In this much-awaited sequel to SPIRITED AWAY – A NOVEL OF THE STOLEN IRISH, slave Freddy O’Brennan is on the run. In 1656, determined to pursue freedom for herself and her young children, she braves stormy seas, treacherous castaways, and corrupt Virginia Colony authorities. Romantic sparks between Freddy and ship Captain Colin Shea Brophy smolder and threaten to explode. As they paddle dugout canoes into the James River wilderness, Freddy and her friends must navigate a choking gauntlet of ruthless slave catchers, frontier bounty hunters, warring natives, and a Cherokee renegade out for blood. DARING PASSAGE: BOOK TWO OF THE SPIRITED AWAY SAGA is a 70,000-word historical novel that captures a rare glimpse into seventeenth century colonial Virginia.
This is a stand-alone novel as well as being Book Two of the Spirited Away Saga. Book One is SPIRITED AWAY – A NOVEL OF THE STOLEN IRISH.
She studied her hands in her lap and wondered what problems they had not thought of and would not be prepared for.
Colin was watching her closely. “Try not to worry, macushla,” he whispered tenderly. “We must keep our goal uppermost in our minds.”
She nodded, unable to speak.
“Our survival depends on keeping our wits about us as we pretend to be loyal British citizens.”
“What do I need to convince them I am a Welsh widow woman?”
“A black cap, black veil, and black cloak. The more severe, the better. In Jamestowne, I can purchase the cap and veil.”
“I have already made a long black cloak. If I wear it hooded, will that suffice until I get the cap and veil?”
“Nicely, I should think,” he replied, frowning.
“What is it, Colin?”
“Such cloaks are unfitted, falling from the neck to the ankles…”
Freddy waited for him to explain.
He took her hands and winked. “…I don’t want ye to cover yourself up.”
“Oh, ye’re a right devil, making me fret!” Once more she felt a feverish blush creep up her neck and into her cheeks.
“Aye, it’s a devil I am and that’s for sure.” Colin nuzzled her jaw.
“What about my feet?”
“We are making moccasins, but for Jamestowne won’t I be needing acceptable footwear?”
“That ye will…” He sighed as she pulled away from him.
“A plain black slipper, just cloth with thin soles, and pattens for the muck.” Freddy had never worn pattens, but proper British women wore them out of doors. They simply put their slippered feet into the raised wooden clogs. She wondered how difficult it would be to master the art of walking in them.
“Aye, I’ll purchase them first thing when we reach Jamestowne.”
“Colin, it’s as if I am a theatrical player about to take the stage,” she said. “I have always wanted to be a theatrical player.”
“Have ye? Let’s hope ye’re right gifted at it.”
“It helps me to think of the river voyage as a stage.”
“That’s good then. Now, I must trace the outline of your pretty feet, to get the right size.” He grabbed his ink, pen, and two parchment sheets from the desk and plopped down at her feet. “Raise your skirt.”
“I should do this with Birdie…” She was alarmed.
“Didn’t ye say ye trust me?”
“Aye,” she whispered, holding her breath and slowly lifting her skirt just above her ankles. Again her face felt hot. He touched her right ankle and she jumped.
“What is it?”
“I’m ticklish, is all.” In truth, his warm hand on her ankle burned with a fire that leaped all the way up her leg.
He placed her foot on the parchment and held her ankle as he traced the shape of her foot.
“Unhand my ankle!”
“I have to hold it still! Ye keep jumping about…”
This was the perfect chance to practice play-acting. She would pretend to be unaffected by his touch. As he traced her foot, she tried not to flinch, but failed several times, giggling. “What of Laurie?” she asked, desperate to put her mind on something else. “Will we need him groomed properly?”
“We can say that your servant is watching him.”
“Right. He can stay in our quarters the entire time.” Freddy inhaled sharply as Colin grabbed her other ankle. Thank the Angels she was seated. Her knees had gone so weak, if she’d been standing she might have swooned.
“What about ye, Colin?”
“Me?” He looked up at her, puzzled.
“Should ye purchase English ship captain garb? Boots? Stockings and boot hose with lace cuffs? Mayhap a new baldric.”
“I shall think on it.” He hit the side of her arch with his pen and she twitched again. “Curses! Ye got a splotch of ink on your foot.”
She looked at the ink stain. “No matter, it will wash off later.” But she vowed to keep that foot safe from the touch of soap and rag. Freddy would protect that ink spot, to cherish this moment. She took a slow, deep breath. “Surely ye’ll need a proper coat and hat.” How fine it would be one day with this man, when she could be free with him. From her time with Kofi, she knew what it was to be natural with a good man. When they were wed, Colin could touch her ankles and feet all day long if he so desired. She would love him, open her very soul to him. And she would give him many babes of his own. “Does your best shirt need a wash?”
“Thank ye, macushla, but it’s clean,” he said, finishing up. Before he let her ankle go he slid his hand up to her calf, his eyes sparkling with mischief.
“Colin Shea Brophy!” Freddy pushed her skirt down, waving him away.
Grinning, he put the parchment sheets on his desk. “Then there is the matter of your hair,” he said.
Her hands flew to her unruly hair.
“A British widow woman will wear a tight bun with long curls around her face.” He touched her black ringlets, lightly brushing her shoulder with the tips of his fingers. He pushed the edge of her dress aside and kissed the top of her shoulder.
She shuddered as liquid fire again raced through her body. The molten stream settled in her belly, where she would cradle it and keep it to herself until they were husband and wife.
“What are ye thinking?” he whispered.
She took his head in her hands, fixing her eyes on his. “I am thinking of the day when I can be free with ye in the wilderness. Colin, the things we will do!”