Flawless [Secure eReader]
Click on image to enlarge.
eBook by Michele Hauf
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Undercover heiress Rebecca Whitmore is going to find the man that almost killed her aunt. He's a diamond thief and she knows all about jewels. Sure it'll be dangerous, but is the help of Europol Inspector Aston Dane really necessary?
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Silhouette Bombshell
Fictionwise Release Date: October 2005
10 Reader Ratings:
Harriet Klausner: "History, fantasy and romance are cleverly blended into a creative beautiful adult fairy tale that will charm an enthralled audience."
Maggie Shayne--author of EDGE OF TWILIGHT
"...stunning, an utterly gripping, compelling read that plunged me into fantasies of long ago and far away."
Susan Sizemore--author of the LAWS OF BLOOD series
"...a lush and lyrical medieval fantasy, full of strong characters and a vividly realized world."
Lyda Morehouse, author of Messiah Node, on Gossamyr
"A rich medieval tapestry woven of fantastic tales of revenge, women warriors, faeries, and demon fire."--
Reviews for Seraphim:
London—Scotland Yard London—Scotland Yard
Green and crimson fire escaped myriad facets of the diamond. It was cut in the asscher style—a stepped square cut with cropped corners—and each slight tilt of the jeweler's tweezers released another scintillating wink of color. Even beneath the harsh fluorescent lights of a Scotland Yard interrogation room, the rock put on a show.
Measurement with a digital jeweler's caliper verified that the diamond was a healthy ten carats. Study with the triplex loupe could not identify any remarkable flaws. Of course, a high-powered microscope was required to detect minute inclusions, but the diamond gave no clue that any were present.
If this was a D grade transparent stone…Such a rarity, a flawless diamond of such size, seemed impossible.
There must be a flaw. Nothing in this world was perfect.
Whistling in the corridor distracted Becca Whitmore from her thoughts. Symphony No. 8 in B minor? That one of the Scotland Yard inspectors would cruise down the hallway whistling Schubert made her smile.
Her mood lightened, she glanced over the chipped Formica table, expecting to spy the GIA report amid the few pieces of evidence. Such a report was issued by the Gemological Institute of America, and accompanied all stones.
"Miss Whitmore, I am told?"
Thoroughly startled by the male voice, Becca dropped the diamond. It clinked onto the table and then bounced onto the creased ultrawhite card she always used to lay out gemstones.
A whistle acknowledged her jumpiness. "Sorry," the man said. "Will dropping it damage the thing?"
Tucking her wavy brown hair behind her ear, Becca let out a breath. "No."
Why had she been so jumpy about dropping the gem? Likely because it was 8:00 a.m. in London, and she was still on New York time.
"Diamond is one of the hardest substances found in nature, Mr…."
A slender, six-foot-tall advertisement for laid-back leaned in the doorway to the interrogation room, wearing a presumptuous smile and a pale blue turtleneck sweater. Tufted blond hair warred for some semblance of order, and lost. A hand cocked at his hip pushed back a black tailored suit coat to reveal sculpted pecs beneath a snug sweater. The Brits had a thing for close-to-body tailoring, as if they still clung to '60s-era styles.
Swank, Becca thought.
Swank, who knew the Unfinished Symphony. Score one point for him on the impressive scale.
The man tugged out a leather badge wallet from inside his coat pocket and flashed it quickly. "Agent Aston Dane. MI-6."
The wallet snapped shut as Becca stood and offered her hand. "Becca Whitmore."
Grasping it with both of his, Agent Dane pumped twice. A simple band circled his right thumb. Silver? He was cool, relaxed. Ring on his thumb? He was open. She had a knack for judging people by the jewelry they wore. Men, most particularly, offered intriguing analyses merely for the subtleties their choices uncovered.
"Nice to meet you. Could I see that badge again?"
Still holding her hand, he winked. "You show me yours, I'll show you mine."
Becca tugged her hand from his grip, lifting her right eyebrow in mock challenge. "I don't need a little slice of plastic to prove my credentials."
"Oh? So who the bloody hell is Becca Whitmore?"
"I'm the gemologist."
"Ah! Yes, the expert in gems imported from the good old U.S. of A. I was told an American was making the trek. From the JAG?"
He referred to the FBI's Jewelry and Gem program, which only worked thefts in the United States. This case had begun in New York, but had quickly gone international with last evening's theft in London. The CIA had been the group to contact Becca. She had worked with Zeek, her CIA contact, previously, investigating a conflict-diamond smuggling ring based in Africa. Obviously she'd made an impression.
The New York theft had involved a request for a specific ten-carat diamond—the very one sitting on the white card, Becca presumed. The New York gems dealer had told the thief she'd sold the stone, and then he'd shot her in the head.
The victim? One MaryEllen Sommerfield. Becca knew the woman from the occasional purchase or meeting at a gems convention. MaryEllen was still alive, with a bullet lodged in her frontal lobe like a ticking time bomb. Surprisingly, she remained coherent, and had been able to give a few details to the investigating officers. The suspect—male, tall and wearing a black face mask and clothing—had sounded foreign, but MaryEllen couldn't place the accent.
She'd told the officers she'd sold one ten-carat stone to a London jeweler who had plans to create a necklace for a Transylvanian countess, and another to a Paris dealer. Had the thief been aware there were two stones? He hadn't made such knowledge apparent to MaryEllen.
Zeek had been pleased to find Becca, a freelance agent, available to hop a flight to London. Her cover was more than a story; she actually was a gemologist. But she was much more.
Recruited into the Gotham Roses four years earlier at the age of twenty-two by Renee Dalton-Sinclair, Becca served as an agent in an undercover operation that concentrated on crimes committed by the rich and untouchable. Those "good ole boys" who lived above the law and could get by with nearly anything—yes, even murder—merely by flashing their cash or the incredible power of political connections. The Roses often partnered with the FBI or CIA, as well as local authorities, as inside operatives who could easily assume the disguise of the rich, young and unassuming.
On the surface, the Gotham Roses were a New York City women's club made up of two hundred young socialites who focused on charity and giving back to the community. Hardly the sort criminals would expect to be hot on their trail. Less than two dozen of those exceptional young women had been recruited for the covert branch of the Roses.
Copyright © 2005 by Harlequin Books S.A.