You were right: desperation is a dangerous state of mind. It was desperation that drove me to London to salvage my family's reputation and finances in the first place. And it is desperation—and perhaps a little desire—that has gotten me into the situation I find myself in now.
You see, I've become ensnared in the investigation of a traitor by Lord Dewhurst—the most insufferable, sinfully handsome man I've ever met. I know it is shocking, but in order to catch this spy and clear my name, I've no choice but to play the agent's bride. Now I'm desperate again to avoid his seductive words and searing looks. I pray that I can resist him, but I can make no promises. Oh, my dear friend, I know he and I are merely pretending to be wed, but the blush he can send all the way to my petticoats feels far too real!
About the Author
Shana Galen is a former public school teacher in Houston, Texas. Newly married, Shana lives with her husband and two cats. She writes almost full time, which requires daily trips to the mall because shopping is the only activity that really allows her to think. (That's her story, and she's sticking to it!)
Read an Excerpt
Pride and Petticoats
By Shana Galen
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2005 Shana Galen
All right reserved.
"It ain't proper. It just ain't proper. You acting no better than a brazen hussy," the dark-skinned woman beside Charlotte grumbled. "You hear me, Miss Charlotte?"
Charlotte stopped in front of a dilapidated gray building on Thames Street near London's Custom House. "Yes, Addy." She'd heard her maid loud and clear all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. Six weeks of Addy's huffing and harrumphing, and Charlotte was ready to use the braided cords of her reticule to strangle the woman. Looking down at the small shabby pouch she held in one gloved hand, Charlotte mused that the frayed braiding would probably snap if she so much as yanked it closed too quickly. The slim strings had no hope of holding up against Addy's solid neck. Gingerly pulling the black reticule open, Charlotte glanced a last time at the smeared address on a crumpled yellow paper, then stuffed it back inside.
"Look around you, girl. This ain't no place for a lady," Addy said.
Charlotte took a quick survey of their surroundings and didn't argue. They'd been in London all of three hours and she'd yet to escape the smell of rotting fish, unwashed bodies, and stale liquor. She and Addy had departed their ship at the London docks, trailing their scant luggage behind them as they made their way past the Tower of London and into the city.
As they'd walked, the terrain and the inhabitants had become steadily rougher. Charlotte couldn't imagine this city at night. It was dangerous in the sunlight -- or at least what passed for sunlight in England's fog-shrouded capital.
Thank George Washington that they had finally arrived. She tried not to wonder why the building before them looked more like a dockside tavern than a residence. "Well, we're here now," Charlotte said.
"We here? You ain't really going to knock on that door?" Addy asked. "Head hard as a cast-iron pot," she mumbled.
Charlotte frowned at her. "Oh, hush. You're the stubborn one. I keep telling you I'm trying to make things better."
"We can make do without no charity from Cade Pettigru. Troublesome rascal." She muttered the last.
"Addy, Cade is a good man, and he's been a good friend to our family for years. We can trust him, and we need his help." She didn't add that he was very likely their last hope.
Addy straightened to her full height, which was almost six feet. "Chicken spit. I satisfied with a roof a new shawl. Oh, and I could do with a heap of some simple home-cooked food."
Charlotte winced at the reference to the repulsive fare they'd endured on the long sea voyage. The main staple had been cabbage soup, and Charlotte, who'd never cared for cabbage, had been forced to abandon it for bread and water after one particularly noxious bowl made her violently ill. She, too, longed for the delights of home -- cornbread, sweet potatoes, fried chicken. Most especially she longed for the warmth and friendliness of Charleston. She hated these English with their harsh accents and arrogant manners.
But she would endure them. One glance at Addy reminded Charlotte of her reasons. The expensive shawl Addy had received as a gift from Charlotte's father and had always treasured was now little more than a rag, and Addy's dress was wrinkled and dusty. But worse than Addy's scuffed shoes and tattered shawl was her face. It was heavily lined with weariness, giving her cheeks the appearance of the hull of a shipwreck -- a once-proud vessel left to wither in the sun.
Charlotte turned back to the gray ramshackle building and took a deep breath. If only Addy knew how much Charlotte hated surprising Cade like this, how low and common she felt asking him for money, Addy wouldn't be so hard on her. What if Charlotte asked him to be her new business partner, and he turned her down? It would be beyond humiliating. But Charlotte could see no other way. She was responsible for Addy, and she would not allow the older woman to suffer any more than she already had.
Charlotte pinched her cheeks to heighten their color and righted her bonnet, tucking up the loose red tendrils of her hair. "We're here now, Addy, and I know you've missed Cade as much as I have."
Addy gave her a look that said she'd missed the rambunctious young man about as much as she missed changing Charlotte's diapers when she'd been a babe.
Charlotte held up a hand before Addy could expound on the subject. "This is the direction Mr. Porcher gave me." She looked up and down the street, noting the trash and offal littering the ground under the windows of the dilapidated houses. "I hope this is correct." It certainly didn't look like where she'd imagined Cade living.
Addy huffed. "We been over land, over water, in carriages, on foot, and even on those godforsaken beasts." She pointed at a horse and rider clopping toward them through the crowds of dirty people. "We's here, and if you dead set against turning around, best get it done with. The sooner you go in that there door, the sooner we can go home."
"Not much home to go back to," Charlotte murmured, and the feeling of loss pierced her gut like the sharp point of a dagger. "But if we can convince Cade to invest, everything will be like it used to."
"Your heart is too soft, Miss Charlotte. Those people ain't your friends. When you done lost all that money, they disappeared fast as a pitcher of lemon water on a hot day."
Shame and humiliation heated Charlotte's cheeks, and she looked down at her worn boots, the toes of which poked from beneath the skirt of her dress.
With a sigh, she straightened her shoulders and took a step forward, then paused as behind them the hoofbeats from the approaching horse slowed. Charlotte and Addy glanced 'round as the rider . . .
Excerpted from Pride and Petticoats by Shana Galen Copyright © 2005 by Shana Galen. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
All the right elements in a romance. This particular book had more humor than the others and was pulled off without effort. Great series! I recommend all three.
I enjoyed this book very much. But what I really loved about it was that it belonged sandwich between to other books w the same characters which made this book a very intriguing piece to an amazing series. The books r considered stand alones but these three books contain the same characters n share a timeline. The first is "when dashing met danger" then this book "pride in petticoats" n finally "lord n lady spy". Again these books accumulative kept me up reading to well into the early morning laughing. I give pride n petticoats 4 out of 5 stars. Big cheers for author shana Galen. Now only if her publishing company can market these stand alones right it would go much further. On a hush hush note I laughed so hard that it actually interested my husband enough that he too read them n liked it more then he would have liked to. Now that says something don't it, but shhh I promised to never tell.
Freddie Dewhurst is a dandy, with a capital D-A-N-D-Y. Attire, attitude, and appearance are everything. Appearances, however, can be deceiving, and behind Freddie¿s puffed-up façade is a loyal British spy. Who, then, could be a worse match for him than an uncouth, uncultured, unfashionable American? Charlotte Burton has no love for the British. More like raging hatred. They are, after all, responsible for the deaths of her father and brother. It is only under the most desperate of circumstances that she ventures to London to make one last effort to restore her finances. On the day of her arrival she gets caught in the middle of a spy-hunt. Her family friend--the sought after spy--escapes, promising to return for her but leaving her in the custody of two British spies. Namely Freddie and his cousin. Freddie¿s mission is to capture the escaped spy before the traitor can sell vital British codes to the French. Charlotte¿s is to protect her friend--and herself--from yet another British-inflicted fate. Freddie¿s superior at the Foreign Office comes up with a plan to draw the spy out: Freddie and Charlotte will pretend to be married and madly in love. Though neither likes the idea, they finally agree that this is the only way for both to get what they want. Freddie will get the spy that holds British lives in his grasp. Charlotte will get one thousand pounds for her troubles and the assurance that Freddie will give her friend a fair chance at proving his innocence. The sham marriage soon turns steamy as Freddie¿s kisses make Charlotte forget why she hates the British and Charlotte¿s fire and vitality make Freddie long to break rules he¿d always held so sacred. Despite meddling mothers, battles of wit, and years of pride and prejudice Freddie and Charlotte draw closer and closer as the charade continues. And when it comes down to it, each will have to make the choice between love and country. A sensual and seductive tale, Pride and Petticoats weaves together intrigue, passion, and a nobly flawed hero and heroine that come to life and beg to be read with the same investment of emotion that both characters must make in the end. If you are looking for a masterpiece of historical romance lyrically told and fiery enough to singe your fingers, then look no further than Pride and Petticoats.
In 1813, American Charlotte Burton arrives in London to see hometown friend Cade Pettigru and to save her family firm Burton Shipping which is in near ruin due to her father¿s gambling and womanizing and now the death of her sire and her brother caught smuggling. Several men burst into Cade¿s room he kills one before fleeing. Cousins Sir Sebastian Middleton and Lord Alfred ¿Freddie¿ Dewhurst take Charlotte prisoner until they can figure out where she fits in this espionage case. Freddie, who is immediately attracted to the Yank, insists that Cade stole coded messages that he plans to sell to the French if he obtains the code definitions. His Foreign Office boss Lord Edwards directs Freddie to pretend he married the colonist so they can use her as bait to catch Cade. Freddie says no one would believe a dandy like him would marry an uncouth Yank, but agrees to try it. Charlotte agrees when he offers her money and the chance to prove Cade is innocent. --- They make the perfect couple. She scorns his heritage and he knocks American freedom limited to white males. At breakfast Freddie tells Charlotte he is her master so she dumps coffee on his lap. As his mom screams annulment, the combatants fall in love, but Cade remains a thorny issue between them. --- The sequel to when DASHING MET DANGER is a superb Regency romance due to the strong lead couple and interesting multifaceted perspectives on the War of 1812. The story line is at its best whenever the prime duo tears down the other¿s most sacred institutions with simple logic. Though the anticipated confrontation with Cade is anti-climatic, fans will enjoy the boudoir War of 1812. --- Harriet Klausner