A PIRATE’S ONE AND ONLY
Book 5 of the Seekers of the Past series
Available now at Amazon
and Free to read at KindleUnlimited
Continue the Journey to Where the Past Meets the Present
and Love Lives Forever
Having survived a devastating fire that left her scarred and alone in the world, Gabrielle Hawkings seeks to make her own way. Suffering the horrible remarks and stares, and believing no man will ever love her, she is surprised when a handsome stranger not only shows her kindness but attention quite foreign to her.
Capitán Tomás Alvarez is by his own admission a pirate and a wanted man but is innocent of the crime for which the British seek him. Visiting Kingston is dangerous at best but he will risk it all to see the beautiful Gabrielle again. When the authorities use her as bait, he must do what is necessary to protect her so neither of them ends up at the end of a noose.
Join Emma and Sam as they search for the origin of the mystery gold. And thrill in the love that grows between two people who carry scars on their skin as well as their souls and heal each other in the process.
*** Each book in this series can be read as a standalone historical romance with the first and sixth books set in the present.
Tomás Alvarez deplored the manhandling of any woman so when he saw the drunken oaf clutching the young woman and slobbering all over her while she screamed for him to release her, he knew he had to halt the assault. Had he not been standing in the middle of the town and not wishing to draw attention to his presence, he would have snapped the man’s neck and left him lying in his own filth. Any man who assaults a woman was lower than low in his mind.
Now he was looking down into bright sky blue eyes in an angelic beautiful face surrounded by silky blonde hair the color of spun gold. A pert little nose, cherub mouth, and smooth skin rounded out the beauty of this little woman. Smoothing a strand of wayward hair from the side of her cheek, he noticed scarring on her neck. Who did this to her?
Before he could react in any fashion, she stiffened in his arms, her hand came up to push his hand away, and she demanded to be released. Not one to deny her, he assisted her to an upright position but when she pushed off his lap to stand, she wobbled as if her legs would not support her.
“Please, little one, let me,” he implored her as he scooted to the side and helped her take a seat alongside him.
“I am sorry. My scarf—”
He noticed how she tucked her chin and pulled her hair in close around her face. Suddenly, he understood. Her scars embarrassed her. This saddened him for she was a beautiful woman and her scars were nothing. He wanted to soothe her ego and tell her to hold her head high, to be proud but he knew how such a thing could plague one’s thoughts.
Glancing around, he saw a piece of brightly colored cloth lying on the ground nearby. He stood, moved to it, retrieving it then he shook it out and brought it to her.
She glanced up at him, nodded then took the cloth, and looked away. Wrapping the scarf around her neck, he knew she wore it to cover her scars. It was then he noticed she wore long sleeves even though the temperatures were far too high to warrant them. Had she more scars?
“Thank you. You have been most kind…” She peeked out at him from under smoky dark lashes, the color of which fascinated him since her hair was like captured sunshine.
“Capitán Tomás Alvarez, at your service,” he said with a slight bow of his head then glanced around to make sure no one overheard him giving his name. “And who do I have the pleasure of addressing, mi linda?”
“Me—no, my name is not Linda,” she said, her delicate brows which matched the color of her lashes knitting together in confusion.
He laughed making her frown harder.
“No, no, mi linda means my pretty one,” he said smiling at her and receiving a chuckle and grin in return.
“Oh! My mistake…my name is Gabrielle,” she said once again averting her eyes and tucking her chin.
This time Tomás was not going to allow her to hide so he tucked two fingers under her chin and gently lifted until her eyes met his.
“My honor to meet you, Gabrielle and yes, you are very pretty…beautiful,” he said in a low voice as his gaze dropped to her lips and he wondered if they tasted as sweet as they looked.
Once more she reacted by pulling away. His hand dropped and his heart ached for her pain and desire to hide even as his mind pushed back fury at whomever or whatever caused it.
“Thank you, Captain. I appreciate your assistance,” she said looking around as if looking for something or someone.
“If you are looking for the beast who attacked you, he has been dealt with and is in the hands of the authorities,” he told her. “May I see you home safe, Gabrielle?”
As if he had just proposed something wholly inappropriate, she jumped to her feet with her hands fluttering around her scarf then tugging at her shawl to cover her further.
“That is quite all right, sir, I am here for shopping and wish not to return home yet. I shall be fine. Thank you again.” She turned to leave but he caught her hand, stilling her.
“Might I accompany you, in case you feel ill at ease on your feet again?” he asked still holding her hand and surprised she was allowing it.
Gabrielle slowly removed her hand, her fingers trailing along the tips of his and he swore the sensation traveled straight down his spine and ignited a fire in his loins which had him wishing he could sweep her off her feet, return to his ship and sail away before anyone stopped him. He did not know what it was about this innocent-looking young woman but she enchanted him the moment she opened her eyes.
“I suppose it would be all right,” she remarked looking around them. “As long as we are in full view of others, that is.”
He was about to comment on her not trusting him when she gave him a smile which told him she just might and was teasing him. Then it was gone and she tucked her chin once more. He wished he could explain she had no need to do so for he found nothing unattractive about her.
Standing, he gave her a quick bow and waved her to start. He joined her walking just one pace behind her and to the side to allow her to lead while he followed. His action must have surprised her for she kept peeking at him over her shoulder as if to see if he was still there. He grinned watching her. She was a delight.
When they reached a small shop with hats in the window, Gabrielle stopped and looked at the items then glanced at him.
“You shall probably not enjoy this shop,” she said.
“If you enjoy it, I shall,” he told her with a grin then opened the door and waved her inside.
The quiet chatter of women inside told him he was probably going to be quite a surprise to them. Tomás chuckled and stepped inside to the sound of a collective gasp.
Gabrielle did not know what to make of this handsome and charming man. There was a kind gentleness to him but somehow, she knew there was an underlying dangerous side as well. Perhaps it was his swagger, his commanding demeanor, or simply the small gold hoop earring he wore in his left ear. He made her nervous but not in a scared way. No, it was something she had never experienced before. It was something rather thrilling, which made her insides quiver when he touched her. Something which had her wishing her scars gone more than ever before and made her palms dampen as if in anticipation of something exciting.
She watched him enter the small shop filled with ladies’ items of clothing and accessories and grin when the women inside gasped as they turned to look at him. She had no doubt they had not noticed her.
“Greetings, sir, may I assist you,” one of the women exclaimed as she hurried over to him.
She was an older woman, probably the owner of the shop. Gabrielle nearly laughed aloud at the way she was fluttering her hands in front of her breasts and blushing like a schoolgirl.
“Not me, madam, but my lovely friend here,” Tomás remarked as he turned slightly, placing his hand on her elbow and drawing her forward. “I believe she requires your assistance in making a purchase.”
The woman’s gaze shifted to Gabrielle and as she did, her smile waned.
“Ah yes, welcome, madam,” she said, her gaze narrowing on where her scars peeked out from under her scarf near her jawline.
Under her scrutiny, she immediately wished to retreat and began to step backward but Tomás did not allow her. His grip tightened slightly on her elbow and he pulled her closer.
“Madam, you shall show my friend anything she wishes,” he said in that particular voice which held so much command Gabrielle thought even the King of England would do as he ordered.
“Of course, sir. Is there anything in particular you wish to see, my dear?”
She knew the woman was only turning her attention on her because of Tomás but she did not care. There was something about him, which gave her increasing confidence.
“Yes, please, there was a scarf in the window last week which I wish to purchase as a gift,” she told the woman turning to peruse the display. “It had colors of green and gold.”
“Ah yes, I have some, in the back here. If you will follow me,” the woman said indicating a table toward the back against the wall.
Gabrielle stepped up to follow her expecting Tomás to stay near the door but he surprised her by placing his hand near the middle of her back and walking along with her, pushing past tightly set displays including one of undergarments. She heard the other women giggle behind her when one of them remarked how she would not mind modeling anything at all for him. She smiled thinking how they must think she belongs with him. It was a powerful feeling having other women being jealous of her for a change.
Not wishing to dawdle or take up any more of the captain’s time than necessary, she quickly made her purchase, and foregoing a perusal for her own pleasure concluded her business, and headed for the door. Tomás caught up to her, holding the door and allowing her to precede him in exiting the shop while bidding the women good day.
“So where to next, Gabrielle,” he asked once they were outside on the street again.
“I have taken up quite enough of your time, Captain Alvarez—”
“Please, say not my name quite so loud,” he interrupted her in a low voice while glancing around them over her head. Since he stood over a head taller than she, it was not difficult for him to do.
“Why ever not?”
“Well…perhaps I shall just say the authorities here might not be pleased I am in port,” Tomás said with a sly grin and a naughty wink.
She gasped in response. Perhaps he was just as dangerous as she had thought…perhaps even one of the notorious pirates she had heard whispered sometimes frequent the port of Kingston.
“Ah, now I have worried you, Gabrielle. Please, trust me, I would never allow any harm to come to you because of me,” he said in a low voice near her cheek which sent a shiver over her.
Not a shiver of fear, however…no, it was something else she did not recognize. The sensation intrigued her. He intrigued her.
“I must finish up my shopping and return home now,” she said turning to head in the direction of the McGillicuddy’s home, but his hand on her arm halted her.
Turning to look at him, she looked up into dark eyes shaded by thick dark lashes beneath dark brows furled together.
“Do I frighten you, Gabrielle, for tis not my intention?”
Tucking her chin, she shook her head.
“No, Captain, I simply must return for I have duties and responsibilities,” she told him, not wanting to admit he made her nervous.
She knew not why he was so attentive but she was enjoying it very much. Most men ran from the sight of her scars yet he had called his pretty one. What did he want from her?
“Then I shall see you to your home,” Tomás announced standing tall and extending his arm for her to take as if they were about to walk a promenade.
A sudden nervous laugh erupted from her before she could stop it causing him to frown and drop his arm.
“You do not wish my company anymore, Gabrielle?” he asked looking dejected.
Before she had a chance to answer, a ragtag looking young man ran up to Captain Alvarez and whispered in his ear. Tomás looked around with sudden and obvious nervousness having descended on him. He looked down at her and gave her a quick smile.
“I fear I must take your leave, my beautiful Gabrielle,” he said taking her hand and lifting it toward his lips as he bent. “We shall meet again, my sweet. Tis a promise and I always keep my word.”
Tomás Alvarez pressed a kiss to the palm of her hand, which sent fire and ice over her skin while causing her insides to quiver with nervous energy so strong she gasped.
“Adios—for now,” he said and then he was gone.
Gabrielle stood there, her hand out as if he still held it, his lips caressing it even as he disappeared into the milling crowd. Had she only imagined him? Was the entirety of the afternoon simply a manifestation of the heat and attack by the drunken man? She had felt faint earlier. Perhaps she had only imagined the attentions of such a handsome and charming stranger.
Available in print at Amazon too.
Happy Reading and please, if you do read it, I’d greatly appreciate if you leave a review. xox