Surrender of a Siren

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  • Edition: Original
  • Format: Trade Book
  • Copyright: 2009-08-25
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
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The second novel in the lighthearted, love-laden Regency romance trilogy by the author of "Goddess of the Hunt" features a ravishing runaway bride, a devilishly dashing privateer, and a passion on the high seas. Original.

Author Biography

Tessa Dare a part-time librarian, full-time mommy, and swing-shift writer. She makes her home in Southern California, where she shares a cozy, cluttered bungalow with her husband, their two children, and a dog.


Chapter One 

 Gravesend, December 1817 

In fleeing the society wedding of the year, Sophia Hathaway knew she would be embracing infamy. 

She’d neglected to consider how infamysmelled. She paused in the doorway of the fetid dockside tavern. Even from here, the stench of soured ale accosted her, forcing bile into her throat. 

A burly man elbowed her aside as he went out the door. “Watch yerself, luv.” 

She pasted herself against the doorjamb, wondering at the singular form of address implied in “luv.” The man’s comment had clearly been directed towardbothof her breasts. 

With a shiver, she wrapped her cloak tight across her chest. 

Taking one last deep breath, she sidled her way into the dank, drunken confusion, forbidding her gray serge skirts to brush against anything. Much less anyone. From every murky corner– and for a squared- off tea caddy of a building, this tavern abounded in murky corners– eyes followed her. Suspicious, leering eyes, set in hard, unshaven faces. It was enough to make any young woman anxious. For a fugitive young lady of quality, traveling alone, under the flimsy shield of a borrowed cloak and a fabricated identity . . . 

Well, it was almost enough to make Sophia reconsider the whole affair. 

An unseen someone jostled her from behind. Her gloved fingers instinctively clutched the envelope secreted in her cloak. She thought of its brethren, the letters she’d posted just that morning, breaking her engagement and ensuring a scandal of Byronic proportions. Seeds of irrevocable ruin, scattered with the wind. 

A cold sense of destiny anchored her rising stomach. There was no going back now. She could walk through far worse than this shabby pub, if it meant leaving her restrictive life behind. She could even endure these coarse men ogling her breasts, so long as they did not glimpse the secret strapped between them. 

Her resolve firmed, Sophia caught the eye of a baldheaded man wiping a table with a greasy rag. He looked harmless enough– or at least, too old to strike quickly. She smiled at him. He returned the gesture with a completely toothless grin. 

Her own smile faltering, she ventured, “I’m looking for Captain Grayson.” 

“ ’Course you is. All the comely ones are.” The gleaming pate jerked. “Gray’s in the back.” 

She followed the direction indicated, moving through the crowd on tiptoe in an effort to keep her hem off the floor. The sticky floorboards sucked at her half boots. Toward the back of the room, she spied a boisterous knot of men and women near the bar. One man stood taller than the others, his auburn hair looking cleaner than that of his company. A brushed felt beaver rested on the bar nearby, an oddly refined ornament for this seedy den. As Sophia angled for a better view, a chair slid out from a nearby table, clipping her in the knee. She bobbled on tiptoe for a moment before tripping forward. 

The hem of her cloak caught on her boot, and the cloak wrenched open, exposing her chest and throat to the sour, wintry air. In her desperate attempt to right herself, she clutched wildly for the wall– 

And grasped a handful of rough linen shirt instead. The shirt’s own er turned to her. “Hullo there, chicken,” he slurred, his breath rancid with decay. His liquorglazed eyes slid over her body and settled on the swell of her breasts. “Fancy bit of goods you are. By looks, I

Excerpted from Surrender of a Siren: A Novel by Tessa Dare
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