Corona, Melanie: A Love of Conviction, Settlers Series, Book Two


Eliza Taylor was convicted and transported for the crime of stealing. She suffers being put in chains, locked up and degraded, to the point where life holds no meaning. Kept prisoner in the dark hold of a ship bound for a penal colony, Eliza is at the mercy of men who, at every turn, threaten to use her to their advantage. That is, of course, until fate lands her at the feet of Lord William Townshend. His kindness and loyalty capture Eliza’s heart. Oblivious to her growing feelings, William continues his journey on a quest for another woman, one he set his heart on marrying when he was a young man. When the winds of change reveal that his feelings may be turning her way, Eliza doubts her battered and wounded spirit will have enough strength to survive falling in love. Eliza encounters obstacles she never dreamed she would face but is determined to conquer them to gain her freedom. The cost of her freedom is high, and the villainous sergeant in charge will do everything in his power to use her for his own vengeful purposes.


“Eliza. That is your name, isn’t it?” I nodded my head, not taking my eyes off him. He seemed quite young for what I was expecting. Mid to late thirties maybe, and he certainly had that air of authority surrounding him. His hair was blacker than mine, and his eyes were dark and serious. He sat in his chair, leaning into the back of it with his head resting on his fisted hand. He almost looked bored–almost. “Do you talk?”

Still not taking my eyes off him, I replied simply, “Yes.”

“Will you excuse us, Hank?” I looked to Hank. He nodded his head and left through the door we entered. When it clicked shut, the captain rose to his feet. He was a tall man, not as bulky as Hank, but he appeared strong and virile. He wore snug-fitting pants with boots up to his knees, and an off-white shirt that looked so soft I could rub my face in it. He was not particularly handsome. The lines on his face were quite hard. Actually, he made me feel scared. “I hope you’ve been treated well.” 

I snorted my laugh and gave him a sharp look. “If being treated well means being knocked out and left for dead in a small, rodent-infested, smelly hole, and fed something that tastes like it has been scrapped off the floor of the galley, then yes, I think you have given us a voyage to remember.” My gaze didn’t waver. The captain just gave me a smirk and crossed his arms over his chest. His hair was just long enough to put it in a tie at the nape of his neck. Some of it had come loose, and he tucked it absently behind his ear.

“Well then, I’m glad I was able to accommodate you.” He was laughing at me. I just raised my chin and waited for him to say what he wanted to say. “You know why you are here?”

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“Eliza, do you remember me?” His voice was gentle as he ran his finger over my closed eye. I couldn’t move my head, so he continued. “I am Nash, remember? I met you at the doctor’s.” Nash. Yes, I remembered. He leant in close to my ear and whispered so only I could hear. “I’ve been William’s friend all my life. Will you trust me, Eliza?” Nash pulled back so we could see each other again. He was so close I could see his eyes searching mine for the answer he needed. He nodded his head slightly, then stood and turned back to the general and Pierson.

“Well?” Pierson asked impatiently.

“If this is how you think you can best William, then you win. You’ve beaten the girl to an inch of her life, and stealing her away from him forever should nail the coffin down tight.”

“Stop stalling. What’s it going to be? That wench will not be leaving here on the say of these papers,” Pierson warned determinedly. I heard the ruffling of the said papers being thrown and then saw some fall to the ground in front of Nash. Those were apparently my release forms. I watched Nash pick them up and fold them away.

“So be it then, but you are not coming. I will not have you in attendance on her wedding day,” Nash demanded.



“Are you surprised that a family such as mine would allow its heir to consider marriage below his class?” Yes, I was wondering, and I was a little surprised. I knew it sometimes happened for whatever circumstance–scandal, fortune hunters, or I supposed, love. But I’d never heard of such a thing being alright with the titled party. It shouldn’t surprise me, though. With what William had told me of his parents, anything was possible.

“Maybe. I expected that Payton was born a lady,” I said, placing my tea cup back onto its saucer.

“She was,” William said, rising to his feet. But before he turned to leave, he caught me unprepared by the feel of his finger lightly touching the underside of my jaw. He ran it along the bone until only his knuckle was under my chin. He lifted my face till his lovely green eyes met mine. He stared at me for a long moment. “So were you, Eliza. Don’t ever forget that.” Then he left me to my own thoughts.


The captain was close to us now, and he spoke directly to the sergeant. “These women have been paid for with the silence of our lord here,” the captain said, slightly pointing to Lord Townshend whilst speaking to the confused sergeant. “Whilst you were passed out a few mornings ago, the lord and I came to an agreement.”

“I was saving those two…” The sergeant waved his finger at us while addressing the captain, looking like he was trying to find the words to describe us.

“Women,” I said. All the males in conversation about us, as though we weren’t even there, turned at my statement. I stood up straighter. “We are women.”



“Thank you, Bree.” She took my hand in hers, and we held each other until we heard the keys open our door again, and Hank appeared before us. “Come now, wench. It’s time.”

 Playlist for A Love of Conviction


I was born in Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia, and raised in Alice Springs (the very center of the country). I have always loved reading and telling “tall tales” and wrote poetry all the time. My greatest influence was my grandpa Majid who kept us entertained all the time with his stories, music and passion for writing.
I didn’t tell anyone I wrote when I started because I was to shy, I have no idea why I was like that. I don’t care now, I have stories to tell and I want to share them. I am not, and never will profess to be an awesome writer, but I will try to entertain, while bringing to life the history of my country, one page at a time.