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Blast Sign Ups: A Pirate at Pembroke by Danielle Thorne

 

A Pirate at Pembroke by Danielle Thorne

Keeping company with a reputed pirate is one thing, but falling in love with him could ruin the eccentric Crestwood family for good…

Sophie Crestwood is never going to catch a husband, and she isn’t even sure she wants one. Her father is a gossip, her mother has her nose in a book, and little Jack has shamefully been dismissed from boarding school. Worst of all, a pirate moves next door into Pembroke Hall.

When Sophie’s sent to a matchmaking party at a neighboring estate, the pirate from Pembroke arrives and distracts everyone from the summer festivities. Unguarded, her feelings about the mysterious Captain Murdock bloom into a trusted friendship that Sophie fears may come to mean more than anyone could ever suspect.

Praise

There have been only a handful of times when a book truly blows me away. This is one of those times. It’s full of emotions from laughter to tears and all in between. There are heroes and villains. There’s mystery, humor, danger, and romance all contained within its pages. As I read, I became fully engaged with the characters. ~D. Pearson

This sweet romance will give you all the feels and keep you turning pages. Romance, mystery and a little humor made this an engaging and satisfying read. ~F. Brown

Excerpt

Excerpt 1
She imagined the dark silhouette would take the shape of a specter, perhaps with a sickle in its grip; instead, the man appeared to be a gentleman, although not an altogether cheerful looking one. Other than his hat, he was rather too brown and rumpled.
The horse snorted and turned its head to look. The rider studied her, too. Sophie pushed off the wall and stepped forward.
”You are from Leatherbury?” he assumed in a flat tone.
”Miss Crestwood of Leatherbury,” she informed him, trying to maintain her poise. Her attempt was foiled by an examining gaze with eyes so pale she could not tell their color. She couldn’t look at him without glancing away and back again.
”Then, Miss Crestwood of Leatherbury, I recommend you and your family reacquaint yourselves with the boundaries of your estate.”
Her mouth dropped open at the ill-mannered admonition. Sophie stared up at the horseman from beneath the brim of her bonnet, aware she was mussed and the hem of her skirt damp with morning dew. One of her ribbons, frayed at the end, fluttered up in her face, but she did not shoo it away. ”I am looking for my brother,” she said, trying to gather up enough dismay to feel slighted. ”I assure you I am within the boundaries of my home.”
The man gazed off into the distance behind her. ”I beg your pardon,” he said with a slight apologetic cough, ”but your boundaries are the low-lying stream several yards beyond the grove, to where I suspect I’ve just chased your brother from my orchard.”
“Please accept my apologies then.” Sophie kept her tone stiff.
She whirled away toward the stile to escape his censure, wondering why she did not debate with him that the wall had been the boundary for ages. Everyone knew it, even the cows. She was a Crestwood from Leatherbury, and she knew it. Who was he to tell her differently?
She pivoted back on her heel. ”And you are?” She inclined her head and raised her chin, just like Lady Mary did when she questioned some poor, culpable soul.
The man shifted in his saddle like he might slide off the horse, and the animal whinnied and stamped its feet. ”Captain Edward Murdock of St. Kitts, and still you are trespassing on my property.”

Excerpt 2:
He held a handful of her shift in his fist. She had not snagged it after all. Rather, he had snagged her. She jerked in surprise, but his hold kept her from falling backward and tumbling down the stairs. His other hand trembled as it balanced precariously on a carved dragon head at the top of his cane.
“What do you think you are doing?”
“I… I heard music and followed it.”
His eyes blazed with accusation, and it unnerved her.
“I’m so sorry,” she said in a choking voice. Her nose tingled again. She touched it with her fingers to make it stop.
“It’s not possible you heard music from all the way down in your room.”
Sophie took a nervous breath. He stood there, one step above her like a giant, her bedclothes gripped in his hand so tight it shook. She hadn’t heard him shuffle down the hall after her. He moved as silent as a ghost when he wanted — even with a cane. She found the courage to meet his penetrating gaze. “I did hear something from my room. Then I was in the hall.”
Captain Murdock waited for a long pause, while the dust they had stirred up in the rugs pirouetted in the air and into Sophie’s eyes and nose. “You should not be out of bed,” he said.
Sophie swallowed down her frightened apprehension. She tried to beg his pardon, but her lungs failed her, and she coughed in reflex. She covered her mouth with her fingers. “I’m so sorry,” she repeated between them, her cheeks hot with humiliation. She stared at the fistful of her garments he’d snatched, aware his eyes examined her from her straight, waist-length hair down to her naked ankles. With a jerk, he dropped her shift like it burned his hand.
“Go to bed,” he said in a quiet voice.
Sophie’s nose had not quit tingling and itching. “Yes, sir,” she said at once, but not soon enough to keep a sneeze from erupting. It came so fast and without warning, she had no chance to catch it before it doused him with all her rejection.
Horrified, she stumbled down the next step, thankful the old handrail held fast. When she glanced back, he was wiping off his shirt with a look of disgust.

Excerpt 3
In one swift, honest acknowledgment she now felt sad. Everything was all wrong, and once again she had put them in a terrible and awkward position. Captain Murdock had already made it clear she should not esteem him so.
She stood up in a rush. He came up off the couch at the same time, like she’d cried out, and reached for her arm to pull her close and keep her from leaving. His soft fingertips brushed her tears away.
“Don’t cry,” he ordered. His tone changed to a firm and resolute timbre. “What will they think when I take you downstairs.” He looked past her toward the violin case. “We are late,” he said but did not move.
Sophie could not move either. The grief in her soul made her want to be pulled through a hole in the floor. Everyone had what they wished for but her. She would not have Leatherbury. She would not have Pembroke. She would not have Captain Murdock.
An unseen chill moved through the room. She put the back of her hand — the hand he had kissed — over her mouth and released a sob as her chest sank. Before she could sniffle or feel mortified at her emotional exhibition, a strong arm went around her waist. Captain Murdock crushed her to him, and she found her face nestled in the center of his perfectly tied cravat.
“I don’t want to get married,” she choked out. “I love… I like… I do admire Mr. Billingham so, but–” She began to cry, horrified to expose such delicate and private feelings before him, but there was no one else to tell. She caught her breath, sniffled, and broke back down again. Murdock said nothing but embraced her, rubbing her arms and stroking her back.
“I did say you were the bravest girl I knew.”
Sophie heard him swallow. He was very warm, radiating heat like stones in the summer sun. She raised her head. Murdock must advise her what to do.
“Jack would tell me to run away,” she croaked. “My parents would have me do the sensible thing and become the mistress of this great estate. What say you, Edward Murdock?”
He looked down at her, his gaze probing. “What does your heart tell you to do, Sophie Crestwood?” His voice was a whisper.
She closed her eyes and took a deep, full breath. Her heart had been screaming the truth at her all along.

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Author Danielle Thorne

Danielle Thorne is the author of a dozen books, including five-star classic romance and adventure in several genres. A graduate of BYU-Idaho, she has edited for both Solstice and Desert Breeze Publishing and participated in writing organizations and contests over the years picking up awards and recognition for her work. When not researching or writing fiction, Danielle freelances as a historical non-fiction author for young adults from her home in Atlanta, Georgia. She loves to hear from romance readers through her website and appreciates feedback and reviews. Her next adventure, The Story of Queen Victoria 200 Years After Her Birth, is coming 2018 with Atlantic Publishing.

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