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In Depression-era Boston, a city divided by privilege and poverty, two unlikely friends are bound by a dangerous secret in this mesmerizing work of historical fiction from the New York Times bestselling author of The Perfume Collector.

Maeve Fanning is a first generation Irish immigrant, born and raised among the poor, industrious Italian families of Boston’s North End by her widowed mother. Clever, capable, and as headstrong as her red hair suggests, she’s determined to better herself despite the overwhelming hardships of the Great Depression.

However, Maeve also has a dangerous fondness for strange men and bootleg gin—a rebellious appetite that soon finds her spiraling downward, leading a double life. When the strain proves too much, Maeve becomes an unwilling patient in a psychiatric hospital, where she strikes up a friendship with an enigmatic young woman, who, like Maeve, is unable or unwilling to control her un-lady-like desire for freedom.

Once out, Maeve faces starting over again. Armed with a bottle of bleach and a few white lies, she lands a job at an eccentric antiques shop catering to Boston’s wealthiest and most peculiar collectors. Run by an elusive English archeologist, the shop is a haven of the obscure and incredible, providing rare artifacts as well as unique access to the world of America’s social elite. While delivering a purchase to the wealthy Van der Laar family, Maeve is introduced to beautiful socialite Diana Van der Laar—only to discover she’s the young woman from the hospital.

Reunited with the charming but increasingly unstable Diana and pursued by her attractive brother James, Mae becomes more and more entwined with the Van der Laar family—a connection that pulls her into a world of moral ambiguity and deceit, and ultimately betrayal. Bewitched by their wealth and desperate to leave her past behind, Maeve is forced to unearth her true values and discover how far she’ll to go to reinvent herself.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Perfume Collector comes this charming, witty novel about a “professional” flirt.

“Unique situation for an attractive, well-mannered, morally flexible young man. Hours irregular. Pay generous. Discretion a must…”

When struggling, out-of-work actor, Hughie Venables-Smythe sees the mysterious job description in the classifieds, he’s convinced he’s found his destiny. For, though he’s become accustomed to running out of credit on his cell phone, sleeping on his sister’s sofa, and begging the waitress at the local café to let him slide yet again on his bill, he longs to treat his lover—the sexy, sophisticated, and amorously ruthless lingerie designer, Leticia Vane, to the finer things in life. But how is he to win her heart if he can’t even pay for dinner? When he learns that his lucrative new position means flirting with married women who have been neglected by their spouses, he can’t believe his luck.

Soon initiated into the extraordinary secret fraternity of the Professional Flirt, Hughie promises to have an exceptional career ahead of him. However, the life of a Flirt is a curiously lonely calling and there’s one absolute rule his new employer has: he must remain single. Only—how can he live without the delicious Leticia Vane?

Surely, there’s nothing wrong with using a few of his newly polished romantic skills on the side to quietly seduce the woman he loves . . . is there?

As clueless as he is handsome, Hughie gamely decides to throw his already complicated life into utter chaos . . . and discovers exactly why a Flirt’s professional and personal life should never mix.

 

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