Authors: Grace Brannigan
Women of Strength Time Travel
Once Upon a Remembrance Book 1
Soulmates Through Time Book 2
Treasure So Rare Book 3
Women of Character Contemporary
Echoes From the Past
Once and Always
Wishing on a Rodeo Moon
Romantic Short Stories
Deception (a touch of suspense)
Two Babies, a Cowboy and Sara
Cowboy's Baby: Missing (coming in
Faerie Lost Series (Coming
Find Me Book 1
Whisper Me Book 2
Paint Me Book 3
Read Me Book 4
All Characters, places and events
are fictitious and are not associated or inspired by any person living or dead.
The author was not striving for historical accuracy as all places and events
are purely fiction and not intended to be historically accurate and this is a
romance with strong elements of fantasy.
Treasure So Rare
Copyright 2013 Elaine Warfield
Cover design Julie McClen of Oak
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Table of Contents
Date: A. D. 1224, Dutton Keep, England
Sir William kicked the door in with an enraged bellow, his
brown and craggy face contorted out of all recognition. He and his knights had
been practicing sword play when they had heard the scream from across the
courtyard. Immediately, he had known it was his daughter, Graziela. He and a
score of men had raced toward the family's private quarters. As they drew
closer, the screams abruptly ceased and it was that very absence of sound that
he feared the most.
Three mail-clad shoulders pushed open the wide heavy oak
door. The stout wood hit the wall behind it. The sound resonated throughout the
keep. Had not two sons and a steward held him back, Sir William would have charged
forward to kill the drunken bastard standing over his daughter. In that first
moment of blind rage, he cared not that that man was of the queen's favored
circle. All he saw was his Graziela, delicate Graziela lying crumpled, eyes
closed, golden hair splayed along the stone floor where a thread of crimson now
Sir William knew the man as Weinroof of Camdork, a handsome
scoundrel with a reputation for brawling and drunkenness. He was known to be a despoiler
of women and children.
Weinroof's long blond mane stood wildly askew and on end, as
if someone had tried to rip the hair from his skull. Incongruously, from one
immense hand trailed a flimsy, filmy swathe of cloth, the same material that
clothed Sir William’s daughter. As the men at arms entered the room, Weinroof
jerked his head back, swollen and bloodshot eyes narrowed upon the intruders.
Grunting, the man wrapped the filmy material tightly around his hand in an
attempt to stem a flow of blood from his palm.
"This one shows me no favor," he spat, then fell
silent, perhaps sobering somewhat upon being faced with the ferocity of the
expressions leveled at him. His voice changed, became more of a disgruntled
whine. "All others in this damned drafty place she smiles at and tries to
please, but not myself. I would have her hand -- I would wed her."
"Damn your filthy soul to hell!" Desryn, oldest
son of Sir William, shouted. He and his twin Aisyn lunged forward to make short
work of the bastard.
Sir William cared not what fate befell that one as he rushed
forward and knelt beside his daughter. Graziela had not moved since their
forced entrance. For a moment he feared the worst, that the bastard had killed
her. She lay broken, a flower crushed beneath a careless heel. Almost weeping,
Sir William lifted her slight frame, gently pulled back the long, curling sweep
of golden hair. She lay as still as her mother had on the most sorrowful day of
his life. And as he had done with her mother, Sir William enfolded her close in
mail-clad arms and placed a kiss upon her pale brow.
~1847 Off the Florida Coast
Erik Marcus Remington shook the salt-crusted hair from his
eyes, its overlong sun-bleached length annoying the hell out of him. Next
seaport he vowed to cut it all off.
The sails overhead billowed and flapped, the sound not
unfamiliar to one who had seen the sea in all her majesty and various tempests.
The wind blustered around him, and it felt good to have the sun scorching once
more on his skin. Better than the damp cell where he’d spent two miserable
nights on land. Damnation, when had riding the seas become so dangerous? Never
a thief except when his government needed him to be one, he'd been abiding by
the laws for many a year now, but some of the old stories still surfaced from
time to time and the law had been waiting for him when he put into the last
harbor. Someone had been making mischief and wanted him out of the way.
The laws were becoming a stranglehold to be sure. He sighed,
knowing it was a matter of time before he abandoned the sea life. He wished to
settle down somewhere, but where...and with whom?
He put the spy glass up to his eye, sweeping the sea around
him. He moved the glass back a fraction, smiled, and then he let out a great
booming laugh. "Ah, they are back for more punishment. Men," he
called out, "be at the ready.
is headed our way, and
I'm thinking it's not for tea."
His quartermaster Jock hurried to his side, putting his own
spyglass up to his eye. "Aye, you're right, Cap'n."
"Let us make it worth our while," Erik said. Jock
handed him his shirt, and his coat. Quickly, Erik donned both, belted his sword
and scabbard in place at his left hand, shoved a brace of pistols on either
side of his belt. The adrenaline rushed as he stared at the ship drawing ever closer,
riding high on the sea, then disappearing, only to ride up again on a new swell
"How does he dare to confront us?" Jock wondered
aloud. "We beat him soundly only two months ago."
"Aye," Erik said, "and he limped back to port
minus his precious cargo. I heard the ladies in San Francisco appreciated the
"At least there was no slave running that night,"
muttered Jock. He shook his head, the sun bright on his balding, already
sunburned scalp. "I dinna like this."
Erik kept his glass trained on the ship as it drew ever
closer. He noted the sails had been pulled in, and he could not see any
movement on deck. "Very strange."
He expected some shot over their head and at the deck, but
there was nothing. As far as he could see, the ship appeared empty. A ghost
"I know, Jock, I don't see anyone. Men, remain at the
ready," he called out. "Hook her, then reel her in. Be wary, it could
be a trick."
The grappling hooks were flung toward the boat, catching in
the wood mast, the rail and the bulwark. Steadily, they pulled the ship closer
and secured her to their side.
Without a word, Erik motioned his men over the rail and onto
the deck of
Heavy cloth had been spread out upon the deck and he could
see the shape of bodies laid flat beneath the cloth. He stopped to survey the
scene, the unnatural quiet, the hair on the back of his neck rising.
He heard suddenly a small whimper coming from the bridge and
he spun on his heel. A woman, nay, a girl, half hidden as she huddled against
A blood curdling scream rent the air, and the cloths
covering the bodies were flung aside as gunfire rent the air. Men lay on the
deck and fired their pistols. Erik and his crew returned fire. Erik had no time
to think; he and his men reacted, and as they exchanged shots, he saw Jock go
down. He lunged across the deck toward his quartermaster and friend and pulled
him behind some rigging. He shoved him behind him, then pulled his sword free
to fight his way back out to the main fight. The deck became slick with blood,
the fighting fierce. Erik realized they were outnumbered and only luck and the
holy saints would see them prevail. They fought as demons, knowing right was on
their side, but the thought crossed his mind that it was too glorious a day to
The wind buffeted the ship hard and the sea rose, the sky of
a sudden turning deep purple and black behind them. Several of his crew lay at
his feet, and he had but a moment to see them as they lay dying on the sun
bleached deck. He fought hard, his eyes narrowing on the one they named as
Captain, John Moses Devanesque. The women said he had a face like an angel but
a heart and soul, it was rumored, he'd sold to the devil. Erik fought to clear
the way, cutting through men as he pursued Devanesque. Slight of build, his
long black hair flying wildly about his face, he slipped in and out of Erik's
sight until finally he cornered the other man and they squared off. Devanesque
with his strange eyes, one brown, one off-white. "LaTour," he said with
surprise. "I thought you --"
"Retired?" Erik grinned. "Dead? Devanesque --
you hid like frightened children, but now be prepared for the worst. I see you
have women on board. We have had this discussion before, have we not? No longer
will you run your smuggling and slave trade upon these seas."
Devanesque laughed, shaking the wild hair from his eyes. The
world centered around the two of them and all else faded to nothing. "Do
you think any mortal man can stop me? You don't have the power to interfere. I have
the backing of kings, the wealth of nations behind me." He lifted his hand
in the air, the cloth of his coat blue silk shot with gold threads. "There
is nothing in this world that can keep me from what I desire." He laughed,
waving his sword in Erik's face. "You're a fool filled with pompous anger
to think you could ever prevent me from taking what I wish. I shall finish what
I began all those years ago." Those light eyes swept across the scar on
Eric's neck, and like fire, the scar that almost circumvented his neck began to
With an enraged bellow, Erik lunged for the man. Devanesque
met his lunge, his sword coming down toward Erik's head, while the dagger in
his hand made a quick upward motion toward Erik's stomach.