Deadly Vows, by Brenda Joyce
“You are assuming that our relationship was founded on love.” He stared. “Let me offer some advice-you do not want to have this discussion with me.”
No one could miss the warning in is tone. Her heart with more alarm, more fear. “I never meant to stand you up!”
His gaze finally flickered. “It is for the best.”
She cried out “What? I love you. Missing my wedding was not for the best!”
“Good day, Francesca.” He sat abruptly down, pulling a folder forward.
Francesca Cahill, blueblood and sleuth, is lured away on her wedding day by someone intent on destroying her relationship with finance, Calder Hart. She was told she’d finally find her portrait, a nude, but she escaped without it and in 1902 New York City society a nude portrait would ruin her and devastate her family. When Calder realizes that she left him at the altar his pride is hurt and he thinks she has had second thoughts. These insecurities feed into his fear that she will always love his brother best and he ends their engagement.
Francesca is a great character, full of smarts and spunk and loyalty. Calder is a great hero, dark, flawed, and dangerous. I love the two of them together although his reaction after being jilted at the altar felt like I’d read it before in the series. A couple can only go back and forth so long before something’s got to give. I was worried that the whole story would feel done already, but the story recovered and took off. Rick, Francesca’s good friend and Calder’s half-brother, is police commissioner and the three of them race to find Francesca’s portrait before it becomes public. It seems like more people know of its existence than should.
It was nice to have the gang all back for this one even if none of them were really a focus like they’ve been in past books. It was nice to see Francesca’s brother, Evan, start to admit his feelings for the poor widow and mother, Maggie and confront his ex-mistress. This was a good contribution to the series, but not my favorite.
This is from my personal library.