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SHK

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Stormy

By

Heide Katros

STORMY HEIDE KATROS

2

© copyright by Heide Katros, April 2010

Cover Art by Alex DeShanks, April 2010

ISBN 978-1-60394-423-6

New Concepts Publishing

Lake Park, GA 31636

www.newconceptspublishing.com

This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author’s imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.

STORMY HEIDE KATROS

3

PROLOGUE

Dreamscape Plantation, S.C.

June 14, 1739

Trevor hurried to nail yet another board into place. “Damn, we are in for a tropical storm for sure. The way the wind picked up and the clouds are scudding across the sky reminds me of the day the Enchantress went down.” Casting another glance at the leaden sky he turned to his friend Ferdinand. “I think we’ll be in for some major damage.”

It surprised Ferdinand that Trevor mentioned the sinking of his frigate. It showed that it still preyed on his mind. Although the shipwreck had occurred over a year ago, Trevor continued to blame himself for the break-up of the ship and the lives lost in the accident.

Ferdinand allowed the edges of his mouth to quirk upward in a small smile. Trevor had thought himself unnoticed up there in the rigging, because it was dark. But the crew had been fully aware that he was making love to Annemarie among the stars. Probably every manjack had wished he could have himself a woman who would dare to throw caution to the wind in that way.

For a moment he dwelled on the months after the shipwreck, when Trevor, he, and the cabin boy Johnny Wilks thought they were the only survivors. But Fate has a hand in everything. Annemarie and Trevor met up again during a pre-Christmas party at the home of a mutual friend.

Ferdinand chuckled. Considering the fireworks exploding between those two, it should have been New Year’s Eve.

“What do you find so funny?” Trevor sounded annoyed. “And would you mind holding on to that damn ladder a bit tighter. I feel as if I were balancing myself on a trapeze the way this thing sways.”

Ferdinand grinned up at his friend. “Actually, I was thinking of the day you and Annemarie met up again after the shipwreck.”

Trevor snorted. “It’s easy for you to jest about it. It wasn’t you, who suddenly came face to face with the only woman you ever loved. And to top it off, she was mad at me!” He shook his dark mane.

He was about to say something more, when one of the kitchen maids came running, her skirts flying behind her, her small face white with apprehension.

“Master Mowbray, come quick. It’s the missus. The baby is coming, the baby is coming.”

Trevor jumped from the ladder, the boarding of the window forgotten. He dropped his hammer and nail belt and raced for the house. Ferdinand followed on his heels.

While the rain pelted the roof in relentless sheets and violent winds buffeted the plantation house with unprecedented force, Trevor paced his study in nervous agitation. Deep brackets of worry lined his generous mouth, while his dark eyes cut toward the ceiling at regular intervals. His murderous looks rivaled the salty curses he muttered under his breath.

“Nothing Annemarie ever did was within the norm of convention. I should have known.

She had to pick a storm to give birth in with no one to attend her other than a slave woman, who is deep into voodoo, and a housekeeper who never had a child herself.”

STORMY HEIDE KATROS

4

Normally, Ferdinand La Valle, his good friend, sounding board, and personal chef would have ribbed him over his concern, but he worried as much as Trevor. Both men flinched visibly each time they heard an earth-shaking scream from above stairs.

Raking both hands through his hair, he shot his friend a derisive look. “I should have never let my lust get the better of me. God, if something happens to her I don’t know what I’ll do.”

“She’ll be fine. Annemarie isn’t the first woman to birth a child, and she won’t be the last.”

“I can’t remember my sister being in such agony.” His voice gave away the anxiety he tried hard to hide. “Do you think something is wrong?”

At this point Ferdinand chuckled and his eyes glittered with mirth. “You may love your sister, but she was not carrying a child of your making.”

Trevor stopped in his tracks and if looks could kill, Ferdinand would have fallen over dead. “This is no laughing matter, you braying jackass. Annemarie is delicate.”

Ferdinand guffawed outright in response to that comment. “Are we talking about the same woman who faced that odious colonel in Norfolk in order to save her sire’s life? The same woman, who climbed the rigging and blatantly seduced you?”

Trevor flushed. No man in his right mind would forget making love to a woman in the rigging of a ship. It had been the most extraordinarily sensual thing he had ever experienced. He felt his manhood stir just thinking about it. Ferdinand was not going to let him forget that little episode, despite saying the crew would have let it pass, if they had survived the huge wave engulfing them in the wake of a late season tropical storm.

Trevor still suffered from recrimination, although he had come to realize that he could not have stopped the destruction of The Enchantress at any rate. He would forever remember the huge wave appearing out of the dark of night. Without warning, the storm had borne down on them with such violence and speed, he had not been given time to think, only react. He’d been able to save Annemarie by tying her to a ring in the wall, but he hadn’t known she had survived until months later.

Hell, he had not been looking for a wife, and certainly not a spitfire like the one he ended up with. He grinned lopsidedly at the thought of Annemarie’s foibles and the excitement she had brought into his life. She had indeed stood up to the colonel in an attempt to save her father.

She’d been ready to fight, and she would have proved good at it, because she had learned from the best. Sometimes it still boggled Trevor’s mind that Annemarie’s mother had been none other than the notorious female pirate Anne Bonny.

What woman would seduce a man way up in the rigging, full knowing that they could both plunge to their death once they lost control of their senses in the throes of mutual orgasm?

It had not been the only time she challenged his control, and by damn, she had won each time.

He chuckled. Maybe delicate was too far-fetched. Annemarie was indeed as delicate as the blade of a saber. She had a backbone of steel and though she would bend, she would not break.

A frisson of pride shot through Trevor. Annemarie was as unpredictable as the storm raging outside. So why should it surprise him that she would go into labor at the most inopportune moment? And come to think of it, the child trying to enter the world had been conceived under perilous conditions to put it mildly. His seed had taken root, despite Annemarie being washed overboard and jostled like driftwood across the waves onto shore.

STORMY HEIDE KATROS

5

His silent musings came to an abrupt end when a thin wail of protest rent the air. The two men exchanged stunned glances. The storm still raged outside, but the storm inside was over.

Trevor took the stairs two at a time. His hands trembled as he snatched the door knob and opened the door with such force that it slammed against the opposite wall. Standing on the threshold, his chest heaving, his eyes sought those of his wife’s. In two short strides he was across the room and knelt next to the bed. Taking Annemarie’s hand into his, he kissed her fingers as tears of joy streamed down his ruggedly handsome face.

Annemarie smiled wanly. “We did it. We have a daughter, my love.”

It took a moment for the words to take root in Trevor’s brain. For some reason he had been sure they had created a son, considering the way they had tempted fate in the face of danger.

Annemarie managed to hold her laughter at bay, when she saw the stunned, comical expression on her husband’s face. Lifting her head off the pillow, she grinned. “I told you the child we created could just as easily be a girl than a boy.”

He stretched to reach her mouth and touched his lips reverently to hers. “It no longer matters, darling.”

Malina, the Negro woman, who assisted at the birth, stepped forward with the squalling bundle of humanity and pressed her into Trevor’s arms. “She is healthy and feisty as they come,” she announced proudly and left the room.

Looking down at his new baby daughter, he lost his heart the moment she opened unfocused green eyes just like her mother’s. He sighed with resignation. Now he would have to deal with two headstrong women in his life, but somehow the challenge seemed one he would be glad to contend with. Quirking a dark brow in his wife’s direction, hugging the tiny baby close, he asked, “So what do you want to name her?”

Annemarie gave it but a moment’s thought. Though tired, mischief found its way into the saucy smile she shot him. “She was conceived at the onset of a hurricane, and a storm is raging outside at this very minute. What do you think of Stormy?”

Trevor grimaced. “You can’t very well introduce her by that name in society. I believe you’ll have to think along more formal lines.”

Annemarie laughed. “Since when do we stand on formality, Trevor?”

He hesitated. “I am thinking that the Cormacs were such good friends to me. They deeded Dreamscape over to me, even though I didn’t have enough money for the final payment.

I think Marry Cormac would be pleased, if we named our daughter in memory of her.”

“Marry is nice, but I am thinking of something more exotic. Something that will suit our daughter’s temperament, because I have the feeling that she will live up to the name Stormy in more ways than one.”

As if on cue, Stormy started to squall in protest and both parents broke out in laughter.

Still chuckling, Trevor gently laid the baby next to Annemarie and sat down on the edge of the bed. His eyes bored into her sea-green ones with an intensity that expressed the deep awe and admiration he felt at that moment. With a groan he stretched across and claimed his wife’s lips in an ardent kiss. “There aren’t enough words to tell you how much I love you.”

A small gurgle of contentment broke them apart and they stared at each other in surprise.

“This little minx is barely born and already she seems ages old. Would you think she is blessed with a sixth sense?”

STORMY HEIDE KATROS

6

“Why would you say that? Of course, I always thought my mother had a sixth sense.

She seemed to know when things were going to happen, though it’s said mothers need to anticipate, before their children get into mischief.”

“I don’t know. No newborn should sigh with the contentment as our daughter just did. It seems uncanny. I’ve heard that the gift of seeing the future sometimes skips a generation and that we all have a touch of it. It depends on the individual to broaden their talent.”

“I am not sure, Trevor. I think we best keep that idea to ourselves. Some people might think you were delving into black magic and witchcraft.”

He kissed her again and grinned down at her. “You are right, and we are way ahead of ourselves. Maybe I am carried away by the joy of having a new baby, and a healthy one at that.”

And then they noticed the stillness outside. The storm had stopped blowing. A ripple of unease skittered across Annemarie’s spine, but she decided that she would keep the feeling to herself.

In the end they agreed to name their daughter Michaella Marry Mowbray. Annemarie turned sea-green eyes on Trevor and the smile on her lips dazzled him when she thanked him for agreeing to her name. “Somehow I think it’s only right that part of her name should connect her to her heritage. Papa would be pleased to have her called Michaella. And for that reason I don’t mind Marry, though I think it is really plain. I realize that you are right about the name Masika.

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