By Tasha Alexander

London's social season is in complete swing, and Victorian aristocracy cannot cease whispering a few yes gentleman who claims to be the direct descendant of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. yet he is not the one subject of wagging tongues. Drawing rooms, boudoirs, and ballrooms are abuzz with the most recent information of an audacious cat burglar who has been systematically stealing beneficial goods that when belonged to the ill-fated queen. gentle gossip turns critical while the landlord of 1 of the pilfered treasures is located murdered, and the mysterious thief develops a twisted obsession with girl Emily Ashton. it's going to take all of Emily's wit and perseverance to unmask her stalker and ferret out the assassin, whereas confronted with a brewing scandal that threatens either her attractiveness and her romance along with her past due husband's ally, the speeding Colin Hargreaves.

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He could not have afforded such a thing. ” The tears began again. “I’m sorry. ” She managed a smile. “I believe you when you say you were not David’s mistress. ” “May I ask how he died? You said he was not ill. ” P O I S O N E D S E A S O N s A 31 “No, Lady Ashton. My husband was murdered. ” The air rushed out of my lungs and I could scarcely draw breath. Murdered. My heart felt torn in two for this woman, who, like me, had lost a spouse to violence. “I must tell you a story,” I said, and, taking her hands in mine, recounted for her the story of my own husband’s demise, along with my role in uncovering his killer.

No, take it away,” I said. ” Mrs. Francis did not speak again until the girl had left the room. ” “How can that be? ” “I’ll thank you not to pretend innocence. If it was only once—” She had started to cry again, and I could not bear seeing the pain etched on her face. ” I took her hand, and though she would not look at me, she did not pull it away. “I know not how such a misunderstanding has come to pass. I was never your husband’s mistress, nor was I romantically linked with him in any way. He was one of a group of my friends at the theater a week or so ago, and we all came here afterwards.

Colin is immersed in his work. Furthermore—” “Yes, but Emily, you are gaining a reputation as an eccentric who would prefer to spend her time buried in the library instead of on more . . er . . ” “Excellent. ” “You know that I fully support your studies, but I do wish you would, perhaps, temper your approach to the Season. ” “I never thought I would hear such criticism from you,” I said. Ivy looked as if she would crumple. “Don’t be upset, dear. ” I was unable to continue, as Davis opened the door and announced Jeremy.

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