A Splendid Opportunity
A shipload of womenâtheirs for the taking! Pirate captain Gideon Horn couldn't be more delighted. His men are tired of wandering the high seas and want to settle down with wives on the uncharted island paradise they've discovered. And the women are bound to be grateful to be rescued from the life of drudgery awaiting them in New South Wales . . .
Lord, he's so clever!
A Splendid Passion
Married? To pirates? Sara Willis couldn't be more appalled. First she demands proper courtingâat least a month. The darkly handsome pirate lord gives them two weeks. Then Sara insists the men vacate their huts for the womenâGideon demands her kisses in return. As the demands heat up, so do their passionsâand soon Sara can't remember just why she's fighting the devilishly seductive captain so hard. . .
How much it is to be regretted, that the British ladies should ever sit down contented to polish, when they are able to reform. . . .
English Writer And Philanthropist
Essays On Various Subjects . . . For Young Ladies
London, January 1818
Miss Sara Willis had known a great many awkward moments in her twenty-three years. There was the time as a seven-year-old when her mother had caught her filching biscuits from the grand kitchen at Blackmore Hall, or the time shortly afterward when she'd fallen into the fountain at her mother's wedding to her stepfather, the late Earl of Blackmore. Then there was the ball last year when she'd unwittingly introduced the Duchess of Merrington to the duke's mistress.
But none of those compared to thisâbeing physically accosted by her stepbrother as she departed from Newgate Prison in the company of the Ladies' Committee. Jordan Willisâthe new Earl of Blackmore, Viscount Thornworth, and Baron Ashleyâwasn't the sort of man to mask his disapproval, as so many members of Parhament had learned to their detriment. And now he took charge of her person with a shameless lack of propriety,propelling her toward the waiting Blackmore carriage as if she were the merest child.
She could hear the choked laughter of her friends Jordan jerked open the door of the carriage and glowered at her.
"Into the carriage, Sara. Now."
'Jordan, really, such dramatics are not necesâ"
Swallowing her dismay and embarrassment climbed into the well-appointed carriage dignity as she could muster. He slammed the door, then threw himself onto the seat across from her with such force that the carriage rocked on its springs.
As he ordered the coachman to drive on, she casts an apologetic glance out the window toward her friends. She was supposed to join them at Mrs. Fry's for tea, but they must realize that was impossible now.
"Deuce take it, Sara, stop making sad faces at your friends and look at me!"
Settling her slender frame against the damask cushions, she faced her stepbrother. She opened her mouth to chastise him for his untoward handling of her, then closed it when she saw the ominous furrowing of his brow. Though she was used to Jordan's formidable temper, she didn't at all like being the recipient of it. Most of London society joined her in that particular dislike, for Jordan was frightening indeed when he was angry.
"Tell me, Sara," he bit out, "how do I look today?"
If he could ask a question like that, she thought, perhaps he wasn't so very angry after all. Folding her hands in her lap, she surveyed him. His cravat was crookedly tied, most unusual for him. His auburn hair was in its natural unruly state, and his frock coat and trousers were rumpled. "Rather mussed, to be truthful. You need a shave, and your clothes areâ"
"Do you know why I look this way? Do you have any idea what brought me racing from the country without taking time to sleep or groom myself properly?" His scowl forced his dark auburn brows into a solid line of disapproval.
She tried to match it but failed miserably. Scowling wasn't her forte. "You were eager for my company?" she ventured.
"It's nothing to joke about," he growled in that warning tone he used to cow the matrons at the marriage marts who attempted to introduce him to their daughters. "You know quite well why I'm here. And no matter how charming you make yourself, I wont overlook this latest mad scheme of yours."
Good heavens. He couldn't possibly know, could he? "Wh-what mad scheme? The Ladies' Committee and I were merely distributing baskets of food to the poor unfortunates at Newgate."