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Miss Minerva's Pirate Mishap

Miss Minerva's Pirate Mishap

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 Is this pirate a villain...or the hero she's been waiting for?

Miss Minerva leads a perfectly predictable life in her quiet, seaside town. Or she did...until she came upon a pirate while exploring in a cave. 

The brute takes her captive, but lets her go when he realizes she's a gently bred lady. But when Minerva goes to warn her father that there's thieves on their shores, she finds the very same pirate. In her home. Wearing a suit. 

"Ah, there she is." His smile is wicked. "Just the lady I was hoping to see."

She might not know what the rogue is after, but one thing is clear. If she's not careful, the charming, mysterious thief may wind up stealing her heart.

Miss Minerva's Pirate Mishap is a clean, sweet regency romance and the start of a five-book series of standalone novels.

Main Tropes

  • Pirate Bad Boy & Good Girl Heroine
  • Mistaken Identity
  • Family Secrets


A clean regency romance filled with pirates and intrigue...

The eldest daughter of a retired sea captain, Miss Minerva leads a perfectly predictable life in their quaint seaside village.

But all that changes when she stumbles upon a pirate on their peaceful shores, and this rogue means to include her in his plans. Why?

It turns out this pirate knows more about her family than Minerva does, and they'll have to work together if she wishes to uncover the truth.

Joining forces with a pirate was never part of Minerva's well-laid plans. And falling for one?

That was definitely not on the agenda.

Intro Into Chapter 1

Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.

The words from Sunday’s sermon echoed in Minerva’s mind as she glanced up at the clock above the mantel, watching the minute hand tick by at a torturously slow pace. 

While a devil’s workshop sounded quite ominous indeed, it seemed to Minerva that her father held an even more extreme opinion on the matter. Captain Andrew Jones expected his household to operate with the same efficiency as his beloved Royal Naval Academy. 

Just as every minute was accounted for, every person in the Jones household had a duty and a purpose. As the eldest of five daughters, Minerva was in charge of ensuring that this was the case. Your sisters are under your command, Minerva. They are your militia, and their actions are a direct reflection on your leadership.

She’d heard that speech so many times, she could recite it by rote. 

Minerva narrowed her eyes to better study the clock. Perhaps it was broken, for surely it was running too slowly. Perhaps she’d take it into town later today and have old Mr. Jeffries take a look.

The minute hand eventually, finally moved again and the old clock softly chimed the hour. She reached for the bell beside her, giving it a loud ring so that even her youngest sister Hattie could hear it from the music room.

Minerva glanced in that direction with a sigh of exasperation. Considering she had not heard a single note coming from the pianoforte, she assumed Hattie was once again neglecting her studies in lieu of a novel.

She turned to her other three sisters. Sally was closing the latest medical journal she’d been working her way through, while Rebecca’s brow was furrowed as she jotted down notes from the philosophy tome Father had selected for her. 

Abigail, the sister closest in age to Minerva, was neatly putting away her darning, no doubt just as eager as Minerva to escape the stuffy confines of the house for their allotted time for outdoor exercise.

Their father took pride in his girls’ intellectual prowess, but, to his way of thinking, an active mind was useless without a hale and hearty physique.

Minerva glanced toward the hallway leading to the music room. Still no sign of Hattie. “Abigail, be a dear and tear Hattie away from her book, won’t you?”

Abigail’s answering smile was sweet. In fact, everything about Abigail was sweet, smiles included. With her fair hair and her pretty features, Abigail was the sister most often described as ‘angelic’ by the townsfolk. 

“I’ll try my best,” Abigail said as she headed for the other room.

“Good luck,” Sally called after her with a laugh, reaching for her shawl.

Minerva had already donned her wrap, too impatient by far for her favorite time of the day—the brief window when she and her sisters were free to do as they pleased, just so long as they were in motion. 

Rebecca lifted her head from her notes. “Where are you in such a rush to be off to, Min?”

Before Minerva could reply, Sally said, “Off to see Lieutenant Wessex, no doubt.”

Sally gave a teasing wink that Minerva ignored.

Rebecca brightened. “Are you? Will you surprise him with a visit to the fort during your walk?” She clapped her hands together. “Oh, how romantic.”

Minerva ignored that as well. Her sisters had taken to teasing her endlessly ever since Lieutenant Wessex had shown an interest in spending time with her. As a new ranking officer at the fort—and a young, handsome one at that—his arrival had caused a stir.

Even now, nearly a year after he’d arrived, her sisters were uncommonly distracted by any mention of him. And when he’d expressed a particular interest in Minerva, well, that stir would not abate no matter how often Minerva reminded them that this was not some passionate romance like something from one of Hattie’s novels, but merely a pleasant friendship.

By the way Rebecca and Hattie went on about it, one would think he was courting her sisters and not her.

Not that he was courting her. Not officially. 

Not yet.

But it was understood that he would, and when he did, Minerva had no doubt that their friendship would develop into an even stronger partnership. He was exactly the sort of match Minerva had always expected for herself. A good man, with strong moral values and a good future ahead of him in the navy.

“Tell Wessex we say hello,” Sally sang out as Minerva reached the front door. 

Minerva rolled her eyes but kept silent. She didn’t wish to ruin their fun by explaining that she’d had no intention of interrupting Roger while he was performing his duties. Rebecca was the romantic one, not she. And Minerva wasn’t even certain how taking a walk to the fort just to smile and remark on the weather could be considered romantic, anyhow. It seemed to her to be more inconsiderate than anything.

In fact, she’d tried it once. It had not gone over well. She’d felt like a silly fool for taking up his time, and he’d politely requested that they resume the conversation regarding the weather during one of his scheduled social calls.

So no, Roger wouldn’t wish to be distracted. He was a focused young man, determined and hard-working. Her father praised him often for his ambition and work ethic, and rightly so. It was this steadfastness of character that led her to believe he would indeed be an ideal match. So very well suited in that regard. Everyone thought so.

Minerva was out the door before Rebecca could hazard any more guess about where Minerva was heading. She didn’t wish to waste a moment of her precious free time. 

It was not as though Minerva was so very energetic that she could not sit still, as was the case with Sally. Nor did she have a small army of little ruffians waiting on her to come teach them lessons like Abigail. 

She gave a little wave to the handful of children who were kicking their feet in the dirt as they waited for their unofficial, self-appointed teacher. “Abigail will be out in a moment, children,” she called as she passed.

Minerva merely craved fresh air and moments alone when her mind could wander. These little snippets of carefree peace, when she did not have to worry about her sisters or try and keep them in line... This was her favorite time of day. 

For a little while, at least, she could enjoy the peaceful serenity that was their tiny town of Billingham, a coastal hamlet with an ancient old fort set so far out on the cliffs that it looked as though it might topple over into the sea when viewed from a certain angle. The fort, and the docks nearby, had been claimed by the navy—a stone frigate, they called it. Her father, once so powerful after rising in the ranks to become an esteemed captain led the small group of officers who came here to train and to keep the shoreline safe. Which, as her father liked to point out, was still a very important task even if the war with France had ended some years past.

Her father would wag his finger if any of his daughters or the men under his command dared to mention that their little corner of England was, for all intents and purposes, quite safe.

When you feel safe, her father would say with that finger brandished and his white mustache quivering. When you feel most safe and content, when you begin to let your guard down... That is when you are most at risk.

And so her father took his position here at the old fort quite seriously, even though his old friends from his seafaring days continued to taunt him for having all but retired when he’d been a feared and admired commanding officer. Some even believed he could have risen to the rank of admiral if he had not left his life at sea behind to take care of his daughters after their mother had gone.

Minerva strode across the lush, green grass that led from their home to the cliffs that lined the shore. The morning mist was beginning to lift, and the sound of crashing waves soothed that unsettled sensation she always felt after being cooped up inside for too long. The feeling she’d never been able to name, but that her father seemed to fear. 

So much like your mother, he’d say whenever she mentioned that restlessness or unwittingly let it show.

She rather despised the comparison, and so she’d learned how to keep the feeling at bay, or how to hide it, at the very least. 

Her mother was, as their father put adventuress. The daughter of an Italian seaman, she’d been raised on a sailboat, and had always lived for life on the sea. 

Why she’d married their father, who’d been much older and of such a different temperament, was anyone’s guess. How she’d managed to stick around long enough to bear five girls was another mystery altogether. 

Their father did not speak of her much, and only Minerva and Abigail were old enough to have many lasting memories of her before she’d left them. As far as the rest of the world knew, their mother was dead. Lost at sea during her last grand adventure.

Minerva knew better. 

She knew very well that her mother was alive and well and living a life of adventure. She’d made her choice. And she’d left Minerva to bear the brunt of her absence, stepping into the role of mother to four younger sisters when she was little more than a child herself.

Selfish. Her mother had been utterly selfish in choosing danger and divertissement over her own children. 

The mere thought brought a wave of heavy bitterness, but Minerva let it go with the tide, breathing in and letting out the familiar angst with a sigh. Their mother’s death had been declared nearly ten years ago, and shortly after that their father left his position to bring his girls here, to the old fort with its worn and ramshackle dock below and the quaint, yet boring, town that lined the shore.

Minerva stopped short just as she reached the cliff’s edge, closing her eyes for one long blissful moment to take in the sea air. Five years now she had been running her father’s household and ensuring that her militia studied and did their chores, and all around stayed busy and useful. 

Each sister had such a distinct personality that they seemed to have sorted themselves into different roles within the family of their own accord.

Abigail had become the more maternal figure. The one the other girls ran to when they were sick or injured, or just needed to talk. Sally was the closest thing to the boy their father had always wanted, with her love of all things science, as well as her desire to forever be running or riding or swimming or... Well, anything but dancing, really.

Rebecca was the most outgoing Jones sister, while Hattie was her opposite in every way, far preferring the fictional world than their own real one. Minerva glanced back toward the house. Even now, she suspected Hattie had walked only as far as the stables, where she would disappear for the remainder of the hour with her nose in her book.

Minerva sighed. She should likely go and fetch her. Remind her that this was their time for exercise, not for reading. 

She turned back to the sea. She didn’t have the heart for it today. Let the girl have her fun, and she would do the same.

With a grin she rarely let her father see, she made her way to the little path that had been worn into the side of the cliff and found her way down to the beach with careful steps, threading back and forth across the steep incline until she reached the sandy shore.

Once there, the wind seemed to beckon to her. Saying hello, she fancied. 

Welcome back, it seemed to say.

She wrapped her cloak tighter around her shoulders and pulled up the hood, lest her hair get whipped into a wild crown of stray curls about her head. With careful steps, she made her way through the rocks and shells that littered the shore to her favorite haunts, the deep caves that dotted the cliffside. 

She headed toward her favorite cave out of habit. In her more fanciful moments, she thought of the hollowed-out space as her own personal drawing room. One that rarely included her four sisters, a maid, or her father.

She smiled at the idea of decorating the space. What would Sally say if the next time she swam along the shore, she came upon this cave and found it fitted with drapes and a settee?

The thought made her laugh, but the sound was carried away by the brisk ocean breeze. Somewhere in the distance, she heard the sound of men’s shouts from the fort that hovered above. The naval officers going through their afternoon routines, no doubt. 

The sound blended with the crashing of the waves, the wind that made her hood flutter, and the sound of crunching beneath her feet. 

All combined, it was the symphony of her life. She smiled at the thought. Well, add in the cacophony of her sisters bickering and laughing, perhaps her father’s snore when he inevitably fell asleep as Hattie read aloud in the evening... 

The sounds of her life were as predictable as the crashing of the waves. But it was a good life, no doubt. One where everyone, including her, had their place and their responsibilities. 

Minerva’s sigh was slightly sappy, a little bit sad, and utterly bittersweet as she reached the edge of her cave. She leaned down to observe a Pagurus bernhardus—better known as a common hermit crab. Minerva still found them fascinating even if they were common. Unlike others of the crab species, the Pagurus bernhardus did not have a hard shell of its own and had to use the shells of others to survived. A clever adaptation, if a bit sad. 

She straightened with a little laugh as it waved its claws as if in greeting. Then she made a mental note to ask Rebecca about her progress in biology. Her father would no doubt wish to quiz her soon and it would not do if she were unprepared.

Their father’s untraditional take on teaching his daughters everything he’d been taught, and what he expected his men to know—from geology to mathematics, from Latin to philosophy, from knot-tying to marine biology—this was why the townsfolk of Billingham had taken to calling the captain’s daughters his bluestocking battalion.

She suspected it was true that when he had led them into town—in formation back when they were younger and he was afraid they might get trampled by passing carts and carriages—they likely had looked like a small female regiment of some kind.

Her sappy little smile froze in place when a new sound cut through the usual background noise. She froze, her lips pursing and her brows drawing down in consternation as she listened intently.

There it was again. 

A scraping. Then a clunking. Then a sort of...dragging sound coming from the cave’s mouth.

Someone was in there. 

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