Title: Tavia’s Deception
Author: Christine Young
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency
Book Heat Level: 4
Buy at: Smash words
Tavia Hepburn resolves to see the world, but she never bargains on finding passion and love to a red haired sea captain.
BLURB: Tavia's Deception
WHISPERS OF DECEPTION
When her father decides to send her to London for her season, Tavia Hepburn resolves to see the world instead. The raven haired beauty decides to disguise herself as a lad and find employment on a ship bound for Barcelona as a cabin boy. But she never bargains on finding passion and love to a red haired sea captain who rescues her from certain death.
WHISPERS OF MURDER
For James Macmurra, the world is black and white until he meets a young debutante, who turns his world upside down. He’s unable to deny Tavia’s intoxicating effect on him. In a match tense with obstacles, unwillingness to divulge secrets, and unforeseen peril, irresistible desire and passion grows into undeniable love. James would risk his life to shelter and protect the innocent debutante who seduces him with her sweet love.
EXCERPT: Tavia's Deception
The knock on the door didn’t surprise him. “Come in.”
The sight of the cabin boy shook him to the core, and he knew he had to school his features as well as his surprise. It was important that he think this out before he revealed what he knew.
“Tommy. Tommy no name. Why is that?” He watched her stop midstride when she entered before she had the look of a cornered animal. “Nice name.” He drummed his fingers on the desk, trying to remember everything Seamus had told him about the new help and the subtle smirk in the man’s eyes. The first mate had meant to see how he handled this and was most likely laughing right now. Seamus was probably at the door listening.
“Yes,” she folded her hands in front of her.
“Heard you climbed the masts and handled the rigging quite well. Heard you were as nimble as a monkey.” His glance riveted on her hands, which were bleeding. He clenched his fists, his anger simmering. He knew he had to discipline his emotions, but in this case it was damn hard.
“Yes, sir,” she looked down. It didn’t seem she wanted to meet his gaze.
“Your feet must be really interesting. You can’t take your gaze off them. Look at me when I address you.” He didn’t know what to do. If he let her know that he knew who she was... Damn, but he didn’t have an empty cabin, and the only place he could keep her was in his cabin, with him.
She wouldn’t be protected sleeping with the crew nor would she remain safe sleeping with him for the duration of their trip. The crew would figure out he was a she before she could blink, and they would want certain favors he wouldn’t allow with any cabin boy, let alone Tavia.
He was caught in the middle of an untenable position. The vows he’d made with The Duchess had just been undone but not by him. He would not return her to London pregnant with his child. He wouldn’t. Or they would be married but not until they reached a port. Unless they made an unscheduled stop, that was months away.
“Yes sir,” she said, looking up and biting her lip.
Her britches as well as her shirt were loose fitting, but he didn’t doubt for a moment if she bent over the perfect roundness of her derrière would give her away.
“Are you enjoying yourself?” he asked for lack of a better question and trying for time to figure out his next move.
“Do you know what your duties are?”
“What are they?” he asked, wondering what exactly she would come up with.
“I’m supposed to wait on you and the other officers, and I’m supposed to take messages to various people and become familiar with the sails, lines and ropes and the use of all of these in all types of weather.” It seemed she’d memorized her words.
“Good, very good, rest assured your only duty is to wait on me. You’ll attend to all my needs and you won’t leave the cabin unless I’m with you. Whatever happens I don’t want you climbing the masts. Seamus,” he yelled.
“Hammock. In here. Now.”
“Yes, sir,” the man said with a chuckle that told James his first mate knew the cabin boy was a girl, but what he didn’t know was that she was Tavia Hepburn, the debutant he’d been seeing, the one he intended to court.
James stared at her, hoping she’d apologize or tell him how sorry she was. “Nothing to say?”
She moistened her lips and his gut turned upside down. “What will your crew say?”
“They won’t say anything. I’m the captain and they obey my orders as will you.” What possible motive could she have for keeping up this ruse? She had to realize he saw through her disguise.
It didn’t matter whether or not she came forward, she was going back the minute they reached a port and he found a reputable captain. Then, perhaps she didn’t know he recognized her. If that were the case, she’d never say anything.
“I don’t want to be seen as someone who shirks their duties, Sir,” she said, finally meeting his gaze. “I like climbing the masts. It’s fun. Been doing it practically my entire life, well trees, that is.”
Tempted to relax a bit and let her get a taste of the work she’d face if he allowed it, he struggled with his next words. “You cannot go up the masts. That is not a cabin boy’s duties on my vessels,” he lied.
“I misunderstood then? I apologize.”
“Captain? It’s Seamus. Got the hammock.” The first mate pushed the door open. “Where do you want it?”
James pointed to the side of the cabin just over the bed. If she fell out, at least she wouldn’t land on the hard floor. But in my arms.