Alexander Haines had a mission—recapture the USS Philadelphia from Barbary Coast pirates. Coddling a pampered daughter of an English earl had no part in that mission.
Not, that is, until Katherine Alcott became a hostage.
“Are those Jean Lafitte’s pirates turned patriots?” Michael asked Katherine as he handed her a glass of punch in the crowded ballroom.
“They are Americans, that is obvious,” Charles said. “Chaps have not tied their cravats correctly.”
“They do look a bit out of place,” Edward added.
“At least they are not half-naked with gold loops in their ears,” Adam sniggered.
Katherine tapped Charles’ arm with her fan in admonishment and then turned to smile at Adam. In that instant, she allowed herself a glance at the two men standing near some potted palms and then inhaled sharply at the boldly penetrating look the tall man with inky-black hair was giving her. His eyes were golden and as predatory as any of the big cats at the London zoo. A small smile lifted the corner of his mouth and she suddenly felt much too warm. The slightly shorter man with auburn hair standing beside him grinned too. Katherine quickly looked away, hoping her hand did not shake as she brought the cool liquid to her suddenly dry throat.
“I cannot imagine why my father chose to have the Americans aid us,” she managed to say. “The Barbary pirates cannot be that much of a threat to us in England, can they?”