Pirates & Petticoats Series Boxset
by Chloe Flowers
Pirates & Petticoats #1-3
Publication Date: July 2016
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Action Adventure
(Pirates & Petticoats, #1)
After a daring escape, Captain Landon Hart sails the Desire to Charleston for repairs and to keep a mysterious appointment with a plantation owner. He meets a sword-wielding, fiery-haired temptress on the way, and he isn’t prepared for the impact she has on his tightly guarded heart…nor the trouble she manages to attract.
Keelan Grey had a solid plan that would save her from an arranged marriage to a cruel plantation owner until a deathbed confession from a loved one plunges her into a dark plot of deception and revenge.
Desperate for help, Keelan finds an unlikely ally in the exasperating but irresistible sea captain. But while she trusts him with her life, can she trust him with her secrets?
She couldn’t assume the topic had already been discussed. She considered stepping out from her hiding place and intercepting them as they passed the arbor at the entrance. That plan would only work if the men continued walking along the hedge and turned left to pass the arbor, rather than turn right toward the front door of the main house. If she could get Daniel’s attention, she could indicate she wanted them to enter the garden, and meet them by the arbor.
Daniel continued, “Behind the Grey’s house sits a kitchen house, a chicken coop, smokehouse, and a few outbuildings. In addition to crops and timber, Twin Pines also produces turpentine.”
She squeezed between two bushy shrubs near a cherry tree and cautiously peered through the foliage. Daniel pointed west, his back to her. Landon stood next to him. Where was the other man? Conal O'Brien?
“Beyond this garden is a small spring-fed pond, which takes up most of the meadow bottom to the east of the main house. There’s another much larger lake on the plantation a few miles southwest.”
Conal O'Brien stepped through the arbor.
Oh no! She caught her breath sharply.
This wouldn’t work at all. There was no way to exit her hiding place without exposing that she’d been eavesdropping. Why would Captain Hart and Mr. O'Brien agree to do a favor to someone who’d been spying on them? Curse her terrible luck. Now, she’d have to wait until they left then run to catch them before they made it to the front door. Her stomach dropped. She wouldn’t be able to accomplish that without the possibility of being seen by her uncle.
She was doomed.
Daniel and Captain Hart soon followed Mr. O'Brien. Keelan retreated further into the scratchy bushes behind the sweet blossoming limbs of the cherry tree. She winced as several branches poked the back of her head, legs, and arms.
“This is Mrs. Grey's pride,” Daniel said, only a few yards away.
Conal stated his approval, “Tis carefully tended, for sure. Pleasin’ to the eye.”
Landon agreed. “Mrs. Grey has cause to be proud. The cherry blossoms are especially magnificent,” he added loudly, sounding closer than Daniel.
Her heart thumped against the walls of her chest. She crouched lower into the shadows of the shrubs next to the cherry tree. Captain Hart was dangerously close to her hiding place. She dared not take a single breath.
“Look at this,” Conal said. “The detail on this bench is as fine as any I have ever seen.”
He walked straight ahead to the bench and ran his large hand over the ornate ironwork. The fragrance of a rose bush apparently caught his attention and he stepped over to sniff the flowers. Reaching down, he plucked a blossom, lifted it to his nose, and inhaled. Keelan’s pulse pounded frantically. Although Conal stood several yards away, if he happened to glance to his left, he would discover her. Why hadn’t she tried to intercept them earlier instead of just standing here pondering it?
Captain Hart coughed.
Conal jumped then grinned. “After five months at sea, ‘tis a relief ta have somethin’ nicer ta smell than salt water and eighty unbathed seamen.”
“Come,” Daniel said, laughing. “I’ll take you inside to meet Mr. Grey and the commodore.”
The conversation continued after the men walked from the garden, but Keelan couldn’t hear it clearly.
Were they gone? After a moment, Keelan leaned forward to peek around the branches, but froze at a sharp, painful tug on her hair. Reaching behind her head, she sought the cause of the entrapment and discovered her hair wildly snared in the branches. Oh dear. This kind of delay was not what she needed now. With a groan, she tugged harder, but succeeded in freeing only a few meager strands.
“Damn!” She tucked her chin to her chest and groped for more tangled curls. This was a fine mess. If Aunt Sarah caught sight of her now, she'd drop in a dead faint.
“That’s an understandable expletive for a young girl posing as a boy, however, as a young girl masquerading as foliage, it’s a bit disconcerting.”
Keelan ceased her struggle, mortified. A shadow fell over the ground at her feet, followed by black riding boots, lightly dusted from the road. She raised her gaze over fine black breeches and tapered waist. Raising her gaze higher, it stuttered at a white linen shirt untied at the neck, before she took in the broad shoulders, a strong jaw, a small scar on the chin and a straight, but haughty aquiline nose. Captain Hart stood in front of her, his crystalline blue eyes glittering with amusement. This was going to be trouble.
“You can come out now. I’m afraid you’ve been discovered.”
(Pirates & Petticoats, #2)
Landon and Keelan’s adventure continues in Hart’s Passion.
Captain Landon Hart’s plan to elope with Keelan immediately goes awry when she’s kidnapped by pirates. As usual, the red-haired vixen ends up neck deep in trouble, and it’s not long before she has the pirate captain demanding her head. When they target Landon’s merchant fleet, the only way to keep her safe is to send her away, then lure thepirates into a final confrontation.
But Keelan Grey has a mind (and a plan) of her own…
Keelan is determined to discover her true identity, but after that run-in with pirates, she’s forced to put her postpone her plans. With a price on her head and an old enemy out for revenge, Keelan can no longer allow the man she loves to risk his life for her.
Landon is committed to protecting Keelan from the dangerous forces closing in, but has to make hard choices when pirates target his merchant fleet, and Keelan puts herself in danger.
One thing is certain; the pirates suspect she’s aboard his ship, and it’s not long before their schooner is spotted on the horizon.
“Take zem to Captain Hart. Ze bath iz filled but for ze hot water.”
Scowling, she opened her mouth to protest and then closed it again, as she could give no good reason to avoid her duty without arousing the cook’s suspicion. Fine. She’d simply knock, deposit the buckets inside the room, and let the captain add them to his own bath. Content with her plan, she hefted her burden, nudged the galley door open, and crossed the dining cabin to his door. Still fuming, she knocked smartly with her toe.
At Landon’s beckoning, she entered the cabin. The water sloshed to and fro in the buckets as she pushed open the door. His furnishings were tasteful without being ostentatious. A mahogany tallboy stood against the far wall, while directly to the left stood a bed of the same, cloaked with a simple navy silk canopy. Next to the tallboy was a closed door, which had to lead to the outside hallway or whatever it was called.
Landon’s voice resonated through the room. “Just pour in the water, Marcel.”
She turned toward the voice and almost dropped the buckets. Landon was lowering himself in the tub, showing more of his natural state than Keelan wished to view. His hips were slim, his belly taut and flat. A thin line of black hair traveled downward—she squeezed her eyes shut, aghast at where her gaze traveled.
Thankfully, he did not look up, for if he did, he would have seen a heightened blush covering young Mahdi’s face. Instead, he immediately reached for a slab of soap and rubbed it in his hands then briskly rubbed the soapy suds over his face. He paused in his work and cocked his head to the side.
“The warm water, Marcel?”
There was no way to avoid her duties, it’d be best to take advantage of Landon’s temporary blindness. Keeping her gaze carefully averted, she pitched the first bucket into his bath. In her haste to be done, she didn’t think to divert the stream away from his body. The hot water hit him full force in the chest.
At his yelp of pain, Keelan froze and it took her a fraction of a second before she jerked into action. She picked up a nearby pitcher and to reverse the effect of the scalding deluge, flung the contents in the same general direction.
At the sudden blast of colder water on his lap, Landon’s eyelids flew open. A bellow followed as soapy rivulets streamed in to his eyes. He hurriedly splashed his face to cease the merciless burning.
“Damnation!” he roared, rising from the water and reaching for a towel to mop his face. “Are you trying to maim me or geld me?”
Horrified at the sights he revealed, she stepped back as the sound of running feet approached from the hallway behind her. The cabin door flung open wide, hitting her full force on her backside and sending her flying headfirst onto Landon’s chest. Momentum carried both man and waif back into the tall brass tub with a loud splash.
Conal’s voice sounded concerned. “Landon, I heard—”.
Her hips hinged over the lip and her feet flailed in the air as she made a desperate attempt to heave her upper body up and out. The smooth wet sides were slippery, and she couldn’t push herself up, her face plunged back in the water covering Landon’s lap. She floundered madly to gain purchase and push herself upright. Landon finally grabbed her by the hair and pulled her face out of the water.
Sputtering and coughing, she braced a hand on his stomach and pushed herself upright. The realization of where her other hand rested put her into a mild panic. She fumbled to scramble from the tub, only to slip forward against his chest again. Fighting furiously to free herself from the proximity of his naked body, she shoved harder against him, this time eliciting a grunt of pain.
“In God’s name, would you stop thrashing about before you succeed in making me completely useless to a woman ever more?” Frustration was evident in his tone, making Keelan cringe.
With measured patience, Landon stood up, grasped her around the waist, and made to deposit her out to the floor, however, both the boards and the tub sides were slippery. He lost his balance, causing his hands to slip up along her ribs.
She gasped and froze. His eyes widened, and his mouth dropped open at the soft curves beneath his hands. Their eyes locked and for a moment and neither seemed able to draw a breath. She jerked away from him only to slip on the wet floor. There was no one capable of catching her this time. Her backside hit the wet, wooden planks, causing her to expel a pained grunt.
Both Conal and Landon stood frozen with shock.
Surprise and amazement give way to total disbelief as Landon’s gaze slid over her body. The floppy hat had flown from her head when she fell in. Her hair had broken free of the tie, allowing it to hang in streams of wet, curly, ringlets. She chanced a quick glance down. In the struggle, her vest had come open. Beneath it, her soaked shirt clung to her like a second skin, leaving Landon a clear view of her chest. The silky white of her breasts contrasted sharply with the deep tan of her neck, face, and arms. Soft, pink, peaks strained against the fabric bandages, leaving Keelan no secrets to withhold from his astonished gaze.
Likewise, Conal stood paralyzed in his tracks, jaw agape; hand still on the door latch. When he finally did find his voice, it came out as a lame croak.
She scrambled away from Conal’s surprised visage and backed against the far wall, snatching her vest closer about her.
“Keelan?” Landon said softly.
(Pirates & Petticoats, #3)
Before Keelan and Landon can pursue the pirates who took her brother, they must complete their mission and smuggle runaways to Philadelphia.
When an accident takes Landon’s memories from the past five years, Keelan must fight for their lives as well as Landon’s heart.
How will he be able to fall in love with her again when he doesn’t even want her on his ship?
How was she supposed to answer that question? Should she reply as Keelan Hart, his wife or as Mahdi the Persian galley boy? Keelan opened her mouth just as someone knocked.
“Enter.” Landon shifted his gaze from her to the door, and back. It opened and Gus stuck his head in and grinned.
“Captain! Yer awake! Glad I am to see this, I tell ye.” He grinned, then glanced at Keelan. “Mahdi, yer needed in the galley.”
She rose on shaky knees. Her mind kept swirling around a single thought:
My husband doesn’t recognize me.
Her throat tightened and she swallowed in an attempt to fend off the tears.
His attention was on his first mate. “Gus, is all well?” He glanced at Keelan. “I had just inquired to the welfare of Conal and Fynn. The boy said there was a storm…” he paused, his eyes once again wary as he took in Gus’s expression. “What’s wrong?”
Gus stepped inside the cabin, his face strangely blank. He opened his mouth, closed it, opened it then closed it again before lifting a quizzical brow at her. She shrugged, unable to reveal herself to Gus. Landon had insisted that her true identity remain within their small group consisting of himself, Daniel and Ronnie. He didn’t want to expose the fact that she was a woman to the rest of the crew until they were well away from Charleston and Gampo’s spies and reward.
Gus blinked. “Well…er…”
“Out with it, man.” Landon swung his feet to the floor then groaned bracing his hands against the corner walls of the cabin; his eyes closed briefly. When they opened, he focused once again on Gus.
“Yes. Well…ye knows that ye took a hard clubbin’ to the noggin, right Cap’n?”
Landon shifted his intense blue gaze to Keelan for a moment. “Yes, the boy mentioned that.”
The boy. That’s all she was to him, a boy.
Gus shifted his weight and before trying another approach. “What’s the last thing ye remember, sir?”
Landon tilted his head, thinking. “Leaving port in Baracoa, to sail for New York.”
Gus nodded, pensive. “Which year was that, sir?”
Landon started. “Which year?” His eyes narrowed. “The year I returned home to Baracoa, to find my wife had died giving birth to another man’s child. That year,” he said flatly. “1806. And if you want to know the date, it was the twenty-fifth of May.”
Keelan fisted her shirt and swallowed. That was over five years ago!
Gus rubbed the back of his neck and expelled a lungful of breath. He turned on his heel and went to a wall cabinet, opened it and skimmed his thick fingers over several journals before pulling one out. He flipped open the front cover, glanced at it, snapped the book shut and handed it to Landon.
“Ye should have a look at this, Cap’n. Maybe it’ll jar loose yer memory,” he said in a gentle tone, stepping away.
Landon shot Gus a puzzled look. He opened the book and read aloud, “January 1811?” He flipped through the pages. “’Tis indeed my hand, but I don’t remember writing the words.”
He froze, his hand stilled on a page halfway through the book. Brow furrowed, he began to read, “30 May, 1811. It is with a heavy heart that we said farewell to Fynn Ahern today. His injuries from the last encounter with Gampo were too severe. As her new captain, Brendan Ahern has decided to take his father to Baracoa for burial and to arrange repairs for the Reward, while Captain O’Brien and I continue ahead to Charleston. It is our decision to keep Captain Ahern’s mysterious appointment with Commodore George Grey while our ships are in dry dock. Once the Reward is able to join us, we will continue our route to Philadelphia then on to New York.” Landon’s voice cracked and he cleared his throat.
Keelan’s heart went out to him as grief seeped from his eyes. His fingers went slack and the journal fell to the floor. Dealing with the death of a treasured friend was hard enough the first time. Now, Landon had to relive the anguish of his mentor’s passing again. This burden fell on top of the ragged torment currently raging within him from his wife’s betrayal and death, once years in the past, again recent and raw as if it happened yesterday.
She retrieved the book from the floor and placed it on the bed, unsure how to comfort him. “Lan—um, Captain Hart…”
He raised his head, misery and sorrow saturated his features like water filled a sponge. “You may go,” he said hoarsely, turning his attention to Gus. “You and I have much to discuss.”
Dismissed, Keelan blindly reached for the doorknob. Tears blurred her vision as she slunk from the cabin. She ran below, past the galley and down to the main hold of the ship.
The smell of horses and damp wood assailed her nostrils. Tears were streaming down her face freely now. She stumbled to Juliet’s stall, heaved the latch up and fell inside. Munching on a mouthful of hay, the mare turned her head toward Keelan and gave her a soft snort. The foal paused a moment from his nursing, then carried on. She ran her hands over Juliet’s neck and back before patting her silver flank and sinking down to the floor in the far corner of the stall. She hugged her knees to her chest and sobbed.
What had she done? It was her fault the barrels broke loose. If she’d tied them correctly, or at least found someone else who could, Landon would have never been injured. Would his memory return or would she forever be a stranger to him? A thick weight descended and enveloped her, pulling her down into the hopeless dark and taking her future with Landon Hart with it.
Descended from a family of cooks and gourmet chefs, Chloe is a true foodie and along with working for fortune 500 companies in marketing and teaching MBA students strategic marketing, she also ran a gourmet cookie company. Cooking for a crowd runs in the blood, so her fridge is always full. She deals with stress by baking pies (just ask her college roommates what it was like for them around exam time).
Her idea of a perfect day? Sailing on the caribbean with her family, sun in her face and wind at her back, and finishing the day in the kitchen making a fab gourmet meal and sipping a glass of wine.
The Pirates & Petticoats Series is about spunky heroines and the scoundrels who love them.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Profile
Want a Free Book? Simply sign up for Chloe Flower's Newsletter and you will receive a free copy of Hart's Desire! You will also be entered into a drawing for a signed print copy of book two, Hart's Passion!