The Pirate's Jewel

Ruth A. Casie
The Pirate's Jewel

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Publisher
DragonMedia Publishing
Release Date
February 2019
Series
Book 14 of Pirates of Britannia
Genre
Fantasy Romance, Historical fiction, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance

SUMMARY
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?

BOOK INTERVIEW on February 2019
Interview by Laura

Welcome, Ruth, to The Romance Reviews!

Q: Where did you get your inspiration for THE PIRATE'S JEWEL?

Have you ever read a book with secondary characters that scream for a story of their own? Or better yet, characters you want to know more about. Wesley Reynolds and Darla Maxwell, the central characters of The Pirate's Jewel are the parents of Lisbeth Reynolds, the heroine in my story, The Guardian's Witch. They have a small part in the story and begged for one of their own.

Q: I understand it's set in the world of the series Pirates of Britannia. What's the series all about?

Eliza Knight and Kathryn LeVeque created a unique pirate world created a legend to base it on.

Before the end of the first century, a young man, Arthur MacAlpin, the fourth son of Pictish King Cináed set out on an adventure that would turn the tides of his fortune. What could be more exciting than being feared and showered with gold?

He wanted to be king, like his namesake, the great King Arthur, but while that King Arthur brought to mind images of the roundtable surrounded by chivalrous knights, MacAlpin wanted to summon night terrors.

To prove his worthiness to his father that he too was a conqueror as his father had conquered the Vikings. He amassed a crew and commandeered one of his father's ships. He trolled the waters, boarded ships, sacked small coastal villages, and did vile things.

When he returned to his father, all of Scotland was up in arms about Arthur and all that he had done. He tried to explain to his father, but he would not listen or allow him back into the castle.

King Cináed banished his youngest son, condemned his acts as evil and told him never to return.

Enraged, Arthur took to the seas, gathered men as he went, and built a family he could trust would not shun him.

One ship grew into scores of ships. His ships roamed the seas. And the pirate brotherhood grew. English factions joined the brethren from Britannia's ranks as allies and friends. Different countries and cultures across generations joined the pirate's ranks. These were his warriors, who adored, respected and followed him. Together they wreaked havoc on the blood ties that had abandoned him.

Every pirate king to follow was named MacAlpin so his father's banishment would never be forgotten.

Forever lords of the sea. A daring brotherhood, where honor among thieves reigns supreme, and crushing their enemies is a thrilling pastime.

These are the Pirates of Britannia. The Pirate's Jewel is one of their stories.

Q: Please tell us more about heroine Darla Maxwell, especially her gifts. What kind of woman is she?

Darla is a unique woman. She was born with shimmering veil, a caul over her face. A rarity phenomenon, throughout history many strange superstitions and legends have been attached to caulbearers.

According to legends, caul bearers cannot drown, are great healers and are gifted with foresight, a way of knowing the outcome of things before they happen. But for our heroine, knowing what is going to happen and not being able to take any action frustrates her. To her this gift is a curse.

She's learned to deal with the sigma, witchcraft attached to her gift, but will not be bullied or intimidated.

Here is how she dealt with one such encounter…

***

What was she doing, spying on him? When he got a hold of her, he would tell her a thing or two. He rounded the corner and hurried up the lane.

There. Her body shifted and he noticed someone with her. Who was she talking to?
Wesley got a good look. Justin. The man's clothes were stained, his hair greasy. His sunken eyes were threaded with scarlet so densely they appeared pink.

"Look who's here. The witch."

Darla didn't move. She didn't flinch.

Curses fell from Wesley's lips as he raced forward.

"Come on. Leave her alone." Justin's friend pulled on his arm, but Justin wiggled out of his hold.

"Are you afraid of a little spell? I tell you all we need is a little of her blood, dab it around the boat, and we'll be protected. You can't back down now. You hold her and grab that little pouch around her waist she's so fond of. I'm told she always carries it." Justin took out his knife and waved it at her.

"As above so below. As within so without," Darla chanted with her hands raised and fingers stretched pointing to them. "Let me see, how to finish the curse. I can make you into toads. No, that won't do. You'd give the little creatures a bad name. Something more particular to you."

She looked at the sky and tapped her finger on her cheek. The two men bounced from one foot to the other and grew paler by the minute.

"Ah yes. I can make your ballocks fall off. Of course, I'm not proficient with this spell, so you'll never know when it will happen, when you bathe, relieve yourself, or other more intimate times."

A well-practiced evil grin spread across her face that left no doubt she enjoyed the torment she inflicted. She stretched her arms and flexed her fingers reaching toward the two men.

"Yes, that will do."

Justin's friend took off running down the lane. Darla lowered her arms.
"Oh, what a pity, your friend has left you and the curse is specifically for two people." Her brow wrinkled. "Ah, but I'm sure I can refocus it all on you."

Darla raised her hands again. This time she pointed at Justin's crotch. Her expression turned intense as she glared at him. The drunk squirmed. His eyes lit with fear. Slowly, he lowered his knife.

Wesley took advantage of the man's preoccupation and worked his way behind him. As soon as he was in place he tapped the drunk on the shoulder.

Justin gave a small yelp. When he turned, Wesley threw a right fist across his chin and laid him flat. Satisfied the man was out, he marched over to Darla and grabbed her hand. …

…"I am capable of taking care of myself."

Relieved and confident he had controlled the situation, Wesley raised his hand to knock. She grabbed it and turned to face him.

"But you must admit, Justin and his friend were scared, weren't they?" Darla's wide grin made him laugh.

"Remind me not to make you angry."

Q: What about Wesley Reynolds? How is he a swoonworthy hero?

In essence, Wesley is a 13th century salesman. He trades in silks. He is determined and in a subtle way, Wesley is quite the playful tease...

***

"What do you mean you found a stowaway? A pirate?" Father's voice broke through the silence. An oddly primitive warning sounded in her brain. Dressed only in her chemise, she gathered up her clothes, ready to put on the wet gown until she spied her satchel by the door. How did it get in here?

Wesley.

"No. Not a pirate." Wesley's voice was almost as stern as her father's.

She pulled on a dry gown, then rushed back to the bed, pulled the blanket over her head, and listened as her father entered the room.

"And you locked the thief in here, my cabin," Father said as he moved next to the bed and yanked the blanket away.

She looked up into her father's eyes that were stony with anger.

"Hello, Father. Are we home yet?" She plastered on a grin even though there was nothing to smile about. There was nothing for her to do but tolerate his anger.

"You," he hollered and threw the blanket on the floor. "Wesley tells me he found you stowed away among the barrels." He paced beside the bed. "How did you get there? Didn't I tell you to go back to the castle? You're lucky I don't throw you overboard."

He paced in the small space. He stopped, turned and faced Wesley.

"Did you know she was aboard?"

"Maxwell. I noticed something amongst the barrels and found Lady Darla." He gave her a quick wink.

Maxwell took her clothes from a chair and tossed them on the floor then slammed his body into a seat.

"Which question do you want answered first?" She tried to be matter-of-fact, but that was next to impossible with Wesley leaning against the door, ankles crossed, and a devilish smile on his face. The mystery in his smoldering eyes summoned her and started a fire that went from her cheeks, down her neck, and beyond.

"I don't think I can help you with this stowaway. With the weather calm for the moment, I'll be on deck helping Richards." Wesley left the room.

Q: What is their first meeting like?

Darla mistakes Wesley for her close friend's fiancé, Magnus. This was a fun scene to write and I love how it came out. Wesley is cheeky yet sweet, which is just how I wanted him to be. Here is what happened when they met…

***

Darla, with her small satchel in hand, stood in the shadows of the ship and waited for Lord Ewan to leave. She let out a nervous breath. This was her last chance to speak to her father. She couldn't fail.

Lost in her thoughts, the seemingly magical appearance of a man near the hull startled her. Although he walked in the shadows and she was unable to see his face, his height and build spoke for itself.

The docks by the castle were safe, but at night a woman of her breeding would never wander by the ships. Tonight, it was a calculated decision, maybe not a good one. That didn't matter now. What was done was done. Aware of her predicament, she remained alert and kept her eye on him. As he moved past her she recognized the man's familiar stride.

"Magnus," she called. The man kept walking.

"Magnus," she said more urgently. The shadow turned and faced her.

"You're …you're not Magnus." Caught off guard, the face was familiar, but not the man.

"No, a pity that I'm not."

"My apologies." She craned her head for a view of the gangplank. "You appeared to have the features…in the shadows…I thought you were Lady Maria's fiancé."

"Oh, you're meeting her fiancé—"

"No, no, no," she said growing more agitated by the minute. She snapped her head around as the sound of the horse's hooves and the wagon on the cobblestones leaving the dock reached her ears. She gasped and shuffled back a step stumbling on the edge of the dock.

With lightning speed, the stranger grabbed her arm and pulled her to his chest before she tumbled into the water.

Darla stared up into overpowering gray eyes that seemed to see right through her. His ruggedly handsome face was familiar, but she couldn't place from where. She lowered her head and looked away. Crushed against his chest, she felt his hard muscles under her hand. For a moment, she couldn't move, she didn't want to. A heady sensation wrapped her in a daze like dream. A shiver across her shoulders cleared her mind and she caught her wits.

Q: What for you is a romantic moment between them?

I love this scene. Let me set it up for you.

Darla has stowed away on her father's ship. Wesley finds her and helps her hide among a group of barrels on the deck. He covers the barrels with a sail and had it ties down to protect her.

***

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, 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.

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.

Q: What kind of research did you have to do to write this book? Please share an interesting fact or unique behind the scenes experience.

I knew very little about pirates when I started this story and less about medieval boats. I found a course and signed up for it while I was outlining my story. Sailing the Seven Seas with Pirates was given by Cindy Vallar (who has an awesome website full of pirate information).

The interesting fact, that I put into the story concerns medieval boats. While I found many interesting facts, the one that interested me most was about medieval boats in the North Sea. Not surprising, they were fashioned after the Viking long boat and had only one stationary rectangular sail. The boat, a birlinn could only sail in the direction of the wind. If the captain wanted to go in the opposite direction, he had to wait for the wind to shift or have his men row the boat.

In the Mediterranean area, traders used a different type of boat. Their boat had an additional triangular sail. This sail was adjustable to the wind direction. These boats, called cogs could go where and when they wanted.

In my story, Maxwell the ship owner adds a cog, the Sea Diamond to his shipping fleet. The ship's maneuverability plays a big part in the story.

Q: Please give us a sneak peek at your next book.

My next book, Heart of the Matter is a contemporary romance. It is part of the Havenport Romance series and will be released this October.

A woman who is packing her grandmother's home finds a love letter in her grandmother's bible, but it's not from her grandfather.

This story is near to my heart. When my mother passed and I was packing her things, I found a white bible covered in Mother-of-Pearl. It was my mother's wedding bible. And yes, I found a letter in it. It wasn't from my Dad.

Q: What's up next for you?

In March, I will be releasing the print version of The Guardian's Witch. It is the story of Lisbeth Maxwell, Darla and Wesley's daughter. In 13th century England, a knight is wrongly accused of treason. In order to save the man she loves and prevent being married off to another, Lisbeth Reynolds, born with the power of second sight, must make a crucial decision. Dare she rely on her knight, Lord Alex Stelton, to find a way to save them both or does she trust her magic and risk exposure and persecution as a witch?

Sounds exciting! *grin* Thank you for your time, Ruth!

Bio of author, Ruth A. Casie:


RUTH A. CASIE is a USA Today bestselling author of historical and contemporary romance. Her stories feature strong women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all.

Ruth lives in New Jersey with her hero, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she found her voice, she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and vice president at an international bank where she was a product/ marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she's doing now—writing romance.

Visit her http://www.ruthacasie.com/ to see what she writes. Her historical swashbuckling action-adventures and contemporary suspense will keep you turning the pages until the end. She hopes her stories become your favorite adventures.
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Backlist:

The Guardian's
Witch

The Highlander's
English Woman

Happily
Ever After


The Witching
Hour

Never Say
Never



OTHER BOOKS BY THE AUTHOR

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May 23, 2019 08:19 AM ( EST )