Captain Caleb Cameron and First Mate Duncan MacDougal need money to set themselves up as legitimate privateers during the war between the British and the new United States of America. With the prizes they’ll conquer, they will be rich, so they risk the noose and accept a large sum to shanghai a princess and her lady's maid. What they get is a pair of brazen, notorious women who will stop at nothing to get what they desire.
Annie Puddin, lady’s maid, has had adventures, riding as highwayman’s assistant by night, learning how to be a lady by day. So when she and her friend Ginny, a housemaid, spend an evening dressing up in the absence of their new mistress and dreaming of being rich, the champagne and caviar are nothing unusual—but being snatched and tossed out the window is a new experience, and there are more to come.
“Bloody hell, Cal! You’re telling me we’ve kidnapped a princess?” Duncan MacDougal leaped to his feet and stood glaring down at his friend. “God in heaven, man, can you imagine the penalty? Hanging will be the best we can expect.”
The captain, settled in the chair behind his desk in his cabin, looked up at the irate Scotsman looming over him. The Jenny Jones was far out to sea, blown before the gale that had been rising as they fled the manor house. He’d deliberately waited until they were well away to reveal the true identities of their passengers.
“If I’d told you one of them was royalty, would you have gone along with the plan?” He narrowed his eyes as he looked up at his first mate.
“Of course not! I have a fondness for my neck just as it is.” Duncan ran a hand through his tangled, sandy-colored curls. “Guid God, we’ve kidnapped a princess!”
“Not kidnapped…shanghaied.” Captain Cameron stood and went to a sideboard that held several flasks and tankards. “There will be no ransom demands. They’ll work their passage as any victims of press gangs would. Once we reach New Brunswick, we’ll deposit the pair of them in a convent. I’ve no desire to keep those creatures in my possession any longer than necessary. Then we’ll head for Saint John, New Brunswick, to outfit this vessel for wartime duty.”
He rolled his shoulders in an effort to relax their stiffness and felt a catch where the one he’d carried had twisted his flesh. “Whisky?” He held up the flask.
“After what you’ve told me, I doubt you’ve enough spirits on this vessel to calm my nerves, but yes. I’ll be taking a fair guid dram.” Duncan MacDougall sank into a chair.
“Who did you think we’d be bringing unwillingly on this voyage?” Caleb poured a hefty measure into a mug and handed it to his mate. “I told you my friend the Duke of Haverbrook wanted rid of a couple of women who knew too much about his intended.”
“Aye, well, knowing the intelligence of his Grace and his proclivity for buxom women, I thought they were a couple of wenches he’d gotten in a family way and wanted placed in the care of nuns rather than have them thrown out into the streets to fend for themselves. That story you told me about a pair of lassies who knew too much about his intended didn’t hold water. I’ve come to get pretty fair at recognizing when you’re lying, Captain Cameron.”
“Two of them in a family way? Willie’s a horny little toad, but that’s expecting a lot even of him. Sound sensible, man.”
“Perhaps he and a friend could have gotten the two of them with buns in the oven? I don’t know, Cal.” He took a swallow of whisky and bared his teeth. “I never thought you’d do anything as daft as kidnapping a princess.”