In April 1817, a Bow Street Runner summons Captain Gabriel Lacey to a Berkeley Square ballroom where a young dandy has been found stabbed to death during a society ball. The prime suspect: Lacey’s former commander, Colonel Brandon.
Instead of denying the charges, Colonel Brandon allows himself to be arrested, and claims, to Lacey’s shock, that the lady he’d stayed protectively near at the ball is his mistress. Lacey realizes that he is the only person not convinced of Brandon’s guilt—all present, including Brandon’s wife, believe Brandon committed the murder.
Colonel Brandon’s reticence to tell the truth proves to be Lacey’s greatest obstacle in his race against time to prove Brandon’s innocence. Lacey’s hunt for evidence uncovers dark secrets that go back to the Peninsular Wars and involve the origins of Lacey’s and Brandon’s own private war.
Award-winning Ashley Gardner is a pseudonym for New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ashley. Under both names—and a third, Allyson James—Ashley has written more than 75 published novels and novellas in mystery and romance. Her books have won several RTBook Reviews Reviewers Choice awards (including Best Historical Mystery for The Sudbury School Murders), and Romance Writers of America’s RITA (given for the best romance novels and novellas of the year). Ashley’s books have been translated into a dozen different languages and have earned starred reviews in Booklist. More about the Captain Lacey series can be found at the website: www.gardnermysteries.com.
June 1817: Captain Lacey stops to assist a young woman in the market at Covent Garden, and realizes to his astonishment that she is his daughter. Lacey then discovers that his estranged wife and her paramour, a French officer, have journeyed to London at the invitation of James Denis to dissolve her marriage to Captain Lacey.
Meanwhile, a Bow Street Runner and a man from the Thames River Police have asked Lacey to help them look into the disappearances of “game girls” from Covent Garden. The magistrates aren’t interested in their fate, but perhaps Lacey can learn a thing or two. Lacey agrees and recruits old friends to help.
But when the goings-on in Covent Garden put his daughter in danger, Lacey’s crusade turns personal. He will do anything, and call in any favor from anyone, in order to protect his own Gabriella.
Book 1 of the Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries.
It’s official. Fortune Redding is out of the CIA and a newly minted resident of Sinful, Louisiana. She never expected her homecoming to be all apple pie and hugs, but a murder wasn’t on her list of things to deal with before she’d even gotten her name stenciled on her mailbox.
Boone Carre—Hooch, to the locals—was a drunk and a louse and had shafted pretty much everyone he’d ever done business with. So when someone kills him, there is no shortage of suspects. Unfortunately, Ally is at the top of the list.
Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie know that Ally isn’t capable of murdering anyone, but with an ambitious ADA looking to make a name for himself, and the local gossip train intent on finding someone to blame, they know they have to find the killer and clear Ally’s name.
September 1817: Captain Gabriel Lacey travels with Lady Breckenridge to his boyhood home in northern Norfolk only to discover mysterious happenings in and around the Lacey estate. A young woman, cousin of an old friend, has gone missing, strange objects appear in Lacey's ruined house, and the dark windmills on the marshes keep pulling Lacey to them.
The underworld criminal, James Denis, uses Lacey's visit to Norfolk as an opportunity to have Lacey deliver a message to a local squire. A simple task--but one that lands Lacey squarely in international theft and murder. Lacey learns more about Denis's past, and finds himself joining forces with Denis to flush out a brutal killer and save the one person about whom Denis admits to caring.
Read a deleted scene from Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage.