Clockwork Pirate

Lyn Gala

Alex hid his unnatural attraction to men for many years. That changes when the pirate Beche takes Alex after capturing his ship. At first Alex believes his fate is death and the only question a matter of how he might die. However...
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Alex hid his unnatural attraction to men for many years. That changes when the pirate Beche takes Alex after capturing his ship. At first Alex believes his fate is death and the only question a matter of how he might die. However, the longer he is on the ship, the more he realizes that Beche hates the world because it is unfair in ways Alex never understood. As Alex begins to respect this strong, independent man, Alex’s dormant desires begin to reassert themselves.

Beche hates the titled classes and their government enforcers. They might have outlawed slavery on paper, but they never came to the islands to free him or his family. Since his skin is black, society has little respect for him. Beche expects no more of this latest captive, but soon Beche begins to realize that Alex is a naïve and beautiful man who values family and struggles with his own place in society. That poses an even larger problem because Beche does not want to send Alex back to a world that will mistreat him, but he has no place for a lord on a ship full of pirates.

  • Note:
    Clockwork Pirate
Excerpt
Alex stumbled into the captain’s quarters, shocked at the rich carvings and heavy desk. He didn’t know what he expected—or rather he did, and he’d expected piles of stolen goods and a skull or two as this monster showed off his kills. Instead, this was a place where Alex’s father might have worked. The hatches were open, allowing in a breeze that did little to cool the hot air. Doors led to a balcony across the back of the stern of the ship. So he was to be the entertainment for one man instead of the entire crew.

Alex could handle that.

He could.

He could also fly during full moons. Panic was starting to crawl up his throat again, but Beche shoved him forward. He ended up stomach down over a well-made table, and anger derailed Alex’s movement toward becoming completely unnerved.

“You are more trouble than you’re worth.”

“Then put me over the side,” Alex said. He’d never anticipated he would reach a point where he would welcome death, but he did…as long as he didn’t have to face a death like Pieter’s.

“I’m starting to think you have a death wish.”

“No. I have an aversion to pain.”

“Then you might want to avoid attacking me.” Beche yanked at Alex’s hands, and it took a second to realize he was being untied. The only thing worse than being tied up by a pirate was being untied because he didn’t pose any threat. The bindings came away, and Alex went to stand, but the pirate put his hand on Alex’s back and shoved him back down to the table.

“I should have known you were an urning.” Alex spit out the last word with as much venom as he could manage.

“Is an urning someone who is upset with someone else’s poor behavior?”

“An urning is a man who chooses to take his pleasure with another man.”

Surprisingly, the pirate laughed. That was not a word that caused most men amusement, but this Beche was not like most men. “There are no women on this ship. Men can take pleasure in each other, or they can go without pleasure. There’s no other option, not unless you want to get creative with fish. I knew a galley cook once that did that, but I think he had drunk enough to damage his brain.”

Alex shivered in horror. “A fish?”

“The captain tossed him off at the next port,” Beche said, “but the point is that you will not bring your moral judgments here. Having a lord lecture on right and wrong would annoy most of the men on this ship.”

Alex didn’t care whether he annoyed men who held him captive, but he was more than concerned about being on a ship of urnings. The doctor who had explained the term to Alex had said urnings had only partially developed as fetuses. While Alex might not believe in making a man a criminal for his feelings, he certainly didn’t trust someone who openly embraced the idea. “Let me up,” Alex said quietly.

“Not until we’ve reached an understanding,” Beche said firmly. “In case it has escaped your notice, you are not the most popular person with the crew.”

Alex didn’t answer. He would have to be addlebrained to miss the general hatred.

“Right now, the others are willing to leave you be, but if you offend them with your presence, I’m not sure what they’ll do. If you’re lucky, they’ll only toss you off the ship. Honestly, knowing the background of most of these men, I doubt they’d show as much mercy as that.”

“You’re suggesting I should stay here and allow you to unman me.” Alex could feel a rising storm of emotions that he couldn’t identify.

Beche pulled Alex upright and turned him. They were the same height, which surprised Alex because Beche felt larger than life. In reality, he was five feet and ten inches. “If you’re a man, nothing I do would unman you.”

“So I should accept you using me as a woman?” Alex lifted his chin and dared Beche to even suggest that.

Beche had the gall to look satisfied. He was entirely too easily amused. “You are not a woman, so if I use you, I will have to use you as a man. And as of right now, I don’t intend to use you at all. I am not the monster you seem to presuppose.”

“No doubt you entered piracy hoping to pursue it for altruistic purposes.”

“I am going to assume you’re being sarcastic and showing a poor attitude since I don’t know all those words,” Beche said, and for some reason Alex was surprised. Beche struck him as being frighteningly intelligent as well as entirely too strong. Alex felt bruised from top to bottom after their fight. “So let me explain your life, young lord. You will clean my rooms, mend my clothing, and some day you may move up in my trust enough to clean my weapons and care for my contraptions. You will do all this with a good spirit. You will show humility when crew are here until you earn their trust, and then I will be able to send you on chores.”

“You want me to be a cabin boy,” Alex said. He had never been so offended in his life. He was no twelve-year-old to tend some man and sleep on his floor.

“My last cabin boy has been recently promoted to work in the galley and run powder for the gunners, so yes, you are a cabin boy. Now do you still need to use the privy?”

Alex felt quite a bit of satisfaction as he announced, “I urinated on the wall of the closet.” His mother would collapse if she’d ever heard such language from him, but it felt amazingly good. The look of horror on Beche’s face was even better.

“That’s disgusting.”

“Next time I warn you that I need to use the head, perhaps you’ll listen.” Alex might not have the power here, but he could still make his displeasure known, even if he had to do it in ways that made him as uncivilized as the pirates who had taken him captive.

“Next time you’ll hold it, or I’ll find one or two ways to force you to,” Beche warned. Alex frowned, not even sure he understood that threat. “Now we have the issue of your attack upon me.”

“I am a prisoner. I am entitled to attempt to free myself.” Alex expected punishment, but that didn’t mean he had to accept it quietly.

Beche stepped back and crossed his arms, once more looking very amused. “And if you had fought your way out of that closet, where would you have gone?”

“I’m sure you have multiple launches,” Alex said. “And I am equally sure you stole them and stole this vessel, so I would not feel guilty about stealing them again.” A ship this size had to be one of the warships retired when the militaries started switching to airships. Either Beche was clever enough to steal a military ship from the military or whoever had been ordered to sink the ship after it was decommissioned had failed badly.

“You planned to set out in a launch with no navigational equipment, no maps, no provisions, no concept of our current location, and no idea the direction of the nearest land. That is a remarkably stupid plan, milord.”

“I would have died on my own terms.”

“I find it best to avoid death at all,” Beche offered, “so please refrain from any more suicide plans masquerading as escape attempts. Right now we need to discuss your punishment for that incident.”

Alex gritted his teeth and glared at the pirate.

“You have three choices. I can punish you like a man, which would mean a flogging while being tied to the mast. I can punish you like a cabin boy and put you over my lap for a spanking, or I can punish you like crew and put you on biscuit and water rations for five days. Your choice.”

It seemed obvious, but Beche held up his hand before Alex could say anything. “I believe you’re about to make an uninformed decision, so understand that the punishment is not the biscuits and water. The punishment is the absolute agony in your bowels when they try to move and they cannot. It sometimes requires the application of an oil enema to get things moving again.”

Alex stared at Beche in horror. Not only did polite people avoid discussion of bowels, but they would never use bodily function as punishment. Never. Alex had been captured by the worst sort of barbarian. Worse, he called that a crew punishment, which clearly implied he’d used it in the past. Alex felt a little ill at the thought.

“Your choice?” Beche asked.

Alex was being asked to choose between internal bowel pain, the agony of a flogging, or the humiliation of being treated as a child. There was no answer that would preserve any sort of dignity, so what was the point of asking him to choose? It was like asking him which leg he would like amputated. Barbaric. Alex was truly stuck on that word. He narrowed his eyes, and a new thought came to him. No matter what he chose, he would regret it, and if he had chosen the punishment, he would—no doubt—come to hate himself as well. Beche might be a barbarian, but he was a very clever one.

Alex crossed his arms. “I have no intention of playing games with my dignity or your twisted wit. Whatever you will do, you will do. I will not participate other than to endure the punishment you dole out.” And if it was biscuits and water, Alex was determined to avoid eating for five days. He would never allow someone to perform a procedure on his bowels, no matter how stuck they might become. Alex had good cause to be protective of his anatomy.

“You do surprise me,” Beche said in an almost admiring tone that didn’t make much sense. “This is your last chance to either choose a punishment or remove one from consideration.”

Alex thought about taking the bread and water option off the table, but at the last moment he closed his mouth tightly. He would not be tempted to engage in this farce.

Beche’s smile only grew. “Well, don’t complain if you find you don’t like my choice,” he warned.

Alex raised his chin and braced himself for the worst. He could survive any of the punishments, and more than that, a punishment would not deter him from trying again.

“One day I’m going to correctly predict what you are likely to say, but that day is not today,” Beche admitted.

“Do not presume to know me.”

“Oh, I think I will know you very well before long, milord.”

“Margrave.”

“You’ll live longer if you claim no title,” Beche said. “And to that end, you will remove that clothing.”

“Excuse me?” Alex took a step back, but found his retreat blocked by the table.

“We’re close enough to the same size that you can wear some of my poorer clothes, but if you walk around here in a silk tie and vest, someone is going to take offense.”

“I don’t care. Besides, you said I was going to stay in here.”

“You are, but the crew does come in here, so off with that clothing.” Beche walked to the side of the room where a bed was tucked between carved pillars. Below were drawers, and he started searching for something.

Alex looked around wildly for some sort of weapon, but unless he was willing to attack a man armed with a sword and gun using a fountain pen or a letter opener, he had no options.

Beche turned around with a loose white longshirt and trousers in his hands. “You’ll change into these.”

“Not here,” Alex said desperately. He was not going to get naked in front of any man.

Beche tossed the clothing at Alex and crossed his arms. “You’ll change here. And I will watch every moment, so if you have more of your sister’s clever contrivances hidden about you, you will not be able to transfer them over.”

Alex’s hand went to his spider.

“Take your punishment well, and I’ll allow you to keep that toy,” Beche said.

Alex hated himself for having shown even that much weakness. “You’ve just made it clear I own nothing, so don’t pretend otherwise.” He took the pin that attached the spider to him by way of a chain and then carefully unhooked the tiny mechanical feet from his jacket before putting it down on the pirate’s desk. The loss of that little spider hurt more than the loss of his ship or his freedom, which made no sense, but then Alex suspected he was already suffering from some weakness of the mind. His father had always told him he was too feeble to take up manly duties, and perhaps this proved his father right.

With trembling hands, he stripped free of his coat and vest. He worked on the shirt. It was stained by sweat and smelled too strong for good company, but then Alex didn’t figure this was good company. When he had bared his chest, he grabbed the longshirt he’d been provided and pulled it over his head. It would give him some cover as he changed his pants.

He felt terribly vulnerable in his thin cotton drawers. He grabbed for the rough trousers Beche had provided.

“Stop,” Beche said as he moved forward. Alex was so shocked by this that he did as ordered. “Since you’re my cabin boy, let’s use a cabin-boy’s punishment. Bend over the desk, and we can get this spanking out of the way.”

“What?” Alex’s voice rose dangerously high.

“I know you’re not deaf, so I have no interest in repeating myself.” Beche lunged so fast Alex didn’t really notice before Beche grabbed his arm and shoved him against the wood. Either Beche had some magical powers or Alex was not tracking reality well. Maybe both.

Copyright © Lyn Gala

Reviews

Customer Reviews

An excellent standalone book Review by Kate
Quality
I am really starting to fall in love with Gala's work and this book was just another piece of that. It was so good!

This happens in what feels like just a slightly alternate world. Things are very similar to the last 1800s, same people, same historical events. However, there is a bit more of a steampunk sort of element going on. There are these 'contrivances', machines built to ease life, that are a bit more advanced from what was around then and following a slightly different path in history. It gives that little side step away that makes it our world but with the possibility for other happenings.

Margrave Alexander is a wonderful character. He is a strong man with astoundingly good morals, especially for the world he lives in. He has set beliefs but many off them are simply because of what he has been taught and seen of the world- when he sees that things are not as he believed, he can and will change. He is also a bit soft for the harshness of a world of lords, wanting to see the best and not willing to jump to violence. These things make him interesting to read as he tries to find a place; after all, if the world of lords is no good for him, how much better would be the violent world of pirates? He has to make many choices in this book that are no small matter and I respected what he did.

Beche is a pirate by choice and a slave by birth. He has a hard backstory with plenty of anger and hatred. He is an intelligent and curious man, willing to be open to change despite what he has seen and been through. He prefers a mans actions to condemn him which allows him to the a chance to 'Lord' Alexander. He has seen much of the world and likes how Alex makes him once again see the good in it. He does not want to give Alex back to the cruel world of the lords but does not know how to bring him in with the pirates. It makes for a complicated relationship, and also one that he is very certain not to force in any quarter.

I loved that by following through the eyes of a man who'd been told that being gay was wrong and illegal, and another who simply believed it a mismatched soul, the ideas of gender and love are challenged. But really what shines through is loving the person rather than their gender. Are Beche and Alex physically attracted to each other? Absolutely. That is a vital part of it all. What they fell in love with in each case was the person though, their personality, their actions, their soul. It really let them fall in love with each other for who they were and nothing else.

The two go through many an adventure together (and apart) for such a sort book. I found it interesting the different ways each character had to prove themselves so that they could both have each other and makes a place in the world. It is an impressive ending that is brought about and I enjoyed how each character has their roles to play and their own path to find. I enjoyed this book immensely and will be looking further into Gala's other works!
(Posted on 8/27/2016)
Pirates, Noblemen, and Mischievous Sisters, oh My! Review by Kylia
Quality
I really enjoyed this book, so very much. It had a great combination of interesting characters, well-developed plot, and relationships I could believe in, especially considering the time period. Alex and Beche's journey to one another is complicated both by their stations and the society they live in, as well their own personal issues and belief systems. In addition them, the book is filled with other interesting and well-developed characters, as is common with this author's work. I am somehow picky about historical novels, but this one was very well done. (Posted on 1/7/2016)
One of my favorites ever! Review by Milica
Quality
Well...I don't know what to say...I was literary blown away by this book!!!

It's hard to point out what I liked the most and why you should read it...Believe me,this book has so many layers that I'm truly confused where to start.But lets start from secondary characters who are extremely well developed,but not to the point that you feel like MCs page-time suffers because of it and you will love them all - Alex's sisters,of whom one is genius inventor and lesbian and the other one is cunning and fierce as any man. Then there are Beche's fellow pirates,Fabrice and Manuel,and Beche himself...you will feel brotherly love between these men and you will sympathize with them and what they've been through and you will understand why they chose to be pirates and you will love them for it!

Storyline of this book followed the pattern that I love the most - build anticipation for half of the book when it reaches its peak and after that point everything cools off so when you reach the end everything is nicely wrapped and there are no loose ends. So in the first half,expect to see how Alex struggles with his life on the pirate ship and how relationship between him and Beach slowly develops. And then hard choices must be made,but our MCs manage to overcome all obstacles thrown in their way with help of the amazing people aforementioned.

Sadly,I must say,this book was weaker when it comes to romance considering its length,and unfortunately,even weaker on some man on man action,but if you read the book (WHICH I STRONGLY RECOMMEND) you will see that's justified...Alex experienced pretty ugly things because of his affection toward men,so it's understandable he's afraid,confused and awkward when it comes to physical interaction.

The only thing I didn't like was the fact that Lilian (Beach's dead wife) was mentioned too much. He compared Alex to her too much (and on too many levels - you'll understand),and it was really irritating at one point. And that is the very reason why I almost always avoid those kind of stories,no matter how intrigued I am by the story. Call me hopeless romantic,but I love when MCs are each other's first great love. But not even that managed to deter me from reading - THIS BOOK WAS JUST THAT GOOD .......so..........

..........READ IT!!!!.........
(Posted on 8/27/2015)
5 stars = I freaking LOVED this book!!! Review by asgoodrich
Quality
I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.

This is the first steampunk novel I have ever read. It’s a genre I didn’t know much about and had no strong feelings about either way. However, I am a HUGE Lyn Gala fan, especially of her MM Sci-Fi romances, so I was more than happy to give the genre a try. Because of all of this, I cannot even begin to comment as to whether or not Clockwork Pirate is consistent with the steampunk genre because I have nothing to compare it to. What I can say is that I finally understood what it is as the descriptions of Aster’s contrivances enabled me to relate it to the Will Smith movie The Wild Wild West. Eureka! Finally a frame of reference. What I can say about the book is that it is consistent with the previous books of Ms. Gala’s that I have read and so I absolutely loved it.

I quite enjoyed the combination of the lorded class, high seas pirates, and astonishing inventions, even if it was all coupled with the prejudices, severely limited civil rights, and slavery consistent with what I am assuming to be the intended time setting of the 1800s. Much like Beche, I found Alex’s behavior to be uncharacteristic of the British aristocracy. His quick thinking allowed him to activate his sister Aster’s lock changing mechanisms, thus giving him a position from which to negotiate the freedom… of his crew. Alex’s unexpected behavior intrigued Beche enough that he spared Alex’s life. Although it caused Alex some distress, I enjoyed watching Beche come to terms with Alex’s gentle nature and found the womanly spirit discussion quite humorous and apt. What I found extremely intriguing was that while Beche had never before considered being with a man, he did not deny that he was drawn to Alex’s nature. Even though Beche did not fight his attraction for Alex, he did not push it either. Rather he allowed Alex to come to terms with the belief that his father’s “cure” was no longer effective and that there was nothing wrong with a man lying with another man, especially aboard the pirate ship. It is because of this that we are well into the book before there is any sexual intimacy between Beche and Alex and it does not occur until Beche is confident that it is what Alex truly wants. And it’s hot.

Aside from the well-crafted romance aspect of Clockwork Pirate, Ms. Gala does a fantastic job of creating a cast of characters that make up Alex’s family (by blood) and Beche’s family (by choice). Even though Alex’s presence on the pirate ship gradually shifts from captive to unofficial crew, the fact remains that he is being held and the author maintains a serious tone for that portion of the novel. However, when Alex’s sisters reappear in the novel, Ms. Gala infuses hope and humor into the storyline, which serves as subtle cue that Alex’s say over his life has been returned to him and she subsequently lightens the storyline accordingly. I loved Alex’s sisters – Philla for her strength of character and Aster for her intelligence – and I would love, love, love to see Ms. Gala write a sequel or two to this novel to give them their own stories, as well as Fabrice and Manuel. Will I continue to read steampunk? I don’t know. But if Ms. Gala writes it, it’s an automatic yes for me.

~ Wicked Reads Review Team ~
(Posted on 3/17/2015)
High Seas Meets Love Review by Christy
Quality
I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.
Set in an era where taboo abound, Ms. Gala set up an interracial gay love story that feels natural. The progression of the main characters felt real, though a little unsettling at times. I found myself more drawn to the Captain out of all the characters has he has a strong will as do I. I think the surprise for more than anything was the sisters, the bigger one being the older sister, she is a character I would love to see a book written about. Well written story that doesn’t focus on the erotica to move the plotline forward, with a cast of witty characters that I would love to see in other books. A very enjoyable read.
(Posted on 3/13/2015)

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