“Taking the Gold” continues the adventures and mysteries of Corey “Worder-Redrow-Hart,” who lives in the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence River in Harts Landing, NY.
Cory solved the mystery of Mom’s disappearance and exposed a 200-year-old fraud to clear his family in “Taking Hart.” Now he must sail away on a tall ship to face his father and beat him to the British treasure. Only then can he win Samantha and claim his own last name.
Harts Landing is a fictional location; any similarity to a specific community is coincidental.
Singer Castle is a real castle on Dark Island in the St. Lawrence River; some of the details given here of its history and construction are fabricated for story purposes. All characters are fictional; any resemblance to real people is also coincidental.
Rough Landing: Venture IVth & Back
Too slow! Harts Landing was still just a dot in his binoculars, and Corey had to meet Samantha at the pier “by five o’clock” she’d said. Today of all days, the wind was coming from the northeast, and the Venture IVth was under sail, tacking back and forth. Corey stood on the footrope and leaned over the sail, hoping the captain would call for engine power. If Corey was too late, Samantha would leave with Auger Hart. Corey grunted, “I’ve got to get to her!”
Oops. Had he said that out loud? Woody, third mate, was only a few feet away, and he had big ears. Corey was not in the mood to explain about Sam.
“What’s the matter, Redrow? Or whatever name you plan to use this time!” Woody edged closer to the mast. “Don’t worry, the girls at home will bat their eyes and ask for your autograph.” Woody was puckering his lips at him, and Corey couldn’t help grinning back. Woody could tease him about his last names, or other girls, but Sam was special.
The Venture IVth had left the Great Lakes to enter the St. Lawrence River, where they threaded through hundreds of islands; instead of lakers, they now met freighters, or “salties” from the ocean. The Venture IVth was a traditional tall ship that demanded hard work, but it had become home. Corey’s wounds from last June had healed, and his body pulsed with energy; he had fallen in love with sailing.
But now he couldn’t get home fast enough—to his other love. Corey patted his chest and felt the lanyard that hung from his neck and, beneath it, the attached piece of metal. The brass buckle had saved his life. Some might call it a good-luck piece, but Corey didn’t believe in that. However, the wind shifted, the ship gained momentum, and Corey smiled.
The hours had gone in a blur since shore leave in Clayton. Since he’d gone off watch for the last time, Corey hadn’t paid much attention to the watch bells, but he had a good wristwatch, which he now checked again. Sam had an early morning interview for a college scholarship, so she would leave this evening and stay over in Burlington. Her dad was using the van for business tonight, and their other car was in the shop, so Auger had offered to drive Sam with some lame excuse about “going that way anyway.”
Sam with the town hunk? Over my dead body! Corey was determined to drive Sam himself, but his junior license was only good for daylight hours.
“Hey, take it easy—you’ll dump Tommy!” Woody yelled. Corey didn’t realize he’d been swinging the footropes. The recent recruit had inched up the ratlines and wobbled as he embraced the opposite sail. But there was no way Corey could have affected Tommy’s hold. He gazed at the massive rigging that towered from the deck through four levels of sails. “I’d have to be Superman!” he yelled back.
“Good thing for harnesses, huh?” Woody winked at Tommy. Then he narrowed his eyes at Corey. “By the way, what’s her name? The girl at the pier?”
Corey felt his face flush as he stared at an inbound freighter. Woody was onto him. “Oh, just a friend.” Woody may be smirking but Corey wouldn’t let it touch his memories.
Summer with Samantha had been like a dream. She had helped him recuperate, coached him for summer school, even found this tall ship excursion for him. Corey gazed downriver and leaned into the memory of warm brown eyes on his as he swayed with the mast, his grip slackening and his eyes closed. That look in her eye held promises...he hadn’t imagined that had he?
A wave from the passing salty pitched the Venture IVth and shook Corey half off the rigging. He swung like a broken door in a breeze; he flailed before at last catching a line and securing himself.
“Watch yourself, or the captain won’t let you up there again!” Woody barked.
Corey’s breathing evened. He grinned at Woody, who was now extending a hand to his new Swedish girlfriend on the ratlines.
“Sure you don’t want to stay on?” Woody said.
“It vood be lovely to have you vith us.” Olga’s sing-song drifted over to Corey; it was the last day he would be hearing her silky voice.
“Sorry, I’ve got plans!” he shouted.
“Your girlfriend out there?” Woody grinned and lifted an eyebrow, but his eye also had a new look of understanding. Since he’d found Olga, Woody knew what it was like to be head over heels for somebody. And so what if he didn’t? Corey wouldn’t even see him after today.
Corey finally threw back his head, and he hollered into the wind. “I’m in love! With Samanth—”
“Hands aloft to furl sail!” The order cut the air and brought a grin to Corey’s lips.
Finally. They would be under engine power. Crew members scrambled up the rigging to take in sail.
Corey tightened his hold and raised his binoculars. Would Samantha see him aloft? He wanted to impress her. Only ten days ago he’d been terrified to climb the shrouds.
There it is! Where Patrice’s Point jutted out from the coast, tiny people crowded the pier. The binoculars pressed a new set of rings into Corey’s face as he scanned for a petite, curvy female. The bodies grew larger as the ship cut the distance to the Landing, but he still couldn’t find her. Corey’s calloused hand throbbed as his fist squeezed the rope. He joined his ship mates in rolling the sail and fastening the gaskets to secure the canvas, but his thoughts were on the future.
After Sam returned from Vermont, they had plans for treasure hunting. “We’ll take the Rover, maps, lunch...” she’d said with a wicked smile. But it wasn’t the lost gold of 1813 that excited Corey. Finding the “Estar Island” described in his ancestor’s journal would be a long shot, and he didn’t believe in miracles. No, it was the idea of collecting the kiss that got his lines twisted from here to Sunday.
Corey frowned and scrambled down to the deck, he patted the piece of brass again. He didn’t really believe in luck—but after all, the old buckle had stopped a bullet.
His watch read five to 1700. Corey had gone below and collected his sea bag from the forecastle—which he’d finally learned to call “fo’c’sle”—and was heading for the deck ladder when his eye caught the blur in the mirror. He didn’t need to stop to recognize his own tanned and rugged image, his eyes intense under thick brows and sun-streaked hair. Best of all, every muscle rippled to life when he moved. He grinned. When Sam got a glimpse of this, he’d have no worries. He hurried up the companionway to the deck, stroking the buckle hanging from his neck. If I was a girl, I’d stand in line to go out with me! But then maybe Sam was more particular than he was.
“Taking the Gold: On a Tall Ship in the St. Lawrence 1000 Islands, by M.A. Noble. MANoble@rocktmail.com. Find “Taking Hart” at Amazon.com and check back in late November for “Taking the Gold.”
By M.A. Noble
Mag A. Noble lives with her husband, Bob, in St. Lawrence County between the Adirondack Mountains and New York’s Canadian border. She enjoys playing keyboard and drums and singing harmony, working and playing outdoors, and—if stuck inside—writing to inform and entertain. This, her second novel, is a follow-up to her first, “Taking Hart.”