Search For the Holy Grail
by MJL Evans & GM O'Connor Genre: Historical Pirate Adventure
Volume 1 of 3
Hanover is under attack, which propels the countess Aurora of Calenberg and her handmaiden, Helena Braunschmidt, on a mission of survival. The Holy Grail sets sail only to be pursued by the worst pirates and cutthroats in the Caribbean.
Every pirate in the Caribbean is searching for The Holy Grail--a ship carrying the treasury of Hanover and the countess Aurora of Calenberg, suspected of orchestrating the theft. Prinz Maximilian will stop at nothing to catch her and regain the fortune, even if it means following her into the deepest, darkest recesses of Samaná Bay. With pirates and cutthroats at every turn, will she be reunited with her handmaiden, Helena and her portrait painter, Dodo? Aurora’s only solace is in a bottle of Cognac with a chaser of coca-leaf powder in this vibrant, fast-paced chase through the Caribbean.
Countess Aurora of Calenberg was dragged, complaining, to the east entrance of Angelin Castle. Soldiers roughly herded her to the point where townsfolk were being prevented from leaving. A figure in a red robe approached her as a lavish carriage arrived, delivering Prinz Maximilian, clad in full blue steel armor studded with gemstones. With him was Count Molke, looking sullen in a long, shimmering robe.
“Oh, Maxi, you really had me going,” said Aurora.
“Witch?” Her mouth turned down. “Maxi!”
“Countess Aurora is to be burned, immediately,” said Count Molke.
“I agree.” Cardinal Grimaldi’s lips curled upwards into an evil grin. “Make an example of her for Emperor Leopold. Be sure the townspeople all witness the execution. This should send a clear message.”
Guards were dispatched to round up more townsfolk.
“Execution?” Aurora’s heart pounded. “Maxi, what are you doing?”
“She cannot be burned without a trial,” the Baron of Leipzig put in.
“God decides when to execute justice, Baron. God wants to burn her right now.”
“With pleasure.” Maximilian indicated a sheltered terrace. “Right over there.”
“Maxi, you don’t want to hurt me.” Aurora’s heartbeat thrashed in her ears. “The terrace? I remember that’s where I said it was tiny. I was joking. I didn’t mean to laugh. It was cold out! You know what happens when they get cold!”
Guards dragged her to the wood structure, which was now being doused with oil.
“Maxi, I was always there for you!” Aurora’s breathing grew shallow as her eyes darted around, seeking escape. Soldiers dragged her forward and threw her to her knees. Before her was a drift of unblemished snow, sparkling in the moonlight, which led down the sloped barrier wall, into some woods beyond which, she knew, was a cliff and a creek.
“Do you confess to being in league with Satan?” Cardinal Grimaldi demanded.
She gave him a cold stare. “I will if you will.”
Aurora’s breath hung in the air as she scanned the snowy woods again. “A hex on you, you bastard!”
“Confess, witch!” the cardinal yelled, eliciting angry shouts from the crowd.
Aurora gathered up her skirt and, momentarily freed from the soldiers, darted for the snowbank ahead. A mighty leap put her at the mouth of the woods. She straightened her white ostrich-feather hat and plowed through the thicket of trees ahead of her.
“Halt!” Maximilian bellowed, as his men stood uncertainly. “Well, seize her!”
Gunpowder ignited and shots flew in Aurora’s direction. She crouched down, the white shimmer of her ballgown blending into that of the sparkling snow. She unpinned her headpiece and placed it on a tree stump. Then, keeping low, she went on, navigating quickly around bushes, fallen branches and mossy rocks coated in frost. Suddenly, her footing gave away and she stumbled down an embankment to the creek.
“There!” Maximilian shouted and a barrage of shots was accompanied by the metal clang of soldiers fumbling in the snow. “Move!” There was more clattering of metal and several thuds. “Set up a perimeter around the grounds. Do not let her escape.”
Aurora regained her footing and crossed a clearing into another heavily wooded area.
Echoing behind her was Cardinal Grimaldi’s voice. “You’ve lost her!”
“Time is of the essence,” Count Molke reiterated.
“Surround the woods and cut her off,” Maximilian ordered.
No Quarter: Dominium Volume 1 by MJL Evans & GM O'Connor Genre: Historical Pirate Adventure Romance
Ye All Are Warned – be gone if you abhor sex, foul language, crude humor, and beaky parrots.
Released for the first time with illustrations!
Volume 1 of 6 begins in 1689 Port Royal, Jamaica with Atia Crisp and her sister Livia shipwrecked and sold into slavery. They are separated and Atia is used as a pawn in a deadly card game at the Swiftsure Tavern until she is liberated by sugar merchant Capitaine la Roche. Hunted at every turn, they take refuge at Cherry Red's Boutique (brothel) and meet up with allies including the medication loving Dr. Strangewayes.
1689 Port Royal, Jamaica. Atia Crisp and her sister Livia are shipwrecked and sold into slavery. They are separated and Atia is used as a pawn in a deadly card game at the Swiftsure Tavern until she is liberated by sugar merchant Capitaine la Roche. They take refuge at Cherry Red's Boutique (brothel) and meet up with allies including the medication loving Dr. Strangewayes.
Capitaine la Roche (also known as the pirate, Gator Gar), has a past stained with blood and grief. La Roche works with a network of friends and allies including local strumpet, Cherry Banks, Theodore Binge the card shark and the kindly, Dr. Strangewayes. Soon after Atia and la Roche are ushered away to safety after a mysterious outbreak of scarlet fever wreaks havoc on the city.
Within the luxuriant tropical confines of Dr. Strangewayes's plantation at the foothills of the Blue Mountains, bonds of friendship are formed and the fierce love between Atia and Capitaine la Roche becomes absolute.
However, nowhere is safe as spies seek out both Atia and la Roche for the bounties on their heads.
Neither of them can escape the shadows of their former lives. Their journey leads them to an inevitable conflict that threatens their world, but inches them closer towards freedom.
The ship collided against the rocks of Folly Bay. The hull shattered, releasing a loud groan, akin to a wounded animal in the throes of a death blow. Frantic passengers spilled onto the main deck from the hold. They climbed over and pushed one another, until they were finally tossed side to side and slammed over the edge of the ship. Atia was pelted by flying debris. Her eyes opened to behold a mountain of water as it rolled upon them. There was no air, only the rushing garble of the tide. Water relentlessly filled her ears and nose. Her lips recoiled into her mouth and her teeth clamped upon them. The water receded and she gasped, simultaneously sucking in air and spewing brine. The rail began to buckle. Before her was a dizzying display of lightning. A short distance away, the rocks flickered and shined. Someone scrambled upon them. She recognized her ma’s long hair. The ship’s bow, only a few feet away, approached fast. With a potent hit, the front of the ship broke apart and her ma was crushed beneath it. Passengers flew mid-air, some landing in the water, others splitting apart on the rocks. Atia opened her mouth to scream, but nothing came out. The rail broke loose and she was propelled forward, catching a ride along the spindrift to the stony beach. She landed heavily, her arms still gripped around the broken barrier. The scream finally escaped her throat and she belted it across the landscape. After unhooking her arms, she rose slowly, vomiting mouthfuls of salt water. Behind her, the ship continued to splinter under the pounding waves. Flames erupted from the hatches of the hold. Unfortunate souls hurled themselves off the vessel to extinguish their clothes, only to be caught in the grinding undertow of the current. The tide tugged at Atia’s feet, toppling her backwards onto a rock bed. A hand grabbed her leg.
“I got you!” said Livia.
“Liv!” Atia clutched her sibling’s arm. Together they teetered to land. Another rush of water and curling waves towed them back into a sea littered with corpses. Arm and arm they fought towards the shore. The water rose, driven by fierce wind. Atia was ripped away from her sister and stumbled over the surf. She reached out to grab at anything. Drenched in waves, her head was sucked under and she felt the brine plunge back into the ears, nose and throat. Momentarily she bobbed back up. Livia was only a few feet away. Atia reached up and their hands locked. Together they hobbled madly for the beach, towing each other along. The instant the tide subsided they lunged onward to escape its grasp. Several feet away stood a jungle of trees. Atia lagged, almost succumbing to the pelting wind and rain. Livia tugged her arm and pushed her forward. “Move it, or we die.” At the treeline, they found a path. Grabbing at branches, they followed a seemingly endless maze of mud, vines, and roots. They reached a plateau surrounded by dense bushes. Livia collapsed, rolling in next to the undergrowth for cover. Atia could see down to the beach. The flames from the ship lit up like a beacon for miles through the murk. Carried on the wind were the screams of injured and dying passengers.
No Quarter: Wenches
by MJL Evans & GM O'Connor
Genre: Historical Pirate Adventure, Romantic Suspense
Released for the first time with illustrations!
The adventures from No Quarter: Dominium continue with wenches!
Volume 1 of 5 begins in 1689 Port Royal, Jamaica, where Atia Crisp is imprisoned, awaiting trial, while refugees from Strangewayes's plantation seek their new home. Guided by Capitaine la Roche, they face pursuit by the pirate hunter Big Dick and the perilous terrain of Bocas del Toro. Their future home of Sérénité hangs in the balance, complicated by the outbreak of war with France.
Behind every successful pirate is a cunning wench!
In 1689, Atia Crisp finds herself imprisoned in the wickedest city on earth, Port Royal, Jamaica, while the refugees from Strangewayes’s plantation in the Blue Mountains are on the run and seeking a new home, deep in the Caribbean. Captain Jean-Paul la Roche must get them to safety and find a way to liberate the woman he loves while waging a war against the English with the pirate Laurens de Graaf.
While besieged people suffer and starve, a group of women form a secret and illegal society deep from within the bowels of the city called: Wenches. A network that deals with smugglers, merchants, cutthroats and thieves. Dragged into the struggle for supremacy of the Caribbean, the women are divided and find themselves engulfed in bloodshed. The pirates of Port Royal and former enemies may be their only hope of escape.
This edition was awarded the gold quality mark by BooksGoSocial, their highest award.
Inside the Four Feathers Tavern, Bleedin Art studied a game of strategy, but his mind was on the ships and men he was now responsible for protecting. A three-dimensional tower of checked boards sat with finely carved figurines placed in defensive positions. Art eyed his opponent and knew victory was at hand.
“Knight takes rook,” said Art. Captain White sighed. “Aye, that he did. How come I’m always white?”
“It avoids confusion.” Art took a mouthful of ale. “Take yer time.”
“I’d like to.”
“Sweet British sackers!” Chuck Talbot examined the game. “He’s got your king trapped in the tower!”
“Thanks, Chuck,” White said. “What do you want?” Commodore Chuck Talbot ran his fingers through his thick blond locks. He strutted to the table, donning a yellow suit of slashed and braided satin complete with a frilled cape. “The convoy is ready to go. I’ll escort them through the channel to the Bahamas. When I see our cousins from the Tongue of the Ocean, I’ll cut ’em loose and get back here before you can say: Roger the mermaid’s kraken!” White sneered. “Very good.”
“Nothing my navy boys can’t handle. Not to step on your toes, Captain Valentine, I know it’s a private enterprise and all. Just till yer fleet’s back on her keel.” Talbot gave a pleasant smile.
“Just a slight setback,” Art said. White slowly moved a pawn. “England appreciates both your sacrifices. I’m sure our ships will be protected.”
“More than your king.” Art took the pawn.
“This one or the one with the wig?” Art took another turn.
“Tactful move.” Talbot patted Art’s back. “He didn’t see that one coming.”
“Captain White,” a woman called. Art hadn’t seen Lady Anne Beeston in a while. Her auburn hair was pinned up, and her dark blue gown was trimmed with white lace. She approached determinedly.
“Captain White, our ships will be ready to sail in a fortnight, and we still have no protection. Where’s our privateers?”
“They’re coming,” Art assured.
“I can’t insure the contents until I know we are secure.” Talbot bowed and winked. “Not to worry, Lady B, I’ve got ya abaft. Just load yer boats on time.”
“What a charming rogue,” Lady Beeston swooned and fanned her face. “Three-D chess? We had a few of these at the Forge, but pieces went missing.”
“It’s calledKriegspiel, my lady,” Talbot explained. “This is the game from which chess was spawned. Captain White’s next move is called aZwischenzug, a surprise attack before his expected move that Art must counter or be trapped inTrebuchet. But both kings are attacking pawns now, so it looks like White’s in for a quick death.”
“There ain’t nothing quick about it,” White said. “You do know this game requires concentration?”
“Where are the queens?” Lady Beeston asked.
“There ain’t no queens in PrussianKriegspiel. Old Queen Elizabeth had that one added with extra moves and powers so she could win a game,” Art snickered. White raised his mug of wine. “If that ain’t cheating, what is?”
“The red-headed pikey girl was awarded to Edmund Coggshall, I hear,” Lady Beeston said to White. “Shouldn’t any slaves recovered from the Coggshall estate go up for bids?”
“Coggshall Junior is merely holding her until the hearing. He has the better claim.”
“I will contest it. Coggshall owes us money too.” White shrugged. “So much for death pays all debts.”
MJL EVANS wanted to be a writer since she was ten years old and in 2014 she finally got her act together and pursued her dream. She is the author of No Quarter: Dominium, No Quarter: Wenches, and Search for the Holy Grail. A huge fan of Monty Python, Red Dwarf, and other BBC shows, her time is devoted to acrylic painting, photography, catering to her senior cat and of course, writing. You can connect with MJL Evans on Instagram at@email@example.com
GM O’CONNOR is a huge movie fan, writer and visual artist. A lover of sci-fi and history, half his brain lives in the 17th century while the other half sails perpetually through space. He is the author of No Quarter: Dominium, No Quarter: Wenches, and Search for the Holy Grail. He hopes to one day bring the No Quarter Series to film and/or graphic novel format. You can connect with GM O’Connor on Twitter at@firstname.lastname@example.org