Jules Radcliffe has a new mm/gay pirate romance out: “Pirate Master.” And there’s a giveaway!
A strait-laced lieutenant. A free-living pirate. A hopeless love.
Quinn has never met a man quite like Perry. Stern and cold on the outside, burning up inside with secret passion. Yearning for a mastery only Quinn can satisfy. But Perry is no outcast—he’s a respectable officer in His Majesty’s navy. Reluctant to test his love for a pirate, Quinn baulks at asking him to give up everything he holds dear.
Though he has no regrets about their night of glorious sin, Perry sees no future with Quinn. Unlike the pirates of Port Royal, he isn’t free to love where he pleases. If word of his illicit affair came to the ears of Commodore Pobjoy, his career would be at an end. And the disgrace might mean he could never return home to England.
With war on the horizon, the Caribbean is a hotbed of intrigue. Quinn is betrayed and thrown into Monte Gris, an impregnable dungeon even the fearsome Brethren of the Coast aren’t strong enough to breach. Perry is stunned. Everything he valued is hollow and meaningless without his master.
Willing to risk all to get Quinn back, he refuses to abandon hope and plots a daring and dangerous rescue. But he can’t do it alone. He’ll need every scrap of ingenuity at his disposal to persuade the Black Wolf and the crew of the Audacious that his plan will work.
This time, it’s not just Perry’s career and reputation at stake. If he fails, men will die. And both he and Quinn will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of a terrifying acolyte of the Spanish Inquisition.
About the Series:
The Golden Age of piracy—a time of terror on the high seas, of romance and intrigue, of dastardly deeds.
In Port Royal, a brotherhood arises. A society of gallant buccaneers and rough marauders who owe allegiance to no one but themselves. Fiery men of fierce passions who take what they want and love where they choose.
Set sail for swashbuckling adventure with the Pirates of Port Royal!Universal Buy Link | Smashwords
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On writing the uncomfortable—and unromantic!—past by Jules Radcliffe
It’s really hard to recreate the past in all its minutiae. It’s even harder to write a romance that’s both true to its setting and appealing to a modern audience. We generally (and rightly, IMHO) find the attitudes our ancestors had towards many issues—slavery, rape, equality—appalling.
Well into the twentieth century, most people believed that women, while competent in a domestic environment, weren’t capable of higher learning. Men of colour were perceived to be not quite as intelligent as white men. Poverty was seen as a moral failing, making the poor, men and women alike, directly responsible for the ills they suffered. I once read a penny dreadful set in the Gorbals, an infamous Glasgow slum, in which the
author said outright that Gorbals women, their poverty proof of their inferiority, didn’t have the capacity to love their children. Wow, huh?
Given these attitudes, which make me laugh and fume by turns, I walk a line as an author between modern and old-fashioned, trying to capture the feel of an era rather than its strict and painful accuracy. As long as my reasoning is plausible, I can get away with making characters more progressive than their contemporaries. For example, in The
Winter Trail, Evie Lockhart’s father was professor of classics and exposed her to authors such as Plato, who praised male-male love. So while recognising her contemporaries would be shocked, she readily accepts Jake and Ash’s relationship.
Unfortunately for my sanity, I do a ton of research. I’ve been writing the Pirates of Port Royal series since 2016, and I’m still reading up on the era! I’ve waded through all sorts of documents. Exquemelin’s book on piracy, published in 1678, is pretty turgid, but it’s rich in detail and a treasure trove of information. (Of course, some of the trove is pretty suspect, like bizarre animals that never existed outside a pirate’s tall tale!) I’ve read
modern books, academic articles, stared at reconstruction sketches and artefacts fished up from the bottom of the sea. I’ve even read wills and birth/death registers. Yeah, okay, I’m into research porn! But I’ll be the first to admit I’ve made the occasional historical howler. I’ve also had some close calls, like when I pulled a book back from edit to replace the mortice door locks with latches…
I see language as a vital tool to create atmosphere—those who know me from socials know how much I hate seeing (or using!) American language in a British story. And vice versa, though that one is more rare. I feel that language is a setting of its own, as important as nailing down clothing, manners, and historical events. But while I use contemporary language where I can, I try not to go overboard. Swearing is a particular challenge in this regard. Much contemporary swearing sounds hilarious to us, but I persevere with finding salty phrases that don’t tickle funny bones (unless I mean to). And so my pirates rarely use ‘fuck’ for anything other than
actual fucking as it didn’t become a swear word until the nineteenth century. Having said that, I love the way ‘Black Sails’, a pirate TV show set fifty years after my own series, uses language. They weave modern and contemporary language together, and deliberately use anachronisms, such as Jack Rackham’s line on using condoms to avoid STDs (my favourite joke from the show).
I’m going to snitch on myself here—while I go along with Port Royal’s reputation for wild debauchery, evidence shows it was pretty tame, even by contemporary standards. There weren’t nearly as many taverns and brothels as it was reputed to have, probably fewer than the average modern city. I’ve often wondered if its reputation was based more on homosexual behaviour by the mostly male residents, which would have been shocking
to a contemporary audience. They called Port Royal the Sodom of the New World, and while ‘Sodom’ was used for debauchery in general, it was also coded language for homosexual behaviour. There’s no definitive proof though, because all our evidence exists in texts like private letters, wills and legal cases, and sometimes prosecutions and punishments, and most of it is coded as well. This makes it hard to decipher if homosexuality amongst pirates was rampant but not spoken of, or rare and not spoken of.
Because it wasn’t spoken of!
When I started on the Pirates of Port Royal, I approached the era with the aim of recreating the flavour of Port Royal and Tortuga in the 1660s rather than a strictly accurate account. I wanted a place that was true to its era but not repellent, edgy but not terrifying, and filled with characters my readers would love. Or love to hate! I like to think I was successful in creating an adventurous and compelling world.
The faint chime of watch bells sounded. Perry, still nine parts asleep, automatically counted two and one.
Not yet time to rise.
He subsided back into his lover’s embrace. Recalling whose arms were wrapped strong around him, whose heart beat slow and steady under his ear, Perry smiled drowsily.
Sometime later, he woke alone, the bed beside him cold. Disappointment gripped him. But when he lifted his head, he saw a pair of boots, the tops sagging to one side, and a shirt and breeches hanging from a hook. Quinn’s clothing from last night. Wherever the master had gone, he could not be far.
Perry stretched out stiff arms and legs, and rubbed his tender arse in idle memory. Thinking of last night brought a grin to his face. He climbed from his bunk and stuck his head through the stern window.
The harbour was smooth and still, and other ships and boats were faint silhouettes in the predawn gloom. With only a handful of men aboard and the watch changeover at least an hour away, he took the chance no one would be wandering about this part of the ship. Naked but for his shirt, he dashed to the wardroom quarter gallery.
He peered into the little mirror nailed to the bulkhead. If he stood in the right spot, he could see his whole face in its burnished surface. He was surprised to see looked much the same. He touched the scar under his eye and traced down to his lips with light fingers. Mayhap the customary tightness in his face was eased.
The crew would tease him mercilessly for last night, but it was a price he was willing to pay. He wanted more of Quinn’s kisses, both the rough and the gentle. Never had he dreamed they would be lovers, not after so many months of crossing swords. It had taken him so long to come to his senses. Too long, he thought wistfully. Because one way or another, his time with the Brethren of the Coast was about to come to an end.
The news flying around the port came to his ears as soon as he set foot on land yesterday. Governor Modyford, newly appointed and on his way from Barbadoes, intended to honour King Charles’ new accord with Madrid. The market was abuzz with speculation. If the governor revoked the marques against the Spanish, would the Brethren ships change allegiance? Would they go to the French colonies of Saint-Domingue and Tortuga, or even to the Dutch in Curacao?
The Audacious might not abandon Port Royal, but Perry was still a lieutenant in the navy. He would still have to leave. Making peace with Spain was a clear sign that the English crown had made its decision—war with the Dutch Republic. Sooner or later Perry would be recalled, returned to England to defend home shores. Belike he would be given a command. Not even Commodore Pobjoy’s spite would stop him being promoted in a time of war.
For years, Perry had dreamed of being a captain. For months, he had pined to return home. At last, he was on the verge of having his ambitions granted. He sighed at the irony.
Because last night, Quinn made himself Perry’s master, and everything had changed.
The ambitions he had once aspired to, the blocks on which he had built his lonely existence, the things he had long accepted as his lot in life, all had collapsed like a house upon the sand. Now his greatest wish was to stay in the Caribbean and serve aboard the Audacious. Even if he never rose higher than second mate, he preferred that to being half a world away from Gabriel Quinn.
But his native caution warned him to be wary. Not to put too much stock into Quinn’s sweet words of possession.Their shared passion might be as ephemeral as a candle: burning bright whilst the night lasts, naught but a puddle of cold wax in the light of day.
After all, the sailing master could do better than a charmless nobody. Perry stared at himself in the mirror. Staring back was a man all of drabness: mousy hair, colourless eyes, bland features. And there were deeper things amiss with him, things beyond the power of a mirror to show: tongue-tied in company, lacking any gentlemanly refinement, ignorant and uneducated. What could a man like Quinn see in him?
A complete mess is what he’ll see if I don’t clean up. Perry smoothed down his wayward curls in an attempt to look less freshly fucked. He grimaced, an expression that landed somewhere between smug and rueful. Even if Quinn did not fuck him into disarray again this morning, erelong every pirate in Port Royal would know the sailing master of the Defiant had tamed the uptight Mr Perry-grin.
He filled the basin and stripped, splashing his body and dousing his head. He scrubbed vigorously, feeling an energising tingle all over. Some parts of himself, however, were very tender, and he dabbed the cold water carefully on those raw places.
The door creaked. Snatching up his shirt, he pivoted to put his back to the wall. Quinn stood in the doorway clad only in his drawers, his magnificent chest on display. Perry’s breath caught, and he was tempted to drop to his knees. Instead, he dropped his shirt. Quinn knew his scars; last night he had traced every one with tongue and finger. Perry felt no shame before him.
At this show of trust, he was rewarded with the master’s sensuous smile. He returned the smile shyly and turned back to the basin. He sluiced his torso, washing off the remnants of soap. A new excitement buzzed in his veins when he heard Quinn’s breeches drop to the floor. Arms slid about his waist, and his heartbeat kicked up. A naked chest pressed to his damp back, kisses marked his shoulders. A firm prick prodded his bare buttocks.
“’Tis dangerous for a pretty boy to be wandering naked around a pirate ship,” murmured Quinn into his neck, kissing and nibbling.
Tilting his head, Perry leaned back into the embrace. “Am I in danger, Master Quinn? Surely you’d not take advantage of a defenceless sailor lad.”
Quinn bent him forward. Hands on the bulkhead, he pushed back as a hard length slid between his thighs.
“Only when he’s as saucy a piece as you, Mr Peregrine. I’ll be taking advantage of you at every opportunity.”
From the time I learned to talk, I told stories. From the time I learned my letters, I wrote the stories down!
I love vintage items, from advertising posters and pulp fiction covers to Art Deco furniture to Victorian sex toys.
I’ve lived, studied, and worked in several countries, but I always return to Australia. My home is near the beach in Queensland, where I live with my unconventional family. But I miss the cold winters and often dream of sitting by a blazing fire on a snowy night.
Author Website: http://www.julesradcliffe.com
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