Fortunes of War

Fortunes of War

Mel Keegan

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In the spring of 1588 two young men fell in love: an Irish mercenary serving the Spanish ambassador in London, and the son of an English earl. Then Dermot Channon must leave England when the embassy is expelled just prior to the onset of war, and Robin despairs of ever seeing him again. Seven years pass, and when Robin's brother is kidnapped for ransom in Panama in the years following the war between England and Spain, Robin sets sail with a fleet commanded by Francis Drake, hoping to bring home his brother. But soon enough the ship on which Robin is traveling is sunk by privateers — pirates led by none other than Dermot Channon. Reunited by a cruel twist of fate, the two men embark with passion on a series of swashbuskling adventures around the Spanish Main.
 
PUBLISHED BY: GLBT Bookshelf
ISBN: 0-9750884-4-4
PUBLICATION DATE: 2003
WORD COUNT: 154337
SEXUAL CONTENT RATING: 2 2
EBOOK READER RATING:
CATEGORIES: Historical, Action/Adventure
KEYWORDS: gay, gay adventure, gay historical, gay romance, glbt, mel keegan
 

EBOOKS BY GLBT Bookshelf

EBOOKS BY Mel Keegan

 
EXCERPT
COPYRIGHT Mel Keegan/2003
In no condition to fight, he slid down the curved timbers and sat very still. Had he been an ordinary seaman, he might have been shackled by the wrists also. Only his fine clothing and sword saved him rougher treatment.

Weakness overcame him and his limbs shook. He closed his eyes and fought off the darkness as long as he could, but at last he exhausted himself and surrendered. He slept deeply, oblivious to the crush of English captives in the hold, the roll of the ship as she got underway and the passage of time.

It must have been more than an hour before voices stirred him, and he blinked back to consciousness with a great effort. The hold was almost dark and the sudden light of a lantern dazzled him. It bobbed closer as he squinted toward the sound of approaching feet.

The lantern stopped every yard or so along the hold as each prisoner in turn was examined. The Captain would be assessing the value of his capture. None of the common seamen was worth a ransom, and the frigate’s gentlemen, bound by honour, would have fought to the death, as Robin himself had intended.

Then the lantern was poised over him, hurting his eyes. He looked away, tried to hold up one hand to shield his face, but his arm was snatched aside. Fingers gripped his chin to force his face back to the light. He held his breath and waited.

The figure behind the lantern had frozen. The hand cradling his jaw was cold and unsteady. No one spoke for the space of a dozen heartbeats, then Robin heard a sharp intake of breath, a Spanish oath, and a deep, soft voice like dark velvet, speaking his name.

“Robin? Robin Armagh? It cannot ... Christ Jesus, Robin!”

Dizziness stormed in his head. Robin fought his spinning senses, tried to sort phantasm from reality, but his eyes had grown accustomed to the light now and he would see. Behind the lantern was a face, fair skinned, with sleek, cropped brown hair. The features were changed only by maturity which afforded them an even greater beauty.

Disbelief stupefied Robin and he shook his head, mute, afraid for his sanity. Then the fingers that had turned his face to the light traced his nose and mouth, and he knew them as surely as he knew that voice.

“I am mad,” Robin whispered. “I must be. You are dead! Am I dead also, then? Is this hell?”

“Alive, Robin. I am alive again in this instant.” The lantern clattered down as the Spaniard knelt. Cool hands cupped Robin’s flushed face. “I have been dead, or the heart of me has ... ah, Robin, what in hell were you doing on a warship? You’ve not been a seaman all these years?” But without waiting for an answer he called over his shoulder, “Valdez, strike the irons and put him in my cabin. This is the son of an earl, not some common cur!” Shadowed eyes returned to Robin and he shifted into English. “I must look to my duties, but they’ll take you out of here. Be patient a moment longer.”

 
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