Sunday, May 26, 2013

Diary Excerpts from 'A Pirate's Wife' On SALE for 99 cents



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If it was a movie I would have chosen Bo Johnson for Cisco Almaida and Courtney Cox for Qonchita.


From the Diary of Cisco Almaida
Sailor
September 12, 1621
New people boarded the ship today: a man and his wife and their young child. The chatter of the little girl was interesting to say the least. I never thought I would love this so much. What would the fellows say if they hear about this? Big Cisco Almaida falling for a little girl like that.
She stood next to her mother, a stunning woman with dark hair and dark smouldering eyes. The eyes were shadowed as if to hide something deeper. She was not happy, even if she was married to the rich merchant. Faro Iago’s reputation preceded him. How could she be married to that scoundrel, who was so far beneath her? The man clearly did not appreciate her or his daughter.
How many times have I wished for a wife and child of my own? Like this man had. After nineteen years on this ship it was only a dream, but the little girl did something today. She touched a very deep desire for a family of my own. Maybe even a piece of land where I could retire. An impossible dream for any hardened sailor.
Can I be so bold to continue this dream?
†††
From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida

Mother of Rosa-Lee 
September 13, 1621
Again we spent time with Cisco today. Rosa-Lee simply cannot leave him alone. At first he was reluctant to encourage her, tending to his work at hand. But her constant chatter put a smile on his face and by lunch he talked to her softly. I could see his eyes were always seeking the captain.
I found Faro with some of the sailors gambling and it made me uneasy but I said nothing to him and spent my time with Rosa-Lee.
There are quite a number of people on the ship. I understand we are three hundred and forty eight people in all, with slaves numbering two hundred. The Captain told me it was quite a large number but bragged his vessel was capable of carrying the load.
With the slaves in confinement in the hold of the ship the deck is not overcrowded but I wonder how they fair down there in this heat.
I can only hope that we will be well and that the Lord’s protection will be with us daily.
†††
From the Diary of Cisco Almaida
Sailor

September 14, 1621
The little girl’s continuous chatter and seeking me out are getting me in trouble. The Captain warned me today for the final time. He is within his rights of course. As a sailor I know this. But how can I ignore her? She is a pleasure to have around. And her mother is gorgeous but I have to keep my distance. I can see she is interested as well but this could never be. She is married, a lady of good means. I am just a sailor. I can offer her nothing.
But I can dream, even if it is futile. I know it is silly but the feelings she invokes in me make me feel worthy to love and to dream of a family of my own.
Alfonso warned me that the men are talking, that they have seen the looks we give each other. I don’t want to bring her trouble. She is too much of a lady for riff-raff to speak of her in that fashion.
I will have to keep my distance. I should work on the mast where the little girl cannot find me. I will have to speak to Tanur tomorrow.
†††
From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida
Mother of Rosa-Lee 

September 15, 1621
Cisco was on the mast today. Never once did he come down from there to speak with Rosa-Lee. Even when she called out to him he did not look at her. I could see that it hurt her but I had to explain to her that he has to do his work. He is a sailor and cannot spend time with her.
But I do miss him.
Faro tried to talk to us today, but he was drinking and Rosa-Lee was scared of him. He swayed on his feet, his eyes bloodshot. I heard there was trouble with the game and the Captain warned him to be careful around the sailors.
I saw some of the slaves today. Met a young Indian girl. Her name is Kayla. We got to talk for a while before she had to go back into the hold. Rosa-Lee also liked her. She was very beautiful and several sailors looked at her. I was uneasy at her common flirting with them while we talked. In the future I will be careful of her and the company she keeps.
†††
From the Diary of Cisco Almaida
Sailor

September 16, 1621
I bumped into the lady today. It was by pure accident since I keep my distance, but when I touched her I could not let her go. After the initial shock passed and she realized who held her she relaxed in my arms. For a few seconds I could only enjoy the lady in my arms. She fits perfectly. She is more beautiful up close. I had to struggle not to kiss her and I could see she wanted me to. That would be a mistake.
I know it is wrong but I cannot help myself. The feelings I have for her are growing daily. I will have to work harder to avoid her as much as possible. A sailor and a lady are absolutely unsuited. It can never happen.
†††
From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida
Mother of Rosa-Lee 

September 16, 1621
I cannot believe I was in his arms today. He smelled of the ocean, clean and fresh. He was strong and enormous in size but I fit perfectly. Those seconds were wonderful, I wish I could have more. It felt so right, although it was wrong.
My heart nearly beat out of my chest and I wished he had kissed me but he was right. It could never happen. I am a married woman.
There is no future for us.
†††
From the Diary of Cisco Almaida
Sailor

September 17, 1621
What is that woman up to? Today I walked hand in hand with Rosa-Lee on the upper deck and Kayla was there. She spoke with Cisco. My Cisco, her hand on his arm. Did he welcome it? Oh Please God. Don’t let him turn out to be just another man who wants to bed me, only to run off again. I cannot take that.
Rosa-Lee wrapped herself around his leg the moment she saw him. The Captain was not pleased. I saw the fury raging in his eyes. Then I saw the pleading in Cisco’s eyes before he looked away.
I removed her from him immediately, but that left him in the presence of Kayla and for some reason the woman laughed at me. I am a lady of noble birth, my upbringing beyond reproach. Am I now in contest with a slave?
For the love of a sailor.
†††
From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida
Mother of Rosa-Lee 

September 18, 1621
This day started so well and ended in disaster.
The look in the Captain’s eyes said so much. And then there is the lady. She found me talking to that slave girl. She merely walked up to me and started to introduce herself to me while she placed her hand on my arm. She looked at me as if I were her last hope.
I saw the disappointment, the hurt on the lady’s face. But I could not talk to her. To make matters worse the little girl refused to let go of me and cried when the mother took her away. Captain Breno saw everything and his eyes spit fire.
I have been warned. What will happen tomorrow?
†††
From the Diary of Cisco Almaida
Sailor

September 19, 1621
Today was an unpleasant day on the ship. The Captain worked Cisco almost to death. I heard the men talking. He received no water or food for the day and under the scorching sun it had to be unbearable. I wanted to offer him water at least but another sailor stopped me.
Cisco avoided me and Rosa-Lee cried.
The Captain and Faro sneered down at him while they talked about me, as if I am a common whore. How could Faro do this to me? I felt so ashamed. Some of the sailors laughed at me. The man who stopped me asked me to leave the deck because I would make matters worse for Cisco. It was hard to leave him there. Tired, thirsty and lonely.
Rosa-Lee cried once again when I took her below and when I passed the compartment in the hull where the slaves were held Kayla laughed openly at me.
I felt betrayed at her actions.
It is all my fault. I cannot give in and make matters worse for him.
I explained to my four-year-old daughter but I doubt she understood. She missed Cisco. That was all there was to it. But I will have to watch her.
I cannot allow him to suffer on account of us.
†††
From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida
Mother of Rosa-Lee 

September 21, 1621
Today Alfonso, Cisco’s friend, the man who stopped me when I wanted to offer him water, helped us to have a few minutes of privacy on the deck.
It was short but worth it. I simply had to see him. I had to know if he was okay. The last two days the captain made him slave away while everyone snickered behind his back. How could they do this to this man?
He is a gentle, kind and loving man. How could they treat him like that? But I had to make sure he was okay. I had to, before I would finally let go of him.
I begged him to kiss me and at first he was hesitant. I pressed myself against him and turned my face upward, stretching as high as I could. He was so tall that even if I stood on my tiptoes I could not reach his face. For a long minute he fought it. I saw the hesitation, the fight for control, but eventually he lowered his head and we kissed for the first time. It was everything I hoped it would be. That one kiss held promises of a future we both knew was futile to hope for. But that kiss told me what he felt.
He felt the same. His breath was warm on my face as his eyes raked over mine. He did not conceal the look of love as he whispered my name. It all told me that he felt the same way.
In that few minutes we allowed ourselves the time to dream, to hope, to love.
I love him. The emotion swept me from my feet, but I was not startled about it. It was a peace that settled deep within me and I know that this is the man I have lost my heart to.
I have no remorse in loving Cisco Almaida.
†††
From the Diary of Cisco Almaida
Sailor

September 21, 1621
It was a mistake. I shouldn’t have kissed her. But how can I resist the one woman I truly love? She loves me. That was the most pleasurable wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. This lady, a woman of noble birth, loves me, an ordinary sailor man.
She was worried about me. She kept on repeating that she would do whatever she could to make my life easier. But we both know it was a not to be.
Captain Breno is a stern and vicious man. He seldom listens to anyone. Nor does he take advice from a woman, even one as highborn as Qonchita.
What a beautiful name. It suits her. In my arms today she was far from the “ice queen” others have called her.
I love her.
†††
From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida
Mother of Rosa-Lee 

September 22, 1621
Rosa-Lee was hard to control today and with all the strength she had she fought against me to be with Cisco. I could not blame her. That is where I want to be. In his arms. I can still feel them around me; still feel the touch of his lips.
When she got away from me she ran up to him and held him as if her life depended on it. She refused to let go, even with gentle urging from him. She cried so loud that it drew everyone’s attention. Captain Breno made it plain he was not impressed with her innocent display. When I finally did get her away I pleaded for Cisco’s life. I was sure the vicious man was going to do something to him. But he said he would not harm his own crew.
I really hoped that was the case. But when I tried to get Cisco’s attention he refused to look at me. I am afraid for him.
Faro made an attempt after that to console Rosa-Lee, but she was so scared of him that she sobbed and panicked to get away. He was not pleased about her open disdain towards him. He slapped her and dropped her on the deck. Every eye was on us. I felt so ashamed.
Alfonso came and helped me with her and led me to our cabin. Cisco disappeared and Faro went back to the Captain’s cabin, no doubt.
The next day I heard the rumours that some of the slave girls entertained them during the night. One woman, robust and ample in her curves, sneered at me today. High and mighty, she looked down at me as if I am beneath her.
Her dress revealed everything. Her yellow teeth were a sharp contrast against her pale skin. She reeked of alcohol and tobacco, Faro’s favorite vices besides women. No doubt she was one of the favorites.
How could he embarrass me like this? He has no respect for me or Rosa-Lee.
I saw Kayla again, briefly. She looked down at me and refused to speak to me. What I did to her I don’t know.
†††
From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida
Mother of Rosa-Lee 

September 22, 1621
I cannot believe what I saw today. The captain flogged Cisco like an animal. My heart was
ripped in pieces as I watched in horror, that giant of a man sprawled out against the ropes and flogged like a common criminal.
They all laughed and joked about him, and like the man I know he is, he took it silently. His skin split open as blood seeped from his wounds. He was covered in his own blood from the shoulders down. How could he endure it?
I tried to run to him but someone held me back.
Sobs wracked through me as he arched in pain when the salt water splashed over him. He roared in agony and four men carried him away. He was limp between them. He had to be unconscious. When I wanted to go to him the captain refused my request.
How can I sit here and know that he is in pain? I must do something.
I need to find away.
I am just glad that Rosa-Lee did not witness this brutality.
My heart aches for her and for him. She searched for him all day but I simply had no heart to tell her the truth. It would break her heart.
†††
From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida
Mother of Rosa-Lee 

September 23, 1621
Finally Alfonso managed to get me to Cisco. When I reached him he had a high fever. I brought some ointment and tended his wounds. He was delirious, calling out my name. I made him as comfortable as I could. For a long time I sat next to him and watched as he slept. Several times I calmed him down when the fever-induced dreams made him want to get out of the bed. The moment I spoke to him and told him how much I love him he was peaceful and slept. I wanted to stay but Alfonso convinced me it would not be wise for the captain to find me there.
At least I know he will be all right tonight. Alfonso promised me he will stay close and let me know if anything changes.
I miss Cisco.
†††
From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida
Mother of Rosa-Lee 

September 26, 1621
Today the sea was stormy. The clouds formed over us, dark and menacing. But at least Cisco is better. He had his first meal in three days. Alfonso assured me he would be all right. I could only see him for short intervals in the last few days. Alfonso guarded the door at all times.
Cisco is strong. I know that. But I cleaned and tended the wounds the best I could.
Soon he will be up. I actually loved this time. I could attend to him and touch him often. I know I love him. Somehow I will find a way to be with him always.
But I must admit the weather has me worried. Even the captain is not his usual confident self. I really hope the ship will hold up.
It took a while to get Rosa-Lee to sleep. The motion of the ship where more fierce than what we are used to. It rolls from side to side, the upper decks swaying into the waves. My stomach churns with every motion.
Oh Lord, keep us safe. Help us to find a way to be together.

1
From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida
Mother of Rosa-Lee 

December 25, 1623
It has been two years since our journey of survival began in Africa. Two years since I have written anything down in my diary, the only book I was able to save on that hopeless night of September 29, 1621.
But before I capture those terrible events, I want to pen down my love’s reaction to the estate we will be living in for the rest of our lives.
In the end it became possible for us to be together. The price was high but we have survived and I know with Cisco at my side I can face anything else.
As a Christmas gift I gave him full ownership of my estate. It has been handed down from generation to generation of Artiagas. I knew he would be the perfect land owner to continue the legacy my family started, and that my inheritance was safe.
When Rosa-Lee climbed on his lap to give him a big wet kiss he smiled down at her and gave her a bear hug. The last few days he had been extremely emotional. We both felt a deep compassion for him. I feel proud to know this man, my husband, Cisco Almaida. When I handed him the papers he was shocked. Disbelief shone clear in the blue depths of his eyes. He had the same expression when we first arrived two days ago.
He could not believe the large estate or the castle, built by my great-great grandfather all those years ago.
When we arrived Cisco only stared at the estate, the manicured gardens and lawns only yellow due to the cold weather, and I had to encourage him to step into the castle as man of the house. This was more than he ever dreamed of. His mind was stunned and dumbfounded at the magnitude of the riches he faced.
I had told him about the place, to prepare him, but I knew he would only appreciate it fully when he saw it.
He stood in the enormous foyer of the castle and gaped in awe. The magnificent wooden staircase spiralled to the upper levels. The black and white marble tiles gleamed in the late sunlight. Fires were already laid all through the house, for which we were grateful. The staff had done a magnificent work in maintaining the place while we were gone.
He felt overwhelmed by it all until Rosa-Lee reached for his hand and walked with him to the parlour with its exquisite furniture, tapestries and golden framed paintings of past generations. She chattered nonstop, even if it was her first visit. But the difference was she is used to these riches and he was not.
After we settled in, he walked the estate over the next two days, and I showed him the inheritance. Surrounded with a rapid-flowing river with tree lines on both sides, the castle looked impressive, built out of stones and brick, standing three stories tall in the Portugal sun. Each room was filled with generations worth of treasures; heavy hand crafted furniture, art, and family portraits, tapestries bought in India, China, Spain and Africa, rich in colour, hung on the walls.
At first, he could not comprehend the papers, or his new title as land owner. He struggled for words this morning, but accepted the responsibilities as property owner. This was a difficult time for Portugal. The country was in a transitional phase and landowners were often unfair dictators. But I knew he was wise and would treat his people with respect and kindness. He would give them what was fair, distributing our wealth for the benefit of all.
Cisco is willing to learn. His good, kind heart draws people closer. Already he and Franco, the manager of the estate, have a close friendship. His first lesson was to learn to ride his horse, another present from Rosa-Lee. She was so excited when the horse was presented to him that she giggled with pure joy. His face lit up in childlike wonder at the powerfully-muscled black stallion. When he approached the animal the horse responded in like fashion. It took us a while to get him back in the house.
What a delight the day has been. Alfonso will leave soon on the ship Cisco received from the D.E.I.C. for his brave efforts during the last two years. Kayla and Derek will leave for their new home in Spain and the house will become ours alone. There are so many things I still want to show him. I can hardly wait.
But tonight I will give him his greatest gift when I reveal my pregnancy to him. I just know this will leave him speechless. 



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