The Forbidden Enchantment
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the hero, Sully
The Forbidden Enchantment (revised)
Frenchman’s Creek, book 2
previously published as Silhouette Romantic Suspense #1454
2008 Daphne du Maurier Award Nominee
Her brother’s fate hangs on a dead man’s curse.
But hers is bound…by a dead man’s love.
A passionate kiss was the last thing Elizabeth Hamilton expected to share with Magnolia Cove’s fire chief—just minutes after meeting him! And that was before she suspected the mysterious man was really none other than Captain Sullivan Fouquet, legendary eighteenth-century pirate, back from the dead and bent on vengeance.
But Sully is a man with a serious identity problem. He has returned to his old haunts with only one goal—to witness the completion of a centuries-old voodoo curse upon his sworn enemy. But when he begins to fall in love with the very woman he must hurt to avenge his own family, suddenly he begins to question everything he once believed in.
Can Sully give up his chance for revenge…and instead take his chance at the love of a lifetime?
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Magnolia Cove, Frenchman’s Island, South Carolina
June, present day
He should have stayed dead.
That would have been preferable to this living hell.
Captain Sullivan Fouquet plastered a brittle smile on his face and told himself he must not, under any circumstances, show his pain, or his fear.
Did he say fear? Non. More like apprehension. Unease. Nervousness.
Captain Sullivan Fouquet feared nothing in this world.
At least not until…
Damnation. Tyree would be able to tell him what to do, how to act. What to be wary of in this strange new time and place, and what should be ignored.
Blast the blighter for leaving on his honeymoon now, when Sully needed him most.
“You okay, chief?”
“Aye,” Sully said, gingerly catching the traveling case the man whose name was Jeremy Swift handed down from the huge red conveyance Sully had just descended from himself. “Yes,” he corrected himself, and cautiously tested the strength of his weakened knees. That had been quite a ride.
Swift passed him down his walking stick and Sully leaned on it gratefully. No need for his men to know careening down the road in that cursed contraption had had his heart in his throat.
“Need help with your bag?” Jeremy asked.
“Non, I’m fine.” Sully could deal with the pain. It was the strangeness and blind uncertainty he hated.
As proof of his fitness, he turned toward the fancy three-story boarding house that was painted the most peculiar green and garnished with white, curlicued latticework. He’d never seen anything quite like it in his life.
His old life.
“This is where you live now, you remember?” Jeremy Swift asked with a slight frown.
“It’s coming back to me.”
Of course, he’d never seen pretty much anything he’d encountered in this extraordinary world since waking from his near-endless slumber. Tyree had counseled feigning amnesia to explain his utter lack of recognition for anything around him. As well as why he had none of the memories of the person whose body he now inhabited—Andre Sullivan.
“Okay, we’ll leave you to it,” Jeremy Swift said. “See you tomorrow at the station, Chief.”
“Aye,” he said, but the word was drowned by the rumbling noise of the giant red fire truck pulling away from the curb. On the side of the truck was emblazoned Old Fort Mystic Fire Department, as were the pockets of the neat blue uniforms of the six smiling men packed inside—his men—all waving cheerfully to him as the truck rolled away down the street. A piercingly loud horn blasted twice from the roof of the vehicle, making him cringe, and then it disappeared around the corner.
Leaving him on his own. For the first time in three months. For the first time ever since being thrust into this diabolical adventure.
But a coward was something he’d never been, so taking a deep, cleansing breath, Sully made himself reach for the gate in the white picket fence surrounding the house’s front garden. A neat green painted sign was attached to it. Pirate’s Rest Inn.
He gave an ironic smirk. If they only knew.
“Welcome home, Captain Fouquet,” he mimicked in a high voice to the sign. “It’s been a long time.”
“Aye, two hundred years,” he answered himself. “But it’s not Fouquet any more. I’m Chief Sullivan now. Andre Sullivan.”
He exhaled. Non. No one would be calling him Fouquet, even in error. Sullivan Fouquet had been dead for two hundred years…as they’d continually pointed out in the hospital—until Tyree had convinced him to stop insisting he really was the infamous Cajun pirate captain. Tyree should know—he’d spent two centuries hiding his real identity, even being forced of late to change his name to James Tyler. He said people would start thinking Sully’s mind had been mangled along with his body in the fiery accident that had nearly claimed his life.
Alors. The accident that had claimed the life of the real Andre Sullivan.
Sully limped a few steps along the cobblestone walkway into the midst of the garden, pausing to take in the incredible array of summer roses blooming along its path. In the hospital, his newly awakened senses had been assaulted by pain and unpleasant smells, tastes, and unfamiliar sounds. But now he feasted those abused senses, pulling in deep lungfuls of the fragrance of heavy blooms and warm breeze and fecund earth, teased by distant memories those things evoked.
Good God, he was alive again!
“Welcome home, Captain. I’m sure you’re glad to be out of that awful hospital, eh?”
“Aye, I’d nearly forgotten what the world outside looked and smelled like. However, it’s Chief now. I’m not a pirate captain any longer, but a fire chief.”
Of all the things. The mere thought made him break out in a cold sweat. The universe had an oddly perverse sense of humor, it seemed.
If his moldering body had to be resurrected to life, why couldn’t it have been as a sea captain? Lying in traction in his cold, narrow hospital bed, his body encased like a mummy in plaster and unable to move, sometimes unable even to blink for the pain of his burns and broken bones, he would imagine himself back on the quarterdeck of the Sea Nymph, sailing against the wind, his hair flying and the salt spray in his face. It had been all he could do not to cry out with misery and longing.
“Welcome home, Chief Sullivan,” he muttered. “How are you feeling about your terrible ordeal?”
“Like I’ve just awoken in the broken body of a stranger and have no idea why I’m here.”
Tyree said it was because of the curse. The powerful curse Sully himself had shouted in a rage over the death of his beloved fiancée Elizabeth.
At the reminder of his sweet lover’s demise, Sully’s heart squeezed as it always did. In those last years battling the sea and his enemies, Elizabeth had been his shining beacon of happiness, the home port he’d set his compass by. How would he ever bear the coming years without her?
Because he had no choice.
“Welcome back, Chief. Happy to be home again?”
He sighed. “Aye,” he answered himself wearily, “thrilled to the core.”
“You don’t sound very convincing,” an amused feminine voice said from the garden.
He spun to the sound, knocking himself off balance. The suitcase dropped from his hand as he struggled to stay on his one good leg. Suddenly, she was beside him, grabbing his arm, holding him around the waist.
“Steady there. Sorry! I didn’t mean to startle you.”
A peculiar tingle sifted through his body, emanating from the places where she touched him. He stared down at her as his throat tightened. There’d been many women in the hospital who’d touched him. Doctors, nurses, those cute aids in red and white striped uniforms. Even his…that is, Andre’s…lady friend Lisa Grosvenor had brushed his cheek with indifferent lips as she’d issued him his sailing orders shortly after he’d regained consciousness.
None of them had affected him. He’d barely even noticed their presence.
But the touch of this woman was…different. Somehow… familiar. Her hand on his waist, even her scent, sweet like the roses surrounding them, with a touch of clove, made his whole being come to life and stand at attention. She reminded him so much of—
All at once, goose bumps roared over his flesh and he lost his breath.
Startled blue eyes gazed up at him. “Do I…?”
Her words trailed off as he reverently traced over her face with his fingertips. “Mon Dieu. Can it really be you?”
Her features were not the ones he remembered, her hair a different color. But her scent, her eyes, her touch…a lover did not forget these things.
“Elizabeth?” he whispered again.
With a groan, he folded her in his arms. “Thank God you’re here! I was so afraid I’d lost you forever.” He buried his nose in her hair, breathing deeply of her intoxicating scent. “Hold me,” he softly said, “so I know you’re real.”
Hesitantly, her arms came around him. The devastating burns on his back had healed for the most part, but he cursed the scars that prevented him from feeling more than the weight of her tentative embrace. He leaned down and kissed the tender spot below her ear, a place she’d always delighted in.
Her body quivered. He rejoiced. It was her!
She gave a tiny gasp as he captured her lips with his. He kissed her, gently, savoringly, and she tasted like pure heaven. It had been so long…
Then her arms tightened around him and her mouth opened a fraction. He pulled her close, taking her invitation, kissing her long and deep.
When the kiss finally ended and their lips parted, she whispered, “Welcome back, Chief. Happy to be home again?”