on July 4th 2017
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"You do strange things to me, Dell Turner. Tell me I am not alone in what I feel."His voice was low and rough. His eyes burned. "You are not alone," he said.
Portia Chadwick knows she'll never have a life of adventure. But when a dangerous moneylender kidnaps her sister, Portia seeks help from a man known only as Nightshade. Soon she finds herself charging headfirst into his world of intrigue and danger―and unexpected passion.
Dell Turner grew up in London's back alleys and gin lanes. Vowing to escape his low beginnings, he hires himself out to society's elite. When he accepts a job from a beautiful young lady, he doesn't anticipate her relentless determination to join his mad occupation...or her unnerving ability to inspire emotions he thought long buried. She's as dangerous to him as his world is to her, and yet Dell can't bring himself to turn Portia away... even if it means risking her life.
He was home for only a few short minutes—not even long enough to shed the guise of Robert French—before there was a sharp knock at the front door. Morley was still taking care of the carriage and horses so wasn’t available to answer.
With a growl at being disturbed so blasted early in the day after being up all night, Dell lumbered from his study where he had been organizing a plan for his next steps in the Chadwick abduction. He opened the door just as the caller was about to knock again.
The disturbing slate-gray gaze of the precocious Miss Chadwick widened with a start before she lowered her arm.
Dell’s immediate instinctive response was to slam the door shut. This woman triggered far too many distractions in his mind, as well as his body. She set him on edge, made him feel less in control.
He didn’t slam the door because his next thought was the realization that such a reaction would only pique her curiosity even more. He would need to employ another tactic to get rid of her.
Altering his voice to the smooth, unassuming, lilting tones of Robert French, Dell asked, “Can I help you, miss?”
She tilted her head beneath the wide fall of her cloak hood, and her striking eyes narrowed dangerously. He was suddenly intensely aware of his appearance. French’s look often drew interested gazes from bold young women. Women who understood his jaunty swagger and the overt sensuality in his movement and expression.
Dell felt Portia Chadwick’s gaze like a stream of concentrated interest shooting straight to the center of his chest.
Then she smiled.
His body instantly reacted.
What the hell?
Dell straightened his spine and tried to look down his—or rather French’s—nose at her. Not that he thought any kind of intimidation would work on the chit, but he needed some way to distract from his unwelcome and wholly disturbing reaction.
“I believe you can,” she answered before she boldly strode across the threshold.
At any other time and with anyone else, Dell would never have allowed a person to just enter his home in such a way. But his current physical sensitivity to this woman had him stepping back on instinct to avoid direct contact, which gave her just enough room to sweep the rest of the way into the house.
Damn and blast.
Closing the door with a hard click, he turned to face her and saw that she had already crossed the small hall to the parlor. Dell gritted his teeth so hard his jaw ached. Following her into the front room, he watched with a further tightening in his loins as she swept her voluminous cloak from her shoulders to toss it carelessly to the sofa.
She was still clothed in the same evening gown from the night before. Dell couldn’t stop his gaze from dropping briefly down her narrow back to the suggestive curve of her hips and buttocks before she spun around again to face him.
“I do not believe it is proper manners to so rudely force your way into someone’s home,” he said almost plaintively. “Especially when they are not at home.”
She laughed then, a full-bodied sound accompanied by a knowing flash in her eyes. She arched her winged black brows and placed her hands on her hips. “Do not bother with the theatrics. I know it is you, Mr. Turner,” she declared.
How the hell had she known?
The first time anyone had ever seen through one of his disguises, and it had to be she.
Dell considered denying it, but figured the truth would likely get her out of there faster.
“Fine,” he said in his natural voice, which carried more than a hint of his annoyance. “Mind telling me what the hell you are doing back here? I told you I would let you know when I learned something.”
“And did you? Learn something?” she asked, her tone hopeful.
“Not yet,” he replied stiffly, expecting her to press him further or demand he do more.
“Well, the situation has changed.”
Dell narrowed his gaze. “How?”
“My sister returned home safely less than two hours ago.”
It was not what he’d expected to hear. But it would do. “You have come to pay the remainder of my fee, then?”
She tipped her head, allowing the black ringlets falling from her coiffure to gently graze her collarbone. “Not exactly.” Turning away, she strolled toward the front window.
“Then what? Exactly?” he asked, fighting the inexplicable desire to follow her across the room.
She glanced back over her shoulder with a challenging light in her gaze. “You were hired to find my sister and bring her home. Since she obviously managed to do that on her own, I have decided to give you another chance to earn your full fee.”
Crossing his arms over his chest, Dell asked, “What would you have me do now?”
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
Lord of Lies is the third book in the Fallen Ladies series by Amy Sandas. Having previously read the first book, it seems that this book runs parallel to it, meaning it can definitely be read as a stand alone. In fact until I realised the parallel lines I was a little confused thinking that I had read the book before. The first book was about Emma, one of three sisters. The second about Lily, which I haven’t had the pleasure of reading yet, but know that I will. Then there is this book, about Portia.
Emma desperately wants to marry off her younger sisters, Lily and Portia. She wants them to marry well because they deserve the best, and because if they don’t marry this season, they won’t have the money to afford a second season. Lily isn’t inclined, and Portia, well she knows she must marry but she really just wants some excitement in her life. She wants to feel useful, and needed. She is bored. When her sister Lily gets kidnapped all that changes.
Determined to find her sister she hires Nightshade, a man notorious for doing difficult jobs that no others have any success with, including Bow Street. Dell Turner is Nightshade, a man brought up on the streets, one that turned his upbringing to his advantage. He now hires himself out to the Elite for a tidy sum of money in return. He is a man of many disguises and personas all in the name of ‘getting the job done’ with nobody knowing who he really is.
Portia first meets Dell when she storms past his butler into his home in the wee hours of the morning. Their first meeting is a doozy, I’m not telling why, but suffice to say that lust filled sparks fly. Portia is determined to hire him to help find her sister and in the course of him attempting to the job without her interference, he finally gives in to the inevitable and lets her help him.
First the job entailed finding her sister, then when she returns of her own accord, the job changes to finding the man who abducted her…..but by the time they find him they learn why he kidnapped Lily, and once again the job changes, this time to helping the kidnapper out! During all this time Portia ends up getting under Dell’s skin. Their attraction to each other is palpable and by the time Portia asks him to kiss her, it’s not long before passion nearly spirals out of control. Dell can’t see anything coming of their relationship, he thinks he isn’t good enough for her. He also knows his line of work will put her in danger especially as she insists on helping him. He wants to finish the job they are on, and then for her own sake he needs to push her aside. Portia on the other hand loves him, and not only does she want to marry him, but she wants to continue working with him to solve cases. It makes her feel alive.
Can she make him see sense that they belong together and that the jobs he does don’t always have to be as dangerous as they have been? They can be the perfect partnership in every way can’t they?
The love and lust between our hero and heroine is potent, and the passionate scenes between them practically steamed up my glasses! It’s one of my favourite story lines where a couple fight the attraction between them until they finally give in and the story ignites. Dell and Portia were just like that. But to top off a great romance, there was the added bonus of joining our couple as they endeavoured to solve their case. Lives are at stake including their own! This book was a real page turner and I couldn’t put it down until I read it all. I love books like this one that hook me from page one and never let go right to the end. There was one particular scene at the end that had me laughing out loud at 3 am in the morning. I truly didn’t see it coming and I am smiling now even thinking about it.
There was only one tiny negative for me, and that is that there seemed no follow through with a possible plot. Portia faces off with one man who takes liberties, and not being a demure miss she ends up humiliating him and leaving him suffering. When he immediately goes after her he is thwarted, then much later on he is staring daggers at her across a ballroom. I expected some kind of retribution, and every time something strange happened in the story, or something worrying, I thought it was going to be him. Even at the very end, when that laugh out loud scene happened I still thought that the ‘bad guy’ was going to turn up and get his revenge. It didn’t happen, and I feel like he wouldn’t have just let it go. Other than that, the book was fabulous and I recommend it wholeheartedly.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced readers’ copy of this book.