Scoundrel for Hire

( 72 )

Overview

Only desperation could drive Silver Nichols to strike a bargain with Raphael Jones. Their liason is strictly business: she secretly hires the develishly charming scalawag to save her beloved millionaire father from a nefarious golddigger. But Rafe isn't a man who plays by the rules, and the rugged Colorado wilderness offers no shelter from his forbidden caress. Their clandestine meetings leave Silver breathless, yearning for the fiery kisses that could make her whole world go up...
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Scoundrel for Hire (Velvet Lies, Book 1)

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Overview

Only desperation could drive Silver Nichols to strike a bargain with Raphael Jones. Their liason is strictly business: she secretly hires the develishly charming scalawag to save her beloved millionaire father from a nefarious golddigger. But Rafe isn't a man who plays by the rules, and the rugged Colorado wilderness offers no shelter from his forbidden caress. Their clandestine meetings leave Silver breathless, yearning for the fiery kisses that could make her whole world go up in smoke.

She's wealthy-and she's up to no good. To Rafe's mind, that makes Silver and her millions fair game. With her fortune as his goal, he sets out to seduce the savvy black-haired siren-only to discover that Silver's cool veneer hides a vulnerable soul and a burning passion. Now who's wooing for riches and who for love? In this high-stakes game, dare the inveterate scoundrel wager the one thing he can never afford to lose-his heart?

"Adrienne de Wolfe's writing is clever...guaranteed to please."(— Pamela Morsi)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380805273
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/1/1999
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.93 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Summer, 1886

At last!

Silver Nichols eagerly reread the letter in her hand. For what seemed like an eternity, she'd been waiting for this kind of response to the inquiries she'd mailed across the nation. She'd hired bank examiners, Pinkerton agents, lawyers, even a retired Civil War spy. She'd turned them out in droves to help her build a case against Celestia Cooper, a modem-day witch who anyone with a lick of common sense could see lusted after her papa's fortune, not his love.

But not one of Silver's informants had uncovered anything quite like this. She hugged the parchment to her chest, half-tempted to kiss it. At last! Here was the proof she needed-proof of a deed so dastardly, so despicable, that the mere mention of it would make the angels weep. It had taken a church organist, writing in a fit of evangelical outrage, to finally bring to light this Celestia Cooper atrocity. The skeleton this letter had exhumed would put to an end that wretched woman's social climbing in Aspen, Now Silver could prove to her father beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was planning to marry a monster.

She grinned at her reflection in the polished mahogany of her prized box piano. Good things do come to those who wait!

Feeling a lightness she hadn't known for yearsat least not since the night she'd fled her maternal aunt's boardinghouse-Silver hummed a Stephen Foster ditty and struck a match, watching the stack of her more benign letters ignite in the urn on her piano. The vessel was fashioned of sterling silver, a king's treasure dug from the richest of her father's four mines. So were the bookends, wall frames,doorknobs, and a variety of other bric-a-brac that adorned her lavish sitting room. She'd taken pains to convert the downstairs parlor into a sort of entrepreneurial trophy chamber, mainly to impress investors and potential clients. Although she entertained often in her father's Hallam Street mansion, she hosted business functions far more than social ones. Papa owned the most prosperous silver mining company in Colorado, and helping him maintain his social status required the ability to decorate and entertain with extravagance.

However, keeping Papa from frittering his fortune away required skills of a different nature.

Silver sighed as her soaring spirits were checked by the thought. Unbridled generosity might earn her father a place in heaven, but it wasn't going to feed him or keep a roof over his head. The man had never tempered his goodwill with practicality. Before she had arrived five years ago from Philadelphia, he'd already let himself get hoodwinked into portioning off one of his most promising claims. Fortunately, his partners couldn't raise the capital to develop it, and she'd persuaded them through some savvy negotiation to sell back their shares. That mine, Silver's Mine, as Papa had called it, had turned out to hold his wealthiest vein, a bonanza that had brought him worldwide acclaim-and the attention of a fortune-teller-tumedhunter who billed herself as "Madam" Celestia.

Silver wrinkled her nose, waving away smoke. Thank God for conscientious, letter-writing citizens like that church organist from Kentucky. Otherwise, in six weeks' time, she might have been forced to call a circus sideshow act Mother.

The bell jangled over the front door. Silver started as her butler's staccato footsteps echoed in the foyer. Who on earth could be calling at this early hour? Perhaps it was her driver. She had been a bit distracted last night as she'd instructed him regarding the Leadville journey. Papa had disappeared as usual after dinner, and she'd been forced to see to his traveling bags as well as her own. She'd so wanted this journey to go without a hitch; indeed, nervous anticipation hadn't let her sleep past the first rays of dawn. For the first time ever, a woman had been invited to speak before the board of directors of the Leadville Mining Exchange. She, who had once been so penniless that she'd been reduced to cooking meals at the boardinghouse, would address some of the wealthiest brokers and stockholders in the mining industry.

But even more importantly, Silver thought with a bubbling sense of excitement, she'd have Papa all to herself for two days. It was a dream-come-true for the girl who'd been forced to grow up nearly a continent away from the daddy she adored.

Dumping the ashes into the unlit hearth, Silver hastily replaced the urn and stepped into the foyer. She left the parlor in time to see the front door bang open and her chubby father stand huffing on the threshold. Oddly enough, he was dressed in last night's dinner suit.

"Let me help you with that, sir," the butler said as Papa struggled over the threshold, his arms and back weighted down by bulging satchels.

"No thanks, Benny," Papa called jovially, listing to the left as he kicked the door closed. Oblivious to the heel mark he'd left behind, he grinned up at the solemn Englishman. "I've gotta get used to toting loads again so I can hoist my bride over the threshold."

Benson had the good grace not to smirk. Silver pressed her lips together. Celestia Cooper was one load Papa would never carry, if she had anything to say about it.

"Papa, for heaven's sake, you'll hurt yourself," she chided, hurrying to lend a hand. "Those knapsacks look much too heavy-"

"Now daughter, I'm a miner. And miners don't let a couple of rocks get the better of them." He doubled over, his ruddy face turning a shade redder as he hauled his bags toward the parlor. " 'Sides, this here's a special lode. And you know what that means, don't ya?"

"A special lode needs special care," she chimed in dutifully.

He chuckled, and her heart warmed. She loved Papa's laugh. The sound always reminded her of sleighing and Christmas and chestnuts roasting over the fire. Maybe those images came to mind because for most of her lonely childhood, Papa had only come home to Philadelphia when the snows had made it too hard to prospect.

She trailed behind him. When Papa swung the knapsack from his back, she tried not to mind that...

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 72 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(22)

4 Star

(24)

3 Star

(14)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 72 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 30, 2013

    Handsome Hero plus Feisty Damsel equals one fun afternoon read!

    This is an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon at the beach or on the deck. Enough plot twists and turns to keep it interesting, without requiring deep thought to follow the action. Characters with a sense of humor accent the romance. I highly recommend this book for a light read. And then loan it to a friend. She will thank you.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 2, 2013

    I enjoyed reading Scoundrel For Hire. There was an interesting

    I enjoyed reading Scoundrel For Hire. There was an interesting plot in this book that I had never encountered before. I would read more from this author.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 20, 2013

    To Plot Spoiler......

    Why every week must you complain? BIG HINT... if the review is longer then a paragraph DONT READ IT SKIP OVER IT SIMPLE AS THAT!!

    8 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 20, 2013

    People, please don't penalize the writer with one star because s

    People, please don't penalize the writer with one star because someone is a plot spoiler or you don't like the genre for the freebie. The appropriate place to complain is on the blog.

    7 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 31, 2013

    Good read

    This was a good read. Lots of suspense and sexual tension. The only thing wrong was a couple of type-o's and that it moved a bit slower than I liked. 296 pages

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 15, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Delightful Hero in a Unique Storyline

    Ms. deWolfe has created an entertaining series starter that brings together two apparently different people under the guise of a scam that doesn't go as planned. When emotions get in the way and the past comes back to haunt them their burgeoning relationship might be over before it starts in this historical read populated by colorful characters and flashes of the supernatural.

    Rafe grew up as a constant reminder of his mother's shame. His religiously over zealous father constantly belittled and damned him trying to taint his siblings against him, thus making him feel alone and worthless. After setting off at an early age to make a living for himself he stumbled across a group of talented actors/grifters who taught him a way of living but enforced his feelings of loneliness as they used any display of care and compassion against him. It's hardened his heart making him doubt faith and love and all these betrayals he endured made me ache for him. There are still flashes of his caring nature as seen in the affection he shows a homeless otter (and which results in some humorous and sweet moments) and in his dealings with Silver which opens his heart even further as he sees an unexpected connection between them. He's a charming fellow who still feels indebted to a small group he calls family even after being hurt time and again. He finds it easy to open up to Silver though and is protective of her and willing to sacrifice himself once he realizes what she means to him. Theirs is a relationship that started off as adversaries but quickly evolved into a playful and flirty friendship that morphed into a deep and abiding love that gave both of them someone to count on.

    Silver lost her mother at an early age too and has had no one to comfort her as her father's a fanciful sort with his head in the clouds. He's a dreamer and she's the thinker who's kept their business flourishing. She's strong-willed but wary of men and love after being brutally betrayed by a despicable and dishonorable man of wealth whose painful shadow still haunts her. With her father's upcoming nuptials she formulates a plan using Rafe to stop it as she doubts the sincerity of the oddly prophetic woman. There's also a bit of jealousy involved that she's no longer the apple of her father's eye that she'll never admit. I felt sympathetic for all Silver's gone through that has turned her into a brittle and untrusting woman. Rafe brings a smile to her face and makes her feel like a woman with the sensual feelings he engenders in her. They're a delightful couple with their mutually scheming ways and the guilt they both feel regarding their actions. Their mutual loneliness binds them together and keeps them fighting for their HEA in the face of death.

    The premise of this story is a uniquely entertaining one that nicely blends building sexual tension amidst a battle of wills. Their scenes together sizzle in the rapid-fire dialogue and underlying sensuality and had me looking forward to each time they were alone. Rafe and Silver really want nothing more than to be happy. At first they're willing to sacrifice others to reach that goal but their innate goodness wins out which puts their lives in jeopardy in a heart-pounding and fast-paced conclusion where the past comes back to take their happiness before it's barely begun. The secondary characters are a distinctive group where not everyone does what's right but in the end they come together to assure a HEA.

    4 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted August 12, 2013

    Good

    It started a little slow, but picked up. Turned out to be a great story. Will have to get the others. Loved it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted September 16, 2013

    OK, NOT GREAT!

    Just ok in my opinion, hard to follow. I had a little trouble staying
    Interested enough to finish, but it got better toward the end.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 14, 2014

    Unbelievable

    Lame plot, paper cut-out characters, little effort at getting the historic context right. A shame, since the author shows a flair for writing, but a decent carpenter does not an architect make.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 20, 2013

    Beware of Trolls

    I've come to the conclusion that trolls are having a lot of fun complaining each Friday about "plot spoiler" reviews on Free Friday books. According to them, any description of the plot at all -- a standard feature of real book reviews -- is a "spoiler" demanding punishment of the author with one-star reviews.

    Hint to reasonable people: Don't bother feeding the trolls. Just leave five-star reviews to make up for the trolls' vandalism of review pages.

    2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 22, 2013

    Not good

    Very dry and uninteresting. Resorted to skimming pages just to get thru. As for plot spoilers, i dont like them either. They give away too much. As for not reading them as one rude poster said, i dont but when you have to scroll down thru miles of them, its hard not to see something that spoils the story, so not reading them doesnt really solve the problem now, does it? The only solution is to stop them from posting and giving away the entire story.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 20, 2013

    Really?

    Not the quality I expect from BN, even for free. Sorry.

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted October 26, 2014

    Cute

    Cute story. Well written, thought there were a few confusing typos. Will purchase more from this author...and maybe get an otter! Lol

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted May 3, 2014

    Good

    Enjoyable read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted February 4, 2014

    Good read

    What a good story,kept me interested the whole time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 26, 2014

    Ok

    The areas of details seemed misplaced. I did alot of skimming.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 17, 2014

    Recommended for romantics

    It was fun but predictable as in old harlequin romances

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2014

    Great Read

    Good story...lots of twists and turns you do not expect....You are never sure of the out come until the very ending...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    Painfully boring

    Slow moving, boring book. I should have paid attentionto the reviews.
    DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 4, 2014

    Good story plot

    Barf! The graphic sex was boring and not necessary. Don't know how many pages i had to skip to get thru the trash.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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