Redeeming the Pirate
by Chloe Flowers Pirates & Petticoats, #5 Publication Date: March 22, 2018 Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance, Standalone
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He steals for the French crown. She heals for the Catholic church. He will heal her heart. She will steal his.
To complete a mission for the French crown, a former pirate must either commit treason or betray the woman he secretly loves. Betraying one sends him to the guillotine, the other straight to hell.
French Privateer, Captain Drago Gamponetti is given one final mission from his employer, the king of France: reclaim religious relics from a New Orleans cathedral and bring them back. Trouble begins when he’s forced by a mysterious, veiled, novitiate nun to swear on the Bible to protect the very items he was instructed to steal.
Worse, 60 British warships have amassed in Negril Bay, Jamaica, preparing to attack New Orleans. He must retrieve the relics before the British arrive and seize the city.
How will Drago complete his mission without failing his employer or breaking his vow and betraying the church and the woman who has stolen his heart?
Novitiate nun and healer, Eva Trudeau has secrets, and hides more than her face behind the veil. The convent has been her safe haven since she crawled, beaten and bloody, to its door nine years ago. When an old enemy re-surfaces and threatens to drag her back into the dark underworld from where she’d escaped, both she and her dark pirate captain stand to lose everything they’ve fought so hard to protect…including each other.
This series is about spirited, independent women and rakish bad boy pirates, wrapped up in women’s action and adventure sea stories. If you enjoy romantic action and adventure, action and action and adventure romance fiction, historical romance or women’s fiction, you’ll love the Pirates & Petticoats series.
His eyes had turned from a glazed bright gray to nearly black. He shoved back his chair but remained seated, swaying like a ship on a turbulent sea.
“Capitainé Gamponetti? Are you well?” He just stared at her. Oh dear.
He blinked rapidly, then his left eye drooped. “What did you put in that—” He pitched forward and fell face first to the table, knocking over the nearly empty mug and cracking the plate with his forehead.
Eva shot from her chair and her hands flew to her mouth. Her gaze halted on the overturned mug.
What had she done?
What had the old woman used in that tonic?
Her heart lurched a sickening path to her stomach. Did it kill him? She darted around the table and shook him.
“Capitaine! Wake up!”
She stared at his back, watching for the next breath to expand his ribs. Why wasn’t he breathing? Unwilling to wait any longer, she placed her ear between his shoulder blades, hoping to catch something, anything, a heartbeat, an exhale. Please. She raised his head and peered at his slack-jawed face. There was no twitching of his eyelids or change in his expression. She put her hand under his nose.
There! A warm breath puffed against her palm. Thank God, he wasn’t dead.
She started like a guilty thief, dropping the man’s head back to the table with a dull thump. She pressed a hand over her thundering heart then winced at the likelihood of a nasty bruise appearing.
Julian stood in the kitchen, holding an empty plate. “I’m sorry if I startled you, Sister Eva,” he said. “Jacqueline fell asleep.” He yawned, then noticed the slumped form on the table. His eyes widened. “What’s wrong with Captain Gampo?”
She glanced from the boy to the mug to the unconscious man and tightened her hands into fists while her mind raced.
“I...I’m not entirely sure,” she said. It wasn’t like she told an outright lie. She suspected what might be amiss with him, but she couldn’t be absolutely certain. “It’s been a long night for the capitainé. Perhaps he’s exhausted?”
“He’s not dead is he?” Julian’s face blanked with shock.
She laughed and her voice warbled, “Of course not. He’s just...sleeping.” She glanced furtively around the kitchen and her gaze lit on a nearby door. “There’s a small bedroom next to the pantry, behind us for a cook’s helper, but she’s with her family this week. Would you help me get him to her pallet? Perhaps he just needs to...sleep a while.”
Julian eyed the bulk of the man slumped on the table and gave her a dubious nod. “I’ll do my best. He’s awfully big.”
She shook the captain’s shoulder again. “Capitaine? Capitaine, we shall assist you to a bed, but you’ll need to aid us. Can you stand?”
He mumbled a short string of garbled words. Thank the Lord! At least he responded. Together, she and Julian looped his arms around their shoulders then heaved him to his feet.
Miss Kalia and her wretched tonics and premonitions. How was this supposed to sway the captain’s priorities and help her? The man couldn’t even say his own name at the moment. How long until he recovered? Would he recover?
What if the tonic turned him into a blithering idiot?
She stared at the man. This was going to be trouble. Gamponetti was lean yes, but also solid. Through the thin linen shirt, outlines of chiseled muscles crossed his chest and shoulders; hard ridges wrapped his ribs.
Although she nearly starved in the New Orleans streets before being taken in by the Ursuline nuns, her diligent work at the abbey had made her strong. Hopefully, it made her strong enough to support her portion of the man’s bulk.
Even though it was a short walk, adjusting to the man’s erratic gait proved difficult. He stepped on their toes. Halfway there his right knee buckled, sending Julian to the floor. Eva staggered under the weight, causing the captain to teeter toward her before the boy was able to scramble up and regain control. When they reached the door to the small room, she groaned in frustration.
“We can’t all fit through at once,” she said. “Julian, you’ll have to hold him long enough for me to slip inside.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he panted, face red with exertion.
“Capitainé Gamponetti, wait here,” Eva ordered. She slipped in, intending to spin the man a quarter turn so the boy could follow quickly. Together they’d ease him down to the bed resting against the adjacent wall.
She realized too late that particular element of her plan was flawed. As she whirled to face him, he stumbled across the threshold and teetered, forcing her to shove against his very broad shoulders to halt him. Unfortunately, once he started to tilt, there was no stopping his momentum. He fell like a solid oak, squashing her between his body and the bed and pinning her arms against her chest.
She would have shrieked in surprise if the air in her lungs hadn’t been forced out in a single whoosh. She squirmed, trying to free her hands and gain enough leverage to shift the massive hulk smothering her. But it was hopeless. Salt spray, leather and a musky scent tinted with something citrusy permeated her nose. Her belly did strange, annoying things.
“Capitainé,” she gasped, struggling for a breath, “you’re...crushing... me.”
His body jerked and she glanced over his shoulder to find Julian tugging on his arm. The tall, lanky boy neared manhood. Still, he was no match for the captain’s massive body.
“Captain Gampo! Wake up!” Julian’s voice bore a slight note of panic. He braced his heels and leaned back, straining until the cords of his neck stood out against his throat.
“Find...Sister...Beatrice,” she choked out. “The chapel...in the...north wing.”
The jerking stopped and the boy’s feet smacked the floor in his panicked dash from the room, then echoed down the hall.
Wiggling her forearms between her body and the captain’s she tried to shift him enough to take a full lungful of air. Heat radiated from his chest to hers to swirl and dip beneath her ribs.
To her relief, he lifted his head, helping her cause a tiny bit. “Mmm...” Gamponetti’s heavy lids flickered and opened part way. Liquid silver eyes traveled over her face. It was then she realized her veil had slipped. “Waz this?” he mumbled.
At least he awoke. If only he’d get up. The effect his body, had on her senses and emotions was irritating and unnerving. Breathing wasn’t the only problem. Strange tingling sensations swirled low in her belly. “Capitaine, please shift your weight. I can’t move.”
He nuzzled her neck, sending a shiver ripping down her spine. “Move? Why’d I wan’ you to move, il mio caro?”
A circle of heat covered her breast and a jolt of panic and awareness flashed through her. She tried to squirm out from under his hand but only succeeded in grinding against him in a very intimate and not totally unpleasant way. “No, capitainé! I’m Sister Eva! Not—”
“Theresa? Thaz a priddy name,” he murmured, kissing her temple and sending a bolt of revulsion down the side of her neck. Definitely revulsion. Or fear. Probably both.
Her heart pounded wildly in her ribs. “No, not Theresa...Sister Eva! Sister!” She’d shout directly into his ear if only she could take a deep enough breath. It didn’t help that with every surge of her pulse, air escaped and her body melted. Never again would she use one of Miss Kalia’s remedies without first learning what was in it and how it worked.
Blue-gray eyes, hooded by drowsy lids and inky lashes stared at her with a glassy mixture of dominance and languid heat. “You talk too much, Theresa.”
Talk too much? Now she couldn’t even remember what she’d been about to say and doubted her tongue could move if she did. Solid angular hips settled between her thighs and his hard thick length rocked against the most intimate part of her center. Somehow, she managed a sharp gasping inhale. His ragged groan heated the skin near her ear.
He began exploring her breast with his hand, rubbing the puckered peak beneath her tunic, giving it a delightfully painful pinch. A shiver streaked from that spot to the center of her belly. His breath hitched and he raked his lips across her throat, pausing to suck the place pulsing with a chaotic rhythm. His body was granite hard. Panic welled in her chest. And he was hard.
His mouth swallowed her next objection, trapping hers in a hot, moist kiss that moved and caressed and punished. Every nerve was diverted to focus on the sensation of his lips. All she could hear was her own jagged heartbeat. Every inch of skin tingled from the tops of her ears to the bottoms of her toes. His scent reminded her of fresh sea air and leather, both comforting and exhilarating. She yearned to be closer, breathe more of him in and at the same time shocked by the thought. Definitely shocked.
Although she had yet to take her final vows, she was practically married to the church and what was happening now, what her woman’s body apparently so eagerly desired, was nothing less than adultery, which happened to be a huge sin.
That last thought was akin to tossing a bucket of cold water on a catfight. Her mind finally re-engaged and she twisted her face away from the heady enchantment created by his exploring mouth.
The small victory was fleeting, as he set his lips to another delirious task, finding the tender skin of her neck, which wouldn’t have been exposed had she taken time to dress in her coif and wimple last night.
Sister Beatrice’s voice drifted into the room from the kitchen. “Sister Eva? Where are...Oh!”
The interruption was enough to make the captain lift his head and turn his unfocused gaze toward the door, providing her enough room to swing one arm. Her palm connected with the captain’s temple, slamming his head against the wall with a loud thunk. He collapsed.
She gasped for air. The unmoving man still sprawled across her, pinning her down.
Dear Lord, what had she done?
ABOUT CHLOE FLOWERS
15% of Chloe’s profits go to the NATIONAL BREAST CANCER FOUNDATION.
On average, over 80% of their funds go to programs that directly support women through every step of the breast cancer journey.
Whether it’s dancing naked in a downpour at 3AM, zip-lining in a rainforest, or racing ponies, Chloe’s always looking for the next adventure.
Her pets have always been named after favorite characters or action heroes: Indiana, Luke, Gimli, Thelma, Rocket, Forrest, Al Giordino, Severus, Mushu, Mérida, Gibbs, Jack…Dead Pool (he’s a goldfish).
Chloe’s biggest fault is her apparent inability to say “no” whether it’s in response to a call for aid or a double-dog-dare to hike home through 30 acres of a snow-covered forest at midnight…during a full moon. It was early morning during said adventure when she came upon a group of sheriff’s deputies searching for a lost girl. So, of course she offered to help. Turns out, they were searching for her.
In addition to her addiction to adrenaline, she has a weakness for good red wine, dark chocolate and brown-eyed guys with beards, which is probably why she digs pirates and treasure hunters and writes about action and adventure, pirates and romance (which is the greatest adventure of all).
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