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The Gentleman Jewel Thief
Jessica Peterson

Notorious rake Lord William Townshend, Earl of Harclay, meets his match in Lady Violet Rutledge when he attempts to steal the Hope... Weiterlesen
Kartonierter Einband (Kt), 336 Seiten  Weitere Informationen
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Beschreibung

Notorious rake Lord William Townshend, Earl of Harclay, meets his match in Lady Violet Rutledge when he attempts to steal the Hope diamond, which she has borrowed from its owner, from around her neck.

"Sexy and sparkling with wit, The Gentleman Jewel Thief overflows with adventure, suspense, and fast-paced action. Jessica Peterson is a fresh, new voice in historical romance."-- Shana Galen, author of The Spy Wore Blue

"Deliciously fun! What a lovely, witty book - I can´t wait to see what Jessica Peterson does next!"--Kate Noble, author of If I Fall

Autorentext
Jessica Peterson began reading romance to escape the decidedly unromantic awkwardness of her teenage years. Having found solace in the likes of Rhett Butler and Mr. Darcy, it wasn’t long before she began creating tall, dark, and handsome heroes of her own.

A graduate of Duke University, Jessica worked in investment banking before leaving to pursue her writerly dreams. She lives with her husband, the tall, dark, and handsome Mr. Peterson, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Zusammenfassung
In an era when ladies were demure and men courtly, one priceless treasure set England ablaze and incited unimaginable scandal and passion—the Hope Diamond.

Heir to an impressive title and fortune, Lord William Townshend, Earl of Harclay, is among the most disreputable rakes in England. Desperately bored by dull heiresses and tedious soirees, he seeks new excitement—with a dangerous scheme to steal the world’s most legendary gemstone from its owner, Thomas Hope. To his surprise, however, it’s not the robbery that sets his blood burning but the alluring lady from whom he pilfers the gem.

A string of bad luck has left the fate of Lady Violet Rutledge’s estate entirely in Hope’s scheming hands. So when his prized jewel disappears from around her neck, she has no choice but to track down the villain responsible for the theft. Only Harclay has his sights set on taking more from her than the necklace—and she’s tempted to surrender anything he desires…

Now, caught in a thrilling game of secrecy and seduction, Violet must find a way to protect her fortune—and her heart—before she loses both forever…

Leseprobe

One

City of London, Fleet Street

Spring 1812

The evening’s winnings in his pocket and a small, if indiscreet, smile on his lips, Lord William Townshend, tenth Earl of Harclay, strode into the bank. At once a gaggle of bespectacled Hope & Co. employees gathered at his elbow. One peeled back his coat while complimenting Harclay’s cologne, even though he wasn’t wearing any (“a vigorous choice, my lord, most vigorous!”); another took his hat and gloves and bowed, not once but three times, and appeared about to burst into sobs of gratitude.

Biting back a sigh, Harclay continued up the familiar wide staircase, polished with such enthusiasm as to make it impossible to climb without the aid of the sturdy balustrade. He admired the zeal of Mr. Hope’s bankers, he really did. But to be greeted as if Harclay were Julius Caesar, triumphantly marching on Rome—it was a bit much, considering he came not to conquer Pompey, but to deposit a thousand or two.

And Mr. Hope—ah, he was an altogether different breed. It was why Harclay had, upon his accession to the title some eight years before, chosen to transfer his not inconsiderable wealth to the then-unknown Hope & Co. For Mr. Hope possessed qualities Harclay was hard-pressed to find in his English set: Hope was foreign and exotic and infinitely odd, but more than that, he was possessed of a sort of magnetic brilliance that was at once off-putting and entirely hilarious. That Hope had, through wise investment, nearly doubled Harclay’s fortune—well, the earl considered that quite secondary.

The doors to Hope’s office were flung open to welcome him, and he strode into the cavernous room—more a museum, really, with a Japanese samurai suit of armor squatting in one corner and a passel of Persian rugs rolled up in another. Above Mr. Hope’s enormous desk hung a monumental Botticelli, which, despite Harclay’s admiration, was a bit indecent for a place of business, considering it depicted a breast-bearing goddess.

And then there was Mr. Hope: tall, broad, imposing in that strange way of his. He stood and, though Harclay waved him off, proffered a short but lyrical bow. Behind them the doors swung shut and Harclay let out a small sigh of relief.

“My dear Lord Harclay,” Mr. Hope said. “To have braved such hellish weather to seek my company—why, after a brandy or two I’d blush! Speaking of . . . ?”

Hope raised an eyebrow to a stout pine sideboard crowded with crystal decanters winking seductively in the dull morning light.

“Good man, it’s not yet noon.”

Mr. Hope blinked. “Nonsense. In the north it’s common knowledge a nip in the day keeps the doctor at bay. Please, do sit.”

As Hope busied himself at the sideboard, Harclay folded his tall frame into a rather wide but rickety antique chair. It groaned ominously beneath his weight.

“I say, is this chair sound? I would hate to damage the”—he cleared his throat—“lovely piece.”

Hope waved away his words, setting a heavy blue crystal snifter before him.

“Ah.” Hope smiled, landing in his own chair, snifter pressed to his nose. “I daresay it will withstand its current burden, all things considered. It once belonged to Henry VIII—did you know he weighed over twenty stone at his death?”

“I did not,” Harclay said, shifting his weight so that it rested not on the chair but on his own legs. “However did you manage to discover such a treasure?”

“That profligate prince regent of yours,” Hope said. “Idiot fellow’s so deep in debt he’d sell his own bollocks for a fair price. Whatever is left of them, anyway.”

“Fair point,” Harclay replied.

“No matter.” Mr. Hope took a long, satisfied pull of brandy. “Assuming you have not come to discuss the prince’s rather epic stupidity—in which case I am most happy to oblige you—how might I be of assistance this morning, Lord Harclay? A withdrawal, perhaps?”

Harclay shook his head. “Not this time. A deposit, actually, and a rather large one.”

He placed his snifter on the desk. Reaching into his jacket pocket, he produced a stack of banknotes, each signed by its respective debtor and stamped with the credentials of various banks and agents.

Harclay watched in amusement as Hope struggled to smother his surprise. The banker coughed, pounding on his chest, and finally managed to wheeze a reply.

“Good God, my lord, did you ransack the royal treasury? Bankrupt the local gentry?” He lowered his voice to a whisper. “Not a duel, surely? Winner takes all? I hear blood wages are quite the thing.”

Harclay laughed. For a brief moment he thought of his Manton dueling pistols, gleaming, gorgeous things that were his constant companions during a rather raucous youth. Alas, they had remained in their velvet-lined box for some time now, but Mr. Hope’s toes would positively curl if he knew how often those guns had been Harclay’s saving grace.

“No, no,” Harclay said. “I’m afraid it’s just a bit of luck I’ve come across at White’s, games of chance and all that.”

Mr. Hope scooped up the stack of notes and rifled through them. Harclay could tell the banker was biting his tongue to keep from exclaiming at the number of zeros on each note.

Hope clucked his tongue. “Tsk-tsk. Those gentlemen friends of yours should know better than to gamble with the Lord Harclay. Hell, even I’ve been warned about you. Something of a legend you’ve become; they say your luck never runs out. That your stakes are impossibly high.”

Harclay, legs aching, leaned as far back as Henry Tudor’s priceless chair would allow without splintering into a dozen pieces. “My companions at last night’s table were”—here that secret smile returned to his lips—“in a rather generous mood.”

“Well”—Mr. Hope held up the stack of notes with a smile—“all the better for you, my lord, though your accounts are already robust, yes, most robust. Many gentlemen of—ah, your particular age and station have quite the opposite problem, I’m afraid.”

“Indeed,” Harclay replied. He was hardly surprised. For all their swagger and impeccable breeding, most of his friends were frightfully broke. Harclay pitied the poor fellows and helped when he could; nonetheless, there was no helping his set’s near-complete lack of intelligence and savvy, and the temptation to best them time and time again proved far too enticing.

“Very well,” Mr. Hope said. He clapped the long edge of the notes against his desk to gather them into a neat pile. “I shall see to this at once.”

“Excellent,” Harclay said and made to rise. “And it goes without saying—”

Mr. Hope pressed his thumbnail to his lips. “To the grave, Harclay. Can’t have word of your companions’ most sizable losses getting to the papers or, worse, to their wives.”

“Gratitude, good sir, I do appreciate your discretion,” Harclay replied. He was about to turn and exit the room when Mr. Hope held up his hand.

“And one more thing,” the banker said. “I assume you have not received the invitation I sent, some days ago? Post is dreadful this time of year, what with all this rain washing out the roads, and I know a man of your stature would never be so rude as to send a tardy reply.”

Harclay detected the slightest trace of irony in Mr. Hope’s words and replied with no small measure of his own. “I abhor rudeness, Mr. Hope, above all things.”

For a moment Mr. Hope studied Harclay, his dark eyes twinkling, but the earl merely returned Hope’s gaze with a measured amount of disinterest.

Of course Harclay had received the invitation, and, as he had done with all others from Mr. Hope, he had blatantly, rudely ignored it, as had many of his friends. The banker was rich beyond imagining, indeed, with the tastes and fine manners of a gentleman, but alas bore no title; the more rigid of Harclay’s set zealously scorned Hope while harboring a secret envy of his fortune and freedom.

That Hope did not have the good luck to be born into a blue-blooded family mattered not a whit to Harclay. No, his reason for ignoring Hope’s invitation was rather more mundane. Every year, on the first Friday of May, Hope hosted the most extravagant and hotly anticipated ball of the season. Hope, in usual form, attached to each ball a sufficiently ridiculous theme. Last year, the more adventurous of the ton arrived dressed as popes, assassins, and breast-bearing courtesans for “The Murderous Medici”; the year before, it had been “One Thousand and One Nights in the Emperor’s Hareem,” whatever that meant.

Harclay would rather forfeit his tongue, or even his manhood, than attend such a spectacle. The same tedious conversation with the same tedious debutantes; the crush of rooms and the smell of damp, drunken bodies; the spirited dances and inevitable swoons: all this glory, but raised to fever pitch by daringly cut costumes, cunningly crafted masks, and Hope’s rather impressive cellar of cognacs and brandies.

No, Harclay mused, no, thank you indeed.

“I know you haven’t attended many of my humble soirees in the past,” Mr. Hope said, reading Harclay’s thoughts. “But this year, I’m doing something a bit different.”

“Oh?” Harclay said, with a longing glance toward the exit.

“Oh, yes,” Mr. Hope replied, a sly grin on his lips. “Imagine it, if you will: the glory days of Versailles, when the Sun King, Louis XIV, ruled over the most splendid and sumptuous court the world has ever seen. The feasts, the silks, the pomp—the jewels.”

A pulse of interest shot through Harclay so quickly he struggled to catch it before it showed up on his face. Jewels? Now, this was something interesting—something different, new, unexpected.

“I’ll let you in on a little secret,” Mr. Hope said, lowering his voice. “After much searching, I do believe I’ve managed to locate one of the French crown jewels.”

“The French crown jewels?” Harclay drawled in his best monotone. “Didn’t they disappear ages ago, at the start of the Revolution?”

Mr. Hope smiled. “Don’t play dumb with me, my lord, for you are as familiar with the tale as anyone else. We know a band of thieves broke into the royal treasury shortly after poor King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette were arrested. The thieves, and the jewels, seemed to have vanished overnight. And now, nearly twenty years later, one of said gems has resurfaced.”

“But how—”

Mr. Hope daringly waved his finger. “A gentleman does not kiss and tell.”

Harclay furrowed his brow. “I believe that applies to something else entirely—”

“As I was saying,” Hope said, nearly perspiring with excitement, “I’ve managed to purchase the very same jewel worn by the King of France!”

Harclay paused, trying in vain to contain his curiosity. “Which jewel, exactly? Surely not—”

“The French Blue? Yes, that’s the one. It is the crown jewel of my collection, so to speak.”

Harclay made a show of an enormous yawn, though it did nothing to still the rapid beating of his heart. The French Blue!—a treasure indeed. It was rumored to be the size of an apricot, and the most brilliant diamond ever discovered. Harclay had, of course, heard whisperings of the curse attached to the stone; but these only increased his interest. An enormous diamond, worn by kings and cursed by their royal blood?

Marvelous!

“I plan to display the jewel at the ball, Friday next. I’ve hired half the British army to guard them,” Hope said with a smug scoff, “but it will make quite the splash, the jewel, don’t you think? Oh, do make plans to attend, Lord Harclay. ‘The Jewel of the Sun King: An Evening at Versailles’—really, how could you resist?”

Harclay let out a well-practiced sigh of resignation. “Perhaps,” he replied. “I’ve a busy season ahead, you see; I make no promises. And my valet, he’s been unwell, and I can’t very well attend in the nude . . .”

But Mr. Hope smiled beatifically at Harclay’s excuses, knowing he had won over the reluctant earl; as if he knew he had been the first to pique Lord Harclay’s interest in a very, very long time.

Two

Duchess Street, near Cavendish Square

Lady Violet Rutledge arrived at Mr. Thomas Hope’s ball early, at the host’s request. Indeed, a bit too early; upon entrance into Hope Mansion’s soaring hall, she realized that she, Auntie George, and her cousin, Lady Sophia Blaise, were Mr. Hope’s very first guests.

Together the three ladies gawked at the grandeur that surrounded them as they shed their spencers and accepted tiny coupes of champagne from a footman dressed in a towering powdered wig and white satin breeches. Hope had, as usual, taken the Versailles theme quite seriously: fragrant white lilies with blooms as large as dinner plates covered every available surface, and from some corner of the house Violet could hear an opera singer warming up a particularly piercing voice. Hope’s parties were many things, thought Violet, but certainly never dull.

As she, Auntie, and Sophia climbed the grand staircase, Violet remembered with a small smile the previous year’s ball. Dressed as a rather voluptuous Lucrezia Borgia, Violet had taken a near-fatal tumble down these very same steps, only to land in the outstretched arms of Pope Alexander VI—Mr. Hope had cunningly replicated the pontiff’s crooked nose with bread dough and a pair of buttons.

Truth be told, Hope’s infamous balls were a rare opportunity for Violet to steal away for a carefree evening of dancing and, if she were honest, shameless flirtation. The burdens of her everyday life—an ailing father, the viperish gossip surrounding her unmarried state—seemed to evaporate in the perfumed air of Mr. Hope’s ballroom.

A shiver of excitement coursed up her spine as they entered the grand space, a trio of gilt chandeliers glowing dimly from above. Something was going to happen tonight, something exciting: she could feel it, a thrilling spark in the center of her chest.

Musicians were setting up in a corner; Violet noticed even they were in costume, complete with satin bows and hideous white makeup. A long table covered in sumptuous silk linens stood against a far wall of tall windows and was set with the contents of Mr. Hope’s celebrated cellar of rare brown liquors.

“This is dangerous,” Auntie George whispered. “The lighting, the music, the brandy—it’s altogether too romantic. An ogre would look handsome in this light. Promise me you’ll stay out of trouble. No, not you, Violet, it’s too late for you. But Sophia . . . ”

Auntie George turned pointedly to her daughter, eyes narrowed in warning.

“I promise,” Sophia quickly replied. Perhaps a bit too quickly, for Auntie reached out and pinched her ear.

Sophia’s cheeks flamed. The poor dear trembled with anxiety; it was her first season and she had yet to master the butterflies that inevitably filled her belly at every event. Violet reached out and took her hand, giving it a good squeeze. Sophia managed a small smile.

“You’re the loveliest nymph this side of the Styx,” Violet whispered, setting the sleeve of her water goddess costume to rights. What a nymph had to do with the Sun King and his jewels, Violet hadn’t the slightest clue; but Sophia loved the idea, and Violet thought the gauze appropriately scandalous.

“I know I say this every night,” Violet continued, head bent to Sophia’s, “but you’ve nothing to fear. You are lovely and far wittier than anyone else in that ballroom. If you find you are frightened, just imagine whomever you’re talking to is in the nude. That’ll put a smile on your lips, make no mistake.”

Sophia’s shoulders relaxed as she let out a little scoff. “An old trick of yours, sweet cousin?”

“It works wonders; you’ll see.”

Sophia glanced over Violet’s head. “Mr. Hope hired an awful lot of footmen. Do you think their pistols are part of the costume?”

Violet turned to see a phalanx of satin-clad, broad-shouldered men enter the ballroom. They did not look at all like footmen; they wore dark, inscrutable expressions, and a few were missing teeth. Beneath their shiny, ill-fitting waistcoats, Violet could indeed make out the imprint of pistols—and rather large ones at that.

“Dear me, I should hope not,” Violet replied. “How eccentric, even for Mr. Hope.”

At that very moment the man himself came into view, striding into the ballroom behind his pistol-wielding servants.

“Good heavens,” Violet murmured.

Beside her, Auntie George let out a low whistle. “How extraordinary!”

Mr. Hope was coiffed and stuffed and powdered into a towering likeness of the Sun King, Louis XIV, complete with gilded staff and a long, curly black wig. He even sported a pair of red-heeled shoes fastened with diamond-encrusted bows. On his brow rested a gleaming coronet set with sapphires the size of grapes that, Violet mused, were very likely genuine.

“Mademoiselles,” Mr. Hope said, grimacing as his staff impaled his foot. “Bienvenue à Versailles. I was hoping you’d be the first to arrive.”

“Mr. Hope,” Violet said as Hope kissed her outstretched hand. “Your costume is nothing short of—er, epic. However do you manage to keep your neck straight with that wig on your head? It must weigh more than I do.”

Hope swayed his head, the wig swaying along with it, and smiled. “Ghastly headache I’ve got, but it’s worth it for the drama, don’t you think?” He turned to Violet’s cousin. “And Lady Sophia! You are a vision,” he said, swallowing her whole with his dark eyes. He took her hand and pressed his lips to it, lingering a moment longer than was proper.

Sophia appeared happy, her face very pink, at his compliment. “Thank you, Mr. Hope,” she said.

“A nymph, I presume? What a marvelous conceit. A goddess of the wood and of the hunt. The Sun King was a great hunter and would have delighted in such a creature. We go together, you and I.”

By now, Hope was not only swallowing her cousin with his eyes but devouring her. Violet’s narrowed gaze slid from Sophia to Hope and back again. It occurred to her that Sophia was not nervous; no, she was excited, thrumming not with dread but with anticipation.

Were she and Mr. Hope somehow acquainted, and not in the polite sense of the word? Though the tension between them was palpable, the very idea of them together was preposterous. Sophia was as quietly ambitious a debutante as any, and had set her sights on shackling a titled bachelor in possession of various crests and, hopefully, a castle. Violet couldn’t blame her; having grown up in the tumult of genteel poverty, Sophia was wise to seek the stability, and profitability, of such a match.

Mr. Hope—well, Hope was a banker, a tradesman, and a foreigner besides; darkly handsome, too. He was, in short, everything that kept Auntie George awake at night; everything that should send a hopeful debutante like Sophia running for the proverbial hills.

And yet here they were, the banker and the debutante, blushing and flirting and smiling at each other, softly.

“Well”—Auntie George cleared her throat, looking anywhere but at the couple ogling each other—“what lovely decorations.”

As if waking from a spell, Mr. Hope blinked and pressed one last kiss onto Sophia’s hand. He rose with some reluctance, his satin costume rustling as he drew to his full height and motioned to one of his gap-toothed entourage.

“Surely you have been wondering why I selected tonight’s theme, ‘The Jewels of the Sun King,’” he began.

“I have,” Violet replied, “and I wondered to which jewels the title referred, His Majesty’s diamonds or his—”

“Genius!” Sophia said. “A genius theme, surely!”

He returned her compliment with a sheepish smile. “Why, thank you, Lady Sophia.”

A beat of heated silence passed between them.

Again Auntie George cleared her throat. “Your theme, Mr. Hope?”

“Oh, yes!” he said. He turned to his guard-cum-courtier, who held out a box lacquered in black. Mr. Hope took the box in his hands and turned back to Lady Violet, his eyes dancing with excitement.

At once Violet’s heart began to throb. Hope’s box was the same size and shape of that which had held her mother’s jewels, pearl necklaces and emerald brooches and bracelets of the finest jade beads. Over the years such priceless family treasures had been discreetly sold piece by piece, to cover the estate’s mounting debts—debts she had only recently managed to pay off through her careful management of the family’s investments. Violet was left with virtually nothing but her mother’s simple gold wedding band, a tiny thing she now wore on a chain around her neck. It was her most treasured possession.

But here was Mr. Hope, proffering what was sure to be a jewel the size of a teacup. It made Violet dizzy, and not in a lovely, light-headed way.

“I have here in my hands a most precious jewel,” Mr. Hope said gravely. “A priceless jewel, first worn by the great shahs of the Mughal court, and then by the kings of France. Louis the Sun King wore it pinned to a ribbon around his neck; Marie-Antoinette—yes, the very one!—is rumored to have smuggled it in her bodice on an ill-fated escape attempt from Paris.”

Slowly, with great care, Mr. Hope unlatched the clasp on the box. Violet thought she might be sick with anticipation.

“Ladies,” Mr. Hope continued, “I present to you le bleu de France, the French Blue.”

Violet wished to remind Hope that she was perfectly capable of understanding French (though her powers of speech were quite dreadful), and that it would please her very much if he would stop flaunting his flawless command of the language; but as soon as her eyes landed on the glittering stone the breath left her body and she stood mute, transfixed.

For there, nestled in a puddle of fine velvet, was an enormous diamond, cut in an oblong circle roughly the size of a fig. It winked at once blue, then gray; Violet could even detect flashes of red and deep purple in its facets.

“My salts!” Auntie George cried. “Someone get my smelling salts!”

The diamond was beautiful, blindingly so. It was possessed of a gravity, a strange seduction, that made her want to reach out and touch it. To think King Louis XIV had once held this diamond in his royal fingertips! How dazzling he must have been, dressed in ermine and cloth of gold, the French Blue slung about his neck. To which ceremonies had he worn it? To which assemblies and balls and illicit, athletic couplings, conducted in the shadowy halls of Versailles, had the diamond been witness?

Really, the mind boggled.

“It’s beautiful,” Violet said breathily.

The banker positively beamed. “My pièce de résistance, as they say.”

“Indeed,” Violet replied, gaze transfixed on the jewel. “I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Even our own king, poor devil, doesn’t have diamonds like this.”

“It would be a great honor,” Hope said, focusing his gaze on Violet, “if you, as one of my first clients and a dear friend, would do me the honor of displaying the French Blue to my guests and wear it about your neck this evening. I do believe it’s the same shade of blue as your eyes.”

Violet gaped at her host as if he’d just laid her flat on her back with a blow to the nose. Instinctively she fingered the gold band that hung from the chain about her neck. “I couldn’t possibly,” she said, eyes never leaving the gem. “Though it is lovely, the loveliest I’ve seen—”

Mr. Hope waved away her words. Another of his sinister men approached, bearing a second box. Mr. Hope opened it and produced a collar of exquisite diamonds, ropes of them dangling in various lengths from a single necklace.

The banker must have caught them staring, for he smiled and said, “On loan, from one of my—ah, associates. I thought it would be a perfect accompaniment to the French Blue.”

No doubt by “associate,” Hope meant some enormously wealthy Italian duke or an equally foolish Romanov. Perhaps even the prince regent; Mr. Hope was possessed of a wide and influential circle of such “associates,” with whom he traded priceless antiques, exotic African pelts, and extravagant jewelry worthy of a tsarina.

Violet watched as Mr. Hope effortlessly affixed the French Blue to the collar of diamonds as if he handled such treasures every day, perhaps over tea. He then turned to face her, the necklace strung about his fingers like the silken fibers of a spider’s web.

“May I?” he said.

Violet gulped, tucking the ring into the folds of her costume. “You may indeed, Mr. Hope,” she replied and turned away from him, patting her hair to ensure it remained coiffed close to her head.

She gasped when he slid the necklace about her throat. The diamonds felt cold against her skin, electrifyingly so; she shivered visibly and at once he drew back.

“Are you all right, Lady Violet?”

“Yes, quite. What a thrill to wear the Sun King’s diamond, truly,” she said and shivered again. For a moment she wondered if this was what it felt like to be Diane de Poitiers, that infamously decorated mistress of Henri II; or perhaps Catherine the Great, cloaked in diamonds on the throne of her Winter Palace.

Violet stiffened her spine, squared her shoulders. It was a thrill, an honor, to have a small piece of such exalted history hanging from her neck.

The jewel nested in the small, tender indentation between her collarbones. It was heavy, though not so cold now, having warmed to her flesh. If she moved her head just so, she could catch flashes of extravagant brilliance as the molten light of the ballroom reflected off its surface.

She turned to face her audience, and by their stunned faces concluded the diamond was, indeed, the same shade of blue-gray as her eyes.

“Well, then,” she said, feeling suddenly light-headed. “More champagne?”

Three

“Remember, Avery, this very spot,” Harclay said, pulling on his gloves. “I’ve the oddest premonition the evening shall end early.”

“Very well, my lord.” Avery shut the carriage door. “We shan’t move, nary an inch.”

“Good. Always such a crush, getting out of these things.”

He took a deep, vigorous breath as he made his way up the front steps. It was a fine night, a very fine night indeed, a clear night sky above, and the spring air soft and cool against his skin. Harclay couldn’t remember a finer night, not in all his days; for tonight he felt thrillingly, achingly alive. His every sense tingled; his blood coursed hot and ready through his veins. Since his meeting with Hope some days before, Harclay’s mood had been effervescent, joyful even—and now, at last, the time had come.

With no little satisfaction he noted he’d arrived at just the right moment and in just the right costume: Hope’s guests were just getting in their cups, and the mood was light, jovial, as if the heady anticipation of the night’s event had not yet worn off. Like half of those in attendance, Harclay was vaguely attired as a French courtier, with powdered hair and the most enthusiastically patterned jacket his valet could find. Even with purple paisley swirling about his breast, Harclay was hardly distinguishable from the other unfortunately a...

Produktinformationen

Titel: The Gentleman Jewel Thief
Autor: Jessica Peterson
EAN: 9780425272077
ISBN: 978-0-425-27207-7
Format: Kartonierter Einband (Kt)
Herausgeber: Random House N.Y.
Genre: Romane & Erzählungen
Anzahl Seiten: 336
Gewicht: 159g
Größe: H170mm x B107mm x T25mm
Jahr: 2014

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