Outside, the storm began to intensify. A jagged burst of lightning filled the hall with
light, followed by a crash of thunder. Evangeline raised the back of her hand to her
forehead and slightly tottered, reaching out the other hand to steady herself.

“Evangeline?” he called out, and took a small step toward her. “Would you like me
to escort you to your room?”

She shook her head back and forth, but he could read the terror in her face.
Outside, the wind tore through trees and drove a downpour into the panes loudly.
As the storm continued, the window was the only barrier separating them from the
howling tempest. A burst of light flared, followed by thunder, and she lifted an arm
to shield her face inside the crook of her elbow. She wobbled as she lowered her
arm. Across the distance, their eyes met and locked.

Above the roar of the storm, Alessio shouted to her. “Evangeline!” She sud-denly
bolted toward Alessio; her frantic steps struck the wood floor, and she hurled
herself into his arms.

“Make it stop, make it stop, Alessio, please! I beg of you, make it stop!” she cried.
Covering her ears, she trembled in his arms. He pulled her close and wrapped her
in the sweeping circle of his embrace. Another blast echoed and Evangeline
faltered, collapsing into him. He held her tightly as Evangeline’s head rolled back,
exposing her slim white throat. “Alessio, the cannons, do you hear them? “Her
eyes were closed and her face contorted with agony. She clung to him, her body
pressed intimately against his. “Make it stop. Make it stop,” she said, and shook
her head side to side. Her eyes fluttered open and she lifted her head to peer at
him with a glazed and far-away look. He had seen the same expression after Miss
Lindy died and felt fiercely protective of her.

“You left me, you never bid me farewell,” she uttered as tears vibrated in her blue
eyes. “What crime did I commit? Tell me.” Tears created a glistening trail of silver
as they rolled down her cheeks. Passion and emotion raged inside of him. He froze
and fought to reign in his growing desire. “You never said farewell. You
abandoned me. I waited for you, I imagined you dead. I thought you lost to me
forever. You abandoned me,” she repeated as she ripped herself free and tried to
escape from him, but he captured her. The tension between them pulsated in
rhythm with the drive of the rain beating against the glass.

“I never meant to cause you distress, you must believe me,” he said, the deep tone
of his voice echoing in the hallway.

“You left me to become prey. She is forcing me to marry a man whom I have never
beheld. It is settled. I am to be his bride,” she stammered, looking at him. Her eyes
pierced his and pled for help. A hot ache throbbed through him as the blood
surged in his body. “I will never love anyone except you,” she confessed softly. He
admired her heart-shaped lips and wanted to kiss her, if only to take her suffering
away, if only to calm her. “I have always loved you. I feel no emotion, no life, no
pleasure unless I am with you!” Torment shimmered in her gaze. It danced like a
ghostly sail billowing in the wind.

She was staring into his soul, waking and stirring emotions he could not deny. He
tried to stay away from her to give her time to grow into a woman, but not a day
had expired that he hadn’t missed or longed for her. There were dozens of
drunken affairs, but she alone owned his heart. The beautiful woman locked in his
arms with the far-away, haunted stare.

Outside, the wind shrieked and rain beat against the windows. Branches scratched
and scraped against the panes, sounding of claws raking the glass. Her body
shivered as she stood locked in his powerful embrace.

“When you took to the sea, I died.”

“No, my darling, you are alive, you are safe with me, just as you were that day. I will
defend you and protect you. Can you not feel the beating of your heart against my
own?”

Her eyes widened and in the dim atmosphere. Her features took on a peculiar
expression.

She is touched by insanity, the assessment persecuted him. She is unwell be-
cause of me. I have caused this. Guilt condemned him.

He cupped her chin in his hands and tilted her face to look more closely at her.
Tears vibrated in her gaze. Hollowness persisted in her expression as if concealed
behind a veil.

“I saw you with Hortense by the waterfall.” A single tear slid down her cheek. “You
kissed her?”

“It’s not what you imagine.”

“I have no claim to you.” Her voice was soft and forlorn.

“You are mistaken, Evangeline. You and I belong to one another.” His head dipped
down and his mouth covered hers, ravishing her lips with his burning kiss. She did
not shrink from him; instead, she pressed herself into his arms, offering her open
lips to his. Inflamed by her, he crushed her into his body, touching her, caressing
her as lightning illuminated the hallway in short bursts. His hands explored the
hollow of her back, her hips, and she instinctively arched her body into his. He tore
his mouth from the honeyed sweetness of her lips and lightly bit her neck, pulling
her roughly against him.

The storm shook the windows and vibrated through the floor. Evangeline’s body
grew rigid in his embrace and she suddenly pried herself free from Alessio.

“They are coming.” She spun out of his arms. Gathering the flowing material of her
skirt in her hands, she lifted it as she ran away. She turned her head and looked
back at him. Their eyes met for moment before she turned the corner of the
darkened hall. The heels of her shoes echoed as she fled down the stairs.
Evangeline Avenes is beautiful beyond compare, but it is
whispered she suffers from madness. Surviving a pirate attack as
a girl, she is haunted by the image of a dead woman. Alessio
Draven, another child passenger aboard the doomed ship, is
forever connected to Evangeline through the tragedy.

Evangeline and Alessio grow-up in the tropical seclusion of
Leighton Hall in Jamaica where Alessio’s aunt runs a school for
illegitimate daughters of royalty. When they declare their love for
each other, Alessio is promptly sent away on a ship heading to the
Orient and Evangeline forced into an arranged marriage to a
wealthy land owner in the Carolinas.

Determined to see the pirate who attacked their ship hung,
Alessio hunts the blood-thirsty, but elusive Captain Pyke. When
word reaches him Evangeline is about to wed, he returns from the
sea to stop the wedding. After a massive earthquake swallows
Port Royal, the natural disaster makes prisoners of the guests
attending a ball in honor of Evangeline’s nuptials. Masks fall away
to reveal Captain Pyke and his pirates. The past and present
collide as death, destruction and deception reign. Can Alessio
and Evangeline put an end to the wicked pirates and escape the
island?
Soul of a Pirate
Camille Bouchero
Book Reviews
Excerpt
Reviews will be posted as they are received.
Fiction-Historical Romance/Adventure

Available in Print & e-book
December 2017

$11.95 / $3.99

ISBN-13: 978-1-93495-010-7
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