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She could make a killing here.
Rose did nothing to reveal her delight at the discovery although she doubted anyone would derive the true meaning behind a beaming smile or eyes glinting with satisfaction. All the ladies in attendance were agog at the magnificent display of opulence and the evidence of sin, avarice, and gentlemanly indulgences. The fairer sex had finally been allowed entry into one of the men’s most notorious and gossiped about inner sanctums and they were relishing the discoveries of all that had been held in secret and denied them.
The express purpose of tonight’s event—a grand ball, entrance by invitation only—was to entertain current members and introduce potential future ones to all the benefits that the former gentlemen’s club offered. Since her arrival in London a fortnight before, Rose had discovered the Twin Dragons was the talk of the town.
Not surprising as she’d caught sight of its owner half an hour earlier when he’d emerged through a doorway that apparently led to backrooms. With a purpose to his stride, he had caught her attention because she recognized in him a kindred spirit. Not ten moments later, he’d taken a woman into his arms and kissed her quite thoroughly and entirely inappropriately—right in the center of one of the dance areas. Based on his fervor and the lady’s enthusiasm, Rose eliminated him as someone with the potential to assist in her endeavors. He was obviously spoken for, and unattached men were much less complicated with which to deal.
Ignoring the men scrutinizing her, she familiarized herself with the surroundings that would serve as a second home during the coming weeks. A portion of the room contained tables that dealt with various games of chance. She suspected on the morrow that the remainder of the room would as well, but tonight the area absent of games served as a place for people to visit or dance. Huge crystal gaslit chandeliers provided the lighting. The paper along the walls was neutral in tone, not particularly masculine or feminine.
Rose would have liked to have had the opportunity to view it before the renovations that sought to strike a balance between what would remain of interest to males while not offending females. No doubt it had proven a bit more decadent and far more interesting. But she wasn’t here for the trimmings. Rather it was the building’s heart and soul—those upon whom its very existence depended—calling to her.
Wandering through the crowd, smiling here and there, she knew those to whom she’d given a nod of acknowledgement would be confounded, striving to remember from whence they knew her, some would even swear on the morrow that they had recognized her, were old acquaintances. None would admit they’d never seen her before in their lives. She had mastered the art of appearing as though she belonged, had mastered a great many things.
Walking into the ladies’ salon, which after tonight would be off-limits to gentlemen, Rose knew she wouldn’t make a habit of frequenting this room, but it might provide the occasional opportunity to cement the right relationships.
Turning, Rose faced a small woman with mahogany air and eyes as dark as Satan’s soul—and full of suspicion. Another kindred spirit perhaps.
Page Count: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (April 28, 2015)
Sparks fly in the finale of the Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James Place series, as the last wicked rogue meets his match.
When Rosalind Sharpe gains the attention of the deliciously wicked Duke of Avendale, she’s torn between her distracting attraction to the notorious rogue and the knowledge that he—rich as Croesus—is the perfect target for a deception that will put her swindling days behind her.
However, Avendale is no fool. After he discovers the tantalizing lady packing up to leave London with his coins in tow, he confronts her with a scandalous proposition: she can have all the money she requires…for a week in his bed.
Desperate for the funds, Rose agrees, but on one condition: he must never question her motives. Avendale quickly sees beneath her mask and discovers she is more than passion and pleasure—she is everything he has ever desired. But claiming her requires he unveil her secrets and lose her forever. Unless he can put his own dark past aside and risk everything for a chance at love.
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