To Save a Fallen Angel (The Fallen Angels series Book 2), page 1
To Save a Fallen Angel
The Fallen Angel Series, Book 2
Other Books by Julianna Hughes
Also by Julianna Hughes
About the Author
Copyright © 2019 by Julia Christine Oliver w/a Julianna Hughes
Story editing by Sue Brown-Moore, DaViniKittie.com
and Casey Harris-Parks of Hearts Full of Ink.
Copy Editing by Barbara of The Killion Group Inc.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Cover Design & Interior Formatting by
The Killion Group, Inc.
In loving memory of Margaret (Peggy) Hansen.
* * *
At a time in my life when I needed it most, you were the mother of my heart (la mère de mon cœur). Although I was not of your blood, you freely gave me your love, support, and encouragement to go for my dreams. I will forever be grateful for your love.
* * *
When I sat down to write this story, literally the first romance I remember making up as a child, I could think of no one better to name my heroine after, as you were the hero in my life.
My thanks to Christine and Barbra for the help with the French in this book. And thanks to all my Editors, Sue, Casey, Barb, and Marlene who worked on this book. You helped turn the love story I have carried in my heart for most of my life into one that I can share with the world.
“Why, little girl? He is not a man you should want to marry,” asked Edward Hennessey, third Earl of Kiterman.
“Because I am in love with him,” his niece, Peggy Hennessey said. Or she had been in love with him. And she still might be once she got over what felt like a betrayal by Monsieur Gustav Demont.
Another reason she was marrying Gustav was that she wanted a home and family of her own, and he had been the only man brave - or foolish - enough to ask her. Or more to the point, since she had come of age to marry, he had been the only man brave enough to try and court her with two of the most notorious Barbary pirates as her guardians and surrogate parents.
“Uncle,” Peggy began but was cut off by her uncle’s thunderous glare.
She glared back but relented. “Eddie,” she said sweetly, using the name he preferred. “I love him.”
Peggy continued in her sweet voice, that fooled no one, “Or would you prefer I call you Captain Peri, as we are still on board the Coral Sea?”
“You should let me slice him up into little-bitty pieces, and then feed him to zee fish.”
Peggy whirled and glared at her other guardian and surrogate parent, Jocquelin Malveaux, the Coral Sea’s first mate, and her uncle’s lifelong friend.
“Papa, you will do no such thing. I chose Gustav.” And there was no going back on that decision, no matter what he had revealed to her after she had given herself to him. “He wants to marry me, and he wants to start his own shipping company.”
“With our ships,” Eddie yelled from behind her.
Peggy cringed and then turned to face him. “Eddie. . .”
“Don’t you Eddie me, Margaret Renée Hennessey. The only reason that man wants to marry you is so he can get his hands on my ships, and you know it.”
She did know it. Or least she knew it now. Gustav had bragged about how the two of them would build the largest shipping company in the world. And even though he hadn’t said as much, Peggy knew he planned to build that company from her inheritance and the four ships she would inherit when her uncle Edward died.
Of course, he hadn’t told her about his grand plans before she had agreed to be his wife, or before he had deflowered her. And the truth was, she still didn’t know how she felt about him after he had laid out his plans for their future.
For ten years she had followed her two guardians as they played at gentlemen pirates. Or privateers, as they mostly did their marauding for King and Country. Although it was questionable as to whose king and whose country they were in the service of most of the time. Nonetheless, she had been raised as an able-bodied seaman on board the Coral Sea, one of the four ships her Uncle Edward Hennessey owned and operated. But only the Coral Sea was a pirate’s ship. The other three were legitimate merchant ships that just happened to smuggle the occasional cargo between France and England. Ships she was destined to inherit someday, just not for a long time she hoped.
“You liked him until you learned he had no intentions of staying on the Coral Sea or becoming a pirate,” she reminded Eddie. “Gustav is not a sailor, he is a businessman. And yes, he wants to build a shipping company of his own. But his plans do not include any of your ships,” she refuted, even knowing that what her two surrogate papas were saying was probably true.
Eddie glared back. It was obvious he wasn’t buying her lies. But he had always been the one that had had trouble telling when she was lying to them.
“Where is he?” Eddie demanded.
“On the quarterdeck,” Joc said.
“Eddie, no,” Peggy snapped, and then flung her arms out to block his exit from the captain’s cabin.
“I’m not going to kill him, Margaret. I am just going to talk to him,” Eddie said.
She gazed into his cerulean blue eyes, so like her own. At five foot eight, the two of them were on an equal height with one another. In fact, they looked so much alike, with their fair skin and honey blond hair, most people thought they were father and daughter. And neither of them had ever been able to lie to the other one. Finally, she nodded and lowered her arms. He went to walk past her, but she caught his arm and stopped him.
“I don’t want you hurting him either, Eddie. Not one hair on his head is to be touched, or I will never forgive you. Do you hear me?”
“I’m not going to touch him, little girl. I’m just going to have a long talk with your intended is all,” he said, then patted her hand where it lay on his arm.
After he walked out, Peggy turned to Joc, who said, “Eddie wouldn’t hurt your homme, petite fille. If we wanted him dead, Gustav would already be food for zee fish.”
Peggy tilted her head way back to meet the cold brown eyes of Joc. Unlike her and Eddie, her French papa as she called him, was a h
“Then why does he hate him so?” Peggy asked.
Joc hesitated then looked away. “Eddie did not hate yer Gustav. Not until he learn somethin’ of this mon.”
“Quel?” Peggy demanded. “What has Eddie learned about Gustav that has changed his mind about him? That he doesn’t want to be a sailor? Is that so bad?”
Your father is in port.”
“Oui. Yes, he eez here on business with zee English,” Joc replied.
Marcus Hennessey was an ambassador for the English government. And according to Eddie, a pompous know-it-all. He was also the man who had abandoned her as an infant with no explanation to anyone, just packed her off to live with her Uncle Edward the day after Peggy’s mother had died from complications after giving birth. And he’d had very little to do with her in the one and twenty years of her life.
“And what does my father being in Tripoli have to do with my fiancé?” she demanded.
Joc took a breath. “He told Eddie that Gustav eez working with a Frenchmon. A man by zee name of Guerrant.”
“So,” Peggy said, becoming frustrated.
“I know of this . . . Guerrant. He was part of zee Committee of Public Safety during la terreur.”
A cold chill raced up her back. She had heard stories of the Reign of Terror in France. But Joc’s family had lived it. And many of them had died during it.
“That doesn’t mean. . .” she started but stopped. If Gustav was working with a man like that, then there was every reason in the world for her parents to be concerned.
Spinning around, Peggy rushed out the cabin and toward the companionway leading to the quarterdeck. She could hear the raised voices of Eddie and Gustav even before she reached the stairs.
Her temper exploded, and she took the stairs two at a time with Joc close on her heels. She raced across the deck to the railing and spotted Eddie and Gustav by the port railing, arguing with each other. She took a step toward the ladder to the main deck when a shot rang out.
In horror, she saw Eddie jerk to the side and fall over the railing and into the sea. Peggy heard a splash even as she screamed and bolted for the stairs. But before she could reach them a second shot rang out, and she saw Gustav stagger then collapse on the deck. And then a third shot echoed from the direction of the wharf, and something whizzed past her head. By the time she turned around, she saw Joc staggering backward, a bright red splotch blossoming on his chest.
Peggy’s foot slipped and she tumbled down the stairs, landing hard on the deck. Bright lights flashed in her eyes, and then darkness enveloped her.
“It was your father,” Joc insisted from his bunk on the Coral Sea.
Peggy had never loved her father. Hell, she barely knew Marcus Hennessey. But the idea that he had killed his own brother and her fiancé was crazy.
“Why would he kill Eddie and Gustav and try to murder you?” she demanded.
Joc hesitated. “I overheard them arguing zee morning we made port.”
Peggy raised her eyebrow. “They were always arguing whenever my father graced us with his presence, Papa.”
Joc sat up and turned toward her. He had been lucky; the shot that struck him had hit his shoulder, and had not been serious. “This was different, petite fille. Marcus told Eddie to end his pirating. That Sir Walter with zee Home Office was ending the privateer’s charter. And that if Eddie did not agree, then Sir Walter would put a stop to it for him.”
Peggy’s body began to shake, and a coldness crept over her. “That does not mean that my father killed Eddie.”
Joc laid his hand on her shoulder. “A witness from another ship saw a man fitting your father’s description firing a rifle at zee Coral Sea when Eddie and I were shot. And then two of our own crew, they see ton père runnin’ away from zee dock with a rifle in his hands.”
Peggy gazed into his eyes as a red haze descended over her. “And Gustav,” she added absentmindedly. It had taken more than a day for her to even remember that her fiancé had also been killed. And about a minute to realize she was more relieved than grieved at his murder. But it helped to heap his death on top of the murder of her beloved uncle.
“I want to talk to this witness,” she said.
“He eez being held in zee hold,” Joc replied. He took a breath then asked, “And then?”
“If we find proof that my father had Eddie murdered and tried to murder you, then I will find him and this Sir Walter, and make them pay for their crimes,” she vowed.
4 June, 1814. 2:43 A.M.
“Do you have zee files?” Joc hissed at Peggy as she slipped silently out of the offices on Whitehall.
“What are you doing here?” Peggy demanded as she quickly looked around to make sure no one could hear or see them. She had taken great pains to sneak into the offices of the English Home Office in the middle of the night. And she had purposely not told her over-protective papa. Something that had become increasingly worse and exasperating since Eddie’s murder.
“My job,” he replied, then repeated. “Did you find zee files on Guerrant and zee man this Sir Walter wants to impersonate Eddie?”
Peggy heard the catch in his voice but ignored it. “You mean the man he wants to pretend to be Captain Peri? And yes, I found them. The man’s file was too large to read tonight,” she pulled out a bulky folder from beneath her coat, “so I took it and will return it tomorrow.”
“No,” he snapped. “Since Eddie’s murder and your father’s abduction, you take to many chances. We will not be able to ransom your father back if you are caught. You will not break back into Sir Walter’s offices tomorrow. Either I will return zee file or one of zee men will. You will not endanger your life, or our mission again.”
“It is my job,” she snapped back. Peggy took another quick look around to make sure they weren’t being watched and then grabbed his arm and began walking down the street as quickly as she could while dragging a stubborn huge Frenchmen in her wake.
“You are the captain of zee Coral Sea now,” he shot back. “And as le capitaine, you order men to do these things. That eez your job. You do not do them yourself.”
Peggy stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and turned to glare up at him. “And who,” she snarled, “is responsible for that? I told you I did not want to be the captain. But would you listen to me? No! You coerced, badgered, and strong-armed the crew into electing me as the new captain of the Coral Sea.”
“You are zee owner of the Coral Sea, Peggy. The position as her captain eez rightfully yours.”
“No! It is not. I am now the owner of the Coral Sea, the Phoenix, the Catherine, and the Margaret. I do not have to be the captain of any of them.” She fixed him with a hard stare. “As her first mate, the legend and title of Captain Peri should have passed to you, as well as the position of captain of the Coral Sea, and not me.”
“I do not want to be her capitaine. I told you, the only reason I became a sailor was because it was what Eddie wanted to do. It was his dream, not mine, to be a privateer. I have no desire to be a sailor now that Eddie eez gone.”
Peggy could see the pain in his eyes and relented a little. She knew he was still hurting over the loss of Eddie. But she had never wanted to be the captain of the Coral Sea either. But in order to see their mission through, one of them had to take the job.
She laid her hand on his arm. “Neither do I, Papa, but you and the crew made me her master. So let me do my job. I know what I am doing. This is not the first time I have broken into a government building t
He shifted positions and looked around at the still empty street. “No matter how good you are, little one, you can be caught. And if you had been discovered inside zee offices of Sir Walter Fletcher, it would have ruined all of our plans.”
“I wasn’t caught, Papa,” she said, then tugged him around and they began walking down the street. Disguised as she was, they were just two well-dressed gentlemen returning home after a night of carousing. “And it was a fruitful night.”
“Then you got zee files you were after?” he asked.
“Yes,” she replied. “This Captain Lucien Stoughton is an exceptional and unique man. He is the second born son of an English peer, a duke. But he was raised in the Scottish Highlands by his mother’s family after his father was murdered. Three years ago he joined the army, first as a cavalry officer, then he was made a captain as one of the Scottish grenadier assigned to a Foot unit. A unit that won a number of honors during the fighting.”
Joc scoffed, “What eez so unique or exceptional about that? Many of these English served in zee army during zee war.”
“I agree, that is not so unique,” she said, and silently added that it wasn’t unique but it was heroic. Something she could admire in the man. “The unusual thing about this Captain Stoughton is that he occasionally worked as a spy for Sir Walter. With consistent and predictable results.”
Joc stopped and turned to her. “That eez not good, little one. We do not want this homme looking too closely at what we are doing.”
“No, we do not,” Peggy agreed. “But he is the man Sir Walter has assigned to play the part of Captain Peri.”
“Why?” Joc demanded. “Does this Englishmon already suspect something? If so, we should kill this Sir Walter now and be done with it.”
“No!” Peggy snapped, then calmed herself. “We need the fifty thousand pounds ransom for my father. And by English law, I cannot simply walk into a bank and ask for the money, even if I am his only heir. It has to come through the English government, and Sir Walter can get the money for us.”
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