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Also by Maggie Dallen

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Miss Minerva’s Pirate MishapBluestocking Battalion #1

Maggie Dallen


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16


Miss Abigail’s Beastly Beau

About the Author

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

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