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A Captain for Caroline Gray

Adventure on the high seas! What an exciting setting for a Regency Novel! Thank you for stopping in today to read an excerpt from A Captain for Caroline Gray by Julie Wright.


Excerpt

Captain Thomas Scott surveyed the strange man and woman who had boarded his ship.

“It would mean ever so much to us,” the lady continued, “if you would be so kind as to place this package in the cabin of one of your passengers. She’s going to India as a bride for our son. Isn’t that ever so lovely?”

Thomas tried to mask his disdain as the man attempted to hand him a parcel. “I am sorry,” Thomas said. “But I have crewmen who will do well enough to make deliveries for you. Surely you’re aware that captains do not fetch and carry like dogs.”

The man looked uncomfortable as he tucked the parcel back under his arm. He glanced at his wife, as if for support.

“We insisted on speaking to you personally,” the woman said. “It is a matter of great importance to us that you keep an eye out for the lady in question as we do not want her to become timid during the voyage.”

Though he raised his eyebrows at her, he understood her meaning perfectly. They did not want her unchaperoned. “I assure you, madam, we keep a woman to serve as chaperone.”

It was true enough in spirit, if not in law. Clara watched after the girls who boarded his ship, but she didn’t follow behind them at every moment. He found that the girls stayed together enough to render a chaperone unnecessary. He believed that this couple had more than worries over chaperones. They did not want the woman they’d handpicked to rethink her own choices regarding the match, and a three-month voyage allowed plenty of time for rethinking.

Thomas hated how so very few women did any rethinking while on the voyage to Mumbai or Chennai, the two ports he sailed to most frequently. Those women went to India to find husbands, and the few who returned empty-handed acted as though they had failed all of humanity by not making a match. Thomas thought those who returned home were the lucky ones.

Many other captains catered to the demand for proper English wives by hosting dinner parties when they arrived in port so the young ladies could meet the young men, and the not-so-young men, who were available. Thomas did not host any such parties. On occasion, he would be invited to attend balls and dinners, and he was obliged to accept those invitations based on his rank, position, and his personal dealings with trade, but he hated it.

Blast, but he hated it.

He gave a flat-eyed stare to the couple while the woman continued to talk. “My son is a captain himself. Though not of the sea. No, he’s a captain in His Majesty’s army. You two

would probably get on quite well!”

Thomas doubted that and stepped to the side to bypass the couple and continue in his duties, but the woman moved in front of him again.

“And the girl we’ve found for him! She is ever so lovely. So accomplished. I hear she sings like a songbird.”

“But you’ve not heard her for yourself,” Thomas said, trying to point out that perhaps she should have verified this information before putting the woman on a ship bound for her son.

The woman looked perplexed but brightened. “Well, no, I haven’t, but those who have said it are ever so trustworthy. And I really do hope that you—”

“If you’ll excuse me.” He bowed. “You may hand the parcel off to any of my crew as all of them are capable of placing it in the correct cabin. Thank you ever so much.” He walked away. He hadn’t bothered asking the name of the young miss he was supposed to be looking after and was glad the couple hadn’t told him the woman’s name.

If he knew her identity, he’d be tempted to throw the girl overboard to save her from a future of probable disappointment.

As he walked away, the woman stammered, “But I—well, I—How insolent! So rude. To be treated with ever so much—” She stopped, perhaps realizing that his repeating her turn of phrase meant she said it too often. He should have felt bad for his behavior in spite of her own ill manners, but he had a ship to sail.

But he found that he could not resist turning back to watch the couple make their way to the nearest crewman, Mr. Kilpack, who didn’t look happy about being sent off on an errand. Thomas knew the crewman had a long list of duties to tend to before they sailed. The couple was quite insistent, however, and Kilpack eventually relieved the man of his burden.

Odd. They were odd people. After meeting such parents, any sensible woman would do well to steer clear of the son.

But silly people had a way of attracting silly people. He’d be done soon with the business of entertaining ridiculous people on his ship because he had a plan. He had begun investing in goods from India. He would no longer be simply a captain ferrying goods back and forth for others to buy and sell. He would also be a businessman who would make profits on goods he transported and sold. Soon, he would have a fine house and be able to consider settling down and creating a family of his own.

He loved the sea, but it had been his father’s dream for him, not his own. Soon enough, he’d have the money to make his own path. But not today. Today, he was nothing but the captain. Which meant he had work to do.

Chapter 3 Page 20-23


Regency London

Caroline Gray’s third season in London society ends as badly as her first two—no marriage proposal, no suitor, not even a glimmer of an interested prospect. She suspects it’s because she is far too quick to speak her mind to men who are put off by her forthright opinions, her eager intellect backed by a formal education, and her unconventional ideas about the future. She is far more daring than demure to suit the taste of her class. Besides, Caroline thinks there will always be next season to find a husband.

However, her family’s dwindling income leaves Caroline with only one choice to secure her future: a one-way ticket to sail with the Fishing Fleet to India, where the son of a family friend waits. If the match doesn’t work, Caroline cannot return home.

Captain Thomas Scott loves the thrill of the open sea, and as commander of one of the ships of the Fishing Fleet, he ferries scores of young English girls to the shores of India to find husbands. The voyages pay well, but he struggles to understand why families would allow young women to be matched with total strangers so far away.

The trips have always been routine and uneventful—until this trip’s first night’s dinner with one Miss Caroline Gray. She engages in a lively political conversation, presenting opposing viewpoints to the conventionally opinionated gentlemen at her table. Captain Scott is secretly amused and delighted at her boldness, not to mention quite drawn to her beauty.

The rest of the passengers are shocked by her behavior and Caroline finds herself an outcast, suffering harsh judgments from the other passengers. However, she finds an unlikely ally in Captain Scott which quickly draws them closer.

Both know an arranged marriage awaits Caroline at the end of their voyage, yet the attraction between them is undeniable. Caroline will have to decide if she will honor her mother’s wishes and marry a man in India whom she has never met, thus securing a future for her and her mother, or be brave enough to throw convention to the wind and commit to love a sea captain. He may be enchanted by her bold and unconventional ways, but will his love and admiration last?

AUTHOR BIO

Julie Wright wrote her first book when she was fifteen and has written over twenty novels since then. She is a Whitney Awards winner for best romance with her books Cross My Heart and Lies Jane Austen Told Me, and she is a Crown Heart recipient for the novel The Fortune Café.

She has one husband, three kids, one dog, and a varying amount of fish, frogs, and salamanders (depending on attrition). She loves writing, reading, hiking, playing with her kids, and watching her husband make dinner.

She hates mayonnaise.

ADVANCE PRAISE

  • “A charming historical romance in which smarts and sass are vindicated.”— Foreword Reviews
  • “…a delightful, not exactly traditional Regency romance. Teen readers will enjoy this adventurous journey with its proactive heroine and exotic settings.”— Booklist, starred review
  • “An unconventional woman finds herself at home at sea in this stirring Regency from Julie Wright…This adventure is sure to entice fans of historical romance.”— Publishers Weekly

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Join the virtual blog tour of A CAPTAIN FOR CAROLINE GRAY (Proper Romance Regency), Julie Wright’s highly acclaimed historical romance novel March 1 – 28, 2021. Over forty popular blogs specializing in historical romance, inspirational fiction, and Austenesque fiction will join in the celebration of its release with excerpts, spotlights, and reviews of this new Regency-era novel set aboard an English ship bound for India. 

Blog Tour Schedule

March 01 My Jane Austen Book Club (Excerpt)

March 01 Austenprose — A Jane Austen Blog (Review)

March 02 Storeybook Reviews (Review)

March 02 Lu Reviews Books (Review)

March 02 Bookworm Lisa (Review)

March 03 Probably at the Library (Excerpt)

March 03 Our Book Confessions (Review) 

March 03 Lady with a Quill (Review) 

March 04 The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Review) 

March 04 Fire & Ice (Review)

March 05 Literary Time Out (Review) 

March 05 Among the Reads (Review)

March 06 Books and Socks Rock (Review) 

March 07 Encouraging Words (Excerpt)

March 08 So Little Time… (Review) 

March 09 For Where Your Treasure Is (Review) 

March 10 Laura’s Reviews (Review) 

March 10 My Bookish Bliss (Review)

March 11 Heidi Reads (Review) 

March 12 Reading with Emily (Review)

March 13 The Christian Fiction Girl (Review) 

March 14 Silver Petticoat Reviews (Excerpt)

March 15 Austenesque Reviews (Review)

March 16 The Lit Bitch (Excerpt)

March 16 Greenish Bookself (Review) 

March 17 Inkwell Inspirations (Review)

March 18 A Darn Good Read (Review) 

March 19 Relz Reviewz (Review)

March 20 Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review) 

March 20 Christian Chick’s Thoughts (Review)

March 21 Jorie Loves a Story (Review)

March 22 From Pemberley to Milton (Review) 

March 23 Gwendalyn’s Books (Review) 

March 23 Historical Fiction with Spirit (Review)

March 24 Captivated Reading (Review) 

March 24 Books, Teacups, & Reviews (Excerpt)

March 25 Roseanne E. Lortz (Review)

March 26 Cup of Tea with that Book, Please (Review)

March 26 Randi Loves 2 Read (Review)

March 27 Library of Clean Reads (Review) 

March 28 The Bibliophile Files (Review)

Thank you to Shadow Mountain for the advance copy. Also, thank you to Laurel Ann of AustenProse for inviting me to be a part of this tour.

Stay safe and happy reading. -Melissa

Melissa has been in love with books since she was a child. As a young girl, in her Holly Hobby decorated room, she would sit and tape scraps of paper to her books so that she could organize them by the Dewey Decimal System. She is a huge advocate for helping children learn to love reading. Along with hosting an online Regency based book club and a book club at her home, she started a book club for kids at her son’s school. These days, Melissa can be found at the library writing a book review or tucked in some quiet corner having a love affair with a newly discovered romance novel.

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