Melynda Price

Owned by the Ocean~Free Read by Christine Steendam

January 16, 2014

Christine Steendam’s Owned by the Ocean

Christine Steendam’s Owned by the Ocean, which is currently free at Smashwords!

Available from 5 Prince Publishing 

Genre: Fiction, Action, Adventure, Historical, Romance, Sea Stories
Release Date: January 16, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-004-6 ISBN 10:1-63112-004-2
Owned By the Ocean
Brant’s life is planned for him. He will attend the best academic school in England, run his father’s estate, and marry well. But, with the sea calling to him, and a father that treats him more like a soldier to be commanded than a son, he takes off to find his own destiny.
What Brant doesn’t know, is that the sea is a cruel mistress, and once she owns you she won’t let you go.
About the Author: Christine started writing when she could put pen to paper and form words. Now, many years later, not much has changed. Her stories are romances that you can relate to with a little bit of adventure mixed in. She enjoys writing flawed but loveable characters and more often than not a horse or two will find their way in as well.
Christine makes her home in Manitoba, Canada on a sprawling 15 acre ranch withher sons, husband, and many animals.
Excerpt of Owned by the Ocean:
England, 1660
Brant looked up from his scribbler at his teacher who was droning on about something to do with the politics behind the colonization of the new world… or was it the precarious peace with Spain? Either way, he didn’t really care. Time was moving at a snail’s pace. Every tick of the clock sounded like a hammer hitting an anvil, the boy two rows down was scratching his head. Brant was pretty sure he had lice. In front of him another boy was drumming his fingers incessantly. Every noise and movement was grating and more in focus than Mr. Johnson’s teaching.
Brant shut out everything around him and looked down at the open page of his scribbler. He was supposed to be writing notes but instead the page was covered with carelessly doodled shapes or words that had nothing to do with what Mr. Johnson was teaching.
At sixteen, Brant Foxton had no interest in the politics, grammar, or math that filled each and every day at the school for young men he attended. All he wanted was to leave the masquerade called London society and sail. He had expressed this desire many times over to his father, Sir Calvin Foxton, but he would hear nothing of it.
Calvin Foxton had served his King faithfully for many years in both the army and then as a member of his council. He had been knighted when Brant was but five years old, a moment in history that he could remember being filled with excitement and honor for his father. Too bad it didn’t take long for Brant to realize that he was treated more like a soldier than a son.
This past year, after many attempts at convincing his father to allow him to attend the royal naval academy, Brant had been sent to a prestigious boarding school in the heart of London where he was to be polished and educated for service to the crown as the gentleman his family name required. There would be no sails, sword or pistols in Brant’s future. Instead it held paper work, money and bowing and scraping before the King. That was the life of nobility in England and that was to be the life of Brant Foxton. That was his father’s plan.
Brant stopped his doodling and looked around. Some of the boys were asleep, others intently taking notes and listening to the teacher. Most of the boys at this school were everything their parents expected them to be. The picture of young men of society, they walked and talked exactly as they were instructed, turned their noses up at those less fortunate than them, and flaunted money—that many didn’t have but their name allowed them to pretend—like it was their job. They were raised to outwardly respect someone like Brant due to his family’s status but many whispered behind his back or snickered over their afternoon tea. Brant was an anomaly, someone who didn’t care about prestige, money, and would very willingly throw it all away for a chance at a different future.
Brant was not an overly kind boy, nor humble. He hated his father and family name, he hated the school and the teachers, he hated the boys who hid behind masks their parents had forced on them, and most of all he hated that he was considered to be among them. He was better than this and he knew it. He was better than the acting and the back stabbing that he saw among the boys.
London was full of hypocrites. Brant may be blatantly cavalier and didn’t give a damn, but the boys he went to school with participated in the same activities, but behind well-kept facades. No one but themselves and perhaps their closest friends knew about the things they did that their family would disapprove of. But they all did them. Brant had seen the older boys get drunk and steal things from the younger ones. He had seen, and been a victim of, their bullying behind closed doors. But they all hid it from the outside world, from prying eyes. To the public, to the teachers, they were everything young gentlemen should be. Everyone but Brant Foxton.
The class was dismissed and Brant left the room in a shuffle of feet and a murmur of voices. Politics had been the last class of the day and they now had the evening for free time until dinner was called. Brant went up to his room that he shared with two other boys and, lying on his bed, pulled out a military strategy book he had taken from the library. There was no military strategy class offered since the boys that went here didn’t need to know about battle formations and military hierarchy. But, the library carried books on the subject and Brant spent his free time educating himself on everything he would need to know to join the navy. He hoped that with the knowledge he gained from reading he would be able to make his way through the ranks quickly and become an officer in short order. Of course his father would not even consider forgiving him until he made Captain, then perhaps he could consider Brant was upholding the family name in an honorable fashion. But, until he was prepared, he would remain in school and learn what he could, then take his leave and endure his father’s disapproval.
Things had changed when Brant’s mother passed away six years earlier. Calvin had become hard on his son, without his gentle wife to keep him in line. Brant’s brother; James, who was now six, was mostly taken care of by a nurse and the maids. Calvin Foxton didn’t have much time for his youngest son, not when he was reminded of his wife, who had died giving birth to him, every time he saw him. Brant guessed that his mother was the only person Calvin Foxton had ever been gentle with. He had been young when his mother passed, only ten, but from what he remembered she was a kind woman, and had truly loved her husband, which was not something he saw often among other couples.
It had been an arranged marriage, as many of them were, and Suzanne had been ten years Calvin’s junior. However, they had fallen in love during their years together, and Brant was certain his father would have given Suzanne Foxton anything she wanted. If she gave him even a disapproving look when Calvin adopted his military background with his son he would immediately melt and become a loving and kind father. That had disappeared when Suzanne passed away. Suddenly there was only military discipline and his father was detached from him in every way. No longer did Brant have loving parents but instead he had a commander and he was nothing more than a delinquent soldier. It had been a drastic change that had embittered Brant towards his father. He was convinced that if his mother was alive he would have been allowed to join the Royal Navy. She had always wanted what was best for Brant and what would make him happy in the long run. Calvin would have nothing to do with that now. The military was not the place for his son, especially the sea. There was nothing glamorous about being an officer, Captain, or Commodore. They were respected if they served the King well and had some kind of military genius that brought them to his attention but otherwise they were just another civil servant making low pay and risking their lives for honor that Brant shouldn’t have to earn any longer. He was born with it.
Leo, one of his roommates walked in, took one look at Brant and laughed. “All you ever do is study those useless books. That won’t help you at all with your marks here.”
“I don’t really care about my marks here.”
“You should. Your father is going to beat you if you fail.”
Brant laughed. “He can try. I’m getting a bit old for him to slap around.”
Leo was two years Brant’s senior and had two years left in the school. He was looking to take over his father’s business in Jamaica where he owned a sugar cane plantation.
Out of all the boys in school, Leo was probably the only one Brant considered a friend. In society Leo was what every young man should be, but in his circle of friends he was better known as a womanizer and a gambler. When his father sent him money, Leo made his way to a local brothel where he spent time with Claire, a pretty little blonde that had been used one too many times and had a sad look behind her eyes. He was kind to her though, and when he went out with the guys he would invite her along. Although her company was paid for, she was accepted among them as a friend. One couldn’t help the circumstances life had dealt someone.
When the money didn’t come Leo would pull out his charm and woo a pretty second or third class girl that dreamed of a man like Leo coming along and marrying her, turning her into a real lady. It was never going to happen though. And every time, it was the same, hopeful laughter turning into disappointed tears. It bothered Brant that Leo could be so self-absorbed, yet he considered himself fortunate to be his friend.
Leo was kind enough to most of the boys, but he enjoyed putting some of the more pompous pricks in their place. When Brant had started out his year Leo had considered Brant just one of those; a pompous prick who curtailed off his daddy and thought himself better than everyone else. But, for the most part, Leo was humble and kind. He never considered other boys inferior, even if society deemed them so, and always treated everyone with respect. Even outside of society he seemed to ignore the boundaries and distinction and class and mingled without prejudice. That was what Brant liked about Leo. And for that, he overlooked his friend’s less than upstanding behavior.
Leo and Brant were not so fortunate as to have the third boy who shared their room follow their life philosophies. Robert was a second year student, right between Brant and Leo. He was self-important and had delusions of grandeur. His family was on the verge of losing everything, and everyone knew it. Yet, they held onto their expensive taste, threw just as many dinner parties as before, and turned up their noses at anyone they considered beneath them. They sent Robert to school on their good name and credit, but he strutted the halls as if his father was the King himself and treated the younger boys with such disdain that you would have thought them his servants. He never said a word to Brant or Leo after he discovered they had no interest in playing along. Instead, they took every opportunity to take him down a notch. A biting comment or a prank usually managed to put him in his place for a short time.
“Are you going home for Christmas?” asked Brant, looking up from his book.
Leo too had lay down on his bed and was studying his arithmetic. He looked over at Brant. “Of course. I believe my father is coming to get me next week. Are you?”
“I suppose. My father hasn’t visited me except that one time I got in trouble for pouring ink down Robert’s jacket.”
Leo chuckled, presumably at the memory of Robert’s face turning a plum shade of purple from anger and embarrassment. “He’s a tough one but I’m sure he only wants what’s best for you.”
Brant scoffed, “What’s best for me? Perhaps, but he has a very narrow view of what’s best.”
Leo put down his book and sat up. “I like you, Brant, but I also think you’re in serious need of an attitude adjustment. You father has worked very hard to get where he is now and you don’t appreciate what he has given you. He doesn’t want his life for you. The navy is not easy and often ends in tragedy. Take the easy way. Your father worked hard so you would have the best things in life.”
“It’s not about status and courts and money to me. I don’t want to be stuck in a life where everyone plays a role and wears a mask. I want adventure and freedom.”
“Then you are naive. You think adventure is glamorous? If so I think you will find yourself disappointed. This life isn’t so bad. I have fun still.”
“But your parents, anyone outside of your circle of friends has no idea what you’re truly like.”
“That’s not true. I still act like myself; I just choose to practice discretion in revealing some of my less than appropriate habits. Speaking of which, my father sent some money again. Would you like to go play some cards?”
Brant looked back at his book for a moment then sighed, “Why not? It’s that or stay here reading.”
Leo laughed. “That’s the spirit. Come on let’s dig into your trust fund a little and make use of some of your father’s hard earned money.”

A Single Day Shattered Her Life…

 

A single day shattered her life and set in motion, events that would change the Sullivan family for generations.

Marnie Joe Sullivan had the perfect life as the daughter of a wealthy Virginia businessman, but perfection wouldn’t last. As the War Between the States ends, she is struggling to keep her family together. After a botched robbery, fleeing rebels leave her mother dead and Marnie at the mercy of a killer. The year is 1867 and Virginia is still home to Confederate conspirators and a killer that must be stopped. Loyalty and love run deep in the Sullivan family and Marnie is no exception. As the eldest Sullivan, she feels obligated to rescue her father from the hangman’s noose. But a jailbreak at midnight lands her in the arms of Marshal Mason Kane.

Death is never fair. Mason Kane is proof of that. The horror of war and the death of his brother made him a drunk. Consumed by guilt and grief, he finds himself occupying Richmond saloons and starting fights. But a forgotten promise to his brother forces him to put down the bottle and accept a friend’s plea for help. Mason has no idea that the scrawny, mud covered boy he just hit is Sullivan’s daughter and he has no idea just how tempting she is until he tries to mend her wounds. Bound by honor and promise, Mason sets out to find a killer. What he finds is the outlaw Marnie Sullivan. A woman he can’t live without and secrets that lie in the way.

About Wilhelmina Stolen:

Wilhelmina Stolen is the pseudonym for romance writer, Shannon Hayes. Shannon is a native of Kentucky and makes her home in small southern town close to the Tennessee line. During her adolescence, her mother’s free spirited nature became restless causing the family to embark on a slew of adventurous moves across the country. The moves provoked a hunger for adventure and romance and introduced her to a wonderful world of history and beauty.

As with most writers, her stories began at an early age with long sessions of seclusion and secrecy. While her classmates and friends were outside playing, Shannon was locked away in her room hammering out ideas on an old 1940’s Royal typewriter.

After finding Mr. Right, Shannon found herself wanting the comfort and security of the small Kentucky town she longed to escape as a child. Fortune smiled upon her and she became the family historian; gathering pictures, wills, marriage certificates and everything else that somehow managed to fall into her lap. Stories flooded her mind and writing quickly became an obsession that turned into the Way of Hearts Saga. The saga spans six generations and three families.

Shannon holds an Associates in Applied Science in Technology, a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration and Management as well as a Masters in Educational Leadership. Visit her author page at http://www.wilhelminastolen.com to learn more about the saga.

Public contact information:

http://www.wilhelminastolen.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wilhelmina-Stolen/179196792227471?ref=hl

https://twitter.com/WStolen

http://www.wattpad.com/story/920976-sullivan%27s-way

Excerpt of Sullivan’s Way:

February 2, 1868

Sullivan Settlement, Virginia

Them Damned Confederates

Marnie Joe Sullivan, a well-bred woman of Virginian wealth, sat at the head of her father’s table. Despite her cool exterior, she felt civility’s firm grip slip and a white-hot anger coil its way up her spine. The beast threatened to burst forth in a rage of unladylike vulgarities of which the gentlemen across from her would undoubtedly recoil and offer a hideous clicking sound of disapproval from their forked tongues! No, that wouldn’t do.

“Damn it Marnie! You can’t go!” The abrasive voice manifested itself from the older man sitting across from her. He heaved one foot upward and slammed it against the smooth cherry floor of the great room. The dull clap of the heavy boot vibrated against the stone walls of the Sullivan house, “We have to wait for Lucas. He’ll be back anytime now.” The stub from his missing first finger wiggled uncontrollably as he ran his gnarled fingers over his thinning, silver hair, creating a wild mess. The missing digit was Ike Ritchie’s trophy for his victorious fight in the Battle of Buena Vista in ’47, “Your Pa was crazy for going to Silver Creek!”

With an unwavering face of authority, Marnie lifted her chin and leveled her gaze. A delicate blush of pink rushed over both cheeks, “My Pa is not crazy! He’s grieving.” Her small fingers anxiously examined the delicate embroidery of her handkerchief as her eyes burned into Ike with disapproval. The midnight black of her silk dress couldn’t quench the green fire that raged in her eyes. Since her mother’s death, Marnie had adorned black in every sense of the word, her soul, her spirit, and her will were all shaded black by that day, but not today. Today was a day of action!

An indignant “humph” escaped the edge of her full lips. As if being prompted by the sound, a petite black woman stepped from the hall and stood with folded hands as they waited for their guests to arrive, her slate stare burning relentlessly into Marnie. Yes, yes, I know, Tillie! Ladies always remain calm! As leaders from the settlement below entered the room one by one, Marnie took a deep breath that generated a small look of understanding and approval from the housekeeper.

Marnie’s skin itched and burned from the laces of her corset, causing her to shift in her seat. Thanks to Tillie’s diligent efforts, she was presentable. It infuriated Marnie to know that over half the morning had been devoted to tying, lacing and buttoning her unmentionables just so she might look presentable to the men in front of her. In the time it had taken Tillie to carefully style her unruly blonde hair into the neatly formed chignon, she could have been half-way to Silver Creek. This is ridiculous! I don’t need their help! Will Roark, Louis Porter, and Charlie Wilcox, represented only a handful of families that homesteaded on her father’s land. The men had taken council at this house since Marnie had donned pigtails and played with dolls. They weren’t use to answering to anyone but her father, “Thank you all for coming on such short notice.”

Will looked confused, “Marnie, I don’t know what we could possibly do to help your Pa.”

Ike eased forward and rested his elbows on the table, “Marnie thought you gentlemen might accompany us into Silver Creek.”

Charlie frowned, “Why would we do that?”

“To help me break Papa from jail.” Marnie said hopefully.

Her statement provoked a laugh from Louis, “You want us to help you stage a jailbreak?” He glanced at the other men, “Is she serious?”

“I don’t find anything funny about it. It is possible.” Their snide smiles added to her frustration, “If we go in after dark, there’ll be only one or two guards.”

“That’s insane!” Louis interjected.

“No, it’s not!” With her fists clinched tightly at her side, she demanded an answer, “How can you sit there and do nothing to save him?” Their silence infuriated her. They weren’t taking her father’s capture seriously. “Papa’s been rotting in that jail for three days and God only knows how long Lucas will be gone!” It had been two days since her adopted brother, Lucas, set out for Richmond to find her Uncle, and Marnie’s confidence in the law and Maxwell Richardson was diminishing, “I haven’t seen my Uncle Max in years. How can we be sure he’ll even help Papa?”

“Maxwell won’t think twice about it.” With a dismissive hand, Ike waved her fears aside, “Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me if old Maxwell dynamited the jail himself to free your Pa!”

It was because of her father’s selfish act that she sat like a plucked turkey, stitched and tied for the presentation at hand. Her father, Daniel Sullivan never left anything to coincidence. Why had he allowed himself to get caught by the law in Silver Creek? Haven’t I dealt with enough tragedy? Less than a year ago her mother lay lifeless on the floor as Marnie and her sister were ripped from their home and taken for ransom.

Tight lips controlled Marnie’s words. She lifted her chin and fought to steady her breathing. Back straight, shoulders square, you’re a Sullivan, baby girl! Her father’s voice echoed in her mind and unconsciously her posture straightened. Defiance rushed through her as the authority in her eyes demanded attention from each man.

“We can’t wait! Are you going to help me or not?” Marnie gave the table a single strike with her fist, “Someone answer me! My father gave you a roof over your head, and never asked for anything in return. Without his help, none of you would have anything. If Talon Dougal hangs Papa, nothing will prevent him from taking the mountain and everything around it!”

Louis adjusted his collar, “Marnie, we’re all concerned about your father, but he knew not to go. He was safe here. He knew if he went to town he would risk getting caught.”

“We could protect him here, but not in Silver Creek. Hell! We could be hanged right along with him!” Will shouted and Charlie nodded.

Ike agreed, “They’re right, Marnie.”

Twenty-five years ago, through dense forests and jagged rocks, her father carved out a life for not only his family, but for the families in the valley below. Now when he needed them, they cowered in fear like children, “So it will be the same as before? He needed you last year and you didn’t lift a hand to help him. You all wanted to run and hide.” She tapped the table with a finger, discarding the truth for her cause. The people around her father’s table were loyal, but fear made her desperate.

“Now wait just a damn minute little girl!” Her accusations brought Ike up out of his seat. In his younger day, he’d been a boxer, broad in the shoulder and narrow at the hip. Legend of the “Fists of Fury” spread through Texas like wildfire. Even now, his withered frame towered above Marnie. When his expression changed, she braced herself, “You seem to forget I was riding right alongside your Pa when them damned Confederates took you girls, and I helped him bury your Ma!” He shifted his weight from one leg to the other in agitation, “So don’t you go lecturing me about helping spring your Pa from jail!”

The outburst sent a silence over the men. Ike shook his head, “I’m sorry Marnie. I know you miss your ma, but−” Marnie watched him rub his furrowed face and produce a tender smile, “you girls, feel like you was my own and I don’t want to see ya get hurt.” He placed a hand on her shoulder, “We’ll wait for Lucas.” he instructed softly.

Marnie’s head shook feverishly, “We can’t wait. They could hang him at any time. Lucas might persuade the Governor to intervene in the charges against Papa, but Talon is a coward. He won’t wait for a judge or jury.” Marnie forced a wave of moving tears as she let out an, “Oh!” and pushed the handkerchief against her nose. She sniffed and dropped her head. Papa’s running out of time!

Ike eased down in a chair beside her, “Look Marnie, we can’t just go into the jail and ask for the key. He’s a wanted criminal, they’ll be guarding him close.”

“I won’t be moved by tears young lady.” Will interrupted Ike’s careful words, “I’d give my life for Daniel, but our actions have to be thought through. We wait.”

The firmness of Will’s words stilled her tears. I knew it! They’re not going to help me. Marnie refused to lose the fight. She calmed herself and raised her head, “I’m sorry, you’re right.” Her head nodded slightly in agreement and then bent forward with humility, “I know without your loyalty Papa would have been caught a long time ago, and Callie and I would probably be dead.” When she met Ike’s concerned face, the storm in her green eyes cleared, and a crafty smile eased its way onto her pouty lips, “Forgive me.” Her voice was soft, “I’m just scared.  I had to try.”

Ike cocked one bushy eyebrow upward and sighed, “Well girl, Lucas will be back from Richmond tomorrow.”

A half an hour later Marnie walked the last remaining man to the door. Ike shifted awkwardly and moved towards her. When the others had gone, he called Marnie by her childhood name, “Joe, in nineteen years I ain’t never seen you give into a fight. I saw them green eyes clear, and that means one thing. You’re up to something!”

 

Celebrating Courting Darkness' release Jan 23rd!~Giveaway

I am so excited about the upcoming release of Courting Darkness, Jan 23rd! In celebration of my new release, Until Darkness Comes is on sale for .99 all month! To help spread the word, I’m hosting a Share and Like giveaway! Like and share my author page below, and follow my blog, to enter to win a 25$ Amazon gift card! The winner will be announced on Thursday. Be sure to leave a comment below so I can contact you. 🙂

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She’s captured the hearts of Heaven and Hell…

Betrayed by her true love, Olivia cannot let go of the angel her mind doesn’t remember, but her heart refuses to forget. In an attempt to reclaim her broken life, she is determined to unearth her past, but some secrets are better left buried.

To save her life, he sacrificed everything. Universal Law was broken when Liam violated Olivia’s free will. His guardianship has been revoked, and the pain of letting her go is nothing compared to the torture of enduring their shattered bond. He can no longer sense her, no longer feel her, and the enemy he risked it all to save her from, now has free reign to claim her for his own. To get her back, Liam must turn away from all he is, all he was, for the one thing he may have already lost forever—Olivia’s love.

Haden will stop at nothing to possess Immanuel’s Stone, and locked away in Olivia’s memories is the key he needs to find it. But in his quest for vengeance, he never expected to lose his heart to the enchanting green-eyed beauty. Forced to choose between love and revenge, Haden is captivated by a woman who will never be his…or will she?

Autumn landscape

Book1 Redemption Series

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Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MelyndaPrice1?ref=hl