Blast from the Past: Royal Navy series by Lee Rowan

ransom home winds

The Royal Navy Series follows the relationship of William Marshall and David Archer from their first meeting as midshipmen in the late 1790’s through the Napoleonic War.  First published by Linden Bay Romance in 2006, the series is now being re-issued by Dreamspinner. The next book, Sail Away, is a collection of 4 novellas (one a debut) and a number of short ‘missing scenes’ and holiday pieces.




An officer, a gentleman… and a sodomite.  The first two earn honor and respect. The third, death.  Even as he finds himself falling in love with his shipmate, David Archer realizes that it’s a hopeless passion. Will Marshall’s first act aboard ship was to take pistol in hand and dispatch an older midshipman who made offensive advances. Will might not shoot David if he expressed his feelings, but friendship would surely turn to revulsion.


Will Marshall has never given much thought to feelings beyond duty, loyalty, and honor.  The Navy is a way to move beyond his humble origins, a chance at greatness. While others spend shore leave carousing, Marshall is more likely to be curled up with a navigation text.


Captured by accident when their captain is abducted, they become pawns in a renegade’s sadistic game.  To protect the man he loves, David Archer must compromise himself–trade his honor and his body for Will’s safety.  When Marshall learns of his friend’s sacrifice, he also discovers that what he feels for Davy is stronger and deeper than friendship.


The first challenge:  escape their prison.  The second: find a way to preserve their love without losing their lives.

Winds of Change Lieutenants William Marshall and David Archer, of His Majesty’s frigate Calypso, have been lovers for more than a year. Because the penalty for discovery is the hangman’s noose, they limit themselves to the occasional night of passion ashore.   But in the Navy, nothing lasts forever. A transfer to a new ship brings with it a bizarre turn of events: their captain orders them to behave as though they are involved in an illicit relationship in order to smoke out a suspected traitor. When their masquerade proves dangerously effective, it threatens to cost Davy his life.

Eye of the Storm The long war between England and France enters a fragile and temporary truce in the winter of 1802, but the lives of Commander William Marshall and Lieutenant David Archer are more complicated than ever. After almost losing Davy in battle, Will faces the responsibility of command and questions whether he can give orders that will put his love in harm’s way once more.   Doubts torment David Archer. Will walked away once, trying to end their relationship for Davy’s own safety. His physical wounds have healed, but the loss of trust remains. Now, his biggest challenge is persuading Will their love is worth the risk of loss.

Home is the Sailor

The Royal Navy meets the Stately English Manor Murder Mystery, and if it were only a matter of Colonel Mustard in the library, things would be so much easier. After an ambush by the French while on a routine surveillance mission, Will and David are advised to retreat to the English countryside to avoid Bonaparte’s animosity for a time. Upon their arrival at the Archer family seat, they discover that David’s eldest brother has died after a mysterious accident and this puts his other, very unsuitable brother in line for the title. David’s suspicions—that the new heir had a hand in his brother’s death—seem so unreasonable that even Will finds it difficult to believe his fears are valid. If Davy thought his lover was hard to convince, his autocratic father, who still sees him as the inept youngest son, won’t even listen to him. Davy and Will are thrust into the role of sleuths, trying to determine the truth behind the mystery. All the while Will has concerns of his own: his fear of losing Davy is still stronger than his desire to keep Davy beside him on the quarterdeck… but he knows no other life than the Navy.



An excerpt from Winds of Change:

All was in readiness.

The old tin box of mathematics texts had been down in the hold for months to get it out from underfoot.  The Purser had given his permission to keep it here in the locked store-room with other valuables, and it was not unreasonable for Lieutenants Marshall and Archer to be searching here, since they’d volunteered to coach one of their shipmates on His Majesty’s Frigate Calypso.   Midshipman Wilcoxon, a likeable young officer, needed to polish his skills if he hoped to pass the examination and qualify as a candidate for Lieutenant, and they wanted to help him succeed.

A candle-lantern lay on the floor, its flame snuffed from its apparently accidental fall.   If anyone were to walk in, they would have a means of explaining their presence here, and even an excuse for slight disorderliness.

As long as they were not taken completely unaware.   As long as they had time to pull their clothes together, to hide their true purpose.

William Marshall tensed as footsteps approached the door. He relaxed at the light scratching on the worn boards, their prearranged signal.

He pulled the door open only enough for his lover to dart through, then closed it and set a barrel where it would block its opening, a precaution to provide the moment they might need.  He rested his rump on the barrel and pulled Davy down upon him, and in the dark there was only the whisper of frantic clutching, urgent kisses, loosening trouser buttons with one hand to reach in and find that hot, smooth cock that leapt at his touch.  A minute of quiet, intense activity, then Davy was shivering against him, a muted whimper the only sound besides their breathing.

They were silent for a long moment after, listening for footsteps, for any sound of movement in the companionway.   But they were safe, so far, hearing nothing but the ever-present murmur of the sea.

He could hear Davy fumble with clothing, composing himself, caught a kiss in passing as his lover knelt at Will’s feet.  Then those clever fingers were moving on his body, unbuttoning, seeking.  The unbearable sweetness of lips and tongue were nearly enough to break the control that kept him silent, but he bit back the cry of pleasure as weeks of yearning were brought to a blinding surge of fulfillment.

He sat panting, unable to move, stroking the golden head resting in his lap.  But only for a moment.   His lover slid up to share a kiss; then, still without a word, they retrieved the lantern, struck a light, and located the volume which should help to unfold the arcane secrets of navigational geometry.   There was time enough for a final embrace and a quick inspection to assure themselves that there was no visible evidence of their illicit encounter.

Davy paused a moment in the empty companionway.  “Will—the Captain just passed word.  The pleasure of our company is requested at the change of watch.   All lieutenants and warrant officers.  Looks as though the rumors are true.”

“At least we’ll know, then.”  There was no way, there were no words, to express the fear in both their hearts.  Change was in the wind; the rumors had been circulating  since before Calypso arrived in Portsmouth.  If Captain Smith were to be transferred, as the rumors suggested, their lives were about to change drastically.

“If it’s true…” David Archer bit his lip, “and if the Admiralty are in a hurry…you and I may be sailing off in different ships by this time tomorrow.”

Will could not bring himself to admit it, but he knew that the past year they’d had together was more than they could have hoped for.   He’d only agreed to this hurried tryst because he also knew that it might be their very last time together as shipmates and lovers.   If they were to be given different assignments at the change of watch, they might never in this life see one another again.

But he could not bear to say that aloud, so he tried on a brave smile instead.   “We must trust to our luck, Davy.”

David’s handsome features were somber.   “Will, don’t forget there are two kinds of luck.  Dame Fortune’s not always kind.  She can be a cannibal bitch who eats her own young.”




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Author bio: Lee Rowan has been writing since childhood, but professionally only since spring of 2006, with the publication of her Eppie-winning novel, Ransom. She is a lady of a certain age, old enough to know better but still young enough to do it anyway. A confirmed bookaholic with a wife of  many years, she is kept in line by a cadre of cats and two dogs who get her away from the computer and out of the house at least once a day.

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