Genre: Historical romance
Word count: 75,000
Mae Blackthorne has been taught how to ride dressage, embroider pillows and dance the waltz. So when her brother’s death puts the family’s shipbuilding business in her hands, it isn’t long before the business is in bankruptcy and Mae is penniless. Forced to take a post as a governess, she thinks she’s doomed to a life of poverty. That is, until she meets Ethan Locke, a pirate who offers her an enticing opportunity to recover her wealth.
Unbeknownst to Mae, her family used their shipbuilding business to shroud generations of lucrative piracy. Locke, who was once partners with her father, has an old score to settle. He claims that her father stole from him an object of great value: a sapphire that can give its owner eternal life. As her father’s last surviving heir, Mae is Locke’s only hope of finding it, along with her family’s secret fortune.
Agreeing to work together and split the fortune equally, there’s no denying the spark of attraction between them. But they’re not alone in their search. The original owners of the sapphire, who operate an elite secret society, are far more powerful than Mae and Locke could've ever imagined. As the dangerous men close in, Mae fears she has much more to lose than just a second chance at luxury. She could lose any chance she has for love, or life.
May 1836, somewhere on the Atlantic
Ethan Locke tightened his grip on two leather bound books, ready to run. The distant high pitch screech of a whistle signaled departure. He had only a few minutes to make it back to ship so he and his crew could set sail.
But he couldn’t go. Not just yet. Mixed in with the mahogany furnishings of the captain’s quarters, he caught a flash of gold. Behind red velvet curtains swaying with the ship, a small gold chest fell in and out of view. It was hidden for a reason. Without a doubt whatever was inside would be valuable indeed.
Of course he couldn’t leave now. Greed beckoned him. Disregarding his need for haste, he inched his way to the chest, pulled back the curtain and lifted its unsecured lid.
Disappointment dropped through him. Without a lock, it might not have been valuable after all. But as soon as his eyes met the contents, his breath caught. The books he had been so grateful to find thudded to the floor.
Two items were suspended in black velvet. The first he noticed was a small blue bottle strangely attached to a silver chain. That didn’t seem worth much. But the other item, also on a silver chain, was a sapphire as blue as the deepest ocean. As if in a kind of protection, it was wrapped in swirling cords of silver. Though the lamps in the cabin had gone dim, it sparkled nonetheless. Deep within, a dazzling fire blazed.