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Separated by prideful airs and prejudiced assumptions Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are convinced they will never see the other again … until, eleven years later; fate sets them both on a different course.
After receiving the most insulting proposal imaginable from Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet vows to loathe him for all eternity. Years later, now a widowed duchess and raising her son, the Duke of Grafton, Elizabeth embarks on an adventure with her son and father to the West Indies.
After enduring a scathing condemnation of his character by the only woman he would ever love, Mr. Darcy decides he must disappear from society. With the help of his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Darcy secures a ship and crew and sets sail on the open seas. Mr. Darcy’s life takes such a turn that even his closest relative would not recognize him or his new identity as Max Sterling, Captain of the Absolution.
When the pirates of the Absolution attack the Duchess’ ship, Captain Sterling receives the shock of his life when he spots the beautiful duchess and realizes that they share a connection, albeit one that was abandoned eleven years ago …
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This excerpt is unedited and copyrighted by Amy!
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… there was a knock at my door. “I think we have struck a prize with this one, Captain,” Smead said from the other side of the door.
“Enter,” I replied. I had expected that, like most ships, this one would just surrender quietly and not put up too much of a fight. It appeared that my expectations had been correct. I had not expected there to be any problems, as our ship had guns and theirs did not. Thankfully we had never needed to fire those guns, but they served their purpose in a most intimidating way. Most of the ships that crossed the seas at that time were packet ships, carrying goods and passengers. There usually was not any room for guns, so the presence of guns on our ship gave us an overwhelming advantage.
My office door opened abruptly as Smead burst through with a woman and young boy in tow. A woman and a child? What in the hell am I going to do with a woman and a child? I looked up at our guests to get a closer look and practically choked on my own saliva. I know this woman. I have seen this woman every night in my dreams. That fact that she was standing before me left me at a loss.
“Capt’n?” Smead questioned. I was not acting like myself and I knew he had noticed.
I looked over at him to confirm that he had nothing to worry about and then I turned away from them to regain my composure. Maybe I was just dreaming that she was standing there. If I turn back around, it will be just another woman with a child. Perhaps a woman that resembles her. I cleared my throat and then slowly turned around. I could not believe my eyes. Elizabeth Bennet was indeed standing before me.
I glanced over at the young boy who was holding her hand and realized by his uncanny resemblance to Elizabeth that she was a Miss no longer. I hesitated to make eye contact with her. Does she recognize me? I believed she most likely did not. The years at sea had definitely altered me. I was no longer the neat and tidy gentleman that she had refused on that spring evening eleven years ago. No, now I was a pirate captain. My hair was long, unkempt, and lightened by the sun. A mustache and beard now adorned my face and I no longer dressed the part of a gentleman, nor did I exercise the practice.
In looking her over I discovered that the years had been kind to her. I couldn’t escape the fact that she was more beautiful than I had remembered. My heart began to feel that familiar ache. No, I will not go there again. I quickly made an effort to push those feelings aside. I will be damned if I allow myself to feel like that again. I have worked hard to ensure that I never feel that ache again. And just because the cause of that pain is now standing before me does not mean that I must succumb to it.
She looked at me curiously at first, and I began to worry. But I quickly realized that I had been right—I did not see any recognition in her eyes. No, all that I could see was disgust and contempt. Well, I guess nothing has changed between us.
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