Thursday, April 16, 2009


You can check on the contents with Amazon's Search Inside facility, and the blurb is on the book's page as well. There's also an excerpt on my older blog, and on the book's page at the publisher's site,

But I realise readers have an awful lot of info to wade through, so here's a couple of pages from early in the story...

"Feeling the sun, are you?" His voice was curt. "Jedediah, put up a bit of canvas to give her shade before that fair skin burns." He spoke more like one protecting a fragile possession than a person. Jedediah grunted and trudged off, and the captain pushed his hat toward her. "In the meantime, here."

It was true she was hot and she knew her face must be flushed, however Mercy let the black tricorne sit on the sand. She did not want to wear male apparel.

"Oh, show some sense. It might be a pirate's hat, but pride runs a poor second to sunburn."

Pride, again. Mercy considered, then placed the hat on her head, over her cap. It felt heavy and too warm and a circle of perspiration wet the rim. However it did shade her face.

"I meant to bring you a piece of plank to write on. Or did I? Maybe it's better not to know what you think." His tone mocked himself.

Mercy smoothed her hand over the last Bible verse she'd written in the sand and erased it. She printed with her finger, THANK YOU. She raised her eyebrows at him in enquiry.

"Yes, I can read. I was raised respectable. 'Thank you' for what? The hat?"

She brushed the words away and wrote again. YES. AND FOR HAVING MERCY ON ME.

He shrugged. "What's your name?"


His look was measuring. "I suspected there was a wit under that yellow hair. Do you have a last name?"

She hesitated, but what could he know of her mother? PENHALL.

"Well met, Mistress Penhall. I'm Edmund Gramercy. So, if we were wed, you'd be Mercy Gramercy." He saw startled colour rush to her cheeks and added impatiently, "I but made a bad joke, girl! Gramercy's not the name I was born with." He turned away from her again.

For some minutes he watched his men strip meat off the spits, then his gaze ranged further, to the lookouts at the creek mouth. When he spoke it was evidently to himself. "I've taught them that much, at least. The guards aren't running back for their food until they're relieved." His glance flickered back to her and he frowned.

Mercy, from long experience, knew the look. Because she was silent, he had temporarily forgotten her presence. She took the opportunity, though, and printed, WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE LONGBOAT?

His voice was low, but angry. "By heaven, you try my charity!"

She met his eyes, folded her hands quickly in her lap and clenched her fingers together. She had presumed too far.

"Very well. If they are any kind of seamen, they'll make shore or survive 'til they meet a ship." His tone was dangerous, for all its quiet. "Why? Do you have a friend among them?"

She shook her head.

His voice cooled, though it remained angry. Which made his next words the more surprising. "The old woman on board - there was no mark on her body, they said. Was she kin to you?"

Mercy shook her head again, and bit her lip. She printed hurriedly, so he would not see her finger tremble, SHE DIED OF FRIGHT. She'd wanted to ask him what became of other women from captured ships. Now she did not dare.

He stared at her, eyes dark and cold and unreadable. She had noticed before that when he was distant as now his eyes were all brown, and when he was approachable the gold lights appeared in them. She thought there must be the remnant at least of a warmer person beneath the cold outer one.

He turned his head away. By chance his face presented the same aspect she'd seen in the cabin yesterday evening, the line of forehead and cheek and the long lashes outlined. She had thought then he grieved. Was it possible he regretted the death of an old lady and the fate of the sailors in the longboat?

How was it possible for a man to regret the deaths of others and yet remain a pirate?

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