eBook Details

Midnight Secrets

Series: Killdaren , Book 1.0
By: Jennifer St. Giles | Other books by Jennifer St. Giles
Published By: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Published: Apr 12, 2011
ISBN # 9781609283759
Word Count: 102,151
Heat Index   
EligiblePrice: $6.50

Available in: Epub, HTML, Microsoft Reader, Mobipocket (.mobi), Adobe Acrobat, Rocket

Categories: Romance>Suspense/Mystery/Thriller Romance>Historical Other

Description
Is he her darkest dream…or most terrifying nightmare?

Cassiopeia’s dreams have never been her own. They are harbingers of death. Yet when s
he learns her gentle cousin, Mary, has disappeared from a remote castle on the Cornish Coast, the official story doesn’t fit with Cassie’s prophetic dream.
The mystery compels her to leave the safety and middle-class comfort of Oxford to take a job as a maid in the house of Killdaren. There she discovers more than the daily indignities the working class must endure. There’s a darkness surrounding Sean Killdaren, a man born with his hands at his twin’s throat. Whispers of the murderous Dragon Curse…and an aversion to daylight that adds vampire to spine-chilling rumors.
When Cassie encounters him in the shadowy corridors, his touch should make her tremble in fear. But that’s not what makes her knees shockingly weak. It’s the spell of desire he casts with his wicked green eyes…and the small acts of kindness that soften her heart.
The closer she comes to the truth, the greater the danger. Mary isn’t the only woman lost to the Killdaren brothers’ curse. And as a killer lurks ever closer, Cassie wonders whom she can trust…and if she will be the next victim.

Warning: Contains a prim and proper advice columnist who finds herself in situations not covered by the rules of etiquette, and a deliciously dark hero who sees more than a maid in itchy wool…he sees the only star that lights his tortured life. Lace hankies strongly recommended.
 
Reader Rating:  starstarstar (1 Ratings)
Sensuality Rating:   lipliplip
Excerpt:
Copyright © 2011 Jennifer St. Giles
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

“Miss Andrews, I don’t mean to be rude, but you have said all of this before.” Constable Poole slashed his dark brows at me from where he sat behind his desk. I didn’t have to see beneath his bushy mustache to know he frowned; indignant irritation had his back ramrod straight. He hadn’t bothered to stand when I entered his office for the third time today, but then, I hadn’t bothered to wait for his assistant to escort me in this time either.

“You may be hearing me, Constable, but you aren’t understanding me at all.” I paced toward him. “Mary was deathly afraid of the sea. She did not go swimming and drown.”

He stood, this time trying to quell my persistence with a disdainful stare. “Until I have specific evidence to prove otherwise, my conclusion of this matter remains as cited in my report.”

“What about her employer, Sean Killdaren? I’ve heard alarming stories about him and his brother, the Viscount of Blackmoor.”

Sean Killdaren had also snubbed Aunt Lavinia’s every attempt to speak with him, thus raising serious questions in my mind.

The constable flicked his hand as if I were a fly in his face. “Rumors only.”

“I’d hardly call one of them being suspect in the death of Lady Helen Kennedy a rumor,” I persisted. “What do you know of the case? Were you constable at the time?”

“Yes, an assistant. And there is nothing about the case that needs to concern you.”

“You don’t think it odd that while working for the Killdarens my cousin has suddenly disappeared?”

“Lady Helen died eight years ago. She did not die easy. I hardly see a connection with your cousin’s drowning.”

I threw my hands up. “You don’t know that she did drown! There is no body. And how can you expect to find a connection between Mary and Lady Helen if you aren’t investigating the matter?”

We glared at each other. After a week of hard travel and several days of searching, I knew little more about Mary’s death than I had upon receiving the telegram. Mary had supposedly drowned while swimming alone.

“Constable, you aren’t giving the facts of this case serious consideration. Apart from Mary’s fear of the sea, why would a woman go swimming alone in the chilly May water? Why has her body never washed ashore?”

“Since you’re asking me to spell it out for you, Miss Andrews, she may have deliberately drowned herself. And not all things the sea claims find their way to the shore. I can tell you this, though. After this long in the water, you don’t want her body to return to you. Now, I have a number of things left to do today. So unless you have evidence implicating someone in your cousin’s death, I suggest you refrain from wasting my time or spreading any more rumors. The Earl of Dartraven doesn’t take kindly to anyone who besmirches the reputations of his sons.”

Dizzied by anger, I grasped the edge of his desk. “So, their wealth rules the law here?”

His dark eyes glittered. “Woman, you try my patience. Shall I have you escorted out?”

“Unnecessary, sir. You’ll have your evidence.” I marched from his office, my heart and cheeks burning with ire. I didn’t know the least thing about investigating a crime, but I was certain something terrible had happened to Mary—and I refused to return to the inn where Andromeda and Gemini comforted Aunt Lavinia until I had more than Constable Poole’s obstinacy to report.

For the past six years as a journalist, I’d made it my business to read a great many newspapers, some concerning crime. With those in mind, I went directly to the mercantile store and perused the available publications. The Police Chronicles caught my gaze first. Glancing through the front page article, I found a detailed account of the investigation into the murder of a prominent business man in London. That should help me to investigate Mary’s death.

Noticing the clerk eye me with suspicion, I picked up The Crime Gazette and The London Report as well and made my way to the counter.

“Ya asked about that teacher a day or two ago, didn’t ya?” The clerk surprised me, for I’d given up on finding out about Mary from the villagers. I’d asked a number of people who only said that Mary had rarely visited the town.

My pulse raced with hoped. “Yes. Did you learn more about her disappearance?”

Her gaze darted between me and the newspapers I clutched, then her eyes grew wider than a king’s gold piece. “Yar one of those fancy newspaper reporters, aren’t ya. Had a few of them around years ago when Lady Helen was murdered. They were men, though.” She spoke as if being a woman wasn’t proper then she lowered her voice. “It’s the maze, I tell ya. My bet is that teacher went in there and never was seen again and the Killdaren doesn’t want folks to know.”

“The Killdaren?” I wondered what sort of man could evoke such awe—or was it fear?

“Mister Sean Killdaren. He’s the second son of the Earl of Dartraven by only a blink of an eye. Ye’ll know why folks call him the Killdaren rather than mister iffen you ever catch a glimpse of him.”

“Did someone see Mary go into the maze?”

Shrugging hard enough to bounce her sausage ringlets, she leaned on the counter. “Well, not first hand that I’ve heard, mind ya. But that would be a place anyone could disappear from. Iffen the sea had taken her seems like she’d have washed ashore like most things.”

The shop bell clanged and two women dressed in simple worn muslins entered. “Wouldn’t you say so, Berta?” The clerk addressed one of the women.

“What’s that, Camile?”

“That teacher they say drowned up at the castle. I betcha she wandered into the maze, I do.”

“Don’t know if it were the maze or the sea, and I don’t care to know.” She nodded to the other woman who’d entered with her. “Betsy, here, says that ol’ hag housekeeper who’s always running off the help is now trying to hire a downstairs maid. Imagine that. As if anyone would want to work for her. I’d have to be starvin’ to take on that job. All that work and nothin’ for it. Yer practically invisible when it comes to gettin’ anythin’ extra by working downstairs, too. No cast off gowns or tips from gentry with that thankless job. Why it’s worse than a scullery maid, I tell ya.”

“Wouldn’t get no tips, no how. No one dares to visit the Killdarens. Now the Wellworths are where ya need to be getting a position. My cousin said he made handfuls of shillings a day during the last hunting party, he did.” The other woman continued on with more about the hunting party, but I wasn’t listening. One word had stuck in my mind and an entire plan revolved itself around it.

Maid.

Midnight Secrets

By: Jennifer St. Giles
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