No Quarter: Wenches (The Compete Series) – Excerpts
Inside the Four Feathers Tavern, Bleedin Art studied a game of strategy, but his mind was on the ships and men he was now responsible for protecting. A three-dimensional tower of checked boards sat with finely carved figurines placed in defensive positions. Art eyed his opponent and knew victory was at hand.
“Knight takes rook,” said Art.
Captain White sighed. “Aye, that he did. How come I’m always white?”
“It avoids confusion.” Art took a mouthful of ale. “Take yer time.”
“I’d like to.”
“Sweet British sackers!” Chuck Talbot examined the game. “He’s got your king trapped in the tower!”
“Thanks, Chuck,” White said. “What do you want?”
Commodore Chuck Talbot ran his fingers through his thick blond locks. He strutted to the table, donning a yellow suit of slashed and braided satin complete with a frilled cape. “The convoy is ready to go. I’ll escort them through the channel to the Bahamas. When I see our cousins from the Tongue of the Ocean, I’ll cut ’em loose and get back here before you can say: Roger the mermaid’s kraken!”
White sneered. “Very good.”
“Nothing my navy boys can’t handle. Not to step on your toes, Captain Valentine, I know it’s a private enterprise and all. Just till yer fleet’s back on her keel.” Talbot gave a pleasant smile.
“Just a slight setback,” Art said.
White slowly moved a pawn. “England appreciates both your sacrifices. I’m sure our ships will be protected.”
“More than your king.” Art took the pawn.
“This one or the one with the wig?”
Art took another turn.
“Tactful move.” Talbot patted Art’s back. “He didn’t see that one coming.”
“Captain White,” a woman called.
Art hadn’t seen Lady Anne Beeston in a while. Her auburn hair was pinned up, and her dark blue gown was trimmed with white lace. She approached determinedly.
“Captain White, our ships will be ready to sail in a fortnight, and we still have no protection. Where’s our privateers?”
“They’re coming,” Art assured.
“I can’t insure the contents until I know we are secure.”
Talbot bowed and winked. “Not to worry, Lady B, I’ve got ya abaft. Just load yer boats on time.”
“What a charming rogue,” Lady Beeston swooned and fanned her face.
Dr. Sander Strangewayes stood at the forecastle of the ship smoking his pipe. Over the past few months, he learned never to take solid land for granted and relished the times off ship. Although his medical skills were highly valued and his shipmates were now friends, he felt his age – sixty. It was time to claim a small patch of the world and call it a day.
Red Legs Greaves stood beside him in a kilt, leaning on the rail. “There’s le Grande’s Toro and Coxon’s Dorado.”
“Such manly names, ever notice that?” Strangewayes admired the bull figurehead with sharp horns on Toro’s bow and Dorado’s horse figurehead.
“What flag are they expecting?” Mason asked.
“No flag,” Red Legs said.
“Take us in, Mr. Culliford,” Mason ordered.
Cully climbed up to the quarterdeck. “Aye, aye, Captain Mason, sir.”
“Steady as she goes, Mr. Culliford. We’re among pirates now.”
Once anchored, they took the longboats ashore. Large illuminated tents were erected among the trees and rowdy pirates roared with laugher. The meat cooking in a nearby spit made Strangewayes’s stomach growl. Ship rations were no match for a mouth-watering roast. He, Red Legs and Mason headed into the main tent.
A dancer draped in sapphire blue with a crystal in her belly button paraded by. A Nimcha sword balanced on her head while she clicked brass castanets with her fingers. She shook her hips provocatively.
“Oh, not for me, thanks,” Strangewayes said. “I just finished pillaging the eastern Caribbean, I doubt I could raise more than my drink tonight.”
Atia stared coldly at all the self-righteous bastards. The last she’d seen of her da and uncle was when they sailed away on Lucky Charms. It was after they helped her escape from Crisp’s slaver captain, Mandingo, and the pirate Slasher Al. She had waved almost cheerfully; unaware it was the final goodbye. “You’ll not go from me sight, only from me view,” her da had told her before they parted ways. Now her da was dead and Uncle Rourke too. She prayed to all the gods that her brothers were safe. They had been sent to Aragua on an errand.
Atia eyed a guard’s belt, where a dagger gleamed. The shackles weighed heavy on her limbs, but she had just enough leeway.
“Atia Crisp, you are charged with associating with a known pirate, mischief—” Goblet stopped.
Atia grabbed the weapon and plunged it into the guard’s neck. He screamed and flailed his arms, trying to shake her off. Blood jetted everywhere, saturating her dress.
“Order!” Goblet demanded and pointed at the remaining guards, who were staring in shock. “Well, stop her!”
The constable and a guard tackled Atia. Her face was slammed onto the wet floor. The blade slipped from her hand. She was then forced to her feet with a guard on each side of her.
Goblet jotted down an additional note. “You can add murder to your list of charges.”
“Uh, he’s not dead,” a guard said.
Goblet crossed it out and rewrote the line. “Fine. For attempted murder, you are so charged.”
The bleeding guard released a final gasp.
“Oh, he died,” Blower said.
Goblet was about to cross out what he’d written again.
“Aye, he’s dead.”
“And murder,” Goblet continued. “Have you anything to say for yourself before I have you locked in the dungeon as a dangerous offender?”
An evil grin formed on Atia’s lips. “I’m a dangerous offender now, Da. Yer little girl’s all grown up!”
“Take her away and lock her up. Lock the rest of them up for interrogation,” Goblet ordered.
“Me Capitaine’s coming back for me. He’s comin’ for his dangerous offender,” Atia cackled.
“We’ll see how a month in the dark agrees with your tongue.” Goblet smacked the mallet again. “Court is adjourned.”
Title: No Quarter: Wenches – The Complete Series
Author: MJL Evans and GM O’Connor
Genre: Historical Romance
Contains Volume 1-5
Behind every successful pirate is a cunning wench! In 1689, Atia Crisp finds herself imprisoned in the wickedest city on earth, Port Royal, Jamaica, while the refugees from Strangewayes’s plantation in the Blue Mountains are on the run and seeking a new home, deep in the Caribbean. Captain Jean-Paul la Roche must get them to safety and find a way to liberate the woman he loves while waging a war against the English with the pirate Laurens de Graaf.
While besieged people suffer and starve, a group of women form a secret and illegal society deep from within the bowels of the city called: WENCH. A network that deals with smugglers, merchants, cutthroats and thieves. Dragged into the struggle for supremacy of the Caribbean, the women are divided and find themselves engulfed in bloodshed. The pirates of Port Royal and former enemies may be their only hope of escape.
MJL EVANS wanted to be a writer since she was ten years old and in 2014 she finally got her act together and pursued her dream. Author of No Quarter: Dominium and No Quarter: Wenches, she is a huge fan of Monty Python, Red Dwarf, and other BBC shows, her time is devoted to acrylic, oil and watercolor painting, catering to her two senior cats and of course, writing.
You can connect with MJL Evans on Twitter at @artistmjlevans or email@example.com
GM O’CONNOR is a huge movie fan, writer and visual artist. A lover of sci-fi and history, half his brain lives in the 17th century while the other half sails perpetually through space. Author of No Quarter: Dominium and No Quarter: Wenches, he hopes to one day bring the No Quarter Series to film and/or graphic novel format.
You can connect with GM O’Connor on Twitter at @gm_oconnor or firstname.lastname@example.org
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