When a bad boy is oh so good…by Tina Donahue
Let’s face it, Alpha heroes rule. They’re fearless and incredibly masculine. However, that’s not the whole story, especially in romance. I don’t know any woman who wants a guy with a short temper who frowns and snarls at her (think Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre). Yes, I adored that tale, especially when Jane put him in his place and civilized him. I don’t like bossy guys either. What woman does?
An Alpha hero has to be likable. Commanding yet cherishing. A guy who’ll walk through fire for his lady and will risk his life to see her safe. One who’s fair, kind, and loyal. Like Hawkeye (Nathanial Poe) in The Last of the Mohicans. In the film version there’s a scene with Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Cora (Madeleine Stowe). They’re at the fort. She notices him watching her and asks, somewhat imperiously, what he’s looking at. He simply and honestly says, “You.” Wow, what a powerful, sexy scene. He wants her and isn’t afraid to risk his heart. Moments later, they smile at each other like the lovers they’re about to become.
That’s romance and what I wanted for First Comes Desire, book one in my Pirate’s Prize series. Tristan’s a feared pirate but he’s also a man who craves love. Diana’s a reverend’s daughter, determined to bring him down for a crime she believes he’s committed. Although she tries to hate him, she can’t. He’s a fair man with integrity to spare. Despite her accusations, Tristan affords Diana respect. He wants her more than any woman he’s known, but he won’t force her. When she gives her heart to him, she’ll have to do so willingly. To reach that point, he woos her. For me, nothing is more powerful than a seemingly invincible man who allows himself to be vulnerable to a woman. A bad boy who’s oh so good.
FIRST COMES DESIRE……………
On a lush, secluded island, one passionate adventure leads to another….
Diana Fletcher means business. The beautiful, innocent, reverend’s daughter has traveled all the way to a tropical island off Madagascar on a mission: To find her brother—and to punish the man who drove him to a life of piracy. But when she comes face to face with the enemy in question, the handsome, powerfully seductive man is not at all what Diana expected…
Tristan Kent never intended to harm Diana’s brother. A man of humble origins, Tristan claims he tried to save him from another ruthless captain. Diana is desperate to believe he is telling the truth…and that the intoxicating desire that escalates between them is true as well. But can she trust him? Or is Tristan’s story—and his heart—nothing more than fool’s gold? Amid the haze of sensual delights and soaring ecstasy Tristan has in store for her, all will be revealed…
Harsh breathing pulled Tristan Kent from sleep.
Snores rose from his crew, his men having collapsed earlier from rumfustian, a potent mixture of sherry, gin, and beer. If their past imbibing served as evidence, they’d remain unconscious until dawn, sprawled on the isolated beach.
He inhaled deeply and relaxed.
Whispers intruded. Heated murmurs followed, drifted close, and stopped abruptly.
“On your feet, Kent. Do it now, coward.” A young woman had spoken, her British accent refined, tone decidedly heated.
His pulse jumped. Eyes closed, he lay motionless against his bed of felled mangroves. At any other time, he would have murdered the person who dared insult him. Not now. What he’d heard made no sense. He hadn’t been in an Englishwoman’s company in more than four years. Those females had never used cultured speech or their mouths for anything other than delivering the most wanton pleasure.
Pretending sleep, he stretched his legs lazily over the sand and hit an obstacle.
The thing kicked back. “Do as I’ve ordered or die where you are.”
Sweat prickled his neck. He inched his hand from beneath his book to the brace of pistols across his chest. Like other pirates, he was never without his weapons. Unlike most, he never overindulged in drink, as his occupation hardly ensured a long and pleasant rest or life. Even so, he never believed an educated Englishwoman would challenge him.
He couldn’t fathom who she might be, what she wanted, or how she’d come to this particular spot. The hidden beach offered protection against attack or capture while his crew careened the Quest, the sloop he commanded. Brimstone and tallow antifouling reeked on the balmy night breeze.
She kicked his foot harder.
He touched his pistol and opened his eyes. Firelight danced in the muggy breeze casting the exposed hull and mast in a hellish orange glow.
Her rapier point nearly rested on his throat. “If you’re incapable of moving, my blade shall.”
It already had. Any closer and she’d shed his blood. Before he died or they both did, Tristan looked up.
She was young, surely no more than twenty or so, skin fair and flawless, eyes lushly lashed, though he couldn’t determine the color. They seemed too dark to be blue, too fair to be brown. Her features were elegant, lips full and rich, overall surprisingly exquisite.
His mouth went dry.
Only her clothing disappointed. A cap covered her hair, though a few dark tresses had escaped. She’d hidden her womanly form in canvas trousers, a patterned shirt, and short blue jacket. The mild breeze ruffled her clothes, pressing them into the alluring swell of her unbound breasts.
Despite his disquiet and confusion, he smiled.
Bewilderment swept her face, and then she frowned. “On your feet now or I’ll run you through where you lie.”
He settled his fingers carefully against the flat part of her blade. Only his thumb rested directly on the cutting edge. He pressed. Steel sliced into him. Blood ran down.
She made a face.
“Go on, run me through.” He pressed harder. “I’ll assist you in keeping your blade steady.”
She remained perfectly still, not even breathing.
He guessed she wasn’t prepared to murder him after all, though what she would do remained a mystery. He eased the point from his throat, held the flat part, and reeled her in. Her wrist was tantalizingly close. A quick move, along with a firm grip and he’d have her beneath him.
Panic swept her features. She tugged.
He put on a show and gasped loudly.
Mewling like a wounded kitten, she looked at his hand.
His fingers were intact, rather than severed. He’d released the blade in plenty of time, proving she was an innocent at this and foolhardy for having challenged him.
Three men hurried from behind and raised their blades to his chest. A fourth man strode into view. He removed Tristan’s pistols, cutlass, and dagger.
The men said nothing and made no move on their own, appearing to serve rather than using her as a decoy. Each looked to be in his late twenties, dressed like mariners or pirates. In the Indian Ocean, there was little distinction.
To Tristan’s knowledge, there had never been a genteel Englishwoman on the account and surely not one functioning as ship’s captain. However, he’d been absent from his homeland since seventeen-twelve. Perhaps in the last five years, beautiful young women had taken to bolder goals than being a pleasure source to men. “Pity.”
“Pity?” She looked down her nose at him. “Because you’ve yet to lose your fingers to my blade?”
He closed his book. His men weren’t in a position to help him. None ordered to keep watch. He’d left the task to his friend and quartermaster, James Sullivan. Most likely, James was still alive, since the young woman wasn’t brutal. However, he wasn’t here nor had he sent out an alert as to these intruders.
Tristan lifted his face to her men. “Who is she?”
Before they could answer, she directed her blade to his throat. “I said, on your feet.”
“State your purpose and I may consider your sweet request.”
The man next to her snickered.
She gave him a withering look. “Quiet.”
He fell silent but didn’t lose his smile.
Poor girl handled this badly. A man would have killed the fool to warn the others. In this part of the world, it often took violence to secure obedience and respect.
She withdrew her blade. Her glare, however, didn’t soften. She wanted Tristan quite dead, even if she wasn’t the one who would spill his blood. Odd.
“My ship has no valuable cargo.” He gestured to the vessel. “It’s not yet fit for sea, so what could you possibly want other than to have me on my feet?”
“I’ll see you back in England and hanged.”
“You want to send me to the gallows?” He couldn’t hide his shock. “Why?”
“Tell me what you’ve done with Peter.”
Ah, she searched for a man. Her long throat and satiny flesh showed no signs of Peter’s mark in the recent past. Despite her loose clothing, Peter’s seed wasn’t growing inside her, unless she had yet to swell with the man’s child.
Her eyes filled. “Where is he?”
Her distress surprised Tristan. There were six men named Peter in his crew, none worthy of her. She was young, lovely, and apparently educated. Too good for those beasts.
“Montgomery.” She gestured to the man who’d previously snickered.
He was her largest crewmember, his weight in jiggling fat.
She stepped aside. “Make him talk or you’ll answer to your master.”
“Yes, miss.” Montgomery clamped Tristan’s shoulder.
Miss? Master? This was odd. Once Montgomery felt comfortable in his superior role, Tristan offered a swift punch to the man’s jaw.
He staggered back on the sand.
The other men pressed close.
Before they ran Tristan through, he spoke to her. “If you want to know what happened to Peter, order your men to back off. Do it now.”
She gestured for them to withdraw.
“What’s Peter’s last name?”
Another surprise. “Peter Fletcher, my cabin boy?” The lad was fourteen and innocent when it came to women. “How do you know him?”
Tristan bristled, but tempered his anger. Youth and inexperience had caused her careless words. When he’d been her age, he’d also despised pirates. Going on the account hadn’t been his choice or James’s, but a man did what he had to in order to survive. “There’s no need to fear for the lad’s safety. He’s quite well.”
“Where is he? What have you sent my brother to do?”
Everything fell into place, her outrage and sorrow making sense. Peter had spoken of a mother who’d died from the pox when he was quite young and a clergyman father who’d succumbed to the fever three years ago. The boy might have also mentioned a sister.
She must have come to take Peter back to England after finding him here, of all places. The ship and crew she used certainly weren’t hers. Presumably, the vessel belonged to the man she referred to as master.
Tristan longed to ask for particulars but guessed she wouldn’t answer a pirate she wanted hanged. With her, he wanted to comfort. A woman’s distress was never a small matter. “No need to worry. Peter’s task won’t put him at risk.”
“To whose way of thinking, yours or those in the civilized world?”
“Everyone’s. I’m fully aware he’s not yet a man and requires protection.”
She opened her mouth and closed it, cheeks flushing.
Good. He’d won their first battle. Threats moved men. Women needed civilized behavior and a kind word to bring them to a man’s side. He wanted her at his, so he could teach her what pleased him. There would be much she’d learn and enjoy.
Heat pooled in his groin.
She stepped back and gestured to the man who stood next to the still-moaning Montgomery. “Reeves, restrain the captain.”
Tristan stood. Her men lifted their blades to his chest. “What’s the meaning of this? I’ve done you no harm. Stay where you are.” He pointed at Reeves, who’d edged closer, then turned back to her. “Hear this, Miss Fletcher. No matter what transpires, I’ll never do you harm.”
Firelight danced over her milky complexion. Her eyes reflected the flames.
Enticed further, he held up his hands. “Call off your men. You’re safe here. So is Peter. No one’s hurt him.”
She stiffened. “No one? Not even you, especially you? How can you say such a thing? You abducted him.”
She advanced a step. “You’ll hang. I’ll see you hang.”
Not likely. He had other plans for them and kept his peace.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tina Donahue is an Amazon and international bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. Three of her erotic novels (Freeing the Beast, Come and Get Your Love, and Wicked Takeover) were Readers’ Choice Award winners. Another three (Adored, Lush Velvet Nights, and Deep, Dark, Delicious) were named finalists in the EPIC competition. Sensual Stranger, her erotic contemporary romance, was chosen Book of the Year at the French review site Blue Moon reviews. The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for her erotic romance Lush Velvet Nights. Two of her titles (The Yearning and Deep, Dark, Delicious) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. Take Me Away and Adored both won second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years). Tina is featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked at a major Hollywood production company in Story Direction.
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/tinadonahue