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Authors: Nicole Castroman

Blackhearts

BOOK: Blackhearts
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The pirate Blackbeard was known for striking fear

FEBRUARY

into the hearts of even the bravest sailors. But once, he was just 2016

a young man who dreamed of abandoning his rigid life to chase

An Advance Reviewer Copy

________

adventure in faraway lands.

Uncorrected Proof—

Not for Sale

Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would

change everything.

EDWARD “TEACH” DRUMMOND, SON OF ONE OF BRISTOL’S RICHEST

merchants, has returned from a year at sea to find his life in shambles.

Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams of returning to the vast ocean he calls home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne takes a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze.

Drawn together by a shared desire for freedom, but kept apart by Teach’s B L A C K H E A R T S

father, their love is as passionate as it is forbidden. Faced with an impossible choice, Teach and Anne must decide whether to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

Nicole Castroman received her BA from Brigham Young University and currently lives with her husband and two children in Georgia.
Blackhearts
is her first novel.

Uncorrected Proof—Not for Sale.

Do not quote for publication without checking against the finished book.

Further information on page i.

a novel by

NONMERCH

ISBN 978-1-4814-5588-6

N I C O L E C A S T R O M A N

Cover designed by Karina Granda

Cover photograph copyright © 2016 by Getty Images/Image Source

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SIMON & SCHUSTER CHILDREN’S PUBLISHING

ADVANCE REVIEWER COPY

TITLE: Blackhearts

AUTHOR: Nicole Castroman

IMPRINT: Simon Pulse

ON-SALE DATE: 2/9/16

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3269-6

FORMAT: Hardcover

PRICE: $17.99 U.S./$22.99 Can.

AGES: 14 up

PAGES: 384

Do not quote for publication until verified with finished books. This advance uncorrected reader’s proof is the property of Simon & Schuster.

It is being loaned for promotional purposes and review by the recipient and may not be used for any other purpose or transferred to any third party. Simon & Schuster reserves the right to cancel the loan and recall possession of the proof at any time. Any duplication, sale, or distribution to the public is a violation of law.

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N I C O L E C A S T R O M A N

SIMON PULSE

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This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real places are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and events are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

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An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

First Simon Pulse hardcover edition February 2016

Text copyright © 2016 by Nicole Castroman

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add CIP / or add Library of Congress Control Number TK

ISBN 978-1-4814-3841-4 (hc)

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For my mom, Doris,

for always telling me I should write.

And for my husband, Miguel,

for making it possible for me to do just that.

C H A P T E R 1

Anne

Bristol, England 1697

After Anne’s father died, her mother often said that sorrow was

the only sun that rose for them. Her mother had since followed

him into the darkness of death, leaving Anne to face the dawn

alone.

That morning was no different, the thick clouds overhead

were determined once again to release their pent-up frustration

on her. In the crowded marketplace and its stalls, the air smelled of sweet water on damp stone and wood, accompanied by the

tang of blood.

Other maids and cooks from the large homes in the city

bartered and bought, their weary voices calling for pheasant,

venison, and veal. Anne stood in line with her pail of fruits and vegetables, hoping she wasn’t too late to get the better cuts of meat. At last she stepped up to the butcher, the many coins in

her pocket reminding her of her errand’s importance.

1

The butcher winked, his brown eyes almost black. “Good to see you, Anne. What’ll it be today?”

“Master Drummond wants venison tonight,” she said,

inspecting the haunches and shoulders hanging from the stall’s

center beam. The butcher’s eyes followed her with the same

consideration. With his fair hair, some might have called him

handsome, but she only saw his yellowed teeth and smelled his

rank breath. If Master Drummond hadn’t insisted she buy from

this particular butcher, she would have found a different one

long ago. He was at least twice her sixteen years, and though his apron was clean, the look on his face was not.

“Aye, his son is coming home, isn’t he?” he said, leaning

forward across the table. “Been gone a year at sea.”

Anne took a step back, pulling her shawl more firmly around

her, and finally met his gaze. “Yes, which means there’s no time to waste. I must return to the house as quickly as possible. I’ll take that one,” she said, pointing to a fleshy red hindquarter.

The name Drummond was always on someone’s lips, for

Richard Drummond was one of the wealthiest merchants in the

city. In four weeks’ time one of the largest ships ever built, the
Deliverance
, would set sail from Bristol. It was Master Drummond’s showpiece.

“Oi, you can’t have that one. This one’ll have to do,” the

butcher said, poking a knife into a thin portion of meat in front of him. It was old, the flesh tough and hard, the fat contracted.

Anne’s face flushed with anger, and she wished for the

2

hundredth time that she could purchase elsewhere. “And why would I want that piece?” she asked sharply. “Do you know

what the master would do if I served that for dinner tonight?”

The butcher grinned. “I know what I’d do,” he said.

Gritting her teeth, she gave him what she hoped was a

haughty look. “What else do you have?”

Unexpectedly, he grabbed her arm, pulling her close so that

her pail hit the table, spilling the produce onto the cobblestones beneath their feet.

“Don’t act so high and mighty with me. I’ve already told

you. I’ll give you the best cuts, but this time it’ll cost you a little extra,” he sneered. “I’ve been a patient man. If you want to please your master, you’re going to have to please me first.”

Like a dragonfly caught under glass, her heart fluttered.

She’d become accustomed to his lewd suggestions, but the grip

of his grimy fingers on her arm filled her with a new sense of

panic.

“You can please yourself,” she hissed, wrenching her arm

out of his grasp. With shaking hands she quickly picked up

the fruits and vegetables, not bothering to wipe the dirt from

their skins. The butcher laughed, an ugly sound that made her

stomach churn. She glared at him, turned on her heel, and bar-

reled through the crowd in an attempt to put as much distance

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