For the Love of a Pirate

Free For the Love of a Pirate by Edith Layton

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Authors: Edith Layton
a history that folks around here don’t care about.”
    â€œThey do too,” he said. “They’re proud of us.”
    â€œMaybe,” she said. “But our family isn’t one most gentlemen would brag about.”
    â€œWell, his family did worse,” he retorted. “And I’ll have y’know,” he said in agitation, “none of us never died in no commission of a crime neither!”
    â€œThat’s because they were never caught.”
    â€œWell, there you are. Nor never would be. Clever as they could hold together, all your ancestors, and lucky too, because luck counts, y’know. As for me, I made my money in business, good investments and such, missy, and don’t you forget it.”
    â€œBut your father didn’t,” she persisted.
    â€œWell, neither did young Wylde’s!” he said triumphantly.
    She sighed. “All I’m saying is that I’ll be polite. But I don’t want you to expect anything else. I don’t. What his father and mine wanted doesn’t matter.” Her eyes widened. “Unless you mean to hold me to it, whatever I think?”
    â€œâ€™Course not!” he said promptly. “You don’t have to take him if you don’t want him.”
    She nodded. “Right. If I don’t like him, you’d understand. So if he doesn’t want me either, you’ll have to understand that too.”
    â€œIf he hasn’t lost his wits after one look at you,” he said, “why, I’ll eat my own beard!”
    She frowned. “I wish you would. Whatever possessed you to try to grow such a ratty-looking thing, anyway?”
    He looked guilty, and stroked his ragged, grizzled beard protectively. “Well, I told you I went to see some old mates when I was in London too, and they wouldn’t have recognized me without it. I wore one when I was a lad.”
    â€œSo why don’t you shave it off now? Don’t tell me the widow likes it!”
    â€œHer name is Mrs. Twitty,” he said with awful dignity. “Ain’t her fault her man up and died.”
    â€œShe’s been ‘the widow’ since I can remember.” Lisabeth’s eyes widened. “Oh! Of course! I’m sorry, Grandy! Does this mean you’ve decided to make it legal? That could explain your eagerness to see me wed and gone, because there can’t be anything worse for a bride in a new marriage than an old flame in the same house, and some women look at any other female that has a claim on their husband’s heart as that. This puts a new face on things. I’ll find someone soon,” she said quickly, “or try, and if I can’t find anyone, why then I’ll go live in London a while, I’ve always had a fancy to—”
    â€œNow wait!” the captain bawled, holding up one hand. “Ain’t nothing like that! In fact,” he added more quietly, before she could scold him again, “she and me, well, we’re sort of going our separate ways anyways. She’s got her eye on Mr. Finn, the butcher, and good luck to them, says I. I never made her any promises, nor she to me, and she ain’t getting any younger, nor am I getting any fonder, so that’s all there is to that. I want you to find a good man so’s I can rest easy, is all. And,” he added slyly, “I could use a grandchild or seven playing about my feet in my old age.”
    She laughed. “Well, if you’re waiting for your old age, I can put off meeting someone for at least another twenty years.”
    He smiled. She’d forgotten the beard, as he’d hoped. But how was he expected to throw the fear of God into a fellow if he came to him all neat and sweet and clean-shaven, as was the fashion these days? Not that he thought he’d scared young Wylde. But he’d certainly got his attention.
    â€œSo all I want is for you to be civil to him, even if he don’t suit

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