At age twelve, Cassandra Madden fell in love with Jefferson Ames, a young man she met at one of her mother's business conferences. Over the years, during periods of loneliness and struggle, Cassie held on to this unrequited love in order to cope with her isolated heart and the pain of a cold mother. Even when Cassie grew up, went off to college, and met a man she thought she'd marry, her heart yearned for Jeff. In a decisive moment, she breaks off the pending engagement and travels to Williamsburg, Virginia, where the now-widowed Jeff lives with his young daughter. Cassie becomes the child's nanny, but, even though she sees the object of her desire every day, Jeff has yet to even notice her. Then, one day, she hears shots coming from the mansion of Althea Fairmont, an eccentric woman who is thought of as the world's greatest living actress. Cassie runs to investigate, and, in an instant, her safe little life is turned upside down.
Romance titan Deveraux (Someone to Love, etc.) packs her latest with jagged surprises, but the pieces fail to fall together satisfyingly. At age 12, Cassandra Madden has been in love with also 'tween Jefferson Ames, whom she meets on a business trip with her mother. After college, Cassie moves to Jeff's hometown of Williamsburg, Va., and eventually becomes nanny to widower Jeff's daughter, Elsbeth. Jeff treats Cassie as part of the family, but reserves his romantic feelings for gorgeous Skylar, who despises Cassie and ignores Elsbeth. When she hears gunshots next door and finds aging film star Althea Fairmont lying prone but unharmed, she and the famous Althea become friends. As Cassie begins to archive Althea's Hollywood memorabilia, she uncovers Althea's hidden history and is drawn, with Jeff, into a dangerous web of secrets, lies and murder. The story has moments of humor and romantic chemistry, but they do little to salvage the unruly plot. (May) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . A book you can't put down.
Posted July 13, 2010 by Lauren , BostonThis story is one I will never forget. It was my first Jude Deveraux book and it is unpredictable, breath-taking, and keeps your fingers itching to turn and read the next page. Highly suggested.
2 . Enjoyable...
Posted February 17, 2010 by Abby , Vancouver, BCAlthough this was an enjoyable read...I enjoy Deveraux's historical books better
May 05, 2008
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Excerpt from Secrets by Jude Deveraux
She opened her eyes to see her boss, Jefferson Ames, standing over her. He was wearing a pair of loose swim trunks and had a towel over his shoulders. Behind him was the ever-present Skylar. As always, she was smiling in that cold, I'm-gonna-get-you way that Cassie was too familiar with. And Skylar was letting Cassie know that when she and Jeff were married, Cassie would be fired. "Like I'd stay," she'd muttered to herself many times.
"Sorry," Cassie said, putting her hand up to shield her eyes from the sun. "I was lost in thought."
He looked down at her with amusement. Everyone else beside the pool was in swim attire, but Cassie had on big, army green shorts, an oversize T-shirt, and sandals. She was lying on a chaise, every inch of her body covered with beach towels. It was as though she'd die if a drop of sunlight touched her skin. "You are a dermatologist's dream," he said. Secrets Jude Deveraux-PTR 2/8/08 9:24 AM Page 9
"I aim to please," she answered, looking past him and smiling at Skylar, who was narrowing her eyes at Cassie. Skylar had on a tiny bikini and her skin had been tanned to the color of walnuts.
Skylar stepped forward, all starved and honed five feet ten of her, her skin glistening with expensive oil. "I think Elsbeth has had enough sun for the day so I want you to take her home."
Cassie didn't lose her smile as she looked at Jeff for confirmation. They weren't married yet, so she refused to take orders from anyone but him.
Jeff 's face didn't change. If he was aware of the war between his daughter's nanny and his girlfriend, he didn't give it away. But when he turned to look at his daughter, his face nearly melted with love. Whatever other problems he had, Jeff 's love for his daughter was obvious to all. "She looks sleepy, and she's probably hungry. You know how she is. She'd stay in the water all day if she weren't dragged out."
Cassie looked out at Elsbeth in the kiddie pool. In her opinion, the five-year-old girl was the most beautiful child on the planet. She was sitting in the water wearing a suit of white eyelet, a matching hat, and most of a bottle of sunscreen. "Sure," Cassie said, throwing back one of the three towels covering her. "Will you be home for dinner tonight?"
She stood up and stretched. Cassie was several inches shorter than Skylar, but there was nothing on Cassie that wasn't real. Her mother spent many hours in a gym fighting against her natural curves, but Cassie loved hers. She'd once heard Jeff 's father call her "a 1950s blonde bombshell with dark hair." It was all Cassie could do not to giggle and let them know she'd heard.
Skylar clutched Jeff 's arm to her artificially enhanced breasts. "No, we're going out tonight. Just the two of us." She paused. "He'll have some real food for a change."
"Ah, right," Cassie said. "Home cooking isn't real food. I'll have to tell that to Thomas."
Jeff coughed to cover his laugh. Jeff 's father, Thomas, lived with him, and just weeks after Cassie took the job of being Elsbeth's nanny, he'd asked to have some of what Cassie was cooking for herself and the child. From there it had gone to Cassie preparing dinner for the three of them. At first she'd left Thomas a plate in the warming oven while she and Elsbeth went upstairs to the playroom to eat, but he'd asked them to eat with him in the breakfast nook. From there it had gone to Thomas moving them into the dining room and setting the big mahogany table with candles and silver. "No use letting these dishes sit in the cabinet," he'd said as he put out the best china for them to use. If Cassie could use any term to describe Thomas, it would be "Old World gentleman."
Jeff spent the weekends with his daughter. Even if he had to work, he took her with him. Elsbeth was a quiet child who had no interest in rowdy group activities. Cassie would fill a backpack full of art supplies and Elsbeth would hold her father's hand and go with him