The Sky Pirate’s Wife (Legends & Lovers #2)
by Allison Merritt
Genre(s): Fantasy Romance, Paranormal Romance
Category(ies): Adventure, Steampunk
Release Date: February 17, 2012
Heat Level: Steamy
Word Count: 93,000
After a tragic airship wreck, Captain Alwin van Buren makes a drastic decision to obtain a wealthy bride in order to save his flagging business. He meets his match in Sophie Barnes, heiress to an airship empire. After he seduces her and ensures their marriage—igniting a rivalry with her godfather—he learns the green-eyed beauty is as headstrong as he is.
Sophie knows Van Buren’s reputation based on a series of dime novels written about his adventures. Determined to be more than an end to a means, she despises him for luring her into marriage. In fiction, he’s a no-nonsense captain on the verge of piracy, but the flesh-and-blood man wins her heart by proving she’s worth more to him than her money.
Their love is threatened when Sophie learns Van Buren’s airship accident was a result of mythical creatures. Winged predators that appear to have a grudge against him, a fact he deliberately hid by accusing her godfather of sabotage. If she can forgive him for that, they still have to face the danger when they’re cornered and at the mercy of beasts and the evil that controls them.
Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language which may be considered offensive to some readers.
“What are your plans, Van Buren? Am I allowed to ask for that information?”
“Well, Mrs. van Buren, I must first speak to the accountants about finances. These ships Carver purchased must be reviewed. They may be too extravagant for my needs.” He straightened in his chair, thinking about the amount Carver must have spent on the trimmed and loaded ships.
“You can probably stop the order from the builders if you contact them soon. Though I think the cargo ship will suit you. I saw the plans for it and a few of the customizations Bernard had done up.”
“How will it suit me?” Curiosity pestered him while Sophie smiled, delaying her answer.
“The prow is hand-carved and exquisite. It’s a phoenix accented in silver, copper and bronze. It really does look as if it’s rising from the ashes.”
Inwardly he winced, thinking of the extra weight of the metal and the cost. “Why would I need such a thing?”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “There isn’t a soul in the world who doesn’t know of your humble beginnings. Now look at you, strutting like a king. A perfect metaphor if I ever saw one. Besides, it matches that fine pin you’re wearing.”
He was so accustomed to attaching the phoenix pin he put it on daily without thinking about it. Yes, he’d come from a poor background, but he’d made something out of himself because his mother never let him forget his dream. From the ashes, he’d built a company and a solid reputation as a businessman.
“I haven’t strutted all day. Are you sure you aren’t in league with Farley Sikes? He will have that ridiculous character strutting about in a royal manner in no time.”
“I’ll be a willing conspirator with him if he pays well.” She went back to the menu at the same time the waiter came with the champagne. He settled a bucket of ice in Van Buren’s reach and a flute in front of each of them.
“Congratulations on your wedding, Captain and Mrs. van Buren.” The cork flew out of the bottle with the customary pop. Pale golden liquid splashed into the spotless crystal with a merry chugging sound from the bottle.
“Enjoy the champagne.” He took their orders and ducked off, silent as a shadow.
“How did he know we were married?”
He shook his head. “Word of mouth, I should guess.”
“I’ll want a ring, you know. My hand is bare and that won’t do.” Sophie wiggled her fingers, testing the light as though she could picture a diamond glistening on her ring finger already.
“Is that all it takes to appease you, wife? Shall I buy you some sparkling rocks and turn you out among your friends to admire them?” He lifted his glass.
“You laugh now, but I won’t settle for some small bit of glitter.” She sounded positively snobbish. “You’re rich and I’ll have the ring due to a woman of my station.”
He laughed and almost spilled his champagne. “What is your station? I think a pirate’s bride must covet a stolen jewel.”
“You’ll have to be more than pirate now, Captain. I’ll train you into a proper gentleman yet.” The confidence ringing in her voice startled him.
“Oh? I’m interested in hearing more about this training. You aren’t suggesting that my moeder didn’t press me to learn manners.”
“I never even imagined you had a mother. Bernard always said he believed you were raised by weasels.” She picked up the flute and started to drink, but he reached across the table and stopped her.
“A toast. To a man raised by weasels who sold his soul to the devil to obtain a wealthy wife and an entire fleet of airships.” He lifted his own glass, extending it so she could tap hers against it. “May we find every happiness.”
She swallowed and her eyes darted across the room. “That wasn’t a very cheerful toast. But you didn’t sell your soul. I know better than that. You just have a wicked mind.”
If she only knew how wicked.
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A life-long love of reading turned Allison Merritt into an indie author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she’s not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.
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