Jane Stowe frequently finds her irritable father, peevish stepmother, and half brother Rupert a trial. Her only hope of eventual escape is her maternal uncle, Roger Markham, whose heir she is. When he dies under mysterious circumstances, Jane is the obvious suspect.
Alex Gordon, family misfit, has been sent to find out if there’s anything to Markham’s suspicions about the schooner Sea Mew. With half the Continent at war, and the Young Pretender recently landed in Scotland, the matter may be of critical importance. Once Alex ferrets out—with Jane’s assistance—the connection between the Sea Mew and Jacobite activity, he is told to leave the rest to the professionals. But the professionals have no stake in saving Jane from the gallows or Rupert from a charge of treason.
If they had to travel fast, she could not perch sideways on the horse’s rump, not without falling off. He evidently did not mean her to ride before him, for which she was grateful: that would have been uncomfortably intimate. The horse’s rump was directly before her.
She swung her leg out and over the animal, feeling awkward. The front of her skirt and petticoats caught between her legs so they were between her bare skin and the glossy brown hide when she dropped onto the horse. It felt very strange to bestride the horse, and because the front of her skirts was between her legs and under her, her limbs were outlined, almost as if she were wearing breeches. At least she had not slid backwards to land ignominiously on the ground. The back of her skirt fell over the horse’s tail and she must hope that the horse did not produce droppings.
If the male body she was hugging had been Alex’s, it would have been different. Embarrassing, perhaps, but…different, she ended the thought abruptly.