Cover photo © PeriodImages.com
Apple Books ISBN: 978-1-946271-29-7
When the dastardly Baron Dorchester kidnaps Little Bo Peep from a costume ball and carries her onto a ship bound for France, the captain of the Molly, Blake Russell, must take on the guise of a pirate to rescue his booty in this delightful tale of a chase on the Channel. Can a tumble on the Thames be far behind?
The kidnapper quickly disappeared through the doorway, and a different man, this one most definitely a sailor, given his swarthy complexion, unusual mode of mis-matched dress, and missing teeth, entered carrying a bucket.
His odor alone had Barbara gagging.
“Mornin’, miss,” he said as he set the bucket next to her chair. “Cook’s workin’ on breakfast—cackle fruit and whatnot—but I can bring porridge right quick.”
Barbara stared at the sailor, amazed she could understand his strange accent. “Yes. Please do,” she replied. “And could you inform your captain that I’ve been kidnapped and bound to this chair with the most uncomfortable means of restraint? I really insist they be removed, especially since I’ll need my hands to eat.”
The sailor’s eyes widened and then darted to one side. “Why, I think he knows, miss.”
“Oh, good. Because Lord Dorchester is due to call on me at two-o’clock this afternoon, and I shouldn’t want to miss my opportunity for a ride in the park with him. I get so few of them, you see,” she said as she angled her head to one side.
Truth be told, she knew Lord Dorchester’s reasoning for taking her to Hyde Park at two o’clock instead of the fashionable hour of five o’clock was probably because he didn’t wish to be seen in her company.
Most of her suitors wanted to avoid being seen with her. To be seen with her in polite Society suggested a desperation found only in men who needed funds to cover debts—or just funds in general.
She wasn’t a beauty by any stretch of the imagination. Although she had long, brown hair, it was a brown of indistinguishable characteristics. No golden streaks or red highlights. No natural curls or waves that made it easy for her lady’s maid to dress. Just straight, mousy brown tresses.
Her broad face didn’t help, either. Although she had wide-set eyes that might be considered exotic, the rest of her face was merely that. A face. Normal lips, unfortunately not of a rosebud shape. Cheeks that weren’t enhanced by high cheekbones or a natural pinkish coloring. A nose that wasn’t upturned nor hooked nor thin. A chin that might have been a bit on the pointy side, if not for the slightly squarishness at the very end that helped to soften the effect.
No, she was not a beauty.
But she was rich.
At least, her father was. Her dowry meant she had any number of gorgeous young bucks paying calls and filling her dance cards.
Just not openly courting her.
Thank the gods her father could afford the very best modiste and fashions to be had in London. She might not be the most attractive young lady at a ton ball, but at least she could be the best dressed, even if her gowns had to be specially made to accommodate her oversized bosom and wide hips.
If ever there was a body perfect for childbearing—and a gown suitable to play the role of Little Bo Peep—she knew she possessed it.
What else could she offer a prospective husband?
Her seasickness forgotten, Barbara frowned at the sailor. “Well, if the captain knows, then why am I still here?” she asked, a hint of annoyance coloring her words.
The sailor blinked. “Can’t say as I know, miss,” he replied. Then, before she could ask anything else, he disappeared—or rather, escaped—through the door, and Barbara was once again left alone.