I am FINALLY releasing my pirate young adult novel!! I have been saying it for years, and it is finally happening! Prepare yourself because I LOVE this cover! How amazing is this cover? I might have to just print the image and put it somewhere in my house. That wouldn't be weird or anything would it? I am going to be releasing this book for all ebook readers, and paperback readers on November 1st, but you can preorder it now!
Her responsibilities and poverty trap Elizabeth. All she wishes for is to know what freedom feels like, but that always seemed out of grasp. However, when Elizabeth's father dies, she is left without any money or a roof over her head. She has only a few options. Taking a deep breath, she decides to take the plunge, cut her hair off, and join a pirate ship. Holes are poked into Elizabeth's plan when two guys whom she knew in her old life are also on board the vessel and could expose who she is.
Chapter 1 Elizabeth
The air surrounding me was saturated with the refreshing scent of salt, which seemed to awaken my senses. Keeping my eyes shut, I took in a deep breath of what I knew was freedom. A vast sea outstretched towards the unknown, full of adventures. However, when I opened my eyes, all I saw was the dock — my trap. The smile faded as I watched some ships bobbed ever so lightly in the tide as they were tied up against the dawn sky. I wrapped my arms tighter around my knees as a breeze swept through my window. From my room, I could faintly see figures moving around on one of the ships. I was never going to get off this island.
“Elizabeth,” a raspy voice called through the curtains.
“I’m coming Papa,” I responded with my eyes still on the horizon.
I took one last gulp of the fresh air before I uncurled myself from my bed by the window. Grabbing my worn dress and corset to exchange with my nightgown, but I wished that I could have done without the dreaded corset. What I wouldn’t give to be a guy and not have my ribs crushed under the wretched corset. I yanked on the strings one at a time. The material was shabby, but my bones still felt some restraint. Glancing around the room, I wondered where I had put my shoes. While I brushed my long red-brownish hair to put in a bun, I tried to remember what I did with my shoes. I only ever went to work, the market, or home. I gave up on fixing every stray strand knowing whatever I did to it wouldn’t last and started to crawl around on my hands and knees. I smirked, this was not the most lady-like behavior, and I was sure half the women in town would faint at the sight of me in this position on the floor. I gave up on being a lady years ago. We were poor, and I was not in a situation to play a lady.
“Aha!” I yelped once I found them under my bed and put them on.
My dress was hiked up to my knees as I put my shoes on. When I was little I never really cared to play dolls with the other little girls in town. I would watch the boys between their lessons would play with swords pretending that they were members of the guard or a pirate. I would go over there to ask them to play, and they would ignore me purely on the fact that I was a girl. They would go into their homes for their lessons, and I would never be able to get either. My Papa never learned to read and was unable to teach me. My Papa made it up to me, though by teaching me sword fighting; he said he might as well show me how to defend myself.
I have been helping out at the docks where my Papa worked for years. It did make the owner a little uneasy about a little girl working there. He got over it quickly since he realized that I was cheaper to hire than any man and got the work done just as well as one. I loved learning about the ships to the point where I could tell a person every part of a vessel and what it did. I could fix any part of the boat blindfolded. After that, I learned more as the people would dock their ships at our port. I could not get enough of the sailing life.
My true love though was pirates. The fact that they could jump onto their ships and sail all over whenever they could, I was jealous beyond all reason. To go from one port to another, to take what they thought what should be theirs. Never to have to worry about anything in life and no real responsibly. That sounded amazing to me. I would love having all the advantages since my Papa taught me how to swim when I learned to walk since I was always by the dock; not many knew how to do so. The best thing about being a pirate would be that I wouldn’t have to worry about being forced to marry anyone.
Fixing my dress, I pushed aside my curtain to reveal the common room. This building was the old office for the marina, so it was one room, but when my Papa started to work for the owner, he let us rent it. My mom had put up the sheets to create the illusions of rooms. I remember being little and running through all the layers of fabric. The laughter had died a long time ago, though; it was almost like the happy spirits were ghosts in our home.
Loud, ear curling coughing greeted me. Papa was standing at the table, both hands gripping the edges with white knuckles. My stomach dropped, and I instantly felt nauseous.
He held up a hand, causing me to stop me from finishing that thought. I went around him to take the pot off the fire before the bubbles boiled over. He sat down but kept his eyes on the table as I poured what looked like the last bit of last night’s broth into the bowls he had out. After putting the pot aside as I pushed the bowl in front of him, and Papa only nodded his head. Holding back a sigh, I started to sip on the liquid, and the warmth seeped through every part of my body. I couldn’t help peering over my bowl at my father.
“I’m alright you don’t have to worry about me,” he finally spoke, his chest heaving profoundly almost like he was trying to catch his breath.
“Papa, you should stay at home,” I whispered.
His face scrunched up. He hated me taking care of him when I was the child in the relationship. Deep in his eyes, though I could tell that a part of him was pleased that he’ll be with my mother soon enough, it was that last bit of bliss in him. That acknowledgment killed me to think that I was going to lose him too. He was all I knew and had. Why couldn’t he hold on a little bit longer for me?
“I’m alright honey, come on, you and I need to go to work.”
I just shook my head, knowing he wouldn’t listen to me anyway. His stubbornness might lead to his death. He had slowly been putting up a guard against me when his health took a turn for the worse a year ago. My Papa drank quickly. I didn’t know what tonight’s dinner was going to be. We ran out of food, and I didn’t know when we were going to receive our next payment. When I was younger, the men would give me food out of pity. Seeing a child small and underfeed would make them feel empathetic. Now they wanted something for the food, so I just ignored them and the pains in my belly. On a rare occasion, the dock’s master’s wife would give us food when they had extra, but it was far between the times she did that. They had children themselves to feed.
When the two of us finished with what we were calling breakfast, he took the bowls and washed them with a towel quickly. He gave me a tight smile which I returned and held my hand to start our walk to work. When we got to the docks, my Papa was instantly pulled aside to talk to the port master, leaving me watching and trying to figure out what was happening. My Papa just kept nodding his head before shaking the master’s hand. The master went back inside, and Papa headed back towards me. My chest shook as my heart raced with what my father could be directed towards me to say. I had a feeling what the news was going to be, and it worried me.
“Looks like there’s a job that they need me to go on.”
“But.” I paused and glimpsed over at the office before back at Papa.”But your health.”
He rolled his eyes and shook his head.”It’s a job, and we need the money, so there’s no discussing this. I leave four days from now.”
He brushed by me to head to his station, never looking over his shoulder. Nothing was unusual about him going on trips, but despite what he told people about his health, he was getting worse. The last thing he should be doing was going on a long journey with a cough that shook his whole body, and that made throat scratching noises. Davy Jones himself would hear it at the bottom of the ocean. I tried to hold back the scared nerves by holding my breath for a moment, letting it out slowly. I could not say a word to get him to stay at home. I loved my Papa, and this trip would surely kill him, yet the master could not see that. The owner had a business, things needed to be shipped, and we needed the money. There was nothing I could do. Maybe if I had been born a son, he might have listened to me.
I helped move some of the ropes on the docks to get things started for the upcoming trips. Working kept my mind busy. No one was out on the boards of the port. I guess we were earlier than we were supposed to be. I started to tie the knots for the sails as the sun shined brightly on this beautiful day, the sky losing the other colors leaving a crisp, blue shade behind. I could feel the sun starting to hit my face, warming me to my core. I couldn’t help, but smile. It didn’t take me long to do the ropes; knots were simple. My fingers became nimble over the years. I drifted a bit on the ship since no one was looking and I did all that I could’ve without anyone there.
I headed towards the Quarter Deck, where the steering wheel was. I let my fingers drift over the railing of the ship. The wood felt so smooth under my fingertips. Oh, I just wished that I could sail out and leave my problems behind. Taking a glance to make sure that no one was watching me, I picked up the skirt of my dress and ran the rest of the way. Each foot fell was light and rapid as I tried to keep the wooden planks from squeaking, and I wished that I was barefooted. Once I made it to the Quarter Deck, my fingers shook a little as I went to touch the wheel. With quivering hands, I put my hands on it real fast. My heart seemed like it would not stop from beating too fast, even though the anchor was in the water I felt like I was already on my way sailing towards the horizon to lands that I’ve only ever heard about from the sailors. I wanted to see if the stories were true for myself.
“You look like a natural up there,” a soft deeper voice spoke.
I jumped back and took my hands off with them in a surrender position in front of me. My eyes went wide as a guy around my age was close by chuckling at me. I hadn’t even heard him get on the ship. He had thick, raven hair that was just below his ears glistening as the sun shined brightly on him. He had these piercing green eyes that were smiling at me, or were they smirking? His clothes were tattered and frayed.
“Sorry, I hadn’t meant to scare you,” he spoke while strolling onto the same deck that I was on and continued to close the gap between us.
“You hadn’t scared me,” I tried lying hoping he didn’t see the fear that had to be showing through my eyes.
He had taken another relaxed step closer to me and another until he was finally standing next to me. I tried to keep my heart from leaping out of my chest; my feet never moved. I wasn’t running away from him. Why wasn’t I moving away? Even though I wasn’t trained to be a lady, I knew that when a strange man came up to me, I was not to be alone with him.
“I hadn’t?” the guy raised an eyebrow to match his smirk. His voice though was still charming.”Then why did you jump?”
“You just surprised me, that’s all,” I snapped straightening my shoulders.
He smiled and pushed his hair back from the wind blowing it. That was when I saw the earring. Definitely a pirate! That was not a slave trait because it glistened like gold. I jumped up and squealed as my eyes grew real wide. My hands flew to my lips, hiding my smile at the discovery. He scrunched his dark eyebrows, causing his grin to disappear.
“You’re a pirate,” I shrieked.
I was so excited I must have said it too loudly because he covered my mouth with a calloused hand. He glanced around agitatedly then back at me. His eyes narrowed at mine.
“Why would you say that?”
“Your clothes, the earring, and the fact that I can see an outline of a tattoo through your shirt,” I could hear the enthusiasm with every word. Quickly I was losing restraint that was stopping me from jumping up and down just before.
I couldn’t believe I was meeting a real pirate. I was getting overexcited. There were so many questions I wanted to ask. I wanted to know everything. I had dreamt of meeting a pirate my w life, whole life. However, with a pirate in front of me, I couldn’t think of what to ask first. My mind was a swirl of blanks though unable to process a single query.
“You’ll not rat me out?” he asked as his eyes locked onto mine narrowed.
“No! Tell me what it’s like to be free.”
He raised an eyebrow again.
“You’re not like any other girl I’ve ever met,” he spoke slowly.
My gaze fell to the deck floor, nervously as I shuffled my feet a little. I was not like a normal girl if I had any girl in me at all. He guided my chin up so that I could meet his eyes. They were softer this time.
“That isn’t a bad thing love,” his voice gentle as his thumb rubbed my cheek.”My name is Sly.”
When I went to the market, the women there talked about how they got flustered when they got a peek of any of the upper crust. I felt just as restless and enthused about the guy before me.
“You aren’t afraid of being near a pirate?” he questioned in hushed tones, and I didn’t know why he had to ask again.
Couldn’t he see the bliss just seeping out every pore?
I leaned against the edge of the ship, and he followed my led. Smiling slightly, I couldn’t believe someone was talking to me like an average person. I wasn’t getting made fun of or harassed. Sly genuinely seemed like he wanted to speak to me, curious about me. I felt the butterflies coursing through me. He was very at ease about this situation as his shoulders were not squared off. I didn’t think I’ve ever really been alone with a male like this before.
“No, actually they fascinate me. I’ve always dreamed of becoming a pirate. However, two things have always stopped me from becoming one,” I spoke with the words flowing out of me effortlessly.
“What are they?” He requested liked he cared.
“First, as much as I’d love to be out there, my Papa’s health keeps me here. The second is the most important; I’m not a man if you haven’t noticed.”
“Aye, I have,” Sly chortled.
I laughed a little anxious then he bent over to my ear. I could feel his lips touch the shell of my ear as he talked. Shivers shot through my spine.
“Would it fancy you to hear what it’s like?” his voice was husky.
“Everything, everything you could tell me.”
Sly laughed from deep within his chest and stood up fully to walk a little more in the back of the ship, leaving me to pursue him. I didn’t take much time as I jumped to shadow him.
“You would rather listen to me talk, than anything else?”
He raised an eyebrow. I pretended to ignore what he was hinting; I was not going to let him ruin my chance of asking him questions.
“Yes. It would mean the world to me,” I beamed.
He sat down on the deck floor, so I copied, and again he stared at me oddly hopefully for my boldness. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of his green ones that were unlike any eyes I have ever seen, such a daring shade of green. There was just the familiarity and comfort around him even though I had only met him.
“Why are you so different from every other girl I’ve ever been near?” there was a playful tone in his voice.
I blushed. That was the one problem I had with pirates, the way they were with the woman. The fact that pirates tried to charm their way into bedrooms to spoil any reputation of a woman just for a moment of mischievousness.
“I never had a Mama to raise me, just my Papa. He jokes around that I should’ve been born a son. That he had always wanted a daughter and never got one. He taught me the sword and about ships. I feel like I’m being imprisoned by staying here on this pile of dirt.”
Sly sighed. I can’t believe I told him that. I just met him. No one else knows about any of these fantasies. I glanced away from him and pushed back some lose hair.
“That’s why I love the sea. I’m free.”
“I’m jealous,” I let go a deep breath of air.
“Ladies such as yourself should want to get married and to have children. Not be trying to roam the waters.”
“That has never been a dream of mine. I never pictured any of those things.”
He smiled big.
“Come with me for a walk.”
I couldn’t say no to those eyes. Getting up we climbed down the ship before we slipped off, hoping not to get noticed. I could not be seen leaving work. Sly took my hand as we ran off towards the beach away from the docks. Using my free hand, I picked up my skirt to lift the material to around my knees. I giggled finally feeling loose, and he smiled at me. I didn’t care about the girly laughter escaping me around him. I didn’t know if it was from the sneaking off or the sea air, but for a brief moment in my life, I felt away from everything in my life. My hair came out of its bun and flew, just as liberated as me from its ribbon. We finally stopped with us trying to catch our breaths. I bent over to take off my shoes which were already practically dead. Walking in the sand with shoes on was not fun or an easy task.
Sly interlaced our fingers and pulled me over so that I was embraced tightly in his arms. He let a hand drift to my cheek and pushed the now windblown hair behind my ears. Being held by Sly was all going too fast, but Sly was a pirate after all. He started to lean forward a little while I was inclining my neck, his lips headed for mine. My knees nearly buckled, I was about to get my first kiss. I snuck out of work with a pirate and was about to get a kiss. My eyes drifted shut as he did the same. We both paused, though when a high pitched voice broke the silence over the sounds of the waves. His forehead was against mine as he paused, his jaw clenched.
“Now Elizabeth, I really could have sworn that you’re supposed to be at work right now,” the voice echoed in my head making me want to die, or to kill her, whatever would keep me from hearing that voice again.
Angeline was the richest girl in the region. Her father was the Governor. There was talk of her marrying a man high up in the ranks of the military. I could care less as long as she was not around me. She was part of the elite, so there wasn’t supposed to be much of a sighting between the two of us, but she still managed to make sure that we ran into each other every few days it seemed.
Everything about Angeline bothered me. Her hair color was opposite of mine, a light blond shade, and hers was clean in tight curls around her shoulders. She always wore the most elegant clothes; I don’t know if I have ever seen her wear the same thing twice. Her eyes were such a vibrant shade of blue that everyone loved under the thick, dark fan of eyelashes. Being around her made my blood boil. I could sense her before I saw her usually. She had a twin brother, Henry. He was a big problem for me. He was searching for a bride, and I always felt his eyes on me despite the class difference. I didn’t know which of the two urchins I wanted to see dead more at times. I was not lucky enough to lose them both in a tragic accident.
“It wasn’t busy,” I tried lying as Sly drew his face away from mine to look at Angeline.
I could feel the joy drain from my body.
“Elizabeth darling, you’re acting very rude by not introducing me to your friend,” her voice had a sharp tone; making sure to let me know that she was above me.
This woman was such a tart. My heart broke. Why did she always try to stomp on the little happiness I had in life. She sought out to make sure no other female was happy. She didn’t care who she flirted with or if the man was available. Angeline strolled upon the beach with such grace I knew I never had a chance because I wasn’t such a ‘lady.’ The layers of silk made the sand even clear smoothly. I wasn’t like the other girls.
She held out her gloved hand. Angeline used her charisma, and little was said yet. Sly left with her. I hated that siren. I was left alone standing on the beach with the wind blowing wildly. Off in the distance, I could see a ship that Sly was probably a crew member on that vessel. I sat in the sand, making sure my feet were well into the sand. My toes were in the cool sand as the sun warmed up the top light-colored grains. I had my knees brought into my chest, and I stared out into the ocean. What might have been the best morning of my life was turned into rioting fruit. The rich won over the poor yet again.
First four chapters: https://www.wattpad.com/story/20344424-a-storm-on-the-horizon
Release Day is November 1, 2019, ebooks are available for pre-order!
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