A Private Duel with Agent Gunn (The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard)

BOOK: A Private Duel with Agent Gunn (The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard)
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Praise for

An Affair with Mr. Kennedy

“A satisfying romance featuring a genuinely original pair of lovers and sparkling supporting characters against an unusual social and political background.”

Publishers Weekly

“The sexy, smart characters will appeal to modern readers as much as the suspense. Their repartee and sensuality heat up the pages, promising a treat for readers.”

RT Book Reviews

“A romance in every sense of that word. . . . Perfectly balanced between pace and plot but always and without a doubt character driven.”


“A brilliant historical romance that is totally different from the type you may be used to. . . . A totally delightful and provocative story. . . . Will grab your attention and keep you enthralled all the way to the end. This one’s a keeper!”

Romance Reviews Today

“Sizzling hot. . . . An exciting, mysterious historical romance suspense that will steal your heart.”

Romance Junkies

“Intriguingly suspenseful with unique dilemmas and a number of dangerous risks. . . . Part romance and part mystery with a hefty dose of suspense, where each moment of the novel is imaginatively captivating.”

Single Titles

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Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four

Chapter Thirty-five


About Jillian Stone

For my father, my son, and all the stoic, adventurous Brehaut gentlemen of Prince Edward Island.




The lucky-author gods smiled down on me when Kate Dresser became my editor at Pocket Books. Beyond her stellar editorial efforts, Kate has also been a champion of The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard series and I will forever be grateful for her energy and enthusiasm. Thanks also to critique partners Jodie Wilson and Charli Mac—whose comments, suggestions, and good humor have been an inspiration—and to a small but select group of excellent RWA friends: Brenna Aubrey, Judy Duarte, Kristen Koster, and Robin Delany.

I must also thank Richard Curtis, my agent—and mentor and publishing therapist—whose kindness, humor, and unflagging belief in me and my work get me through the best and worst of times.

Lastly, I would like to thank all the fans and readers who’ve enjoyed a bit of hot cockles and swivery with the dashing detectives of Scotland Yard. May there be more romance and adventure ahead for all of us!

Chapter One


London’s Theater District, 1887


lean as a whistle, these young lovelies. Sure you won’t have a taste, sir?” The dandy peacock tipped his hat and squinted to see inside the carriage.

Phineas Gunn sat in the darkness and regarded the street pimp for the briefest of moments. “Quite. Sure.”

“Take another gander, sir—you’ll find something comely that tickles the old Thomas.” The flesh peddler cocked his head with a wink. “Rooms by the hour, right behind me.” With bosoms near to bursting out of corsets, the rag-a-bed jewels of Princess Street posed enticingly for his attention.

“Bugger off.” Phineas slammed the coach window shut.

Twirling a crystal-knobbed cane, the fancy man swept his walking stick behind bouncing bustles. “Special this evening—two girls, three and six.” The pimp hawked his bevy of spoiled doves to every man jack and Prince Arthur prowling the backstreets of Leicester Square.

Finn gulped for air. A band of tension squeezed his chest.

Up the street, a couple of randy bloods stopped to negotiate with the flashy procurer. Finn exhaled as slowly
as possible. According to the
Daily Telegraph,
at half past twelve, any night of the week, there were five hundred prostitutes working London streets between Piccadilly Circus and the bottom of Waterloo Place.

Gazing out at the blur of street smut, it appeared the newspaper’s alarming calculation had proved to be nothing less than an effective advertisement. The lane was popping with customers, men whose single-minded aspiration was to gamble, drink, and fornicate the night away.

Within the smothering confinement of the carriage, his heart rate accelerated. An intense wave of fear ripped through flesh and sinew—right down to his bones.

Damn it all.

His body was playing tricks again. It seemed nothing he could think or do could distract from this sudden assault on his nerves. He inhaled another deep breath and exhaled slowly, counting to ten. The shakes often came upon him without warning or obvious cause. Finn knew very well he sat safely within the confines of his coach, yet every fiber of his body told him he was being chased down a dark alley by a raving murderer, poised to thrust a blade in his back.

He was dying and there was no way to stop it.

All his symptoms were present this evening. Chest pain, shortness of breath, precipitous heart rate. The numbness and tingling were particularly bad.
Monty called it.

In actuality, he wasn’t altogether sure Dr. Montague Twombly was even licensed—more of a quack phrenologist, as it turned out. Monty had studied under a very unorthodox Austrian physician by the name of Freud. An inquiry into this new school of medicine had unearthed disturbing rumors, including the suspicion that this Freud
character was a cocaine addict. Finn sighed and pushed his back deeper into the squabs of the plush upholstered coach seat.

In the middle of his search for a physician, he had simply chosen to stop. The damned talking therapy, as Monty referred to it, appeared to be working. This past summer Monty had brought him more relief than all the doctors on Harley Street combined—and there had been a good dozen over the years, all well-meaning professionals. Some time ago, Finn had discontinued the opium, and he had refused mercury treatments, but had otherwise subjected himself to the very latest in cures. From electrical currents to baths filled with ice—“shock the system back to normal,” his doctors agreed—all he’d ended up with was a head cold that lasted a week.

Ultimately, the much-lauded physicians had failed to have any lasting effect on his condition.

Again, Finn held his breath, then exhaled as he counted slowly to ten.

He had made progress under Twombly, even enjoyed several months relatively free of symptoms. But the spells had returned of late. Dabbing a pocket square over beads of perspiration, he donned his opera hat, sucked in one last deep breath, and lifted the door latch.

Finn wove a path through a crush of all-night lads and eager tarts. He was no more than half a block from Leicester Square, a brief jaunt on foot to the Alhambra Theatre. “Evening, sir.” The plainly dressed girl sauntered close. In the flickering gaslight he took a second look. Pretty for street quim. But her painted complexion failed to mask the pallor of frail health. And not a day over fifteen. Very likely this was a penniless, supperless girl willing to have a go for a pint and chop. She brazenly eyed him up and
down. “A handsome, cocks-up gent such as yourself could use a boff before curtain rise, wouldn’t you say, sir?”

“Not this evening, love.” Finn slipped her a half crown and continued down the sink of iniquity that was Princess Street. Fleshbrokers, touting their whores, spilled out of every night house and café lining the block.

BOOK: A Private Duel with Agent Gunn (The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard)
9.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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