“Shiver me timbers and walk the plank!” Mac adjusts her tricorn hat with a flourish. She waggles her full sleeves. “I think I sort of look like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean!”
“For heaven’s sake,” Mary groans as she strides barefoot down the beach, calf-length skirt blowing in the wind. “We’re not pirates! We’re wreckers.”
“What’s the difference?” Patsy spins in her full gypsy style skirt, a multi-layered rope of beads clacking on her peasant bloused breast.
“Pirates are the scourge of the seas and wreckers just go through the flotsam and jetsam left when a ship wrecks on the reefs or cargo is thrown overboard to lighten the load.” Lyn ties a bright scarf across her forehead leaving her ears bare so the big gold loops can flash in the sun. She hitches up her linsey woolsey pants. “Crikey, these things itch!”
“If we aren’t pirates, then why are we dressed like this?” Mac draws a plastic sword and slashes at a frisky crab who scuttles into the water.
“Cate thought it would be fun to dress up in costumes befitting the life of a Key West wrecker back in the 1850’s.” Mary sniffs. “Your hat was out of fashion by then.” She bends down and examines a seashell before surreptitiously stuffing it in her pocket as she looks around to be sure no one’s watching. “We got a nice trip to Key West because of Cate.”
Nibby races by with Hampy clinging to his tail. Foster blinks in, riding Cuddles. They fly off behind Nibby.
“Come back here you nasty critters!” Patsy chases them down the beach. “Come back here!” She trips and falls headlong.
“Oh my,” Lyn tsk tsks. “I think her mouth was open when she fell.”
“Hey, you guys!” Patsy spits a mouthful of sand. “I think we’re here.”
She spots them. “Isn’t this just too fun!” She motions to the band. “We’re having a blast.”
She checks her watch. “Oops, time for the scavenger hunt.” She taps on the microphone to draw everyone’s attention then holds up a small brown wooden box. “Okay, the pseudo scavenger hunt begins. You know the rules. Best flotsam or jetsam find wins what I have in the treasure chest.”
A mass of people rush into the water, laughing and giggling as they splash through the waves.
“What’s in the chest,” Mac whispers.
Lyn winks conspiratorially. “I heard it was a weekend all expense paid trip to New Orleans during Mardi Gras!”
“I want some of that,” Mary marches into the water and just as quickly screeches and runs back up the beach. “Something touched my leg!”
“What’d it look like?” Lyn peers into the waves.
“How do I know,” Mary grumps. “It just touched my leg. Felt all slimy and slick.”
“Probably the skeletal hand of one of those who perished in the dangerous shoals and shallow waters surrounding the islands.” Patsy shudders. “Gives me the creeps just thinking about it.”
Cate jumps down from the stage. “Key West was an official port of trade in the early 1800’s. Lots of ships went down around here.” She gazes out to sea. “If a wrecker was lucky, he’d get to the shipwreck first and be the wrecking master. Then he’d get the largest cut of the goods and oversaw the project. Wrecking was an organized industry, not the riffraff as one might expect from a historical aspect.”
“Well, I want what’s in that treasure chest.” Mac stumbles into the sea, thrashing like a beached whale. “Gotta be something down here worth finding.”
“Not me,” Mary shudders again. “I’m all for blended margaritas and some food.” She stomps up the beach.
“I think I’ll join Mary,” Patsy says. “I can smell seafood cooking from here. My stomach could eat a crab whole, shell included!”
Lyn wades in behind her. “If an octopus grabs me, I’m going to be so mad!”
“I’ll save you!” Mac waves her ridiculous toy sword. “The hunt begins!”
Please welcome Cate to her roast and join us in celebrating her new release 'Angels, Sinners and Madmen'
Sam Langhorne loves the carefree life of a wrecker in Key West. The island is perfect – for forgetting the woman who broke his heart. When he rescues Livvie Collins from a watery grave, he’s swept away by her beauty. He’s sworn off love, but is soon captivated by Livvie’s wit – and her independent spirit.
Olivia Collins never planned to visit Key West, or to fall in love with Sam. Handsome and attentive, he’s constantly surprising her with his intelligence and interest in current literature, but she knows better than to believe she’s anything more than a dalliance. As a novelist, she intends to make her own future.
Deception and treachery await them both in New Orleans. Can Livvie and Sam weather the most dangerous storm of all – love?
Previous reviewers called it “enchanting,” adding “I loved it and applaud Cate for creating a time in the past that seems so real in this book.” Another said: “You will fall in love these two characters along with the rest of Sam's wrecker friends. Laughter, tragedy and heroism abound, so make sure you have plenty of time when you start reading Angels, Sinners and Madmen, because you will not want to put this gripping story down until you have read every single word of it.”
It was a Top Ten Finisher in the Preditors & Editors Poll! I hope you’ll check out the book video, reviews, and more:http://catemasters.blogspot.
Inside the tall windows of Whelan’s Dry Goods Store hung sail cloth and rope. Anchors and other nautical necessities unfamiliar to Livvie occupied one side of the store. After wandering several aisles, she found the sewing items. One spool of white thread appeared thick enough to sew stitches in horse hide. While she examined it, a movement caught her eye, and the back of her neck prickled.
She glanced up to see Sam Langhorne stroll in. Walking toward her, his smile widened, and his gaze wandered freely across her, sending heated pinpricks across her skin.
He sauntered closer, his movements panther-like in their grace. “Good morning.”
The prickles traveled from her neck down her spine, deepening along their inward path. She held the mending tape across her chest to hide her quickening breath. “Hello, Mr. Langhorne. What brings you here?”
He stepped closer, his eyes bright. “Our schooner suffered a battering during the storm. I’m charged with mending the sails and am in need of some strong thread.” His fingers closed around hers. “I see you have what I need.”
Her voice failed her. “Pardon?” she whispered.
“The thread.” He slipped the spool from her hand. “Are you mending sails today also?”
Disappointment surprised her. “Mrs. Crowell sent me here for sewing thread.”
From the display, he selected a smaller one and held it up. “I suspect she meant this type.”
Warmth crawled up her neck. “I’m not much of a seamstress, Mr. Langhorne.”
“You aren’t joining Mrs. Crowell’s sewing circle?” He clucked his tongue. “I thought women enjoyed passing the time that way.” His brown eyes sparkled. Stubble shadowed his jaw and chin, framing his mouth.
She forced her gaze away when she found herself staring too long, wondering how his rough face would feel against hers. She pretended renewed interest in the threads. “I’ve little experience in that area.”
He leaned an elbow against the display and looked up at her. “Ah. Your passels of servants took care of your sewing for you, eh? And here I was hoping you might come lend a hand.” Grinning in a teasing way, he searched her face intensely, as though trying to divine the truth.
She lifted her chin. “After my mother’s death, my father hired a housekeeper. I’m afraid I wasn’t an ideal charge. I spent more time with Sir Galahad than at home.” Never had she wanted to be one of the primping girls who practiced domestic skills in hopes of enticing a husband, or took more interest in their appearance than anything else. Now she felt deficient in womanly skills. Sam Langhorne made her feel more deficient. Since their last encounter, she’d dreamed of practicing womanly skills on him.
He pressed his lips tight. “Your own knight in shining armor?”
So he knew of King Arthur. How, she wondered?
“My horse, Mr. Langhorne.” Something tightened in her chest while he held her gaze, so she scanned the mending tapes and selected one, hoping he wouldn’t correct her.
He straightened and stood closer than propriety allowed. “I see. You’re full of surprises.”
His nearness warmed her skin. She stepped away and forced a light tone. “And you, as well. You’re a man of many talents, apparently–sewing, salvaging, sailing. Is there anything you can’t do?”
“I’m sure there is. Nothing comes to mind.” His low voice rumbled like an approaching storm, one of searing lightning and drenching rains.
Livvie had always been fascinated by such storms, and the thought of Sam tearing at her clothes like a gale made her shiver.
“A typical male affliction.” The newspaper tucked beneath his arm caught her eye. She tilted her head to read the banner. “Is that a Philadelphia newspaper?”
He held it out for her to see. “Yes, my brother sends it to me now and again, thinking he’ll taunt me into coming home. His letter said this edition had an interesting article on the wrecking industry.”
“You’re from Philadelphia?” She’d imagined him a farm boy, perhaps, from some obscure place providing no outlet for his energy. What else would propel a man to travel far from home to become a wrecker?
His tone fell flat. “Born and raised there.” He inserted the newspaper in its resting place beneath his arm.
“What made you come here?” Surely Philadelphia had entertainments similar to those in New York. Perhaps his occupation–maybe a blacksmith–didn’t allow time for social events. Judging by the abundant muscles on his lean frame, he’d worked hard all his life.
He leaned in dangerously close. “Why don’t you let me walk you home so we can continue our conversation?”
No ready excuse came to mind to refuse him. Nor did she want to.
Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.
com and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.
Cate loves to hear from readers. Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
NB: 'Angels, Sinners and Madmen' is FREE today through Sunday! Go grab your copy from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008YWQGOU
Cate will be giving away a copy of her recent Western historical release with BookStrand called A Midwest Summer Night's Dream.
Contest ends tomorrow and everyone who comments is eligible.