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The Pelican Bride: Gulf Coast Chronicles, Book 1

The fifty-six gun frigate Pelican lunged as Genevieve Gaillain dropped over its side six feet before the canvas sling jerked her to a stop. Clutching the sodden rope above her head, she looked up at the dark-skinned mariners straining to keep her from plummeting into what they charmingly called “the drink.” The sling swung with the motion of the ship, setting the sky tilting overhead in rhythm with the ocean’s slap-slosh against the hull.

Genevieve looked over her shoulder at the scrawny, wind-twisted pines staggering along the shore like teeth in a broken comb. She’d begun to wonder if she would ever see this place she was to call home—the New World.

“Hang on, miss!” shouted the mate in the longboat below. “Almost down.”

The seamen above chose that moment to release the rope, dumping her unceremoniously into a pool of seawater in the bottom of the longboat. Laughter erupted from the ship, but she caught her breath, ignored the merriment at her expense, and began the awkward business of untangling herself from the ropes.

The mate in the longboat reached down to help, grinning. “Welcome to Massacre Island.”

She resisted the urge to jerk from his grasp. “Thank you,” she muttered.

As the longboat drew closer to the beach, she began to make out male figures gathered to watch their arrival. Her stomach tightened. Was her future husband among them? Some unknown Canadian with pots of money, as they had been promised?

With a bump, the boat grounded against sand. She looked up and found herself encircled by grinning, bearded men standing hip-deep in the water. Her overpowered gaze took in a variety of faded, ragged clothing, sunburned faces, and twinkling eyes.

The young man closest to her, the only one in uniform, removed his hat and bowed, all but baptizing himself in the chopping surf.

 “Welcome, mademoiselles. We’ve come to carry you ashore.”

The Pelican Bride: Gulf Coast Chronicles, Book 1
by by Beth White