Beguiled

( 40 )

Overview

In the shadows of Charleston, someone is watching her...

Rylee Monroe, a dogwalker in Charleston's wealthiest neighborhood, never feared the streets at night. But now a thief is terrorizing the area and worse, someone seems to be targeting her.

Reporter Logan Woods is covering the break-ins with the hope of publishing them as a true-crime book. The more he digs, the more he realizes this beguiling dogwalker ...

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Overview

In the shadows of Charleston, someone is watching her...

Rylee Monroe, a dogwalker in Charleston's wealthiest neighborhood, never feared the streets at night. But now a thief is terrorizing the area and worse, someone seems to be targeting her.

Reporter Logan Woods is covering the break-ins with the hope of publishing them as a true-crime book. The more he digs, the more he realizes this beguiling dogwalker seems to be at the center of everything.

As danger draws ever closer, Logan must choose: Chase the girl, the story, or plunge into the shadows after the villain who threatens everything?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764206283
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/1/2010
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 645,210
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Deeanne Gist—known to her family, friends, and fans as Dee—has rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere with her very original, very fun historical & contemporary romances. Add to this four RITA nominations, two Christy Awards, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base, and you've got one recipe for success. She has a very active online community on her website at IWantHerBook.com and at Facebook.com/Deesfriends.

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Read an Excerpt

Beguiled


By Deeanne Gist J. Mark Bertrand

Bethany House Publishers

Copyright © 2010 Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7642-0628-3


Chapter One

Something wasn't right. Rylee Monroe unclipped the leash from Romeo's collar, then stood still in the quiet kitchen, all senses alert.

The toy schnauzer clicked across the wooden floor and lapped up water from his bowl, sloshing it over the sides in his enthusiasm. Not a speck of dust touched the slick black granite countertops. An assortment of spoons, ladles, and spatulas hung above the chrome- plated gas stove. Above that, a row of dinner, salad, and dessert plates rested between vertical dowels.

From the kitchen, she could see the sunken sitting room and the archway opening into the dining room. White sheers hung in front of two bay windows, foiling the sun's effort to fade the richly upholstered furniture. No cushion had been disturbed. Nothing was out of place.

She slowly closed the back door, turning the knob to reduce any noise she might make. Romeo looked up from his bowl, water dripping off his wet cheeks. Squatting down, she quietly patted her thigh.

He trotted over, tail wagging a mile a minute.

"Listen," she whispered, wiping his chin and picking him up. "You hear anything?"

Outside, a tour bus struggled to accelerate. Distant sounds of electric saws, chisels, and hammers kept up a continual din. Allnormal sounds for the historic district of Charleston.

The floorboards above her squeaked under the weight of a footstep.

She stiffened. Had Karl come back to get something? She checked her watch. Ten o'clock. Too late to return for a forgotten item. Too early to quit for the day.

Romeo began to squirm. She tiptoed to the laundry room and set him behind the doggie gate. He immediately began to whine.

"Shhhh." She gently held his mouth closed. "I'll be right back."

She glanced at the set of kitchen knives resting in a wooden block. The temptation to grab one was strong, but what if it was Karl? What would he think if he caught his new dogwalker creeping up the stairs with a butcher knife in her hand?

She kept to the edge of each step, where the wood had less give. Sweat beaded her hands, playing havoc with her grip on the railing. At the halfway landing, she paused, her own breathing loud in her ears.

The hum from outside no longer reached her.

A creak from behind.

She spun around. A bust of Henry Timrod, the Poet Laureate of the Confederacy, stared back at her. She glanced down the stairs.

The massive front door with beveled-glass sidelights remained bolted and chained.

Taking a deep breath, she continued up, finally stepping onto the oriental rug gracing the second-story landing. The door to her right stood open. The foot of the four-poster bed and carved hope chest were visible and undisturbed.

The door to her left was closed. She frowned, wondering if it was always closed. She'd never had reason to go upstairs. In spite of how long she'd known the family, the Sebastians were new clients, and it was too soon for her to know what was normal and what wasn't.

A shadow passed below the door.

Her heart tripped.

Then she forced herself to calm. She was going to feel awfully silly when that door opened and it was Karl.

The floor creaked again.

"Hello?" she said.

The shadow stilled, stopping in the center of the doorway.

"Karl?"

A scrambling from inside.

She touched her throat. What if he had a woman in there? Karl was unmarried. In his early thirties. And GQ-gorgeous.

Heat crept up her neck. "Karl? It's me, Rylee. I don't mean to be a bother. I just thought I heard something and wanted to be sure everything's okay. Is everything okay in there?"

A whoosh. A clatter. A grunt.

Her pulse picked up again. He should have answered by now.

"Karl? I'm coming in." She placed her hand on the knob, the brass cool to her sweaty palm. Slowly, slowly she turned the handle and peeked inside.

The bedroom stood immaculate. Another four-poster bed. A kentia palm tree. A mahogany chest of drawers. A tall urn.

She pushed the door the rest of the way open. Nothing.

With a crash, one end of the window's curtain rod swung down.

She whirled around, her heart slamming in her chest. A man's leg, tangled in gold brocade curtain, protruded from the window. He yanked the limb free, pulling the rod the rest of the way down.

Screaming, she bolted, banging the doorframe on her way out.

The noise set Romeo off. His loud, incessant yipping echoed through the kitchen like a homing beacon.

She scrambled down the stairs, swung around the landing, and rushed to the kitchen phone. Jumping over the dog fence and into the laundry room with Romeo, she slammed the door shut, then punched 9-1-1.

"Please! There's a burglar! He's outside on the second-story balcony. Hurry!"

The operator verified her location and kept Rylee on the line and talking.

Romeo stood with ears and tail up, barking so loudly she couldn't hear a thing.

The shakes took hold. Her legs quaked. Her arms trembled. The phone slipped from her hands twice.

She slid down the door and onto the floor. "Yes, yes. I'm fine. Just hurry."

The questions and reassurances continued for a few minutes until a deep male voice rang out from the kitchen. "Miss Monroe?"

"Yes! In here." She cracked the door open.

The uniformed man looked to be in his fifties but plenty robust. "You say you saw a prowler, ma'am?"

She nodded. "Upstairs. First door to the left. He was crawling out the window."

He pushed a button on the walkie-talkie strapped to his shoulder, dropped his voice an octave, and mumbled something indecipherable into it.

He looked at her. "Close that door and don't come out until I return for you."

Swallowing, she did as instructed. The shakes were worse now. Had the robber managed to get untangled and off the balcony? What if he was still there? What if he was younger and stronger than the officer? What if he had a gun and got the first shot off?

She'd be a sitting duck.

Romeo crawled into her lap, sensing her distress. She cuddled him close, drawing comfort from him. Most schnauzers had bobbed tails and ears and shaved bodies. Not Romeo. For whatever reason, he'd never been clipped. His ears and tail, along with the rest of his coat, were long, shaggy, and adorable. She'd fallen in love with him on sight.

She gave his head a kiss. Maybe that's why they named him Romeo.

Picking up the phone she'd had earlier, she speed dialed Karl at the law offices of Sebastian, Lynch & Orton. "Rylee Monroe calling. Would you tell Karl it's an emergency, please?"

Innocuous elevator music filled her ear before Karl picked up.

"Rylee? What's happened?"

"There's been an intruder."

"At the house?" he exclaimed. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine. The police are here now."

Someone knocked on the laundry room door. "Officer Quince here. You can come out now."

She scrambled to her feet. "I'll call you back, Karl."

"No need," he said. "I'm on my way."

Cracking the door, she peered around it. "Did you catch him?"

"He's long gone, ma'am."

Unhitching the doggie gate, she and Romeo joined him in the kitchen.

The officer listened to her story, making occasional notes as she spoke. "So you didn't get a good look at him?"

"No, sir."

"White, black, Hispanic?"

"I couldn't really tell. All I saw was that leg and boot trying to kick free of the curtain."

"Is anything missing?"

"I don't know. This isn't my house."

He looked up. "Not your house?"

"No. I'm the dogwalker. The house belongs to Grant and Amelia Sebastian."

"Have you called them?"

"They're on their honeymoon. I'm walking the dog while they're gone. But Mr. Sebastian's son lives here, too. He's on his way now."

She gave the officer the last of her personal information just as Karl pushed open the back door, a lock of sun-kissed blond hair falling over eyebrows pale to the point of translucence.

He ran his gaze up and down her. "Are you all right? Did he hurt you?"

She shook her head. "I'm fine."

"You sounded pretty shaken on the phone." A well-tailored tan jacket nipped around his graceful frame, his white linen shirt lay open at the collar. His jeans gave the look a relaxed charm. Not exactly the attire she'd expect of a law-firm associate-she'd never seen his father in anything but suits and ties-but Karl knew how to wear his clothes.

"I interrupted him while he was in one of the bedrooms upstairs."

He sucked in his breath. "Which bedroom?"

"Second floor, the one on the left."

A pained look crossed his face. "That's my bedroom."

With the officer leading the way, the three of them headed upstairs. Now that there wasn't a burglar to distract her, Rylee got a good look at the room. Not what she would have expected from a single man in his thirties. In spite of herself, she was impressed.

The crystal chandelier would have been better suited for a formal dining room. His bed was neatly made. Instead of clothing strewn all over the floor, a single linen jacket hung on an antique wooden valet with a pair of polished shoes underneath. A flat-screen tv atop the chest of drawers angled toward his four-poster. A dog-eared issue of the Robb Report and a DVD lay next to an urn.

She squinted, then smiled. Season Two of Heroes. She loved that show.

On the bedside table rested an iPod, a James Patterson paperback, and three remote controls, all neatly arranged.

Karl scanned the room, went into the bathroom, came back out, and then disappeared inside his closet. "My jewelry casket!"

"Jewelry casket?" The officer joined Karl. Following behind, Rylee noted the empty spot on the low shelf above his slacks.

Karl clamped a hand over his mouth, shaking his head. "It's nothing."

"You sure about that?"

"Karl," Rylee said. "What is it?"

"If he took something, sir, we really need to know about it."

Karl looked at them both, then surrendered with a shrug. "Yeah, it's missing. A kind of shrine-looking jewelry box." He gestured with his hands. "It has all these hand-painted panels and finials that look like Roman statues. Dates to the mid-1800s. Been in our family for years."

"Was the jewelry inside it worth much?"

His eyes wide with distress, he strode out of the closet. "No."

The officer nodded. "Then it was the actual, um, casket that was valuable?"

He tunneled a hand through his hair. "To me, it was. But it's not near as valuable as that amphora." He indicated the urn Rylee had seen earlier. "Why couldn't he have taken that?"

"How much is this urn worth?" Quince asked.

Karl paced. "Twenty-five thousand? Thirty? I'd have to check to be certain."

Rylee swung her attention back to the urn. It was about a foot-and-a-half tall, had a narrow neck and two handles. Engraved silhouettes of male and female figures decorated its bowl. She'd seen something just like it at Hobby Lobby last week.

"And the jewelry box?" the officer asked. "What's your best guess there?"

Karl rubbed his forehead. "I really couldn't say for sure. Not much, though.

Somewhere in the one to two thousand dollar range?" Rylee frowned. Two thousand dollars? And he'd have preferred for the robber to have taken the thirty thousand dollar urn?

She wondered if the jewelry box had a sentimental value. Inwardly cringing, she fingered the pearl drop hanging around her neck. It was the only memento she had of her mother's. And no price could be put on that.

"Well, that fits the modus operandi of our Robin Hood burglar," the officer said.

Karl shook his head. "It's not him."

"I'd be willing to bet, sir. This will make the third time he's hit a house south of Broad and left with only one piece-and a piece that wasn't close to being as valuable as some of the other items in the house. We'll know for sure when-if-the piece gets donated to some nonprofit somewhere." He scribbled on his pad. "You sure nothing else is missing?"

Karl blinked, as if he didn't understand the question, his self- assurance suddenly gone.

Rylee moved next to him, touching his sleeve. "Did the box have sentimental value?"

His tanned skin had lost all its color. "Yes," he said softly. "Very much so."

She squeezed his arm. "I'm so sorry."

The officer cleared his throat. "Is anything else missing, Mr. Sebastian?"

Karl opened a few drawers, went back into his closet, and then came out again. "Not that I can see." He stopped at the window. The curtain rod lay at his feet, rich brocade pooling around it like liquid gold. "The guy came in through here?"

"We're not sure. He definitely left through there, though."

Karl nodded.

"Would you mind taking a look at the rest of the house to see if anything looks out of the ordinary?"

"Of course not."

A search of all four stories offered up no further clues.

In the kitchen, the officer shook Karl's hand. "We'll be in touch. In the meanwhile, see if you can locate a picture of that jewelry casket."

"Will do, Officer. Thanks." He closed the door, then turned back to Rylee.

"I'm so sorry, Karl."

"Yeah." He shook himself. "But it's only stuff. You know? It could have been worse. Something could have happened to you. Are you sure you're all right?"

"I'm fine."

"I saw you rubbing your shoulder."

She touched her right shoulder. "I ran into the doorframe trying to get out of the bedroom."

He frowned and stepped toward her. "Let me see."

"It's nothing. Really."

He lifted a brow, his eyes more turquoise than blue.

Flustered, she dipped down the side of her summer cardigan.

He brushed her shoulder with his fingers. "Looks like you're going to have a nasty bruise."

He was close. Very close.

She shrugged the sweater into place. "It'll be fine. I hardly even feel it."

A small smile tugged at the corners of his mouth, deepening his laugh lines. "Liar."

She softened. "It's good to see you smile."

She'd had a crush on him for three years. Ever since his father, a longtime friend of her family, had helped sell her house on Folly Beach. Anytime Karl made the society news, she always took note. But she'd never expected him to notice her.

She swallowed. "Well, unless you need anything else, I probably ought to get going."

"You'll be back tonight?"

She glanced at her watch. "Yes. I'll make sure Romeo gets in a good walk and some dinner."

"Tonight, then."

She skirted around him, then darted toward the door.

"Rylee?"

She turned.

"This yours?" He held up a pink and yellow Vera Bradley messenger bag.

"Yes." She took it and slipped it over her head, careful not to wince when the strap hit her sore shoulder. "Thanks."

"You're welcome."

She backed up. "Right. Well. See ya, Karl. See ya, Romeo."

With a quick wave, she stumbled out the door.

Chapter Two

Rylee wasn't afraid of the dark. If anything, she preferred it. The tourists flooding Charleston all day cleared out of the Battery after sundown, so she had the wide streets and cobbled alleyways all to herself.

But now that she'd come face-to-face with the Robin Hood burglar-or face to foot, anyway-the possibility of running into him again put her on edge. He'd hit the Sebastian house in broad daylight, but most of his break-ins had occurred in the dead of night.

Therefore, she'd decided to now start her evenings with the smallest and friendliest canines in her charge, saving her biggest dog, Toro, for the late-night walks.

"Nobody's gonna mess with us." Sitting on the Davidsons' piazza, she gave Toro a vigorous scratch, then strapped on her rollerblades. "And if they do, you be sure to take a bite out of them. Okay, boy?"

The Argentino mastiff panted in response.

She slipped her bag across her shoulders, then stood and pushed off. The two of them headed up Meeting, then hooked a right on Tradd. Toro paused to do his business in front of the old tavern-the carved crescent moons on its green shutters signaled its purpose in the olden days. Across the street-and quite convenient-was what used to be a brothel. Its cream shutters sported hearts.

Rylee looked up and down the street wondering, not for the first time, what it would have been like to live at a time when the most recognizable icons weren't golden arches, but hearts and moons.

A flash of movement down the alley caught her eye. Stiffening, she scrutinized the area. The darkness ebbed and flowed, making as many varied shapes as the clouds in the sky.

She tugged on Toro's collar. "Come on, boy. Let's get moving."

They turned on East Battery and passed Romeo's house. Toro began to slow, eventually stopping beside an old carriage post.

She shifted her weight, trying not to hurry him but anxious to keep moving. This particular spot evidently had some enticing smells, though, because she had a hard time drawing the mastiff away.

Glancing behind her, she gave the leash a determined yank. "Come on, Toro."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Beguiled by Deeanne Gist J. Mark Bertrand Copyright © 2010 by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

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(16)

4 Star

(12)

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(8)

2 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful Story set in Charleston

    From the picture on the front cover, I thought I was getting ready to read a story set in the 1920's or 1930's set in Charleston. I know, I know, if only I had read the back cover, I would have known, but very rarely do I read back covers preferring rather to be surprised by the story. Surprised is a pretty accurate term when I started reading about Rylee Monroe as she unclipped a leash from a dog collar. Wait, this story is about a dog walker? Did they have dog walkers in the 1920's. As I kept reading, my dog walker had roller blades, so I finally figured out it was set in present day.

    The story is set in a wealthy neighborhood in Charleston, South Carolina. Rylee Monroe is a sweet, caring dogwalker who's only ambition is to make sure the needs of her ailing grandmother are met. She surrounds herself with her family of dogs and is quite content until she becomes unintentionally involved in a string of robberies committed by an unusual burglar. Who the burglar is and why he/she is doing what they're doing is the premise of the book, and just where does the mysterious newspaper reporter, Logan Woods fit into the whole picture.

    I must say that this book had me guessing a couple of times, which is a good thing and most books are not able to do. I have to say, though, my favorite part of the book was the Authors' note at the end. It was very charming and actually made me want to visit Charleston even more than the book did.

    I would highly recommend this book. I am looking forward to reading more books from each of these authors individually and hope they will collaborate again.

    This book was provided to me to review by Bethany House Publishers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2010

    Romantic mystery is filled with thrills, chills, and sparks

    Beguiled by Deeanne Gist & J. Mark Bertrand is a thrilling romantic suspense novel full of twists and turns. Rylee Monroe loves her job as a dogwalker, even if it doesn't pay as much as she'd like and had in the past before her father absconded with the family fortune and disappeared and her mother committed suicide in the wake of his betrayal. Her job is soon threatened when several of her wealthy customers are robbed by the Robin Hood burglar who has an unusual M.O.: he steals one item of sentimental but not great monetary value and then donates it to a charity. The police quickly focus on Rylee as a suspect, by Logan Woods, the reporter working on the story, is felled by Rylee's charms and just as certain that she is innocent. The authors make the city of Charleston come to life with lots of local interest, but the sparks between Rylee and Logan make the novel zip with plenty of chemistry. Readers will appreciate the honesty between the hero and heroine in a genre that thrives on miscommunications and half-truths. That type of plot driven story can become tiresome, but Rylee and Logan seem like real people who react in ways that readers can easily relate to. Don't start this book unless you have time to sit down and finish it all the way through, because once you start, it's impossible to put down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2011

    Intersting......

    Intriguing but slowed towards the middle. Suprise ending makes up for it though.

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  • Posted January 5, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Dog walker Rylee Monroe finds herself in the middle of robberies that happened to be at the places where her clients live at. Coincidence?

    Only the things that the burglar steals he donates, hence the nickname Robin Hood. Enter reporter Logan Woods who's covering the story of the Robin Hood burglar including writing a book based on it. The romance in the book did seem a little rushed. Didn't expect a book like this from Deeanne Gist. It's a fast paced read that you'll like. Though I do recommend this book if you're a fan of either Deeanne Gist or J Mark Betrand or like a good suspenseful read.

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  • Posted June 18, 2010

    Beguiled was just "okay" for me

    Rylee Monroe is a dog walker for the wealthiest of the wealthiest in Charleston. When a string of her clients get robbed she quickly becomes a prime suspect. After crime reporter, Logan Woods, bids her to tag along through the investigation about the burglaries they realize the two of them have chemistry but will Rylee's troubled childhood block any kind of relationship from forming?
    Beguiled has a little bit of action, a touch of drama, and some romance and yet it does not fall into the category of "my favorite books." The character of Rylee Monroe seemed oo innocent, her role was rather dry. While on the other hand the character of detective Nate Campbell was well played out-desperate cop struggling with an investigation, overeager to accuse anyone. Nate Campbell's character was so good he actually annoyed me out of my mind. I think the only thing the story was missing was a little spice, because it was an enjoyable read. The ending happened to be the best part of the story, however, I felt the epilogue just dragged it on.

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  • Posted May 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Another Awesome Deanne Gist Book!

    I LOVED this book! Deanne Gist is one of my favorite authors. I love her blend of romance and history (in all her previous novels). And I must say, I enjoyed this one as much as the others. I think that the writing team of Gist and Bertram is one that needs to write another romantic mystery. Despite this, you need to know that this book is different from her previous. That being said, I am certain you will still enjoy it. Not only is it refreshing, it is captivating. Happy reading! :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2010

    I've Become a Huge Fan of Deeanne Gist

    I absolutely loved this book. I first read A Bride In The Bargain and once I read that I absolutely had to read all of her other books. I can't wait for Maid to Match to come out in June. I wish she had written 100 books. I'm typically not a big novel reader but when I picked up her book, I simply didn't want to put it down. I find myself reading more and more now thanks to her. If you knew what a poor reader I am, you'd know that is a huge tribute. The detail of her plot and characters makes you feel as if you are actually there. When you put the book down for an evening you feel like you've left a good friend in the middle of telling you a wonderful part of their life you can't wait to pick the book up again.

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  • Posted April 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Beguiled

    Rylie Monroe loves her dog walking job. The dogs are her only family besides her ailing grandmother and she loves the time that she spends with them. When the families of her dogs become victims of benign burglaries, Rylie becomes a suspect. An attractive reporter, Logan Woods, is covering the burglary stories, but his alternative motive leads him to investigate the stories deeply. When Rylie and Logan team up to prove her innocence their lives become uniquely entwined and romance sparks unexpectedly.

    Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand is a good, good book. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of mystery and romance. The mystery aspect of the story develops slowly and kept me guessing about the identity and motive of the burglar. This really kept me engaged with the book. The relationship between Riley and Logan was handled well and I was quite pleased with the ending.

    I am sure I will reread this book again in the future.

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  • Posted April 18, 2010

    Beguiled by Deeanne Gist, J. Mark Bertrand

    Beguiled: A Novel
    By Deeanne Gist, J.Mark Bertrand
    Published by Bethany House

    Suspenseful and fast-paced, this first collaboration between Gist and Bertrand, is an action-packed mystery romance. Set in a richly detailed Charlotte, South Carolina, struggling heroine Kylee Monroe is a dog walker with a puzzling past and shackled heart who unwittingly lands smack in the middle of a baffling crime spree.

    Local journalist and aspiring book author Logan Woods is covering the story; soon finding himself entangled in more than he bargained for. As past secrets emerge and an all but forgotten history reveals itself, both Kylee and Logan must learn to trust in, and put faith in, not only God and each other, but the people surrounding them as well.

    A riveting read with a fulfilling conclusion, Beguiled is hopefully the first in many more collaborations between these two very talented authors.

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  • Posted March 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Beguiled

    I really wasn't a fan of this. It's not that it wasn't entertaining (it was) but it was sort of lightweight. It should have been a lot creepier than it was, and I thought that the romance between Rylee and Logan (reporter) happened way too fast and wasn't that credible.

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  • Posted March 22, 2010

    Easy reading; simple story,

    If you would like to get some light entertainment, this easy-to-read novel would do the job. The plot is quite simple and predictable; it's not thought provoking nor enthralling and even gets a little dull in some parts. However, it could be a nice way to spend a worry-free evening.
    The book tells the story of a kind young woman who makes a living by walking wealthy people's dogs in Charleston, a place that keeps a big family secret. She is sweet and naive, and loves the pets she works with. A series of thefts has affected most of her clients, making her a prime suspect to a lowsy police investigation. The hero is a writer who works for a newspaper and has been working in his own book, which focuses on crimes that have happened in the same area, making him the ideal second character; amusingly, he dislikes dogs.
    He must fight a bit for the young woman's attention with soemone whom she has known since they were kids. Needles to say, the three of them are the nice-looking, strong and attractive people of the story - of course, she never looses her delicate air and the two men are the muscular, slender, protective type...
    Other than clean vocabulary, and some references to forgetting about God when things are going well, and seeking Him when things aren't, I feel there is not enough in it for the book to be considered Christian fiction, but it could be a good book for general audiences.
    I received a complimentary book from Bethany House to review; this has not influenced my opinon on the book.

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  • Posted March 18, 2010

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    Mild

    Deeanne Gist's romance writing combined with J. Mark Bertrand's suspense writing blend together into a mildly interesting tale.
    Rylee is a sweet, overly naive orphan trying to support her grandmother. She finds herself a suspect in a ring of burglaries. The Robin Hood like thief steals and turns the items over to charities telling them to sell the items and use the money.Rylee's clients are the victims, missing items that hold sentimental value. In steps Logan Woods, a resourceful, energetic reporter who fears dogs. Together, the two begin to investigate.
    I did find the main character of Rylee being a rollerblading dog walker a bit bizarre, yet her walks through Charleston did give me a good picture of what the city is like. Honestly, I did have the mystery figured out fairly quickly and the book felt a bit predictable to me. All in all, it did keep me entertained and distracted as I waited during my husband's surgery. I feel generous giving it 3 out of 5 stars.

    *Thank you to Bethany House for supplying this book free of charge as part of their book review program.

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  • Posted March 16, 2010

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    An entertaining mystery

    "Beguiled" by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand is the story of Rylee Monroe, a dogwalker in Charleston, South Carolina, burglaries that are happening in the homes of her clients, and the mystery surrounding the loss of her parents. When the story of the burglaries catches the eye of a local journalist, Logan Woods, life begins to get really exciting for all involved.

    This story has some great elements and some lackluster ones. The story arc in general, is interesting and exciting. The hero is appealing and fun and the heroine - while not the most fully formed woman in history - is a pretty good character, too. Although I did figure out the mystery just before the authors revealed it, the mystery aspect of the story was strong. Additionally, and this was important to me, I didn't really notice a clear voice of either author, it felt as though it was written by one person - which was a welcome relief.

    On the other hand, I thought some of the elements - like how the dogwalker takes her dog out all over Charleston on her rollerblades, wearing tiny cutoffs was sort of bizarre. And I felt like she was often kind of "simpy" as my mom would say - a sort of melancholy character. The book is slow to get started, but once it gets going it is a quick read and certainly kept me content on my flights from LA to Chicago and then from St. Louis to LA.

    Because this book is from Bethany House, there are some elements of faith included in the book. In general however, I felt like the faith elements (e.g. prayer before a meal, crisis-type reckoning with God, church community) were really naturally woven into the story. Sometimes in "Christian fiction" the faith elements are sort of overwhelming and feel kind of false, but in this case, I think the authors were authentic in their portrayal of the characters' inner lives. I really appreciated that part of it.

    I give Beguiled three toy poodles out of five. Good mystery, not the best I've ever read, but good. Check it out.

    ** Reminder - Bethany House provides these books to reviewers free of charge. My job is to review the books, but there is no obligation to give a positive or negative review.**

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  • Posted March 13, 2010

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    A Great Book To Curl Up With!

    I love a book that I can sit down with and really get into. You know the kind... you find that half of the book is already finished and you haven't even realized that hours have passed away.  "Beguiled" is one of those stories. It has that "Cozy Mystery" feel to it and you just want to curl up with it and keep reading and reading. It's fun, full of mystery, some romance, and you can't help but love the main character and her friends. The plot is good, the mystery keeps you on your toes, but you'll probably come close to figuring it out by the end. I had it narrowed down to two people, then to one, then back up to two, then...

    I know this is listed as Christian fiction, but for those that don't like the Christian genre, don't turn away yet. There really isn't a lot of "God talk" in the book and it's far from preachy. It's just a good clean read that should appeal to those that like romantic suspense, and for those that like a good mystery.

    I rated this book older teens through adult just because it deals with adults and their life. There's no objectionable content, although there are a few scenes that cause your heart to race!

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  • Posted March 11, 2010

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    Super Suspense!

    Deeanne Gist never disappoints. Her latest novel, a collaboration with suspense writer, J. Mark Bertrand is a bit different from her usual historical romance but I loved it just the same. I'm not a huge fan of suspense but lately I've really been reading and enjoying it. I have never been to Charleston, South Carolina, but when reading Beguiled I felt as if I were there, strolling along the sidewalks in front of stately Victorian mansions. Like most suspense novels the focus isn't so much on the development of a romance between Rylee and Logan but both working together to discover who the modern day Robin Hood burglar really is. Honestly I couldn't figure out whodunit but I wasn't overly surprised who the culprit was in the end....it made sense.

    This is definitely a story that will appeal to both readers of suspense and romance and even the male reader. Beguiled also has a faith message but it isn't overly preachy...just right in my opinion! If you're a fan of Deeanne's work then I think you will like this! I definitely will think about giving J. Mark Bertrand's solo debut, Back on Murder, a try when it releases this summer!

    I received a free review copy from the publisher.

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  • Posted March 10, 2010

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    Not great

    Rylee Monroe is a dog walker in Charleston in the "Beguiled." Most of her clients are in the wealthiest neighborhoods. While at a client's house, she encounters an intruder. When the police arrive the intruder has escaped, but the client's jewelry box is missing. More break-ins continue to occur. Logan Woods, a local reporter, begins investigating the crimes. He soon learns that the break-ins are connected to Rylee.

    I have mix-feelings about the "Beguiled." Though it's well written, it's very predictable. The love story between the two main characters feels rushed and unbelievable. Merging a Christian romance story into a crime thriller just doesn't work. I give the authors credit for making the story fast-paced. I can only recommend the "Beguiled" to fans of Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand.

    Note: I would like to thank Bethany House for sending me this complimentary copy to review.

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Not what I've come to expect from Deeanne Gist.

    I have read all but two books by Deeanne Gist and all in all I love her books. Her writing style is easy and interesting to follow and you come to love her characters. This book was very differnt from the rest and a little misleading. It reads very much like a crime solving book rather than the romantic and suspenceful books I've come to love. I didn't feel connected to the characters. Which bothered me. I have not been turned off by this book and look foward to reading more of her books. But I would not chose this book as your first Deeanne Gist experience.

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful! Couldn't put it down..

    Beguiled is the first Christian book I picked up, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I absolutely fell in love with it, from page one. It's enticing and keeps you hooked all the way to the end.

    The authors did a wonderful job of describing the characters, making them life like and totally believable. The plot was great, and kept you wondering "what's going to happen next."

    I totally recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a mystery type love story.. it's great.

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  • Posted February 10, 2010

    Great Read

    I read a ton of Christian fiction and this is one of my favorites...very tastefully written, easy reading which kept my attention from start to finish!

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  • Posted January 17, 2010

    walk the streets of Charleston and find Love and Mystery

    Love the rich historical romances of Deeanne Gist? But also wish for some suspense and that her style of romance could be paired with a twisting suspense? Then you will enjoy Beguiled, a new release by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand. This book pairs romance with romance in page-turning results.

    Rylee Monroe is a dog-walker in the old, historic district of Charleston. As a young child she lived among the well-to-do in that area, but after her parents disappeared or died, she was raised by a grandmother away from that section of town. Now she's returned, but her clients are being targeted by a burglar. She soon pairs with a crime reporter who has more than writing stories on his mind.

    What I found most enjoyable about this book was the rich pool of characters. While Rylee and Logan Woods, the reporter, play the main roles, they are surrounded by supporting characters that are well drawn. Modern-day Charleston practically filled the role of a character as I felt like I'd been transported to the city and could use the book as a roadmap to get around the area. Rylee and Logan both wrestle with questions about their faith, but in a way that doesn't interrupt the story. Instead, the faith questions are woven into the fabric of the story. And the mystery thread? Loved it. And even though I figured out where it was headed, I didn't grasp the full scope for awhile and the pages still turned quickly.

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