Undercover Summer by Anne Stuart\Bobby Hutchinson released on May 25, 2004 is available now for purchase.
|Product dimensions:||4.19(w) x 6.63(h) x 1.42(d)|
About the Author
Anne Stuart loves Japanese rock and roll, wearable art, Spike, her two kids, Clairefontaine paper, quilting, her delicious husband of thirty-four years, fellow writers, her three cats, telling stories and living in Vermont. She’s not too crazy about politics and diets and a winter that never ends, but then, life’s always a trade-off. Visit her at www.Anne-Stuart.com.
Read an Excerpt
By Anne Stuart
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter One"They're going to kill him!" Caitlin Dugan pushed past Frances Neeley's partially open door into the Greenwich Village apartment.
Francey knew Caitlin better than she wanted to and was far too accustomed to her fits of melodrama. She simply continued toweling her hair, wishing she hadn't gone to the trouble of getting out of her bath to come face-to-face with Caitlin's hysteria. "What are you talking about?" she asked patiently, planting herself in Caitlin's way. She didn't want the woman to see the apartment, or it might precipitate an even greater crisis.
Her converted loft was set for seduction. Francey and her distant cousin Patrick Dugan were going to make love that night, after weeks and months of careful courtship. He'd finally been able to break down her resistance, her natural reluctance to surrender. And for some reason it had always seemed like a surrender. But finally, tonight, she was ready. Once Patrick returned from the demonstration they were going to celebrate in truly memorable style, he'd promised her, kissing her before he left. And she'd told herself that she'd waited long enough - if she really loved him, there was no reason to wait any longer. Was there?
But Caitlin was an oddly possessive sister, jealous where she had no moral, Catholic right to be. She wouldn't like the notion of Francey and Patrick going to bed together. She wouldn't like the notion of anyone coming close to her brother. And her expected protest would only strengthen Francey's lingering doubts.
But Caitlin was uninterested in either the apartment or Francey. "They're going to kill Patrick!" she shrieked. "Did you talk to anybody? Tell them anything you shouldn't?" She grabbed the lapels of Francey's terry-cloth bathrobe in her sharp little hands, yanking at her. "Did you turn him in, you traitorous bitch?"
Francey shoved her away, wiping the angry spittle off her face. "You must be absolutely crazy," she said, disgust and pity mixed. "I don't have the faintest idea what you're ranting about. You know as well as I do that Patrick's at the anti-British demonstrations while the Queen speaks at the UN And why aren't you there, for that matter? Don't you care about a free Ireland?"
"Don't give me that. Patrick hasn't gone to waste his time shouting slogans. The time for that passed decades ago. Why the hell do you think he borrowed your car? He wouldn't need a quick getaway from a simple demonstration." The green eyes in her narrow, pointed face were bright with contempt.
"What are you talking about?"
"Patrick's gone to kill that royal bitch. Then maybe they'll pay attention. But some dirty sneaking traitor has ratted on him, and he's going to be shot down like a dog."
Horror overcame Francey's shocked disbelief. "No!" she said, unable to push her doubt away. With sudden clarity, she realized that beneath Patrick's rich Irish charm was a streak of fanaticism that ran deeper than she'd ever wanted to admit. "But he's coming back here...."
"Of course he is," Caitlin scoffed. "He's coming back to screw you, get you to marry him and then get back into Ireland using you as a cover. You must have said something, told someone, you stupid idiot...."
"I didn't talk to anyone," she said numbly. This isn't happening, she thought, pulling the robe more tightly around her. It can't be....
"Get your clothes on."
"You're coming with me. Maybe we have a chance to save him. You love him, don't you?" she demanded, her voice full of contempt. "You were about to go to bed with him, you wanted to marry him and donate all your money to the bloody cause, didn't you? Get dressed!" she shrieked.
It took Francey less than two minutes to pull on jeans and a baggy sweatshirt, ignoring the silky lingerie she'd bought in preparation for tonight, ignoring the perfumed scent of her bathwater. Even if she hadn't wanted to go, she would have had no choice. Caitlin was fierce and dangerous, and Francey was no match for her kind of dirty street fighting.
She didn't recognize the car Caitlin had waiting outside. She didn't bother to ask where it came from - she didn't want to know the answer. They drove through the New York streets like any New Yorker - with speed and desperation. The streets surrounding the UN were blocked off, as usual, and Caitlin simply left the car standing in the middle of Forty-eighth Street, grabbing Francey's wrist and dragging her toward the huge modern complex of buildings.
They could hear the noise of the demonstration from a distance. There were television cameras everywhere, noise and light and confusion. In the swirling mass of angry demonstrators there was no sign of Patrick, no sign of his broad, smiling face, his charming green eyes, his warmth. He couldn't be a murderer, Francey thought. Caitlin must have been doing drugs. She must have finally flipped. She must ...
"There he is," Caitlin breathed, stopping short, her Irish lilt rich with satisfaction. "They haven't seen him yet. There's still a chance."
Francey peered into the shifting crowds, squinting against the glare of the television lights amidst the mass of media equipment. "Where? I don't see him."
"Maybe we'll still be able to pull this off. Move over there and keep your mouth shut. We'll watch and see what happens."
The hard prick of a knife against her baggy sweatshirt left Francey with no choice but to go along. "He can't really mean to kill her?" she said, stumbling slightly as she searched for a thread of normalcy beneath all this horror.
"Oh, can't he just? And you'll get to witness it, or you'll get this between your ribs, and trust me, I've done it often enough to know what I'm doing. I'll make it deadly, and I'll make it hurt."
Francey didn't doubt her for one moment. "Aren't you going to try to warn him? He won't get away with it...."
"It won't matter. He'll die gloriously, a worthy death for any Irishman, to die for the cause."
"He's your brother, for God's sake! How can you watch him die?"
"He's not my brother. Oh, he's some sort of kin - all Dugans are related to each other. He's my lover, and has been since I was thirteen." Caitlin pushed her face against Francey, and there was a look of pure hatred on her pale, Celtic face. "It was my plan to have him seduce you and get all your wonderful American money. He was going to come to me afterward and tell me all the details."
Francey didn't move. "I don't believe you."
Excerpted from Undercover Summer by Anne Stuart Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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