The Paid Companion

( 65 )

Overview

"Once again, the incomparable Quick has whipped up a delectable Regency Romance"(Booklist)—about an ice-cold business agreement that turns into something far more heated.

Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Paperback (Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)
$7.99
BN.com price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (175) from $1.99   
  • New (8) from $3.33   
  • Used (167) from $1.99   
The Paid Companion

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$7.99
BN.com price
Marketplace
BN.com

All Available Formats & Editions

Overview

"Once again, the incomparable Quick has whipped up a delectable Regency Romance"(Booklist)—about an ice-cold business agreement that turns into something far more heated.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With 41 bestsellers to her credit, Jayne Ann Krentz (aka Quick) still approaches a new project as if novel writing were a just-discovered pleasure she can't wait to share. This late Regency romance offers her signature goodies. Elenora Lodge loses the manor to which she was born and thus becomes the eponymous paid companion. She is, of course, plucky, intellectual, democratic, lovely and unabashedly eager to surrender her virginity to the right man: "Sensation whipped through her; a glorious, heady, dizzying whirlpool of passion. She knew that if she did not explore these thrilling emotions with him she would carry the regret with her for the rest of her life." The source of the whirlpool is Arthur Lancaster, earl of St. Merryn, cranky, quirky, decent to the death, with a sizable fortune and lusty nature to match. Although a happy ending is never in doubt, a murder mystery is threaded through the love story, allowing the besotted couple to sleuth in dark alleyways between tumbles in bed. Quick draws on Regency fascination with science to inform villainous madman Parker, who styles himself "England's second Newton" and terrorizes Elenora with a precursor of the laser. Masked balls, upper-class gambling, women who manage their own affairs and marry for love: if this is familiar territory, it still satisfies. And when Arthur proposes, readers will be right there with Elenora: "The most delicious sense of joy unfurled within her." Agent, Stephen Ayelrod. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
It is a truth universally acknowledged . . . . . . that a jilted earl must be in want of a fiancee who is something other than a flibbertigibbet, knows her place, and is not entirely unpleasant to look on: a description that precisely fits a paid companion. Arthur Lancaster, the Earl of St. Merryn, is a logical man who desires only peace and quiet and seeks to contract a suitable marriage with a reasonable female. But there seem to be none in London-or at least the redoubtable matrons who hire out exceedingly respectable companions for so much per annum have shown him none that he could envision under his roof or in his bed. Enter Miss Elenora Lodge, a disheveled beauty wearing prop spectacles in order to pass for prim, who beguiles Arthur, who in turn proposes an Arrangement. She, newly arrived in London after bailiffs have turned her off her bankrupt stepfather's country property, says yes. Ibbits, the earl's scheming butler, is quite put out. A handsome fellow who once provided paid companionship of a very different sort to lonely ladies of the ton, Ibbits was forced to go into service when-damnable luck!-he became impotent. Thanks to his employers' peccadilloes, he makes extra money on the side retailing their secrets-and simultaneously blackmailing them. But is Ibbits wicked enough to commit murder? And what does the eccentric scientist who prowls the underground network of lost London streams have to do with it all?Sexy, charming, intelligent fun: a delectable romp from the deft pen of Ms. Quick (who also writes clunky contemporary thrillers as Jayne Ann Krentz-go figure). Agent: Steven Axelrod/Axelrod Agency
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780515138641
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/2005
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 345,963
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Quick is a pseudonym for Jayne Ann Krentz, the author-under various pen names-of more than forty New York Times bestsellers. There are more than 25 million copies of her books in print.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

THE PAID COMPANION


By Amanda Quick

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS

Copyright © 2004 Jayne Ann Krentz
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-399-15174-5


Chapter One

The ghastly, corpse-pale face appeared suddenly, materializing out of the depths of the fathomless darkness like some demonic guardian set to protect forbidden secrets. The lantern light spilled a hellish glare across the stark, staring face.

The man in the small boat screamed at the sight of the monster, but there was no one to hear him.

His shriek of horror echoed endlessly off the ancient stone walls that enclosed him in a corridor of endless night. His shocked start of surprise affected his balance. He staggered, causing the small boat in which he traveled to bob dangerously on the current of the black waters.

His heart pounded. He was abruptly drenched in a chilling sweat. He stopped breathing.

Reflexively he gripped the long pole he had been using to propel the little craft up the sluggish stream, and fought to steady himself.

Mercifully the end of the pole dug solidly into the riverbed, holding the boat steady as the last reverberations of his dreadful cry died away.

The eerie silence descended once more. He managed to breathe again. He stared at the slightly-larger-than-human-sized head, his hands still shaking.

It was merely another one of the ancient classical statues that lay like so many dismembered bodies here and there along the banks of the underground river. The helmet on this one identified it as a figure of Minerva.

Although it was not the first such statue he had come across in the course of this strange journey, it was certainly the most unnerving. The thing resembled nothing so much as a severed head that had been tossed heedlessly into the mud beside the river.

He shivered again, tightened his grip on the pole and shoved hard. He was annoyed at his reaction to the figure. What was the matter with him? He could not allow his nerves to be so easily unsettled. He had a destiny to fulfill.

The little boat shot forward, slipping past the marble head.

The craft rounded another bend in the river. The lantern light picked out one of the low, arched footbridges that spanned the stream at various points along the way. They were passages to nowhere, ending as they did at the walls of the tunnel that enclosed them. The man ducked slightly to avoid banging his head.

As the last of his terror left him, the surging thrill of excitement returned. It was all just as his predecessor had described in his journal. The lost river truly did exist, twisting beneath the city, a secret waterway that had been covered over and forgotten centuries before.

The author of the journal had concluded that the Romans, never the sort to pass up a potential engineering project, had been the first to enclose the river so that they could contain it and build upon it. One could see the evidence of their masonry work here and there in the lantern light. In other places, the underground tunnel through which the river passed was vaulted in the Medieval style.

The enclosed waters no doubt functioned as an unknown sewer for the great city above it, carrying storm waters and the runoff from drains to the Thames. The smell was foul. It was so silent here in this place of eternal night that he could hear the skittering of rats and other vermin on the narrow banks.

Not much farther now, he thought. If the directions in the journal were correct, he would soon come upon the stone crypt that marked the entrance to his predecessor's secret underground laboratory. He hoped with all his might that he would find the strange machine there, where it had been left all those years before.

The one who had come before him had been forced to abandon the glorious project because he had not been able to unravel the last great riddle in the ancient lapidary. But the man in the boat knew that he had succeeded where his predecessor had failed. He had managed to decode the old alchemist's instructions. He was certain that he could complete the task.

If he was fortunate enough to find the device, there were still many things to be done before it could be made to work. He had yet to locate the missing stones and get rid of the two old men who knew the secrets of the past. But he foresaw no great difficulties in that endeavor.

Information was the key to success, and he knew how to obtain that commodity. He moved in Society, so he had some useful connections in that world. But he also made it a point to spend a great deal of time in the disreputable hells and brothels where the gentlemen of the ton went to seek more unwholesome pleasures. He had found such places to be veritable oceans of rumor and gossip.

There was only one person who knew enough to be able to realize what he intended, but she would not be a problem. Her great weakness was her love for him. He had always been able to use her affection and trust to manipulate her.

No, if he found the device tonight, nothing could stop him from fulfilling his destiny.

They had labeled the one who had come before him a madman and refused to acknowledge his genius. But this time matters would unfold in a very different fashion.

When he had finished constructing the deadly device and demonstrated its enormous destructive energy, all of England, indeed all of Europe would be forced to hail the second Newton in its midst.

Chapter Two

She won't do. Too timid. Too meek." Arthur watched the door close behind the woman he had just finished interviewing. "I thought I made it clear, I need a lady with spirit and a certain presence. I am not looking for the typical sort of paid companion. Bring in another one."

Mrs. Goodhew exchanged a glance with her business partner, Mrs. Willis. Arthur sensed that they were both nearing the end of their patience. In the course of the past hour and a half he had spoken with seven applicants. None of the subdued, painfully dowdy women on the Goodhew & Willis Agency roster had come close to being a potential candidate for the post he was offering.

He did not blame Mrs. Goodhew and Mrs. Willis for their growing exasperation. But he was beyond being exasperated. He was desperate.

Mrs. Goodhew cleared her throat, folded her large, competent hands on top of her desk and regarded Arthur with a stern air. "My lord, I regret to say that we have exhausted our list of suitable applicants."

"Impossible. There must be someone else." There had to be another candidate. His entire plan hinged on finding the right woman.

Mrs. Goodhew and Mrs. Willis glowered at him from behind their matching desks. They were both formidable females. Mrs. Goodhew was tall and grandly proportioned with a face that could have been stamped on an ancient coin. Her associate was as thin and sharp as a pair of shears.

Both were soberly but expensively attired. There was a judicious amount of gray in their hair and a considerable measure of experience in their eyes.

The sign on the front door outside declared that the Goodhew & Willis Agency had supplied paid companions and governesses to persons of quality for over fifteen years. The fact that these two had established this agency and operated it at an obvious profit for that period of time was a testimony to their intelligence and sound business sense.

Arthur studied their determined expressions and considered his options. Before coming here, he had gone to two other agencies that boasted a selection of ladies seeking work as paid companions. Each had produced a handful of insipid prospects. He had felt a distinct pang of pity for all of them. He understood that only the most dire conditions of genteel poverty could induce any female to seek such a post. But he was not in the market for a woman who aroused the emotion of pity in others.

He clasped his hands behind his back, widened his stance and confronted Mrs. Goodhew and Mrs. Willis from the far side of the room.

"If you have run through all of the suitable candidates," he said, "then the answer is clear. Find me an unsuitable female."

The two stared at him as though he had taken leave of his senses.

Mrs. Willis recovered first. "This is a respectable agency, sir. We do not have any unsuitable females in our files," she said in her razor-edged voice. "Our ladies are all guaranteed to possess reputations that are entirely above reproach. Their references are impeccable."

"Perhaps you would do well to try another agency," Mrs. Goodhew suggested in quelling tones.

"I don't have time to go to another agency." He could not believe that his carefully calculated scheme was about to fall apart simply because he could not find the right female. He had assumed that this would be the simplest, most straightforward part of the plan. Instead, it was proving to be astonishingly complicated. "I told you, I must fill this post immediately-"

The door slammed open behind him with resounding force, effectively putting an end to his sentence.

Together with Mrs. Goodhew and Mrs. Willis, he turned to look at the woman who blew into the office with the force of a small storm off the sea.

He saw at once that she had, possibly by accident although he suspected more likely by design, tried to distract attention from her striking features. A pair of gold-framed spectacles partially veiled her vivid amber-gold eyes. Her glossy, midnight-dark hair was pulled back in a remarkably severe style that would have looked more appropriate on a housekeeper or maid.

She wore a serviceable gown of some heavy, dull material in a peculiarly unattractive shade of gray. The garment looked as though it had been deliberately fashioned to make its wearer appear shorter and heavier than she actually was.

The connoisseurs of the ton and the obnoxious dandies who loitered about on Bond Street ogling the ladies would no doubt have dismissed this woman out of hand. But they were fools who did not know how to look beneath the surface, Arthur thought.

He watched the purposeful yet graceful way in which she moved. There was nothing timid or hesitant about her. Lively intelligence glittered in her exotic eyes. Spirit and determination radiated from her.

In an attempt to maintain his objectivity, he concluded that the lady lacked the sort of smooth, superficial perfection that would have caused the men of the ton to hail her as a diamond of the first water. Nevertheless, there was about her something that drew the eye, an energy and vitality that created an invisible aura. In the right clothes she would not go unnoticed in a ballroom.

"Miss Lodge, please, you cannot go in there." The harried-looking woman who occupied the desk in the outer office hovered uncertainly in the opening. "I told you, Mrs. Goodhew and Mrs. Willis are discussing a very important matter with a client."

"I do not care if they are discussing their wills or their funeral arrangements, Mrs. McNab. I intend to speak with them immediately. I have had quite enough of this nonsense."

Miss Lodge came to a halt in front of the twin desks. Arthur knew that she had not noticed him standing behind her in the shadows. The thick fog outside the windows was, in part, responsible. The mist allowed only a vague, gray light into the office. What little illumination there was did not penetrate far.

Mrs. Willis heaved a long-suffering sigh and assumed an expression that implied she was resigned to some inevitable fate.

Mrs. Goodhew, obviously made of sterner stuff, surged to her feet. "What in heaven's name do you think you are doing interrupting us in this outrageous manner, Miss Lodge?"

"I am correcting what appears to be the mistaken impression that I am seeking a post in the household of a drunkard, or a lecherous rakehell." Miss Lodge narrowed her gaze. "Let us be clear about this. I am in need of an immediate position. I cannot afford to waste any more time interviewing employers who are obviously unacceptable."

"We will discuss this later, Miss Lodge," Mrs. Goodhew snapped.

"We will discuss it now. I have just come from the appointment you arranged for me this afternoon, and I can assure you that I would not take that post if it were the very last position you had to offer."

Mrs. Goodhew smiled with what could only be described as cold triumph. "As it happens, Miss Lodge, it is, indeed, the very last post that this agency intends to make available to you."

Miss Lodge frowned. "Don't be absurd. As annoying as this process is for all concerned and most especially for me, I fear we must press on."

Mrs. Goodhew and Mrs. Willis exchanged glances. Mrs. Goodhew turned back to Miss Lodge.

"On the contrary," she said icily. "I see no point in sending you out on even one more interview."

"Haven't you been paying attention, Mrs. Goodhew?" Miss Lodge snapped. "I told you, I am in need of a new position immediately. My current employer will be leaving town the day after tomorrow to join her friend in the country. She has graciously consented to allow me to stay with her until she departs, but after that I will be obliged to find new lodgings. Lodgings which, due to the extremely poor wages I have been paid for the past few months, I cannot afford at the moment."

Mrs. Willis shook her head with what appeared to be sincere regret. "We have done our best to secure another post for you, Miss Lodge. You have had five interviews with five different clients in the past three days, but you have failed at each attempt."

"I am not the one who failed those interviews. The prospective employers failed them." Miss Lodge raised one gloved hand and began to tick off her fingers as she continued. "Mrs. Tibbett was well into her cups when I arrived, and she continued to nip at her bottle of gin until she toppled over and fell sound asleep on the sofa. Why she seeks a paid companion is beyond me. She was unable to carry on a coherent conversation."

"That is quite enough, Miss Lodge," Mrs. Goodhew said through set teeth.

"Mrs. Oxby said nothing during the entire interview. Instead she allowed her son to conduct the proceedings." Miss Lodge shuddered. "It was obvious that he is one of those dreadful men who inflicts himself upon the weak and helpless females in his own household. The situation was impossible. I have no intention of living under the same roof with such a despicable man."

"Miss Lodge, if you please." Mrs. Goodhew seized a paperweight and thumped the top of her desk.

Miss Lodge ignored her. "And then there was Mrs. Stanbridge, who was so ill that she was forced to conduct the interview from her bed. It was clear to me that she will not survive the fortnight. Her relatives are dealing with her affairs. They cannot wait for her to cock up her toes so that they can get their hands on her money. I could see immediately that it would have been highly unlikely that I would have been able to collect my fees from them."

Mrs. Goodhew drew herself up to her full height and bristled.

Continues...


Excerpted from THE PAID COMPANION by Amanda Quick Copyright © 2004 by Jayne Ann Krentz. 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.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 65 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(37)

4 Star

(18)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 65 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2004

    READ WITH VERVE AND PANACHE

    Regency romance listeners rejoice - Amanda Quick, aka Jayne Ann Krentz, has served up a tasty dish thick with suspense, ripe with coupling, and bubbling with humor. Voice performer Michael Page delivers this appetizing mix with verve and panache. Of course, there's a handsome hero with a few dark secrets. He's the Earl of St. Merryn who needs a stand-in fiancé to keep all the lusty London ladies at bay while he avenges the murder of his uncle. Meet Elenora Lodge. Recently impoverished she finds the Earl's offer impossible to turn down. Elenora, of course, is not just any down on your luck lady, she's intelligent, beautiful, and full of life. What's a Regency romance without a villain? This one is a certifiable madman bent on wrecking havoc in his wake. The setting is rife with the dalliances of the upper classes, parties, and a tantalizing mystery. Highly listenable!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2004

    Another winner by this fabulous author

    In Regency England, Miss Elenora Lodge had a beautiful estate, a wealthy inheritance, and a fiancée that she loved until her stepfather used her money to invest and lost it all. The new estate owner tosses her off the property and her fiancée dumps her. Elenora travels to London seeking employment as a companion....................... Earl Arthur Lancaster seeks a companion to pose as his fiancée so he can go about his business without the shackles of matchmaking matriarchs. He offers Elenora an exorbitant fee, which she greatfully accepts. In his St. Merryn home, Elenora learns that the murder of his cherished great-uncle brought him to town seeking justice. She needs to help him and while facing danger they fall in love with one another, but both fear rejection so they hide their feelings from one another............................ Amanda Quick has written an exhilarating historical romantic suspense tale that will keep reader attention from first page to last. Though the intrigue grips the audience, there is almost as much emphasis on the romance through the two wonderful protagonists. THE PAID COMPANION is an action-packed tale with terrific well developed lead characters and an interesting quirky support cast and the combination will send this author quickly to the New York Times best seller list.................... Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012

    " wrcx

    D xvj jx j. Jrxnw zntcn e wrury x zcryru eu -$$- zxnuuxnw .n zN 47 - r fjtx xnw r w usf wy

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    A good read.

    Fairly innocent but a good story. First that I've read by this author.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Loved this book, couldn't put it down!

    This is a great book, keeps you reading on & on and wanting more. Love the story and how it turns out in the end. Great book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2009

    Witty, romantic with a dash of mystery

    Thoroughly enjoyed this in audio format.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2006

    Loved it!

    I finished reading this book in two days! I could not put it down. Great romantic adventure.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2005

    always a good read

    I love this author. I read all her books (UNDER ALL OF HER NAMES) but her books as Amanda Quick are the best. Everytime I purchase one, I cant seem to put it down until I read the entire book. I can't wait to purchase the next one!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2004

    Vintage Amanda Quick at her Best

    I'm a big Jayne Ann Krentz fan and have read all her books. This one will not disappoint! Some of her later Amanda Quick novels were a little short on romance, but not this one. It has everything you've come to expect and love in one of her novels -- engaging characters, humor, a little mystery, a little more romance -- an excellent read. Can't recommend it enough.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2004

    excellent romp

    I have read all of Amanda Quick's books and thi s one ranks up with my favorites. She has once again given us qwirky characters, fun dialogue, and cool mystery. Had to read one in one night and was tired the next day at work, but it was well worth it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 65 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)