Sapphires Are an Earl's Best Friend [NOOK Book]

Overview

She Wants Him...She Wants Him Not...


Lily Dawson, dubbed the Countess of Charm by the Prince Regent himself, plays the role of the courtesan flawlessly while her real purpose is spying in the service of the Crown. Her mission now is to seduce a duke to test his true loyalties. She'll do it, even though the man she really wants is Andrew Booth-Payne, Earl of Darlington-the duke's son.

Andrew is furious when ...

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Sapphires Are an Earl's Best Friend

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Overview

She Wants Him...She Wants Him Not...


Lily Dawson, dubbed the Countess of Charm by the Prince Regent himself, plays the role of the courtesan flawlessly while her real purpose is spying in the service of the Crown. Her mission now is to seduce a duke to test his true loyalties. She'll do it, even though the man she really wants is Andrew Booth-Payne, Earl of Darlington-the duke's son.

Andrew is furious when he finds himself rivaling his father for Lily's attention. When he uncovers Lily's mission, Andrew is faced with impossible choices. It seems he is destined to betray either his family, his country, or the longings of his own heart...

The third book in a sparkling Regency romance trilogy from acclaimed author Shana Galen following a glittering trio of celebrated courtesans whose fortunes depend on the ton believing the rumors about their mysterious lives.

Jewels of a Ton Trilogy:
When You Give a Duke a Diamond (Book 1)
If You Give a Rake a Ruby (Book 2)
Sapphires Are an Earl's Best Friend (Book 3)

Praise for Shana Galen:
"Full of daring and danger, this Regency romance sizzles with sexual tension...and brims with subtle humor."-Long and Short Reviews
"Sensual and sexy."-Publishers Weekly
"A thrilling ride, filled with mystery, intrigue, and romance...leaves this reader breathless with anticipation."-Fresh Fiction

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/20/2014
Galen’s third and final Jewels of the Ton Regency romance (after 2013’s If You Give a Rake a Ruby) will mostly appeal to series fans. Lily Dawson is the Countess of Charm, a notorious courtesan. She’s also a spy for the Foreign Office, assigned to seduce the Duke of Ravenscroft and find out whether he’s a traitor. Lily has secretly been in love with Andrew Booth-Payne, the Earl of Darlington, for years, but he only notices her when she begins flirting with his father, the duke. Andrew’s interference quickly changes to welcome kisses, leaving Lily to walk a careful line between two amorous men while she races an unscrupulous spy-killer to the evidence she needs. The plot moves along and there are a few interesting turns, but despite some solid chemistry, the unsympathetic characters and thin veneer of menace make this story the weakest of the set. Agent: Joanna MacKenzie, Browne & Miller Literary Associates. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"One of Galen's most adventurous tales yet. This wild ride of a spy thriller sparkles with banter and radiates passion. 4 ½ Stars, Top Pick of the Month" - RT Book Reviews

"The road to happily-ever-after is intense, conflicted, suspenseful and fun." - Kirkus

"This book has it all; action, suspense, romance, steamy scenes, sexual tension, humor, sadness and mystery. " - Romance Reader Girl

"Like all of Galen's books, the Countess of Charm is not one to be toyed with, put asunder or made to feel the repressed fool. Courage, honor and strength are the qualities which will continue to bring you back to Galen's series and keep you in anticipation of what's next. Order early and happy reading!" - GourmandeGirl

"There is an undercurrent of Oliver Twist-like realism and a Les Misérables-toned tragedy in Shana Galen's romantic adventure... The book takes unexpected turns which keeps readers pinned to each page." - The Reading Room

"Thrilling, romantic, and full of secrets... A brilliant historical romance. " - Imagine a World

"Shana Galen writes it perfectly. A fitting ending to this wonderful series! " - Bodice Rippers, Femme Fatales and Fantasy

"Shana Galen has a gift for storytelling that puts her at the top of my list of authors.
" - Historical Romance Lover

"Shana Galen is one talented writer who pulls you into a story and keeps you on the edge of your seat through the entire story. Her characters are so engaging and wonderfully written." - Stitch-Read-Cook

"Rife with romance, risks, rage, and risqué romps... " - Long and Short Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-06
Lily Dawson's reputation as the Countess of Charm, a renowned courtesan, is secretly a cover for her intelligence gathering, and her current mission is compromised when the only man she's ever loved finally notices her—just as she is trying to seduce his father. Lily is determined to discover who is targeting covert operatives in the service of the Crown. Known for her bright personality and charming manner, she has gained access to the highest tiers of Regency society, and she is using her influence to catch the attention of a recently widowed duke, even though what she really wants to know is if he is behind the plot to undermine the kingdom's intelligence network. Unfortunately, the duke's son is Andrew Booth-Payne, the only man Lily has ever truly loved, who is now convinced she is not only beyond the pale, but also a fortune hunter. Lily has known Andrew for ages, and even while she's playing the role of seductress, she is disappointed that he doesn't see through her pretense and instead views her with disgust and suspicion. Yet the more they face off, the more he realizes things aren't quite as they seem; as an unwelcome passion flares between them, he understands that neither Lily nor his father are anything close to what he's always believed them to be. At first determined to protect his family from Lily, soon he'll be working to protect Lily from a host of dangers, including the real possibility that his father is a traitor and that information stored on the property could endanger everything they hold dear. The third installment in the Jewels of the Ton trilogy, the novel finishes off a series that nods to the demimonde, international intrigue, and various secrets and lies, which keeps the plots afloat and the relationships steamy and emotionally satisfying. The courtesans are never as wicked as they pretend, but the road to happily-ever-after is intense, conflicted, suspenseful and fun.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402269806
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks
  • Publication date: 3/4/2014
  • Series: Jewels of the Ton , #3
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 46,084
  • File size: 939 KB

Meet the Author

Shana Galen is the bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers' Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Her books are published all over the world and have been featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston's inner city. Now she writes full time. She's happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Shana loves to hear from readers: visit her website at www.shanagalen.com or see what she's up to daily on Facebook and Twitter.
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Read an Excerpt

Praise for When You Give a Duke a Diamond:

"A thrilling ride, filled with mystery, intrigue, and romance...leaves this reader breathless with anticipation."-Fresh Fiction

She Wants Him...
She Wants Him Not...

Lily Dawson, dubbed the Countess of Charm by the Prince Regent himself, plays the role of the courtesan flawlessly while her real purpose is spying in the service of the Crown. Her mission now is to seduce a duke to test his true loyalties. She'll do it, even though the man she really wants is Andrew Booth-Payne, Earl of Darlington-the duke's son.

Andrew is furious when he finds himself rivaling his father for Lily's attention. When he uncovers Lily's mission, Andrew is faced with impossible choices. It seems he is destined to betray either his family, his country, or the longings of his own heart...

Praise for If You Give a Rake a Ruby:

"Full of daring and da

One


"Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Lily."


Lily snuggled under her covers and listened to her mother's singsong voice. She heard the rain pattering outside on the roof and the clip-clop of horses' hooves as a hackney passed her family's modest home in London. On the floor below her, the low rumble of her father's voice reverberated as he spoke to the man who'd arrived shortly after supper. Her father entertained more and more unexpected visitors of late. When she pressed her ear to the door to listen, she heard names like Napoleon and Fishguard and La Légion Noire whispered in furtive voices. Until Mamma told her to come away.


Sometimes she was scared, even though she didn't know what she was scared of. But here in her cozy room with the low-sloped ceiling, lying in her soft bed with her baby doll and her mamma beside her, she felt safe. Lily yawned. "What about the little girl, Mamma?"


"She was in possession of several very special dresses. There was a green dress that glittered with emeralds, and when she wore the green dress, she could fly."


Lily closed her eyes, imagining flying.


"There was a purple dress with a velvet bodice and ruffles on the skirt, and when she wore the purple dress, she was a princess. There was a pink dress covered with spangles, and when she wore the pink dress, she could dance like a ballerina. There was a red dress that radiated with rubies, and when she wore the red dress, she was so strong."


"As strong as Papa?"


"Yes. That strong. Now, close your eyes and listen."


But Lily knew her favorite dress was coming, and it was so hard not to bounce with excitement.


"There was a white dress that dazzled with diamonds, and when she wore the white dress, she could swim like a fish. And there was a blue dress, and that was her favorite because it sparkled with sapphires. When she wore the blue dress, she was invisible."


"And no one could see her."


"That's right, Lily Bea."


Her name was Lillian Beatrice Dawson, and sometimes her mother called her Lily Bea. Mamma had pet names for all of her children-names like Robert Bear for her big brother and Lottie for Charlotte, who was only a year older than Lily-but Lily liked her special name best.


Mamma tucked the coverlet in snugly, and Lily yawned again. "Lily," her mother asked, "why do you like the blue dress best? Is it because blue is your favorite color?"


"No." Green was her favorite color, but it was all right that Mamma didn't remember that. She had a lot to remember. "It's because I want to be inbisible."


"Invisible? Why?"


"Like Papa. He says his job is to be in-vis-i-ble."


"Hmm." Her mother huffed, and Lily opened her eyes to see Mamma's expression. Sometimes Lily said things that made her mother unhappy. Usually they were statements related to Papa. Mamma smoothed Lily's hair off her brow, and Lily closed her eyes again.


"And lastly there was a black dress," Mamma said, "as long and black as midnight, and when she wore the black dress, she could sleep for hours and hours. So let's put on our black dress, and go to sleep."


"Good night, Mamma."


"Good night. Sweet dreams."


Lily closed her eyes and dreamed of jewels and ball gowns.


***


London, last weeks of the 1816 Season


Lily was of the opinion that any lady who possessed a modicum of intelligence should be on good terms with her modiste. This was even truer for women, like herself, who were not ladies. Lily had no name or reputation to fall back on. There was only her ability to stun and impress. And when Lily needed to impress, as she did tonight, she called on Madam Durand.


Madam Durand was, in Lily's estimation, the best modiste in London. This was not because the woman was the most expensive modiste, though she was, or because she was the most innovative, which she was. It was, in Lily's judgment, because she had an eye for what styles and colors would complement a woman, and she dressed each woman accordingly. It did not matter what the latest fashion might be in Paris. If said fashion did not look well on a lady-or, in Lily's case, on the courtesan-Madam Durand would not dress her in it.


"No, no, no!" Madam Durand said in her heavily accented English as soon as Lily walked through the shop's door. "I do not comprehend why you insist on defying me."


The seamstresses in the shop, as well as the young girl who must have had the appointment directly before Lily's, turned their heads in Lily's direction. Lily merely smiled and curtsied. So much for slipping in unobtrusively.


"Everyone is wearing high waists," she said, kissing Madam Durand on both cheeks. "My gown is perfectly fashionable."


"And everyone is jumping off bridges!" the modiste replied. "Will you jump too?"


"I think what you mean to say is-"


"Bah!" Madam Durand waved a hand. "Have a seat and a cup of tea. I will be with you in a moment, and then we will discuss the waist that looks best on your figure!"


Lily perched herself on the red damask chair and accepted a cup of tea from one of Madam Durand's seamstresses. She knew how the discussion with Madam would go. Madam would tell her she had a tiny waist and must wear gowns to flaunt it, and Lily would acquiesce and buy another gown with an unfashionably low waist. She would look stunning-Madam Durand could guarantee that-but her style would not be emulated as Juliette and Fallon's had been. She seemed doomed to live in the shadows, despite her efforts to stun.


Drat, she thought, sipping her tea. But it couldn't be helped. At the moment she had tasks more important than setting fashion trends-more was the pity. She had an extremely important man to attract.


Madam Durand finished with the young lady ahead of Lily, and the girl's mother ushered her child out. As Lily finished her tea, she heard the chit-who must have been all of sixteen-whisper, "Who is that, Mama?"


"Shh! Do not look at her. Keep walking."


"But who-?"


"I shall tell you in the carriage."


"I doubt that very much," Lily muttered and rose. Madam Durand did not wait for Lily to enter the workroom before she waved Lily's note about.


"What is this, Countess? A red gown? With your hair? C'est impossible!"


"I know," Lily said, touching her tightly coiled auburn hair. It was, thankfully, a dark auburn. "But there is a gentleman."


Madam Durand rolled her eyes.


"And he is said to prefer red. Ruby red."


Madam Durand studied her for a long moment. "I might have known a gentleman would be involved. Fortunately for you, I am a genius."


"I have every faith in you, Madam," Lily answered, stepping on the dais and raising her arms so Madam's assistants might remove her dress.


Madam clapped her hands. "Phillipa! Fetch the Countess of Charm's gown."


When the offending gown had been removed and Lily stood in her petticoats, the assistant presented Madam Durand's gown. Lily's brow winged upward. "Pink?" she asked. "I am not a debutante, though I thank you for the compliment."


Madam Durand waved her hand. "Men like a woman in pastels. It reminds them of innocence." The gown was sarcenet with a thin crimson gauze overlay on the skirts. The overlay was beaded with delicate ruby beads, which formed pretty floral patterns, while the bodice was a pale, pale pink ornamented with flowers formed of those same crimson beads. Lily knew immediately the gown was going to cost her. The materials, the beading-it was some of Madam Durand's finest. She prayed she would not like it when she put it on. That would save her finances.


But when the seamstresses helped her don it, and pinned and taped it into place, Lily peered into the looking glass and sighed. It was perfect. It was exquisite. She had to have it. She could not fail to be noticed in this.


"Madam..." Lily breathed, but she could not find the words. The modiste was smiling, having seen the pleasure on Lily's face already.


"A few adjustments, I think." The women went to work pinning and measuring, and Lily stood still and allowed herself to be prodded and poked. She did not mind, especially when she was wearing such a stunning gown. The duke was going to be smitten.


At least he'd better be. The bill was going to be astronomical. Lily could not have afforded it without Fitzhugh's assistance. She complimented Madam Durand several more times before the gown was taken away for its last alterations. "It will be ready for the ball this evening?" Lily asked.


Madam Durand gave her a look that indicated she did not like to be questioned.


"I apologize, Madam," Lily said, gathering her reticule and her parasol. "Of course it shall be ready."


"I will have it sent to your town house."


"Very good, Madam." Lily would need to pay the delivery man at that point. And that meant it was time to speak to Fitzhugh. She exited Madam Durand's shop and waved to her coachman. He rushed to speak with her. "Yes, Countess?"


"I am going to walk, Franklin. The day is lovely. You may return home."


"Are you certain you do not wish me to follow you?"


"Quite certain." She was a notorious courtesan, but that did not mean she wanted to be seen arriving at the home of her friend's betrothed. She would be far less likely to be noted if she arrived on foot. And she preferred to avoid notice if at all possible-not simply because Fallon was engaged to Fitzhugh. Fallon knew Lily was not carrying on with Fitzhugh. But there were others who might be watching and whom Lily did not want to connect her with the leader of the Diamonds in the Rough.


She set out amongst the hustle and bustle of peers, their servants, and shopkeepers. The sounds of the city were unmistakable-the clash of hawkers' voices, horses' hooves, church bells, harness bells. She loved the busyness of London. She felt alive here.


She did not love the poverty she encountered on London's streets. She noted a thin young woman hunched in a doorway with her hand out. The beggar did not meet the eyes of those who passed her, noses in the air. Any moment now, the shopkeeper would spot her and order her to move. Lily stopped, dug in her reticule, and pulled out what few coins she had with her. "Here," she said, placing them in the woman's hand.


The woman's defeated gaze met Lily's for a brief moment. "Thank you, my lady." Then she closed her hand on the coins and scurried away.


Lily watched her. "I'm no lady," she murmured to herself. "There but for the grace of God-and the Earl of Sin-go I."


Lily walked on at a leisurely pace, reminding herself to breathe in the last of the spring air and admire the azure sky and the fluffy white clouds floating in it. Of course, the air smelled more of manure than flowers, and the sky had a black haze from coal fires, but she would not allow any of that to bother her today. Dirt and grime could not touch her when she wore this yellow gown-with the extremely high waist Madam Durand had chastised her for-and carried its matching yellow parasol with the pretty white-and-yellow ruffles. She felt pretty, and the admiring looks from the men she passed told her she looked the way she felt. This was Mayfair, so she had few worries about any of them accosting her, but she had her mission on her mind and tried to stay alert.


Perhaps that extra measure of cautiousness was what led her to notice she was being followed. Perhaps the man following her was not a very good shadow. Or perhaps she had simply been lucky. But two blocks from Fitzhugh's town house, Lily spotted her tail. She told herself she was simply paranoid or overly cautious. She stopped in front of a window and pretended to admire a display of ugly hats. The man stopped as well, studying a shop that sold women's shoes.


Lily sighed and considered, momentarily, just ignoring him. But no, she had to take action. She looked down at her gown, knowing it would be the inevitable casualty of this encounter. It was so pretty, but she supposed Madam Durand was correct-it didn't suit her. The loss would not be so great, though it still pained her to cause damage to anything beautiful. Gritting her teeth, Lily dropped her reticule. When she bent to lift it, she caught a finger in one of her flounces and deliberately tore it. The ripping sound it made rent her heart. She pretended not to notice the damage and continued on until she had almost reached an alley. And then she made a production of looking down, spotting the tear and looking shocked and horrified. She peered about, as though making sure no one saw the embarrassing condition of her gown, and stepped around the corner and into the alley.


Once out of sight, she sprinted down the length of the alley, passing several dark doorways, the rear entrances to the shops she'd browsed earlier, until she found one that was narrow but deep. She shot into it and flattened herself against the wall, lifting her parasol and rubbing her fingers over the polished ivory handle.


And then she waited.


Her shadow would think she had stepped off the street to repair her gown. When she did not return to the street in a few moments, he would come looking for her. Lily was not the patient sort. In fact, if she were ever asked to make a list of what she detested most, waiting would be at the very top. Every time she had to wait, she needed the privy, even if she had just used it. It was all in her mind, she knew, but she had to cross her legs anyway.


She tried singing in her head part of an aria she'd heard at the opera last week, but she had forgotten the words. She was never very good at Italian. And then she heard a splash and froze. Finally! She would perish from boredom if forced to wait much longer. Lily pushed her spine against the wall and made certain no part of her gown was peeking out. She heard the man's footfalls approaching. He would be confused now, wondering where she'd gone and not believing she would have ventured this far into the alley. She wondered who he worked for. Ravenscroft? Lucifer? Or perhaps it was one of her own checking on her.


She sensed more than saw the man draw nearer, and she held her breath, sinking into the shadows. The man stepped into her line of sight, and Lily watched as he slinked carefully forward. He had not yet seen the doorway where she hid. Idiot. He was looking forward, not even thinking that she might have stepped to the side and now lay in wait. And she supposed that was to her advantage, but still, this was going to be far too easy. Hardly worth her time. He took another step, and she moved into position, rose on tiptoes, and slammed the parasol on the back of his neck. Fortunately, he had not been a tall man, or she would never have been able to achieve the right angle. As it was, she hit him perfectly, and he crumpled to the ground.


"Simple," she muttered and knelt beside him. Her hem trailed in a muddy puddle, and when she'd pounced, she'd caught her sleeve on a sliver of wood poking out from the door. She now had two tears in her gown, and it was soiled with God knew what. Most vexing. She rifled her pursuer's pockets and found only a few shillings, a cheap pocket watch, and a moldy bit of cheese.


It was disappointing, to say the least. If she'd had the time and resources, she could have tied him up, questioned him, forced him to answer her questions. That was her true talent-charming people. It was why the prince regent had given her the sobriquet Countess of Charm. Little did everyone know it was a talent she'd had to acquire. She'd grown up shy and reticent, not charming at all.


Lily studied the tall fence marking the edge of the alley. She would have rather walked out the way she'd come in, but she supposed she had better take precautions. If one man was following her, there might be another. And the next time, she might not spot the shadow.


Lily shook her head. "And the day began with such promise," she muttered. She couldn't possibly scale the wall with the parasol in hand, so she abandoned it in the doorway where she'd hidden. It had been a pretty parasol, but it was irreparably bent now, and she wouldn't need it anymore, since she was disposing of this dress when she arrived home. In truth, she suspected one reason she wore this gown, even though she knew it didn't particularly flatter her, was because she liked the accompanying parasol so much.


Lily took a step back, studied the wall, then tied up her skirts. She loved working for the Foreign Office, but she could have done without the physical aspects of her position-at least those that forced her to soil pretty gowns. Lily ran forward, gaining momentum, jumped, and reached the top of the wall. She scrambled over with a groan and lowered herself to the ground. She looked down at her gown. Streaks of dirt marred the expensive muslin. Now she was glad she was taking a circuitous route to Fitzhugh's. She didn't relish her disheveled clothing becoming the topic of the scandal rags.


She arrived at Fitzhugh's town house and knocked on the servants' entrance. One of Fitzhugh's under maids opened the door, and her eyes widened when she recognized Lily. "Hello!" Lily waved as though her presence here was unremarkable. "Is Mr. Fitzhugh at home?"


The maid blinked at her, and Lily supposed the poor girl was beyond scandalized. Not only was a notorious courtesan knocking on the servants' entrance of her employer's home, she was requesting to see the master. A single woman, unchaperoned, calling on a man at his home. Such a thing was not done. Lily did not care. She was used to causing scandals. She'd been doing so since she was sixteen. What was one more at this point?


"I-I-" the maid mumbled.


"Never mind," Lily said, pushing past her and into the kitchens. "I shall find him myself."


"H-he's with his betrothed," the maid whispered.


"Fallon is here?" Lily brightened. "Splendid! Where are they?"


"Taking tea," she squeaked.


"In the drawing room?" Lily was already on the stairs. "No matter. I'll find them." They were not in the drawing room, but she found them in a small parlor adjacent to Fitzhugh's library. She was not surprised to find that "taking tea" involved Fallon sitting on Fitzhugh's lap in a rather warm embrace. Lily cleared her throat.


"Out, Pressly," Fitzhugh growled.


"It's not Pressly," Lily said. Fallon jumped up, and Fitzhugh scowled at her.


"What happened to you?" He rose and crossed to her, his eyebrows coming together in an expression of concern.


"I had a small incident," Lily said, closing the door on the curious servants pretending to dust just outside.


"Are you well?" Fallon asked, taking Lily's hands. "Your dress is ruined!"


"You should see my parasol."


"Oh, no! That was your favorite parasol."


"Yes, the parasol is a tragedy," Fitzhugh drawled, "but might you enlighten us as to how it was damaged?"


"It is past damaged," Lily said, allowing Fallon to lead her to a chair and pour her a cup of tea. "It is ruined. But I suppose it's for the best. Madam Durand says this gown does not suit me, and the only reason I continue to wear it is because I adore that parasol."


"Then perhaps it's best the source of temptation has been removed," Fallon remarked.


"That was my thought, and wait until you see the gown Madam Durand-"


"Miss Dawson!" Fitzhugh barked. Lily jumped, sloshing tea onto the saucer. "Could you and Fallon speak of fashion later and tell me what happened to leave you in this state?"


Fallon put her hands on her hips. "There's no need to shout."


Fitzhugh sighed. Loudly. Then looked pointedly at Lily.


She gave him a sweet smile. "I was leaving Madam Durand's shop," she began, "when I noticed I was being followed."


"Are you certain?"


Lily raised a brow.


Fitzhugh held his hands up defensively. "My apologies. I did not mean to question your skills. Do go on."


"As I was on my way here to collect payment, I did not want to be followed. I ducked into an alley, and the man followed."


"Forgive me," Fitzhugh said, taking the seat across from Lily. "What payment?"


"For my gown," Lily said, looking exasperated. "The Foreign Office cannot expect me to take full responsibility for financing the seduction of the Duke of Ravenscroft."


"Now I am confused," Fallon said. "Why on earth would you seduce that lecher?"


"Because we suspect the duke is the man who wants to see the Diamonds in the Rough assassinated," Fitzhugh told his intended. "He is in possession of some rather large rubies."


"Rubies he was using to hire assassins to kill our best spies..." Fallon's wide eyes narrowed. "Why was I not informed of this danger to you?"


"It didn't concern you," Fitzhugh answered. Lily winced. She glanced at Fallon, who was rising slowly from her seat, daggers shooting from her eyes. Lily jumped to her feet.


"Before you two progress any further in this discussion," she said, "could I have the blunt? Madam Durand is sending the gown this afternoon, and I'd like to go home and burn this dress."


"I'll send for your coachman." Fallon rose and left the room.


Fitzhugh steepled his hands. "How much?"


Lily told him.


"Is this a gown or a town house?"


"It's an exquisite gown. Ravenscroft will not be able to keep his eyes off me."


Fitzhugh raked a hand through his hair. "I don't have to tell you to be careful. You know the latest intelligence?"


"Artemis? Do you believe we've found him?"


"I think much of the evidence points to the duke."


"I'll find out the truth." Lily sank into her seat again, impossibly weary. She would need all of her skills tonight to convince those at the ball she was lively and charming. She would much rather go to bed and sleep.


How perfectly tedious.


"I don't like this," Fitzhugh said. "Artemis is aptly named. He hunted and killed several of our best during the war. I don't like putting you in jeopardy."


She felt her belly knot at his words. This mission was unlike most of the others she was assigned. If Ravenscroft was Artemis, she would be risking her life to uncover his secret. She could very well end up with her throat slit, her body thrown in an unmarked grave somewhere in Nottinghamshire.


But she could not show her fear to Fitzhugh. Any other agent sent in would be much more at risk than she. She did not want to be responsible for anyone's death because she was a coward. Lily gave Fitzhugh a shrug and waved her hand dismissively. "Why would Ravenscroft suspect me of being anything other than a courtesan? In which case, the only thing in jeopardy is my virtue, and that is but a distant memory."


Fitzhugh didn't smile at her jest. "If he attempts to force himself on you-"


"I am perfectly capable of handling that sort of thing," Lily said, forcing herself to sound confident. "You have nothing to worry about. Plan your wedding and watch your back. I will obtain the information you need."


"My mother is planning the wedding, and Fallon's brute of a butler has my back. You'll have to forgive me if I have little to do but worry over my agents."


"You should be in hiding."


"I plan to seclude myself and my wife for weeks after the wedding."


Lily rolled her eyes. The door opened, and Fallon stepped inside. "I sent a messenger, but it may be some time before the coach arrives. In the meantime, let me show you to a room. At the very least, you may splash water on your face."


Fallon knew Lily well enough to realize when she was weary she craved peace and solitude.


"I'll have your funds ready before you depart," Fitzhugh said.


"Again, thank you."


She followed Fallon to a small bedchamber. A maid was just finishing building a fire in the hearth, while another poured water from a jug into a basin. Both curtsied and retired. Lily washed her hands and face and pressed the cool cloth to her eyes. When she opened them, Fallon was watching her. "Are you looking forward to the wedding?" Lily asked.


Fallon shrugged. "I am looking forward to the marriage."


"He is lucky to have you," she said, running the cloth over her neck.


"He seems to think so." The awe in her voice told Lily Fallon still wasn't quite certain she deserved real love. "Lily, there's something I wanted to speak to you about."


Lily smiled. "Is it about the wedding night? You see, my dear, when a man and woman love each other..."


Fallon rolled her eyes. "It is not about the wedding night, and you know it. It's something else. Someone, actually."


Lily's pulse kicked at the grave look on Fallon's face. "What's wrong?"


"Darlington is back in Town."


Lily tensed but pretended to be uninterested. "I saw him when he was last in Town. He seemed a bit surly. I won't seek him out again."


"But he will seek you out. He's come to see you."


Lily willed her heart to stop thundering in her chest. Her? Not possible. She was invisible to him. Lily could hear Fallon still speaking, but her voice sounded far away and muted under the thrum of blood pounding in Lily's ears. Without waiting for her friend to finish, Lily interrupted, "Why would he want to see me?"


"According to Juliette, he ‘will not allow that harlot to soil the memory of his mother or the hallowed ground of Ravenscroft Castle.'"


Juliette. Lily's fists clenched. Of course. "Hallowed ground?"


Fallon shrugged. "It was something like that. I only told you because I thought you should be aware."


Lily nodded, unable to speak.


"Lily," Fallon said, placing her hand on Lily's arm. "Darlington may be your biggest impediment."


ger, this Regency romance sizzles with sexual tension...and brims with subtle humor."-Long and Short Reviews

"Sensual and sexy."-Publishers Weekly

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 11, 2014

    Recommend

    Enjoyed the book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2014

    4 1/2 stars Perfect finale to the trilogy! Asked by Warrick Fitz

    4 1/2 stars Perfect finale to the trilogy! Asked by Warrick Fitzhugh to investigate the loyalty of the Duke of Ravenscroft and if he was whom Fitzhugh believed, the notorious Artemis the Assassin, find the proof. Lily Dawson, the last remaining unattached member of the Three Diamonds was embarking on a mission that might cost her more than her lost reputation and her precarious place in society if she falls prey to Artemis or Lucifer – it might cost her life.

    Andrew, the Earl of Darlington, or as he’s known in London – the Darling of the Ton – is determined to make sure the courtesan – the Countess of Charm – Lily Dawson does not manage a proposal from his father, the Duke of Ravenscroft. Fearing such carelessness on his father’s part may destroy his family’s reputation and mar the sacred memory of his dead mother he confronts Lily, and orders her to stay away from his father. When she flatly refuses and starts to make a scene, he kisses her mouth shut, which starts a need and desire for her on his part that confuses and angers him. Vying for the affections of a well-known fallen woman while competing against his own father is most certainly, not what Andrew wishes for himself, or his family, but he’s beginning to see Lily in a new light and soon discovers she's not all she appears to be.

    SAPPHIRES ARE AN EARL’S BEST FRIEND, book three of the Jewels of the Ton series by Shana Galen is the perfect ending to a fabulous series. Even though it wasn’t my favorite of the three books, that's reserved for Fallon's story, Andrew and Lily were worth the wait. Shana kept me seeking a contented happily-ever-after for them even as they argued, questioned each other’s motives and activities, wandered in the woods and rain, getting muddy, wet, and nearly killed even as they slowly began to trust each other.

    Shana Galen is brilliant at making us fall in love with her characters, their stories, their pains, heartaches, and triumphs. Each of the Three Diamonds had a story of sacrifice, romance, and intrigue built around the beautiful woman’s secret and the man who would come to know the truth about the notorious courtesan. Lily’s story is no different in that respect except that her story may have the darkest most heart-aching secret of the three women. Not as action-driven from the beginning as IF YOU GIVE A RAKE A RUBY. Or as banter and teaser driven as WHEN YOU GIVE A DUKE A DIAMOND. But honestly, SAPPHIRES ARE AN EARL’S BEST FRIEND is perfection in that it satisfactorily resolves the mystery of Lucifer and Artemis, while allowing Lily the chance to win Darlington’s love that has gone unrequited for far too long.

    I highly recommend reading SAPPHIRES ARE AN EARL’S BEST FRIEND, book three of the Jewels of the Ton series by Shana Galen especially if you’ve read the first two but even if you haven’t. I believe that this fabulous trilogy should be read in its proper order, but if you truly don’t have the opportunity to do so, go ahead and start here or anywhere, but do read them all eventually. You won’t be sorry - you’ll just fall in love. ***bought this one for my own reading because I had to know! Sharing my honest and unscripted review with you because it's what I do.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2014

    Highly Recommend

    Easy reading, a enjoyable book from beginning to end...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    Less than impressive end to series (LVR)

    You really have to read this series in order because the stories are so intertwined. This final book of the series was something of a letdown to me. There were errors of inconsistency, a wimpy hero, and rushed ending that left many questions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2014

    Good, but not great

    I feel like I should have enjoyed this story more than I did. The Jewels of the Ton series has been a favorite of mine since book one and I was ready to see Lily get her man (both the criminal and her Hero). Sadly both pursuits seemed almost anticlimactic, leaving me with more a wish for things that could have been rather than the enjoyment of what I got. It probably didn’t help that for a good portion of the story I disliked Darlington. He’s petulant and angry at the world for way too long. I did like seeing Lily as a capable agent in her fighting skills; however placing her on a mission where her feelings would cloud her judgment was just a poor plot device. It didn’t help that her investigations all seemed to turn up dead ends until the hero gets involved and suddenly all the pieces fall into place. Was she really that good a spy after all? That, plus a sudden ending (the epilogue is only available on the author's website) just made this a good read, but not as exciting as the earlier books.

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  • Posted March 24, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Shana Galen concludes her Jewels of the Ton series with the fina

    Shana Galen concludes her Jewels of the Ton series with the final book, Sapphires are an Earl's Best Friend. This series features a group of courtesans that are quite a bit more intriguing than they appear. All three are spies working for the Crown unbeknownst to the denizens of the ton. Galen does a wonderful job of including not only steamy romance, but also fast paced action and humor. The hero in this novel has a some dramatic choices to make that will keep the reader entertained and interested. Galen once again delivers an amazing Regency read!

    What I liked:

    Lily, known as The Countess of Charm is a lot more than meets the eye. She is a spy in the service of the Crown and now she has her eye on a traitor. She may not be a virtuous woman who has never known sin, but she uses her situation to get closer to those who might want to betray the Crown and the Duke of Ravencraft appears to be in her cross hairs. She is a tenacious character that knows how to get what she wants, but she's thrown for a loop when the Duke's son intervenes and tries to keep her from him. Andrew just might be her undoing. I loved the way Galen portrayed Lily. She knew where she fit in the realm of the Ton and she used it to her advantage. She was enterprising and she always got her man. Galen did a great job of making a woman with a bad reputation, an unlikely heroine.

    Andrew was a piece of work. He isn't what his father wanted, a disappointment in some ways and he is grieving the loss of his mother. He has a lot on his mind and quite a bit he needs to be redeemed of. He is aghast when he finds out his father is taking up with a courtesan. But he doesn't expect is that he will fall for her as well as his father. What a situation. To be vying for a woman your father is interested in. That would definitely bite. I liked the fact that Andrew admires Lily despite her reputation. Once he finds out what she really is, it makes him think about his own life. In every good romance the partners each want to make each other better. And in Lily, Andrew finds a reason to be a better man. I loved that aspect of the story and thought Galen did a great job with Andrew's character development.

    Andrew is faced with an ultimate decision. If is father is really the traitor that Lily is searching for, can he turn against him? Can he turn against the woman he has grown to love. That puts him in quite a mess and the way that Galen works things out, was amazing. I was on the edge of my seat throughout this novel, from the romance scenes, to the fight scenes to those moments of introspection where Andrew must come to terms with what he needs to do. Galen just keeps coming with adventure, page after page.

    What I didn't like:

    This book certainly had it's charms and was quite a good read, but I felt like the other two books in the series overshadowed it. The premise was excellent and it had a ton of potential. I wanted more interaction between Lily and the other women, or perhaps a relationship with Andrew's sister, Emma. The first two books of series, made the friendships between the heroine's more important than this one did.

    Bottom Line:

    I liked this book a lot, though I think there were some missed opportunities. Galen does an amazing job with description in any book she writes and the dilemma of the Hero made for lots of harrowing moments. But I missed the female interaction that has characterized this series. Still an very good read though, as is any novel from this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2014

    Liked it

    I have read most of this authors books, including the first two in this series. I have liked most of them, including this one. The characters were quite likable, including a very plucky heroine, good chemistry, good storyline. I enjoyed it, too bad there will be no more books in this series.

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  • Posted March 8, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This is book three in the Jewels of the Ton Series. Lily Dawson

    This is book three in the Jewels of the Ton Series.

    Lily Dawson, the Countess of Charm, is on a mission for the Crown. She needs to get close to the Duke of Ravenscroft to see if he is the man selling the names of undercover agents to the enemy. The only problem is that she is in love with his son, Andrew who happens to be in love with her married best friend.

    Andrew Booth-Payne, the Earl of Darlington is disgusted that his so-called friend is trying to seduce his father. He will do anything to stop her, including a kidnapping.

    During a house party at the family seat, things start turning up missing. After asking a few questions, Lily starts to suspect that Lucifer (a villain previously introduced in the first book of the series) is hiding out in the area waiting for the right moment to strike.

    When Andrew catches Lily looking in places she shouldn't be, she finally confesses her real motives for attaching herself to the Duke of Ravenscroft. This leads to a wild adventure that you will be sure to enjoy!

    Having "met" Andrew in the other two stories, I wasn't sure to to expect with this one. He was so obsessed with Lily's friend that I wondered how the author would turn his feelings around to Lily. I should have know better! Shana Galen has a gift for story-telling that puts her at the top of my list of authors.

    We see a little of Lily's "work" in the previous novel and it was great to see how that came about. Why would the government choose a courtesan as a spy? Knowing the other two Jewels stories, I knew it would be a hard luck story but was surprised at an unexpected twist.

    One thing I am coming to enjoy in a series, is a mystery that travels throughout it. The mystery of the person trying to sell the name of the agents started in book one and came to a very satisfactory, if surprising, conclusion. I would highly recommend reading all three books together. I read them all in about 5 days and was not disappointed!

    Thanks go to Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

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  • Posted March 5, 2014

    I really enjoyed Lily's story, there was plenty of action and l


    I really enjoyed Lily's story, there was plenty of action and lots of romance. The chemistry between Lily and Andrew was undeniable. The plot had me reeled in from the beginning and kept me wondering if the duke was guilty or not. There were plenty of twists to keep me interested till the very end

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  • Posted March 5, 2014

    I highly recommend this book! SAPPHIRES ARE AN EARL'S BEST FRIEN

    I highly recommend this book! SAPPHIRES ARE AN EARL'S BEST FRIEND by Shana Galen is the last book in the Jewels of the Ton trilogy.This story is about lily, The Countess of Charm. Lily, Juliette, and Fallon, known as The Three Diamonds, were the most sought after courtesans in London. Juliette and Fallon are happily married now. Lily is feeling a little lost and lonely, but she has a job to do. She is really a spy, and her assignment is to expose a murderer and traitor to the crown. Unfortunately, Lily's quarry is the father of the man she loves. Lily has been madly in love with the Earl of Darlington for years. The bad news is Darlington is in love with Juliette. This book is sexy, thrilling, emotional, and full of surprises.

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  • Posted March 4, 2014

    Pereceptions aren't always as the seem... This story is truly a

    Pereceptions aren't always as the seem...

    This story is truly about perceptions and reading between the lines, do not always believe what you hear or see. Not everything is as it seems. This book has it all; action, suspense, romance, steamy scenes, sexual tension, humor, sadness and mystery.

    I really enjoyed Lily’s brave nature. She is a woman that doesn’t let action pass her by, she gets right into the middle of it. She is fierce and takes control. Lily’s backstory is heart-breaking but I admire her determination and strength to do better and help anyway she can. She is my kind of heroine.

    Andrew, Lord Darlington (love that name) is a great hero. I love when he truly sees Lily for who she really is and not what the world thinks she is. It’s the best a-ha moment I’ve read in a while and he is in awe of her. Andrew has many secrets that you learn throughout the story and they are interesting. He may be “the Darling of the Ton” but he truly is a serious trustworthy man.

    This was a great story to end the series. I enjoyed the mystery that was unfolding during the book. Ms. Galen provides another great historical romance! I recommend this book and series for anyone who enjoys a great suspenseful historical romance.

    *Received an advance copy from Netgalley for an honest review.

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  • Posted March 4, 2014

    Intriguing romance with a surprising conclusion! What a beautifu

    Intriguing romance with a surprising conclusion!
    What a beautiful conclusion for Shana Galen’s last book in the Jewels of the Ton trilogy. I loved her previous books in the series and I have to say that SAPPHIRES ARE AN EARL'S BEST FRIEND is my favorite! I have read the story of Juliette and Fallon, now happily married, now its Lily’s turn, one of The Three Diamonds, a charming courtesan and a spy in the service of the Crown. When I wish to read an excellent historical romance, I always choose a story written by Shana, she never disappoints me. Again, she nicely blended her two main characters Lily and Andrew, the Earl of Darlington into her intrigue. Again, we meet Lily, also known as the Countess of Charm, as she uses all her finesse and spy expertise to complete her mission. We meet Andrew, who had been in love with Juliette, now married, who wishes to keep Lily away from his famous father. Doing so, will Andrew fall under her charm and spell also? Will Lily follow her heart and find the right man for her? Will they play the mouse and cat game? Who will win? This story is filled with romance and intrigue. The plot was well developed and the conclusion very surprising! I am a huge fan of Shana Galen’s historical romances set in the Regency period. I strongly recommend this book, which can be read alone, but I would suggest that you read her previous books WHEN YOU GIVE A DUKE A DIAMOND, Juliette’s story and IF YOU GIVE A RAKE A RUBY, Fallon’s story.

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  • Posted March 4, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    NUMBER OF HEARTS: 3 1/2  REVIEW:  This was my first book in this

    NUMBER OF HEARTS: 3 1/2 
    REVIEW: 
    This was my first book in this series and while I think it might have be helpful to read the first to books first. I didn’t feel lost, but the main characters in this book do have a bit of a history that I am guessing we would see in the first two books. 

    I liked this book but didn’t love. I really liked Lily. She is feisty, independent, determined and not afraid to speak her mind. But Lily does have a few secrets in her past and those secrets for every changed her future. Andrew on the other hand was a bit of an asshat in the beginning. Although I did really enjoy that first kiss. Once these two came to an understanding everything was coming up roses. Or was it? 

    If you have read the first two books in the Jewels of the Ton series you will really enjoy Andrew & Lily’s story. If you are new to this series I would suggest you give this series and these Jewels a chance at their second chance at life and love. 

    Disclaimer: 
    I received a complimentary copy of the book from NetGalley & Sourcebooks Casablanca in exchange for an honest review. This review is my own opinion and not a paid review. 

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  • Posted March 4, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Thrilling, romantic, and full of secrets that blew me away. Sapp

    Thrilling, romantic, and full of secrets that blew me away. Sapphires Are An Earl's Best Friend was a brilliant historical romance. I had high expectation for this book, since I liked the previous books in the series so much, and it lived up to every one. I absolutely loved this book!

    Lily was a great heroine. She had a really messy past, but she found her way out of it and came out strong. She made mistakes, but it was always clear that she was good at heart. She was a genuinely likable character and I definitely liked her.

    Andrew was also amazing. Like Lily, he made mistakes, but he was always a gentleman at heart. He was a bit selectively blind, in how he didn't see what was right in front of him with Lily. But, he was very clever and very little got past him. And he was so sweet and utterly adorable. I definitely fell for this handsome gentleman.

    The romance was wonderful. Lily and Andrew were great together. I thought it was so sweet how Lily was always in love with Andrew, while Andrew slowly came to see what was right in front of him. And, the chemistry between them was hot. Definitely some steamy moments in store. I thought they were lovely together.

    The plot was fast paced and I was utterly hooked the entire way through. The mystery of who Artemis was and what Andrew's father had to do with it kept me on the edge of my seat. And the truth about the full extent of the assassination scheme blew me away. I never saw that coming. I really enjoyed the story and the ending was wonderful.

    Sapphires Are an Earl's Best Friend was a brilliant historical romance. I completely and totally loved this book. Everything about it, from the romance to the mystery to the secrets, was utterly perfect. Romance lovers, this book is a must read.

    *I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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