Constance Danbury is fleeing an arranged marriage to lecherous Lord Burton, a man who has blackmailed her father and is nearly twice her age. Her escape takes her aboard a merchantman bound for Spain, where she hopes an aunt will help her procure funds to save her father’s dwindling reputation. But fate intervenes. Constance is captured by a pirate with a wit and stubbornness to match her own, and a secret he’ll do anything to keep.
Nobleman Percival Avery is a member of Nelson’s Tea, an elite group whose members are first sons from every tier in society. Undercover, he disguises himself as a pirate to infiltrate the gang of cutthroats responsible for his sister’s death. But when his vessel attacks a merchantman with valuable cargo, Percy is forced to choose between vengeance and saving the life of his commander’s niece, Constance Danbury. Mutiny is sure to obliterate his well-laid plans. It also aligns him with the one woman sure to see through his disguise. Forced to play the fop by day to outwit his enemies, he masquerades as a rogue by night in order to avenge his sister’s death – and to win his true love’s heart.
I am thrilled to welcome Katherine Bone the author of A Duke By Day, Rogue by Night to my blog. For fun I decided to interview her hero Percival Avery, Marques Stanton to gain a little insight into his life undercover.
Interview with Percival Avery, Marques Stanton
I was wondering if you had a pirate name?
(A deep guttural laugh transcends the night air.) “Aye, love. I go by the name Sexton— Thomas Sexton. Sexton delights the tongue, does it not?"
"Percy!” Constance gazes heavenward.
“Relax, my gel. We are in no danger in enjoying our first interview.”
If it’s all right to continue, do you have any pirate mannerisms that you use when in disguise?
“Good question! One, I must say keeps me from dropping the ball, shall we say? First, it’s important to understand there are many ways to trick the enemy. One of the primary reasons Nelson’s Tea is comprised of men from every walk of life is that collective knowledge helps us blend. Operating in plain sight is one of Nelson’s finest achievements and, I might add, it does not hurt to have a former opera house costumer among us. Ollie, one of my most trusted men, is quite adept at theatrical cosmetics. When I portray Thomas, my hair is unkempt, an eye patch, a red bandanna wrapped around my head just so and a few month’s worth of facial hair sufficiently masks my features. But there is more at stake than a visual image, you see. There must be a swagger, a confidence that bores no vulnerability. Without that paramount addition no one can or will stay alive in a pirate’s den.”
If that’s true, what are you forced to do to escape suspicion when you appear among the ton?
“As Percival Avery, Marques Stanton, 7th Duke of Blendingham, there is greater risk and one more central to a duke’s existence, the continuation of the family line. Surviving involves being powdered, clean shaven, composed, indifferent and aloof, not so easy a task when someone you care about is threatened. No one can possibly suspect that Percy, the popinjay and seducer of fools, with immaculately tied cravat and impeccable taste could pose a threat to anyone. Therefore the focus becomes a game of wit and verve, a pirate’s complete opposite tactic in every way.”
By chance does a pirate ship have a parrot or a monkey on-board to boost morale?
(Percy does a lot of grumbling. )“The English Channel isn't the Caribbean, love."
Favorite lady pirate?
(And the lopsided roguish grin I've heard so much about appears.) “Are you trying to undermine everything I’m trying to salvage with Danbury’s niece? Of course, my favorite lady pirate would have to be my favorite lady— Lady Constance Danbury. To name anyone else would surely cost me more than my neck.”
“And your pride,” Constance adds.
Favorite pirate movie?
“Movie? Is this one of Nelson’s newest wartime contraptions? If so, I haven’t been briefed by Simon yet.”
Have I missed something? Who’s Simon?
“Only the bravest man to serve Nelson and England, my commander and Constance’s uncle. He can drink a man under the table. I remember—”
Do you drink it, or just use it for medicinal purposes.
“Actually, I prefer brandy but drinking rum helps me blend. Thankfully, Captain Frink has a wonderful supply of brandy aboard the Striker and I've been able to drink it without ruining my cover.” He winks at Constance. “Brandy has also helped me tame Constance on occasion.”
Do you have a pirate expression that you use every day?
“I enjoy taunting Constance by calling her ‘my pet’. But my true calling card is “Odd’s fish,” a Percival Avery concoction that sets every heart aflutter, especially in the ballroom, if I do say so myself. And I do.”
Which leads me to my next question. Do you have any little known pirate trivia you would like to share?
“Pirates. I rue the day I ever set eyes on them. Being undercover as a navigator in Frink’s crew is not for the faint of heart. I've spent nearly a year trying to work my way into his trust only to have my commander’s niece ruin everything I've strived to achieve.” He nods at Constance. “Your pardon, my gel.” She smiles and he turns back. “If my suspicions are correct and Frink is in league with Zephaniah Job in Talland Bay, a man who’s been pilfering the Cornish Coast since 1770, discovering the benefactor of my sister Celeste’s killers will be much harder than I ever imagined.”
If you found Celeste’s killers, what then? What would be your weapon of choice?
“There is no finer weapon than a cutlass or sword. As Thomas Sexton I show average skill with the blade, but as Percival Avery I’m known all over London as a deadly mark.”
|Katherine Bone and friend|
Since it’s Halloween, what would a pirate wear for a costume?
“I do not know about this Halloween. Is it like a masquerade ball? If so, I do know my beloved creator, Katherine Bone, adores wearing a red ensemble she hopes will pass her off as a pirate wench. Do be a dear and go along with her, won’t you? "
Katherine Bone is addicted to history and romance. Raised an Army brat, she had the great fortune to marry an officer and travel the world. After raising four children and putting down roots in the south, the muse came calling with abandon, complete with swashbuckling adventure, mayhem, and Alpha males too impressive to ignore
You can find Katherine Bone at:
Just leave a question for Katherine Bone or Percival. Or you can share your favorite Halloween costume. Have you ever dressed up like a pirate?