Many of us, who used to be called the “gentler” sex, are feeling embattled these days. Rather than point out the challenges, I choose to remember some victories in the struggles over female rights, represented by some real gals and even some fictional heroines. On the news there’s Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton… on TV, the gals in  the new TV sitcom about Dallas, “GCB,” and who can miss seeing and hearing about Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence) in the new film “The Hunger Games.” Meryl Streep won the Oscar this year for playing Margaret Thatcher, surely a heroine as Britain’s Prime Minister for so many years.

I created my own heroine, Melaynie Morgan, for my historical fiction, MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE. It’s for sale on Amazon in both softcover and e-book format. Over the next few weeks I’m going to be posting what I hope are intriguing tidbits from my novel. If you, my blog readers, are interested in purchasing a version of my book, go to:

Melaynie, disguised as a captain’s boy, is sailing to the Caribbean with Captain Francis Drake and his crew.  Her adventure is not without peril. Sent to the Captain’s cabin for Drake’s compendium, here is what follows:

Her inquisitive, intelligent face made him laugh.  What a good natured, willing captain’s boy he was, Drake reflected.

“’Tis yet another instrument to aid in navigation.   Has a sundial. I’m fortunate it was a gift; I personally think it too small and fanciful to be of much use or accuracy, though I’m willing to experiment with it again.”

“Right away, Captain.”

Full of energy she raced down the steps of the companionway.  Just as she was about to open the cabin door, she felt a hand on her buttocks, a far too friendly hand, bent on something other than good fellowship.  The hand squeezed the well-rounded cheek firmly and then there were two hands firmly grasping both buttocks and moving to grasp her missing testicles.  She shuddered, outraged at this unwanted familiarity.   She turned around abruptly to face the dark-haired sailor with the walleye, a fellow she had since found to be named Jerome.  His good eye was fixed lasciviously upon her crotch.  She had no doubts what he was about.  She shuddered again, involuntarily, and grimaced.  He smiled at her distaste, as if he were used to this reaction and expected it.  His teeth were dark, one of the front ones missing and a fetid, noxious odor came from his mouth and body.

His build was slight. He was taller and probably stronger than she was, but he had no idea of her determination.  She would yell if she had to, but she sized him up quickly as a coward who would prefer to intimidate her, using sly ways to force his will upon her.  He might be satisfied with the occasional fondle until he saw the best opportunity to take full advantage.  She counted on her wits and her allies to prevent that from happening, but she must make a firm stand now.

He attempted to put his hands on her arms to pull her to him.  She slapped his hands away, lowered her voice and gave him her most savage look, “Ye’ll get nowhere with me, you gruntle-faced meschant.”

Jerome laughed, “He has spirit, he has.  The perfect cobb for one as randy as me. I’ll have yer bonnie johnnie afore this voyage is over.”

Melaynie had pulled her knife from the pouch around her waist, keeping a firm grip.  She kept it lower than her waist but knew he had seen her movement and could see the knife.

“I can use it well, and I shall if I must,” she spat at him.

He laughed again, menacingly, thinking that he had months to force himself upon this callow boy, turned on his heel and went back up to the deck.  She wasn’t sure if she had bested him or not, but at least he knew she would not be an easy mark.  It would teach her to be more aware, a good lesson considering all the challenges she faced on this voyage.

She shook off her fears, delivered the compendium and watched in wonder as Drake opened up its round brass case.  It had seven layers consisting of spinning rings, and flip-up pointers, each layer inscribed with tables, and its own small sundial.  She wished she could understand it all.

“Christopher, I want you to order Robert to make us a special pottage for dinner using fresh vegetables we have left…potatoes, peas, and let’s see, have him use the venison.”

“Yes, Captain.  Right away,” she answered and scurried off.

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