A Beguiling Intrigue
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by Jane Toombs
Category: Romance/Historical Fiction Fallen Angel Reviews Recommended Read
Description: Justine Riggs expects to despise Quentin Fletcher when she, disguised as a male jockey, challenges him to a race set up by Lord Alton, a so-called friend of his. She's ahead, winning, when she sees runaway horses dragging a carriage. At the risk of her life, she veers off course and halts the panicked carriage horses. Saving Mrs. Baldwin's life drastically changes Justine's future... Both being stubborn, Justine's and Quentin's stormy relationship seems doomed to fail until Lord Alton reveals his true, dastardly colors?
eBook Publisher: Amber Quill Press, 2006
eBookwise Release Date: February 2006
13 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [271 KB]
Reading time: 178-249 min.
"I loved A Beguiling Intrigue. It is sweet, romantic and old-fashioned. Its one of those books where the person you don't want to love is the person that is meant for you. The characters of Justine and Quentin are so well matched as they continuously challenge each other, unaware that they are falling in love with the person they least expected to. They are both stubborn and proud, and totally out of there depth after a stolen kiss is shared between them. I especially liked Justine, a woman that is independent and spirited in an age where that behavior was frowned upon. Her struggle to be accepted as a normal woman in society and not a rebel is amusing and poignant. If you are a hopeless or hopeful romantic, you should definitely read A Beguiling Intrigue."--Janet, Fallen Angel Reviews
"First of all," Quentin Fletcher, Marquess of Devon, said, "I must get the kiddies off the street." He proceeded to lead out his trumps with confidence, followed this with a daring finesse and then splayed the last of his cards face up on the table as he claimed the remainder of the tricks.
"Damnation!" Lord Alton threw his cards down on the green felt. "Never in my life have I witnessed such an astounding run of luck."
Quentin smiled, perhaps a trifle smugly, but made no reply as he collected his winnings from Mr. Ogden Stewart and Ogden's nephew, John Willoughby. When he turned to Lord Alton, the other man frowned.
"I seem to have none of the ready at hand, Devon. If you would be so kind as to allow me to settle with you tomorrow evening at the Jockey Club?"
Quentin raised an eyebrow ever so slightly. "Of course," he agreed even though well aware of Alton's reputation for being a man with deep pockets but exceedingly short arms. Bidding his three companions good-night, Quentin threaded his way among the gaming tables to the door, nodding right and left when hailed by friends and acquaintances.
After he left, White's seemed strangely diminished. Leaving the gaming tables, Ogden Stewart, Willoughby, and Lord Alton repaired to the smoking room where they settled in armchairs for a bout of semi-serious drinking.
Alton, a young fox-faced gentleman dressed in the height of fashion, lit one of the Cuban cigars he favored, leaned his head back and blew smoke rings toward the high ceiling of the club. "That gentleman is in dire need of a come down."
Mr. Ogden Stewart, who was considerably older than his companions, blinked rheumy eyes. "Who?" Ogden, his thoughts, as usual, more on the rose-tinted past than the prosaic present, was renowned for his ability to misinterpret even the most obvious remark.
"Devon, of course. He considers himself to be much too much of a good thing."
"Because he happens to be devilishly good at cards?" Willoughby asked.
"Not only because of his luck at whist," Alton said. "A string of successes, however undeserved they may be, corrodes a man's character. He becomes top-lofty."
"Quentin is more than merely lucky," Willoughby protested, "though I grant you he is that. He not only has a way with cards and dice but with horses as well. Not to mention women." Noticing the scowl that darkened Lord Alton's face, he added hastily, "Sorry." An amiable though careless young man, Willoughby spent much of his time smoothing unintentionally ruffled feathers.
Alton dismissed the apology with a wave of his hand.
"Sorry about what?" Ogden asked querulously. "Why must you young chaps constantly talk in riddles? How can you expect me to carry on an intelligent conversation with you if you refuse to speak plain and simple English?"
Willoughby frowned in a speaking way at his uncle, his look warning him not to pursue the matter.
"I only meant to defend Quentin," Willoughby said, turning to Alton, "from the charge that his many successes are merely the result of the favor of the gods. After all, I consider him one of my best friends."
"A best friend!" Alton said scornfully. "And yet I know for a fact you have no notion where he goes or what he does when he mysteriously disappears from town for weeks at a time. In my opinion, Devon has a choice bit of muslin hidden away in the country."
"I still fail to understand," Ogden persisted, "why you, Willoughby, felt called upon to apologize to Alton."
Willoughby shook his head, sighing.
"He suspected he might have offended me," Alton said, "by claiming Devon has a way with women." When Ogden still looked puzzled, he added, "Because of that unfortunate Serpentine affair."
"Devon is a handsome devil," Ogden said. "And quite the charmer when he has a mind to be."
Alton sniffed. "I expect a woman might consider him handsome if she happened to have a taste for tall, fair men." Lord Alton smoothed his jet-black hair. "But I fear his so-called charm completely escapes me. Unless his twenty thousand a year could be said to constitute charm."
"The Serpentine affair?" Ogden knitted his brow.
Neither Alton nor Willoughby were surprised by the question since it was not uncommon for a considerable time to elapse before Ogden completely comprehended what was said to him and formulated an appropriate response.
Copyright © 2006 by Jane Toombs.