on July 31st 2018
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A sensual tale of two spies with the same insane assignment - each other.
A year after her husband died in the Battle of Ligny, Lady Lydia Barrymore is determined to resume her work for the Foreign Office. She's spent a year solving puzzles and assembling dissected maps to maintain her skills. Her first assignment has her perplexed, though—do what she must to help a fellow operative recover his sanity. Although she finds the man rather beautiful, Sir Donald has also proved most annoying.
Newly knighted Adonis “Donald” Truscott returned from the Continent with a tendency to get lost in his thoughts. His frequent episodes of staring into space have his sister claiming he's a candidate for Bedlam—and he's not about to argue. He doesn't always remember where or when he was when he recovers, but he remembers he made a promise, and he's determined to keep it.
A promise to provide protection for Lydia, whether she wants it or not.
When a puzzle’s directions require Lydia to solve it with the help of Adonis, she discovers the man harbors secrets that may be impossible to reveal. With her own sanity in jeopardy—a year-long mystery involving her late husband may be more dangerous than an errant knight—Lydia will have to piece together a solution that suits them both in “The Enigma of a Widow".
The thought of viewing artwork created more than a millennia ago excited Lydia. That someone had the skills to cut and carve marble into such detailed works of art meant the ancestors of humanity weren’t the barbaric creatures she had been warned of whilst still in the schoolroom in Merriweather Manor.
For every Spartan, there had been an Athenian, after all.
Viewing statues of mostly naked men would have been nearly impossible if there were too many others with her in the Gallery. On a day such as this, she had the room to herself.
She didn’t exactly study the statues, but surreptitiously surveyed them as she slowly walked around each one. She found them intriguing. Men nowadays weren’t so very different from those of two- or three thousand years ago, she decided, although she only had experience with the two from current times. Perhaps the Greeks were more beautiful. Youthful, mayhap. Or perhaps they only depicted younger subjects because it was difficult to carve wrinkles into marble.
The reclining man before her was definitely youthful, his body barely muscled, his face relaxed as if he were sleeping. She could almost feel his soft breaths as he lay there, one arm raised above his head and angled so its hand was atop his curly hair whilst the other was bent with its hand resting beneath his chin. He wasn’t entirely naked but wore a cape tossed over one shoulder, and the folds of a skirt were strewn about his mid-section. His feet sported sandals with leather ties wrapped about his thick ankles.
Awareness of another’s presence in the gallery had the hairs on the back of her neck reacting.
The sensation of a soft breath wafted over her shoulder again, this time bearing the slightest hint of sandalwood and spice cologne. Stiffening where she stood, Lydia realized someone was standing directly behind and to her left. A man, no doubt, given the scent of his cologne. She was about to put voice to a complaint, but he put voice to a most audacious claim before she had a chance.
“I’ve been told I look exactly like him,” the male voice whispered, almost in her ear.
Lydia carefully stepped to the right and turned slightly, amazed to see that, yes, the intruder did indeed look exactly like Adonis. Or Endymion sleeping on Mount Latmos, if one remembered the label mounted next to the block of marble. He was also impeccably dressed in a superfine navy topcoat, an elaborately embroidered waistcoat in red and gold, and buckskin breeches that, at the moment, left absolutely nothing to the imagination as far as his muscular thighs and the bit of anatomy that was located just above them. A quick glance at his tasseled boots, and Lydia was sure she could see her reflection. One of his gloved hands was pressed onto the top of a cane handle decorated in ornately-patterned silver plate while the other held what appeared to be a sketchpad.
“You do, in fact,” she murmured, her gaze darting back and forth between the statue and his living twin. “Are you related, perhaps?” she asked with an arched eyebrow.
“My mother must have thought so. She named me Adonis,” he replied with an equally arched eyebrow.
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