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I read this book several years ago. I think it was written in the mid 80's to early 90's. In the story an American Colonial man is ordered to marry his aristocratic step-mother's young daughter in order to inherit the family shipping business. He hates the idea, but goes to England and marries the young, plain-looking girl, then abandons her. After she grows up into a beautiful young woman (she was like 13 when she married), she decides she wants to force this "husband" of hers to either be a husband or divorce her so she can have the loving family she always wanted. So she acts out in the most scandalous ways forcing her guardian to continually write America to try and get her husband to take control of his young wife, but it is to no avail. Bethany decides that if she can't get his attention by acting out in England, she will travel to America and confront him face to face. She boards a ship (belonging to her husband) along with her maid and best friend, Mavis, to travel to America only to find out that one of her father's closest advisors is transporting prostitutes from England to the colonies for the British soldiers. When the ship is over taken by pirates the captain, Captain Hawk, naturally assumes that Bethany and Mavis are also prostitutes. Eventually Hawk and Bethany fall madley in love, but Bethany is still married and escapes the island that Hawk has taken her to. She goes to the shipping company to look for him and is thrown out into the street when she tells them that she is his wife. He has never told them he married. She finds out where he lives and goes there. His sister is astonished that he never mentioned a wife, but believes her and welcomes her. When her husband arrives home she is supprised to find that her husband is actually "Captain Hawk".
I can't remember what his "real name" is, but on the ship Bethany told him her name was Beth to protect her identity and he didn't recognise her as the plain looking child he had married many years before. Any help finding this book would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
I believe this is the book you're looking for.
Pirate's Bride by Lynette Vinet
All young Bethlyn Talbot had wanted when she set sail for the colonies was to track down the husband she'd been forced to wed as a child. Then her ship was attacked by the infamous privateer "Hawk" and the honey-haired prisoner had to think of how to escape the brash buccaneer. But with his magnetic personality and towering physique, Bethlyn was more trapped than had she been bound in chains. For after years of marriage to a complete stranger, the yearning, passionate woman was ripe for romance with the phantom of the seas!
With his dangerous life and spirit of adventure, the hot-blooded Hawk never hesitated to indulge in a brief, torrid love affair. And when he saw the curvaceous beauty aboard the ship he was raiding, Hawk decided then and there he'd claim her before nightfall. Then the lightskirt pretended maidenly virtue, and the aroused male became even lustier...only to discover she'd been telling the truth. Past the point of no return, Hawk commanded Bethlyn, for this voyage only, to submit to his will as the captain's mistress, and without a ring or preacher to be the PIRATE'S BRIDE.
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