Sequel to All the Trees in Pearl, All the Women in Pearl and Interlude in Pearl Five years ago James Carver traded small-town secrets for the scandalous nightlife of Victorian Paris. He went looking for answers but discovered a taste for a man's hard body and a talent for spinning erotic tales. Now he's being framed for crimes he didn't commit and hunted for secrets he doesn't want to reveal. He could run again, but private investigator Maxwell Simon has other plans. James soon finds himself on his knees, breaking vows and enjoying very unconventional hospitality. Reader Advisory: Novel includes all the luscious stuff you've come to love, including m/m, f/f and m/f/f/m scenes.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Adobe DRM EPUB
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Excerpt from All the Secrets in Pearl by Emily Ryan-Davis
The words wouldn't come anymore. Huddled close to the fireplace in a bustling street-side caf�, James Carver dipped his pen for the fifth time in as many minutes. However, ink was not the problem. The public notice he'd passed that morning at the bank...that was the problem.
He was a wanted man. The fact that the drawing of his face bore a different name, that of Harold Livingstone, didn't matter. Livingstone was a name that had fed and clothed him over the course of the last three years. That the name might now cost him freedom--or worse, his neck--was purest irony.
And it was more than "might". Livingstone would not step up to right the misunderstanding even if he were still in Chicago. If he'd known Livingstone funded James' well-appointed quarters with the illicit gains he acquired as a minor Chicago crime boss, he would have found another way. No, he wouldn't have found another way. He'd wanted the luxury to write without worrying about the cost of ink, paper or bread and he'd been willing to buy the luxury with his cock. James dropped the pen and clasped his ink-stained fingers behind his neck.
He had to go home.
The prospect tied a knot in his gut. The lies he'd left behind in Pearl--the secrets he hadn't wanted to know, let alone keep--they would still be waiting for him. Hell. Maybe he should just turn himself in. He'd reaped the rewards Livingstone's influence this long. Perhaps this was how he would repay the other man's sponsorship.
"Writing your next book?" A man drawled, his voice deep and raw.
James blinked at the unmarked stack of paper between his elbows. "Not precisely writing."
"Maybe I should return this to the man who sent it." The stranger moved into James' view. His legs were thick with muscle and clothed in pinstripe suiting. He dropped a letter-sized packet on top of the blank paper. Before James could reach for the package, the other man placed a sketch of James' face over top the package and pinned it with a tanned, calloused finger. "James Carver. Writing as Marietta Clark. Mistaken for Harold Livingstone."
The names were not offered as a question. James stood, unwilling to face the other man from a weak position. He raised his head and met the messenger's eyes. In an instant, his head emptied.
Hard gray eyes looked back at him, intently set on the business at hand. The man must have been the law. James wanted to fall on his knees and use his mouth to make the stranger's gunmetal eyes roll back in his head.
Hell. Not again. After a dangerous and disastrous affair with the son of a Parisian whore, James had sworn he would never kneel for another man. Surrender was too intoxicating, too addicting, and he wouldn't lose himself a second time. He'd been careful in dictating his arrangement with Livingstone. James didn't accept cock, he only gave it. Fine with Livingstone, who only wanted to take.
James looked away, down to the packet on the table between them. "The post would have sufficed," he managed, relieved that his tone remained even.
"I don't think you want the post showing up, given the rapidly spreading word of your crimes."
The back of James' neck turned to ice. Against his will, he found himself locked by the stranger's eyes.
"The way I see it," the other man said, "you can come with me or you can go back to writing that book and wait to see who finds you next."
"Who are you?"
"Maxwell Simon." He withdrew a second sheaf of papers from a pocket inside his suit jacket. "I represent Ethan Carver and Collette Raincrow."
He unfolded the papers and presented them. James stared at the pair of signatures inked at the bottom. His brother's scrawl was familiar. His sister's no longer betrayed the uncertain hand of youth. "That's a contract."
"It's a lesser evil than a wanted notice." Simon folded the contract along its crease and pocketed it.
James heard the words, even understood, but Simon may as well have kept his mouth shut. James' concern for anything had bled away after Collette's name.
"My sister is in Pearl?" Christ. His search had taken him so far away from Pearl; he'd eventually resigned himself to laying her to rest in his heart.
"You and I are to be on the train in two hours," Simon said. "Ordinarily I'd advise you to put your affairs in order, but in this case, I suggest you make the most of what you have and cut your losses."
James was already shoving everything into his satchel. "Give me the ticket."
Simon snorted. "That's not the way this is going to happen, James."
"Whatever my brother is paying you, I'll match it. You can consider your contract fulfilled." James shrugged into his coat.
"You plan on walking into a bank and standing next to the drawing of your face while you make a withdrawal?"
"This isn't a frontier town," James muttered.
"No, it isn't. The real measure of a man doesn't matter here because there are too many men to care about the character of one."
James tightened his jaw and settled his hat on his head without responding. He looked up and straight into Maxwell Simon's eyes. Invisible fingers clenched around his balls. With a growl, James stalked past the other man and headed for the street. Simon fell into step behind him, his strides measured and unhurried.
An hour later, James paced the length of the train station. Simon sat across the way, his long legs outstretched, his hat pulled low as he read a dime novel. The Frenchwoman's Gunslinger by Marietta Clark. The first one James had sold, written on the long journey from France to Massachusetts.
Watching Simon thumb one page after another created an uneasy knot between James' shoulders. He published under a pseudonym for a reason. Half a dozen reasons, not the least of which being his reluctance to be connected with Marietta's fondness for a man's thick cock, lustfully described through her heroines' eyes and mouths.