Among the accomplishments of Bonny Bee Rackham was the capture of the dread pirate Quentin Drake. Now Drake, bent on revenge, has returned and kidnapped Bonny Bee, while the rest of the household is safe in the cellar during a hurricane.
While the storm howls, Drake and Nigel Greybeard march Bonny Bee toward their awaiting ship.
Her eyes shielded by her hood, her senses distorted by fear, she was endeavoring to make sense of how far they had walked when Greybeard said, “There’s the old fisherman’s cottage.”
“We must wait out the storm,” Drake said. “With any luck, we can set sail tomorrow.”
Bonny Bee lifted her head and saw a small dilapidated house. A dim light shone through a grimy window.
Greybeard rapped on the door. “Gullsong. Open up, young scallywag.”
A dark-haired youth appeared at the door. Drake shoved Bonny Bee inside. She fell, hitting her head against the corner of a table, and sank unconscious onto the floor.
When she woke, she eased her hand toward the wound on her head—no blood, but a sizable swelling. Her wet cloak had been removed. She was lying beneath a man’s coat and her head was resting on a sack of flour. She blinked her eyes at the rough furnishings in the room and the fire burning in the fireplace where a cast iron pot simmered.
“You’re awake,” a voice said. She looked up. A handsome young man, no more than nineteen, stood over her. A bowl in one hand and cup in the other, he didn’t look at all like a pirate.
“I knew you’d be hungry after your journey,” he said. He set the dishes on the table and wiped off a stool with his sleeve. “Let me help you up. You’ll feel better once you’ve eaten.”
She struggled to sit up. He put his hand under her elbow and eased her to her feet.
“Thank you,” she said. “You’re so kind. Does Drake know you’re doing this?”
“No, ma’am. He’s gone to shore with Greybeard. You’re shivering. Take my coat.” He stooped down and picked up the coat she’d been covered with, placed it around her shoulders, and then sat next her.
She tasted the stew. “This is wonderful. Are you the cook aboard ship?”
“No, the stew was already here. When we came ashore, Drake commandeered the first house we came to—poor old fisherman—called himself Cousin Newman.”
“Drake forced him out?”
“Into the storm,” Roland said. “He was a feisty old fellow. When he reached the tree line, he turned around, shook his fist, and said, ‘You haven’t seen the last of me.’”
“Poor man,” she said. “Out in this downpour with no shelter.”
“He’s better off than you,” Roland said. “At least he has a chance of being rescued.”
She swallowed a bite of potato. “You think I don’t?”
“It’s three against one,” he said.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“You’re not really one of them, are you, Mister…what was your name?”
“Gullsong. Roland Gullsong. Why would you say that?”
“You’re too polite to be a pirate. How in heaven’s name did you fall in with Drake?”
Far from the Peregrine Inn, anxious and alone, Bonny Bee gathered another needy soul into her open arms and open heart.