A Hint of Mischief


From the delightful new voice of Katie Rose comes a totally unique historical romance: a clever and utterly irresistible tale of New York City in the "Age of Innocence," where a lady who talks to spirits discovers just how heavenly passion can be when you add...A Hint of Mischief.

For the bewitching Jennifer Appleton and her charming sisters, there is nothing the least bit wicked about holding a sÚance. The spirits the trio conjure up seem to ...
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A Hint of Mischief: A Loveswept Historical Classic Romance

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From the delightful new voice of Katie Rose comes a totally unique historical romance: a clever and utterly irresistible tale of New York City in the "Age of Innocence," where a lady who talks to spirits discovers just how heavenly passion can be when you add...A Hint of Mischief.

For the bewitching Jennifer Appleton and her charming sisters, there is nothing the least bit wicked about holding a sÚance. The spirits the trio conjure up seem to offer the unhappy matrons of Victorian Manhattan a great deal of comfort...and after all, impoverished young ladies have to make a living somehow. So it's something of a shock when a darkly handsome and coldly furious stranger shows up at their door, aiming accusations of fraud—and his remarkably compelling gaze—at lovely, wide-eyed Jennifer. Convinced she's swindled his grieving mother out of a sizable sum, Gabriel Forester swears he'll put this brazen conniver out of business for good. But the lady he confronts is a total revelation—and a surprising temptation. Now, as the fiery opponents square off, passion flares unexpectedly, and Gabriel and Jennifer find themselves drawn into a devilish game of seduction where they must learn to ignore the ghostly voices of the past...and listen to their hearts.

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What People Are Saying

Teresa Medeiros
Fresh, charming, warm and witty. Katie Rose writes deliciously romantic stories. I can't wait to read more of them.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553577716
  • Publisher: Bantam Books
  • Publication date: 4/1/1998
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Read an Excerpt

It was her. The devil herself, Jennifer Appleton. She was dressed in a pretty dotted-white-on-white Swiss chiffon, a pink sash tied just below her breasts. The dress was a little old-fashioned, but of good material and lovely styling. He had difficulty pulling his eyes away from her, for as he had supposed, her figure was magnificent. It was generously exposed by the light quality of her dress, and he surmised she wore little beneath the gown. Although the heat made such considerations practical, it was scandalous nevertheless.

When she finally lifted her face, he saw that she bloomed with color. If the fright of the lawyer's letter affected her, it was not apparent in her easy manner, her full, lush giggles, nor her joie de faire as she swung a croquet mallet and deftly landed her ball just outside the wicket. She must have felt his observation, for her eyes met his and held him spellbound.

"Jennifer! You must come! Oh, please, they are asking for you!"

A beautiful woman approached her, and Gabriel identified Jennifer's sister. Penelope led her away to a group of women clustered beneath a shade tree with their ices and fans. Gabriel recognized Mrs. Merriweather and Mrs. Greyson, the Misses Billing and Miss Barry. He waited for their rebuff, but instead, they seemed genuinely pleased to meet "the Appleton." Their talk grew animated, and Gabriel drifted close enough to hear the conversation.

"Is it true that you brought Mary Forester's husband back from the dead? What was it like?" Eleanor Greyson asked, her stern face lit up with excitement.

"How do you do it? Can you feel the ghostly presence?" The normally reserved Margaret Merriweatherquestioned.

"Are you frightened, living alone, knowing that spirits have been in your house?" Jane Billings wanted to know, her voice pleading.

"How do you give such marvelous readings? I've heard of your powers from several sources!" Judith Barry gushed.

Stunned, Gabriel saw Jennifer wield her power like a queen deigning to speak with peasants. She answered their questions cleverly, making them curious for more. Idly he realized her intelligence outweighed her beauty, but more obvious was her formidable charm. That, Jennifer Appleton had in boatloads.

Incensed, Gabriel was about to accost her when Jonathan Wiseley stole up beside him, a glass of beer in one hand, a chocolate cake in the other. "Pretty girl," he remarked, chomping on the cake. "I hear she's taking New York by storm."

"What are you talking about?" Gabriel blazed, and the young man nearly choked on his beer.

"Well, didn't you know? The 'bewitching trio' has been seen everywhere. They had tea at the Billingses, lunch at the Swathmores. I hear they've been invited to every major outing this summer. No one seems to know much about them, except that their parents, who were of good family, died. Poor dears! But there's no doubt as to their success."

Gabriel saw the truth of the man's words as the women piled knee-deep to get a word with Jennifer. Far from being out of her element, she played the crowd like a conductor of an orchestra. Worse, she seemed to be enjoying herself immensely, for she fanned herself prettily, letting the heat climb in her cheeks. Soon men surrounded her, and Gabriel could hear them fighting over who would bring her a glass of punch.

"As I said, poor little orphans. I for one would certainly like to adopt one of them. Say, do you think they are free lovers like that creature Woodbull? That would be terribly convenient, wouldn't it?"

Gabriel opened his mouth to retort, but didn't trust himself to speak. For some reason, he was furious with Jonathan's comment, and even more furious with the men thronging around Jennifer. Turning rudely away from Jonathan, he approached her, and heard her trying to decide whether to attend the Esterbrook's ball, or the Chambers Street festival, a decision she seemed to enjoy mightily.

"Miss Appleton, I beg a private word with you." Gabriel sent her a look that brooked no refusal. As the men booed, Jennifer shrugged her dainty white shoulders, then descended from the crowd. Gabriel took her by the arm and practically dragged her into the rose garden.

"Unhand me this minute!" Jennifer cried as soon as they were alone.

Gabriel released her, suddenly aware that he was still holding her arm. Jennifer Appleton stood in front of him amid the Barrymores' prized Silver Lace roses, looking incredibly beautiful. Instead of appearing frightened by his confrontation, she held her chin up defiantly, as if prepared to defend her ground at all costs.

She looked so adorable Gabriel had trouble staying angry. He had to remind himself of exactly who she was--and what she was. "Miss Appleton," he managed sternly, "what are you doing here? Is it common for tea-leaf readers, who bilk elderly ladies out of money, to entertain at garden parties in such a manner?"

"And what, sir, is your objection?"

He could have sworn he saw laughter lurking at the corners of her mouth. He gestured to her gown. "I think you know exactly what I mean. That you are here, dressed like that, flaunting yourself before the men! How did you get invited to this gathering, or did you just crash the gates?"

She was, so close, he could smell her lilac water, so reminiscent of the letter to Charles. She was even prettier here than at a distance, for she seemed to emanate an energy and vitality that were intoxicating. His own thoughts drove him to distraction. Part of him wanted to put her over his knee and beat some sense into her; the other part wanted to kiss her until she swooned.

"I was invited by Madam Barrymore herself, thanks to a recommendation by the Misses Billing," Jennifer said indignantly, although she didn't seem entirely displeased with the situation. "As to my dress, it is no different than Sally Vesper's gown, nor Marybeth's. And I wasn't flaunting myself; I find the company of this society very congenial. I also find your interest questionable, since you are here escorting a female."

He gaped at her, outraged that she should turn his questions back on him. "You are the most exasperating woman I've ever had the misfortune to meet! Do you know what they are saying about you? They think you are like Victoria Woodbull, a free lover as well as a spiritualist! Is that the reputation you want?"

"I see." She lowered her face, appearing appropriately demure, but Gabriel knew better. He could almost sense her restrained mirth. When she looked up a moment later, it was as if a halo encircled her fair head.

"I truly appreciate your concern. As a gentleman, it was most kind of you to instruct me in the error of my ways. I am reformed, sir, thanks to you. I shall be forever grateful."

With that, she rose on her pink slippers and placed a schoolmistresslike peck on his cheek. "Good day, Mr. Forester. I leave you the garden."

Gabriel's admiration mingled with his outrage and disbelief as Jennifer daintily curtsied, then swirled to walk gracefully out of the glade. Evidently, she saw him as some mawkish schoolboy that she could toy with. His thoughts went back to her legal reply to Charles's letter, to the incident with the police, even to his first confrontation with her. So far, she had bested him at every turn. He had to appreciate her audacity, even as it enraged his male ego. She badly needed a lesson, Gabriel decided. One that he would teach her.

"Miss Appleton?"

He laid his hand on her shoulder, intending to give her a well-deserved dressing-down, but she turned so quickly that she wound up in his arms. The merriment disappeared from her eyes and she looked at him with something else, something that made him think she didn't entirely despise him back. His chastising words suddenly caught in his throat as he gazed into her eyes, eyes that had convinced lesser souls they'd seen a ghost. As if of its own accord, his mouth lowered to hers, unable to resist the soft, sweet temptation.

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