A Veiled Seduction Novel , Book 2
Signet Eclipse
ISBN: 978-0-451-23760-6
August 2012
Historical Romance

Derbyshire, England 1817

With Napoleon wrapped up and the wars over, double agent Frederick Aveline returns to England. With his father's recent death, Derick is now Viscount Scarsdale. How he became a double agent is an unusual story. Just know that when he finishes up this one last mission for England, he plans to leave all behind and move to America. He's being sent to one of his estates, the one in Derbyshire where his French mother lived the last years of her life. Someone in the neighborhood passed secrets to the enemy, and two couriers disappeared in the vicinity. The traitor or traitors must be identified and punished.

Derick finds no warm welcome when he arrives at Aveline Castle, but only his neighbor, Miss Emma Wallingford, giving orders to his servants. It seems one of his maids is missing, and night and rain are on the way. Derick spent many summers at the castle in his youth, and he recalls Emma as something of a pesky playmate. But once informed of the problem, he joins Emma in the search. They find Molly dead, an apparent victim of murder.

Emma is the daughter of the late Baron Wallingford, mathematician and local magistrate. She lives with her brother who is now magistrate in turn, but Emma is hiding the secret of George's stroke that left him unable to perform his duties. She's made herself the acting magistrate. Emma is a highly competent mathematician also with a bright and logical mind—too bright and forthright to have taken in her one London Season. She did, however, have a long, tepid betrothal that her fiancé called off. This didn't break her heart, but on top of her London failure, it left her with small sense of her allure.

Because of his connections, George Wallingford is one of the possible suspects Derick means to investigate. One way is to stay close to Emma. Derick finds this no hardship; Emma has allure and plenty for him. He puts aside the feelings of guilt—he'd often used his ability to attract women in ferreting out secrets. It's one of the things he was so good at.

As the pair sets out to solve Molly's murder, Derick discovers Emma is making a statistical study of crime in the area, and she may have included possible murders of the missing agents.

SWEET DECEPTION is both a captivating romance and a good mystery. The hero and hero are unique and likable. Emma's background has led her to undervalue herself without despoiling her strengths. Derick's is even more difficult. He's come to the point that he doesn't know who he really is; he just wants to leave it all behind once he fulfills this last mission.

The mystery is full of ins and outs, twists and turns. And during its unraveling, Emma and Derick come closer and closer. As that happens, there is much feistiness and teasing, as well as a hot developing passion. But is there anywhere for a relationship to go?

Jane Bowers