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16th century adventurer Melaynie Morgan, disguised as a Captain's Boy, sails off to the Caribbean with Francis Drake to plunder Spanish treasure. Disease, death, danger and romance await her. She returns to England secretly pregnant; only the Spanish Armada, 14 years later, will bring a bittersweet climax to her story.
What's a girl going to do when she wants adventure in her life, and men have all the fun? Melaynie Morgan is an independent-minded young woman in Plymouth, England, but it's the 16th century, and women are expected to dress elaborately and attend to womanly duties. Forget about doublets, swords and sailing ships.
Melaynie refuses to let her conventional background deter her. She disguises herself as a captain's boy and signs on with privateer Francis Drake to plunder Spanish treasure in the exotic Caribbean. In the chess game of Renaissance politics it's an undeclared war of opposing religions, but Queen Elizabeth's Protestant England and King Philip's Catholic Spain are maintaining a guarded peace. Into that mix comes Plymouth's Drake, waging his own private war with Spain.
Melaynie finds more than she bargained for during her year in the tropics serving Drake -- from disease, death and danger to a romance with a Spaniard and a friendship with an ex-slave. She returns to England wiser but secretly pregnant. Her daughter Joan grows up unaware of her true parentage until the Spanish Armada brings a bittersweet and surprising reunion.
Melaynie studied the men from shore; the Spaniard with the flag was the one who most interested her. Holding himself erect, the man had a hopeful look upon his face, as if he were truly looking forward to his mission. As the boat drew nearer, she admired his stylish attire -- a doublet with matching sleeves, Venetians and hose of complementary shades of green and black; a green velvet flat cap with a fluffy white feather was set at a rakish angle and gave him a jaunty air of self-confidence. The man's olive complexion was set off by the small white ruff around his neck. The Spaniard was determined to impress, but he must be hot in his formal attire, especialy in this climate, she thought as she looked down at her own simple breeches, bare calves and feet, enjoying the sea breeze through the billowing linen shirt. As she watched him adroitly alight from the boat, scarcely getting his boots wet, she appreciated his aplomb.
Approaching the English with a slight, deferential smile, his face a mask of Spanish courtesy, Melaynie saw that he was a wonderfully handsome man. The green outfit brought out his magnificent emerald eyes,eyes that couldn't hide a natural genuineness of feeling, despite his assignment. As he drew closer, she looked directly at him; he returned her look questioningly, as if he were analyzing something about her, and then gave her the briefest of nods. She couldn't help smiling; she had never seen a man that piqued her interest as much, not even Drake. Slightly embarrassed at her reaction and not knowing why, she set her mouth into a stern line and wondered why she felt atingle and a bit agitated. Was she afraid of this man? If anything, he appeared kindly, though he was an enemy.