I’m doing my first ever blog tour! I’m so excited.
I’ve taken part in them and hosted the author. Done giveaways. Promo what-have-you, but I’ve never been the focus of a blog tour.
Now I am! Squee!!!!!!!!!!
It’ll take place May 26 – June 1.
If you’re a blogger who wants to participate you can sign up HERE.
Let me tell you about Cutlass Anne.
After setting out to save her sister, Anne Crowley finds herself face-to-face with the notorious John Jacks, the son of a ruthless pirate captain. John Jacks thwarts Anne’s every move yet she finds herself attracted to the infuriating pirate. Determined to find her sister, and resist the charming John Jacks, Anne and her band of pirates must search the high seas for clues to finding her missing sister before she’s lost forever.
“Ow!” I yelped.
“I’m sorry, madam,” Juliana muttered as she tugged the laces of my corset again.
“Stop whining, Anne,” Jane said while watching me from my bed.
I held onto my dressing table with one hand and placed the other on my chest. “You’ll have to forgive me for not enjoying having my entire body constrained. I hate these things.”
“They make you look lovely,” Jane mumbled.
“I like to think I look fine without them,” I snapped. “Not all of us have naturally tiny waists like you, Jane.”
Juliana pulled harder on the bottom. “Finished!”
“Finally,” I grumbled, standing up straight. “I can’t even breathe.”
“You’ll be fine,” Jane replied.
“Which gown will you be wearing this evening?” Juliana asked.
“The green one with the gold and black stomacher please,” I replied.
She hauled the green gown out of a closet and brought it over for me to examine.
“It will do,” I said, waving at her.
“What’s wrong?” Jane asked.
“You know why father is going through such a hassle for a simple dinner with Bradford and his parents.”
“Why?” she asked.
“Marriage, Jane. He’s trying to marry me off.”
“You don’t know that, Anne.”
“Yes I do.”
“We’ll see,” she said rolling her eyes.
Juliana pinned the stomach panel in as our father, Thomas, knocked on the door. “Are you ready?”
“Yes,” I called to him.
He opened the door and walked a slow circle around me.
“What’s wrong?” I asked him.
“Nothing. You look lovely.”
“Yes, I suppose I do,” I said staring at my reflection.
“Jewelry?” Juliana asked holding open the small ivory chest for me to pick what I wanted.
“The emerald necklace and the gold brooch.”
“No, wear the rose cut and pearl brooch,” Thomas said, intercepting Juliana’s hand.
“That was mothers,” I protested.
“Yes, I know. It will look better with your gown.” He picked up my most valuable piece of jewelry and deposited it into my hand. Tears glazed my eyes. I blinked a few times trying to force them away. I didn’t want to wear mother’s brooch. I liked it safe in my ivory chest.
“Our guests have arrived. Please come down.”
“Right away,” I said, trying to hide my disdain for him.
I descended the stairs slowly, swallowing the lump that had formed in my throat. Sitting the formal room were Bradford Worthington and his parents.
Of course it’s Bradford, I thought bitterly to myself.
“Good evening, Anne,” he said, standing and bowing low to me.
“Good evening, Mister Worthington,” I replied, walking into the living room.
“You look lovely,” Charles Worthington said, letting his eyes travel up and down my body. I shuddered as he placed his hand on the small of my back. His salt and pepper hair slicked back and his glasses kept sliding down his nose. The man was creepy.
The family was prominent but I did not like them.
Rumors circulated about town that Charles had a particular fondness for women of my age who were not his wife. I felt for her. My heart broke each time I saw him giving a gift to another woman, or I saw another woman with one of his tokens. It was not proper.
“Thank you,” I replied before turning to his wife, “Thank you for coming to dinner, Mrs. Worthington.”
“Mm, yes. You’re welcome,” she mumbled, looking down her nose at me. Her thin bird lips were pursed in a thin line and her beady eyes were narrowed. Her firey red hair was pulled up into a bun and her corset was pulled too tight.
I wish she knew I wasn’t like the others. I don’t want her husband.
“Dinner is ready,” our head butler announced, standing in the doorway to the dining room.
The large room was quiet except for the clinking of silverware off dishes. I sat across from my sister Jane. She hated these dinners as much as I. She sighed heavily, looked up at me, and rolled her big, beautiful blue eyes. I smiled, trying to stifle a giggle as I sipped at the clam chowder that sat before me.
“What is so funny?” Bradford asked, not even bothering to look away from his soup.
“Nothing at all,” I replied, smiling sweetly.
“Hmm,” he replied, side-eyeing me.
I glanced up and saw his mother glaring at me from the other side of her silver spoon. I pursed my lips and stared at my chowder.
“Anne, Bradford has just finished at Harvard University,” Thomas announced, smiling at Bradford.
“That is so interesting.” I smiled politely. Oh Father, please don’t do what I think you’re doing.
“It was a good time. I plan on going into politics like my father.” He smiled at the gray haired man who sat across from him.
“Really? I had no idea.” I rolled my eyes at my soup somewhat hoping he picked up on my sarcasm.
“Now that he has finished with his studies he will be looking for a wife,” his father said absently.
I stopped eating mid-sip and looked up at my sister in horror. “Oh?”
“Yes,, I will need a good, respectable wife soon.”
“Well good luck with that, sir,” I said while slurping my soup as loudly as possible.
Jane laughed, and my father shot me the most evil of looks.
“Where are you planning on settling, Bradford?” Jane inquired, regaining herself.
“I will be returning to England. My father has his practice there, and I will be working with him.”
“Yes, we already have things set up for him,” Charles added.
“How very interesting. Anne, have you ever been to England?” Jane questioned, biting her lip as if to keep from laughing again.
I closed my eyes slowly and opened them again. “Of course not, Jane. I remember you telling me not too long ago how much you wanted to live there. Isn’t that right?”
Her eyes grew as large as saucers as Bradford’s parents glanced up at us. Our father sighed, shaking his head.
“Is that right?” Bradford queried, eyeing my little sister.
“Not so much. I believe my dear sister must have heard me wrong. I said I would love to visit New England.”
“Oh.” He turned his gray eyes on me. “Anne, how old are you now?”
“I, um, I am nineteen.” My heart sped up, and I knew exactly where the conversation was going.
“Nineteen already?” he asked.
“How old are you, sir?”
“I will be twenty-eight within the month.”
“Twenty-eight?” I turned my head to look at my father. “Did you hear that father? He’s going to be twenty-eight.”
“I heard. I believe I was twenty-nine and your mother was eighteen when we married.”
“Of course,” I replied, sighing heavily. It’s too soon.
Why is it time already? If mother were still alive she would intervene. I know she would stop this. She would never allow this to continue. She would know this is all wrong.
Our soups were cleared from the table, and the main courses placed in front of us. Tonight it was whatever they caught out of the bay, potatoes, carrots, freshly baked bread, and some other vegetable. My appetite was gone, so I just pushed the food around on my plate. My father and Bradford finished the evening off with political talk while Jane and I made faces at each other. As soon as our dessert plates were cleared, I excused myself. I knew father would usher Bradford into his office to discuss “business”. Jane and I strolled through the gardens behind the house arm-in-arm. It was getting cooler and the flowers were beginning to die, but they still filled the air with their wonderful aroma.
“He’s going to ask you to marry him,” she said suddenly.
“I know.” I sighed again heavily.
“What are you going to do?”
“The only thing I can, I suppose, say yes.”
“Why are you so opposed to him?” she asked.
“He is so much older than I. I’m not in love with him at all. Not to mention he is boring, stuffy, and wants to cart me off to England.” I smiled meekly at her. “I’ll never see you again.”
“You are eventually going to have to get married and move away.” The young girl laughed. “At least Bradford will have a well-respected career, and he is very handsome.”
I smiled as her blue eyes twinkled and she grabbed my hand.
“Oh not necessarily. I can become a pirate. I will pillage for the rest of my days!” I exclaimed running through the garden to the small cliff beyond the yard. The salty breeze blew in hard as waves crashed against the rocky shore below. I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply. The air had a scent of salt with dying trees. It was my favorite smell.
“You? Be a pirate? Anne, you are the most proper lady in all of the colonies. You don’t even know how to sail!”
“I can learn.” I pouted.
“You get seasick from looking at the ocean! How will you possibly survive aboard a ship?” She laughed.
“I just won’t eat. If there is nothing in my stomach nothing will be there to come out.” I winked at my sister.
“Anne! Jane!” Father called from the porch.
“Time to get it over with,” Jane sympathized, patting my back.
“I will figure out some way to get out of this,” I lamented as we walked back to the house very slowly. “I won’t leave you, Jane.”
“You can’t stay with me forever, dear sister. There will come a point when you won’t be there to protect me,” she whispered.
“As long as I am able, I will always be there to save you.”
“I love you, Anne.”
“And I love you, Jane.”
“Jane, come with me. I think Bradford and Anne need some time alone,” Thomas declared, ushering my little sister into the house.
She turned her head and waved to me. I stared after them as I was left alone with the man outside. There was nothing I could do. I was nineteen and it was time to get married. How would I survive without Jane? She always thought I clung to her so much to protect her, but in all honesty she was the one protecting me. She was my lifeline.
“Walk with me, Anne,” he insisted. I shivered as the air seemed to get cooler suddenly. An omen? Nothing good can come of this, Anne.
I nodded and followed as he headed into the same garden Jane and I had just come from. It was the same garden my mother planted before she died so many years ago. It was my favorite place to go, the one place I could always feel close to her.
“I know this is sudden, and we have not seen each other in many years,” he started.
“If you are going to ask, please ask. I do not need long speeches,” I mumbled.
“Anne, I have no idea what I have done to make you so upset.” He turned toward me. “I want to take care of you and make you happy for the rest of our lives.”
“Forgive me. I am just really nervous.”
“I have never proposed before.” He got down on one knee and held out a beautiful ring. “Anne Crowley, will you do me the honor of being my wife?”
Well he came prepared, I thought miserably.
Everything in me wanted to scream ‘Nooo’. Even though he was a very attractive man, I did not love him. His gray eyes gazed into mine, and there was only one thing I could say.
“Yes.” I swallowed hard and put on the best fake smile I could as he slipped the ring onto my finger. It felt as though it weighed a million pounds and was nothing more than a prison sentence. I knew I didn’t have any other choice, but why did it feel like I had just ended everything?
I took his arm as he stood and together we walked into my father’s house. Tears threatened to spill over as my mind raced with thoughts of traveling to England and never seeing home again. No, not my home. I cared nothing for my home or this place. I cared about my sister. I cared nothing for my father. What would my life be like without Jane? How could I go without having my one connection to mother? What would she do without the one person who kept her safe?
“Any news?” my father asked anxiously as we entered the house.
I glared at him. “Bradford and I are engaged to be married. Now if everyone will excuse me, I must retire to bed. I am exhausted.”
I turned and left everyone standing in the parlor. Anger churned in my stomach as I stormed down the hallway. The tears spilled over as I slammed my door shut. That was the last thing I would ever do for my father.