The first in my scandal series with heroines whose scientific knowledge and intellect are an affront to increasingly prudish early Victorian society.
After Lady Rebecca Jamison, a mathematical genius, saves her family from financial ruin by secretly investing in railway stocks on the London stock exchange, a greedy syndicate, desperate for Becca’s calculations and predictions, murders her friend and threatens the Jamison family, forcing Becca to beg assistance from her childhood friend, Cayle St. Martin.
The newly titled Duke of Sherwyn has returned to London after five years on the continent extending his family’s shipping interests. He’s shunned his privileged London life and his father’s unbending attitudes, and becomes committed to employing the spying tactics he learned on the continent to help Becca indict the syndicate -and using his skills as a lover to seduce her into his bed.
But how will Cayle be able to convince Becca, a determinedly self-sufficient spinster, that he can be more to her than just a protector?
Lady Rebecca Jamison watched Cayle. Under the rules of etiquette, she must remember to address him as Your Grace or Sherwyn in public, despite knowing he’d abhorred the bowing and scraping expected by dukes, including his father.Becca tried to judge his level of inebriation and his reaction to her news, though she was wise enough to stay out of arm’s reach. In the past, her knight in shining armour had constantly overreacted if he thought her adventures, or misadventures, placed her in harm’s way.
“Please, my dear.” The new duke’s fists unfurled as he flung his arms wide in a dramatic gesture. “Go ahead and clarify that terrifying statement.” His voice lifted another octave.“Before my hair turns completely white. Or my legs give out.”
Neither Cayle’s fury nor his towering size frightened Becca. But she was terrified that the city would awaken and the streets fill with people before he became calm and rational and listened to her plea for his help in collecting the final proof that would send at least a dozen of their peers to prison for illegal trading practices.
“Or even worse.” He voice was a low snarl as he pointed at the floor. “I misplace the contents of my heaving stomach all over the duchess’s prized carpet.”
Becca winced. For the tenth time she listed to herself the reasons she’d bravely bearded this particular panther in his lair.
To protect her family.
To secure the nest eggs saved by the fallen women at the shelter.
To save her own life.
As the new Duke of Sherwyn, Cayle was her best, or possibly only, chance to do all that and to keep her promise to Scotland Yard. She hoped he’d listen with an open mind. Hoped he’d comprehend how much danger her family and friends were in without realising how close she had come to also being murdered.
“I’d gone to Peggy’s cottage to collect some letters she’d written on behalf of our Women’s Society. The door was ajar. I knocked but Peggy didn’t answer so I went inside.”
Peggy had been sprawled across the floor, her sturdy legs protruding at odd angles from her yellowing nightgown. Her hair had been matted with blood and tangled in the strings of her dislodged nightcap and her plait had been a rusty red mess instead of a neat tail of plain brown.
“I can’t sleep. Every time I close my eyes, I see the murderer standing over Peggy’s battered body. But he runs towards me. Not away.” She shuddered and closed her eyes.
Fingers brushed her cheek. “Becca, I’ll not let anyone harm you.”
“If I’d only arrived at Peggy’s cottage a few minutes earlier.”
“Stop it. You mustn’t blame yourself.”
“How can I not? One life has already been destroyed because of me. My friend was killed. Her body discarded like a tattered rag doll.”
His bloodshot gaze narrowed on her face. “So, knowing how your mind works, you’ll try to focus the consortium on yourself, and thereby keep everyone else out of danger.” He raised a brow. “Am I correct?”
Damned man was still a mind reading menace. “You’re wrong. I’ve little wish to confront those men by myself. But neither will I allow anyone else to be hurt.”
“And who protects you from the current set of fire–breathing dragons?”
She raised her chin. “I’ve outgrown such childishness.” She lowered herself to the closest settee, a demonstration of ladylike maturity and a reprieve for her trembling knees.
Suzi Love now lives in a sunny part of Australia after spending many years in developing countries in the South Pacific. Her greatest loves are traveling, anywhere and everywhere, meeting crazy characters, and visiting the Australian outback. She adores history, especially the many-layered society of the late Regency to early Victorian eras. In and around London, her titled heroes and heroines may live a privileged and gay life but Suzi also likes to dig deeper into the grittier and seamier levels of British life and writes about the heroes and heroines who challenge traditional manners, morals, and occupations, either through necessity or desire.
Book Buying Places
Publisher -Crimson Romance
Publication Date -February 18th, 2013
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