Eliza Taylor was convicted and transported for the crime of stealing. She suffers being put in chains, locked up and degraded, to the point where life holds no meaning. Kept prisoner in the dark hold of a ship bound for a penal colony, Eliza is at the mercy of men who, at every turn, threaten to use her to their advantage. That is, of course, until fate lands her at the feet of Lord William Townshend. His kindness and loyalty capture Eliza's heart. Oblivious to her growing feelings, William continues his journey on a quest for another woman, one he set his heart on marrying when he was a young man. When the winds of change reveal that his feelings may be turning her way, Eliza doubts her battered and wounded spirit will have enough strength to survive falling in love. Eliza encounters obstacles she never dreamed she would face but is determined to conquer them to gain her freedom. The cost of her freedom is high, and the villainous sergeant in charge will do everything in his power to use her for his own vengeful purposes.
“Eliza. That is your name, isn’t it?” I nodded my head, not taking my eyes off him. He seemed quite young for what I was expecting. Mid to late thirties maybe, and he certainly had that air of authority surrounding him. His hair was blacker than mine, and his eyes were dark and serious. He sat in his chair, leaning into the back of it with his head resting on his fisted hand. He almost looked bored–almost. “Do you talk?”
Still not taking my eyes off him, I replied simply, “Yes.”
“Will you excuse us, Hank?” I looked to Hank. He nodded his head and left through the door we entered. When it clicked shut, the captain rose to his feet. He was a tall man, not as bulky as Hank, but he appeared strong and virile. He wore snug-fitting pants with boots up to his knees, and an off-white shirt that looked so soft I could rub my face in it. He was not particularly handsome. The lines on his face were quite hard. Actually, he made me feel scared. “I hope you’ve been treated well.”
I snorted my laugh and gave him a sharp look. “If being treated well means being knocked out and left for dead in a small, rodent-infested, smelly hole, and fed something that tastes like it has been scrapped off the floor of the galley, then yes, I think you have given us a voyage to remember.” My gaze didn’t waver. The captain just gave me a smirk and crossed his arms over his chest. His hair was just long enough to put it in a tie at the nape of his neck. Some of it had come loose, and he tucked it absently behind his ear.
“Well then, I’m glad I was able to accommodate you.” He was laughing at me. I just raised my chin and waited for him to say what he wanted to say. “You know why you are here?”
To Be Released June 30, 2014