The privileged members of the Knickerbocker Club can never climb too high up the social ladder. But for one charming New York bachelor, does the ascent take precedence over love in the Gilded Age?
As owner of a well-respected national newspaper, Calvin Cabot has the means to indulge his capricious taste for excess—and the power to bring the upper crust of society to its knees. So when a desperate heiress from his past begs for his help, Calvin agrees . . . as long as she promises to stay out of his way. Except, like the newsman, this willful beauty always gets what she wants . . .
Lillian Davies lives a life brimming with boundless parties, impressive yachts, and exotic getaways. But when her brother disappears, Lily knows that blood runs thicker than champagne and she’ll spare nothing to bring him back alive. Unfortunately, the only man who can help her is the one she never wanted to see again. Can Lily keep Calvin at arm’s length long enough to save her brother and protect her name . . . even when the tenacious powerbroker turns out to be absolutely irresistible?
“An entertaining, sexually charged romance complete with three-dimensional characters, rapier-sharp dialogue, dark secrets, sizzling tension and a gripping mystery. Shupe has quickly become a powerful voice of the genre.”
— RT Book Reviews, TOP PICK!
“Shupe doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to erotic sensuality in the latest, vividly written, intriguingly different entry in the Gilded Age-set Knickerbocker Club series.”
“Does not disappoint! Not the sort of historical romance novel one comes across every day.”
— Heroes & Heartbreakers
“Steamy! A rapid-fire plot and a smoldering love story produce Gilded Age gold.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Blew me away! An exciting, intense, passionate conclusion to an amazing series!”
— Fresh Fiction
“This intricately plotted tale is awash in secrets and peppered with sassy dialog, erotic sex, and a fascinating bit of history.”
— Library Journal
“My favorite one yet! An interesting and sexy story with lots of chemistry. Mogul shouldn’t be missed!”
— Harlequin Junkie
Chinatown, New York City
She never expected to find her former husband in an opium den.
Lily inwardly cursed her terrible luck and turned to the person next to her, the man who’d found her quarry. “How long has he been here?”
“Two days, ma’am.”
Good heavens. Dark and depressing, the place reeked of a nutty, sweet scent, one that forced her to cover her nose and breath through her mouth. Men and women of all ages and skin colors reclined, glassy-eyed, on small cots, long pipes remaining within reach. Several scantily clad women hovered nearby, as did the owner, who no doubt wanted her gone.
Which made two of them. She would rather be sailing on the Chesapeake or lounging in her family’s home in Newport. Riding her horse in Palm Beach, or shopping in Paris. Anywhere but standing right here, looking at the one man she’d hoped never to see again.
Calvin Cabot. She peered at him while he slept and tried to assess the changes, if any, that had occurred over the last four years. Still long limbed and well proportioned. Impossibly handsome, despite the shaggy light brown hair and the whiskers covering his face.
He’d ignored her letters for almost two weeks, each one returned, unopened. Furthermore, every time she arrived at his office or his home, he’d disappeared. No matter the hour, no matter which day she chose, he remained one step ahead of her. Frustrating, considering they had a delicate problem, one he needed to help solve before someone else discovered it. There had been no choice but to hire Pinkertons to kidnap him. Yet she never expected to find him here. Was he addicted to the pipe? One of the East Coast’s most powerful publishers, Calvin was sprawled in filthy, wrinkled clothing, an unpleasant odor emanating from him. How did he possibly manage a hop habit and his empire?
Not that she’d ever understood him. Lily and Calvin had been oil and water—or, as he’d been fond of saying, oil and champagne. Though he hadn’t always hated the wealth and privilege her family represented. . . .
“What would you like to do, ma’am?” the man at her side asked. She’d hired twelve men to find Calvin, and this man Jessup had been the one to earn her two-thousand-dollar reward.
Lily turned to the den’s owner. “How much does this man owe?”
Avarice lit the owner’s dark eyes—far from the first time Lily observed that emotion when someone noticed her clothing and jewels. But she was her father’s daughter, not some silly, easily intimidated female. For goodness’ sake, she’d served as the president of the Davies Mining Company since her father’s death. No one got the best of Lillian Davies.
She laughed at the outrageous sum. “Now the real amount.”
The owner glanced at Mr. Jessup, obviously weighing his chances of flimflamming her out of more money without getting pummeled. Not that Lily would ask the Pinkerton to step in. Lily did not need a man to solve her problems.
“One hundred and twenty dollars,” the owner said.
Lily nodded, though she’d have paid more. She desperately needed Calvin.
The transaction was completed quickly and she turned to Mr. Jessup, who hadn’t left her side since they arrived. Pointing at the unconscious man on the cot, she said, “Throw him in the carriage, if you would.”
© Joanna Shupe