She put her art on the line -- and her heart in his hands....
Eugenia Swift is a young woman of singular sensibilities, and a connoisseur of beauty. As director of the Leabrook Glass Museum, she's been asked to travel to Frog Cove Island -- an artistic haven near Seattle -- to catalog an important collection of art glass. But thanks to unsavory rumors surrounding the collector's death, the museum insists that Eugenia take along Cyrus Chandler Colfax -- a rough-hewn private investigator whose taste in glass runs to ice-cold bottles filled with beer.
When Colfax declares they must pose as a couple, Eugenia protests in a manner as loud as his Hawaiian shirts. But now their very lives depend on the most artful collaboration they can imagine. For a killer is lurking among Frog Cove's chic galleries, and if anyone sees through their marital masquerade, their own secret agendas -- as well as their plans for survival -- may be smashed to smithereens!
Love's passionate snags get the smooth touch in this sparkling masterpiece from Jayne Ann Krentz!
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
December 01, 2008
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Sharp Edges by Jayne Ann Krentz
It took all of the considerable self-control Eugenia Swift had at her disposal to hang on to her temper. "For heaven's sake, Tabitha, the last thing I need is a bodyguard."
Tabitha Leabrook smiled with the sort of poised confidence reserved for those who have grown up with money, social influence, and very high self-esteem.
"Think of him as a precaution, Eugenia," she said. "A prudent preventative action. Rather like wearing a seat belt."
"Or getting a flu shot," Cyrus Chandler Colfax offered helpfully.
Eugenia tightened her fingers in a reflexive movement. The fresh-off-the-press invitation to the Leabrook Glass Museum's annual Foundation Reception crumpled in her hand.
She wondered what the penalty was for strangling very large men who wore tacky aloha shirts, khaki chinos, and moccasin-style loafers. Surely no judge or jury would convict her, she thought. Not when they saw the evidence.
Colfax had said very little thus far, obviously content to wait as the argument swirled like a waterspout in the center of the room. He was biding his time, letting Tabitha wear her down. She sensed his plan as clearly as if he had written it out for her to read. He intended to loom in the shadows until she had been sufficiently softened up. Then he would step in to deliver the coup de gr?ce.
Dressed in the splashy blue, green, and orange shirt, he should have looked ridiculous against the Oriental carpet and warmly paneled walls of her expensively furnished office. Unfortunately, he did not appear even slightly out of place. He clashed terribly with the expensive decor, of course, but he did not look out of place.
It was the room that looked somehow prissy and too elegant.
Eugenia was not fooled by the beachcomber ensemble. Not for one minute. She had a talent for being able to look beneath the surface. It was a gift that had led her into a successful career, first as an assistant curator at the Leabrook and now as its director.
She could see very clearly that Colfax was going to be a problem.
The cryptic tropical attire could not conceal the reality of Cyrus Colfax. He looked as if he had just ridden in off the range with a pair of six-guns strapped to his hip and was prepared to clean up the town.
Slow-moving and slow-talking, he had the feral, ascetic features of an avenging lawman of the mythic West. He even had the hands of a gunman, she thought. Or at least, the sort of hands she imagined a gunslinger would have. Strong and lean, they were a highly uncivilized combination of sensitivity and ruthlessness.
There was an aura of great stillness about him. He made no extraneous movements. He did not drum his fingers. He did not fiddle with a pen. He simply occupied space. No, Eugenia thought, he controlled space.
She estimated his age at about thirty-five, but it was difficult to be certain. He had the kind of features that only toughened with the years. There was a hint of silver in his dark hair, but nothing else to indicate the passing of time. There was certainly no evidence of any softening around the middle, she noticed.
But what disturbed her the most were his eyes. They were the color of thick, heavy glass viewed from the side, an intense, compelling green that was cold, brilliant, and mysterious. It was a color that was unique to a material forged in fire.
Eugenia tossed aside the crushed invitation and folded her hands together on top of her polished cherrywood desk. This was her office and she was in charge. She glared at Tabitha.
"What you are suggesting is highly inefficient and a complete waste of time," she said. "Besides, I'm supposed to be on vacation."
"A working vacation," Tabitha reminded her.
She knew she was losing the battle, but it was her nature to fight on, even when defeat loomed. It was true that she was the director of the museum, but Tabitha Leabrook was the chief administrator of the Leabrook Foundation. The Foundation endowed the museum and paid the bills. When push came to shove, Tabitha had the final say.
Ninety-nine percent of the time the chain of command created no major problems for Eugenia. She had a great deal of respect for Tabitha, a small, dainty woman in her early seventies. Tabitha had a seemingly unlimited reservoir of public-spirited energy, refined tastes, and a good heart. She had a penchant for face-lifts and the money to afford them. She also had a will of iron.
For the most part Tabitha demonstrated a gratifying respect for Eugenia's abilities and intelligence. Since appointing her director of the Leabrook, she had given Eugenia her head when it came to the administration of the museum.
Tabitha and the Board of Directors of the Leabrook Foundation had been delighted with Eugenia's achievements. Under her direction, the Leabrook had swiftly shed its stodgy image and achieved a reputation for an outstanding and exciting collection of ancient and modern glass.
It was unlike Tabitha to interfere in Eugenia's decision-making. The fact that she was doing so today indicated the depths of her concern.
"I will feel much more comfortable if Mr. Colfax accompanies you to Frog Cove Island," Tabitha said. "After all, if there is some question of murder here --"
"For the last time," Eugenia interrupted, "there is no question of murder. The authorities declared Adam Daventry's death an accident. He fell down a flight of stairs and broke his neck."
"The lawyer who is handling the Daventry estate called me an hour ago," Tabitha said. "He told me that the executors insist that Mr. Colfax make some inquiries into the matter."
"So let him make inquiries." Eugenia spread her hands. "Why do I have to be involved in them?"
Colfax stirred at the edge of the beam of light cast by the Tiffany lamp on the desk. "The estate wants everything handled very quietly. Very discreetly."
Eugenia eyed his bright, palm-tree-patterned aloha shirt. "No offense, but somehow I don't see you as the soul of restraint and discretion, Mr. Colfax."
He smiled his slow, enigmatic smile. "I have many hidden qualities."
"They are extremely well concealed," she agreed politely.
"It will be an undercover operation." Tabitha's eyes gleamed with enthusiasm. "Rather exciting, don't you think, Eugenia?"
"I think," Eugenia said carefully, "that it sounds like a lot of nonsense. I read the articles in the Seattle Times and the Post-Intelligencer. There was no mention of any suspicion of foul play in Daventry's death."
Tabitha peered at her over the rims of her reading glasses. "I must remind you, Eugenia, that the sooner the executors are satisfied, the sooner the Leabrook will be able to move the Daventry glass collection here to the museum."
Tabitha was right, and Eugenia knew it. Adam Daventry had left his magnificent collection of glass to the Leabrook. For most of his time as a collector he had focused on seventeenth- to twentieth-century glass. But a few months before his death, he had also begun to acquire some ancient glass.
Eugenia was eager to get her hands on the collection, but that was not the real reason she planned to spend her summer vacation on Frog Cove Island.