Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: April 19th 2016
Genres: Historical, Young Adult, Romance, Humor
Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.
Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.
“Oh my, this is embarrassing,” Miss Juliana Telford said aloud. There was no reason to keep her thoughts to herself, as she was alone, completely alone. In fact, that was half of the problem. The other half was, of course, that she was hanging off the side of a cliff with the inability to climb either up or down and in dire need of rescue.
“Another scrape. This will definitely give Aunt apoplexy.”
Juliana hugged the cliff ever closer and tipped her head slightly so that she could glance over her shoulder. Her high-waisted ivory dress was deeply soiled across her right hip, where she had slid across the earth as she dropped over the edge.
Juliana shifted slowly and glanced over her other shoulder. Fortunately, the left side showed no signs of distress, and her lilac sarcenet spencer could be brushed off easily. She would do it now were it not for the fact that her hands were engaged, holding tightly to the tangle of roots that kept her from falling off the tiny ledge.
Juliana continued to scrutinize the damage to her wardrobe with regret, not for herself so much as for her aunt, who seemed to deem such matters of great importance. Unfortunately, her eyes wandered down to her shoes. Just beyond them yawned an abyss. It was all too apparent how far above the crashing waves of the English Channel she was—and how very small the ledge.
Despite squishing her toes into the rock face as tightly as possible, Juliana’s heels were only just barely accommodated by the jutting amalgamate. The occasional skitter and plop of eroding rocks diving into the depths of the brackish water did nothing to calm her racing heart.
Juliana swallowed convulsively. “Most embarrassing.” She shivered despite a warm April breeze. “I shall be considered completely beyond the pale if I am dashed upon the rocks. Aunt will be so uncomfortable. Most inconsiderate of me.”
A small shower of sandy pebbles rained down on Juliana’s flowery bonnet. She shook the dust from her eyes and listened. She thought she had heard a voice.
Please, she prayed, let it be a farmer or a tradesman, some-one not of the gentry. No one who would feel obligated to report back to Grays Hill Park. No gentlemen, please.
“Hello?” she called out. Juliana craned her neck upward, trying to see beyond the roots and accumulated thatch at the cliff’s edge.
A head appeared. A rather handsome head. He had dark, almost black, hair and clear blue eyes and, if one were to notice such things at a time like this, a friendly, lopsided smile.
“Need some assistance?” the head asked with a hint of sarcasm and the tone of a . . .
“Are you a gentleman?” Juliana inquired politely.
The head looked startled, frowned slightly, and then raised an eyebrow before answering. “Yes, indeed, I am—”
“Please, I do not wish to be rescued by a gentleman. Could you find a farmer or a shopkeep— anyone not of the gentry—and then do me the great favor of forgetting you saw me?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“I do not want to be rude, but this is a most embarrassing predicament—”
“I would probably use the word dangerous instead.”
“Yes, well, you would, being a man. But I, on the other hand, being a young woman doing her best not to call attention to herself and bring shame upon her family, would call it otherwise.”
Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester. Love, Lies and Spies is her debut novel.
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