It’s always a pleasure when I can welcome back one of the Bluestocking Belles to my First Kiss Friday blog. Today I have Elizabeth Ellen Carter as my guest who will be sharing an excerpt from her novel Shadow of the Corsairs. Happy reading, my lovelies! Take it away, Elizabeth…
Thank you very much Sherry for inviting me to take part in First Kiss Friday.
This is from my latest release Shadow of the Corsairs, the third and final installment in the Heart of the Corsairs series.
The hero, Jonathan Afua is the son of an Ethiopia Ras – the equivalent of a Duke. He has power, wealth, and status taken from him as well as his freedom. In the slave raid on his camp, Jonathan’s wife and children were killed.
He is coming to terms with his grief and rebuilding his life far from home.
Morwena is a straight talking Sicilian woman, she looking after her father who is suffering what we would recognise as dementia, her brothers are estranged from the family so it is up to her to run the family business.
With Jonathan and Morwena it is truly a case of opposites attract, but is there too much that stands between them?
The trio made their way through the quiet streets of Palermo in silence and not once did Morwena’s hand leave his.
He liked it, this trust. He was honored by it. In this way, Morwena reminded him of Mellesse. When both women made up their minds, it was final. He smiled to himself. They would have liked one another, he was sure of it.
Mellesse, there wasn’t a day in prison I didn’t think of you and our girls…
It was an excuse, an apology for thinking about Morwena in the same mental breath as his wife. He was well aware there was still much unfinished, he didn’t need his conscience plaguing him. What kind of weak character was he that found another woman attractive when his wife had been dead for little more than a year? And still, he could not bring himself to relinquish Morwena’s hand.
Was it his drive for justice for his wife and daughters that gave him pause? Perhaps, it was only his fear. Perhaps, that was no longer a good enough reason.
The night air grew colder still. It had to be early morning. He breathed it in and forced it deep into his lungs to wake himself as Morwena unlocked the back door of the shop.
“Papa isn’t expected back until noon, you can sleep in your old room,” she told Nico.
The young man still looked pale. He nodded listlessly and shuffled his way up the stairs.
“Is he going to be all right?” Jonathan asked.
“Eventually. Nico idolized Pietro. It has been a shock to him.”
Jonathan perceived an edge in Morwena’s voice. In the newly-lit lamplight he looked at her, and noted dark shadows under her eyes. Her skin revealed so much to him without words.
“But it was not a shock to you.”
Morwena shook her head and headed up the stairs also. She looked back at him which he took as an invitation to follow.
“I love my brothers, but I was always closer to Nico. I suppose it was because we were nearly the same age. Pietro was much older,” she said.
They ended up in the kitchen. Morwena restoked the fire in the stove and set a pan of water on it to boil. Jonathan himself did not want for anything, but he suspected Morwena needed to do this to keep busy.
“He was always a bully, but he became worse after mother died,” she continued. Before Jonathan knew it, he found himself seated at the dining table.
“Perhaps that was his way of coping with grief. Anyway, he and Father would argue bitterly. One day, Papa learned that Pietro had been taking money from the till and threw him out.”
“… I still remember Pietro standing outside the shop screaming curses on us all. That was six years ago.”
She hiccoughed another sob
“Morwena…” Jonathan stood up and approached her. His first instinct was to pull her into his arms once more, but he held back. “Sometimes in life there are things we can’t control. All we can do is wait out the darkness and pray for the dawn to arrive soon. And it will arrive.”
Silence fell between them for a moment and Jonathan wondered whether he’d revealed too much or too little of himself in his attempt to comfort her.
She set the boiling water aside.
He wished he hadn’t turned around at that moment. If he couldn’t see her eyes, he could deny the truth, even to himself, but now she was here before him, so much color – black hair, beautiful, large, brown eyes, soft, creamy skin, and lips, now red from biting them.
It was as though he was looking at the sun – so beautiful, but it hurt his eyes
“Was it like that when you lost your wife?”
The sun was extinguished, plunging him into blackness.
“She was murdered and I could do nothing. My daughters were killed and I could do nothing!”
Morwena was in his arms once more. He could not be sure who comforted who. It felt good to hold a woman in his arms again and feel the soft curves pressed against him. Her hair smelled of lemons and felt like the softest silk as he ran his hands over her hair, stroking her cheek. Black eyelashes stood out starkly against her skin.
He wanted to kiss those lips. But the only woman he had ever kissed was Mellesse. It was Morwena who bridged the distance. Lips as soft and plump as their promise touched his. Arousal shot through his core, an aliveness like the shift of light heralding an upcoming dawn.
He deepened their kiss and she responded, opening her mouth to him.
The Past Casts a Shadow Over a Second Chance For Love….
Morwena Gambino is struggling to keep her family’s business going against mounting troubles. Her widowed father, once shrewd, is now increasingly forgetful, letting debts mount and disavowing his sons. Morwena runs the shop behind his back, forced to hide her enterprise not only from her father but also her bitter older brother.
In Tunisia, Tewodros “Jonathan” Afua is struggling to stay alive. Once an Ethiopian prince, he is a captive of the corsairs who slaughtered his wife and children. When a US naval bombardment provides an opening for escape, Jonathan falls in with a seemingly deranged English pirate. Aboard Kit Hardacre’s rundown ship with its ragtag crew, Jonathan learns the real reason he was taken by slavers.
Reluctantly joining Hardacre’s crew, he meets Morwena in Palermo. The fiery young Sicilian woman is the opposite of his quiet reserve, but he is attracted to her despite mourning for his late wife. As he and Morwena grow closer, it emerges that they have something in common – secret betrayal by those close to them – and they must count what they’re willing to risk for a future together.
Shadow of the Corsairs is available on Kindle Unlimited and is available to purchase here: https://www.amazon.com./Shadow-Corsairs-Heart-Book-ebook/dp/B07DM9VJ5Z
Elizabeth Ellen Carter writes richly detailed historical romantic adventures. Her full length 3 book Regency era series Heart Of The Corsairs is released in 2017 and 2018 – Captive Of The Corsairs, Revenge Of The Corsairs and Shadow Of The Corsairs. She is starting work on a new 4 book historical romantic suspense series, The King’s Rogues for release during late 2018 and into 2019.
Her other full length titles include the Roman era thriller Dark Heart, the medieval romantic adventure Warrior’s Surrender, and the Regency titles Moonstone Obsession and Moonstone Conspiracy. Also available are the novellas Nocturne and The Thief of Hearts.
A former newspaper journalist, Elizabeth ran an award-winning PR agency for 12 years. She lives in Queensland, Australia with her amazing husband and two adorable and mischievous cats. In addition writing books, Elizabeth produces a online reader magazine called Love’s Great Adventure.
Follow Elizabeth on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and her web site – http://www.eecarter.com