Capture My Heart

Capture My Heart

by Bobbi Smith

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Overview

Capture My Heart by Bobbi Smith

Serad is the powerful, handsome pirate whose relentless plundering is the stuff of legend—but only few know that his true identity is Lord Alexander Wakefield. His kidnapping as a child by Barbary pirates changed the course of his life. Now Serad is master of the seas, accustomed to possessing whatever—or whomever—strikes his fancy. . ..

He Stole Her Freedom. . .

When Serad boards the vessel La Mouette to loot for treasure, he discovers a cargo more precious than any trinket: the heiress Victoria Lawrence. A raven-haired, emerald-eyed beauty, Victoria captivates Serad as no woman ever has before. But the fiery young lady doesn't seem to understand that she is now a captive, expected to honor her new master's wishes and desires without question. . .

But He Must Win Her Heart

When Victoria set sail from India, she expected the voyage to deliver her into the arms of her betrothed—not a heartless gang of pirates. Now captured, she refuses to bow to any man, even one as commanding as Serad. Sharing his cabin, Victoria can barely resist her overwhelming attraction for her captor. But if she gives in to her desires, Victoria knows Serad will accept nothing less than her total surrender. . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781420101812
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 10/01/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 480
Product dimensions: 4.22(w) x 6.94(h) x 1.26(d)

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Bobbi Smith sold her first book, Rapture's Rage, to Zebra in 1982. Since then she's published thirty-eight books and participated in six short-story collections. There are more than six million Bobbi Smith books in print. When she's not on deadline, Bobbi teaches The Write Stuff courses for the University of Missouri, St. Louis, and lectures writers' groups. She lives in St. Charles, Missouri.

Read an Excerpt

Capture My Heart


By Bobbi Smith

KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.

Copyright © 1992 Bobbi Smith
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4201-2084-4


CHAPTER 1

Spring, 1789


"Avery, you must do it! You must go back to your father and get more money!" twenty-five-year-old Vivienne Wakefield demanded of her husband, Lord Avery Wakefield. A tall, beautiful woman with black hair and icy blue eyes that reflected a shrewd intelligence, she stood now in the center of their sumptuously decorated parlor, her hands on her hips, glaring at the weakling she'd married some six years before.

Avery Wakefield stiffened at his wife's tone. He was a smoothly handsome, dark-haired, dark-eyed, twenty-eight-year-old man whose pale complexion testified to days spent sleeping and nights spent in endless debauchery, gambling compulsively and indulging his every other craving. Annoyed by her challenge, he drew himself up to his full six feet and turned from where he stood looking out the window to face her. He meant to put her in her place. He was, after all, the one with the money in this marriage. She certainly hadn't brought any great dowry with her. Once he faced her, though, and saw the very real fury in her expression, he backed down ... just as he always did.

"Well, Avery? When are you going to speak with him?" she demanded, pressing her point now that she knew she had the upper hand.

"You know, my darling, if you had ever learned to temper your spending, we might not have found ourselves back in such a difficult situation again so soon."

"My spending!"

"I told you what Father said the last time I went to him out of pocket. He threatened to cut me off without a farthing."

"Your father would never do that."

"Maybe not, but I hesitate to try my luck with him again quite so soon."

"I'm afraid you have no choice in the matter, Avery. We need money, and we need it now."

"I know that, but ..."

"I understand why you don't want to push him, but we have leverage with him now that we've never had before," she told him cunningly. She had thought long and hard about how to get more money out of her clutch-fisted father-in-law, Edward Wakefield, the Duke of Huntington, and she was confident that she now had come up with the answer.

Avery cast his wife a doubtful glance, not following her line of thinking at all. "And just what kind of leverage do you think we have now?"

"Why, Alexander, of course," Vivienne told him smugly. When they'd eloped she'd believed as the future duchess she'd be living a life devoted completely to pleasure. It had been a very rude awakening for her to discover that since her father-in-law had completely disapproved of their marriage he had tightened his pursestrings accordingly. Only the birth of their son, Alexander, seven years ago had eased the tension. Pleased with being presented with a grandson, the duke had relaxed his miserly ways to some degree, but the increase in funds still had not been enough to provide them with the lifestyle she craved. The duke had since taken Alexander to live with him, and the two had become almost inseparable. Vivienne was certain that the boy was the old man's one vulnerable spot.

"Alexander?" Avery wondered what their bothersome young son had to do with anything. He hadn't even spoken to the child in weeks, and, frankly, didn't care if he never saw him again. From the day he was born, he'd been nothing but trouble for them, and they'd both been secretly delighted when the duke had taken the boy to Huntington House to raise himself.

She nodded. "There's no one in the world he loves more and that makes him our bargaining point. If your father refuses to give you what is rightfully yours, threaten to take the boy back."

Avery's expression turned calculating, then smugly approving. "I always knew our precious son would prove useful for something." If Alexander could help put his family fortune at their disposal, then Avery might become fond of the child!

"It's just a simple matter of handling the situation right, that's all," Vivienne was saying, explaining what she wanted him to do. "We'll try a simple approach first, but if he doesn't agree, I want you to do exactly what I tell you. He'll come around fast enough then."


The tall, imposing, gray-haired man and the sturdily built, dark-haired boy stood atop the steep cliff that overlooked the sea. Their attention was focused on the huge sailing ship that was slowly disappearing into the sunset.

"Someday, Grandfather, I'm going to be the captain of a big ship just like that one!" seven-year-old Alexander Wakefield boasted with all the innocent confidence and bravado of one his age. His gray eyes were shining and his cheeks were flushed with the excitement of his dreams of adventure on the high seas.

"If it's what you really want to do, Alexander, then I'm sure you'll do it," Lord Edward Wakefield, Duke of Huntington, answered. His heart swelled with pride as he stared down at the child who meant so very much to him. A warmth he revealed to few others stole across his dignified countenance, and he no longer appeared the stern, forbidding duke. Rather, the tender smile and gentle love glowing in his eyes bespoke of the doting grandfather he really was.

The boy beamed at his words. "I'll do it, all right. You'll see. I'll be the best ship's captain there ever was!"

"I'm certain you will be," Edward assured him, seeing the intelligence and eagerness in the boy's features and knowing he'd been right in his assessment of him. His own son, Avery, Alexander's father, had proven such a bitter disappointment to him and to his beloved, now-deceased wife, Rebecca, that he'd almost lost hope for the future. Avery had been born with a selfish, cruel streak. From the earliest days of his childhood he'd taken great pleasure in tormenting those less fortunate than himself; and as he'd progressed to adulthood, he'd turned to hedonistic pleasures and degrading behavior that had sullied the Wakefield name and honor. Only Alexander's birth had given Edward encouragement; and that was why, when Avery and Vivienne had shown no inkling of interest in the babe, he had personally stepped in and taken Alexander into his home to raise and educate. It had been a decision he'd never regretted. The boy was a joy to his weary soul.

"Where do you think they're going, Grandfather?" Alexander asked, looking back out to sea to follow the faint image of the ship as it slipped beyond the horizon. "Someplace exciting?"

"I'm sure of it," Edward replied. Then, wanting to spin a tale of great adventure for the boy, he continued. "They're probably going to sail every one of the Seven Seas, and —"

"Do you think they'll run into any pirates?" Alexander interrupted, his eyes widening as he let his vivid imagination run free. He'd heard tales of the evil corsairs and had even seen an artist's drawing of the lawless demons who pillaged any vessel unfortunate enough to cross their path. The thought that the ship he'd just watched leave England might actually fall prey to the bloodthirsty, ocean-going bandits filled him with a mixture of excitement and fear.

"You can never know," Edward said in an ominous, low tone. "No one is ever really safe from them when they're sailing the Atlantic. The Barbary pirates are everywhere."

"Those are the ones from Africa, aren't they? The ones we saw the picture of in that book?"

"You're right, and they're a savage bunch." Edward recalled the fearsome picture. The barbarous North African corsairs depicted there had worn only loose-fitting trousers cut off at the knees and brightly colored turbans. Pistols were tucked in their waistbands. They carried their knives in their teeth and clenched wickedly curved scimitars in their fists as they swung aboard the ship they were attacking.

"Well, they'll never get me," Alexander returned with a wide, undaunted smile. "When I'm captain, I'll have the best ship with the best crew on the whole ocean. We'll fight them off and take their ship instead!"

Edward could almost imagine his grandson fighting off a pirate attack. He smiled back at him. "And just what are you going to call this magnificent, unconquerable ship you're going to captain?"

The boy looked pensive for a moment, then remembering the pirate's glittering sword and how it had struck fear in his heart, he answered, "The Scimitar!"

"Why the Scimitar?"

"Because it'll scare everybody."

"You're right about that. You've chosen well," Edward pronounced.

"Will you help me paint the name on my ship?"

The duke was surprised by his request, and he began to explain that there were men at the shipyards who do such work.

"Not on the big ship I'm going to have, Grandfather!" Alexander laughed with childish delight. "I'm talking about painting it on the toy ship you gave me. Do you think we could paint the name on it?" He considered the replica the best present he'd ever received, his most prized possession, and he all but slept with it every night.

Edward laughed, too. "Decide what color you'd like, and we'll do it just as soon as I get back."

"Do you have to go?" Alexander implored as they turned away from the sea and started back toward the house in the growing darkness. He adored his grandfather and missed him dreadfully when he traveled.

"I'm afraid so. My other estates demand my attention, too. When you're older, I'll take you with me so you can see how vast our holdings are. Someday, Alexander, they will all be yours."

"I wish I could go with you now," Alexander pouted as he slipped his hand into Edward's, and the old man marveled at just how small he really was.

"Next year, when you turn eight, I'll take you along."

"Promise?"

"You have my word on it."

Their eyes met, and Alexander nodded solemnly, knowing his grandfather's word was law. If he said it would happen, it would.

They were following the path on through the gardens heading for the mansion's side entrance when they saw Catherine, Edward's nineteen-year-old daughter and Alexander's aunt, come hurrying outside toward them.

"Hello, Aunt Catherine!" Alexander called out. "Are you coming out to walk with us?"

"No, sweetheart, I have to talk to your grandfather for a minute," she said quickly, tousling his hair fondly.

It was obvious to Edward that she was upset about something, so he bid Alexander to go to his room and wash up for dinner.

"And use the side door," Catherine quickly directed, drawing a curious look from her father. She was greatly relieved when the boy did so without question.

"What is it?" Edward asked the minute Alexander was out of earshot. His gaze was serious as it rested on his lovely, fair-haired daughter. She looked so much like her mother, his Rebecca, with her pale-blond hair and aquamarine eyes that it sometimes pained him and filled him with a terrible longing for the past.

"It's Avery," she finally blurted out. "He's here."

"Avery?" Edward's expression first reflected surprise, then became guarded. "What does he want this time? Did he say?" he asked harshly. He knew his decadent son only showed up when he needed something, and he had a pretty good idea just what it was he was after. Unbeknownst to Avery, Edward had certain of his contacts in London keeping an eye on him. He knew of most of his son's depraved activities, and they filled him with fury. Avery had no honor, and that was a shortcoming the duke could not overlook.

"I don't know. He didn't say much to me. We only exchanged the usual mindless pleasantries."

"Did he ask to see the boy?"

"No. He just wants to talk to you."

"Did he bring Vivienne with him?" Edward inquired, already sure of her reply, but needing to ask anyway.

"No. He came alone."

At that news, the duke's expression grew black. "I suppose I should thank heaven for that much, but wouldn't you think a mother would want to see her only child once in a while? It's been months since she's come for a visit ..."

Catherine touched her father's arm in sympathy. "I know. It makes no sense to me, either. Alexander's such a wonderful boy. He's so full of life. So bright and so much fun. I couldn't love him more if he was my own. I don't understand how two such people could have given birth to him."

"Neither do I. Sometimes I wish he was yours." Edward patted her hand affectionately. "Then he would never have had to suffer their neglect."

"I may not be his mother, but between the two of us, he knows he's loved. Alexander's a good boy. He'll be fine, Father. You'll see."

"I hope you're right. Why don't you go upstairs and stay with him while I meet with Avery? Keep him up there if you can. There's no sense in upsetting him by letting him find out his father's here and doesn't care about seeing him."

"All right. You'll call us when you're through?"

He nodded. "And then we'll dine."

Catherine stood on tiptoes to press a soft kiss on his weathered cheek and then hurried away to see her nephew. Edward watched her until she had gone inside and then girded himself for the upcoming confrontation. It was never pleasant to visit with Avery, and he doubted seriously that today's encounter would be any different.


After his sister left him, Avery poured himself a healthy tumbler of whiskey and settled into the massive leather wing chair behind his father's desk in the study. Sitting back, he casually braced his booted feet on the desktop. Fancying himself already the duke, Avery silently toasted himself as he surveyed his domain, studying the expensive paintings that hung on the dark, highly polished paneled walls and the endless volumes of priceless leather-bound books in the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that lined one wall of the study. Mentally calculating the value of just the contents of the room, he smiled, gloating over the bounty the future held for him. One day, it really would all be his.

Avery was so deeply immersed in thoughts of his own grandeur that he failed to hear his father enter the room. Only the sound of Edward's greeting brought him back to full awareness.

"Avery ..." Edward was startled to find his son taking such liberties in his study. As always, Avery's good looks impressed him. There was no denying he had grown into a handsome man, and Edward knew he could be devilishly charming when it suited his purpose, but Edward also knew the truth about him, and he mourned the man he could have been. Try as he might, he had never found the answer as to why his son had turned out so badly, and, painful as it was, he knew he never would.

"Hello, Father," Avery replied with cool correctness, showing no embarrassment at being found sitting so brazenly at Edward's desk. He leisurely dropped his feet back to the floor, set his tumbler of whiskey on the desktop, then slowly stood up to acknowledge his presence.

"To what do I owe the honor of your presence? Dare I hope that you've missed us?" His words were a bit taunting.

"Of course I missed you, and Catherine and Alexander, too. Is the boy around, by the way? I'd half expected him to come in with you."

"He's upstairs getting ready for dinner. Would you care to join us and stay the night?"

"Unfortunately, I have important business in London that requires me to return this very evening," Avery lied as he circled the desk to stand before it, allowing his father to take the chair that was rightfully his.

"I see," the duke replied. "Shall I call Alexander down so you can have at least a short visit?"

"I'm afraid there's not even time for that. I came because I need to talk to you."

"Oh?" Edward watched his son from beneath hooded eyes.

"Yes," he went on eagerly, "I'm sure you know by now that I'm making every effort to change in the ways you suggested the last time we talked." He paused, hoping to hear an affirmative answer from his father.

The duke did not respond right away, but just pinned him with an emotionless gaze. His thoughts were centered on trying to understand how he and his beloved, gentle-spirited Rebecca could have produced such an accomplished liar. "Go on."

"Well, I have. In fact, I was meeting with some associates just a few days ago discussing various business ventures, and they offered me an excellent opportunity. All I need is enough money to make an initial investment, and they guarantee me that the return will be tremendous. I should be able to pay you back the principal in a matter of just a few years, and then Vivienne and I would be completely independent —" Avery explained smoothly, trying to convince his father to give him the funds he needed to "invest." It did not bother him that every word out of his mouth was a lie. All that was important was his goal — getting the money. Period.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Capture My Heart by Bobbi Smith. Copyright © 1992 Bobbi Smith. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Capture My Heart 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Set in 1789, London & the Barbary state of Algiers. I enjoyed this book very very much. It's full of excitement, love,passion, betrayal & family devotion. I just didn't want to put it down. I was always wanting to see what next would happen. It's definitely a page-turner, no doubt about it.
RAW1 More than 1 year ago
I hope to see book available for nook, I just love bobbi Smith books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago