Collette Cameron here. I had quite an adventure writing my latest hero, Dominic St. Monté from TO TAME A SCOUNDREL’S HEART.
He’s a privateer-turned-duke, and I needed him to be a bit uncouth in manner and speech. I’ve written many loft lords as heroes, but never a scoundrel of the sea. He’s not too naughty however.
Though privateers possessed a letter of marque and reprisal which granted them permission to raid ships of other nations, if caught by the enemy, they were often tried as pirates. Privateering, a more patriotic profession, was significantly more honorable than pirating. Still, The Saint, as Captain St. Monté is called, needed a few mildly crude expressions.
My good friend Katherine Bone steered me toward “The Pirate Primer” and oh, what a grand time I had scouring the four hundred plus pages! I really must write a few more pirates stories! Sadly, many of the terms are not Regency Era accurate, but they are colorful and chuckle-worthy nonetheless.
Since as I write this, I have my canine writing assistant, Ayva, sitting on my lap and recovering from pretty drastic surgery on her little face, I hope you’ll excuse the brevity of this post. Here are a few of the humorous terms I found in the primer.
“You have the head of a chicken, the heart of a yellow dog, and the bowels of a worm.”
“You crow like a small bantam cock on his own dunghill.”
“Damn my lights and gizzard.”
“Keep your tongue behind your teeth.”
“Let us forthwith toss a pot, twirl a can, and drain a beaker to …”
“Plague and perish you.”
And the following phrases all essentially mean damn me:
“Sink and scuttle me, strike me, souse me for a gurnet,” and “snake sting me.”
Katrina Needham had her whole life planned: Marry her beloved Major Richard Domont and live happily-ever-after … until he’s seen with another woman. Distraught, and needing a distraction, she agrees to assist the rugged, and dangerously handsome privateer, The Saint of the Sea, find a wife.
Dominic St. Monté loves everything about his life as a sea captain, but when he unexpectedly inherits a dukedom and the care of his young sisters, he reluctantly decides he must marry. Afterward, he can return to the sea-faring life he craves, leaving his duchess to oversee his dukedom.
Nic, now The Duke of Pendergast, enlists a family friend’s help in finding an acceptable bride and soon realizes Katrina possesses every characteristic he seeks in a duchess. However, he cannot ask for her hand. Not only is she promised to another, a man still determined to make her his, she has absolutely no interest in becoming a privateer’s wife.
Can Nic and Katrina relinquish their carefully planned futures and trust love to guide them?
Katrina patted about the chair’s legs before sinking lower and scowling at a lone bunny-sized dust ball snuggled contentedly between a gouged rear leg and the faded wall. No thimble hid there either. Where had the dratted thing disappeared to? It wasn’t as if the room was vast or stuffed with furnishings and whatnots.
“Percival, you rotten, flea-ridden hair ball, where is it?”
“I regret,” a rumbling male voice said, “I cannot stay for tea today, Aunt—”
Percival yowled plaintively, and Katrina, her pink-clad derrière indelicately raised, froze.
Oh, God no. That sounds like—
“Percy, darling. What is it, sweetums? Nic, do be a dear boy and pick him up for me,” Miss Sweeting cooed, her tinny tone frailer than usual. “Come, here. There’s a love, my pretty, pretty boy.”
Perhaps they hadn’t seen Katrina yet, and she could …
Daring a peek, Katrina met a golden, grinning Adonis’s amber-hued gaze. The Saint, devil it. And he most certainly had seen her.
His attention fixed on Katrina’s bottom, he passed the now-purring Percival to Miss Sweeting, and Katrina swiftly angled to her knees, confident her face matched her gown’s rosy hue.
When had Captain St. Monté arrived, and why hadn’t Miss Sweeting mentioned she expected a visit from him? Shouldn’t he be cavorting on the seven seas, plundering ships, ravishing damsels, doing whatever illegitimate, highborn, swashbuckling—devilishly handsome—privateers without responsibilities or scruples did?
The blasted cat languidly blinked his big brandy—gloating?—eyes at Katrina and gave a toothy yawn.
“Miss Needham, whatever are you doing on the floor, my dear?” Sparse gray brows knitted in confusion, Miss Sweeting kissed Percival’s head and stroked the thick fat rolls layering his tawny, striped spine.
He arched, and his contented rumblings reverberating louder. Beast.
“Looking for your gold thimble, I’m afraid. Percival knocked it onto the floor, and I’ve spent five minutes searching for the dashed thing.” Katrina bit her lip. Ladies shouldn’t say dashed, especially bankers’ daughters already under the haut ton’s disapproving scrutiny. Not all le beau monde members took kindly to hoi polloi infiltrating their exclusive parlors—even gently-bred, refined commoners with vulgarly full coffers.
She scrambled to her feet before haphazardly repinning her wayward tresses. Mama would’ve tutted and fussed if she’d seen Katrina’s bare hands, but better to be caught gloveless by a gentleman than risk soiling her new gloves scuttling about the floor like a beach shore crab. Katrina refused to contemplate Mama’s reaction if she saw her daughter, rump in the air, on the floor.
The suntanned god chuckled, a deliciously wicked vibration that hadn’t any business coming from a man already claiming his striking looks. He possessed features too bold and rugged to be considered handsome in the classic sense, but as a buccaneer? Well, even her heart dared putter faster for a beat or two. His faintly bent nose and the convoluted scar from left eyebrow to temple marred his countenance, but in a dangerous, roguish way.
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