- Title: Deception
- Classification: Adult Fiction
- Genre: Romantic Suspense/Historical Romance
- Format: Paperback, 384 pages
- Publisher: Pocket Books (July 31, 2012)
- ISBN-10: 1439195919
- ISBN-13: 978-1439195918
Sophia Darnly's world was tumbling down around her. She'd tried to escape her past, but the past has a habit of coming back to bite you. Her father, once a respected Judge, had been found to be corrupt and had been executed for his crimes. Sophia had gone into hiding and had married. Her husband, however, had died a year ago and now someone was coming after her, or more specifically, after her father's ledger. A ledger reputed to contain a detailed account of the corrupt dealings that transpired between her father and those rich and powerful men who had bribed him.
Even though almost four years had passed since his death, there is still pertinent information documented in the ledger which could be used as a potential weapon. Someone wants that information and has burnt down Sophia's silk factory to make a point that they meant business. If she doesn't hand over the ledger she'll forfeit her life. So after several attempts to retrieve the ledger from Tomas Moneychanger, a ledger which was rightfully hers, she finally decided to resort to stealing it. That's where she unexpectedly ran into someone from her past. Someone who five years ago left without a goodbye and had broken her heart.
Kieran (aka Kier) was also looking for the ledger. It was part of his plan to exact vengeance on the man who had once wronged him in the worst way. Kier had set up an elaborate scheme which featured a mysteriously absent benefactress who owned a shipping company named Mistral Company. It transported luxury goods and was looking for clients and financial backing. The story was that Kier was Lady Mistral's factor (broker) and confidant. He planned to destroy the man who had once tried to destroy him. He knew him well enough to know how he worked, for he had once worked beside him. What he didn't expect was for Sophia to accidentally, through a misunderstanding, fall into the role of Lady Mistral. The two, who did not trust each other, were about to combine their resources and talents in an attempt to get what each of them wants--revenge for him and a way to stay alive for her. They say the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The question in these circumstances, however, is whether or not their shared past will get in the way?
Sophia is the type of character you have to admire. She doesn't get easily flustered and keeps her head when things go wrong. When figuratively one door closes, she looks to unlock another. A lesser woman would not handle all that's been thrown at Sophia as well as she does. She's smart, she's adaptable, and a touch stubborn. In some ways she's gullible, but she learns from her mistakes. She should never be underestimated and Kier knows well enough not too. While he wishes she'd never gotten involved in his scheme, he knows an asset when he sees it. Her father had raised her well in the arts of deception and he'd use everything he could to his advantage.
Kier is the son of a pirate and at age 13 he left that life and ventured out on his own. He's smart, crafty and loyal to those he deems worthy which are few and far between. Five years ago he'd been an integral part of the Cosimo's inner circle, but due to a disagreement Kier had been marked for death. If you disagree with or betray Cosimo you are seldom given a second chances. But one of Cosimo's faults is hubris. He thinks he's above reproach. That is what Kier is counting on to be his downfall.
The chemistry between Kier and Sophia is sizzling hot. Probably more than most because they'd once been in love,or so Sophia had thought. My favorite description of Kier is when Sophia walks in on him half naked as he's in the midst of exercising:
Without turning his head, he said, "What is it, Sophia?" He lowered his body down again.
She yanked her jaw shut, "I was...I thought to inquire..."
His hair, untethered, fell across his cheek as he turned to look up at her, one palm still overturned at the small of his back. He was covered in a magnificent sheen of sweat.
The perspiration covering her was not magnificent. It was hot and uncomfortable, but he, he looked like a Greek statue in the rain. His arms and back were contours of sculpted muscle.