Sometimes A Rogue
The Lost Lords Series Book #5
Sometimes. . .
Even the most proper young lady yearns for adventure. But when the very well bred Miss Sarah Clarke-Townsend impulsively takes the place of her pregnant twin, it puts her own life at risk. If the kidnappers after her sister discover they've abducted Sarah instead, she will surely pay with her life. . .
A Rogue. . .
Rob Carmichael survived his disastrous family by turning his back on his heritage and becoming a formidable Bow Street Runner with a talent for rescuing damsels in distress. But Sarah is one damsel who is equal to whatever comes. Whether racing across Ireland with her roguish rescuer or throwing herself into his arms, she challenges Rob at every turn.
Putney's reputation as one of the finest writers of Regency romance is well deserved. She never shies away from different plots or atypical characters and writes wildly exciting adventure romances. She's done it all again in the marvelous, emotional and thrilling fifth book in the Lost Lords series.
~RT Book Reviews
Composed of equal measures of dangerous intrigue and potent passion, Putney's fifth elegantly written installment in her Lost Lords series delivers captivating characters, an impeccably realized Regency setting, and a thrilling plot rich in action and adventure.
~Booklist, STARRED review
Rob Carmichael, Bow Street runner and graduate of the Westerfield Academy for boys of “good birth and bad behavior,” is particularly good at finding damsels in distress. Instead of a runaway heiress, he is sent to rescue Miss Sarah Clarke-Townsend, a petite and well-bred young lady who put her own life at risk to protect her pregnant twin sister. Rob has followed the kidnappers to Ireland, and has found where Sarah is being held captive.
It was hours before the lights in the house were extinguished, but Rob had years of practice in patience. The light rain stopped and the sky cleared, revealing a waxing moon that would provide light for another few hours to aid an escape.
Eventually the house became dark, except for a small light on the ground floor level that appeared to be in the kitchen. Since that might mean the captive was guarded, he’d enter through the front door rather than the one Bridget had suggested.
He was good with locks, so the massive front door presented no great challenge. He eased inside, scarcely breathing, then pulled the door almost shut so it would be ready for a quick escape. As he studied his surroundings, he pulled his fighting stick from an inside pocket. He’d acquired it in India, and it was shaped and knobbed to be held in onehand to add extra striking power in a fight.
The house appeared to have a standard layout with stairs coming down the center and rooms on each side. A sitting room was on the right, the dining room on the left. Since Bridget had said the kitchen was behind the dining room, he moved between the table and sideboard to the door that should lead to the kitchen.
Fighting stick in his left hand, he slowly opened the door—and froze when he was greeted by a raucous snore from inside.
Not moving, he studied as much of the room as he could see. The snoring man was seated on a bench by a long work table on the right, his head resting on his crossed arms. Next to him was an empty whisky bottle and the lantern that lit the room. The man seemed to be in a drunken sleep, so Rob decided not to retreat. Not when he was so close to the abducted lady.
Silently he crossed the kitchen along the left side. The snoring man didn’t stir when Rob passed less than six feet away.
He reached the pantry door. The key was in the lock, which saved him having to pick it. The key made a slight scraping sound when he turned it.
He held still, not even breathing, but the drunk snored on. Praying the hinges wouldn’t squeal, he inched the door open and entered, closing it softly behind him.
A shaft of moonlight from the pantry’s high window illuminated most of the tiny room. His first reaction was disappointment that the floor held only a clutter of sacks and boxes and broken crockery, not a sleeping captive.
Something moved on a shelf to the left and a delicate face surrounded by a fluffy cloud of blond hair peered up at him. Miss Sarah Clarke-Townsend looked like anadorable little golden chick. Harmless and helpless and prey to the first fox or hawk that came along.
Hoping she wouldn’t squeal or otherwise draw attention to them, he said in a barely inaudible voice, “Ashton sent me. Shall we be on our way?”
Her eyes widened like a startled kitten and she swung her feet to the floor. “Yes!” Wrapping her ragged blanket firmly around her shoulders, she continued, “Lead on, sir!”
Though her voice was low, he held a finger to his lips to emphasize silence. “There is a man sleeping in the kitchen. We must leave very, very quietly.”
She nodded and pulled her ragged blanket close around her. When they got to the horses, he’d find her something warmer.
He opened the door again and moved into the kitchen, beckoning for her to follow since the drunk was still snoring. Silently she wafted behind him.
They were halfway across the kitchen when disaster struck. Something clattered to the floor and Miss Sarah gave a squeak of dismay. As the drunk came awake with a growl, Rob saw that her trailing blanket had snagged a broom leaning against the wall and knocked it to the floor.
The drunk’s eyes widened as he focused on them. “The bitch is trying to escape!” he roared as he hauled himself from the table.
Two more heads appeared on the other side of the table. Rob swore as he realized the men had been sleeping there out of sight. Outnumbered three to one, Rob had only the advantage of being awake and alert. As the two other men scrambled to their feet, Rob lunged for the drunk, who was closest. “Run!” he barked at Miss Sarah.
Before the drunk could react, Rob slammed him in the temple with his fighting stick. The man collapsed backward from the bench, sending his whiskey bottle flying to crash on the flagstone floor.
Not pausing, Rob leaped over the table and attacked the closer of the two men, a wiry fellow who was pulling a knife from the sheath at his waist. Rob slugged him in the belly, then bashed the man’s head as he folded up, gasping.
As the wiry man collapsed, Rob swung to face the last opponent—and stopped cold when he saw the barrel of a pistol pointing at him. As the third man cocked the weapon, he snarled in Irish, “I don’t know who you are, boyo, but say your prayers!”
Rob was preparing to hurl himself back over the table in hopes of evading the shot when the air resonated with a deep, gong-like sound. The armed man crumpled to the floor. Behind him, smiling gleefully and holding a massive cast iron frying pan in both hands, was his helpless chick, looking absurdly pleased with herself.
Backlit by a lantern, Miss Sarah’s hair was a golden cloud shining like a halo around her exquisite face. A crippling emotion he couldn’t name twisted inside him. Yearning, perhaps, because in her beauty, joy, and innocence, she represented everything he’d ever loved and lost.
The feeling passed in an instant because his job was to save her life, not wallow in his personal sorrows. “Well done, princess. Now it’s time we are on our way.”
He would have preferred to bind and gag the three men, but reinforcements would arrive at any moment and he had no desire for a pitched battle. He scooped up the dropped pistol and gestured toward the kitchen’s door to the outside.
“I couldn’t agree more!” she exclaimed as she darted toward their exit.
A dozen steps brought him to the door. He unlatched it and ushered her outside.Once they were in the damp, chilly night air, he clasped her small hand. “Now, princess, we run!”