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Lisa L. taylor and Kim leschak
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Orphaned at a young age and living on the streets of London, Victoria picks the pocket of an emotional Irish sea captain. Never would she have guessed that this would lead her out to sea, into the hearts of two men, and a conflict that has torn a family apart.
"I knew it,â€ RenÃ© shouted three days later. "He has discovered my nefarious plan to escape him. Damn Musette and her traitorous lips!â€ Turning to Victoria, who had approached at a run, he shook his head helplessly. "I should have known better than to trust a woman of her talents. She has given me away. Turn back, CapitÃ¡n. I shall go peacefully.â€
"In a pigâ€™s eye,â€ Victoria muttered. "Go below, RenÃ©. I wonâ€™t let the mad captain get hold of you.â€
"No, Victoria, you must not do this!â€ Frantic, his hands gesturing wildly, rings flashing in the sun, he shook his head until the red curls stood out around his face like flickering flames. "I am not worth the lives of your crew and son!â€
"Go below, RenÃ©. Now.â€ Glaring at him with all the ferocity she could muster, she watched his face harden into an expression she had never before seen on him.
"I promised Leslie I would look after you, Victoria. That does not mean allowing you to be murdered.â€
"Les isnâ€™t here to object.â€ Turning, she shouted to her first mate. "Geoffrey, escort Monsieur Savant to the brig and lock him in.â€
"Victoria!â€ RenÃ© shouted as the larger man put a hand on his shoulder. "Do not do this!â€
"Itâ€™s already done,â€ she muttered as he was escorted down the hatch. "Look after me? I think you need the looking after.â€ Turning to the horizon, she raised her own glass to her eye, catching the topsâ€™ls of the clipper in the round view.
It was a beautiful ship, she thought as it pulled over the horizon, the sails belling out in the wind. And it was fast. Victoria didnâ€™t have a lot of time. Spinning, she began shouting orders, raising sail to catch every available nuance of the breeze. It was going to be a race. Smaller and lighter, she had a chance to win, to escape without a fight.
Racing, the triangular sheets set to the wind, Victoria put every ounce of skill she had acquired into outrunning the huge ship. Fighting a larger vessel meant forcing the opposing captain to think he was trying to swat a particularly agile fly. Sheâ€™d seen Leslie do this before, and heâ€™d always won. Now it was her turn. Never get pinned down and never broadcast what you were going to do in advance.
The clipper, larger and more difficult to maneuver, still managed to keep on her wake, gaining ground as an hour or more wore on. Grinding her teeth, she finally decided to turn and fight. It was better than having him run her wake until nightfall. So, ordering the ship to come about, Victoria approached the clouds of sail above the other vessel, watching it furl the clouds until she could see the crew in the rigging.
There, standing arrogantly in the bow, was the man who had to be the mad Captain Nicholas: RenÃ©â€™s enemy. He was tall, broad shoulders encased in a white shirt that reminded her of Leslie, although the material gleamed silkily in the sunlight, the material much too fine to have been Leslieâ€™s. Black hair, as black as a ravenâ€™s wing, waved in the breeze as he lowered the spyglass he held and shouted an order.
A warning shot fired over the bow of the schooner. Gritting her teeth, Victoria held course, as if she was going to capitulate. Closer, she drew, close enough to count the buttons on the mad captainâ€™s black trousers.
"Now!â€ she cried finally, and a volley of cannon shot ripped into the side of the clipper. The mad captain cursed roundly, shaking a fist at her, calling her every name she knew and a few she didnâ€™t. Laughing, she spun the wheel, dancing out of the path of any retaliation as quickly as she could, using her forward momentum to advantage.
"Pick on someone your own size,â€ Victoria shouted as she drew past him.
"God damned Hellcat captain! Iâ€™ll have your hide for this!â€
"The Captainâ€™s Coatâ€ was born of a storytelling hobby during the authorâ€™s teenage years. Friends since 6th grade, Lisa and Kim created Victoria, Leslie, Nick, as they "toldâ€ their story to a devoted group of friends during their lunch hour in Junior High. Seven years passed before a word was set to paper. Nineteen more followed suit with the creation of families and households in separate states.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 304
Paper Weight (lb): 12.8
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