Lady Pirateby Lynsay Sands
Valoree no longer has to masquerade as her murdered brother and scourge the oceans as Captain Red. She no longer has to command his pirate band in a quest to regain his birthright. She has been named heir to Ainsley Castle. But no executor would ever hand over the estate to an unmarried pirate wench and her infamous crew—no matter to whom she’d been… See more details below
Valoree no longer has to masquerade as her murdered brother and scourge the oceans as Captain Red. She no longer has to command his pirate band in a quest to regain his birthright. She has been named heir to Ainsley Castle. But no executor would ever hand over the estate to an unmarried pirate wench and her infamous crew—no matter to whom she’d been born. And the will distinctly states that in order to inherit, Valoree must be married to a nobleman . . . and pregnant.
Upon learning that, the virgin captain is ready to return to the seas—but her crew has other ideas— and for those rascally cusses she would do anything. If they could find a way to put on her a sweet face that would fool the ton, she would handle the rest, even with a drunken prostitute as an “aunt” and her merry cutthroat crew as “servants.” But to herself she swears one thing: she will only marry a man who fires her blood, a man who is not afraid of a . . . Lady Pirate
“LYNSAY SANDS has just the right touch of humor and the perfect amount of mystery to hold you in her grasp . . . . LADY PIRATE is a delicious treat.” - RT BOOKreviews
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Read an Excerpt
By Lynsay Sands
Copyright © 2001
All right reserved.
Five years later
"I'm thinkin' pink'd be nice."
"Pink?" Valoree glared at One-Eye as he walked beside her,
then glanced toward Skully as he added his thoughts on the
"Redheads don't wear pink. It don't look good."
"Aye, but the captain's in need of some real feminine-type
colors to make her look less...." An other glare from Valoree
made the man hesitate, then murmur diplomatically, "To make
her look less cap tainlike. 'Sides, her hair's kind of a
brown-red. It might work."
"Forget it," Valoree snapped. "I am not wearing pink. It's bad
enough I have to put on a damn dress. It will not be a pink
The two men traversing the dark London streets with her fell
silent for a moment; then One-Eye murmured, "Well, what about
yellow then? Yellow's real feminine. Maybe-"
"One-Eye," Skully interrupted, then paused in his walking.
"What?" One-Eye asked irritably. He and Valoree paused, too.
"Ain't this the place?"
One-Eye and Valoree both turned to peer up at the building
they now stood before. It was small, two levels, squeezed in
between two other storefronts. The building's lower windows
were dark, but the upper ones were filled with the soft glow
"Aye, this is it. Them lights upstairs is where they live,"
One-Eye announced unnecessarily.
Nodding, Valoree gestured toward the door and waited. Her two
crewmen glanced at each other, shrugged, then charged like two
bulls spotting a red cape. Her angry cry of realization was
lost in the sound of splintering wood. The door caved in under
their combined weight, fragments flying in every direction.
Grimacing, Valoree glanced quickly up and down the street to
be sure no one had witnessed the deed then followed the men
into the dark interior. Inside, she found the two lying in a
tangled heap on the floor.
"You were supposed to knock, you blathering idiots."
"Well, how was we to know?" One-Eye sputtered, jumping to his
feet and reaching up to be sure the patch that covered his
missing eye was still in place.
"Aye," Skully added, regaining his feet nearly as quickly as
his friend, despite his peg leg. "And if that was all ye were
wantin', why didn't ye do it yerself?"
"Why, indeed?" Valoree sighed as the sound of feet pounding
down the stairs somewhere at the back of the building echoed
through the quiet shop. The bright light of a lantern appeared
a moment later, and Valoree stepped forward to stop her men
from drawing their swords as the man carrying it paused in the
entrance to the room. He was dressed in a long nightshirt.
For a moment it looked as if the man might swallow his own
tongue as he took in the scene before him, and Valoree
couldn't blame him. His shop was a sham bles. Not only was
there a great gaping hole where the door had once stood, but
when that door had given way, Valoree's men had fallen inward,
crashing into a table holding piles of fabric. All of these
were now strewn across the floor. Added to that, the
intimidating presence of three disreputable-looking characters
now filled up the little space there was left in his small
shop. The fellow took all this in, and swayed slightly as if
he might swoon.
The man's reaction was understandable, Valoree supposed with a
wry grimace, her gaze moving over her men. She herself was
small and not very intimidating. She wore a billowing white
shirt, black breeches and waistcoat, boots, and a wide belt.
But One-Eye and Skully more than made up for her, what with
their own dirty, less respectable clothes, Skully's oft-broken
nose and peg leg, and One-Eye's patch.
"There was a bit of a mishap with your knocker," she said
pleasantly in an effort to calm the man. He was shaking so
hard that the light from his lantern was wavering, making
shadows dance on the wall. One-Eye gave a guffaw at that, and
she turned to glare at him briefly, then glanced back to the
shopkeeper. Rather than appearing reassured, the man had
merely stepped warily back the way he had come, looking fit to
burst into a run at any moment. And most likely he'd be
screaming for the authorities at the top of his lungs.
Shifting impatiently, Valoree held out a hand toward One-Eye,
who immediately unhooked the bag that hung from his belt and
dropped it into her hand. She promptly sent it sailing across
the room. The coins in the bag jangled merrily as they sailed
through the air, and the man's backward motions stopped
abruptly. Nearly dropping his lantern, the shopkeeper reached
instinctively to catch the purse.
"I am in need of some dresses," Valoree announced dryly.
The little tailor looked startled at that announcement, then
weighed the bag in his hand, eyeing his guests a little less
warily. "Ye broke me door."
"My men will fix it."
The man shifted on his feet, a calculating look coming into
his eyes. "Decent folk come to me shop during the day; they
don't drag a body out of his bed in the middle of the night."
There was a tense silence during which One-Eye reached for his
cutlass, but Valoree stopped him with a gesture. Instead, she
held a hand out toward Skully. The cadaverous man muttered
something about people disrespecting their betters, but he
unhooked the bag at his own waist and handed it over. She sent
that hurtling toward the greedy shopkeeper as well.
Amazingly enough, the man managed to catch the second bag
without losing either the first or the lantern. Holding more
gold in his hands than he had probably seen at one time in his
life, he nodded accommodatingly. "Ye'll have to be bringing
the wench here ye want gowned. Iffen ye don't, I cain't
guarantee the dresses'll fit."
"The dresses are for me," Valoree announced grimly.
The shopkeeper froze at that announcement, amazement covering
his face. The expression was followed by a sneer, and he began
to shake his head.
"Now, that there is another situation altogether. I'll not be
dressing a man in-" His words died as One-Eye drew his sword.
Sighing, Valoree caught her crewman's arm as he started
forward. "Leave off," she muttered. "You men thought me a man
for years, too."
"Aye, but we knew you as a boy. I mean, we thought we did. We
just thought you was kind of a fey and delicate type."
Valoree rolled her eyes. She supposed she should be flattered
that they had at least thought her fey and delicate.
"'Sides, we wouldn't have thought that if Henry had told us
the truth instead of keeping it all to himself fer so long."
"Henry did what he had to do," Valoree snapped, then drew off
the hat she had been wearing low on her brow. Stepping forward
so that the light could reach her face, she calmly addressed
the shopkeeper. "I am not a man."
Her face had been cast in shadow by the brim of her hat, but
was now revealed. As she felt her hair spill down from where
it had been piled, Valoree caught the dressmaker leering
slightly before he saw the expressions of the men accompanying
her. Swallowing any comment, he forced a blank expression to
his face and nodded before turning his eyes upward. "Wife!
Wife, there's work to be done!"
Valoree turned then to take in Skully and One-Eye with a
glance. "Fix that door and-" Her words were cut off in
surprise when the gaping hole in question was suddenly filled
by a behemoth of a man. He was taller even than Skully, and
much wider. There was a kerchief on his bald head, an earring
in his ear, and he wore tight tan pants and a billowing white
shirt that contrasted with his dark skin. "Bull," Valoree
The man's dark eyes swept over the people in the room; then he
stepped aside, revealing an old hag he had in tow.
"Yer aunt," the giant rumbled, pushing the reluctant woman
Valoree, One-Eye, and Skully were all silent as they stared at
the woman. She looked to be in her fifties. Her dress was torn
and filthy, and her hair was the color of a dirty London
street. The woman looked like an aging prostitute. Come to
that, she most likely was one. Valoree shook her head grimly,
turning on the man holding the creature still with one arm.
"I said someone decent, Bull," she chided.
"This is as decent as it gets at the docks at night," came his
answer. "She'll clean up good."
Sighing, Valoree took a step toward the woman, then paused,
stepping back as she got a whiff of her. The action didn't go
unnoticed by Bull's captive, who immediately drew her
shoulders up defiantly. The action touched something in
Turning to One-Eye, she held out her hand. A third bag of
coins hit her palm. Valoree tossed it across the room to the
already weighed-down tailor. None of them were terribly
surprised when he managed to catch it without difficulty,
though it required some deft readjustments. They had been told
the man loved gold better than anything in the world, and it
appeared the rumors were true. Good. Honestly, those rumors
were why Valoree had chosen to use this tailor's services.
That and the fact that the man was as crooked as Skully's
nose. A man who would take customers who visited in the wee
hours of the night, and were accompanied by such a rough lot,
would be unlikely to gossip-or at least to be believed.
"The old woman will need dresses as well," Valoree announced.
"And a bath."
The shop owner stiffened indignantly. "This ain't no inn."
Skully had more gold out before Valoree could signal. This
time she tossed the bag at the man's feet. Cursing, he jumped
quickly back, then bent to retrieve it. Straightening then, he
raised his head, and bellowed again. "Wife! Get yer arse out
of bed! Now!"
Three hours later the shopkeeper's bellows had mellowed to
tired sighs as he and his wife finished measuring Valoree for
the three gowns upon which she had decided. It had taken some
time to deal with the old woman, so they had done that first;
dumping her in a tub, scrubbing her to a shining glow, then
taking the measurements they needed before dressing her in one
of the shopkeeper's wife's old gowns. Valoree was pleased to
see she didn't look nearly as cheap cleaned up and in a
borrowed gown. In fact, if it weren't for her surly manner,
Valoree was sure the woman would be perfect for the role of
her aunt. Perhaps she was not a poor choice after all.
"Arms up, please," the shopkeeper's wife instructed, smiling
with gentle sympathy at Valoree's impatient frown. "This is
the last measurement," the woman added quietly as she drew the
tape around her chest.
Valoree sighed in relief. She was exhausted, so tired she felt
sure she could sleep for a week, and it wasn't the hour. She
was more than used to late nights-it was impossible to run a
boat full of pirates without half your nights being late ones.
It was this task she'd been busy with that had worn her out.
There was nothing so boring to her mind as fussing over gowns
and cloaks and just which material went with what. It was all
a lot of bother, and a task she would have been more than
happy to hand over to One-Eye or Skully ... if she hadn't feared
being stuck in some thing pink and frilly.
"Very good," the tailor announced with relief as he wrote down
the number his wife spoke. He looked tired himself, and was
likely eager to have Valoree and her burly companions depart.
But before she went, she needed to clear things up.
"I'll need one day gown for each of us by tomorrow. I want the
other gowns the day after. The men will return for them. Make
sure they are ready by noon."
"Noon tomorrow?" the man squawked at once in horror. "But that
is mere hours away! I cannot possibly-"
"You can and you will," Valoree interrupted mildly as she
began to walk toward the front of the building.
"You don't understand-" the shopkeeper began, following
closely behind her.
"Aye, I do." Valoree paused and turned to glower at him. "I
understand that I have paid you well, and that I wish for two
of the gowns to be done by noon tomorrow."
"Aye, my lady, but I cannot-"
"Did I not give you enough coins for at least ten times that
"Well, aye," he admitted reluctantly.
"Exactly. Now, if you cannot have the gowns done when I wish,
I can take my business, and my coins, elsewhere."
The threat got the reaction she'd expected. The shopkeeper
took a step back, abject horror on his face. He began to
stutter. "N-nay. I-I w-will have them done. I-I w-will hire
extra women to sew."
"Good." Turning back, Valoree glanced around the front room of
the man's shop. Her sailors were playing cards on the table
they'd crashed into when they'd busted the door down.
Apparently they had fixed that, too, though she hadn't thought
to order it. In addition, all the fabric that had originally
rested on it and been strewn on the floor had been gathered
and restacked on the table adjacent. The old hag, her
soon-to-be aunt, was sound asleep on an old mat in a corner of
Though Valoree briefly wondered how the woman could bear to
sleep on the hard wooden floor with only a thin rug for
cushioning, she quickly pushed the question aside. The woman
had likely slept in worse places-places and situations Valoree
did not even care to think about.
Her glance slid from the old woman to Bull, who immediately
straightened. Without a word from her, the immense pirate bent
to lift Valoree's "aunt" in his arms, then headed for the
Skully scooped the cards they'd been playing with into his
pocket, then hurried to open the door for his comrade. One-Eye
stood too, but moved to Valoree's side. Taking a small but
painfully sharp knife from his boot, he slammed it into the
counter beside the tailor.
Valoree glanced at the shopkeeper and his wife meaningfully.
"One-Eye's leaving that as a gift. And a reminder."
"A reminder?" The shopkeeper was beginning to get the nervous
look he'd had when he'd first come down stairs.
"Aye. A reminder not to mention this night. To any one."
One-Eye smiled widely then, an expression that did not quite
reach his one good eye. "Keep it nice and sharp," he said in a
menacing growl. "Or keep your tongue from wagging."
The shopkeeper seemed to understand at once; he was nodding
vigorously when his wife suddenly piped up with a nervous,
"Because I'll be cuttin' your tongues out with it if I hear ye
done gone and mentioned us to anyone. Any one at all."
Valoree almost sighed aloud at his words. One-Eye truly did
enjoy his work. And he did it well, too. Too well. With a
small gurgle, the shopkeeper's wife went into a full swoon,
hitting the floor with a resounding crash.
Shaking her head at One-Eye in reproof, Valoree turned and led
the way out. It took them very little time in the empty London
streets to find their way back to the ship.
The moment Valoree awoke and stepped out of her cabin into the
sunlight, a barrel-chested older man hurried toward her. At
his approach, she sighed. Henry. Her quartermaster. He had
held the position for her brother when Jeremy was captain, and
continued to hold it for her. The rank put him right below
her, second in command. In some ways, it gave him more power.
He was her right hand, and though she was loath to admit it,
she doubted she could control the men without him. She had
left him in charge of them last night while she had gone in
search of a dressmaker, and he'd surely had his hands full
trying to prevent anyone from slipping over the side to follow
the lure of rum and women that going ashore promised. They
had been at sea a long time, and most of the crew were eager
for leave. But if anyone knew how to help control these
cutthroats, it was Henry.
"Some of the men are wanting to go ashore," the man announced
at once, barring her way onto the deck.
"Ah, now, Cap'n, girl," he wheedled, tucking his thumbs into
the front of his belt and rolling back on his heels. "Ye know
as well as I that the boys have worked right hard the last few
weeks, and they been real patient 'bout goin' ashore, waitin'
till you was ready to let them. But I'm thinkin' if ye're
awantin' them to stay patient, ye best be lettin' em have a
Drumming her fingers against her leg, Valoree glanced at the
crew gathered on deck. They were all looking pathetically
hopeful. She supposed she had kept them aboard long enough.
But she'd wanted to avoid trouble, and once the men got some
drink into them, they could be a whole passel of that. Still,
they were going to be in port only one more day. If her
appointment with the lawyer hadn't been set for so late in the
afternoon, they would have left already. How ever, she had not
been able to secure an earlier meeting, and none but a
handful had been allowed leave since they had left the
Caribbean more than a month ago. It was no wonder the boys
were looking so hopeful.
Excerpted from Lady Pirate
by Lynsay Sands
Copyright © 2001 by Lynsay Sands .
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Lynsay Sands is the nationally bestselling author of the Argeneau/Rogue Hunter vampire series, as well as numerous historicals and anthologies. She’s been writing since grade school and considers herself incredibly lucky to be able to make a career out of it. Her hope is that readers can get away from their everyday stress through her stories, and if there are occasional uncontrollable fits of laughter, that’s just a big bonus. Please visit her on the web at lynsaysands.net.
- London, Ontario
- Place of Birth:
- Leamington, Ontario
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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When I read this one I didn't get any sleep. I laughed myself silly.
This was her best book and ive read a lot of them. I laught so hard. Silly idea but it works. The hero is just as loveable as the heroine. A book i will probably read again.
Lynsay did it again with this hysterial, historical book. If you are looking for romance, mystery and fun, you can't go wrong.
I wanted to read something light and with humor. The Pirate Lady by Lynsay Sands fit the bill. The plot was outlandish and quite fun. Valoree Ainsley has been raised by her brother, Jeremy, on his privateer ship. Jeremy was a privateer so he could get enough money to repair their family estate that their guardian had destroyed. (It was odd that Valoree says they liked their guardian and the guardian had cared for them, but the guardian did everything in his power to take everything of value and strip the land because it was his right as their guardian.). When Jeremy was killed by a Spanish pirate, Valoree took over his mission. Unfortunately, when he was killed, he had taken a small crew to meet with he King's agent to give him the King's share. The other members didn't know who the agent was, so each time they captured a pirate ship, they put the King's portion aside. Valoree, seen covered in her brothers blood was taken by one of the pirates in the ship they just captured as a ghost and was called Back From The Dead Red. Fast-forward several years. Now, Valoree has the money to repair her estate and is going to meet with her brother's lawyer. Lord Daniel Thurborne is already in the lawyers office when Valoree gets there for her appointment. (The scene prior when Valoree and her crew go to the dressmaker is hilarious! It introduces us to "Aunt" Meg that everyone assumes is a drunken former prostitute, but has a much bigger back story.) At the lawyers office Valoree discovers she has something in common with the annoying Lord Daniel. She must be married and pregnant or have had a baby by age twenty five. AND, her husband must be of noble birth. As Valoree tells the lawyer, that is in less than nine months! The remainder of the book is the adventures and mishaps of the courtship of Valoree and Daniel. It was a comedy of errors and had me laughing throughout the book. I loved Valoree's loyal pirate crew.
Unlike her usual heroinrs, this one was hateful. I like the author's humorous stories, but this one made the heroine seem cheap by making out with one man and insisting on marrying another, even tho she knew better.