Monday, July 13, 2020

Medieval Monday with Ruth A. Casie


The Pirate’s Jewel by Ruth A. Casie

Today is the last day of Medieval Monday for this series. Our poor Darla has put herself in danger, hiding on her father's ship during a storm. But Wesley will save her, won't he?

Deception and family honor are at stake – so is her heart.
Wesley Reynolds will do anything to avenge his family’s banishment from Dundhragon Castle even throw in with the notorious pirate, MacAlpin. His plan, ruin Lord Ewan’s trading network. He has a more devious plan for his father’s ‘best friend,’ the man who abandoned them at the eleventh hour. He’ll ruin the man’s most precious jewel, his daughter Darla. Wesley’s so close to ruining the trade network and succeeding he can almost taste it, but revenge is not nearly as sweet as Darla’s kisses.
Darla Maxwell, beloved by her parents has no prospects of marriage. Her father and Lord Ewan search to find her the right husband. Darla’s special gifts are frightening to many. She has visions that often come true. The murky image of a man haunts her, she’s sure it’s Lord Ewan’s soon-to-be son-in-law, but the vision morphs when she meets Wesley. The meaning couldn’t be any clearer to her, her destiny lies with Wesley.
When revelations surface indicating Wesley has been deceived and his revenge misplaced. Will he find the truth of what really happened to his family in time to stop the pirates? Will Darla ever forgive him? Will he ever forgive himself?

Ruth A. Casie’s vivid descriptions place you right in the story. It is a wonderful read I highly recommend.” ~ Deb

$2.99 or Kindle Unlimited 

Anger rolled off her father in waves. Even from where she sat she saw his clenched jaw and fisted hands.
“Why aren’t these below?” her father asked, pointing toward the barrels that comprised her hiding place.
Richards shrugged. “With Lord Ewan’s men and supplies, there isn’t any room. I’ll have the men tie them to the deck.”
Darla froze. The men picked up ropes and started to secure the barrels across from her. Her watery eyes enlarged, the hairs on the nape of her neck bristled, and gooseflesh pimpled her frigid skin. Slow and deliberate, a tall man stepped out of the shadows and marched toward her hiding place. Please, don’t let him find me. Not now. She kept her gaze focused on him and tamped down her building panic. There was no place for her to run. She was trapped. His powerful well-muscled body moved toward her with an easy grace.
As he got closer, she tried to make out his facial features. They were strong, but in the darkening shadows, she couldn’t make out who approached. His dark hair was ruffled by the wind. He moved with an air of authority and the appearance of one who demanded instant obedience.
She closed her eyes. A vision emerged from a swirl of mist. A face. His face. Wesley Mills’ face. She snapped her eyes open.
With all the activity and noise around her she still heard his footsteps thunder as he came across the deck heading toward her. If he unveiled her now, all would be lost. He bent over the barrels, stretched his arm between the casks brushing her shoulder, but not claiming it.
“You’ll not find Magnus there either, m’lady.”
“Mr. Mills—”
“As your co-conspirator you can call me Wesley. Now hush. Not another word.” He found the loose sail next to her and yanked it out. With a toss, he covered the barrels with the sheet.
“Tie this down. This will keep the barrels and anything else in place,” Wesley said.
The ship glided out of the protection of the dock and sailed into the churning channel. Huddled under the sail, hugging her knees, Darla thought she might as well be blind. To add to her discomfort, the aroma of beer from the surrounding barrels was overpowering in the small space.
The rise and fall of the ship had her holding on to the barrels for dear life. Large raindrops that randomly pelted Darla’s shelter intensified. The ends of her canvas hideout fluttered and hammered a beat as gusts of wind plowed into the standing barrels sending sprays of water through the spaces between them. The tight ropes holding her sanctuary together sang as they strained against the pitching of the ship and onslaught of the wind and rain.
From her hiding place, she had no sense of what happened beyond its boundary. No way to prepare for the next roll of the ship, gust of wind or drenching rush of water. Shouted orders along with the grunts and salty words of the crew reached her ears above the sound of the howling wind and crashing water.
“Take in the sail. Toss out the sea anchor. We need to keep the ship headed into the wind. Tie a bag of oil to the windward side and toss it over. Let’s hope that keeps the waves from breaking over the side.”
Water that soaked through her makeshift canopy gathered above her and rained down on her, adding to her misery. She lifted her skirt, tucked her mantle close, but the water wicked through her clothes. Soaked and tired to the bone, she gave up trying to keep dry. Drained of any warmth, she shivered and waited for her ordeal to end.
Riding up and down the swelling sea, the rise and fall of the ship continued. The limited air in her space soured. Woozy, she needed fresh air but was trapped with no way out. With her head on her knees, she closed her eyes and prayed for the journey to end.
The thundering snap of a rope, followed by the full force of the wind and water startled her from her daze. Part of the sail slid off the barrels. She grabbed at it, but the wind pulled the canvas from her hand. For a moment, she delighted in the salty air and took a deep breath. The ship lurched and the barrels protecting her came loose from their bindings and turned into crushing weapons.
Strong arms grasped her. She didn’t care if her father found her. Getting free of her prison was all she wanted.
The wind roared down the deck, sprays of water erupted from the prow as the ship bounced and rolled in the sea. Nothing hindered the man’s grip. Finally, she raised her head, but the shroud of fog blanketing the ship made it difficult to see.
Darla strained and made out dark wet hair plastered to his face. The ship shifted beneath her feet. Unsteady, he held her close, she clung to him. She didn’t have to see clearly to know who held her.
Close to his chest, she made out rivulets of blood sliding down the side of his head, but she clung hard to him. She pulled away from his chest and stretched to reach his ear with her mouth.
“You’re hurt.”
He said nothing as he moved them forward.
“You have my thanks.”
He turned and gave her a flash of a smile.
“Wesley.” She smiled at him.
“I was afraid you’d think I was Magnus.” He cupped her head and drew her to his chest. He staggered forward fighting his way against the wind to reach the entrance. Here, there was some protection from the wind. He made fast work of the door.
The wind howled outside. She let out a breath, but Wesley didn’t stop. He hurried down the narrow passageway into a cabin.
“You’ll be safe here.” He sat her in a chair then went to leave. “Whatever you do, stay inside.”
A secretive smile softened his lips before he left, closing the door behind him. She ran to the door, looked through the small hole, and watched him make his way down the passageway, his broad shoulders nearly scraping both walls.
We hope you enjoyed the past eleven weeks with the return of Medieval Monday! See you again soon.

4 comments:

Mary Morgan said...

Absolutely wonderful, Ruth! Happy Medieval Monday! xo

Cathy MacRae said...

Fabulous ending to your excerpt, Ruth!

Sherry Ewing said...

A great ending for our nature theme, Ruth. Happy Medieval Monday!

R's Rue said...

So fun.