The Dark Seduction of Miss Jane
By Amanda McIntyre
About the book:
A scandalous betrayal sets Miss Jane Goodwin on an unexpected journey to London to pursue her dream of being the first female investigative journalist, but she soon finds herself in a hotbed of murder and controversy. Seduced by the passions of a mysterious lover and stalked by a madman, tensions mount as Jane falls prey to her desires, only to discover a deadly secret that threatens more than just her trust in men.
Inspector Randolph Mansfield is one of Scotland Yard’s elite, battling the dark secrets of his past while trying to solve a rash of grisly murders threatening to mar Queen Victoria's Jubilee. His respite is the anonymity he finds in the decadence of a private gentleman’s club, until a determined American journalist goes undercover in search of her stalker and he finds the lines between protection and passion blurred. But as tensions heat and her life is threatened, he must choose whether to reveal his true identity at the risk of losing her trust and his career.
July 11, 2014
“Of course, the Her Majesty is having her Golden Jubilee in June. They say it’s to be one of the grandest celebrations that London has seen in some time. There are preparations being made for a parade, a gala ball, and fireworks, as I understand it.”
“Not if the socialists have anything to say about it,” Wesley muttered.
The conversation came to an abrupt standstill. From the look that Isabella darted to her nephew, Jane sensed that she did not appreciate his interjection.
“What?” He looked back at his aunt. “Shouldn't she have a realistic view of what is happening in lovely London town?”
Isabella pointed her finger, prepared to respond when the carriage came to an abrupt stop, taking with it any semblance of a breeze.
“Probably traffic. I’m sure it’s just a slight delay. We should be moving soon,” Isabella said, working the fan diligently in front of her face.
Jane poked her head out of the window, hopeful for a gulp of air, but curious just the same as to the delay.
“Why don’t I tell you about our writing club while we wait?” Isabella suggested.
Jane drew in her head, less interested in hearing about the club than what was preventing their progress in getting there. She dropped her book and gloves on the seat beside her and gathered her skirts to exit the carriage. “If you don’t mind, I think I’ll just step outside and see what the reason for our delay is.” The truth of it was that the stifling heat inside the cab was making her nauseated.
“Watch out, miss,” a gruff voice boomed out of nowhere as she opened the door. Caught off guard, she missed the step entirely and escaped total embarrassment of landing on her face thanks to a set of strong arms that captured her waist. “You should learn to look, young woman, before you step from a coach.”
Jane steadied her legs, preparing to face her rescuer.
“Excuse me, miss. I’m in a bit of a hurry.”
“But I…” She barely caught a glimpse of him as he turned and headed at a quick gait up the street. From her view, she noted his hair, badly in need of attention, was thick, coal black and hung in deep waves over his collar. His dark brown coat flapped around his long legs in his determined haste.
“Ah, I see you’ve met our illustrious Inspector Mansfield.” Wesley hopped from the carriage. Together they watched him disappear around the corner of a building a few yards ahead. Other curiosity seekers were trotting toward the same direction.
“Come on.” Intrigued, she grabbed Wesley’s hand.
“Where to, Miss Jane?” He gave her a puzzled look, but kept up with her stride.
“To wherever he is going. He is the inspector, correct?”
Jane lifted the hem of her skirt, empowered by the familiar rush of a reporter’s adrenaline infusing her stamina. She looked over her shoulder and spoke to Wesley, who lagged a few steps behind. “Then we certainly don’t want to miss whatever he is so hell-bent to get to.” This is what she lived for, the drama of everyday life. Perhaps it was the thrill of the unknown—the chase, as it were. A trait derived no doubt by her adventuresome parents. They never settled for long between their journeys, always, it seemed, in a constant state of preparation for their next mission. They loved Jane, of course, but as she grew older, she began to wonder if her conception had simply been another grand venture. When they were around, they were larger than life to her—filled with glorious stories and tales of their journeys. And when they were gone and her life was divided between boarding school and Aunt Cornelia’s house, their letters were all that Jane had to cling to in her adolescence. They had promised that when she was of a proper age, they would take her with them. But that promise—unfilled—followed them to their graves. Now it was up to Jane to find her own adventures.
“Miss Jane, it could be dangerous,” Wesley called as they waded into the crowd beginning to clog the street. He caught up to her, keeping pace with her tenacity in pushing through the throng.
“Very possibly, but what great story isn’t just a bit dangerous, I ask you?” She smiled at him with a quick glance as they neared the top of the hill to follow where the inspector had disappeared.
A rigid wall of uniformed constables formed a barricade at the end of the street, keeping gawkers from disrupting whatever scene lay ahead. The crowd pressed close to the human barrier, trying to catch a glimpse at what was going on.
“They’ve blocked the street.” Wesley craned his neck over the huddled mass in front of them.
“Do you see any possible way of getting closer?” she asked, searching for a way through the tightly packed humanity.
“Another body part.”
Jane whirled to see where the whispered comment had come from, but too many people had crowded around her.
“The second in a few weeks’ time. I hear the inspector has his hands bloody full. He’s got no way of knowing how to identify the bits.”
Jane was astounded by the whispered rumors. How was it that such news had not yet made it across the Atlantic? Quiet murmurs followed with a gasp or two, but no one spoke aloud. Jane struggled, backtracking until she found Wesley. She grabbed his arm and leaned close. “Did you hear? They say it’s a body part?” Horror-stricken, she stared at him. “What is going on in London that you’ve not told me about?”
Wesley’s expression clouded and he looked around, leaning close so he wouldn’t be overheard. “Be cautious of what you say, Jane. And don’t jump to conclusions based on hearsay.”
Her gaze narrowed, and so too, her patience. “A good reporter will verify the rumors, you can be assured, sir.” Still, she couldn’t say why it perplexed her that the Hamptons had not even mentioned such macabre goings-on in their correspondence. “Still, I heard it plain as day. Someone said it was a body part.”
He tucked his thumbs in his pockets, his lip curling in a brief smile. “People love to gossip, Jane. The longer you’re here, the more you will see that London is a great melting pot of many types of people. They arrive daily, bringing their beliefs, their way of life, with them. Frankly, not all of them agree with how the queen dictates the government.”
“I don’t understand,” she whispered sternly. “Are you saying that these murders are motivated by”—she waved one hand—“politics?”
“Sshh.” He frowned at her. “The streets have ears.”
Jane sighed and noticed over his shoulder an opening near the barricade of solemn-faced Bobbies. She surged forward, determined to see for herself what the city agencies were trying to hide. She heard Wesley calling her name, but fought through the mob, making her way to the front.
Wesley’s voice carried over the heads of the crowd. She pressed forward, confident he would catch up. She faced the determined uniformed officers and pushed up on her toes to catch a glimpse beyond the broad shoulders of London’s finest. A few yards away, she spotted the dark-haired inspector. He was kneeling beside an object that he’d hastily covered with his own coat. Her thoughts raced with how she could get close enough to speak to him, but even as she considered her options, an ambulance with the words St. John’s Hospital painted on the side arrived. The drivers, holding white sheets up to shroud the object from public view, placed it in the wagon, and carted it away. Within moments of its departure, the congested group of gawkers began to dissipate as quickly as they’d assembled. Looking weary and slightly frustrated from his battle with the crowd, Wesley arrived at Jane’s side.
“Were you able to see anything?” Wesley eyed the inspector and the men circled around him as he spoke. He appeared to be giving out instructions.
“No, they’ve shielded something from the crowd.” Jane looked at Wesley, knowing that whatever it was, seemed very small. Wrapped in the hospital drape, it had taken only one man to carry it back to the ambulance. “Has this happened before?
Do they have any leads?”
Wesley hesitated, and then gently took her arm. “We’ll discuss this in private, Jane. Not here on the street.”
She walked beside him, his arm looped through hers. She slowed as they passed by the inspector and the small group of men he spoke to, hoping to overhear some of what was being said. She was so focused on listening that she didn’t realize until too late the dark eyes of the inspector studying her. Transfixed, she regarded him and his brooding expression. His firm jaw looked as though untouched by his morning razor, clenched as his provocative mouth turned down in a grim frown. His eyes, unwavering, held hers, following her like a panther watching his prey. Despite the warm temperature, a shiver skated across her shoulders. Jane forced herself to look away.
About The Author
Amanda McIntyre grew up the daughter of a father who was a distributor for a New York magazine publishing firm, and usually had her nose stuck in the latest issue of Vampirella magazine or a Hitchcock Mystery paperback. She has been called "a true artist in the writing realm' and her zest for life inspires her "character-driven" stories. Her passion is to take ordinary people and place them in extraordinary situations. She is a best-selling, multi-genre hybrid author and has received numerous awards and nominations for her work. Amanda is published internationally, in audio, e-book and in print. She currently writes sizzling contemporary cowboy romance and is about to release her first historical erotic thriller.
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