When galleons ruled the seas, new lands were being discovered and fortunes were made and lost in trade and piracy. John Scott, a retired English sea captain, is seduced by tales of treasure in uncharted waters of the North Pacific. As a true seaman, he is enticed by adventure and forsakes his wife and home to hunt for a phantom island and it’s bounty.
CHAPTER ONE THE INVITATION
Amongst his morning mail, Captain John Scott spied an invitation from Admiral and Lord (by marriage) Huxtable. He tossed it aside and groaned at the pile of paperwork the porter had delivered. The consigned stack of Port Authority receipts sagged on his desk, quill and ink pot awaited his charge.
John’s face, weathered from five years of calculations, ledger entries and bureaucracy, bore a mortician’s countenance. Attractive chestnut eyes and hair lackluster, his six foot frame atrophied. Ink-stained fingertips and shirt cuffs attested to the long hours of his employ.
Mutinous, he screwed up his face at the paperwork. The invitation, sealed with a pithy red wax, wooed him. He lifted the seal, and inside a formal invite penned in handsome calligraphy. A dinner. John folded the paper and slid it into his pocket.
A saffron sunbeam warmed his back, peeked over his shoulder, and mellowed on shelves of his maritime collection. A thin pensive smile softened his face. Thirty-five years of keepsakes, dated to 1690, when John left home, a precocious 10 year old, and sailed with England’s fleet. Dust dulled the colourful cockles, welks and winkles, sponges and coral, and whitened the chalcedony, pumice and granite. Bits of rope, metal and wood interlaced and rivalled the gallery.
The stairs creaked, and a swoosh of petticoats swept up to John’s study. A lilac aura wafted up the stairs and burst into the room, embodied in a petite woman, springy blonde ringlets tickled her blue eyes.
“Hew says there’s an invitation in today’s mail.” She chirped. John hunted in his pocket and she snatched the letter.
“Captain John Scott and wife?” She shoved the invitation at John. “Why the cad!”
“I am sure it is for you, Anne.” The invitation light in his hands. “I met the gentleman only once, years ago. You regularly visited his ailing wife until she died recently.”
“Hmmm.” Anne reflected. “Poor dear, she was so frail. But she knew all the goings on of the aristocracy!” She touched her cheek, eyes wide. “And the Admiral was a friend of my fathers.” She tapped her lips and spotted a cobweb on the ceiling.
“Huxtable has been alone for almost two years now.” John stared at the paper in his hands. “He’s in need of some company and conversation.”
“He did speak highly of you.” Anne sang. “He said it was the Navy’s great loss when you retired. Ha! My gain, however!” She giggled. “I hadn’t considered him after his wife’s death.” She lowered her eyes, then wrinkled her nose. “He’ll want to tell tall tales and drink too much.”
“Well, that’s what old retired sea men do.” John snickered. “Perhaps we should attend.”
She narrowed her eyes. “You never attend any social event.”
“I can make an exception this time.” John forced a listless smile and fanned his face with the invitation, her lilac perfume overpowering.
“I shall accept the invitation then.” She whisked it from his fingertips and bustled downstairs, scattering John’s papers in her wake.
This is an excerpt from my latest novel, The Navigator. You may purchase this book on Amazon at The Navigator: Evans, Pat K: 9798572356656: Books – Amazon.ca or in the US at Amazon.com: The Navigator (9798572356656): Evans, Pat K: Books