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Rescued by the crew of the Desiree and assumed to be trying to escape indenture, the water-soaked, dripping-wet man stood shivering on the auction block. His pleading cornflower blue eyes met those of Maureen Maguire’s pure green ones as he declared he had lost his memory in a fall from the ship. But it was Shamus O’Toole, shipmate and heir to her neighboring tobacco plantation that identified the man on the block as an Irish criminal by the name of Bryant Taylor. Maureen’s father Patrick purchased Bryant’s indenture, but it was Shamus who asked for permission to court Maureen. Patrick quickly assigned Bryant the job of overseer on his plantation and became friends with him. Maureen was soon enamored with Bryant, but was aware that Shamus was socially acceptable for her future. Could Maureen come to love Shamus, or would Bryant’s gentle, romantic wooing always keep her from finding happiness?
The water-soaked, dripping-wet man was being hauled to the deck by a rope when Captain Zachary Fitzsimmons arrived. “Who are you?” he asked.
Shivering and confused, the man said, “I don’t know who I am. Where am I? I have no memory. When I came to, I was in the icy water swimming toward shore.” He put his hands on either side of his temples. “My head hurts; I must have hit it when I fell.”
“Or jumped. Excuse me, Captain. This man is Bryant Taylor. We boarded the Desiree in Dublin, and traveled with it to Liverpool, where we took on more passengers. He’s a pest. He has followed me on my nightly walks on the deck and quizzed me about my life. He is to be put on the auction block and sold as an indentured servant for four years.”
“And who are you?” the captain asked.
“I, sir, am Shamus O’Toole. I came to the Virginia Colony to run my late Uncle Thomas O’Toole’s tobacco plantation.” His Irish brogue was thick, his voice coarse.
“It’s glad I am to meet you, Shamus O’Toole. I will introduce you to your nearest neighbor , Patrick Maguire, who is waiting for the auction to begin.”
Abruptly, Captain Zachary turned his attention back to Bryant. “And what were your crimes? Were you a thief, a murderer; did you come to the colonies to find freedom?”
“I don’t know, sir…”
Shamus interrupted coldly, “It’s perfectly clear, sir. He was trying to escape indenture. He’s obviously bad, and pretending not to remember can be a ruse to cover up his many violations.”
They had arrived at the dock. The Captain dismissed Bryant to the coastal guards who had captured him. “Tie his hands and take him to the block,” he ordered.
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 250
Paper Weight (lb): 10.6
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