estimated there was one tavern for every ten people. Wow. That’s a lot of partying.

In 1692, busy Port Royal was arguably one of the wealthiest ports in the Caribbean. All that changed
in a matter of minutes on June 7th  in a trifecta of catastrophe. At approximately 11:43 in the morning, a massive earthquake rocked the island. The ground split, buildings crumbled. There was no place to hide from the destruction. No place safe. The earthquake was just the beginning. As the ground shook, the water-saturated sand beneath the city separated and became unstable, behaving like quicksand. This phenomenon is called liquefaction. Entire buildings sank straight down into the earth, taking everything and everyone with them. The earthquake shocks reportedly created liquefaction waves. With each passing wave, people became trapped in the ground as the sand solidified, crushing them to death. Unfortunately, that was not the end of it. The earthquake created a tsunami. As the tsunami rushed through Kingston Harbor, it bounced off the surrounding shores, sending multiple waves back to batter Port Royal.

Once the cataclysms subsided, two-thirds of the city (about thirty-three acres) had sunken beneath the sea and thousands of people lost their lives. The aftermath included a great many floating, decaying corpses and looting of homes, businesses, and bodies. No rest for the wicked. Many in the rest of the world felt that the destruction was divine intervention. But in all likelihood, being built on a sandy peninsula in an active fault zone doomed the port town from the beginning.

Though not completely swallowed up by the sea, Port Royal never regained her power and wealth.

About the Author
Jennifer is the award-winning author of the Romancing the Pirate series. Visit her at www.jbrayweber.com or join her mailing list for sneak peeks, excerpts, and giveaways.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A JULY 4TH THAT ALMOST WASN’T by Kathleen Bittner Roth


by Kathleen Bittner Roth

July 4th 1776 didn’t start out as a holiday to be celebrated with family gatherings, picnics, and fireworks. Actually, it wasn’t until 1870, nearly a hundred years after the Declaration of Independence was written before Congress declared July 4th as a national holiday. And it wasn’t until 1939 and 1941 that further legislation regarding national holidays such as Christmas and Easter included July 4th as a day of celebrating the birth of the United States of America.

Thomas Jefferson

In fact, July 4th wasn’t the day the Continental Congress declared Independence from Great Britain. The first draft was written by Thomas Jefferson back in June of that year, and declared on July 2nd. The document wasn’t delivered to a surprised British government until the following November.

Still, not much was done in the beginning about celebrating this important passage. In fact, around about 1790, the Declaration became controversial. Bitter conflicts arose between the Federalists, who opposed the Declaration as being too anti-British and backing the French, versus the Democrat-Republicans who were much in favor of Jefferson’s written document. The Declaration of Independence practically fell by the wayside as being questionable and/or of any value.

It wasn’t until the War of 1812 when things began to change. This was when the Federalist party came apart at the seams while new parties began forming who favored Jefferson and the questionable Declaration. By 1830 a revised document with the date July 4th, 1776 began to circulate.
John Adams

Perhaps it was the deaths of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams on July 4th 1826 that finally cemented the date as one to be celebrated by an entire nation. As we look back at history undressed, could it be that the deaths of these two men are the real reason we hang out our flags, fire up our grills, make the potato salads, and any other tasty potluck gems as we gather together with our friends and family to roast marshmallows and end our celebration by watching dazzling fireworks light the night sky in a land that remains free and independent of others?

Kathleen Bittner Roth creates evocative stories featuring characters forced to draw on their strength of spirit to overcome adversity and find unending love. Her own fairy tale wedding in a Scottish castle led her to her current residence in Budapest, Hungary, considered one of Europe’s most romantic cities. A PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, Kathleen was a finalist in the prestigious Golden Heart® contest. 

You can find Kathleen at:

Website:          www.kathleenbittnerroth.com
Twitter:           @K_BittnerRoth
Pinterest          https://hu.pinterest.com/bittnerroth/

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Dead Men Tell No Tales

It’s no secret Hollywood romanticizes and takes creative license when making movies. This is best witnessed in action or sci-fi movies but can be seen in everything from romantic comedies to horror to dramatic biopics. It’s all about evoking audience response—laughter, tears, heartbreak, wanting, fear, ire—and it’s entertainment. Of course, pirate movies are no different.

As an author of pirate romance and someone who has researched in depth the pirate life, I can’t help but be critical when a television series or movie is based on pirate lore or has Caribbean pirate elements. Unless way off base, I don’t usually let fallacies get in the way of enjoying the feature. But when they get it right, the experience is more fulfilling.

Take the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise for example. It is fantastical and chock full of mythical creatures and nautical lore—the Kraken, fish people, Davy Jones, giant goddesses, man-eating sirens, Fountain of Youth, ghost sharks and skeletal undead pirates, to name a few. The plights of Captain Jack Sparrow and gang are always epic and the odds insurmountable. Each movie is an adventure with well-rounded endings. As a moviegoer, I am always blown away.

To be fair, I am a bit biased. I love the franchise, love Johnny Depp, sleep with a pillowcase of Will Turner, listen to the soundtracks while writing my own pirate tales, and even own an autographed copy of The Art of Pirates of the Caribbean—a collection of working drawings and conceptual art for the first three movies. I have waited with baited breath for the next movie Dead Men Tell No Tales to hit the silver screen. And I wasn’t disappointed. I laughed, cried, and thoroughly enjoyed being whisked away for more than 2 hours in a world that had captured my heart more than 13 years ago.

But how accurate is POTC? Some aspects are close, other aren’t. Okay, so that was an ambiguous answer. In part because it would depend on how much hair-splitting is involved. Think weapons, clothing, politics, tactics, superstitions, terminology and (most) settings*. The details are there, but they may not necessarily be right for the time period.

Pirate flavoring was added, and loads of it comes from what we already believe about pirates from Robert Louis Stevenson’s embellished adventure novel Treasure Island. In reality, there was no walking the plank or burying treasure. Eye-patches were not used to cover disfigurements, but rather to keep one eye adjusted to the darkness. Pirate codes were not universal; the articles varied from ship to ship. And there was no parlay nor swinging by ropes from ship to ship.

What about those ships? The visual depictions of the variety of vessels are amazing and for the most part true. I say for the most part because I personally have not noticed anything erroneous. The makers even got the sails right. Unlike many seafaring movies which showcase vessels with tight square sails, POTC ships are closer to the truth with their billowing sails capturing the wind and fluttering to keep it. However, what is not quite right is the speed of the ships and size of ship to crew ratio. The Black Pearl, a ship that could even outrun the legendary Flying Dutchman, was a galleon. That size ship is too large to sail fast and maneuver with ease, assuming it isn’t resurrected by Davy Jones as the Black Pearl was. Add to that, it would require a sizeable crew numbering in the hundreds to man her, more depending also on how many guns she carried. Same holds true for the other ships in the films.

Are Jack, Barbossa, Gibbs, and the rest true representations of pirates themselves? Not really. These are fictional characters with fictional quests. But some of their actions, motivations, goals, and methods were spot on. While sailors on both sides of the law often lacked education, pirates acted democratically, weighing risks, costs, and benefits, which determined which targets to pursue and what tactics were used. And though they might’ve been drunks, womanizers, and all-around rabble-rousers, they weren’t as bumbling as depicted in the movies. Sure makes for a great time, though, doesn’t it?

Like with most movies (and fiction in general), suspension of disbelief is a given to enhance the enjoyment. The runaway water wheel ending with the three-way swordfight in Dead Man’s Chest is definitely one of my favorites scenes. Some of those outlandish scenes in  POTC even seemed plausible though they weren’t, like using a rowboat as a makeshift submarine or a dagger upon a sail to slow a fall. Others aren’t so far-fetched. The green flash seen when “a soul comes back to this world from the dead” is a real occurrence. Not the soul coming back. The green flash. It is an “optical phenomena” that occurs just has the sun sets or rises upon the horizon. And there is more science behind several scenes in Dead Men Tell No Tales, one being the bootleg turn young Jack makes to escape Captain Salazar. See the bootleg turn at 0:27 in the trailer below. For more science at play, you'll just have to go see the movie.

Fact or fiction, Dead Men Tell No Tales is swashbuckling fun. Two thumbs up from this pirate wench.

(*Port Royal situated on a cliff in Curse of the Black Pearl was for the sake of cinema. Port Royal was actually built on a sandspit.)

About the Author                                                
Jennifer is the award-winning author of the Romancing the Pirate series. Visit her at www.jbrayweber.com or join her mailing list for sneak peeks, excerpts, and giveaways.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

New Release Spotlight: THE ALICE NETWORK by Kate Quinn

Craving stories about brave women of the past? Read about the unsung women who risked their lives as spies during World War I: The Alice Network is finally available for readers wherever books are sold! In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

 About The Book 

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth...no matter where it leads.


Advance Praise For "The Alice Network"

“Amazing historical fiction... a must read!” (Historical Novel Society, Editor’s Choice) 

 “Lovingly crafted and brimming with details, readers are sure to be held in Quinn’s grip watching as the characters evolve. Powerful reading you can’t put down!” (RT Book Reviews (top pick)) 

 “The Alice Network... perfectly balances a propulsive plot, faultlessly observed period detail, and a cast of characters so vividly drawn that I half expected to blink and see them standing in front of me. This is historical fiction at its best--thrilling, affecting, revelatory.” (Jennifer Robson, international bestselling author of Moonlight Over Paris) 

 “Both funny and heartbreaking, this epic journey of two courageous women is an unforgettable tale of little-known wartime glory and sacrifice. Quinn knocks it out of the park with this spectacular book!” (Stephanie Dray, author of America's First Daughter)

About The Author

Kate Quinn is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance, before turning to the 20th century with "The Alice Network." All have been translated into multiple languages. Kate and her husband now live in Maryland with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Séances, Spirits & Mediums - Victorians & Spiritualism

A Victorian Seance - 1872
A Victorian seance - 1872
Mediums and spirits and séances… oh, my! The image of proper Victorians gathered for séances to reach out to another realm has always intrigued me. Many Victorians were drawn to the notion that the living could communicate with those who’d passed beyond to another realm. Prominent Victorians such as Mary Todd Lincoln, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Queen Victoria herself displayed a willingness to believe that spirits could send messages to those they’d left behind with the help of mediums who acted as intermediaries between the living and the dead. Séances were conducted in studios and parlors, all in the hope of establishing contact with the dead.

During the nineteenth century, high child mortality rates and relatively short life expectancies made grief a prominent part of Victorian life. The Victorians employed elaborate mourning rituals, including black mourning dress, post-mortem photography, and the wearing of memento mori—jewelry that incorporated hair from the deceased. With grief such a part of life, it isn’t surprising to me that some Victorians sought contact with loved ones they’d lost. Sadly, in some cases, unscrupulous frauds exploited the despair of those mourning the dead.

When A Lady Dares coverWhile some mediums may have genuinely believed in their abilities to reach out to the deceased, others were charlatans who played on the grief of the bereaved for monetary gain. A phony medium might also exert undue influence over someone in the throes of grief. This prospect intrigued me. What if a medium had exerted influence upon someone in a position of power—someone like the Queen? And what if those who knew too much had to be silenced?

What would happen if an undercover agent came too close to the conspiracy?

These questions provided inspiration for When A Lady Dares, the latest in my Victorian historical romance series, Her Majesty’s Most Secret Service. In When A Lady Dares, covert agent Sophie Atherton goes undercover as an assistant to a phony medium, a man who’s involved in more than simply extorting money from his clients. Swept into a treacherous scheme, she must unite with a notorious rogue with his own score to settle in order to survive the sinister plot.

While researching the story, I came upon a wealth of fascinating information about Victorians and their interest in communicating with spirits. Did you know:

The Fox Sisters 
The Fox Sisters
  ~ The Spiritualist movement began in America. In 1848, sisters Leah, Kate and Margaret Fox claimed to  communicate with a spirit in their home using knocks on wood. Over the years, the sisters established themselves as mediums, including conducting public demonstrations and séances.

  ~ Forty years later (1888), Margaret Fox published a confession in the New York World that the rappings supposedly used by the dead to communicate during their séances had been produced by the sisters themselves using their fingers and feet.

  ~ Fake mediums employed tricks such as spirit photography, table rapping, and levitating objects with concealed wires. Mediums often claimed to have a relationship with a spirit guide in their communication with the spirit world.

  ~ Mediums frequently used accomplices to achieve the illusion of contact with the dead.

~ Queen Victoria was said to have had an interest in spiritualism, participating in séances before her husband’s death, and later, communicating with Prince Albert through séances.

~ It is said that a teenager, Robert James Lees, conveyed a message from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria and later conducted seances for the Queen at Windsor Castle.

~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, was a proponent of spiritualism. In 1924, he published The History of Spiritualism, one of more than a dozen books he wrote on the subject.

To learn more about this topic:

All historical photographs are in the public domain.

About The Author:

Award-winning author Tara Kingston writes historical romance laced with intrigue, danger, and adventures of the heart. A Southern belle-out-of-water in a quaint Pennsylvania town, she lives her own love story with her real-life hero in a cozy Victorian. The mother of two sons, Tara's a former librarian whose love of books is evident in her popping-at-the-seams bookcases. It goes without saying that Tara's husband is thankful for the invention of digital books, thereby eliminating the need for yet another set of shelves. When she's not writing, reading, or burning dinner, Tara enjoys cycling, hiking, and cheering on her favorite football team. 

Author and History Undressed Contributor Kathleen Bittner Roth and I have partnered on a newsletter. If you'd like to subscribe, here's the link:  Tara & Kathleen's Historical Romance Newsletter   


Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Laird's Reckoning

Just in time for the release of the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie Dead Men Tell No Tales, I bring you my latest Romancing the Pirate novel. This tale veers slightly into uncharted waters for me. I’ve mixed pirates with Scottish Highlanders. A great deal of research went into making The Laird’s Reckoning, including watching the entire two seasons of Outlander. Nope, no hardship there. I enjoyed writing this story so much, I’m considering writing more Scottish pirate books.

The Laird’s Reckoning goes on sale May 30th at Amazon, but you can pre-order your copy today!

The Blurb:

Pirate or Laird...?

Birk Bane was born the second son, the unwanted son, the unneeded son. Crossed by family and falsely accused of a crime, he flees Scotland to the sea where he’s recruited by a pirate. Five years later, he’s captain of his own ship and embraces his new life, though an ache for the woman he left behind remains. When he receives word of his father’s death and his clan is floundering, Birk begrudgingly returns home. Little does he know there’s more he left behind than a title…much more.

Sheena MacRae helped Birk escape to safety years ago, always expecting he’d return. Time passes and she believes him to be dead. With her clan being terrorized and slaughtered, she accepts she is the only one who can stop the suffering by agreeing to marry Laird Gordon, the man behind the assaults. The man who is also poised to rule Birk’s clan. Despite the crushing need to hold Birk in her arms once more, his reappearance changes nothing. Sheena has too much to lose if she reneges the betrothal to Gordon. And while Birk’s intentions are to return to the sea after reclaiming his clan, she didn’t count on her pirate lover’s plan for revenge…

The longer he’s home, the more betrayal Birk uncovers. There will be a fiery battle ahead for Birk and his brethren. If he survives, how will he choose between the life he loves and the love of his life?

Enjoy this excerpt:

“They’re coming!”
The panic in Sheena’s eyes matched Birk’s racing heart. Their breaths stirred the dust they had kicked up crouching behind the crates. Shouts carried down the alleys, drawing closer.
Sheena gripped his arms. “Go!” Her pleading command rushed out in a hoarse whisper. “Run, before they catch you.”
“Come with me.” It was a desperate attempt to keep Sheena by his side, a selfish one. But he was no fool. If the magistrate found out she helped him escape, his bonny lass would be imprisoned. He couldn’t protect her if he left her behind.
She shook her head, mahogany tresses slipping free from the knot at her crown. “I canna leave my father and Mallabroch Manor.” Gruff voices neared. Her eyes widened, begged. “Please, Birk. If ye are hanged, I’ll kill myself, I swear I will.”
He believed it. By the heavens, he loved his lass. Loved her more than anything this world had to offer. He’d give his life for her. But never would he allow her to give hers for him. Never. “I canna leave you.” He could hardly swallow, the lump of fear wedged tight in his throat. She was his air, the beat of his heart. He was terrified to be without her. Terrified and angry. Angry for the pain marring her beautiful effervescent smile. He swore whoever set him up, accused him of being a false coiner, would pay and pay dearly.
“Ye must go.” She grabbed his face with both hands. “Ye must. For me.”
The tears cresting in those moss green eyes, the tremble in her bottom lip, tore at his soul. What choice did he have? Sheena would not leave her father, her home. This he knew. Her love and loyalty for her da was fierce. Could he really expect her to leave Ramsay, the laird of Mallabroch, alone, as ill as he was? Would he be able to protect her any better on the lam? No. He had no choice. She was a mighty one. She’d be fine, if only he’d let her go. Let her go and run. Damn it, he never ran from anything. He tucked a wayward lock behind her ear. “For you,” he repeated.
A shaky smile accompanied her gusty breath of relief. “I love you, Birk.”
“And I you. More than the moon and stars.” He pressed a kiss to her mouth. “I will clear my name,” he vowed against her lips. “I will come back for you.”
Birk gripped the back of her neck and she deepened the kiss. For a moment, he lost himself with her. The accusations, the magistrate’s guard closing in, his damaged, jaded world faded into the light, musky, floral scent of heather and urgent caress of her lips.
“This way!” The strident shout broke the haze, yanking him back to the present.
“Promise me.” She choked on the words.
Footfalls pounded against the packed dirt.
He could take no more of her agony. Aye. He would see the man who framed him dead. “I promise, mo teine, my fire. I will return for you.”
“Back here! This way!”
Tears streamed down her creamy, flushed cheeks. She nodded once. Without a word, she spun to stand, ready to face the men chasing after him.
Birk took off at a run, dodging barrels and crates, cutting around the buildings on the leading edge the rest of the way through the town to the docks. Behind him, he heard her shrill scream. He pushed hard against the urge to hasten back to her. He had to believe she would be all right. She was a hellcat when provoked. Sheena would be fine. She had to be.
He jumped over a pile of ropes and looped through stacks of lumber. The stench of timber and pitch mixed with brine. Off to the left, a carpenter hammered, the thudding so familiar. Ahead, several stevedores unloaded cargo from a ship. Birk hadn’t thought beyond fleeing the cell which Sheena unlocked. He hadn’t thought to where he’d go. But Sheena had. He was to flee to the only place he’d known—his father’s shipyard. Now as he skidded to a stop in the middle of the yard, realization struck. He had trapped himself between the town and the men coming for him and the sea. Bloody hell. Aye, there was a boat waiting for him somewhere, but would he reach it in time?
Sheena’s plan. Take a skiff across the Sound of Sleat to the mainland. Find a horse in Mallabroch and disappear. It was his only option, though he would rather have her by his side. Running from all the injustices their young lives had suffered, together.
Birk slunk through the maze of planks, boxes, casks, and tools, weaving through the scaffolding beneath the hull of a brigantine. He set his sights to the end of the docks where fishermen cast out in their skiffs. Just as he cleared the last support beam, he came face to face with his father.
Bewilderment flashed across his haggard face but was soon replaced with a flare of venom.
Birk slid his gaze past his father to his cousin rounding the other side of the scaffolding and coming up short. Cam slowly took a step back, as if he hoped not to become entangled in a confrontation.
“Birk.” A sneer crooked his father’s mouth. “Let ye out, did they?” His tone belied he knew the better.
Shouts traveled through the shipyard. His pursuers were nearly upon him.
“Hmph.” The old man lifted his chin and sneered down his nose. “Suppose not.”
“I didna do it, Father.” Speaking truths, hell, speaking at all was lost on the man.
Since birth, Hugh Bane, laird of Creaganbroch Manor, the village of Tradale, and the surrounding lands, had shunned his youngest son—the weak, sickly child who wasn’t expected to live. But his mother refused to accept her little bairn could not grow happy and healthy. Through her love and nurturing, never leaving his side, Birk survived the infant months to become the favorite of her three sons. That didn’t change as he grew a few years older. Hugh had become resentful, claiming his wife mollycoddled Birk. He’d force Birk into harsh labor around the yard, harsher than he should have for a boy his age. This but angered his mother and many fights were waged over Birk. Until his mother fell ill with fever. Upon her final breaths, it wasn’t Hugh she called for, but Birk. And Birk had suffered for it ever since.
Except that he didn’t. He hadn’t let the old man get the better of him. Not after the last time he took a backhand across his face at the age of fifteen.
“Didna do it?” Hugh spat. “’Tis your fault I’ve buried James. Ye and your goddamned defiance.”
And there it was. The blame he’d been burdened with and the guilt that his father was right this time. But that was his cross to bear and he’d be damned to let the old man lay one more thing at his feet. He’d be damned to give him any such satisfaction.
A wicked grin crooked one side of Cam’s mouth. One day, Birk would bloody up that idiot’s face, the toady.
“I didna kill James.”
“Ye did, and ye sullied the Bane name with your thievery.” Hugh, quick as a viper, snatched Birk’s arm. “Cam.”
“Yes, uncle?”
His father’s expression hardened. “Alert the authorities in the yard,” he leaned within an inch of Birk’s face, his eyes darkened with hate, “we have the bastard here.”
Birk had never gotten along with his cousin, but something about the toothy grin splitting Cam’s face didn’t set right with him. ’Twas more than Birk facing certain death at the end of a rope. ’Twas something…triumphant. Cam spun on his heel toward the approaching men.
“May ye rot in hell,” Hugh spewed.
Birk wrenched his arm free and leaned in even further, a hair’s breadth from the man. “Ye first.”
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Fair winds and following seas, mates!

About the Author

Jennifer is the award-winning author of the Romancing the Pirate series. Visit her at www.jbrayweber.com or join her mailing list for sneak peeks, excerpts, and giveaways.