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It's 1688 AD, in the midst of the British "Glorious Revolution" and a Dutch invasion to take the throne, as wealthy widow Rebecca DuMaurier, an African British royal court favorite of King Charles II, runs from a forced marriage with a famous general, a white-haired English earl, and into a infamous pirate troubling and walking the shores of her Cornwall home.
Cornwall's rocky, treacherous coast is but a stepping stone for lively Becca, her tenacious soldier fiancé, and her intriguing, brown-skinned, Irish Catholic pirate of many faces.
Historical Romantic Adventure Fiction
Before Now White Hall Palace, Westminster by London, SE England;
1 November, 1688
Draft, PROLOGUE: GLACIAL FLEEING
Blasted irksome it was! Lord Padraic’s infuriating maxims kept darting ’round the bare ankles of Lady Becca’s thoughts; like housecats startled, fur standing on end, the apprehensive felines’ claws unsheathed; piercing into her mind—demanding to not be ignored.
“ ‘May you live in an interesting age,’ he’d spoken so agreeably years ago, and “May you leave without returning,” she finished in a murmur now, chiding her adult shadowed reflection in a whisper; so her lower lady’s maids, in their room beside hers, could not hear.
Both sayings were Lord Padraic’s, overheard by a mostly forgotten little brown-skinned girl at supper during an ambassadorial gathering of several ambassadors. He’d later told her that “interesting times” was not a good thing and too often dangerous, and that “leaving without returning,” meant you’d never come back, which was quite bad, if you left your home and wanted to return!
When Becca had learned the rather polite curse from His Lordship, her young escort was sitting higher at table, according to his noble born rank and esteemed favor, while she, a “common little wench” of the gentry, and the Irish Counselor had been seated just at salt; meaning they were neither favored to sit above it, nor disgraced or ignored enough to sit at table below salt.
Their position at supper said neither was of true importance; but were not to be fully ignored, either, even if, technically, he a full Lord was seating at elbow and below a Common Girl Child of no Wealth nor Power. Lord Padraic’s goals, both his Irish ones and Catholic ones, were in disfavor; but he was a nobleman born and powerful in his own right and endured the humiliation of this disrespect.
Little Mistress Rebecca DeLann, however, well, no one had known what to do with her that entire first year, when she’d abruptly come from “nowhere” and moved into the Royal Court. Her presence had frustrated, sometimes infuriated, and utterly confused Courtiers, both noble and political; especially since none could fully dismiss her because of her Royal Patron.
She still remembered Her Feelings at that long-gone meal; of Lord Padraic’s Frustration in communicating his People’s Needs, whilst being situated too below Power to be heard, and too close to a foolish low courtier bloated on currying higher favor by being malicious, spiteful, and scornful—yes, Becca knew these words all meant the same, but a Child’s Feelings are a Child’s Feelings.
His Lordship had clearly not appreciated being seated so low, nor being partnered with the youngest and only commoner at table, who was not either an adult nor of significance to Government or Court, as a Parliamentarian or Political Minister, or even the Significant Wife or Powerful Mistress of one. His Lordship had been seated next to “the King’s new little pet” and, unfortunately, even her glorious patron, Charles II of the Royal House of Stuarts, hadn’t yet known fully what to do with her in those early public situations, as she’d begun her Life at Court.
Becca’s eyes had grown round and large, as Lord Padraic had stated each Irish curse, in complimentary tones, and loudly in English, confusing the Low Courtier and ceasing his ignorant chatter so abruptly, that the man had gaped like a fish, whilst little Becca had giggled in a child’s delight, for she was yet not fully schooled in her Court Manners. Her highly inappropriate but highly affective, and infectious, laughter not only captured an inquisitive glance from His Majesty and a frown from Her Majesty on his left far away at the head of table; but caused the Irish Lord to finally acknowledge little Becca’s existence in a positive fashion; he winked down at her.
Lord Padraic had ignored Sir Low Courtier, Sir Gape Fish, as she renamed him in her retelling to her noble escort, young Marcus, and from that collusive moment of humor, Lord Padraic had spoken exclusively with her, little Mistress Common Nobody; making it quite apparent to all the “important people” dining there, that he was “giving up the fight, clearly killing his career and ambitions.”
“Where are you from, Mistress Rebecca?”
“Cornwall near Tintagel, I usually say, for more have heard of it or can find it upon a map. Oh! I can see the sea from atop our home!”
“That must be delightful. May I ask, what do you like most here?”
“His Majesty, Her Majesty, and all the colors of the Court. And my Tutor, who teaches me much; including the proper use of the new letters of our alphabet.”
“But, what of the people, these lords and ladies? What is wrong, dear girl?”
“I am told I am not to say my mind, for I am a child, a common child, and an uncommonly brown one at that. I must have no opinion about anything,” she said blandly, as having learned it by rote.
“Who has told you that? And you must tell me because I am your lord friend.”
“Lady Crawford—one of the poorer Crawfords, the other Crawfords do not care for,” she added in a discreet whisper. “She was displeased with me for the King had made her my maid, although she was born a Lady, and I was not.” He laughed, and heads turned. “And when she burned my hair and my neck with the curling irons he said he would send her to the Tower.”
“How shameful of her! Did he?”
“No. I begged that he not do so. She hated that, too, that I had begged for her; although she was terrified she would be sent there. It is one of her great nightmares I knew. He sent her from Court which ceased her funds as my servant. The Crawfords said their late brother, her husband, was gone and she was no longer one of them.”
And Becca whispered more softly, “Because she had no wealth or property or connection to power, except a gentry child, me, and she has lost that. Even her birth family would not help her, and I’d thought, then, that it served her right; until I heard her legs were hurting her more and that she had so little income, with little to nothing else to sell; so, I and my Betrothed, Lord Marcus—.”
“Your...? So that is true?!”
“Not officially, but for us it is.”
He’d smiled at that.
“What happened to Lady Crawford?”
“She pretends anger that she was a 'sentimental fool' when I went to her and begged that she come back, as my Governess not my maid, to teach me things I must know as a Courtier. His Majesty would no longer pay her way, for he was still displeased with her; but I pay it from my small income he gives me, although he has given me an increase as 'a gift'. My Lady Crawford says I am ‘a horrible child’ but when I take her hand, she no longer pulls away. She tells me important things she knows, even the most smallest of things that are quite useful here; because it is very complicated here. Don’t you think so?”
“Yes, I do. However, lass, would you give me examples of useful things she’s taught you, Little Mistress?”
She did and then they discussed the English in Ireland, and the Irish Situation, well, situations, for she had many questions.
“I know I cannot know all but your mission here, my Lord; but what can you tell me? I want to understand, for the gossip seems all lies and ... bigotry. Oh, if I may be allowed to say.”
“I jest not when I say, Mistress Rebecca, you are remarkable.”
“Thank you, Your Lordship,” she said, through blushes. Then, he told her. Uncle Charles, far up the table, noticed, and afterwards he asked, she told His Majesty, and he listened at her experience with the Irish lord.
Lord Padraic’s ... eventual courtesy to “a common girl, who should never have been at a king’s table,” changed a painfully, long supper, that was making her stomach sour and hurt, into a warm, long-Treasured Memory. That supper marked the first time she had truly felt accepted and belonging at His Majesty’s Royal Court, beyond he who had invited her to stay.
Lady Becca always had a loving smile for her memories with Lord Padraic, for he was the first adult nobleman to take her hand and bow respectfully, with affection, to her, over her little tan hand.
Belonging is such a powerful feeling.
Also, he’d told her something else important.
“Remember, my Precious Girl, life is simple; you live, merely exist, or you die; it is people who are complicated.
Lady Becca sighed.
But, this place isn’t my home anymore, not with all my Sweet Loves gone, Lady Becca thought, whilst discarding the diamond and gold-hearted betrothal ring upon a side table. She did keep her Marcus’ wedding ring as the lone jewel on her finger in her fisted hand, where it alone would always remain.
She scowled, as she leaned to be gone but warily stood still, tugging on her gloves, to listen for any stirrings from her maids’ or from the corridor before her apartment, as she thought.
Maybe Lord Padraic’s curses will prove a blessing. After all. These are such interesting times. Too interesting, by far.
“And it will be a delicious pleasure to leave these times far, far behind me. And never return,” she whispered, in satisfaction.
Becca smirked into the dark eyes of her mirrored image, before slipping a lady’s full vizard mask upon her face, clenching the bead holder in her side teeth. The mask obscured her vibrant coloring, as she pulled her hood forward, entirely veiling her swarthy tresses, prior to tipping forth from this luxurious coffin and into….
Long corridors, abbreviated corridors, halls crossing galleries within meandering corridors. She recalled with annoyance someone proudly stating, “White Hall Palace has over fifteen hundred rooms!”
“ ‘Over’? What’s the exact count?” Little Becca had blurted, and that Someone had sputtered, red-faced, “I-I’m not ... really ... certain.”
Becca had stopped herself from precociously asking had he gotten lost in his counts or in the palace’s damnable rabbit warren of passageways, or both. But, she had refrained; which had been a major accomplishment for an inquisitive ten-year-old to do on her own, even after two years at Court.
Blasted, she mentally cursed now, abruptly pausing, yet again, at more passing footsteps, before continuing her attempt to escape her home within a royal palace. In this time of ... fleeing, it was perversely without end, as she repeatedly froze to not show movement, or was ever slipping into dark nooks to conceal her passage. And, to make it all the corridors worse, there really were far too many a late-night sly fox or ravenous wolf sneaking about upon their trails of prey. Wild night life was everywhere! There was even a cowering dog or two and at least one weasel, slinking off across her path in a pack. Probably to gamble whether King James the Catholic would—.
Oh, now they’re dawdling, arguing about to whose apartment or salon to retire. Their interfering in her escape was bloody exhausting!
“Life at Court is much like the Royal Zoo, Mistress Rebecca; be wary of your path and what, or who, crosses it, so nothing may claw or devour you, my tender Darkling,” her now supposed betrothed had first instructed her long ago, and again since, with his sharp Voice of Command intimately warm, filled with unwanted fondness and ... warning. For her.
Who was he to warn her about anything!
Damnably unfortunate, though, he’d been quite right about this being like the Tower Zoo.
Lord Jon may have given her good advice, and he was a great man, for everyone said so; but, for her part, Becca still did not want to be neither Mistress nor Wife to Great Britain’s “our great White Wolf.”
“Bloody Od’s Bod’kin!” she softly cursed again at an all too familiar sound in this palace. She slinked aside from the main corridor into a dark alcove, then held still a long, long whilst in its murk, as the elder Lady Ashmore and a rakish, hardy soldier—who wasn’t even an officer, let alone of noble name—were committing intimacies Lord Ashmore would have been highly livid about, had he been able to run and catch them up with his gouty foot.
Blasted, I’ll be right here all night, Becca moaned in thought. If I had paints and brush, I’ll have time to paint their portrait of Lovers in Adultery.
Lady Ashmore threw her head back against the wall in hard surprise as the soldier’s rough-hewn fingers found something pleasant under her skirts.
The younger Ashmore, Lady Jane, would have been appalled at her mother’s preposterous assignation; being “too old for such frivolity,” and married to her father; especially with a soldier, who wasn’t even an officer! “Mother! At your age!” And especially with this redcoat, for he’d already had his fingers and other manly bits under daughter Lady Jane’s skirts.
Obviously, he’s quite fond of the Ashmores.
These considerations weren’t mere gossip, either; because it was remarkable what Lady Becca knew, saw, heard and overheard, without even trying to pry or spy. Ofttimes, others confided in her, or had told Marcus, who had told her nearly everything. She gently numbed any thoughts of him, as she presently remained in a recessed shadow, waiting. And waiting.
The amorous lady was in her forties with grown children, as the strong soldier lifted her and she straddled him, but slipped off, twice. Lady Ashmore wasn’t known for being well-seated, when mounting ... horse. And this ... strong mount wanted ... deep purchase.
Denton!, Becca thought his name might be. Denton turned the lady to face the wall, as he hiked her ladyship’s skirts, making her giggle like a girl, before she commented.
“Ah, so it’s a dog you want to be, eh, Denton?”
Ah, I had the right of his name.
“And you my randy bitch,” he chuckled darkly, then took the thickness of his eager member in hand, stroking its full length like a favored pet, whilst turning his head and staring into the patch of darkness which hid Becca, before slowly sliding his long, fat eagerness into the Lady wife of a Lord of Parliament, and thus began their illicit dance in earnest.
First, Becca praised herself for recalling the rather obscure soldier’s name. The High Ladies had been whispering and giggling about him ever since his arrival, and Becca had met him briefly, in passing. “Deadly attractive for a commoner” or not, he’d held her hand for far too long; like Cook at market whilst appraising ripeness in something to be later devoured.
Second, Becca did a quick inventory of her anonymity: her face was well hidden by the full vizard mask and deep hood, her tan hands inside long gloves, and no one had seen her wear either the gown, glove, or shoes before. In fact, she had had a long heartfelt talk when last visiting with Evadne, and not long after Becca’s return to White Hall, the gown had arrived, with a note in an unfamiliar hand, but marked with a sign that stated friend; she should open all when alone.
The gift card had read: “A lady never knows when she will need a change of guise. It is not your color, nor fashion, use your actress skills. And be safe, my Sweet Little Sister.” Her own sister never called her that, only Evadne in their times alone together.
Sergeant Denton! If memory served her well, and it usually did. He was ... had been a lieutenant, or captain? Briefly. But had been demoted, for ... Oh!, lying abed with his lord superior’s wife! It was gossiped that she was spoiled for anyone else ’twixt her thighs, including her husband! Wasn’t that errant wife in a locked convent in France now, or just cast off to the gutter, or was it a deep country backwater with a dense, treacherous marsh all about her?
Becca really couldn’t recall just now. They weren’t very important people and she was impatient to be away. Plus, Lady Ashmore and Sergeant Denton’s ... movements were ... hypnotic; causing an unwanted fancy to clench in her own abandoned loins, in memory of long, strong thighs, and a hardening groin against hers, when locked in an overlong and disturbing betrothal kiss.
No. No. No. No. NO! Clear that congestion away, woman! Oh, God, Marcus, don’t step aside for your old friend, in your stead, when I push you away!
She refocused from memory to the public lovers. Oh, yes, the perverse cur was definitely gazing in her direction, making her recall strange discussions about those who liked an audience, when becoming heatedly engrossed in their ... ride.
Lady Becca stepped forth.
The entire ... action before her, to use a military term, didn’t make Becca grimace, for she was no longer a child of the gentry; but a full Courtier and a Peeress of the Realm, in her own name. And, really, such a thing was so common to the point of being utterly, well, Common. Lady Ashmore was utterly engrossed in her redcoated paramour’s ... movements, that Becca went unnoticed by the lady as she slipped silently around them with barely a soft whispering rustle of skirts.
’Twas eerie, though, Sergeant Denton watching her pass, riding more wildly for his audience, as he enjoyed a Parliamental House of Lord’s Lady, who panted against the stones, leaving smears of her makeup upon them, her hairpieces falling askew. Becca was past them, and nearly resisted; but gave into some curious feeling. She glanced back to find Denton’s head turned, his gaze following her exit, a lolling grin upon his face, as he drove his borrowed lady into the wall, with heightened, hard enthusiasm.
You are quite welcome, you dangerous common cur. And you, too, naughty Lady Public Assignation.
There were ... feminine shrieks of Breathless Delight and male grunts of ... Completion, as vague wonderings of whether he’d get both ladies with child passed quickly, after Becca turned the corner.
_continues in the novel "Becca DuMaurier"
A brown-skinned girl of African English descent and common birth amongst the landed middle class has been raised to the nobility ranks of Britain by personality, good heart, and wit. And the love of a young noble and their King.
Now a titled noblewoman with the highest connections and wealth, Becca is more than a petulant runaway bride, because the powerful men and women interwoven through her life are changing Great Britain into a modern power.
Plus, who’s to say a Lady cannot be dangerous?
A well-loved general and high peer of Britain, who has lost his only heir and has watched Becca grow to maturity, without realizing his true feelings for her.
He is awake now to his feelings about his friend Marcus' wife; and Lord Jon has waited long enough and has the reach and the will to have her captured and returned to his side and bed no matter how far she runs, whether on land or sea.
A notorious Irish Catholic pirate with conflicting reports about his skin's color and even his gender. Gentleman pirate Aidan O'Rourke is in personal revolt and revenge against all that is Great Britain has taken from him.
But, an unexpected British gift comes to him in the shape of lively, irresistible Becca.
But, can he claim and keep hold of her?
A young nobleman and only male heir to his family's highest title, fortune, and hopes. In a family doomed with short-lived males, his stubborn choice for love is a brown-skinned, vivacious commoner, Becca.
As a child, Lord Marcus will introduce little Mistress Becca as his future bride to their king, Charles II; changing the lives and fortunes of many.
The legendary "Merry Monarch" of Britain's Restoration of the King to the Throne is best known for his numerous mistresses and royal bastards than for ushering all English-speaking people into modern concerns and failures, like: news tabloids, shopping malls, women actresses, industrialized African slavery, and more.
Oh, and present Brit Royals are his bastards' descendants. How's that for relevance.
BECCA DuMAURIER is the expanded and much extended full novel built from:BECCA, a swashbuckling pirate story, as short story chapters* formerly online at Romantic4ever.com* [now offline / defunct]!
* Chapter 1: Becca in the Woods
* Chapter 2: Becca Escapes to Sea
* Chapter 3: Becca Gets Her Sea Legs
* Chapter 4: Becca's Faux Honeymoon
* Chapter 5: Becca Comes Ashore
* Chapter 6: Becca Outlaw's Sea Battle
* more "Becca DuMaurier" and Becca.Neale-Sourna.com
Sneak Peek: VIDEO SHORT STORY Film / BOOK TRAILER
An extended book trailer / film short of two chapters of the following novel. Film was done as a film class thesis project. Submitted to Cleveland Film Festival.
"BECCA GETS HER SEA LEGS" [13:55"] from the expanded original short stories of Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 of:
BECCA, a swashbuckling pirate story* formerly online at Romantic4ever.com* [now offline / defunct].
* Chapter 2: Becca Escapes to Sea
* Chapter 3: Becca Gets Her Sea Legs
Cuyahoga Community College Media Arts and filmmaking marketing photo taken on stage during student film shoot of "Becca Gets Her Sea Legs" by Neale Sourna
Our hardcore main line
[sensuality is R, NC17, X, XXX]
medium and hard erotica / sensual romance / romantic erotica
Our softcore line
[sensuality is PG13, Soft R]
soft erotica / sensual romance / romantic erotica and general fiction
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Other projects Neale Sourna has written and have been published beyond PIE.
Copyright 2021 Neale Sourna
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