The prequel to Hallie Alexander’s steamy Sons of Neptune series introduces readers to a band of heroic rebels at the brink of the American Revolution.
Tumbling back into love should have been effortless.
What are the odds Lydia Allyn gives Daniel Greene, the man who broke her heart, a second chance when he stumbles upon her at the Merriwether Ball? About as good as her Royal officer father has of catching him in the act of smuggling that very same night. Which is to say, they both catch him, but only one can keep him.
Approximately 14,000 words
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- Content Warnings
- Attempted violence
- Dysfunctional family
Excerpt from Rescuing Her Rebel
The Allyn sisters were having a dreadful time. Lydia and her younger sister Meg stood with their auburn heads bent together, arms linked at the elbows, peering out of the grand window of the ballroom on the third floor, while dancers lined up behind them. Their reflection made Lydia think of the porcelain figurines their mother had collected, with their pretty ribbons and ruffles, serious faces, and hair piled high, twisted with pearls and bows.
Oh, how they used to love dressing up in their finery. They’d powder each other’s faces and hair, apply a touch of rouge to their cheeks and lips, and pretend they were the most desirable ladies present. They would fight over the handsome, visiting Lord So-and-So. He would dance with each of them, whispering love words as they circled with their hands almost pressed together, ogling each other with heat.
Lydia sighed, expelling the last of her energy. It was late, close to one in the morning, and the Merriwether’s ball threatened to go until four. Last month, a few miles over, the Gorham’s ball went until four, and Mrs. Merriwether was relentless when it came to dominating society.
“Did you see that?” Meg asked, her voice nearly drowned out by the string quartet playfully churning dancers in circular patterns.
“See what?” She hadn’t been looking at anything beyond their reflections.
“Don’t know. Mayhap lightning bugs in the woods. They gave me a little wink, then disappeared.”
“’Tis too cold for lightning bugs, sweeting.”
“Well, I know that, but I also know what I saw.” Meg let go of Lydia and stepped closer to the window. “Look. There it is again.” She wiped her gloved hand through the mist her breath made on the glass.
This time, Lydia saw it. Three quick flashes. “How curious.”
“I think it means a fairy has come to sprinkle the earth with magic seeds that will bring forth your one true love.”
A throat cleared with a censorious cough behind them, saving Lydia from answering.
They should have paid closer attention to their reflections or their father wouldn’t have been able to sneak up on them.
They turned on their heels to face Captain Thomas Allyn of His Majesty’s Royal Navy. They pinched their skirts and dipped into curtsies. “Father,” they chimed.
“Why are neither of you dancing? I thought I gave you explicit orders to partake in as many dances as there are available suitors.”
Towering over them by a good foot, he crossed his arms over his dark blue coat, gold embroidery at the cuffs shimmering from the light of the chandeliers. He released a huff of annoyance. The lines of his face were more severe than usual. Powder from his wig dusted his face, accentuating the lines of his weathered brow.
“Is that what you think I told my commander at the Battle of Quiberon Bay when I was shot in the leg? ‘Sorry, I need to sit this one out?’”
Not for the first time, Lydia wished her mother hadn’t died ten years ago because at age twenty, she still needed her mother, never more so than in the last six months.
Knowing the conversation would end faster if they played the roles he expected of them, Lydia bent her head and muttered, “No, father,” while Meg kept her head high and grinned coquettishly, telling him, “You are the bravest man alive.”
“Enough of that, Margaret.” He pinched Meg’s cheek as if she were still eight, then addressed the both of them. “Before your mother died, I promised to see you both properly married, and I never broke a promise to her. I’ll not start now.”
Lydia, with her head still bent, balled her hands into fists behind the bulk of her skirts, squeezing until her nails bit into her palms. She would never marry because trusting a man with her heart, her body, or her soul would never happen again. Not after the casualty that was her broken engagement. Her own father, who acted like he knew her, pretended she was still a mousy child and would marry whoever he chose.
Captain Allyn snapped his fingers. Lydia attended, but the signal was not meant for her.
In that instant, two young men dutifully approached. Both wore the blue and white costume of lower ranking naval officers. One had luxurious black hair held back with a queue at the nape of his neck, while the other with honey-brown hair wore a royal blue bagwig decorated with a big bow.
“I present to you, my dear daughters, Sub-Lieutenants Edward Tunstall and Joshua Newham. I believe you already know each other.”
Indeed, they did. Both had been plaguing the Allyn sisters since their coming out. Though the officers were from the right families, they weren’t particularly nice. Every ball ended with them sloppily drunk and dragging a naive girl into the gardens. How many times did they think they could get away with ‘tripping’ over their dance partner just to get a woman beneath them? One night, they would get their due over the barrel of a pistol. She hoped it wouldn’t be tonight.
The officers bowed, then drew them to the dance floor. The only way Lydia would allow a man to trip over Meg would be over her dead body.
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