Winds of Change

Winds of Change

Lee Rowan

The Royal Navy Series

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In 1802, a love worth dying for is more than just a romantic notion.

Lieutenants William Marshall and David Archer, of His Majesty’s frigate Calypso, have been lovers for more than a year. Courage, devotion, and extreme discretion have kept them from the hangman’s noose—the price they must pay if their relationship is discovered. The occasional night of passion ashore is all the more precious to them for its rarity.

But in the Royal Navy, nothing lasts forever. A transfer to a new ship brings with it a bizarre turn of events: their Captain orders them to behave as though they are involved in an illicit relationship in order to smoke out a suspected traitor, blackmailer, and saboteur.

Their masquerade proves dangerously effective. In the midst of a battle with the French, the traitor strikes, leaving Davy seriously — perhaps fatally — wounded, while Will must return to duty, guilt-ridden and fearful that their luck has finally run out.

Winds of Change, the second in the Royal Navy Series by Lee Rowan, travels from England to Jamaica and points beyond. Join Will and Davy on the journey as they confront their deepest fears and find out if their shared love is able to transcend all that separates them.

 
PUBLISHED BY: Bristlecone Pine Press
ISBN: 978-1-60722-007-7
PUBLICATION DATE: 2009
WORD COUNT: 47983
SEXUAL CONTENT RATING: 4 4 4 4
EBOOK READER RATING:
CATEGORIES: Historical, Action/Adventure, ManLove, Romantic Fiction
KEYWORDS: historical fiction, Age of Sail, gay, romance, England
 

EBOOKS BY Bristlecone Pine Press

EBOOKS BY Lee Rowan

 
EXCERPT
COPYRIGHT Lee Rowan/2009

 Portsmouth, 1801. England is at war.

All was in readiness.

The old tin box of mathematics texts had been down in the hold for months to get it out from underfoot. The Purser had given his permission to keep it here in the locked store-room with other valuables, and it was not unreasonable for Lieutenants Marshall and Archer to be searching here, since they’d volunteered to coach one of their shipmates on His Majesty’s Frigate Calypso. Midshipman Wilcoxon, a likeable young officer, needed to polish his skills if he hoped to pass the examination and qualify as a candidate for Lieutenant, and they wanted to help him succeed.

A candle-lantern lay on the floor, its flame snuffed from its apparently accidental fall. If anyone were to walk in, they would have a means of explaining their presence here, and even an excuse for slight disorderliness.

As long as they were not taken completely unaware. As long as they had time to pull their clothes together, to hide their true purpose.
William Marshall tensed as footsteps approached the door. He relaxed at the light scratching on the worn boards, their prearranged signal.
He pulled the door open only enough for his lover to dart through, then closed it and set a barrel where it would block its opening, a precaution to provide the moment they might need. He rested his rump on the barrel and pulled Davy down upon him, and in the dark there was only the whisper of frantic clutching, urgent kisses, loosening trouser buttons with one hand to reach in and find that hot, smooth cock that leapt at his touch. A minute of quiet, intense activity, then Davy was shivering against him, a muted whimper the only sound besides their breathing.

They were silent for a long moment after, listening for footsteps, for any sound of movement in the companionway. But they were safe, so far, hearing nothing but the ever-present murmur of the sea.

He could hear Davy fumble with clothing, composing himself, caught a kiss in passing as his lover knelt at Will’s feet. Then those clever fingers were moving on his body, unbuttoning, seeking. The unbearable sweetness of lips and tongue were nearly enough to break the control that kept him silent, but he bit back the cry of pleasure as weeks of yearning were brought to a blinding surge of fulfillment.

He sat panting, unable to move, stroking the golden head resting in his lap. But only for a moment. His lover slid up to share a kiss; then, still without a word, they retrieved the lantern, struck a light, and located the volume which should help to unfold the arcane secrets of navigational geometry. There was time enough for a final embrace and a quick inspection to assure themselves that there was no visible evidence of their illicit encounter.

Davy paused a moment in the empty companionway. “Will—the Captain just passed word. The pleasure of our company is requested at the change of watch. All lieutenants and warrant officers. Looks as though the rumors are true.”

“At least we’ll know, then.” There was no way, there were no words, to express the fear in both their hearts. Change was in the wind; the rumors had been circulating since before Calypso arrived in Portsmouth. If Captain Smith were to be transferred, as the rumors suggested, their lives were about to change drastically.

“If it’s true...” David Archer bit his lip, “and if the Admiralty are in a hurry…you and I may be sailing off in different ships by this time tomorrow.”

Will could not bring himself to admit it, but he knew that the past year they’d had together was more than they could have hoped for. He’d only agreed to this hurried tryst because he also knew that it might be their very last time together as shipmates and lovers. If they were to be given different assignments at the change of watch, they might never in this life see one another again.

But he could not bear to say that aloud, so he tried on a brave smile instead. “We must trust to our luck, Davy.”

David’s handsome features were somber. “Will, don’t forget there are two kinds of luck. Dame Fortune’s not always kind. She can be a cannibal bitch who eats her own young.”

 
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