Friend masterfully blends past and present to take us on a journey into a historical period filled with thrills, adventure, lore, and love, and adds a dash of modern day exploits, mystery, and romance for good measure. Avast, matey! This book will appeal to the pirate’s heart in everyone. —Anna Furtado, May 2009
This is an exciting read with skillfully drawn characters, crashing waves, and gorgeous scenery. It is a must, whether you’re a lover of detective stories, pirates, or a good love story. —RLynne, Jan/Feb 2009
With the excitement of rough seas, battles, overcoming adversity, and saving one’s life, A Pirate’s Heart is an engaging page-turner. Throw in two compelling romances, and you have double the fun. Friend delivers the ancient sea lingo spot on and gives details so rich and real that her characters leave a lasting impression. —Cheri Rosenberg, Jan/Feb 2009
Sharp-eyed Billy shouted from the foredeck. “They’s dumping Negroes overboard!”
Captain Tommy raised her glass and cursed violently. The prize’s bounty obviously included several dozen slaves, and Shaw’s men shoved and tossed them overboard. Shaw waved to Tommy, then began moving his ships away. The slaves were a good three leagues from land, too far for anyone to swim.
“By my blood,” Sawkins muttered. “The murderous bastard means to leave them there.”
“Bring us around,” Tommy said quietly. “We’ll be too late for most of them.” By the time the Moon Shadow reached the area thirty minutes later, those who couldn’t swim had drowned, and only a dozen unfortunate slaves remained alive to be plucked from the sea. Hatley brought up blankets while Sawkins and Tommy discussed their options. It was written in their Articles that no man had the power of liberty over another. Tommy and her men had not lifted the galling yoke of slavery from their own necks just to lower onto the necks of others.
But when the last of the slaves, three women, were brought on board, men hooted and hollered, and a few dropped their trousers and thrust their members lewdly toward the Negro women.
“Bloody hell,” Tommy snapped to Sawkins.
“They’ve gone weeks without seeing a woman,” he said, smiling weakly at her scowl. Except for her monthly courses, she often forgot she was a woman herself.
All the ribald comments ceased as she descended from the quarterdeck ladder to the middeck and approached the two men, who quickly tugged their trousers back up. “Sawkins, take the wenches to my cabin.”
The minute Tommy had realized three of the slaves were female, an idea took root. If she could convince one of these women to stay aboard, she’d have her cabin boy.
Once inside her cabin, she didn’t look directly at the women but gaze out the stern windows, hands behind her back. She could see, through the dust and mold, the wake flaring out behind the ship.
“I be in need of a personal servant,” she said. “I’m willing to pay. The duties would be light: washing clothes, arranging meals, and braiding my hair. Yer chances of surviving are better on this ship than if ye are put ashore, where ye will likely be captured and sold as slaves again.”
None of the women responded. “Do they speak English?” she asked Sawkins.
“Don’t believe so, Captain. But Tommy, are you sure about keepin’ a woman on board? The men mostly forget you’re a woman, begging your pardon, but some think a woman’s bad luck.”
Tommy said nothing, but turned to face the women. The first fixed her eyes on the floorboards beneath them and clutched the blanket tightly around her neck. The second raised her eyes and moved her mouth in silent prayer. When Tommy gazed upon the third woman, she nearly swallowed her tongue. The woman didn’t hide her eyes, but gazed straight at Tommy, fearless, challenging. Her face wet from the sea, her ample bosum straining against the thin, wet dress, her long hair of tight black ropes----Good God Almighty, the figurehead from the Maravillosa stood before Tommy as a living, breathing woman. Her skin was the same dark coffee of the figurehead. Her black eyes snapped with anger. Her full mouth was set in a firm line.
“Captain,” Sawkins whispered near her ear. “You’ll not be wanting that one. She’ll be too saucy, mark my words. Take one of the other two. Either a them’ll shape up nicely, doing what you want without complaint.”
Tommy didn’t want a slave. She wanted a woman—that woman—to agree of her own volition to stay on board and earn her keep in Tommy’s service. But apparently none of the women spoke English.
The bold woman and Tommy locked eyes. Only one woman of this bunch would do, and she was the one.