Romance Linda Lael Miller Pirates

ISBN 13: 9780671873165

Pirates

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9780671873165: Pirates

New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller writes the kind of high-spirited, totally absorbing novels that captivate us right to the last line.

Known for her fast-paced stories and delightful Katharine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy blend of wit and sexual tension, she creates characters who "walk right off the pages and into your heart" (Rendezvous).

Now Linda Lael Miller sweeps readers away -- and through time itself -- when a thoroughly modern woman encounters a dangerous, dashing eighteenth-century buccaneer. The result is a sensuous, joyous, utterly heartwarming tale of love....

Phoebe Turlow needs to get out of Seattle and forget about the man she just divorced, her dwindling finances, and the lonely nights that stretch ahead of her. But she can't foresee what awaits her on Paradise Island....

Duncan Rourke is known to historians as "the pirate patriot." He's been dead for two centuries -- or at least he's supposed to be, until Phoebe Turlow steps out of a van, into a run-down island hotel, and into his world.

Neither Phoebe nor her pirate can envision the glorious adventure that is about to unfold. They understand only that they have found each other, and a grand passion, across the chasm of time...and they fear only the moment when it may vanish. Passionate, emotional, and completely entrancing, Pirates will steal your heart.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Linda Lael Miller is the author of seventy historical and contemporary romance novels, many of which are set in the American West. She was awarded the Romance Writers of America's prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

When the dog deserted her and moved in with Jeffrey and his new bride, it was, for Phoebe Turlow, the proverbial last straw.

She had weathered the divorce well enough, considering how many of her dreams had come crashing down in the process. She'd even been philosophical about losing her job as a research assistant to Professor Benning, at a time when finding a comparable position was virtually impossible, given recent government budget cuts. After all, the professor had been writing and lecturing on the subject of American History at Seattle College for forty-five fruitful and illustrious years; he was ready, by his own admission, to spend his days reading, fishing, and playing chess.

Phoebe had held herself together, through it all. And now even Murphy, whom she'd rescued from the pound as a mangy, slat-fibbed mongrel and carefully nursed back to health, had turned on her.

She lowered the telephone receiver slowly back into its cradle, gazing at the dismal Seattle rain sheeting the window of her rented house. The glass reflected a hazy, pixielike image of a woman with short chestnut hair, large blue eyes, high cheekbones, and fair skin.

But Phoebe was looking through herself, mentally reliving the phone call she'd just received. Heather, Wife Number Two and widely proclaimed light of Jeffrey's life, hadn't been able -- she probably hadn't even tried -- to suppress the smug note in her voice when she called to relay the news that the hound of hell was "safe and sound" in their kitchen. To hear Heather tell it, that furry ingrate had crossed a continent, fording icy rivers and surmounting insurmountable obstacles, enduring desperate privations of all sorts -- Phoebe could almost hear the theme music of a new movie, rated G, of course. Murphy, Come Home.

Muttering to herself, Phoebe crossed the worn linoleum floor, picked up the dog's red plastic bowl, and dumped it into the trash, kibbles and all. She emptied the water dish and tossed that away as well. Then, running her hands down the worn legs of her blue jeans and feeling more alone than ever before, Phoebe wandered into her small, uncarpeted living room and stared despondently out the front window.

Mel, the postman, was just pulling up to her mailbox in his blue and white jeep. He tooted the horn and waved, and Phoebe waved back with a dispirited smile. Her unemployment check was due, but the prospect didn't cheer her up. If it hadn't been for her savings and the small amount of insurance money she'd received when her mother and stepfather were killed in a car accident years ago, Phoebe figured she would have been sitting on a rain-slicked sidewalk down by the Pike Place Market, with a cigar box in front of her to catch coins.

Okay, she thought, maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration. She could last for about six months, if she didn't get a new job soon, and then she would join the ranks of Seattle's panhandlers. An inspiring prospect, for somebody who was all of twenty-six years old.

Snatching her blue hooded rain slicker from the peg beside the door and tossing it over her shoulders, Phoebe dashed out into the chilly drizzle to fetch her mail. She'd sent out over fifty résumés since losing her job with Professor Benning -- maybe there would be a positive response, or one of the rare, brightly colored cards her half brother, Eliott, sometimes sent from Europe or South America or Africa, or wherever he happened to be. Or a letter from a friend...

Except that all their friends were really Jeffrey's, not hers.

And that Eliott didn't give a damn about her, and never had. To him, she was a trifle, an unfortunate postscript to their mother's life. She wished she could stop caring what he thought.

Phoebe brought herself up short; she was feeling sorry for herself, and that was against her personal code. Resolutely, she wrenched open the door of her rural mailbox, which was affixed to a rusted metal post by the front gate, and reached inside. There was nothing but a sales circular, and she would have crumpled it up and tossed it into the nearest mud puddle, but she couldn't bring herself to litter.

She walked slowly back up the cracked walk to her sagging porch and the open door beyond it. The bright yellow envelope, now sodden and limp from the rain, was addressed to "Occupant," and the street numbers were off by two blocks. Damn, she thought, with a wry grimace. Even her junk mail belonged to somebody else.

The letter was about to join Murphy's kibbles and tooth-marked bowls when an impulse -- maybe it was desperation, maybe it was some kind of weird premonition -- made Phoebe stop. She carried it to her kitchen table, sat down -- wondering all the while why she hadn't just chucked the thing -- opened it, and smoothed the single page inside with as much care as if it were an ancient scroll, unearthed only moments before.

SUNSHINE! screamed the cheaply printed block letters at the top of the paper, which had been designed to resemble a telegram. SPARKLING, CRYSTAL BLUE SEAS! VISIT PARADISE ISLAND ABSOLUTELY FREE! WALK IN THE FABLED FOOTSTEPS OF DUNCAN ROURKE, THE PIRATE PATRIOT!

Phoebe was an intelligent adult. She'd gone through college with zero emotional support from her family and had worked at a responsible job from the day she graduated until two months ago, when the academic roof had fallen in. She had voted in every election, and she was by no means naive -- even if she had married Jeffrey Brewster with her eyes wide open. She knew a tacky advertising scheme when she saw one.

All the same, the prospects of "sunshine" and "crystal blue seas" prodded at something slumbering deep in her heart, behind a bruise and a stack of dusty, broken hopes.

She frowned. And there was that name, too -- Duncan Rourke. She'd seen it before -- probably while doing research for Professor Benning.

Phoebe rose from the table, leaving the sales flyer spread out on the shiny surface, and took herself to the stove to make a cup of herbal tea. Knowing that the promise of a free trip to Paradise Island -- wherever that might be -- was a scam of some kind did nothing to quell the odd, excited sense of impending adventure tingling in the pit of her stomach.

The kettle gave a shrill whistle, and Phoebe poured boiling water over a tea bag and carried her cup back to the table. She read the flyer again, this time very slowly and carefully, one eyebrow raised in skepticism, the fingers of her right hand buried in her short, tousled hair.

To take advantage of the "vacation all her friends would envy," Phoebe had only to inspect a "glamorous beachfront condominium guaranteed to increase in value" and listen to a sales pitch. In return, her generous benefactors would fly her to the small Caribbean island "justly named Paradise," put her up in the "distinctive Eden Hotel for two fun-filled days and nights," and provide one "gala affair, followed by a truly festive dinner."

The whole thing was one big rip-off, Phoebe insisted to herself, and yet she was intrigued, and perhaps just a little frantic. So what if she had to look at a condo made of ticky-tacky, watch a few promotional slides, and listen to a spiel from a schmaltzy, fast-talking salesman or two? She needed to get away, if only for a weekend, and here was her chance to soak up some tropical sunshine without doing damage to her rapidly dwindling bank account.

Phoebe's conscience, always overactive, pricked a little. Okay, suppose she did call the toll-free number and book herself on the next flight to Paradise. She'd be making the trip under false pretenses, since she had no intention of buying a condominium. Her credit was fine, but she was divorced, female, and unemployed, and there was no way she'd ever qualify for a mortgage.

Still, there was nothing in the flyer specifying that buyers had to be preapproved for a loan. It was an invitation, pure and simple.

Phoebe closed her eyes and imagined the warmth of the sun on her face, in her hair, settling deep into her muscles and veins and organs, nourishing her very spirit. The yearning she felt was almost mystical, and wholly irresistible.

She told herself that she who hesitates is lost, and that it couldn't hurt to call, and then she walked over to the phone and punched in the number.

Four hectic days later, Phoebe found herself on board a small chartered airplane, aimed in ...

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