Releasing Nov. 20th from Resplendence Publishing
Can a staid, by-the-book journalist find love with a modern day pirate?
Melani Canton is about to find out.Â When she travels to Florida to be maid-of-honor at her best friendâ€™s wedding, she takes on an extra duty: taking a good look at Ahoy, Matey, the pirate- themed park where the wedding is set to take place, and writing a story that will attract visitors. While there, she meets handsome swashbuckler, Royce McKenna. Royce is a former lawyer who has given up the courtroom for life on the high seas, amusement park style.
McKenna is the co-owner of Ahoy, Matey. When Royce sees Melani he knows that he has to have her. Melani is not, however, the type to sleep with a man she has just met.
So Royce does what any good pirate would do. He â€œabductsâ€ Melani and gives her a wild night of passion on his pirate ship, where Melani discovers that being Royceâ€™s pirate wench isnâ€™t such a bad thing. But when the time comes for her to go back to her stoic life, will Royce let her sail off into the sunset? Or will he find a way to keep his Pirate Wench?
Excerpt: In this scene, Royce and Melani are having dinner together, getting to know each other.
â€œYou live on a ship?â€
â€œNo, I live on a houseboat. How do you expect to quote me accurately?â€ He grinned to show he was teasing. â€œWhen the park first opened, Russell lived on the boat and used it as a changing station for the performances. Once we went big time and built the hotel, we added new buildings for that and I took over the houseboat. Kidd and I have lived there for years.â€
â€œKidd?â€ Melani shook her head as the waitress delivered their meals, along with new glasses of ale.
â€œMy dog, Captain Kidd. Heâ€™s an English bulldog. Youâ€™ll love him.â€
â€œAnd you live on a houseboat with him?â€
â€œYup. He loves the water. He thinks heâ€™s a seal or something. You should see him in there, doing the dog paddle.â€
Royce brought his hands close to his body and moved them around in an imitation of the dog paddle.
Melani burst out laughing at the image of a short, squatty dog doing the same thing in the water.
â€œI wonâ€™t tell him you laughed at him.â€
â€œYou can meet him tonight, if you like.â€ Royceâ€™s voice was low. He reached across the table and took her free hand, caressing her palm with his thumb.
â€œDo you pick up all the new park employees?â€
â€œOnly those who let me undress them before I know their names.â€
Melani blushed furiously.
â€œThat was a, well, uhâ€¦â€
â€œYeah, it was. It got my attention.â€ He raised his eyebrows up and down.
â€œIâ€™m not in the habit of sleeping with men I just met.â€
â€œYouâ€™ve said that before. Several times. But what about when the man you meetâ€™s a nasty little pirate whoâ€™s used to getting what he wants?â€
His deep voice made Melani tingle. Her breasts rose and fell with the rhythm of her breathing. Royceâ€™s eyes fastened on them and she felt her nipples tighten. His gaze lifted to hers and she knew that all was lost.
The tension between them was thick, almost like a physical caress. He was so handsome, and the look he gave her made her feel as if she was already under him, his lips trailing across her neck.
â€œIâ€¦we should, uhâ€¦â€
â€œIs everything all right?â€
Melani jerked back and stifled a laugh when Royce muttered, â€œcrap,â€ under his breath.
He turned to the waitress, a smile plastered on his face. â€œYeah, Jess. Everything is fine. Weâ€™re just chatting.â€
The young woman turned toward Melani â€œYouâ€™re that writer friend of Ellieâ€™s, right?â€
â€œYes, I am.â€ Melani took a drink of her ale.
â€œCool. I hope you come in here with your camera. Is this like, a national thing? Is it going to be, like, on TV?â€
Royce sat back in his chair and watched Melani talk with Jess. It had been years since heâ€™d felt such a strong pull toward a woman. He flirted a lot, true, but he was very picky about the women he became involved with. Melani easily met all of his standards and then some.
It wasnâ€™t just her curvaceous figure that caught his eye. It was her intelligence, and the way she carried herself with grace and self-assurance. He took a bite of his steak and chewed slowly as Melani promised Jess that she would be back into the restaurant to include the restaurant staff in her story.
When Jess was gone, she turned to him.
â€œSorry about that.â€
â€œIâ€™m very attracted to you, Royce.â€
He grinned. â€œThatâ€™s always nice to hear.â€
â€œBut I just canâ€™t go to bed with you. Iâ€™m sorry.â€
â€œYouâ€™ll change your mind tomorrow.â€ He took another bite of his food.
â€œIâ€™m working tomorrow.â€
â€œNot all day. The park events close down at nine. How about you come to the boat about thirty minutes later? Iâ€™ll fix us a late dinner, and youâ€™ll be able to meet Kidd and see that Iâ€™m a really nice guy.â€
â€œIâ€™m going to have to work on my story tomorrow night. I have to transcribe notes and make sure I donâ€™t forget anything.â€
He watched her eat for a few minutes, then leaned across the table.
â€œItâ€™s the last boat on the end. You canâ€™t miss it. Itâ€™s the only tall ship that doesnâ€™t actually sail. Itâ€™s built into the dock.â€
Melani swallowed, then wiped her mouth with her napkin.
â€œWhat else do you do at the park, besides fight with the pirate king?â€
Royce leaned back in his chair. â€œIn the mornings I give tours of one of the ships and provide a history lesson on pirates. Thereâ€™s one at the top of every hour from ten until two. The pirate fights start at four and run until eight.â€
â€œSounds interesting. I might have to come to one of your lectures.â€
â€œYouâ€™ll distract me and Iâ€™ll forget the difference between buried treasure and treasure thatâ€™s right in front of your eyes.â€
Heat spread through Melaniâ€™s body. â€œWell, all you have to do is look for the X, right?â€
â€œI donâ€™t know. In this case I think the treasure may be marked with a Y.â€
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Author for Loose Id and Resplendence Publishing