Moonstruck [War In Darkness Book 2]
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by Christy Poff
Category: Erotica/Paranormal Erotica
Description: Calvin Wright has seen a great deal over the span of his life but presently runs blockades for the Confederacy, though only at night. He's a man wanted by the Union. Lady Harley Windsor is being hunted by a Union colonel. She's wanted for passing secrets about the U.S. president to the South and turns to Cal for help. Will his unique lifestyle and her needs become moonstruck--a good omen--or will one Union officer destroy their love?
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2010
eBookwise Release Date: October 2010
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [294 KB]
Reading time: 184-258 min.
All Other formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
Charleston, South Carolina 1863
Anchal stood on the deck of The Sea Ghost gazing at what promised to be a magnificent sunset. The time between late afternoon and full dark her favorite, she tried to see it every day. Feeling a presence behind her, she smiled and waited.
"Anchal, beautiful evening," a voice said.
"Yes, Admiral, it is," she agreed. "Did you rest well?"
"Yes, I did, thank you."
"Captain Murphy wanted me to tell you he has several things waiting that need your personal attention."
"They can wait a few moments. After all, we have all evening."
Admiral Calvin Wright had commanded a small fleet of Confederate warships until mid-1861. Having lost three during the battle at Fort Sumter, his small group numbered two--The Sea Ghost, his flagship, and The Southern Hope. From the beginning, they raided other ships and tried running Union blockades but only at night--the only time their admiral felt his strongest. Because of this, they'd been extremely successful opening Charleston Harbor and several other harbors so merchant ships could make their deliveries and sail out with goods for foreign trade. In some cases, her crews offloaded the shipments off the coast then took them the rest of the way to the ports enabling the larger ships to literally sail another day. Never had he seen such despicable behavior as he'd witnessed dealing with the Union.
Captain Murphy knew Wright's secrets, swearing to never tell a soul. More than a decade earlier, he'd seen Wright in action when he happened upon several soldiers attacking Murphy without cause. Calvin Wright walked up to the men while they beat a man to death.
"Excuse me, gentlemen, but what's going on?"
"This man's been runnin' from military service," one said.
"No, I'm not," Murphy loudly protested with what little strength he had left.
Calvin stood back watching as two men held their victim against a wall while the others took their shots at him.
"Don't you think you've stacked the odds some?"
"I'd stay out of this, Mister, if you know what's good for you," one warned.
"That would make it four to two then, wouldn't it?"
"That's Admiral to you," Cal stated as he grabbed the one who'd been obviously leading this gang and threw him back. The second man went after Cal, defending his lieutenant while the others dropped Murphy's battered body to the ground in order to help their commanding officer.
"Four on one--again bad odds that need changing."
Without warning, Cal threw one of them against the wall, the man landing next to their victim. With two unable to stand, Cal went after the remaining men, chasing them down a dark street. Catching up with them, he dragged them into an even darker alley and took care of them, both dead from massive blood loss. Returning to where he'd first come upon them, he found the other soldiers where he'd left them though the one next to Murphy found the will to get up and raced away.
Cal went after the ring leader of the gang--a junior lieutenant who refused to keep his mouth shut. Grabbing him by the collar, Cal threw him against another wall and leaned into him. His fangs descending, Cal sensed the man's fear as it forced his blood closer to the surface, his heart rate quicker.
"This is for ignorance of my rank and the brutal attack on my friend here."
Seconds later, he fed again taking every last drop of blood he could before dropping his victim's body to the ground. Turning away, Cal looked at Murphy, frozen in terror.
"I won't harm you," Cal said, helping Murphy up. "What's your name?"
"Captain Dennis Murphy, sir, late of the Sea Angel. I... You're..."
"Captain, I am Admiral Calvin Wright. I command a small fleet of ships and can offer you a command and a good life. I only ask that you keep what you've just witnessed to yourself."
"No one would believe me anyway."
"Then we have a deal?"
"Aye, sir, but I need help. Those guys beat me pretty good."
"Come," Cal said as he helped Murphy back to The Sea Ghost.
Once onboard, two crewmen helped take Murphy below deck to a cabin near the admiral's. A Hindu beauty joined them, the men leaving.
"This is Princess Anchal and she's very good at healing wounds. Relax and allow her to tend to them."
"Admiral, is the entire crew..."
"No, just myself."
"May I ask how long?"
"Suffice it to say I sailed for England against the Spanish Armada. After that, while on a voyage to Spain for Queen Elizabeth, the ship ran into bad weather just off the Spanish coast. Rescue parties saved a handful of the crew along with me and my lieutenant. Being on royal business, they treated us well but before our scheduled departure back to England, I met a woman--a marquise--who decided I should stay with her and not return. Though I argued that I had to go back to my crew, she refused to let me leave her home. Before I knew what she had planned, she'd sunk her teeth into my neck and created her eternal mate."
"Where is she now?"
"While on a voyage for the Spanish crown years later, she became bored with my absence and looked for someone new. She got tangled up with a bad-tempered vampire who had a thing about royalty and he destroyed her."
"Did you have any feelings for her?"
"Then my sympathies."
Anchal quietly worked while Cal and his new captain talked, Murphy obviously feeling better.
"What's her story?"
"Another voyage several years ago. We sailed to the Caribbean and came across pirates threatening Florida. When we raided the ship, we found the pirated goods--silks and other things from India as well as Anchal who they'd abducted from the ship. I gave her the choice of returning to her homeland or staying with me. She chose to stay because the man she intended to be with refused to have anything to do with her because he believed her to be damaged goods, so to speak."
"And she knows your secret?"
"She lives with it."
"What if she finds someone?"
"She knows there are no restraints on her--she's free to come and go as she desires."
From then on, Calvin Wright trusted Murphy without question. He'd been right when he told Cal no one would believe him but, because of one night in his life, he'd sworn loyalty to a man others considered a monster. Cal knew some of the rumors floating around about him--one or two hitting on the truth--but he had no worries thanks to Murphy.
"Where are you?" Anchal asked, bringing him back to the present.
"Good ones, I hope."
"Yes, Anchal," he assured her as he pulled her close. "Very good ones."
Lady Harley Windsor had escaped New York, fleeing back to Ireland but the fact the Union considered her a spy caused her to leave her Irish home again, this time ending up in Charleston, South Carolina. Once there, she planned to find the right captain to take her to one of the islands in the Caribbean.
Upon her arrival in Charleston, she'd heard about an admiral who sailed by the moon. If she could leave the country under the cover of darkness, she might be able to make a new life for herself--one possibly free of being on the run. Carefully inquiring about the admiral, she learned what she needed to know--or so she thought--then set out to find him.
Every inquiry she made, the answer remained the same--You don't want to engage him. The more she heard the warning with various reasons as to why, the more she determined to contact him.
"The admiral don't take jobs--he's a raider," several told her when she inquired at one of the local haunts near the docks.
"I'd like to hear it from him," she stated, holding her ground while underneath her cape she trembled, her hand on one of several weapons secreted in its folds.
"A fair lady like you has no business trying to find a night raider. The moon is his friend--not you."
"I want to speak to him myself. I don't see why..."
"To meet him, one must go to the docks near midnight and they are no place for an elegant woman like you."
"Don't patronize me, Mister..."
"Consider me a friend," answered the red-haired gentleman with intense green eyes. Tall, he had a commanding presence but he still didn't convince her to forget her intentions. "I wouldn't dream of patronizing you, Miss..."
"Lady Harley Windsor."
"Lady Windsor," he said, his voice causing her to tremble a little more. "I would tell a man the same thing. Hooligans and roughnecks walk the docks looking for one of four things--more whiskey, a woman, a fight or a hapless person to gang up on. Your fair beauty added to the fiery red hair and bright blue eyes make you a perfect target for them."
"And what about you? Aside from beauty, though you are handsome, you've described yourself."
"The difference is that I've proven I can hold my own with them. They don't bother me."
"Then take me to the admiral," Harley persisted.
"No," he said flatly.
"This does not negate my need to meet this mysterious admiral."
"Personal business," she stated. "The less who know about it, the better."
"Please, it's obvious you can't--or won't--help me. So if you don't mind..."
Pushing past the man, her light touch on his arm caused an unfamiliar sensation, despite her glove. Shoving her feelings aside and in spite of repeated warnings, she headed to the docks in hopes of finding the elusive seaman.