Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book spotlight and First chapter peak of Swept to Sea by Heather Manning

Swept to Sea by Heather Manning
Historical Inspirational Romance
Length: 254 Pages
ISBN: 9781621352341

Blurb: Lady Eden Trenton never wanted to leave her privileged existence in London—until her father invites a dangerous suitor into her life. Left with few options, Eden devises the best reprieve she can: escape. Chasing freedom, she stows away aboard a pirate ship, praying she will gain her independence in the colonies before she is discovered by the nefarious crew.
Captain Caspian Archer has spent the last five years hardening his heart and searching to exact revenge for the event that tore his life to shreds. When he catches word that his enemy is residing in Jamaica, Caspian steers his ship toward the colonies in all haste. His plans soon change, however, when he discovers the young beauty hiding in his ship’s hold.
Cut from the only lives they have known, Caspian and Eden are pulled together as each pursues a fresh hope upon the sea.


Heather Manning is a young lady who loves to read—and write. She has won multiple competitions for her writing with “Nextgen Writers” and placed first in some writing contests with the “Go Teen Writers” blog and is a proud member of ACFW. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri where she attends high school, acts in community theatre, eats donuts, and reads every Inspirational Historical Romance she can get her hands on.


"Hmmmm, what have we got here?" Caspian chuckled, tossing his baldric and weapons onto an armchair rather than putting them away. "Why, I do believe that I have a beautiful young lady hiding out under my desk. Now, is that not a strange occurrence, Reed?" Caspian asked. The child giggled, his eyes sparkling in amusement. "I daresay this has not happened to me before."
Lady Trenton's face flushed to a comely pink. She clambered to her feet, but tripped on her voluminous gown.
"Blast these skirts!" She muttered. Caspian chuckled at the word “blast” coming out of those pretty pink lips.
"Shame on you, Lady Trenton. A lady such as you should not use such loose language. Surely 'tis most improper." Caspian suppressed a grin at her reaction.
Lady Trenton gave him a deadly glare. The woman ceased struggling with her skirts and tried to rise quickly. In the process, she whacked her head against the corner of his desk.
After a moment of looking dazed, she crumpled to the floor in an unconscious heap. `
Caspian immediately sobered and stooped down to take her limp form in his arms.
After a second her head jerked up and she struggled against his grasp. Caspian gently laid the woman on his bed. She moaned and curled onto her side, mumbling something incoherent.

Chapter One

London, England

Lady Eden Trenton dashed into her bedchamber and slammed the oak door. The bang sent an echo through the chilled room. A loud crash sounded behind her, but she ignored it. At one time she would have felt guilty if something broke as a result of her temper, but now she truly did not care. She threw herself onto her four-poster bed and curled into a ball.
She hated Lord Rutger. Hated him and what he had tried to do.
How could he? How could she have let him turn her into this crying, weak little woman she hardly even recognized?
Eden shoved those thoughts from her head even as she pushed herself up onto her elbows.
I will not be his victim. Not now, and not ever again.
She couldn’t just lie here in self-pity. That would get her nowhere. She had to do something or she feared she would not make it through the night without going insane.
Her tear-clouded gaze drifted to the wooden writing desk in the corner. Where a glass vase had once proudly sat, harboring a bouquet of fragrant red roses, a pile of shattered glass now lay. The once-vibrant roses now lay withered, mingled with the glass. Their demise must have been the crash she had heard when the door slammed. Good. When Eden saw it was Lord Rutger’s vase she had destroyed, a thrill of rebellious excitement coursed through her. He had given her the flowers, along with a sapphire necklace, when their engagement had been announced publicly. ‘Twas a shame such a beautiful piece of jewelry was so tainted.
Eden gathered up the shriveling flowers in one hand. She bit her lip when a shard of glass pricked her finger but did not care it hurt her. It was worth the pain to see Rutger’s gift in such a tortured state. Her sole regret was it marked the flowers’ demise and not that of the cruel man himself.
Eden hurried toward the other end of the room and tossed the petals out her open window, willing them to fly away. Fly away and escape this cage they were in—just as she longed to do herself. Bright lightning forked across the night sky. A deafening crack of thunder caused her to jump. The storm seemed to mirror the myriad of emotions churning deep inside her.
Feeling every bit a madwoman, she began to take up a pace around her bedchamber. She had no idea how she could escape this wretched, heartless man, this man to whom her own father had promised her hand in marriage. Her chances of survival were slim if she didmarry him.
Oh, what will become of me?
She sank back onto her bed with a grimace. Her ribs ached from Rutger’s latest assault.
I need to get out of here. I need to leave this town, this country. But where could she go? She had no family but her father here in London and her brother Adam, wherever he had run off to.
An idea burst into Eden’s mind as she thought of Adam. Against their father’s wishes, her brother had visited the colonies in the Caribbean on a sailing trip a few years ago. He had come back regaling them all with fantastic stories of clear turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and lush, green palm trees. Since then, she had always dreamed of visiting the colonies for herself.
What Eden needed was to talk to her dear friends Aimee and Ivy and ask for their advice, but the evening had grown far too late for a social call. She would have to wait until morning, which seemed ages away. Plopping back onto her pillow, she tried to sleep. A few dragging hours passed before she finally fell into a fitful slumber.


When the first rays of daybreak streamed through her window, Eden rose to seek out her friends. She dressed, grabbed her reticule, and tiptoed down the grand staircase, tugging on her gloves as she went.
She winced as a floorboard creaked under her weight.
Although many of the servants had been released of their services because of the Trenton’s dwindling estate, Eden did not doubt the remaining few would notify her father of her activity. No one made social calls this early in the day.
One more step brought her to the parlor. Eden took a deep breath and glided past.
She collided with a tall, hard form.
Fear coiled through Eden as she realized a man towered above her. Her pulse accelerated. Had she been caught?
It took only a moment to recognize Gregory, one of her father’s footmen.
“Gregory, you gave me a scare. I thought you were … I thought …” Eden inhaled shakily. How would she get to Aimee and Ivy now that a servant knew her whereabouts?
“I apologize, Lady Trenton. May I ask, where are you planning to go so early in the morning? You are hardly ever awake at this time of the day.” He clasped his long hands together behind his back.
“I… I…” Eden worried her bottom lip with her teeth. If her father heard she was making mysterious trips out of the manor he would suspect something. But if she didn’t leave the house herself…
“Could you stay here for just a moment, please, Gregory? I will be right back.”
“Of course, Lady Trenton.”
Eden dashed off to her father’s study and grabbed a few pieces of paper from his desk. She dipped a quill in ink and jotted down the same message on both papers: “Meet me in my parlor as soon as you can — it is an emergency.”
She signed the notes and folded them in half. If she couldn’t summon her friends personally, she would have one of the footmen do so.
Eden tucked the notes under her arm, picked up her skirts, and sped back to the entryway. Gregory was waiting as she had asked.
“Yes, Lady Trenton, what may I do for you?”
Eden hesitated, but decided to trust him. It was just Gregory. Nothing to worry about. He had been one of Adam’s best friends when they were youths. Surely he would not tell her father what she was doing if only she asked.
“Please, take these missives to Lady Aimee Dawson and Lady Ivy Shaw. Do not tell anyone you did this for me.” She handed him the notes.
He bowed. “Of course, milady.”


"Do you truly think I will simply sit around in London and marry that obnoxious excuse of a man? Do you ladies even know me?" Eden exclaimed, trying to re-pin her hair back into its up-do. She sighed, letting her arms drop to her sides. Her curls never could be tamed by pins.
Aimee and Ivy had finally come to Eden’s home, well after noon.
"No, we didn’t think you would," Ivy laughed, shaking her head.
Eden’s gaze flicked to the window where carriages moved past.
"But we will miss you so much," Aimee pouted, "What will Ivy and I do without you here with us? Who will go shopping for jewelry with me, and who will attend balls with us? We need you." She plopped herself down on the leather-cushioned chair in Eden's parlor room.
"Would you have me marry that insolent cur just so I can stay here with you, Aimee?" Eden jutted her chin out.
"He is an earl, Eden. You know your father needs the money a marriage like that could bring.” Ivy placed her teacup back on its saucer on the table next to her.
"And he is quite handsome," added Aimee, giggling and straightening one of the pink bows on the shoulder of her frilly dress.
Eden inhaled a slow breath. The deep, earthy scent of her father's smoking pipe filled her nostrils. He had always smoked in their parlor room after her mother had died even though it was a habit Eden detested. "Now wait just a minute — whose side are you on, ladies? Lord Clive Rutger—" she imitated his low, nasally voice, eliciting a hearty chuckle from her friends”—is nothing but a shallow cad who wants to marry me simply because he decided he fancies the way I look. Despicable monster." Just thinking about the slimy excuse of a man sent an uncontrollable shiver crawling down Eden's spine, especially after what that fiend had tried to do to her. The fresh bruise on her shoulder throbbed. She could not bring herself to think about it, much less speak of it to her friends.
"But what are you going to do to prevent this marriage, Eden? Knowing your father, I hardly think he would want to cancel the deal. You know what a disgrace it would be for you if the engagement is called off. Besides, your father appeared quite happy with the arrangement at your engagement party." Aimee tossed a golden curl from her shoulder as her emerald-hued eyes reflected in the hand mirror she had grown attached to.
"You are right. Father refuses to back down on this marriage arrangement. I already tried pleading with him. The union would be beneficial to us. 'Twould give us the money we so desperately need to keep living as we are." She opened her arms wide, indicating to her only moderately posh surroundings. Unlike her father, Eden cared not for wealth. Especially if wealth meant being chained to a monster for the remainder of her existence.
"So what are you going to do about it, Eden?" Ivy patted her hair, the rich color of fire in the moonlight. Her lovely waves were the envy of the town, along with her eyes, the cloudy blue of the sky before a thunder storm. Looks like that could get her into a situation like Eden’s.
"I don’t know what to do yet, but I will escape the earl. I promise you I will." Eden shifted her feet from where she stood by the fireplace. She would not sit around and live such a life, married to a man she did not love. Not only did not love, but despised with all of her heart.
"Only you, would be plotting to escape marriage to this man, Eden. Do you know how many women would practically kill to marry a lord, not to mention an earl?" Ivy commented, a stern look on her face.
"I care not if he is an earl. I do not want his title or his money. Oh goodness, all those women who want him can have him. Since Papa won’t help me, I need to leave. I think I would like to visit the Caribbean. You know how I loved all the stories Adam used to return home with. I know I don't have enough money to pay for a passage across the sea yet, but I will find a way to escape. I can assure you of that."
Aimee and Ivy cast each other an exasperated look. Eden knew her friends could read the expression in her eyes as a determined one. She could not be stopped now that she had set her heart on escaping this life her father and Lord Rutger had planned for her.
"Why on earth would you wish to set off for the colonies all on your own? I have heard it is quite a wild, dangerous place. Vicious, cutthroat pirates are rumored to run the seas. They kill and kidnap without a thought. You will have to fend for yourself all alone. Do you even understand what kind of trouble you could get yourself into over there?" Ivy asked.
Eden rolled her eyes and leaned back on the edge of the mahogany fireplace’s mantelpiece. She had come to her friends for support, not a lecture as if she were some guilty child. They were not her parents by any means.
She sucked in a breath, realizing she would have to escape before her father could catch her. "It is not as if I would be venturing to Tortuga or a place like that. I think Port Royal or New Providence would be pleasant. Adam told me they are quite charming little areas, surrounded by the sea. That was a couple of years ago when he went there, but they cannot be half as bad as what I have heard of Tortuga."
"It still must be quite dangerous. Anywhere is a dangerous place for a young woman on her own. How will you ever provide for yourself? You have to understand, we just don't want you to end up hurt in some way," Aimee reasoned.
"I will be able to take care of myself," Eden huffed, sinking down onto the embroidered footstool that sat next to Ivy's chair. "I do not care what everyone else says. I will not marry him. I never want to marry a man. All marriage does is give a man a chance to control a woman. I will not be a part of a union like that, and especially not with Lord Rutger. Have you two not seen the way he looks at me? And he always stands far closer to me than propriety allows." She shivered and glanced away from them, blinking the tears from her eyes.
The room was utterly silent for a few moments until Ivy grabbed her friend gently by the shoulders and peered into her eyes. "Has Lord Rutger harmed you, Eden? Tell me. Tell me everything. What has he done to you?"
Eden shook her head. She couldn't. "Not… exactly. But h-he tried to kiss me last night. When I refused, he got so, so angry with me. I was scared he was going to strike me or worse. He claimed that as his fiancĂ©e, I had to kiss him. I owed him a kiss. It was completely horrible. That night — I wish I could forget about that night. And just to think that soon I will actually have to give the monster a kiss… and once he's my husband…" At least that much was true. Eden shook her head again. She did not wish to tell her friends about how the vile man had hit her, frightened that it would happen again if she told them. He had threatened her a handful of times if she told anyone what had happened he would make her regret it deeply. Luckily, her clothing covered the blackening bruise that had spread onto her shoulder and collarbone. The large hand marks on her ribs would not be seen either. Besides, she did not want their pity. She didn’t want anyone’s pity. All she needed was their support. "Why does he even want to marry me? It is not like I have a large dowry or anything. I have the opposite, if anything…"
Ivy studied Eden silently for a moment.
Aimee shook her head.
“I-I don’t know, Eden. I don’t know.” Ivy clasped Eden’s hand in her own, and Aimee patted her on the back.


Captain Caspian Archer sped through the streets of London, dodging city dwellers, merchants, and carriages along the way. A muddy man bumped into him and swore before continuing on his way. Caspian clenched his jaw. If they were on board his ship, he would have the man punished for such impertinence. He shook his head and continued on, avoiding a puddle along the way.
Eager to return to his ship, the Dawn's Mist, he quickened his pace. Finally, he had received a Letter of Marque issued in the name of King William to rid the Caribbean of pirates and any of England’s enemies. He had a mission now. No longer would he be a despicable pirate himself. Instead, he would stop the same men who had thus far succeeded in ruining his life. Caspian gritted his teeth. Captain Moore would dearly pay for what he had done.
The invigorating, salty scent of the sea washed over him as he rounded a corner, erasing the grimy odor of the streets he had grown to despise. He brightened at the welcome refreshment.
Caspian looked ahead and scanned the docks, which were bustling with sailors of all sizes, shapes, and nationalities. He spotted the Dawn's Mist in the distance; the main mast of his frigate standing tall above the sloops and dinghies docked next to her.
"Nice to see you, Cap’n." Gage Thompson, his first mate, beamed at him from the starboard rail, his straight teeth white against the tan of his skin.
"And the same to you, Gage," Caspian replied, climbing up the ropes to the foredeck of his ship.
"Are we prepared to set sail tomorrow, or are we in need of another day to stock up on the provisions?" Caspian squinted against the orange rays of the setting sun.
"Nay, we have all of the needed provisions, and I would say she's been completely repaired from our last encounter. We are ready to set sail at first light, Cap’n." He answered, running a hand through his dark, wavy hair.
"Very well." Caspian nodded at his friend before trudging to his cabin to prepare the charts for their next voyage. He could only hope this one would be successful unlike the many before it.


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