Sweet Lenora (Anton & Lenora #1)
by Ute Carbone
Publisher: Champagne Books
Release Date: July 1, 2013
Heat Level: Sensual
Word Count/Length: 20,000 words/54 pages
Lenora Brewer’s family owns the largest shipyard in Salem Massachusetts and Lenora, as her father’s only living child, is given free rein to learn the business. When Lenora’s father is killed in a carriage accident, her relatives arrange a marriage to a wealthy investor who is rumored to have beaten his first wife to death.
Lenora devises a scheme to stowaway on The Sweet Lenora, a ship named for her.
The last thing Anton Boudreaux needs is a naïve young woman stowing away on his ship. The dark and daring captain has secrets of his own to protect.
When Sweet Lenora encounters a dangerous storm off the coast of Brazil, Lenora and Anton find in each other the courage and tenacity to brave the elements. As their love for one another grows it becomes a force to be reckoned with—and it will be sorely tested.
I stayed in my hidey spot as long as I dared. When I could stand it no longer, I raised a prayer to the heavens that we were far enough embarked on our journey and made my way up the stairs. The light on deck was strong, blinding me as I opened my tomb. A voice came upon me before I could see clearly.
“What witchery is this?”
“’Tis a lass.” My nose endured sour sweat as my eyes began to comprehend my surroundings. Four rough men circled about me. “She’s a fine young pet, aye, boys?”
“Puss, what do you on this ship?” The one who had spoken first drew a dagger and held it to my throat.
I swallowed deeply and prayed my fear would not be visible. “Put your weapon away, please.” I said meekly, hoping that these men had some little sense of propriety.
It was not to be. The rapscallion with the knife grinned at me. He had few teeth and a malodorous smell came from the open cavity of his mouth. “What? And have you run off, little puss?”
“Where would I run to?” My body shook at the folly of my coming above board. Would I had stayed in the safety of the hold!
The rapscallion pulled his weapon back from my throat as another grabbed me round the waist. “Shall we unwrap our pretty present, boys?” So close, he smelled of onions and leftover dregs of rum. I kicked back hard as I could. With a yelp, he dropped me, giving me the opportunity to run.
The question I had posed earlier was an apt one. I knew Sweet Lenora’s dimensions by heart; she was two hundred twenty four feet in length and forty in width. There was, indeed, nowhere to run. Still, I scurried this way and that, but the ruffians soon caught me. In the commotion, their number had grown to half a dozen. One pinned my arms while another ripped the laces of my bodice. I kicked, yelled, and bit, which only served to amuse them.
I thought my fate sealed when a shot was fired into the air. The arms that had grasped me dropped me and I fell to the deck like a bundle of rags. On my knees I stayed, my legs unwilling to carry me. I looked about, and there gazing down at me was the dark man I had spied yesterday. The men made a wide circle now. “Bring her to my cabin,” the dark man said. The voice that came from his throat had a lilt to it, an accent unlike the flat vowels of my native New England.
One of the ruffians grabbed my arm and raised me to my feet. He dragged me off into a well- appointed cabin. A narrow berth stood against one wall and a spindle desk with a log laid open upon it rested opposite. The ruffian shoved me inside and slammed shut the door in his wake.
I was in the captain’s quarters, of that I had no doubt. Which meant that the dark haired man was none other than the infamous Captain Anton Boudreaux. Curious to find out more, I went to the log. Not much was writ on the page, merely records of what the ship carried and the weather when she had set sail. Frustrated by such a lack, I sat back in the chair then bolted out again as the cabin door flew open. The black haired man stood on the threshold, examining me with his coal dark eyes. His look suggested he would like nothing better than to tear me limb to limb, and I shrank back against the wall. He stepped inside and pulled the door shut behind him.
About the Author:
Ute (who pronounces her name Oooh-tah) Carbone is a multi-published author of women’s fiction and romance. Her romantic comedy, The P-Town Queen, was selected as Champagne Books novel of the year for 2012. She and her husband reside in Nashua, NH. They have two grown sons.
Connect with Ute Carbone