The Mystery Woman (Ladies of Lantern Street)
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The second Ladies of Lantern Street novel from Amanda Quick explores the crimes, passions and paranormal secrets of Victorian London.
Under the plain gray skirts of Miss Beatrice Lockwood’s gown, a pistol waits at the ready. For Beatrice is a paid companion on a secret mission—and with a secret past—and she must be prepared to fight for her life at any moment.
Yet she is thrown oddly off guard by the fierce-looking man who joins her in foiling a crime outside a fancy ball—and then disappears into the shadows, leaving only his card. His name is Joshua Gage, and he claims to know Beatrice’s employers. Beyond that, he is an enigma with a hypnotically calm voice and an ebony-and-steel cane. . . .
Joshua, who carries out clandestine investigations for the Crown, is equally intrigued. He has a personal interest in Miss Lockwood, a suspected thief and murderer, not to mention a fraudster who claims to have psychical powers. The quest to discover her whereabouts has pulled him away from his mournful impulses to hurl himself into the sea—and engaged his curiosity about the real Beatrice Lockwood, whose spirit, he suspects, is not as delicate as her face and figure.
He does know one thing, though: This flame-haired beauty was present the night Roland Fleming died at the Academy of the Occult. Guilty or not, she is his guide to a trail of blood and blackmail, mesmerism and madness—a path that will lead both of them into the clutches of a killer who calls himself the Bone Man. . . .
“I hope not.” “If he tries to make trouble I will ensure that he does, indeed, forget everything that occurred between the two of you.” The steel in the words made Beatrice swallow hard. “Oh,” she said. “Thank you.” “You’re welcome. By the way, the door to the staircase I mentioned a moment ago is ahead on the right, just inside that intersecting hallway.” She stopped and peered into the deeper shadows of the adjoining hallway. “I don’t see the entrance to the hallway,” she said. He caught
understood that what she had known with Gerald did not amount to anything more than a mild flirtation. Joshua’s kiss, on the other hand, was the gateway to the fiery passion one read about in the sensation novels that her friend Evangeline wrote. This was the kind of searing excitement that could overwhelm the senses and common sense. A passion like this could tempt a woman to take risks. Joshua’s mouth was hot and hungry on hers, as if he was demanding—needing—a response. His embrace was
blackmail you is the victim. The question is, who killed him?” Twenty-Two He used the old spiral staircase in the storage room to go back downstairs. When he reached the ground floor he made his way along the long, dark corridor that led to the antiquities chamber. He was aware that he was in a strange state of mind. A volatile storm of emotions seethed inside him. Among those highly charged sensations was a cold fury, a good deal of which was aimed at himself. He had put Beatrice in grave
opened the cab door and tossed both bags inside. Then he ushered Beatrice up the steps. She folded her umbrella and went through the small door. Joshua followed and sat down across from her. The cab rolled forward down the village’s only street. Joshua looked at Beatrice. “I’m sorry about this,” he said brusquely. “I should have anticipated the possibility that the weather would interfere with my plans.” “As a professional investigator myself, I am well aware that one cannot plan for every
a surprise after what happened last night. I have a bottle of Mrs. Marsh’s tonic upstairs in my bedroom. I’ll just dash up there and get some for you.” She started toward the stairs. “No.” He paused. “Thank you.” She reminded herself that he had been through a great deal in the past twenty-four hours. He followed her into the parlor but he did not sit down. Instead, he braced himself with both hands on the hilt of his cane and did not take his eyes off her. “I stopped here before going home