****** Congratulations to the winner of the Day 10 Giveaway ******
***** Exclusive Giveaway *****
***** GIVEAWAY CLOSED ****
Prize no longer valid
Cosmicread you have won the BARBARA DEVLIN PRIZE :
ONE Amazon Kindle Fire 7″
a Kindle copy of To Catch a Fallen Spy AND The Black Morass
for one lucky winner in the US/Canada.
**International winner will receive a GC from Amazon.com **
Cosmicread you have 24 hours to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or a new name will be drawn.
As the Winter Extravaganza comes to a close with this last post I want to thank all the authors who made the past NINE days so much fun and who were generous with their time and contributions. Thank you Kimberly Kincaid, Sandra Lake, Stefanie London, MK Meredith, Entangled Publishing, Allison Butler, Hildie McQueen, Nancy Northcott, Jeanne Adams, Samantha Chase, Suzanne Ferrell, Dianna Love, Anna Campbell, Tessa McFionn, Naima Simone, Robin Covington, Elizabeth Heiter, Elizabeth Hoyt, Lauren Blakely and Barbara Devlin.
Thank you ladies and thank you readers.
Don’t forget to comment on the posts from Day 7, 8 and today. ALL winners will be posted by 7/22/16.
The Black Morass, the first book in the Pirates of the Coast series by Barbara Devlin focuses on Pirate Jean Marc Cavalier who appeared a character that appeared in To Catch a Fallen Spy (Brethren of the Coast Book 8). This somewhat dubious hero deserved his own book and Barbara delivered a must-read book for fans and introduces us to a sexy pirate who is naughty, daring and seeking redemption for a crime he didn’t commit. Unfortunately the path to clearing his name is not as short one and will require a few compromises if he’s to survive the terms.
Lady Madelen Davies has no idea what Jean Marc is capable of whe she is resuced from her sinking ship by the pirate and his crew. Will he live up to his reputation or surprise her with the first of many reformed acts? Will he do the right thing or will his eccentric and spicy appetites become his downfall? Dear readers this pirate will pursue Madelene and push boundaries that have not been broached in the other Brethren books.
All our heroine wants is to return home to her family. It seems a simple request and our hero obliges – with quite a few catches along theway. However, Lady Madelene also makes some bold decisions of her own. Their journey is one that will push and pull them both. They will discover who they can trust, what their dreams are and that sometimes, family is the one you make of your own free will.
Can the tough man who once cared only for himself discover that his heart isn’t broken after all? In fact it beats strong, and maybe he’s finally found a woman who can satisfy his cravings and stand up to him despite the unknown fear of walking the plank?
There is balance in the tender and merciless way Barbara has crafted this new world. If you think the Brethren are spicy than just wait till you set sail with her pirates!
I look forward to reading the next installment in the Pirates of the Coast series and can’t wait to discover what adventure awaits for our next pirate as he seeks his redemption.
Time to take a peak at The Black Morass….with an excerpt.
(Excerpt edited for content to maintain blog PG-13 rating)
Virtue was a highly overrated characteristic in his estimation. In truth, he ranked it in the miserable depths of humanity comprised of respectability and righteousness. For the strong and fearless, the glorified traits of honor and integrity functioned as an impenetrable barrier to the excitement of the worldly existence filled with violence and debauchery in which he once reveled on a daily basis. In exchange for societal approval, grown men surrendered their dignity, and their whore’s pipe, he would argue, to abide by a set of rules in which most had no say, and for what? High principles? Prestige? Indeed, such noble qualities sucked dry the marrow of life, leaving naught but the simple pleasures to enjoy, as the Black Morass rode the waves.
Sunshine glittered on the ocean, as a sea of precious diamonds, and a cool breeze sifted through his long black hair, as Jean Marc Cavalier directed the helmsman. Restless and yearning for stimulation, something to feed the hunger that gnawed at his harrowed soul, he approached with caution what appeared to be a burning schooner that he might offer aid, in accord with the pact he signed in a moment of weakness or perhaps insanity.
“No movement on deck, Cap’n.” Tyne, the bosun, lowered his spyglass. “Should we continue our advance?”
“We will maintain course and heading, just to be sure there are no survivors in need of rescue.” For some strange suspicion he could not quite shake, Jean Marc surmised all was not as it seemed, given the nearest vessel disappeared below the horizon before he could inquire after the circumstances of the misadventure. For a seaman, naught struck fear in the heart more than fire aboard ship, which could send an entire crew to Davy Jones’s locker. And he had given his word to perform meritorious deeds for a full year, in trade for an unconditional pardon. At the end of twelve months, Jean Marc and his men would be free of past crimes, beholden to none.
But at what price had he bartered his autonomy?
It was for that reason Jean Marc refused to sail past the doomed lady. And then he spied activity at the stern rail, on the quarterdeck.
“What is it?” Peering over his shoulder, Tyne narrowed his stare. “Is that a white flag?”
As they drew closer, Jean Marc smiled, and a familiar itch in his palms had him flexing his fingers. The lure of conquest burned bright in his loins, and he struggled with a craving for fresh meat, if only to reassert authority over his life. “It is a woman.” He laughed. “And she waves her undergarments.”
Perhaps fate smiled upon him, as the chit might be just the balm to ease his unrest and allow him to regain a measure of control.
Obligated to the Crown, and no longer the master of his destiny, he thirsted for the power of ultimate domination, and nothing compared to the supremacy inherent in seduction.
“Bloody hell, she is a tasty bit o’ fluff.” Tyne licked his lips. “And a bottle of Jamaican rum says she is unspoiled, too.”
“I believe you are correct in your assertion, mon ami.” That tempered Jean Marc’s ever-growing arousal, as he never claimed virgin’s blood, because he preferred experienced whores who knew what he wanted and gave it to him, without complaint or inconvenient emotional attachments. Then he got a good look at the boon, in question, as the Morass glided to a halt, and full-blown lust threatened to consume him. Maybe it was time to sample the tender flesh of an innocent. “Ahoy, dear lady. Jean Marc Cavalier, most definitely at your service.”
“Kind sir, I would be grateful for passage to Port Royal.” Behind her, the masts collapsed, and she shrieked. How he ached to make her squeal with enthusiasm, as he would wager she could scream much louder with the right inducement. “As you can see, my current accommodation is about to sink, and I am in dire need of new transportation.”
“Lower the plank.” He signaled the crew. “As I am certain we can strike a mutually beneficial bargain.” With a lush figure made for sin, and of that he could envision committing many with her, and alabaster skin he fully intended to explore in more intense inspection, once he got her alone, she presented a delightful distraction. “How is it your ship fell into such misfortune, and where is the crew?”
“They are dead.” Tears pooled in her vivid blue eyes, and she emitted a soft sob, but he cared not for her sad tale. “We were attacked by pirates, and I hid in the captain’s cabin, in a small compartment beneath a concealed floor panel, which he revealed he previously used for smuggling, thus I was spared.”
“Come here, mon chou.” As the bow dipped below the surface of the water, he slipped an arm about her hips and whisked her aboard the Morass.
“Oh, do collect my bundles, as they hold irreplaceable personal items, including some of my mother’s keepsakes.” She pointed to two pillowcases, knotted at the opening. “Please, sir. I cannot lose them, and I shall ensure you are handsomely compensated, when I reach my destination, as I hail from a family of means.”
“Is that so? Then your every wish is my command.” And she would compensate him, all right, but not in the coin she proposed, as he had something else in mind for the delectable brown-haired wench. In seconds, Jean Marc jumped to the now high-pitched stern, grabbed the belongings, glanced into the waist of the doomed vessel, and discovered the remains of a massacre, which made no sense. At the very least, the sailors could have been sold into slavery, so why would anyone surrender such valuable cargo? A large crack in the boards indicated the ship yielded its last breath to the force of the ocean, and he took a running leap to safety. When he gained his footing, the woman flung herself at him and wept. “Now, now, none of that, mon chou.”
Guileless and genteel, his unwitting prize had no idea of the scheme he would enact to reclaim a portion of his pride, as the King stipulated naught in regard to conquest of the fair sex. Indeed, she possessed no means of defense against his provocative persuasion, and he would employ everything at his disposal to well and thoroughly invade every inch of her. Before he landed the little angel on Jamaica’s shore, he would instruct her in the art of pleasure, such that she would perform, at will, what even some professionals considered obscene, and render her quim raw. And then he would leave her, unharmed but a bit worn about the edges, without so much as a backward glance, as was his way.
“I thought I was going to die, and you saved me when all seemed lost.” Well, he was not so sure he saved her, inasmuch as he delivered her from one precarious position to another, though she knew it not. Whimpering, she hugged him tight, and he savored her soft and feminine curves. “How can I ever thank you?”
**Edited for content and approved by Author **
“You may start by telling me your name.”
** Edited for content and approved by Author **
“Lady Madalene Davies, sir. (**Edited for blog and approved by Author**) Is this a passenger-for-hire ship or a privateer in His Majesty’s Navy?”
“Not usually, and I am no longer a pirate.” He advanced, as her chin quivered, and desire surged in his veins. “Thus I am willing to negotiate terms, if you are amenable.” With a shrug, he trailed a finger along the gentle curve of her jaw. “Else I can return you to the sea.”
“I beg your pardon?” Lady Madalene blinked. “You are no longer a pirate?” She made another perfunctory study of his men and gulped.
“Am I in danger? Did you kill the Trident crew, and am I to suffer the same fate?”
“Mon chou, you insult me, as I would have taken them captive were that my work. And never would I waste something so lovely.” Swift and sure, he caught her in his arms, and she screamed, just as he claimed a lengthy kiss, to ribald hoots and hollers. When she wrenched free, pounded his chest with her fists, and prepared to protest, he nodded and thrust her into Tyne and Randall’s waiting escort. “Take her to my cabin.”
Freedom often commanded a steep price, in many instances exacted against the will of the innocent soul caught in its implacable lure, and Lady Madalene Davies pondered the cost her liberator, a self-proclaimed, one-time pirate blackguard who seemed much invested in his former trade, given his bawdy behavior and iniquitous demeanor, might demand in exchange for safe passage to Port Royal. But could she endure the consequences of such a bargain, as she foundered somewhere between the devil and the deep blue sea?
Out of place in her new cabin, which contrasted with her modest chamber aboard the Trident, she doffed her cloak and bonnet. A plush, red velvet counterpane covered the largest bunk she had ever seen, given Captain Hammond used a hammock, and the mattress hosted a mountain of matching pillows.
** Edited for content and approved by Author**
Behind the thick oak panel stood a surly looking character she dared not challenge, and the small side chamber held naught but clothing. A locker marked with unique carvings revealed additional personal items, so she gave her attention to the hand-tooled desk, to search for some indication of the character of her erstwhile savior.
In the top drawer, she discovered a logbook, a set of maps and charts, and a deck of cards with the usual suits on one side and shocking images of ladies sans garments on the other, and she dropped the offensive items. Then her gaze lit upon a rolled parchment secured with an elegant ribbon. With a cursory check to ensure privacy, she untied the swath of silk, smoothed the paper, and examined what she realized was an official document, distinguished by its heading, Letter of Marque and Reprisal.
“Upon my word.” Madalene gasped. “Jean Marc Cavalier was a pirate.”
Before she could read the entire contents of the pact, a telltale voice brought her up short. Lightning quick, she restored the parchment to its secure space, glanced left and then right, and hugged herself. Adopting a relaxed stance, she peered beyond the window at the floating debris—all that remained of her ship, and considered her options, and of that there were few. It seemed she had traded one perilous predicament for another, and she knew not if she would survive to be reunited with her father, as her life depended upon a questionable creature Aunt Eileen would have no doubt described as a man with loose morals.
“You daydream, mon chou.” Her not so chivalrous rescuer slammed shut the door, and she jumped. With a cocksure swagger, her less than noble knight strolled to the impressive desk, drew a bottle and two glasses from a drawer, and then pulled a chair from a small dining table. “Have a seat.”
“Thank you.” Stiffening her spine, she perched on the edge and settled her clasped hands in her lap to conceal her trembling, as she studied her opponent.
Unlike the sailors, the captain wore a white linen shirt, buckskin breeches, and a polished pair of Hessians. Chiseled lines comprised his classical profile but did little to dispel his menacing guise. A long, jagged scar traced from his left ear and across his clean-shaven cheek, disappearing under a black patch adorned with a large ruby, which concealed his eye, and a leather strip tamed his long ebony locks. Although he might have been handsome at one time, he struck her as a dangerous adversary, and she would zealously guard her virtue in his company.
Madalene cleared her throat. “Good sir, I—”
“First, let me correct you, mon chou, as I would have us understand each other.” A sly smile played on his lips, as he leaned forward, and a tremor of dread traipsed her flesh. “I am no sir, and neither am I good. From this moment forth, you will address me as Jean Marc, as it is what I prefer, or I will give you to the sea.”
“But that is not proper decorum for a lady of character, sir.” Something in his expression, not to mention his threat, gave her a shiver, especially when he laughed. “And while I asked for transport to Port Royal, I would amend my request and have you put me ashore at the nearest dock.”
“No, and I have no use for proper decorum.” He shook his head, and her confidence plummeted to new depths. “You will tell me your history, and then we will negotiate compensation for my assistance.”
“I do not have much money, sir—Jean Marc.” When he arched a brow, Madalene gulped. “What I mean is I hold a trifle with which to pay my fare, but my father will reimburse you for any related expenses or a ransom, should you hold me prisoner.”
“You sell yourself short, as you are a handsome wench, but I will clap you in irons, if it will make you feel better.” Everything in his manner conveyed equal parts of power and peril, and she dared not protest, so she held her tongue. Tapping his chin, he narrowed his stare. “Everyone aboard this ship fills a need, and I wonder how you might serve me.”
“What would you have of me?” Bereft of viable alternatives, she composed a list of skills, the sum of which she could provide to the captain’s benefit. “I can cook a few dishes, and I can sew, but I am unaccustomed to manual labor. However, I am willing to learn, if you have the patience to teach me.”
“Oh, I am more than willing to teach you what I require, and I hope, for your sake, you possess a strong constitution.” His chuckle only increased her trepidation, as she had an inkling their intentions conflicted. “So you live well, Lady Madalene?” Reclining, Jean Marc gazed at her with unveiled interest and folded his arms, and she realized, too late, she made a grievous mistake. “Tell me of your wealthy father.”
“In truth, I know little of him, as he departed Boston when I was but a child of four, and I have not seen him since.” Never had her sire written a letter inquiring after her health, and her mother indicated he cared not for his daughter, but Madalene clung to faith, as she yearned for a relationship with her father. “When I was ten, my mother died of a nasty fever, and my grandfather became my guardian, but the task fell upon Aunt Eileen after he passed.”
“And I presume Aunt Eileen is gone?” His eyes, so blue, reminded her of the crystal waters off Boston Harbor, and she would do well to avoid his captivating gaze, as it mesmerized her. “Have you no siblings?”
“No, I am an only child. And I lost my aunt in January, to an unknown malady.” She bowed her head, as a tear coursed her cheek. “I was very close to my aunt, as she was all I had in the world, which is why I was so glad to receive my father’s missive, asking me to journey to Port Royal.”
“Why does he live in Jamaica, when he is an English lord?” The ex-buccaneer tapped his fingers to the tabletop. “Is he a wanted man?”
“Not that I know, but he is a stranger to me, in a sense.” And that bothered her more than she was willing to admit to herself or anyone else, as she knew not what awaited her in the equally foreign place. “I suspect his request that I join him has something to do with Aunt Eileen’s will. Given my mother preceded my grandfather in death, he left his vast estate, which includes a sugar plantation just outside Port Royal, to be divided between his surviving daughter and myself. As Eileen never married, there are no other beneficiaries.”
“Am I to understand that, in light of your aunt’s demise, you are the sole heir to the family fortune?” With an expression of surprise, Jean Marc stretched upright. “Indeed, you are the owner, according to American law.”
“So it seems, per an attorney and a probate judge in the Boston courts.” She nodded. “Now will you help me?”
“Were you traveling alone, and what precisely happened aboard the Trident?” The menacing captain rubbed his chin and shifted his weight. “Did the attackers take anything or anyone? Did you see them? If so, can you provide a description, as I am curious as to their identities?”
“My governess, Miss Wimple, accompanied me, but she was killed.” In a flood of unpleasant memories, Madalene revisited the screams of horror, and she shuddered and wrenched to the present. “I heard plenty, and it was terrible, but I saw nothing, and for that I am grateful. Captain Hammond bade me hide before the pirates overtook our ship. Once silence fell on the vessel, I emerged from my makeshift shelter and found everyone murdered and the boat in flames. Had you not come along when you did, I would have drowned, as I cannot swim, which I already told you, so I thank you for sparing me that fate.”
“Believe me, it is my pleasure, mon chou.” For a while, he simply studied her, and she fidgeted with nervous anxiety. “You had a governess.” It was a statement, not a question. “How old are you?”
“Eight and ten,” she murmured, as she toyed with the lace trim of her sleeve.
“Why are you not married?” When she shrugged, Jean Marc sighed. “Given your beauty and your inheritance, I gather you are popular in Boston.”
“While I appreciate the compliment, I am not interested in such flattery.” To her regret, she met his azure stare, which she suspected gleaned too much for her liking, and she swallowed hard, as he appeared on the verge of devouring her. “And I have no beau, given my father never negotiated a match.”
“You would leave such things for your father to arrange?” He snickered. “The English treat the most important commitment a man and a woman can make as a financial agreement.”
“If you intended to insult me, I take no offense, as I am an American.” Madalene sniffed. “And my private affairs are no business of yours, sir.”
“In that you are correct, and I told you that I prefer you address me as Jean Marc.” He licked his lips, which she tried but failed to ignore. “Since you do not strike me as stupid, I can only presume you deliberately bait me, which is never wise, because I may take more than you are willing to give. Perhaps I should throw you and your private affairs into the sea.” He snapped his fingers. “Then again, you cannot swim, so I encourage you to consider your words with caution, in the future, else you may not enjoy the consequences.”
“I apologize.” Never had she met anyone like Jean Marc Cavalier, and she wondered if the ocean might prove less dangerous. Still, if she hoped to reunite and reconcile with her father, she had to keep the irascible captain happy. Given her grandfather’s cantankerous nature, she knew how to placate a temperamental man, as they shared much in common with spoiled children, so she had but to appease Jean Marc until they reached Port Royal. “To my shame, I spoke in haste, and I humbly ask that you forgive my inadvertent slight.”
“You choke on those words.” With a snort, he slapped his thigh. “Ah, but this crossing proves far more interesting with each passing minute.”
“But I am sincere, Jean Marc. I do so covet compromise and will do my best to perform to your satisfaction, in whatever you command of me.” Fearing a watery grave, she accepted the lone option at her disposal. She would defend her chastity, maintain what she could of her dignity, sacrifice her pride, pray no one ever discovered her ill-fated trip to Jamaica, and persist. With that, she resolved to indulge her unpredictable host beyond the usual social dictates. “Given you wish me to serve you, where should I begin?”
“You may pour me a drink.” In that moment, he lowered his chin, scooted the bottle in her direction, and cast a half-grin, which she viewed as an olive branch, of sorts, until he whispered, “For now.”
Get your own copy here:
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***** Exclusive Giveaway *****
Barbara Devlin has generously donated the following for ONE lucky reader:
ONE Amazon Kindle Fire 7″
a Kindle copy of To Catch a Fallen Spy AND The Black Morass
for one lucky winner in the US/Canada.
**International winner will receive a GC from Amazon.com **
For a chance to win tell us ..
Do you have any movie traditions the night before or during the holiday season?
Contest runs from 7/19/16 12:01AM thru 7/21/16 11:59 PM
** all entries from the Blitz earlier this month will be added to these comments for a chance to win **
Winner will be announced on this blog post on 7/21/16.
Winner MUST comment on this post within 24 hours to claim their prize or a new winner will be randomly selected.
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Bestselling author Barbara Devlin was born a storyteller. A Texan, through and through, Barbara hasn’t been without a book in her possession since she was in kindergarten. She wrote her first short story, a really cheesy murder-mystery, in high school, but it was a Christmas gift, a lovely little diary with a bronze lock, given to her in the fifth grade that truly inspired her love of writing.
After completing part of her undergraduate studies at the University of London, where she developed a love of all things British, Barbara returned home and began a career in banking. But the late 80s weren’t too promising for the financial industry, and every bank that hired Barbara soon folded. So she searched for a stable occupation, and the local police department offered the answer to her prayers.
Initially, Barbara wasn’t too sure about her new career in law enforcement, but she soon came to love being a police officer. And then one uncharacteristically cold and icy day in December 1998, Barbara was struck by a car and pinned against a guardrail while working an accident on a major highway. Permanently disabled, she retired from the police department and devoted her time and energy to physical therapy.
Once Barbara got back on her feet, she focused on a new career in academia. She earned an MA in English and continued a course of study for a Doctorate in Literature and Rhetoric. She happily considered herself an exceedingly eccentric English professor, until success in Indie publishing lured her into writing, full-time, featuring her fictional knighthood, the Brethren of the Coast.