Here’s a sneak peek into my newest release, The Scholars (Book 8 of the Legacy Series)
The Matilda, September 29th, 1791
Port Jackson, New South Wales
In the pitch darkness, Geoffrey gripped the chains of his shackles, feeling the iron links bite into his palms. The ship continued to creak and moan against the winds that tossed them about at the head of the bay. Above him, he heard the excited voices of the sailors and military men, accompanied by their hurried footsteps pounding against the planks.
They had finally arrived at Port Jackson and would see Sydney Cove by morning. He, Adam, and over two-hundred convicts were to be dropped off with the rest of the cargo brought over from England. Beside Geoffrey, his son was in no better condition. Fidgety and agitated by their confinement, he wrung the same chains that bound them together, although he had advised against it so many times.
Starvation, filth, and stenches no werewolf should ever have to endure had marked this seemingly unending voyage. In actuality, their imprisonment had lasted for only five months – four of which were spent aboard this ship. And the last three and a half were bearable, considering that they had a soldier onboard who was privileged to know of their unique condition.
That soldier, God rest his soul, had been committed to the deep just two weeks prior. Two weeks too soon.
“Don’t break them,” Geoffrey once more cautioned to his son in a hushed whisper that wouldn’t awake the other convicts sleeping in heaps and rows across the hold. Although many probably wouldn’t notice if they broke free of their bonds, they couldn’t afford to make a scene. Not yet.
Adam dropped the chains that connected his feet with a startling racket. A few older men grumbled and cursed him, but the younger werewolf didn’t return their vile insults. Geoffrey shot him a reprimanding look, his golden eyes blazing. His son matched his glare.
Hunger and the pressing need to shift had set them both on edge. Geoffrey could sense that it was his son’s time to change. Though Adam had shown great fortitude in times past, he was still young as werewolves went, and could not resist the shift all night. There wasn’t a werewolf alive who could deny the beast that dwelled within them.
The soldier, the only officer to die thus far on the voyage, had an uncle residing in Portsmouth who was also a werewolf. He understood that Geoffrey and Adam were given to the change once a month and would put on a convincing show of taking one or both of them away to the deepest part of the ship to receive a punishment for some fictitious crime. There, they stayed all night convalescing from a whipping. At least, that’s what the other convicts and officers on the ship were made to believe.
If only that man were still alive. If only Geoffrey, lost in a fog of delirium and silent rage brought on by an empty stomach and restless wolf, could come up with a plan for escape. If only they were at Sydney Cove already so they could put their feet on some solid ground.
Just the thought of dry land made his muscles tense and joints ache, the need to shift pressing forward again without his consent. Clearing his mind once more, he let go of his own chains and took a deep breath. He was made to suffer the fetid odors of piss, excrement, sickness, and death for four months and it was finally at an end.
But what awaited them in the budding settlement? Continue reading