3.8 23
by Brenda Joyce

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"The haunting song of a distant era calls the beautiful graduate student to her subject, the enigmatic Captain Blackwell.

Across the centuries, she is drawn by an inexplicable passion into a realm of mystery and danger--to be imprisioned in an opulent world of harem intrigue and sensuous slavery.

And now Blackwell is with her--patriot, privateer, heroic


"The haunting song of a distant era calls the beautiful graduate student to her subject, the enigmatic Captain Blackwell.

Across the centuries, she is drawn by an inexplicable passion into a realm of mystery and danger--to be imprisioned in an opulent world of harem intrigue and sensuous slavery.

And now Blackwell is with her--patriot, privateer, heroic commander of the U.S. merchantman the Pearl--the dream, the desire made achingly real. Imperiled captives of fate, they are united by a power far greater than time--and by a passion that could destroy them both . . . or forever change the course of history.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Chapter One

Boston, 1996

She Told Herself that there was no such thing as ghosts. That her imagination was running wild.

Alexandra stood outside of Blackwell House, alone in the dark, staring. She was passing through Boston on her way back to school, and stopping at the closed museum, once the actual home of one of Massachusetts's founding families, had been an impulse. Until a moment ago, it had seemed like a good idea as she was hardly ready for a solitary meal and bed. Her hotel was just across the Common. It would be a short walk back.

But now she shivered, even though it was a pleasant June evening despite the slight drizzle. Her small overnight bag was at her feet. She hadn't thought to bring an umbrella, and she was rapidly becoming damp. But that wasn't the problem. The real problem was that, until a moment ago, she had believed in ghosts, she had just never encountered one before. Now she was wondering if the house she stared at was haunted, or if she was merely imagining being watched.

Yet the eyes seemed to be coming from behind her—not from the unlit colonial house in front of her.

Alex glanced behind her, but saw no one, nothing other than a single passing car, its headlights momentarily blinding her. She stepped back but did not avoid the spray of water coming from beneath the sedan's tires. Her tired old penny loafers were probably ruined.

But there was no one behind her. Alex strained to see; the night remained still and silent around her. The sensation of not being alone, of being watched, was only that, a sensation. It was her very vivid historian's imagination, nothingmore.

Alexreturned her attention to the house. It was set back from the street on what appeared to be a half-acre plot, on the comer of Beacon Street and Spruce. A wrought-iron fence bordered the property, creeping vines clinging to it, and a broken brick path led to the three front steps of the porch. Faded, uncared-for lawns dotted with thick, old elms surrounded the house. The house was colonial. It was three stories high, completely square, made of white clapboard, the slate roof steeply pitched. The shutters appeared to have been painted a dark green. There were no lights on inside Blackwell House, of course, as the museum was closed for the night.

Alex imagined what it must have been like to five in such a house two hundred years ago. She smiled. She was a graduate student at Columbia University, and her specialty was the naval history of the early-nineteenth-century United States. She loved that entire time period, and she could picture the house lit up with kerosene lights and candle-topped chandeliers, the men in powdered queues and knee breeches, the ladies in empire-waisted silk gowns. She could almost hear the strains of a piano filtering from the salon. Alex continued to smile. She might be a historian, but she was also a romantic fool, secretly consuming romance novels, and she couldn't help wishing that she had lived in the past when the history she loved so fervently was actually being made.

Alex would have loved to attend an eighteenth-century ball. On the arm of some dashing rake, of course. But she would have been a Jeffersonian Democrat, not some meek Milquetoast, and being as young ladies did not study history, ride mountain bikes, or sail like the wind on the sea, she would have undoubtedly been a schoolteacher as well as a mother and a wife. A schoolteacher and a reformer . . .

Alex shook herself free of her fantasies with some difficulty, because they were so pleasant, unlike her present reality. She was single and very alone in the world. Alex had no family. Her best friend, her mother, Glory, had died last year from a sudden stroke. Her father had died in a car accident when she was a child. Alex couldn't really remember him, except for his frequent grins. She wished, selfishly, that her parents had had other children.

Alex felt a puff of air on her nape and she jerked. But it was only the wind and the raindrops, she thought. She glanced around, but the sidewalk remained deserted. The park appeared vacant too, except for several homeless people stretched out on park benches. Still, the hairs on her nape prickled, and she remained uneasy. Shivering, Alex tugged her navy blue blazer closer to her body and reached down for her bag. How had her thoughts become so morbid? She was happy, truly she was, for she was in Boston for the first time in her life, and she had all day tomorrow to explore the city's glorious history. She would return first thing in the morning when the museum was open, after an early morning jog.

Alex turned away from Blackwell House. And as she did so, she was suddenly certain that she could feel a powerful presence, just behind her.

Alex faltered, glancing around, and saw no one.

She faced forward, her steps quickening. She was suddenly quite certain that she was not alone.

"Everyone here in town knows all about the Blackwells. Although there are no real Blackwells left, so to speak." The blue-haired lady smiled at Alex, who stood impatiently in the foyer of Blackwell House, pushing her red bangs out of her eyes. Clad in her blue blazer, a white T-shirt, and jeans, Alex was the museum's first visitor of the day-she had just walked through the front doors.

The little old lady smiled. "They were one of the oldest, most respected and powerful families in Boston, of course. In fact, Blackwell descendants, most of whom are Mathiesons and only related to the family by marriage, still make the society columns.

Meet the Author

Brenda Joyce is the bestselling, award-winning author of Promise of the Rose,Scandalous Love and The Fires of Paradise. All nine of her historical romances have been highly acclaimed, and four of them, including the first three novels in the "Bragg" saga Innpocent Fire, Firestorm, and Violet Fire have won six awards from Romantic Times and Affaire de Coeur. She has also won three industry awards for her trendsetting promotional bookmarks from Affaire de Coeur. Brenda Joyce is currently working on her next novel.

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Captive 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've never read any time travel romances before, this was my first. I figured the hardest thing about a book like this one would be suspending my disbelief that a person could just be spontaneously kicked back into another century. But that was not remotely a difficulty. Instead, I found myself wanting to scream at the heroine, Alex, who was quite possibly the dumbest character I have ever come across. This would not have been so terrible if the reader were not berated every other paragraph with testimonies by other characters about how clever she is. WHY? SHE IS TOO STUPID TO LIVE AND HAS A VOCABULARY THAT COULD FIT INSIDE OF A TEASPOON! 'ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod' That is all she ever says. I wanted to scream.-----Crappy heroine aside, the plot was just far too convoluted to make any real sense. Alex did nothing but lie to her 'husband' lie to her loyal servant/friend/eunuch, lie to her fellow harem wives. After a point I was just so incredibly frustrated by the plot that I could hardly stand to finish the book.-----Yet another complaint would be that the reader never gets a chance to get to know the male lead. The reader has mainly the inexplicable fascination of the heroine to go on in terms of romance. Personally, it just was not enough. There were too many frayed plot points and the writing really was not solid enough to back it up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read two of Brenda Joyce's books now, but Captive was my favorite. I couldn't put the book down. Sleep, what was that? I was up half the night reading this one. Needless to say I didnt sleep much until I finally finished the book. It was a wonderful story. Like on of the other reviewers, I myself felt like I was on the Barbary coast being chased by jannissaries. This is a definate must have. I am hoping for a sequel...hint...hint....
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read several of Brenda Joyce's book and she is one of my favorite author's, but 'Captive' was so unbelievable. It's almost hard for me to believe that it was written by Ms. Joyce.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awful! Runs on and on. Soooo boring. The main character keeps saying "Oh my god!" Over and over. Worst book Brenda Joyce has ever written.
angela_1876 More than 1 year ago
Good but not Great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rowy Bohlen More than 1 year ago
Great book and i'm not a time travel fan. You won't be able to put down. It screams for a sequel!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved the story with Alexandra, and Xavier. All the obstacles Alex and Xavier went through made it all action packed and fun to read you were breathless to know what happened next, very soap operaish in a good way. The ending got me frustrated because I felt it was so unfinished which is why i can't wait for the sequel to know what happens to Alex and Xavier. But all in all until the end the story is Fast Paced, It ends with you still hungry for more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
tHIS IS THE FIRST BOOK I have read from Brenda Joyce, and I really loved it.After reading it I immediately went out and Purchased 'After Innocence' and again,her story was outstanding.Please read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was my very first Brenda Joyce & definitely not my last. I loved this book tremendously........although I found that Alex stayed by herself too long without giving herself to the Bashir. I think that in reality that would not have really happened being somone of his status he would have slept eith her already. I really don't like romance novels with time travel but this was not bad only the part where she came back in his house,in his bed without any sense of being one questioned it he did not question it they all accepted it like nothing. Also she loved him too much & he really did not love her from the begining. This book made me cry it was wonderful, highly emotional...LOVED IT!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this time travel romance of Brenda Joyce's. Alex's character took a little time to warm up to, but as the story develops once she arrives on the Barbary coast, her character really develops as well. She is initially sold and married to the son of the Bashir. She exists there for many months before Xavier is captured while on a military mission, and their fated meeting and subsequent love affair unfolds. The story is fast-paced with many twists that will have you thinking 'how on earth will these two succeed?' But don't worry, there is a happy ending to all of this, though you are on the edge of your seat right up to the last minute. I was unable to put the book down! I inquired to Brenda Joyce and, unfortunately no sequel is forthcoming due to some snags with a changeover in publishers since Captive was published. I was disappointed too!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn''t believe my good forturne. Someone was giving away free paperbacks and 'Captive' was one of them. I read the whole book in 2 days. When will there be a sequel? I already miss the characters, Alex and Xavier. Will someone let me know if there is a sequel and the title??
Guest More than 1 year ago
I went to B&N one afternoon looking for a way to destress before finals. I just took a peek and couldn't put the book down. I sat down and in just a few hours read the book cover to cover!!! Where's the sequel though? I've been searching!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
For a book I just borrowed from my sister to read while visiting the family turned into the novel that kept me up at night reading more and more. I was totally wrapped up with the story, how it flowed when transporting Mirranda back to the Barbary coast. The strength that she had is admirable and her love very deep. I am dying for part 2 to come out and to take me on another reading marathon.