Read Captain of My Heart Online

Authors: Danelle Harmon

Tags: #colonial new england, #privateers, #revolutionary war, #romance 1700s, #ships, #romance historical, #sea adventure, #colonial america, #ships at sea, #american revolution, #romance, #privateers gentlemen, #sea story, #schooners, #adventure abroad

Captain of My Heart

BOOK: Captain of My Heart
11.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub





Danelle Harmon





* * * * *



Danelle Harmon




Captain Of

Copyright ©
2012 by Danelle Harmon

(original paperback version
published in 1992)


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Table Of


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33


About The Author



This version of CAPTAIN OF
MY HEART is dedicated to the memory of the original
Pride Of Baltimore
, a ship I was fortunate enough to visit when she came to
Newburyport, Massachusetts, many years ago. She and she alone was
the inspiration for the schooner,


May this proud beauty and those
who were lost with her, forever rest in peace.





By Danelle Harmon




That seat of Science, Athens, and Earth’s
proud mistress Rome;

Where now are all their glories? We scarce
can find a tomb!

Then guard your rights, Americans, nor stoop
to lawless sway;

Oppose, oppose, oppose, oppose, for North


We led fair Freedom hither, and lo, the
desert smiled!

A paradise of pleasure was opened in the

Your harvest, bold Americans, no power shall
snatch away!

Preserve, preserve, preserve your rights,
and free America!


Torn from a world of tyrants, beneath this
western sky,

We formed a new dominion, a land of

The world shall own we’re free men here and
such we’ll ever be;

Huzzah, huzzah, huzzah, huzzah, for Love and


Lift up your hands ye heroes, and swear with
proud disdain.

The wretch who would enslave you shall
spread his snares in vain.

Should Europe empty all her force, we’ll
meet them in array,

And shout huzzah, huzzah, huzzah, for brave


Free America”

Dr. Joseph Warren, 1774

an early map of Newburyport, Massachusetts,
and the mouth of the Merrimack River



July 1775


Unwilling spectators to yet another whipping,
a trio of pigtailed seamen in blue jackets and striped ticken
trousers stood by the rail of His Majesty’s Ship
Their attention was not on poor Dalby, strung up to the gratings
with his stooped back already blistering in the merciless sun. It
was not on Captain Richard Crichton, tapping his foot in impatience
as he waited for the boatswain’s mate to begin the punishment.

It was on the barge that had set out from the
big seventy-four-gun flagship

“He’s coming,” said one, in a low, reverent
whisper. “I knew he would.”

“We all knew. Our Brendan would never let us

“Aye, just because he’s been promoted to flag
captain doesn’t mean he’s forgotten us.”

They stared at the barge, watching as it cut
its way through gentle swells that danced and glittered in the
summer sunlight. Then Crichton turned, saw it, and paled. Swearing,
he barked out a string of commands. Marines were hastily mustered.
Officers in blue and white coats scrambled to receive the esteemed
visitor. Uniforms were straightened, pipes shrilled. And then the
barge was alongside, bumping against the frigate’s hull as its crew
tossed their oars.

As usual, the flag captain had arrived
unexpectedly—and with his usual disregard for the fanfare the Royal
Navy insisted upon giving him.

Crichton was furious.

“Boat ahoy!”

roared the flag captain’s
coxswain, Liam Doherty, a strapping, blue-eyed Irishman with a
beam-to-beam grin and a shock of spice-colored curls. “Stand by t’
receive Cap’n Merrick!”

Orders were passed. The bosuns’ pipes pierced
the air.

“Imagine,” whispered one of the seamen,
“troublin’ himself with the likes of us. Ye don’t really think
that’s why he’s here, do ye, John? ’Cause of us?”

“Oh, aye. No doubt about that,” the first
seaman said. He gazed at the purple hills that rimmed Boston
Harbor. “We all signed that appeal to Sir Geoffrey to do something
about Crichton, didn’t we? The vice-admiral’s got a good heart, and
a wise head on his shoulders, picking our own Brendan Merrick to be
the new flag captain. Just think of how easy things were when
Captain Merrick commanded
ship—he never once had a man
punished, not once, mind ye! And he’s not going to like how bad
things’ve gotten here.”

“Bad? By the saints, poor ol’ Dalby’s the
second man Crichton’s strung up to the gratin’s for punishment this
mornin’ alone, and that ain’t countin’ the three from

“There were four from yesterday, Zach, not
three. . .”

At the rail, smart, red-coated marines
snapped to attention. A final drum rolled on the wind. The pipes
quieted, the seamen held their breaths, the tension built. They
heard him coming up the ladder. They saw his gold-laced hat appear
in the entry port. And then
was there, resplendent and
handsome, the sunlight glinting with blinding intensity off his
epaulets and picking out every gold button on a coat as blue as the
sea that rolled behind him. Doffing his hat to the quarterdeck with
a solemnity befitting the gesture, he turned, met their gazes—and
grinned, for he had last walked among them as
and he knew every one of the 150-man crew by name.

“Mr. Burke!
Ce’n chaoi bhfuil tú?
You’re looking a wee bit on the sorry side this morn! Been in your
cups again, laddie?” They all had the same thought. Promotion to
flag rank hadn’t changed him a bit; he was still their same old
captain, not above using the old
when addressing an
Irishman, not above caring about the welfare of everyone on the
ship. “And Mr. Howes! You keeping your hands off my little sister?
Where is the lassie, anyhow? Faith! A half mile through spray and
wave in that damnable barge and the least that Eveleen could do is
come topside to greet me, eh?”

Still grinning, he winked at one of the
drummers, a pale, scrawny little tyke who blushed and bobbed and
dropped his drumstick under the attention. Captain Brendan Jay
Merrick merely laughed, picked it up, and handed it back to him,
oblivious to the way the boy clutched it to his chest as though it
had been blessed. He was nothing like Crichton, the men thought
with a mixture of pride and bittersweet relief, nor those who’d
held the coveted post of flag captain before him—dour-faced,
cautious men who’d reeked of protocol and the stuffiness so
inherent in those of their station.

No, their Brendan had always been carefree
and gallant, with a face to turn a lady’s head and the charm to win
her heart. Elegance lay in the span of his shoulders, the shape of
his hands; mirth danced in his eyes, and laughter in the swiftness
of his grin. But beneath his jocular manner, he was strong and
capable and a clever tactician, and no one in the King’s Navy knew
ships as well as he. No one before or since had been able to make
the frigate
dance through sea and spray as he had
done; no one had had the deck a-hopping to Irish jigs as they’d
gone into battle; and certainly, no one had stood on the
quarterdeck sketching the enemy’s ships while iron flew overhead
and the deck thundered beneath the might of
thirty-two guns.

Someday he’d be an admiral as his English
father had been before him. No wonder his dash and derring-do had
caught the attention of his superiors back in London. No wonder Sir
Geoffrey Lloyd had promoted him to flag rank. No wonder the seamen
were all ready to mutiny under Richard Crichton’s iron rule,
whereas they looked upon their “Captain from Connaught” as a

No wonder they looked upon him now as their

As Crichton came forward to greet him, the
marines stepped back and Captain Merrick got a clear, unhampered
view of Dalby O’Hara at the gratings, his head hanging between his
frail shoulders, the rope that bound him leaving bracelets of angry
red flesh at his swollen wrists.

Instantly the mirth faded from his eyes.

“Captain Merrick, how nice it is to have you
grace my humble command,” Crichton said tightly, with a quick
salute that was more mocking than respectful. Sarcasm stained his
words, and any sincerity he thought to convey was belied by hard,
naturally red-rimmed eyes whose irises were the color of milk
allowed to go bad. Obviously Crichton was still furious that Sir
Geoffrey had put the young half-Irishman in command of his flagship
and not him, a fact he tried, unsuccessfully, to hide beneath the
veil of hospitality. “Perhaps you’d care for some tea in my cabin?
’Tis dreadfully hot out here on deck.”

BOOK: Captain of My Heart
11.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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