Once a Rebel
Rogues Redeemed #2
by Mary Jo Putney
Releasing August 29th, 2017
In Once a Rebel (Rogues Redeemed #2) by Mary Jo Putney, Callista 'Callie' Brooke never thought she'd see Lord George 'Gordon' Audley again, not after what she went through in order to save his life. However, during the war between her native England and her adopted homeland, she finds her life on the line until she's rescued by the best friend she hasn't seen in years and believed was dead. Seeing Gordon again after all these years is a blessing, one she's determined to hold onto. But with threats from their pasts coming after them, will Gordon be able to keep her safe or will they lose their second chance at happy ever after?
What a wonderfully-crafted and extremely-engaging read Ms. Putney has penned in this second book of her Rogues Redeemed series where the main characters go through so much in this book to be together, but the obstacles they do overcome certainly make their happy ever after worthwhile. The way this story started had me sympathizing with the main characters, especially the heroine, because her father is a horrible man willing to sacrifice his daughter's happiness. Will she be able to protect her best friend from her father's ruthless ways? However, it was from the moment that the hero and heroine meet again after being apart for so long that I absolutely adored, because it's like they've never been apart. Gordon is still her best friend and that will never change.
As for the dialogue, it was intense due to the main characters back stories and everything they go through on their journey to happy ever after. Battling family differences, the war and deciding what their future holds is tough. Will they stay in America or go back home to London? Will Callie ever be close to her family? Will Gordon finally have the chance to get to know his younger brothers? Furthermore, the main characters were extremely fascinating, especially because they were a little wild and willing to do anything for each other, which is proven by Gordon's desire to save Callie from the fate her father was sending her to and Callie's desire to protect Gordon from her father committing an unspeakable crime that he'd likely get away with.
The heroine was resilient, courageous and I liked how determined she was to protect her family, which is proven by what she does for her step-children and for the hero when it comes to going up against people that want to hurt them. I also liked how hard she's worked for the life she has and that she was willing to give the hero a chance, considering she never thought she'd get a chance at forever after with a man she loved. While the hero, he's been through a lot in his life because of what the heroine's father did to him that landed him in hot water. How could someone be so evil? I also liked how protective he was of the heroine and how determined he was to win her over because he's loved her for a long time, even if he hasn't been able to admit his true feelings until they reunite. Yet, what I liked most of all about the hero was his back story and all that he's been through, which sounds exciting and full of adventure.
Overall, Ms. Putney has delivered a really wonderful read in this book where the chemistry between this couple was strong; the romance delightful and the ending had me on the edge-of-my-seat because of what the hero and heroine face. However, in saying that, I really enjoyed how things worked out for Callie and Gordon because they're meant to be together. I would recommend Once a Rebel by Mary Jo Putney, if you enjoy Historical Romance or books by authors Grace Burrowes, Mary Balogh, Tessa Dare and Jess Michaels.
“Putney’s endearing characters and warm-hearted stories never fail to inspire and delight.”
A Rogue Redeemed
As Washington burns, Callista Brooke is trapped in the battle between her native England and her adopted homeland. She is on the verge of losing everything, including her life, when a handsome Englishman cuts through the violent crowd to claim that she is his. Callie falls into her protector's arms, recognizing that he is no stranger, but the boy she'd once loved, a lifetime ago.
Lord George Gordon Audley had been Callie’s best friend, and it was to Gordon she turned in desperation to avoid a loathsome arranged marriage. But the repercussions of his gallant attempt to rescue her sent Callie packing to Jamaica, and Gordon on a one way trip to the penal colony of Australia.
Against all odds, Gordon survived. Finding Callie is like reclaiming his tarnished soul, and once again he vows to do whatever is necessary to protect her and those she loves. But the innocent friendship they shared as children has become a dangerous passion that may save or destroy them when they challenge the aristocratic society that exiled them both….
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August 24, 1814
Usually the capital of the young United States bustled with energy and ambition, but four days after the British Army made its nearby landing, Washington was as deserted as a plague city. Callie had hardly slept at all the previous night. In the darkest hours, she saw the light of a fire to the northeast. A bridge burning, she guessed.
This morning she’d chosen her clothing carefully, deciding on a blue gown that was elegant but simple so that she would look like a modest lady deserving of respect. She also pulled her hair back into a prim knot since it was too colorful to be respectable.
Now it was late afternoon and the artillery that had boomed earlier had fallen menacingly silent. The nearby battle must be over, but what had happened? Callie moved restlessly around her house, oppressed by the silence and wishing desperately that there was something she could do.
She almost jumped out of her skin when her front door knocker was rapped, but it was a polite-sounding knock. With her loaded pistol in her left hand and concealed in the folds of her gown, she warily opened the door. A harried-looking man dressed as a clerk bowed slightly. “I’m Mr. Williams from the Treasury Department, ma’am. We’re trying to move as many records as we can out of the city. Do you have a horse and wagon my department can borrow? I’ll give you a receipt.”
Grateful that her household had left for Baltimore the morning after Callie had received news of the British landing, she said, “I’m sorry, my horses and cart are in Baltimore with my family.”
He sighed. “A wise decision, but I wish you had more horses and wagons!” He touched the brim of his hat. “You stay safe, ma’am.”
“You also, Mr. Williams.” She closed the door. He wasn’t the first to come by foraging for transportation for vital documents, but he might be the last.
She’d told her two young seamstresses to stay home with their families. Many of the few people left in town were women like herself who were staying in the hope that they could save their homes. It wasn’t a vain wish. Several women in towns around the Chesapeake had been able to persuade British officers not to torch their homes. It was worth the risk of her remaining here.
She was sewing trim on a gown when she heard shouting outside. Again she opened the door, and saw a battered militia officer trotting down the street. Seeing her, he called, “There’s been a battle at Bladensburg and the British routed us! They could be here in a matter of hours, so lock your doors and pray!”
Now that the danger was imminent, she felt surprisingly calm. She’d never been good at waiting. After locking her front door, she left the house through the kitchen and walked quickly down the side street to bring the news to her friend Edith Turner, an older widow who had been the first to welcome Callie to the city. With invasion imminent, Edith had taken in several elderly friends who didn’t have the strength to evacuate.
She answered the door at Callie’s first knock, her face worried. “There’s news?”
“Yes, a militiaman reported that the British routed our forces at Bladensburg.”
Edith gasped. “That’s only a few miles way!”
“The militiaman said to lock our doors and pray,” Callie said grimly. She gave her friend a swift hug. “That’s good advice. Stay safe, Edith!”
Her friend hugged her back. “You also, my dear.”
As Callie returned to the safety of her own solid brick home, she heard a booming explosion to the east, in the direction of the battle. At a guess, American forces had blown up another bridge to slow the British advance. Wryly she wondered if Americans were doing more damage to their capital than the British would have done.
Half an hour or so later, she peered out her front curtains and saw retreating militiamen trickling past. One looked over and saw the movement of her curtain. He spoke to the young man next to him, and the two turned in to her front walk. More knocking. They looked more frightened than threatening, so she opened the door, though once more she kept her pistol handy.
“Ma’am.” The taller of the two young men coughed, then started again. “Ma’am, could we have some water? Please? Me and my brother are like to keel over.”
“Of course. Get in the shade of that tree and I’ll bring you some,” she replied.
Guessing there would be more men needing water, she brought two full buckets and a pair of ladles. “Help yourselves. There’s more where this came from.”
“The only Americans who knew how to fight were Commodore Barney’s flotilla men,” the taller brother said bitterly after he thirstily gulped down a ladleful of water. “They been fightin’ the British Navy up and down the bay for months. They knew how to stand their ground! I heard some of ’em say they’d keep fighting all through the streets of Washington.”
Seeing their humiliation, Callie said quietly, “If soldiers aren’t experienced and the whole company collapses and retreats, there’s no point in individual soldiers staying to fight. Your mother wouldn’t like it if you got yourself killed for no good reason.”
“The lady is right, Jem,” the shorter brother said. “Ma would kill us again if she thought we was that stupid.” He drank deeply, then poured a ladleful of water over his head to cool himself down. “We ran today, but by God, we’ll fight again another day!”
“They’ll not take Baltimore!” Jem used the ladle to fill his empty pewter canteen. “Thank you kindly, ma’am. We’ll be on our way again. It’s a long hike north.”
Callie wished them well and refilled the water buckets, leaving them on the edge of her lawn with the ladles so other retreating soldiers could drink. Then she withdrew into her house again, pulled the curtains, and waited.
The summer days were long in August, and it wasn’t yet full dark when she heard the sound of marching men. She took her pistol in hand again. A single shot wouldn’t be of any use against an army, but she felt better for having a weapon to hand.
Needing to see, she pulled her curtains open a sliver and peered out. A group of several dozen soldiers was marching past her house with mounted officers in the lead. They were heading toward the capital building and flying a white flag of truce.
She sighed with relief. Perhaps the British wanted to negotiate a ransom that would save the city from being destroyed.
Being female, Callie thought a ransom in return for sparing the capital was a fine idea, though she suspected that many men had too much pride to give money to the enemy even to save the city. But even if the government was willing to be reasonable, she wasn’t sure there was anyone left in Washington with the authority to negotiate.
She studied the riders. That erect man in the lead wore the insignia of a major general and was surely Robert Ross, the commander of the army forces. One of Wellington’s top generals in the Peninsular wars, he was said to be a just and honorable man who didn’t wreak havoc on civilians. But the man riding next to him . . .
She frowned. An admiral of the Royal Navy rode be-side Ross. That must be George Cockburn, who had been named the most hated man in America because of his months spent slashing and burning up and down the Chesapeake Bay. He’d destroyed whole towns as punishment for American destruction in Canada.
It was said that Cockburn’s older brother had died fighting the rebels during the American Revolution, so the admiral had a very personal hatred for Americans. Callie hoped that since they were on land, General Ross had command over Cockburn.
The troops were moving in good order despite having fought and marched on a very long, hot day. The group was directly in front of her house when she heard noise from upstairs. Footsteps?
She went from nervous to near panic in the space of a heartbeat. The lock on the kitchen door at the back of the house was a simple one and wouldn’t resist a determined housebreaker, and the servants’ stairs ran up from the kitchen. The noise of marching troops must have drowned out any sounds until now.
Clutching her pistol, she headed for the stairs to investigate, but before she could start up, a ragged blast of rifle shots boomed from directly over her head. Hell and damnation! Some American soldiers weren’t giving up, and they had chosen her house as a sniper post!
Mary Jo Putney is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has written over 50 novels and novellas. A ten-time finalist for the Romance Writers of America RITA, she has won the honor twice and is on the RWA Honor Roll for bestselling authors. She has been awarded two Romantic Times Career Achievement Awards, four NJRW Golden Leaf awards, plus the NJRW career achievement award for historical romance. Though most of her books have been historical romance, she has also published contemporary romances, historical fantasy, and young adult paranormal historicals.
Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, Joanna Bourne, Patricia Rice, Nicola Cornick, Cara Elliott, Anne Gracie, Susan King are the ladies otherwise known as the Word Wenches. These eight authors have written a combined 231 novels and 74 novellas. They’ve won awards such as the RITAS, RT Lifetime Achievement award, RT Living Legend, and RT Reviewers Choice award. Several of them are regulars on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.
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