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Excerpt from The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

by Mackenzi Lee

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee X
The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2018, 464 pages

    May 2020, 480 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Michelle Anya Anjirbag
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Print Excerpt

When they pull apart, Percy at least has the good sense to look sheepish about the show. Monty just looks obnoxiously pleased with himself. Somehow his dimples are even jauntier than I remember them.

"He's showing off," Percy assures me. "We never touch each other."

"Well, please don't start for my benefit," I reply.

"Come here, darling, and we'll give you a cuddle as well." Monty pats the bed between them. "A proper Monty-Percy sandwich."

I give him a sweet smile in return. "Oh, darling, I'd rather set myself on fire."

It has taken me, admittedly, a time to reconcile the idea that Percy and Monty seem to have found honest affection for each other in what I was taught was the sin of all sins. Perhaps the distance helped, or at least gave me space to ponder it and make my peace with it and move from cringing tolerance to something nearer to understanding that their love is probably truer than most of the pairings I saw growing up. Anyone who put up with my brother certainly would not be doing it unless they really, sincerely loved him. And Percy's the sort of decent lad who actually might. When stripped of the illegalities and the Biblical condemnation, their attraction is no stranger to me than anyone's attraction to anyone.

Percy nudges the side of Monty's head with his nose. "You should get to work."

"Must I?" he replies. "Felicity just arrived."

I perk up in a way that I'm certain makes me look more squirrel-like than is flattering, but I can't resist a taunt. It's owed him after that clogged drain of a kiss. "I'm sorry, Percy, I'm not sure I heard right, because it sounded as though you said work, which would imply that my brother has tricked someone into employing him."

"Thank you, I have been consistently employed since we arrived in London," Monty says. Percy coughs, and he adds, "Somewhat consistently."

I follow Monty around the partition, perching myself at its edge so I can keep them both in my conversation as Monty starts pawing his way through the trunks. "May I guess what sort of employment you're rushing off to? You're a horse jockey. No, wait—a nightclub performer. A bare-knuckled boxer. A brothel bully."

From the bed, Percy laughs. "He'd be smaller than most of the tarts."

"Ha, ha, ha. I won't have you two ganging up upon me while you're here." Monty surfaces from a trunk with a jumper that looks like it was vomited up by an aging housecat and wrestles it over his head. "I'll have you know," he says as he fights to get his hands through the sleeves, "that I have a respectable position in Covent Garden."

"Respectable?" I cross my arms. "That sounds fake."

"It's not! It's very respectable, isn't it, Percy?" he calls, but Percy has suddenly become occupied with a thread coming undone from the quilt.

"So tell me what it is you're doing respectably in Covent Garden," I say with an eyebrow arched over the neighborhood.

As a newly monogamous man, he pretends to not understand my emphasis on the notorious cruising grounds he once frequented. "I play cards for a casino."

"You play for the casino?"

"I stay sober but pretend to be drunk to play against the men who actually are tipsy and win their money and give it to the house. They pay me a portion."

I let out a bark of laughter before I can stop myself. "Yes. Respectable is the first word that comes to my mind when I hear that."

"Better than making plum cakes with your little plum cake," he returns with a sly grin.

And suddenly none of it is fun or funny any longer—it's the savage sniping of our youth, both of us jabbing gently until someone presses a little too hard and it draws blood. Monty might not sense the change in the weather, but Percy does, for he says sternly to Monty, "Be nice. She's only been here twenty minutes."

Excerpted from The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee. Copyright © 2018 by Mackenzi Lee. Excerpted by permission of Katherine Tegan Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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