I’m thrilled to have fellow Bluestocking Belles author Rue Allyn as a guest today, sharing her upcoming release.
The Pirate Duchess – A Regency Era Enemies to Lovers Pirate Romance, Book Two in the Duchess Series.
They met during a brawl!
Esmeralda Crobbin first encounters Brandon Gilroy during a brawl. Once their opponents are vanquished, she admires the man’s skill with his fists, his intelligence, and a number of other attributes until she learns that he is a British Naval Officer. He would be eager to see her hang, if he knew she was the American privateer, Irish Red.
Brandon and his friend walked on through the dark. No street lamps lined this sort of pathway, and the buildings blocked any light from the waning moon. In the distance could be heard the sound of waves gently slapping the shore. The scent of the harbor mixed with the less pleasant odors from the open gutter. Even the dusky voice rising from several yards in advance of their path seemed part and parcel of the Caribbean night.
“How dare you!”
Brandon raised his head to hear better. “Sounds like a woman in trouble.”
“Ye’ll be wanting to apologize to me friend,” a second voice ordered in an even lower register.
“She seems to have at least one defender. Perhaps we should not interfere,” Lawrence suggested.
A third voice replied. “I’ll not apologize to such as . . .”
A loud crack—like the sound of a fist meeting a jaw—ended the refusal.
“Argh! Boys, let’s teach these two the lesson they need,” another speaker urged.
Several growls of encouragement endorsed the idea.
The sounds of a right good donnybrook ensued.
“I believe honor requires we investigate, Doctor, and confirm if the lady and her friend are outnumbered or not.”
They set off at a run in the direction of the noise. The fight was occurring in the space where two of the narrow streets crossed. The buildings were set back from the intersection allowing a slice of pale moonlight to illuminate the combatants.
Before joining in, Brandon and Lawrence paused long enough to note that two people—one tall and hulking, the other nearly as tall but much more slender—stood back-to-back and held off eight opponents with their fists. The attackers bore three cudgels among them. And Brandon was certain he saw the gleam of at least one dirk.
“Those aren’t fair odds,” Lawrence remarked.
“No,” Brandon agreed. “Though the two defenders seem handy enough with their fives.”
He nodded toward the surrounded pair.
The smaller defender’s fist dented an opponent’s belly, followed by the opposite fist connecting with his nose, felling him completely. He hit the ground hard, tripping one of his fellows on the way. But a third leapt over the two and grappled with the defender.
“Shall we even the odds?” queried the doctor.
Diving straight into the melee, Brandon tossed “Absolutely!” over his shoulder.
Finally, seven of the eight attackers lay moaning and defeated on the blood-strewn field of battle. Lawrence ran after the one fleeing man. Brandon turned to the two people who had once been surrounded.
In the pale light neither one looked much like a woman. Perhaps he’d been mistaken.
“Thankee,” began the larger fellow, “but I be thinking one of ‘em got a slice o’ me.” With that, he stumbled toward the nearest building and slid down the wall. His head lolled as if unconscious.
“John!” that dusky voice cried, and his companion, who Brandon dubbed ‘Slim’, rushed to the man’s side. The slim one took hold of the aforementioned John, slapped at his cheeks, and shook him by the shoulders. “John, wake up. We cannot rest here.” A change in pitch and a single sob released from Slim’s lips confirmed Brandon’s initial conclusion.
So, that siren’s voice does belong to a woman.
But what in the world was any woman doing out at this time of night dressed as she was in the company of a single man? And how had the pair managed to attract the attention of eight thugs? Brandon determined to ask those questions and more very soon.
Son of a Scottish earl, Brandon Gilroy is an officer in the Royal Navy. He grew up with ships and sailing, and naval service is a family tradition of which he is quite proud. As The Pirate Duchess opens he and a friend leap to save a unique, challenging and attractive woman and her companion being attacked by eight thugs. During the ensuing brawl Brandon learns she is quite capable of defending herself. He helps her and her friend when the friend is wounded and though Brandon tries he does not discover the identity of the female warrior. That is, not until weeks later when his ship is attacked by the infamous pirate, Irish Red. The intriguing woman who rarely left his thoughts during the intervening weeks is an American Privateer and thus, his sworn enemy. He should see her hang.
Esmeralda Crobbin aka Irish Red is an orphan adopted by the first Irish Red when he fell in love with the woman who cared for her. But adoptive mother and father have passed away, but Esme was well loved and inherited her ship, crew, and the Irish Red name from the father who taught her to sail and love the sea. On his deathbed she promised him she would try to find her natal family with the small clues he had gathered and kept for her. In between voyages on her ship, the Erie Mist, her search has led her to Spain and France, where the clues she had failed to produce any sort of result. After her victory over the naval officer and his crew, she plans to journey to England to follow the last remaining bit of information that might help her discover her true family and identity.
The Pirate Duchess is available on pre-order for a discounted price until its early January 2023 launch, when the price goes up.
Are you attending The Historical Romance Retreat (https://www.historicalromanceretreat.com/) in San Diego?
Rue will have a limited number of pre-release ARCs deeply discounted. This opportunity is exclusive to the HRR bookfair on Saturday, October 1, 2022. Since quantities are limited, copies may be reserved by email to Rue@RueAllyn.com before Sept. 23, 2022.