by Anna Katmore
Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
Although Angelina McFarland loves reading fairytales, she never dreamed of falling right into one herself. But that’s exactly what happens when she slips on her balcony and a flying Peter Pan catches her mid-fall.
Ending up in Neverland where no one seems to age and laws of nature are out of control, Angel has no idea how to get home. Worse, the ruthless Captain Hook captures her and keeps her trapped on his ship, the Jolly Roger, where she gets caught between the lines of a timeless battle. But the more time Angel spends with the captain, the more she sees beneath his ruthless façade.
As Angel desperately tries to find a way to return to her real life, she discovers a train ticket to London in her pocket. It won’t be any help in getting off the island, but as her memory fades away the longer she stays, this is all she has left to remind her of her former life and why she can’t give up trying.
Or is staying in Neverland forever the better choice after all?
Grab a happy thought and follow Angel on an adventure that will keep you breathless and smiling long after you read the last page…
Apart from traveling around the world, her one big passion is writing. She says about herself that she has been a storyteller all her life. Already in kindergarten, she came up with the most exotic fantasies and tales. Her teacher used to call her a liar. Anna calls it the cornerstone of her writing career.
Inspired by authors such as Lisa Jane Smith, Stepheny Meyer, and Becca Fitzpatrick, she started writing her first novel in 2009. Excessive reading and analyzing the structure and characters of her favorite books helped her develop the necessary skills and her very own voice. Because of her love for the language, she writes stories in English first, and when she finds a few weeks to squeeze into her tight writing schedule, she translates them into German later.
Her preferred genres are YA and fantasy romance.
In late 2012, Anna debuted with her novella PLAY WITH ME and later made this the first book of a series called Grover Beach Team. PLAY WITH ME was a finalist in its category for the RONE (Reward Of Novel Excellence) Awards, hosted by the InD’Tale magazine at the Romance Novel Convention 2013 in Las Vegas.
One funny fact: People always told Anna that she can’t make a living with being a writer. So when PLAY WITH ME came out and sold more than 500 units every day during the first four weeks, she was thunderstruck. It took her a few days to realize what was going on.
Anna is married and has a 12-year-old son. She loves her two cats, Lily and Emma, as much as she loves her family, tries to stay fit with ZUMBA dancing twice a week, and usually spends 86% of her day writing. The remaining time is used up for food and inevitable sleep.
I pull the dagger out just in time to hear the sound of the other study door opening. The heels of Hook’s boots clack on the wood. So he’s back and apparently alone. This is my best bet to convince him of my intentions. I don’t take another minute to think, just a moment to hide the silver dagger in the side pocket of my dress. It’s too long and the tip of the blade stands out, so I cover it by sliding my hand into the pocket, too. With the other, I knock.
“Last time I saw you disappear into that room, you locked the door,” comes Hook’s muffled answering growl.
Right. I turn the key and take this as an invitation to enter.
Hook stands by the middle window behind his desk, his back turned to me. When I close the door, he looks over his shoulder. “What can I do for you?” There’s a note of irritation in his voice.
I almost back out of my plan, but with the image of Paulina hugging her toy bunny in my mind, I take a deep breath, square my shoulders and say, “For one, you could let me off this ship, Captain.”
Hook lets his attention glide outside again and chuckles. “Off this ship…” Then he slowly turns, skirts his desk and leans against the edge, his legs crossed at the ankles and his arms folded over his chest. Tilting his head and smiling just enough to make me wonder if he locked his nasty pirate manners away for a moment, he studies me over the five-foot distance between us. “Tell me, Miss London, where would you go if I let you free?”
I shrug, lifting my chin. “Back to the seaport. Find someone who can tell me how to leave Neverland.”
“You already know that this ship is your only way to leave. None of the people in town can help you. Most of them don’t even realize that there’s a place outside Neverland.”
“But you do.”
He loosens his arms and grips the edge of the desk with both hands. “I have seen others come here. But I’ve never seen one leave again.”
I tighten my hold of the dagger’s handle in my pocket for more courage. “Still, you think it’s possible?”
A soft laugh rocks his chest. It’s the same warm sound I heard from him yesterday before he lured me onto his ship. “Tell you what,” he says. “You show me where my treasure is, and I’ll tell you what I think.”
My reticence yesterday on the edge of the plank obviously didn’t convince him. “Why do you think I know anything?”
“Oh, just a feeling,” he taunts me.
“A feeling?” I’m testing the word on my tongue. “Know what? I have a feeling, too.”
“Wanna tell me about it?” Hook still looks like we’re having a nice conversation here, while inside my body all my muscles are hard like taut wire. Admittedly, the friendly captain is much less disturbing than his alter ego. But I won’t be deceived this time.
“Sure.” I mimic his teasing smile. “I have this feeling that you’re going to steer the ship away from the shore right about now and see if you can find London for me.”
He lifts both his brows in a challenge. “And just what makes you so sure about that?”
Swiftly, I move forward. Pulling the dagger from my pocket, I press the point to the base of his throat. There! Stunned speechless, he stares at me wide-eyed and with his chin lifted. “My little friend here!” I snap. “Convinced?”
Amusement replaces his surprised expression and he starts to chuckle. “Not quite.” Wrapping his hand around mine on the dagger, he moves it away from his throat. Simple as that.
My mouth falls open.
He straightens from the desk and steps closer. I don’t have a chance to back away, because he’s still holding my hand. My fingers would tremble if he wasn’t pressing them together so firmly.
“Let me explain one thing to you, Angel,” he says in a darker voice than before and dips his head so we’re gazing at each other’s eyes from only two inches away. “Never point a knife at a pirate, if you’re not one hundred percent sure you’ll use it.” He brushes a strand of my hair out of my eyes and hooks it behind my ear, resting his hand in the crook of my neck and shoulder. “If you only had a little bit of the ruthlessness in you that you’re trying to feign here, you would’ve already used the information about the treasure’s lair to buy your freedom.”
His breath smells of rum, but his eyes are sober. Did he just offer me a deal?
He starts to stroke the sensitive spot beneath my ear with his thumb and, all of a sudden, I find it hard to concentrate. His blue eyes look so much warmer than when I saw them the last time. Even though our foreheads don’t touch, I can feel the tickling of his silky hair against my skin. Where is he going with this?
“I don’t trust you,” I whisper and try to blink myself free of his suddenly unbreakable spell.
“I know you don’t,” he whispers back.
“Where does that leave us?”
Slowly, Hook runs his tongue over his bottom lip, then one corner of his mouth curls up in a half-smile. “On a ship. Together. Trapped for eternity.”
Jeez, he’s teasing me. And he enjoys playing this game by his rules. But I’m not ready to play. I don’t have time for it.
Backing away, I clear my throat and state more firmly, “You can’t keep me a prisoner forever.”
Hook tilts his head, amused. “Is this another feeling of yours telling you so?”
I want to scream “Screw you!” at his face, but instead I clench my teeth and snort at him. Then I turn away, needing a plan B and fast. It’s better to return to my cabin. But Hook pulls me back by the hand I forgot he’s still holding.
Carefully, he uncurls my fingers from the hilt while he holds my wrist with his other hand and says charmingly, “If you don’t mind, I’ll keep the dagger.”