Barbados Bound Amazon E-book Sweepstakes
Congratulations to those who won trade paperback copies of Barbados Bound in our recent Amazon give-away; may you enjoy the voyage. Now we’re offering ten e-book editions of Barbados Bound to be given away in a new Amazon sweepstakes. Enter for a chance to win by clicking on this link.
Good luck! And thank you for the thoughtful reviews.
“I came aboard with the prostitutes the night before the ship set sail. It was a rash scheme, but I was a brash girl with nothing to my name but a promise. Half of Europe as at war, but the grappling between kings held little interest for me. Though the conflicts were far flung across the globe, my troubles were of a much more personal nature. My fear was not that England might lose her place in the world, but that I might lose mine…” — Barbados Bound copyright 2010 by Linda Collison.
Rhode Island Rendezvous, the third book in the series, will be available this September from Old Salt Press.
Here’s a brief excerpt:
Placing the freshly groomed peruke on my stubbled head, I looked in the mirror hanging above the dresser of my rented room, adjusting the wig slightly. Acceptable. Yes, except for the ears – rather too small and pink – I passed muster. The only feminine feature about me was my delicate ears – and perhaps my pillowed lips, though they were often sunburned and wind-chapped. I regarded the young man staring back at me from the looking glass. Patrick MacPherson, a rising young merchant seaman dressed to go to a wedding feast where he will rub shoulders with Newport’s best. Good day to you, sir! In this colony anybody could be a gentleman, if he had the means to dress the part. Here, the lowest born man could rise above his station through cunning, hard work, and the right connections. Oh, and luck, I should add. Luck always plays a role. Thus far my luck had been most unpredictable.
The wig had been made from my very own hair, shorn from my head and at last tamed into submission by the peruke maker’s hand. Two smooth ginger-colored rolls just above my ears and a compliant queue held at the nape by a blue satin ribbon. A shaved head was so much easier, especially at sea, when all I needed was a snug Monmouth cap to keep the wind out of my ears. A shaved head was free of tangles, free of lice. My hair, perfectly groomed, kept in a box, ready for going ashore. No need for powder, no one in Newport bothered with powder anymore. Men were flaunting natural colors – black, brown, and auburn too – though none were as vibrantly colored as mine, the flaming red-gold of a Guy Fawkes bonfire.
I should have been born male, I thought with chagrin, regarding my reflection. I cut a fine figure in my pressed linen shirt, lace stock, and brocade waistcoat that completely hid my breasts, the size of two quail eggs. My long legs were shown off to their best advantage sheathed in the finest of silk stockings, the tightest of breeches buttoned just below the knee. I had the hind end of a young boy and, as for that part of my anatomy that was decidedly lacking, an old pair of stockings knotted into a ball and stitched inside the crotch of the breeches added the necessary slight bulge.
Trinity’s bells pealed the hour. The biggest wedding feast Newport had known in months was about to begin. I slipped into my coat, fastened the pewter buttons, adjusted my cravat, and placed the tri-corn on top of my wig. One last look at the young man in the glass, then down the stairs I bounded, a greeting to the innkeeper’s wife, and out onto Thames Street, busy as always this Saturday, with ox carts and carriages drawn by fine Narraganset-bred horses. No carriage for me, but the walk was a short one and I welcomed the opportunity to stretch my legs and catch a glimpse of Andromeda, tossing on the harbor chop and pulling at her dock lines like a restless filly.
The schooner Andromeda was more often my home than the drafty rented room above the Osprey Inn; I loved her as my own. That morning I assessed her exterior quickly, with a practiced and loving eye. Her reddish brown sails were neatly furled on the booms, her rigging had been freshly tarred, and although her faded hull was in need of a fresh coat of paint, it could wait until spring. Paint was dear. I inspected the dock lines for signs of chaffing, making certain she was well before turning toward Spring Street, shoving my hands, red and cracked, deep into my coat pockets to warm them. The sun was bright but the late October air was raw, smelling of tidewater and wood smoke from hundreds of chimneys.
My own wedding day, I couldn’t even recall what the weather had been, foul or fair, but I remembered well my mood was gloomy and resigned. Ah, but Aeneas had been a good old man, a firm but kind husband for the brief time I was his wife. And I might have married again, to the man whose memory remained a burning ember, but no. The one man who had known me well, the man who had accepted my ruse but had loved the woman inside, that man was gone from my life. The sorrow over losing him, I still felt it; he was my first love, though I never could have lived as a warrant’s wife, kept like a cat in dark, close quarters belowdecks on the very ship I once served as surgeon’s mate. It wouldn’t have worked, not for me. Not after who I had been and what I had done…
— from Rhode Island Rendezvous; Book Three of the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series, copyright 2017 by Linda Collison