I’m a Tightwad. You will not catch me in line for a Starbucks coffee, although a couple of times on vacation I did splurge on a dollar McDonald’s coffee when I’d been driving a lot of miles. And on that vacation, I stayed in cheap hotels that usually had a coffee maker and fridge and we hauled our food around-heck, I have a van, why not? I rarely buy cold drinks out; actually I try not to buy them at all, but buying a 12 pack on sale and keeping it on hand at home is much cheaper. My biggest splurge is probably a monthly trip to the golden arches; I am a sucker for a Happy Meal (yes, with the toys!)
I have not always been a tightwad. While my parents lived well within their means, for instance, we lived in a small house in an older neighborhood, drove paid-for used, cars, I was an only child and only grandchild. This meant that at Christmas and birthdays, I was given pretty much all I wanted-which various years included a motorcycle, a Shetland pony and an Appaloosa gelding. I got a couple of calves over the years, too, which my granddaddy then raised for me and sold at auction and gave me the money for my savings account. (Hey, I’m a Texan, thus the cows and horses).
But then I got married right out of high school, and after a couple of years, children started arriving-3 boys in 3 years (yes, eventually we figured out what caused that). Things were going quite well…until the oil bust. A note to those younger than me-there is ALWAYS some sort of bust every decade or so, oil bust, Black Friday, Internet bubble bust, housing bubble bust, and now there’s a prediction of a money bubble bust. Save in the good times for the bad times will always come. However, my problem is we’ve always been recovering from bad times during the good times. But do as I say not as I do, okay?
I'm blogging with the Rubies today! To finish reading and weigh in with your opinion on cheap reads, please go to the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood site. See you there, thanks!
One pirate often looked like the other, sunburned and scruffy, but she was certain they'd never met. She would have remembered that pretty smile, hidden though it was behind those overgrown whiskers.
No matter. She had business at hand.
Flattening her palms on the table, she bent low and said through tight lips, "That was my haul you stole, and I want it back."
His smile didn't waver. Was he going to try to charm his way out of his...his skullduggery? If so, she'd have to inform Captain Charles the Charmer that his rumored talents would not work on her.
He leaned forward on his elbows and brought his face close to hers. She resisted the inclination to back away.
"I can never resist an easy catch," he said in an accent that bore traces of Britain.
Her skin quivered, her nostrils flared. Yet as she met his bold stare, she sucked in a breath. She thought she saw something there she recognized. Did she know him after all? She searched her memory. To her knowledge, she'd never met him.
She recovered from the moment and continued, "Easy for you to say. The Gypsy Doll had already stopped that merchant ship."
"Aye, your gun-laden frigate does have its uses. Being fast is not one."
"The advantage will be mine when I blow your dinky little sloop out of the water."
"Captain! Are you insulting the size...of my ship?"
The obvious sexual overtone felt like a physical caress. It somehow felt familiar. Provocative. She gave herself a mental shake. "It's not the size of your...ship that’s in question. You stole what was mine."
Ah, pirate romances. What historical romance reader doesn’t love them? At one time (and I might be dating myself) pirate romances were all the rage, but like vampires, pirate romances were cyclical, too, and eventually fell out of favor. I’d forgotten about them, even, until I first saw Pirates of The Caribbean. That movie awoke the long-dormant pirate love, and I knew I would have to write a pirate book.
Captain Jack, what a sexy rogue! But my heart went to Will Turner, faithful, steadfast, capable, protector of those he loves. My hero in Pirate’s Proposal, Captain Charles the Charmer, is a combination of the two. He can be a sexy rogue, as his name implies, and yet he is a true champion to those he loves.
In reality, pirates are dangerous criminals, but in the world of romance, the biggest danger is usually to the heroine’s heart. Even if the heroine is a tough and capable pirate captain herself such as my heroine, Captain Gina Santini—the heart is always vulnerable.
PIRATE’S PROPOSAL is a novella in the “Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll” series with The Wild Rose Press. Each story has the same cursed gypsy scrimshaw doll appear. Scrimshaw–if you don’t know, and I didn’t know at first–is something that has been carved or engraved out of whalebone or walrus tusks. The stories chronologically begin in 1719 with Pirate’s Proposal and continue through modern day. You can learn the full tale of the “Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll Series” on The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood site.
You can also follow along with each Scrimshaw doll story as it’s published on our website Tales of The Scrimshaw Doll.
THE HISTORY OF THE DOLL:
How did a cursed gypsy doll come into being? Captain Gina’s grandfather, the gypsy Enzo Conti, carved the scrimshaw doll to comfort his daughter when her mother was tragically murdered. On the eve of his daughter’s wedding, something went awry…here is Enzo’s letter explaining what happened to Gina’s father, who at the time was the captain of the Gypsy Doll.
Dear Captain Santini,
My heart is heavy at the news you sent that illness robbed my dear daughter of her life. That you are alive yourself means you were a good husband, and for this I am grateful.
Si, I refer to the doll you mentioned. The doll was not designed to keep my daughter Antonia healthy or physically safe, as you thought. I did not make the doll for any magical purpose; I only made her to offer comfort to my young Antonia when she tragically lost her mother.
The magic happened on the eve of Antonia’s wedding to you. I asked our gypsy witch to place a spell on my daughter that any person who betrayed her would suffer. I asked this because I had learned that my dear departed Rosa, my beloved wife, had been unfaithful to me, and I wished most of all for my daughter to never suffer the pain of betrayal.
The gypsy witch made a mistake, though. Antonia was sleeping with her doll that night, something the witch did not notice until after she cast the spell. Worried that the doll absorbed the spell, she recast it and added a caveat that true love would break the spell. Regardless, care should be taken that the doll is not harmed because, from the things you’ve mentioned, it does seem the doll did absorb the spell.
Since your darling Gina has the doll now, you might want to renew the spell for her protection, although who knows if this is necessary. But as it seems to have served you in good stead, it can do no harm, given the dangerous business you’re in, where one never knows who is friend or foe.
My fondest wish is to see my granddaughter before I die.
And so the legend of the scrimshaw doll begins . . .
To read a deleted prologue where Gina inherits the doll, please visit www.dianalayne.com/historicalromance
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Betrayed. Unfortunately, many of us know the pain and humiliation of having been betrayed. How stupid we feel. How hurt. Sometimes extremely intelligent and/or educated people are suckered. Even highly-trained, lethal-skilled people can find themselves betrayed.
MJ Thornberg learns that lesson the hard way in my romantic suspense novel, TRUST NO ONE, book 1 in the Vista Security series. To all appearances Vista Security is successful security firm, but in reality it is a front for a secretive organization that gets the dirty work off limits to the CIA and other U.S. security agencies. MJ, taken in and raised by the founder of Vista Security when her parents were killed in a car crash, has been trained as an operative from the time when most girls are having boy crushes and sleepovers.
This makes her accomplished and deadly, and something that I hope romantic suspense readers like to read these days: a real kick-butt heroine. Her nemesis is the woman who was raised as a sibling, although they are not blood-related. When Tasha goes on an unsanctioned killing spree, MJ is forced to go after her.
And in the course confronts many twisted-truths and complicated lies. More betrayal.
Together, the two women go through grueling, dangerous experiences in their quest for justice, yet each new deception they uncover puts the reality they’ve always known at risk.
To set up the following excerpt: In their quest for truth, MJ and Tasha pose as nurses to gain entrance to a retired senator’s house, a man who was a part of the criminals who destroyed their lives. Instead of injecting him with his medicine, Tasha has a syringe full of sodium pentothal stuck in his neck. The senator, confident of his bodyguards’ ability to save him taunts the two women.
“Money. The root of all good,” the senator chuckled, obviously warming to his subject.
“I think your saying is skewed,” Tasha said.
At last MJ found enough air to form words. “People. Died. To make you money.” Her parents. Tasha and Niko’s parents. Who else?
The old man had the nerve to laugh out loud. “What a ninny,” he said between cackles. “People die all the time. Money’s as good of a reason as any.”
MJ had an overwhelming need to whirl and use her gun to blow away the disgusting old man. She fought the rage-driven urge boiling through her. Understood better Tasha’s quest for revenge.
“One more question then we’ll be on our way,” Tasha said as pleasantly as if she were on a social call, her acting skills coming in handy again.
The senator kept on laughing. “Not going to kill me, too?”
“It’d be a waste of my time, honey. I read your chart. You’re on the way to dead anyway.”
“So they tell me. Ain’t dead yet, though.”
“Who told you about us?” Tasha continued.
Instead of hearing an answer, several things happened at once. MJ, unable to see beyond her peripheral vision, heard Tasha mumble “shit.” Wannabe rock star gunman across from MJ took a more aggressive stance, and even without a clear sight of vision, she knew the momentum had changed. Somehow another factor had been introduced.
The thought flashed through her mind to shoot the man in front of her, but the adoption loomed over her head. If she killed the wannabe, in a prominent and wealthy ex-senator’s house, it would be hard to cover up. There was probably a tape of them driving up to the house. Disguise or not, it wasn’t a risk she wanted to take.
All these things flitted through her mind in a nanosecond.
In that short amount of time, Tasha sounded as if she was getting the bad end of whatever had happened.
MJ lowered the barrel of her P220 and pulled the trigger. Wannabe rock star dude jumped. Score one for her. She’d shot between his legs, deliberately missing to give her an element of surprise. At the split second his attention was off her, she kicked his gun out of his hand. Instead of retreating, he countered by landing a kick in her solar plexus before she could aim again. She went flying backward, her breath trapped painfully in her lungs. Her shot landed somewhere in the ceiling. She expected to hear someone at the door soon, who could ignore gun shots?
When she could catch her breath again, she caught a glimpse of a second man lying on his belly, his hands firmly gripping Tasha’s ankle. He must’ve crawled out from under the bed. At that moment he jerked, and Tasha fell. Her head collided with the nightstand before she landed on the floor, unconscious.
The senator pulled the needle from his neck before clutching his chest.
MJ lay on her back, stunned, breathless, but recovering fast. She brought her weapon around, but rock star shirt man had recovered his.
Stand off again.
He growled a warning. “I don’t have orders to kill you yet, but I won’t miss when I shoot.” He aimed at her leg. “Hard to walk with a broken leg.” Hesitation cost her, and he knew it, if not the reason.
Operatives with a family couldn’t do this job.
If you want to learn more about how real-life betrayal inspired this story, please check out my personal blog post.
What is the fascination with pirates? We often have a romanticized vision of these bold raiders of the seas, and I admit in Pirate’s Proposal I made my pirate captain hero pretty yummy and my pirate captain heroine beautiful and brave.
In reality, though, pirating was a tough, dirty and dangerous life, likely fated with the unglamorous ending of swinging from a rope. And yet . . . there really were women pirates and sailors in days of old. What were they thinking?
To read more of this post, please visit:
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The English Lily – Historical Romance
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