The Jewel Thief and the Earl by @ReginaJeffers is a Stress Busting Festival pick #regency #giveaway
The Jewel Thief and the Earl
Regency romance; historical fiction; romantic suspense
Grandison Franklyn, 8th Earl Harlow, has earned the moniker "Grandison, the Great" for a variety of reasons: his well-honed attitude of superiority; his appearance; and a string of mistresses, most notably Lady Jenest, who created a "great" row when he cut her loose.
Miss Colleen Everley is the daughter of England's most notorious thief, a man called "Brook's Crook.” Colleen has been taught many of her father's skills, along with an eye for the value of each item in a room. Unfortunately, the lady does not possess Thomas Everley’s daring.
Lord Harlow and Miss Everley must combine forces to return Queen Charlotte’s sapphire necklace before Her Majesty learns it is missing. Toss in a healthy sprinkling of quirky characters and missteps in the investigation, and the reader will find a delightful tale that goes beyond the “Cinderella” effect and opposites attract.
“You appear to be very well-educated, Miss Everley,” he said through tight lips.
“I am, my lord. My father believed a woman had the right to study science and languages and . . .” She paused for emphasis. “And, naturally, art and music.”
“Naturally,” he said grudgingly.
“One might say, in many ways I am more educated than many gentlemen sitting in the Lords and Commons,” she challenged a second time.
Although Grandison enjoyed her deceivingly delicate features and admired the sheer force of will she displayed, he would prefer not to be tested by a mere miss. Unfortunately, for him, even through his annoyance, a visceral tug of attraction had him wondering if Miss Everley found him even half as attractive as he did her. Heat crackled between them, and it had nothing to do with her obstinacy. Ice versus fire, he thought. Despite himself, Grand smiled. “I would expect nothing less of Thomas Everley’s daughter, Miss Everley. From what I know of him, your father holds a variety of interests. That being said, if you do not mind, might we discuss the business that brings us together. Time is of the essence.”
Before the lady could respond, a maid rolled in a tea cart. “Should I serve, miss?”
“Thank you, Caro. I shall pour. Please leave the door set ajar upon your exit.”
With the maid’s exit, the lady took up the strainer and the hot water. “Milk? Sugar, my lord?”
He waved off the offer and rose to accept the cup of tea from her. As their fingers brushed against each other, a frisson of heat crept up Grand’s arm. It was all he could do not to shake off the feeling and, therefore, spill the tea.
He waited for her to pour her tea before he continued. “I am assuming Lord Liverpool has apprised you of the nature of my business.”
“In truth, he did not. His lordship contacted a ‘friend,’ who arranged for our meeting,” she corrected.
Grandison suddenly desired to know the nature of her friendship—whether the “friend” was another female, or a male—someone she held in affection. Naturally, he assumed from Liverpool’s orders that the friend was Lord Hampton, but he could not be certain. If so, perhaps, Lord Hampton had contacted her directly. The idea displeased him. He knew no man of his circle of society who would align himself with such a scandalous family as was hers, but a man could easily ignore her connections if he were of a lower class. Most assuredly, her “friend” could be the man to whom she showed her patronage, but the idea she could be some man’s mistress went against Grandison’s sense of rightness; therefore, he ignored the possibility that another might enjoy her body when he could not.
“Would you speak of why you wished to take my acquaintance?” she asked after sipping her tea, and Grand belatedly realized he had not responded to her remark about her “friend.”
He stalled a bit longer, also sipping his tea while deciding how much to share with her. At length, he said, “A sapphire necklace of great importance and value has gone missing. I was asked to examine the ‘usual suspects,’ so to speak, but there is no word of the necklace or a theft circulating through those quarters of London.”
“And Lord Liverpool believes I have knowledge of this necklace because I am Thomas Everley’s daughter?” She regarded him with ill-disposed stillness.
“If his lordship thought you involved, I imagine he would have had you arrested and questioned, rather than to order me to meet with you,” he corrected.
The faintest glint of a mocking smile edged the corners of her mouth. “Then, if my assistance is required, I must be made aware of the particulars of the necklace and of the theft itself. Who is its owner?”
“I am not permitted to say,” Grandison replied.
She sighed heavily. “I see you do not mean to make this easy. Might you inform me of where the necklace was being kept before it went missing?”
“Again, I am not at leisure to speak of the circumstances,” Grand said evenly.
“Then, pray tell, how am I to assist you if I know nothing of the crime?” she demanded.
Regarding her with remarkable self-possession, he said, “I do not believe Lord Liverpool considered your personal involvement in the investigation. It is my understanding, his lordship simply requires the names and locations of those likely to be involved in what can be called a crime ‘demanding’ his personal attention. I will take the initiative to locate and question the possible suspects.”
The lady raised a sleek eyebrow. “I assure you, my lord, you would not last five minutes in the seamy underside of London that I suspect we must travel without my assistance. Where we must go, being an arrogant earl holds no standing. If you truly wish the necklace’s return, you will convince Lord Liverpool he requires more than a list of possible suspects. You will require my personal assistance.”
Annoyance came to rest fully on Grand’s shoulders. “If such is so, I suppose I will be required to detain you until you change your mind and cooperate with the investigation, Miss Everley.”
Instead of responding to his threat, the lady asked, “Might I borrow your handkerchief, sir?”
Grandison frowned in confusion. “My handkerchief?”
She presented him a cursory glance. “Never mind,” she said with a too sweet smile. “I already possess it.” She pulled a handkerchief bearing his family crest in its corner from a pocket in her dress. “Along with your monogramed button cover.” She placed both on the low table beside the tea service. “And a note which either contains my directions or that of another.” A folded-over card followed the other items. “My education, as you observe, contained more than numbers and letters and history and science,” she explained.
A simmering vexation arrived. Grand did not enjoy being made to appear the fool, but he knew Liverpool would expect him to place that emotion aside in order to return the queen’s necklace to the Prince Regent. “You have earned my attention, Miss Everley,” he grounded out through tight lips.
“It is not your attention I require, your lordship, but rather your cooperation.”
Buy Links (including BookBub):
Available to Read on Kindle Unlimited
What’s your favorite way to combat stress?
When I was younger, an aerobics class or dance class was my salvation. Now, that I am in my 70s, I permit the machines to do some of the work for me. However, I would imagine my chiropractor would tell you, I quite naturally carry my stress around between my shoulder blades, so they required more attention.
Why is your featured book a stress busting read?
Although there is a “mystery” of sorts going on, the story has its quirky moments, which demonstrate we must laugh at ourselves occasionally if we are truly to know happiness.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon US or Canada gift card.
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon CA account to win.
Runs May 1 – May 31
Drawing will be held on June 1.
Regina Jeffers is an award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency, historical mysteries, and contemporary novels. Living outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, she is a retired English teacher and an often sought after consultant for media literacy and language arts, who spends her “down time” pulling weeds from her flower beds and spoiling her “grand joys.”
Social Media Links:
Every Woman Dreams (Blog) https://reginajeffers.wordpress.com Austen Authors (Blog) http://austenauthors.net Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Regina-Jeffers-Author-Page-141407102548455/?fref=ts Twitter https://twitter.com/reginajeffers Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Regina-Jeffers/e/B008G0UI0I/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1479079637&sr=8-1 Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/jeffers0306/ BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/profile/regina-jeffers Instagram https://www.instagram.com/darcy4ever/ You Tube Interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzgjdUigkkU Website https://rjefferscom.wordpress.com/