Missing in the Pages (Pirates #1)

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Summary

A 21st century American girl gets sucked into the perilous world of her favorite novel set in 19th century England and must navigate amongst the ruthless Captain Carter Mcleod and his pirate crew. Seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Burrough has never felt more alone since the death of her father. Ostracized at school and ignored at home by her grieving mother, Elizabeth’s only solace lies within the pages of her favorite book. But when she awakes one morning to discover she's somehow been sucked into the novel, it seems the glamorous world of 19th century England may be more perilous than she'd ever expected. And when the striking but harsh Captain Carter Mcleod decides he can use Elizabeth for his own gain, she is suddenly thrust into his treacherous world. As Elizabeth finds herself inexplicably drawn to the merciless captain, she begins to realize that Carter’s past is filled with darker secrets than she had ever realized. And when Carter determines Elizabeth's help is imperative to recovering that which had been stolen from him long ago, the dangers that lurk beneath the surface of the polished English nobility start to rise around them. In a place where it seems no one is completely trustworthy and where darkness hides around every corner, Elizabeth must decide whether there is actually anything awaiting her back home or if the exhilarating England is where she truly belongs.

Genre:
Fantasy / Romance
Author:
Ashley_Tropea
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
38
Rating:
4.9 37 reviews
Age Rating:
13+

PROLOGUE

Chaos. Absolute chaos. Rain slams against the wooden deck of the ship as the crew rushes to their posts, slamming into each other in the process. Thunder crashes above and lightning shoots from the sky, breaking through the thick darkness of the night, offering Elizabeth just a moment to see him across the deck. She hikes the skirts of her gown as high as she can and hurries toward him.

“Nathan!”

He turns and spots her. There is a look in his eyes that makes her blood run cold with a fear she has never known. Her throat runs dry and she almost stops in her approach. She refuses to believe what he is trying to tell her with his gaze.

She shoves through the panicked crowd of men until she reaches him. “Where is he?” she demands.

He drops his eyes to the ground, scratching at his head sorrowfully. “I don’t know.” His voice is soft...mournful.

Her heart drops to her feet and she can hardly breathe. “How can you not know? Were you not with him?”

“I was.”

“Then where the bloody hell is he, Nathan?”

He doesn’t answer her, giving her that look again.

She shakes her head, disbelieving. “I have to find him.”

He grabs her arm as she turns to go. “No, you can’t—“

“I have to find him!”

For a moment, Elizabeth can’t understand what’s happened. Thunder claps and every single man on this ship falls silent as they stare at the edge of the vessel. Elizabeth watches as the figure of the man she has been searching for staggers onto the ship.

It hadn’t been a thunder clap. It had been a gunshot.

Carter stumbles, clutching at his stomach, blood spilling out. He struggles to raise his head, but when he finally manages it, his eyes easily find hers across the expanse of the deck, a wealth of meaning in them. Then they roll back in his head.

“No,” she breathes as he collapses. She runs for him, ignoring the way her corset digs into her skin or the way his crew remain frozen.

She drops to her knees beside him, cradling his face in her hands. The skin of his face is pale and the muscles are slack. “Carter?” She shakes him hard, but he doesn’t move. “No, no, no, no—Carter? Can you hear me?”

Silence.

She cries, terrible, painful sobs as she looks into his blank, unseeing eyes. Carter, the man who always pulls her back from the edge, the only man she has ever loved, is—

I snapped the book shut and practically threw it across the room where it landed on a round cafeteria table.

What! He was dead? Really, truly dead? But he was the male lead! How do you kill the lead?

I leaned forward and rested my head in my hands, sighing.

These books were going to be the death of me.

I was sure the lead characters were safe with Sarah Morales. She had written my absolute favorite books for the past seven years. The release of the final book in the Pirates series had been record breaking; every bookstore in America had sold out of the novels in the first day.

And in the last book, she killed Carter.

I moved to the table the book had landed on, picking it up, and scanning over that last page again as if by sheer will I could change the words. But all I accomplished was a deeper feeling of depression and an embarrassing tear that trailed down my cheek.

“Freak,” a girl muttered as she passed me. Giggles followed from the rest of her squad.

My cheeks flushed hotly, and I fidgeted on the metal bench, keeping my eyes downcast.

But I felt them watching me some tables away, their eyes like hot pokers stabbing my skin.

I had heard that saying over and over about sticks and stones, how words couldn’t hurt. Someone should’ve told the creator of that mantra that the eyes hurt more than the words. Constant accusations of “freak” or “weirdo” I could handle; I’d heard them enough. But it was the things unheard that made my cheeks flame, the judgement that radiated from their faces into my back. I let my long brown hair curtain my face from their view and blew out a sharp breath.

It was no wonder I felt so close to books. They didn’t care how I looked or what I wore. They simply allowed me to exist somewhere else, where everything ended happily.

Well, except in the last book, apparently.

As the bell rang, signaling the end of lunch, I slung my backpack over my shoulder and hurried out the door, mentally counting down the days until graduation. Just twenty-five more days, I assured myself. Twenty-five days.


When I got home, a note from my mother sat on the counter.

Gone out with Blake. Be back late. Dinner in freezer.

I sighed as I practically threw the frozen dinner in the microwave. Whether it was her job at the hospital or her new boyfriend, Mom always found a way to stay away from the house.

Away from me.

It was how she coped, she’d told me once. After Dad had died, how could I expect her to be here, where so much reminded her of him? Where I reminded her of him?

Six years. Six years I had been completely and totally alone in this house. What was one more night?

I shook my head, disappointed in myself for feeling disappointed and pulled the dinner out as the microwave beeped.

Loneliness always hit me the hardest when I was lying under my covers, when all was quiet in the house, when I could hear the absence of my mother’s snoring in the next room, when I realized it was only ten o’clock and I was already in bed. And when the loneliness hit, when the isolation became too much, there were only two options: I could cry myself to sleep—which I had done too many times to count—or I could crack open Pirates and allow my only companions to cheer me up.

Last night, I’d read the epic sword fighting scene, but, tonight, I flipped a few pages further to where Elizabeth meets Carter for the first time since they were children. It always amazed me how brave Elizabeth was when faced with the fearful pirate. Carter was by no means the warm and fuzzy type, but somehow this noblewoman found the strength not to cry or cower. She was strong.

I sighed and snuggled deeper into my covers. I wished I could be like Elizabeth. I wished I could go right up to those snickering girls and give them a piece of my mind. I wished I could find the courage to make my mother talk to me, to get her to ask just once if I was okay. But I knew that no matter how badly I wanted to change my situation, there would always be some sort of invisible duct tape sealing my mouth shut.

The words began to blur together on the pages as my lids drifted shut.

Tomorrow, my companions promised me. Tomorrow will be better.

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Further Recommendations

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Tina N Clyde Young: I loved this story.. but my only complaint was it was not long enough. Where is book two. I would love to continue reading. I wish the last chapter would no have jumped so far ahead though. Great story though I loved reading it. Great job!!!

Yz Cali: good story. interesting and i want to read it continually. i hope i can read it the whole book.

Flor Lacanilao: The plot is tight and it’s interesting. I didn’t stop until I finished reading the last chapter.

Shameen Naidoo: Very good Interesting storylineWanted to know if Christian and Maria got married

LRX: This book was so good. The chapters 10 onwards I had to google to find - they are on fictionpress.com.And then the story stops at chapter 54 which is annoying because I want to know what happens after!

Lucy Childs: Really enjoying the writing, and the storyline Love the pack doctor idea, something different.

faiz Kazmi: Such a beautiful story.... (Sighing while revising the story again) ...

Shannon Hines: I have read all 6 books in 2 days. You truly bring these characters to life. I have felt pain for them. I have felt joy for them. I could not stop. I hope there will be more. You are truly gifted as a writer. Your characters become real to the readers.

More Recommendations

Kanchikanchi: Needs polishing,Storyline is integral to this book's success but the backstory is a little muddy,The inconsistency in the updates is frustrating.Eagerly waiting for another chapter and hoping the author's alright :)

annisawitasari: I'm not a fan of series story. But with this badass MC,i don't mind reading 1 or 2 more stories. The author is playing with matebond and fate. I love how the author twisted them without breaking the characters and my heart 😋..

Sarah Morris: I love the duality and c ok inflict in the two real main characters and how they both were fighting with themselves and how they were feeling. Now to go get the rest of this book so I can finish it.

Mary Schwartz: so so so so so so so so good-keep up the great work-can’t wait for the next chapter!!!!

Donna Marie Topley: I loved this book. Loved the story line.Loved the characters.

M_E_G_A_T_R_O_N: Nicely written, great writing style and fantastic story line. The characters are interesting, great character development and fascinating story all together. Keep up the good work.

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