Jamie MacDonald, a young Scot mourning the deaths of his father and brothers in the ill-fated battle of Culloden, decides to take his mother to the New World. But tragedy and unforeseen circumstance dog Jamie’s journey and he is pressed into service aboard a pirate ship commanded by a ruthless Spaniard.
Antonio Rodriguez is a man with a dark past, but also with an allure Jamie cannot resist.
The two men embark on a stormy relationship—but can their feelings for each other survive the danger that surrounds them, threatening not only their love, but their very lives?
- 1 To Be Read list
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Coming Out / Closeted, Forbidden Love, Wide-Eyed Innocence
Setting: Scotland/London/The Canary Islands
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
As the sun rose from behind the mountains and brightened a clear sky on the day of their departure, Jamie felt good weather was an omen they could take heart in. He loaded up the small cart with what few belongings his mother considered they might need and fastened Morag, their only remaining horse, between the shafts. Morag was old but still strong. Strong enough, he hoped, to carry them to safety. She had always been his favorite. As a boy, he had ridden her across the moors, trying to keep up with his older brothers on their faster steeds. Now, he stood stroking her muzzle and whispering words of encouragement in her ear.
“So, Morag girl, here we are, on another adventure. That you have to lower yourself to pull this sorry cairt again, no doubt is a bitter pill for you tae swallow. Dinna’ hold it against me, I beg you.” He kissed the animal’s cheek and Morag snorted, shaking her head. Jamie gave a wry chuckle. “Aye, I thought you just might.”READ MORE
Because the Sassenachs—the English—had decreed that wearing a clansman’s tartan was now punishable by imprisonment, or worse, Jamie had taken to wearing the woolen trews his mother had made for him. It had angered him to give up wearing his kilt and plaid, but for his mother’s sake and safety, he had reluctantly agreed.
With care, he folded the length of woven cloth that bore the proud colors of the MacDonald tartan and placed it for safekeeping in a hemp bag. He helped his mother, wrapped in a plain-woven shawl, climb up on the cart, then without a backward glance, he led Morag forward out of the glen to the valley below. The road took them past their farm and Jamie’s heart lifted as he gazed down into the verdant valley below and saw that the house still stood.
“So the cowards left us our hame, Mother. Is there anything you want afore we leave?”
Megan shook her head. “No, Jamie, I canna’ bear to see what those devils might have done inside. It’s enough that I saved what little we had afore we left. Let’s be gone now and not look back.”
But as Jamie urged Morag forward, he could not resist one backward glance at what had been his home for all his life and, with sadness, knew in his heart that he would never see it again.
* * * *
For the next several days, they encountered few straggling wayfarers, none of whom gave them more than a cursory glance. As planned, they avoided the towns and kept to the open countryside. These days in Scotland, strangers were regarded with deep suspicion, and not many friendly faces were to be seen.
The road they traveled took them through difficult terrain, yet they could not but wonder at the wild beauty that surrounded them. The ever-changing scenery took them through narrow glens, flanked on each side by craggy hillsides, through forests of tall pines and by the banks of swift-flowing rivers. Fortunately, those rivers held an abundance of salmon that Jamie had no difficulty catching for their supper.
He would have been more pleased had the good weather held, but a chill east wind laden with a soaking drizzle soon dogged their passage and slowed their progress. At night, he tried to find a sheltered copse or outcrop of rock under which he could pull the cart and make a bed for his mother. Then he would wrap himself in a rough wool blanket and lie near her, and they would talk of the future and the promise of the new life she felt only the Colonies could now bring. Jamie worried about the ragged cough his mother had developed during the last few days, but his concern was met with words of dismissal and a weary smile when he broached the subject with her.
For days they traveled in this fashion, until they reached the outskirts of Greenock. Jamie stared about him in dismay as they slowly rolled through the narrow and dirty streets that led to the harbor. He had not expected such poverty and squalor, but the years of wars with the English had taken a dreadful toll on the city’s economy, and recovery was still far off.
At the harbor, it was even worse. It seemed to Jamie that half the people in Scotland were there. Chaos reigned as would-be passengers fought with one another to obtain passage on the ship that was leaving the next day. Jamie found out from one of the irate men standing in line that there was a panic because of a rumor there would not be another sailing for several days or even weeks, due to inclement weather approaching across the Atlantic Ocean.
Jamie cursed under his breath at this news. What would they do in this godforsaken town if they could not find passage straight away? They had hardly money enough to pay for lodging for even one or two nights, never mind several days or weeks. Using his height and breadth of shoulder, he plunged ahead of the waiting travelers, ignoring their curses and cries of protest. He must get his mother and himself aboard the next vessel out. There could be no delay.
In moments, he faced a weasel-faced man at a makeshift desk. “I need passage for my mother and myself on the next ship that sails to the Colonies.”
“You have money?” Weasel-face held out a filthy hand.
“How much?” Jamie was still Scottish enough to be canny, despite his eagerness to secure their fares.
“Twenty pounds, for the two of ye.”
“Robber!” Jamie exclaimed. “Twenty pounds is more than a man earns in a year!”
Weasel-face gave him an evil look. “Next…” he hissed, turning away from Jamie.
“Wait!” Jamie pushed the man behind him back into his place as the man tried to elbow him out of the way. “Here’s your twenty pounds. I hope you choke on it.”
Weasel-face snickered and handed Jamie a rolled document that promised two places on the vessel, the Voyager, that was due to leave at first tide the following day. Clutching the precious document to his chest, Jamie pushed his way out of the throng.
His mother’s weary face lit up when she saw the documents he was carrying. “Oh, ye’ve done it, my dear lad,” she cried with relief.
Jamie put his arms around her and held her close. He was worried about her. Though she dismissed his concerns, he could tell she was not feeling well. He prayed that she would not worsen during the long journey ahead of them. But for the moment, at least, he could feel easy knowing that what she longed for was near at hand.
“Come, we need find ourselves lodging for the night. It promises to be a cold one from the feel of it, and you must rest and be warm before this long journey.”
“Aye,” his mother murmured. “I am weary. I’d not refuse a warm, soft bed, but best save what little we have left.”COLLAPSE
Publisher's Note: This book was previously released elsewhere. It has been revised and reedited for rerelease with Pride Publishing.
General Release Date: 2nd October 2018