Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bookcerpt: Bring it Close

Bring it Close
by Helen Hollick

Tuesday, 1st October

Jesamiah Acorne, four and twenty years old, Captain of the Sea Witch, sat with his hands cradled around an almost empty tankard of rum, staring blankly at the drips of candle-wax that had hardened into intricate patterns down the sides of a green, glass bottle. The candle itself was smoking and leaning to one side as if drunk. As drunk as Jesamiah.

For maybe ten seconds he did not notice the two grim-faced, shabby ruffians sit down on the bench opposite him. One of them reached forward and snuffed out the guttering flame, pushed the bottle aside. Jesamiah looked up, stared at them as vacantly as he had been staring at the congealed rivers of wax.

One of the men, the one wearing a battered three-corner felt hat and a gold hoop earring that dangled from his left earlobe, leant his arms on the table, linking his tar and gunpowder-grimed fingers together. The other, a red-haired man with a beard like a weather-worn, abandoned bird's nest, eased a dagger from the sheath on his belt and began cleaning his broken and split nails with its tip.

"We've been lookin' fer you, Acorne," the man with the earring said.

"Found me then ain't yer," Jesamiah drawled. He dropped his usual educated accent and spoke in the clipped speech of a common foremast jack. He was a good mimic, had a natural talent to pick up languages and tonal cadences. Also knew when to play the simpleton or a gentleman.

He drained his tankard, held it high and whistled for Never-Say-No Nan, a wench built like a Spanish galleon and whose charms kept her as busy as a barber's chair.

She ambled over to Jesamiah, the top half of her partially exposed, and extremely ample bosoms wobbling close to his face as she poured more rum.

"What about your friends?" she asked, nodding in their direction.

"Ain't no friends of mine," Jesamiah answered lifting his tankard to sample the replenished liquor.

The man with the earring jerked his head, indicating she was to be gone. Nan sniffed haughtily and swept away, her deep-rumbled laughter drifting behind as another man gained her attention by pinching her broad backside.

"Or to be more accurate, Acorne, Teach 'as been lookin' for yer."

Half shrugging, Jesamiah made a fair pretence at nonchalance. "I ain't exactly been 'iding, Gibbens. I've been openly anchored 'ere in Nassau 'arbour for several weeks."

Since August in fact, apart from a brief excursion to Hispaniola - which Jesamiah was attempting to set behind him and forget about. Hence the rum.

"Aye, we 'eard as 'ow thee've signed for amnesty and put yer piece into Governor Rogers' 'and," Gibbens sneered, making an accompanying crude and explicit gesture near his crotch.

"Given up piracy?" Red Beard - Rufus - scoffed as he hoiked tobacco spittle into his mouth and gobbed it to the floor. "Gone soft 'ave thee? Barrel run dry 'as it? Lost yer balls eh?" Added with malice, "Edward Teach weren't interested in fairy-tale government amnesties, nor 'ollow pardons." He drove his dagger into the wooden table where it quivered as menacing as the man who owned it.

That's not what I've heard, Jesamiah thought but said nothing. He had no intention of going anywhere near Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, though Black Heart would be as appropriate. Even the scum and miscreants who roamed the seas of the Caribbean in search of easy loot and plunder avoided the bastard of a pirate who was Blackbeard.

Aside, Jesamiah was no longer a pirate. As Gibbens had said, he had signed his name in Governor Rogers' leather-bound book and accepted His Majesty King George's royal pardon. Which was why he had nothing better to do than sit here in this tavern drinking rum. Piracy, plundering, pillaging, none of that was for him, not now. Now, Jesamiah Acorne, Captain of the Sea Witch, had a woman he was about to marry, a substantial fortune that he could start using if only he knew what to spend it on, and the dubious reputation of becoming a respectable man of leisure.

He was also bored.

"You owe him Acorne," Rufus said. "Teach wants the debt paid."

Jesamiah raised the tankard to his mouth pretending to drink. He had been drunk but he had become stone sober the moment these bastards sat down at the table. Only he was not going to let them know it; read the rest here

AND try your pirate luck and win a copy of this book...

--~ Book Giveaway courtesy of author ~--

Win a signed proof copy of this book!

Open to all.

Offer ends: July 31, 2011

Visit Helen's picture diary blog and tell me which picture you liked.

AND, leave your email (if I don't already have it)


Contest has ended - winner is here



* review of this book to follow...

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  1. Thanks for sharing the excerpt!
    I love the pictures of royal weddings, especially the one of Queen Victoria.

  2. Don't you just love ruffians? hehe Thanks for the excerpt :D
    I loved the pictures of The Matthew - those old ships were the jewels of the sea in their heyday.

  3. Looks like Helen had a pirate of a time! I really like the picture of the Premier Inn as it looks today. I'm glad there was a historical picture of it to compare, for the most part everything looks the same. I would love to stay there one day.

    Thank you for the excerpt. For a brief moment there, I caught Jesamiah in a vulnerable moment before those ruffians came along and ruffled the pirate in the Captain. I wonder what he was thinking about, or better yet who?


  4. Great giveaway!!
    I really liked the pictures of the royal wedding. The bride was beautiful.

  5. Thanks for the excerpt - it definitely made me even more interested in reading this book! I liked the picture of the pirate coffee (I want one!) but I loved the pictures of the Matthew! I love old ships and would go visit that one if I lived anywhere even remotely close to it! Thanks for yet another great giveaway:)

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  6. I absolutely have to pick the picture of pirate coffee - yummmmmm! Thank you for sharing this interesting excerpt and giveaway opportunity.


  7. I loved the pictures of all the 'saucy wenches'. Everyone looks like they are having a wonderful time. The Pirate Coffee looks great.


  8. I enjoy weddings so the royal wedding it is!


  9. I have to say - I love this excerpt (even if I did write it myself). It was one of those rare chapters that just write themselves. I woke up with the idea, sat down at the computer - and wrote.
    Good luck to everyone entering the contest!

  10. The candle itself was smoking and leaning to one side as if drunk. As drunk as Jesamiah. Love it, great analogy.
    I liked the pictures of The Liandoger Trow and the pirate coffee.


  11. Some amazing pics over there, but I really loved the pirate coffee. How clever!


  12. I liked the pirate coffee and the picture of the ship that was built to sail on the 500th aniversary.

  13. I love Trouble's photos! I mean, Miss Mab's. Hahah. Mrs Hellick, you have such a cuteee cat.. I am a HUGE cat lover you know!!


  14. I like the pirate coffee :)

  15. I liked the pictures of the Matthew. Very cool!
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com


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