Title: ABEL PIRATES
Genre: YA Alternate Historical
Word Count: 89,000
A one-way trip to Gallows Point. That’s what sixteen-year-old Beatrix will inherit when she’s named “next-of-kin” to her grandfather, a notoriously brutal pirate who eluded capture his whole life. In accordance with the Transgressions of Pirates decree, no act of piracy goes unpunished.
Landlubber Beatrix would much rather sketch a square-rigged ship from the safety of her drawing room than set sail on one. She’s out of harm’s way only because there is someone standing between her and the hangman: her father, the current next-of-kin. A sea captain in his own right, he’s proving to be just as elusive as her pirating grandfather. But when a weathered old sailor arrives with news that her father is missing, presumed dead, and she will soon be named next-of-kin, she's forced to seek refuge on her father’s old ship.
Standing upright and hanging onto the contents of her stomach are the least of Beatrix’s problems. The man who replaced her father as captain has yet to look her in the eye, the hardened crew can barely disguise their contempt for her, and ever since someone broke into her quarters, she has been sure the traitor responsible for her father's disappearance is hiding in their midst. Her only hope for an ally is Boone, a young jack-of-all-trades who was given the dreaded punishment of keeping an eye on her. If she can earn his respect on the ropes, then maybe he'll help her spy on the suspicious captain and teach her to wield a dagger. Because until she uncovers the traitor's plot, she's a sitting duck like her father was before her; and those ominous, black sails growing on the horizon are telling her that time is running out.
A man on horseback was in their path of retreat.
Beatrix was used to keeping her head down in Sheepshank, so she felt Miss Black tense up beside her before lifting her eyes and spotting him where the cobblestones turned to packed earth. He hardly seemed a threat, but Miss Black considered everyone a threat. Even ruddy-cheeked, barrel-chested men who couldn’t keep their periwigs on straight.
“Hallo there, Miss Black,” he called, approaching at a trot. Oily black curls bounced beneath his wide-brimmed planter’s hat; his orange feather plume sagged upon his shoulder. His clothes were smartly tailored, his stockings freshly bleached, and he wore a long formal coat that was ill-suited to the heavy heat of the afternoon.
Just the sight of it made Beatrix reach for the waxy leaf she had folded into her skirt pocket, but with one small noise of disapproval from Miss Black, she came up empty handed. She was too old to be fanning herself with banana leaves. Now was not the time to draw unwanted attention by acting like one of the ratty boys who ran around the docks.
“Good day, Mr. Reed,” Miss Black greeted.
He doffed his hat but didn’t bother to dismount. “Headed to the trial, are you?”
They were, in fact, headed in the opposite direction of the courthouse. Beatrix wasn’t sure if Mr. Reed had weak powers of deduction or if he was merely too distracted by Miss Black’s figure to notice. His eyes seemed to be traveling the length of her.
Miss Black gave him a tight-lipped smile.