“Merci, mon petites.” The albino’s voice sounded like gravel in the cylinder-shaped microphone. “I’ll be breaking for a short time. Youse keep yourselves amused and stay out of trouble.”
“Remember…let me do most of the talking,” Ian said as soon as the crooner stood and started making his way to the edge of the stage.
The captain merely nodded, taking in the other members of the band, who didn’t leave their spots on the stage.
Instead, they started playing again, a perky jazz tune with a good measure of saxophone. A few of the couples positioned around the room came out to the dancing square positioned in the middle of the room and began swaying or grinding to the beat. Ian kept his expression neutral although his gut churned at the visual.
Their host grunted as he pulled back a chair, and, as a guest, Ian stood as manners dictated. The captain didn’t.
“Standing on ceremony as if you were still a gentleman?” Janken chuckled.
Ian sat and smiled. “Mama’s rules ne’er do disappear.”
“Mine did, thank God.” The albino tapped his long fingernails on the table top in perfect rhythm with the beat from the stage. “Who’s your friend? She smells like a garden.”
“Captain Castoa of the Liberté.” She’d cut him off and extended a hand in peace.
For a blind man, Janken saw remarkable things, and he grabbed her, leaning forward over the small table. He flipped her palm between both of his and sniffed at her wrist. Without rebuke, she submitted to his eccentricities while Ian experienced a sudden desire to throw the skin trader from his seat and put the captain’s fancy knife through him.
“Divine. Absolutely delicious.” Then he let her go. “Such a pretty scent for a woman around filth and dirt all the time.”
They all fell silent. Ian couldn’t find his words at the moment, a red haze of jealousy winding its course through him. Being jealous of a blind man seemed a bit ridiculous, but at the same time he wanted permission to touch her, to smell her—liberties denied him that Janken had taken without even bothering to ask..
Luckily, he didn’t have to produce the next piece of conversation; the albino did the work for him. “Now what does a marked want so bad he’s willing to darken my establishment with his sinful presence?”
Time for business. “I need to find Luther.”
“You’re not the only one.”
“I’ve got merchandise he’s requested, but a delay had me late to our meeting point. I know you can tell me where he’s hiding.” He’d bet his life on it.
The two illegal-dealing men weren’t friends, but information about anything and everything black market or top secret seemed to be in the albino’s possession. The Cursed were always in need of intelligence. Information allowed them to stay one step ahead of the authorities and determine who’d want their services.
“I may know something, but the rules still apply.”
Ian nodded. “Yes, and she’s got something good to share.”
A white eyebrow rose. “Eh? What could this marvelous woman who captains an airship full of foul-smelling, disgusting men have to tell me that would equal such a trade?”
Blurb: Once Upon A Time...
Sorella Corvino lost her brother to The Cursed years ago. Sorella is so determined to find him, she'll make any deal, rescue the outcasts and those like him, and risk flying into any port to rescue him. When her latest pirate efforts partner her with a bounty hunter who's too charming, sexy, and handsome for his own good, she knows she's in trouble.
Ian Marshall no longer believes in fairy tales…
Disowned and a marked criminal in the United States, this merchant turned bounty hunter, is one bounty away from freedom; and freedom's price is handing over one person to the most cutthroat gang in the world, The Cursed. Yet, he can't get to them without Sorella's help. Too bad she's gorgeous, aggravating, and a little trigger happy.
As the attraction mounts, the danger grows and the pair find themselves invading a skin trader den, the ballrooms of dictator-ruled Germany, and fighting battles in the sky in the hopes of getting everything they want. Only thing they didn't plan on... falling in love.
Author Bio: Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day, and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.