Notorious pirate Barren Reed has one thing on his mind: Revenge against the man who killed his father. So kidnapping his enemy’s fiancé seems a perfect plan…until he actually does it.
Larkin Lee is more than a pretty face and fiancé to a powerful man. Her fierce personality is enough to make any pirate want to push her overboard.
But when the King of the Orient comes to Barren with a task—to find the Bloodstone, a powerful gem thought only to exist in legend, Barren sees another opportunity to destroy his enemy. Together, Barren, Larkin and a crew of pirates set off to find the stone, only to discover it caused the death of Barren’s own mother and Larkin’s, too. As his strongest allies turn into his greatest enemies, and the life of the girl he kidnapped becomes more important than he ever dreamed, Barren’s quest for revenge becomes a fight to save the Orient.
Larkin had a hard time trudging through the mushy path of water, rocks and mud wearing a ball gown. She tripped several times on the too long skirt, only to be caught up in the ever-present arms of her kidnapper. It was infuriating. She would prefer being covered in mud, rather than allowing Barren’s constant attempts to keep her on her feet.
She couldn’t really figure out how to feel—she was scared, yes, but also strangely intrigued. She knew why they’d taken her: as bait to lure William to sea. Her father had warned her that she might be targeted, and she felt stupid having been taken. Every time she looked at Barren, anger flared in her chest.
She’d decided to leave the engagement party after spotting Barren. She’d gone through her options—returning home meant signaling a carriage and drawing attention, and while the castle might offer safety, it didn’t offer her peace. That’s why she’d chosen to head to shore—why would a pirate ever suspect she’d go there? She was a lady, after all. She’d thought she had been discreet on her way out, even escaping Barren Reed’s notice…but, instead, she’d drawn it.
She fell again and jerked away when she felt his hand on her arm.
“I am perfectly capable of standing on my own,” she spat.
Barren gave a short laugh. “Really? Because you’ve been stumbling all over since we left the ship.”
Larkin reached down and gathered her dress up as much as she could and continued forward. “If it is too bothersome for you, we can cut the skirt away.”
Larkin twisted, almost slipping as she did. Her eyes fell upon Barren, narrow and unkind.
“You will not touch me.”
Barren held up his hands. “I was just offering an option to ease your struggling.”
“I’m not struggling!”
She turned around and to her great annoyance, fell again as the rocks and mud gave way beneath her feet. This time, Barren stood aside as she got to her feet again. She refused to look at him, her face burning with embarrassment.
Ashley was born and raised in Oklahoma, where the wind really does sweep down the plains, and horses and carriages aren’t used as much as she’d like. She has a Bachelor’s in English Writing and a Master’s in Library Science and Information Technology. When she’s not writing she’s either working out or pretending she’s Sherlock Holmes. Her obsession with writing began after reading the Lord of the Rings in the eighth grade. Since then, she’s loved everything Fantasy–resulting in an unhealthy obsession with the ‘geek’ tab on Pinterest, where all things awesome go.
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