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Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX  76244-0425


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Cover Art: The Pirate and
        the Puritan
The Pirate and the Puritan
By Mary Clayton
Wild Rose Press, 2007, ISBN 1-60154-119-8, E-book  $6.00 / Paperback $14.99

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Life in a harem, or ravishment at the hands of pirates Ė those are Mercy Penhallís options.  But she refuses to show her fear. At least not until the pirate captain demands her as his share of the booty. All she wanted was to join her step-brotherís family as a spinster aunt, but her sinful pride brought about her present predicament. What can a small woman who canít speak do against ďa bloody-handed pirateĒ?

A reluctant pirate, albeit one who succeeds in securing prey, Edmond Gramercy dislikes his lieutenant, Elias Gorman, but his influence with the crew makes Edmond wary. That manís brutality is why he protects the mute captive Puritan.  As soon as he can, he will place her in safe hands ashore that can help her return to the Massachusetts Bay Province, as he has done for others. Until then, they must feign that she is his consort and remain locked in his cabin, or they will both die.

Eventually, Mercy reaches her brotherís home, but even though itís 1704, twelve years after the Salem witch trials, some residents wonder whether Mercy is a witch like her mother. The minister, who prefers the old ways, waits for her to make a slip, but Mercy tows the line Ė until she learns Edmondís been captured and will hang, just like her mother. He showed her mercy, and she cannot forget that or how she feels when with him. She testifies at the trial, but to no avail. He will hang unless his friends can procure his escape, something they canít do without Mercyís assistance.

The Pirate and the Puritan is a captivating love story, replete with adventure and unexpected twists. Claytonís research into piracy and the era shines through, but never intrudes into the story. Rather she deftly spins a tale that transports readers back in time and keeps them guessing as to how the hero and heroine will finally find the life they desire.

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