The first kiss occurred in a dimly lit hallway on the upper floor of Elwin Hastings's grand house. Louisa never saw it coming....
Of course, Anthony Stalbridge couldn't possibly have had romantic intentions. The kiss was an act of desperation meant to distract the armed guard from catching the pair in a place they did not belong. After all, Louisa Bryce, in her dull maroon gown and gold-rimmed spectacles, was no man's idea of an alluring female. The only thing the two interlopers have in common is a passionate interest in the private affairs of Mr. Hastings-a prominent member of Society whom they both suspect of hiding terrible secrets. Now, brought together by their ruse, Anthony and Louisa are united in their efforts to find the truth.
Each has a reason for the quest. Anthony's fianc?e was said to have thrown herself into the Thames-but Anthony has his own suspicions. Louisa-whose own identity is shrouded in layers of mystery-is convinced that Hastings has a connection to a notorious brothel. When Anthony successfully cracks Hastings's hidden safe-and discovers incriminating evidence-it appears that both their instincts were correct.
Yet Hastings is hiding far more than jewels and ledger books. Bringing him to justice will be more perilous than they anticipate-and their partnership will be more heated than either one expects. For it is not only Anthony's curiosity that Louisa arouses, and the two share something else: a thrilling attraction to danger. . . .
From the triple-threat author who also hits bestseller lists under the names Jayne Ann Krentz and Jayne Castle, this is a delightful new romp filled with suspense and wit-and the steamy Victorian passion her devoted readers love.
The suspense begins with the first sentence of this romantic mystery from the pseudonymous Quick (Jayne Ann Krentz uses this pseudonym for her Victorian novels). Gossip spreads fast about the liaison between "unimportant, unfashionable, excessively dull" Louisa Bryce and wealthy, handsome Anthony Stalbridge. In reality, their first kiss was a spur-of-the-moment coverup when the two are caught snooping around Elwin Hastings's mansion. Louisa, an undercover reporter for the sensational newspaper, Flying Intelligencer, is investigating Hastings's crooked financial dealings, while Anthony seeks the truth about his fiancee, one of three society women who supposedly committed suicide a year ago. Under the guise of their romance, Louisa and Anthony expose Hastings's many criminal schemes. Their relationship isn't all business, however, and Louisa's profession isn't her only secret. Quick's tightly woven tale allows little room for extraneous subplots-every cracked safe and mysterious prostitute plays an important role. Light humor and playful love scenes temper the more gruesome moments for an alluring combination of foggy nights and steamy afternoons. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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April 23, 2007
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