Title: Captain’s Mercy
Author: Kate Hill
Genre: Historical Romance
From the first, Mercy is troubled by prowlers, disturbances from the attic, and unearthly howls on the property. After meeting several unusual household members, including a groundskeeper who works by night and the mischievous Maxwell Barnes, Mercy realizes she should flee while she can.
Pages from Mercy's first novel go missing and Jonah's domineering personality causes tension in the house. Only Mercy's fondness for her young companion, Faith Barnes, as well as her fascination with Jonah prevent her from leaving, but will her desire for him endanger her life?
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The empty hallways seemed eerier than usual. When she reached the parlor, she heard something even more frightening than thunder--a long howl that mingled with the wind. Perhaps it was the wind...
Another clap of thunder was followed by a crash from upstairs.
Goodness, lightning might have struck the house.
She hurried to the foot of the stairs and called, "Michaels? Augusta? Mr. Barnes?"
Her stomach tight and her heart pounding, she ascended. The storm was directly overhead now. Wind beat against the house and roared through the trees.
Recalling how it felt to be lost outside, she hoped Max and Faith weren't caught in the storm.
Reaching the top of the stairs, she glanced around. Lightning flashed through the tall, rectangular windows, illuminating the hallway.
She walked toward the dark, windowless corridor leading to the attic.
"Mr. Barnes?" she called again.
She glanced over her shoulder, back toward the stairs. When she turned around, she cried out, startled to find herself facing Jonah who now stood outside the attic door, holding a lamp.
"Miss Brown, what are you doing up here?" he demanded, wearing his usual scowl.
"I heard noise from up here. A crash. I thought perhaps lightning had struck the house and someone might be hurt." She couldn't keep the tremors from her voice. "I'm also worried about your siblings. You don't suppose they're caught in the storm?"
Jonah's brow furrowed and he stepped closer to her. He held up the lamp and studied her face.
"I'm sure they're fine," he said in a gentler tone. "Max is quite capable and I doubt they'd venture out until after this passes. Are you all right, Miss Brown?"
Another clap of thunder made her jump.
"You don't look fine," he said. "Are you afraid of the storm?"
She chuckled nervously. "Silly isn't it? A grown person afraid of a thunderstorm."
"Why don't we wait it out in the library?"
"There's no need for you to keep me company."
Again she jumped at the thunder and lightning.
"Keeping you company is far more pleasant than the paperwork I've been looking over." He offered her his arm in a gallant gesture that took her aback. She rested her hand on it lightly. Goodness, she shouldn't enjoy how solid and warm he felt, yet she was unable to ignore it. His arms were rock hard from years at sea and working in the shipyard.
On their way downstairs, she asked, "What were you doing in the attic? I thought I heard howling up there a short time ago and then a crash."
"The wind, I'm sure. No doubt the crash you heard was Michaels. He tripped over an old trunk. He's up there now, making repairs on a window that was blown open by the storm. He's also trying to get rid of more unwanted guests of the flying rodent variety, so I remind you to stay away from the attic."