Read An Excerpt From Tortuga’s Treasure: Ciel’s Legacy By Marsha A. Moore
“Ye damned scurvy dog, Alvaro. Give me coins back,” barked a burly seaman, glaring at his mate on the far end of the long pier. His frizzled dark hair flopped as he lunged for and missed the other man, landing closer to us.
My tail fins were splayed out wide over the dock to soak up the warmth of the late afternoon sun. I quickly tucked them closer to my torso, so they wouldn’t be tread upon.
Having a well-muscled physique, Alvaro dodged with ease, his face lit with a wide grin. Obviously, he enjoyed the game of goading his partner, but seemed uninterested in fighting back. “I don’t have yer purse, ye black scoundrel. That new hand got lost in our cabin an’ likely lifted it.”
“Ye be a liar!” The heavyset man swung wide and hard. “An’ a good one—fooled me. Ye started as a crimp, but thought ye turned into me mate.”
Twisting away from more blows, Alvaro leaped close enough for me to get a better view. His black knee-high boots pounded the creaking wooden frame.
Curious, I remained where I sat near the edge, facing the row of gangplanks. Tall sailing ships stood proud, decorated with their pennants alongside Jolly Rogers. I’d seen enough skirmishes between buccaneers to take them as commonplace in this busy Tortuga port, good entertainment while my two mermaid friends and I chatted.
Dodging another fist, Alvaro jumped.
I leaned into my friend Omarosa. Her long, dark kinky hair away floated in front of my view. I brushed it away. “Quite the showman he is. So quick on his feet.”
“You ain’t lookin’ at his feet though, Ciel.” She giggled and gave my arm a playful slap.
I grinned and nudged her in turn, but kept my gaze fixed on the pirate named Alvaro. Most seamen were rather scraggly, reeking of body odor, missing a digit, limb, or many teeth. The captains and first mates often cleaned up smartly, wearing finery from their worldly travels, but not the crew. This man was neither a dandy nor a grubby hand. He wore well-fitting clothing, a faded black poet’s shirt, clean but frayed on the edges, as were his black trousers. His polished boots showed creases from hard wear. Straight black hair, as long as mine, hung over his broad shoulders to his hips, and swung out as he darted from side-to-side along the pier.
“The Jack o’ Coins just paid me that sum—me only earnings fer port. Hand it here, now,” the portly seaman yelled louder and faster. He backed the other against a stack of hogshead casks. “If’n ye don’t, I’ll be callin’ the buffer to give ye the keelhaul, tyin’ ye to a rope and draggin’ yer bones along the barnacles of the ship. How does that sound, matey?”
“I mean ye no harm, Tom. I don’t want to fight ye. Don’t force me to.” Alvaro paused, and then swung a hard punch into his gut.
Tom winced, bent forward, and clasped his hands to his stomach.
Immediately, Alvaro glanced down at me, intending to bound in my direction. When his dark eyes met mine, his mouth dropped open and he lost his balance, falling toward the edge of the pier.
In the next instant, while his gaze held mine, Tom lodged a dagger deep into Alvaro’s back. I saw shock, fear, and horrible pain in those dark eyes as well as a plea for help…and something else…a promise of friendship. In that moment, I measured the depth of his sincerity and warmth spread over me. The power of my mermagic latched onto the intentions his soul revealed and my body trembled with those vibrations.
He fell into the water, blade still buried in his torso. I jerked to dive after him, but Omarosa and Sesi held my shoulders. “Let me go,” I cried, straining against them.
“I know you want to help, but it doesn’t involve you,” Sesi cried, holding me down with her chunky, green flipper on top of mine.
Squirming against them, I wildly scanned the water. Alvaro didn’t rise to the surface. I couldn’t let him die. What I read in his soul promised so much I longed for. Determination surged adrenaline through my body, and I shoved Omarosa off me. I raised my flipper and dropped Sesi to the other side, all the while keeping sight of the shadowy form under the water.
Omarosa grabbed my wrist. “This is sure trouble you don’t need. Save that one and five others will be after you, and us.”
Alvaro remained below. I tore my arm free and dove in. The water tasted of minerals leaking from his bloody wound. With one forceful stoke of my flipper, I sped downward and located his body drifting motionless among the pier supports. His skin was blue and his open eyes had a distant stare, showing no recognition. Was he still alive? Powered by adrenaline, in seconds I assessed his state. I took hold of his arm to see if he gave a reflexive flinch. Nothing. No pulse throbbed against my fingers. I put my ear to his chest. His heart beat slowly and faintly, while mine thumped hard against my ribs. Contact allowed me to read his soul—dim, but still active.
Seconds mattered. Pulling him to the surface and letting time pass while his mates decided what medical care to give would make his death certain. There was only one hope. Could I do it?
When Ciel first looks into Alvaro’s eyes she finds love. Bad timing. In the next instant he’s fatally stabbed in the back by one of his pirate mates. Her girlfriends warn her it will only bring on a heap of trouble to save him. Unable to resist, she gives him the gift of a new life as one of her kind—a merman.
Will their love encourage him to embrace life as a merman? Can love survive if he wishes to return to human form? Either way, her friends speak true. No matter how much mermagic and dark vodou Ciel and her friends cast, blood-thirsty buccaneers chase them across the Caribbean until Alvaro finally decides.
About The Author:
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Her creativity also spills into watercolor painting and drawing.
After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transforming into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors. Crazy about cycling, she usually passes the 1,000 mile mark yearly. She is learning kayaking and already addicted. She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and that spiritual quest helps her explore the mystical side of fantasy.
She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at new stories with toes wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical!
Connect With Her Online:
Independent Author Network Profile Page: http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/marsha-a-moore.html