Tempted at Every Turn

Tempted at Every Turn

3.6 6
by Robyn DeHart

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Proper, sensible Willow Mabson will do anything to protect her family. So when she finds out that James Sterling—a dashing, arrogant aristocrat working for Scotland Yard—suspects her mother in a recent murder, Willow will do whatever's necessary . . . even solve the case herself! Of course, this will bring her into a most uncomfortable proximity with

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Proper, sensible Willow Mabson will do anything to protect her family. So when she finds out that James Sterling—a dashing, arrogant aristocrat working for Scotland Yard—suspects her mother in a recent murder, Willow will do whatever's necessary . . . even solve the case herself! Of course, this will bring her into a most uncomfortable proximity with the very tantalizing Mister Sterling. And try as she might, she finds resisting him her most difficult challenge.

James has always preferred gritty crime scenes to elegant balls. And he can immediately deduce that straight-laced, whip-smart—and exceedingly delectable—Willow isn't your average vapid, shallow socialite. He longs to release her carefully restrained sensuality and tempt her into losing control. But James doesn't count on risking his own heart in the process.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The battle of the sexes tests more than just wills in this charming Victorian whodunit romance, the third installment in DeHart's Ladies' Amateur Sleuth Society series. The handsome and cocky Insp. James Sterling is known for his anything-goes daring-do, often implementing illegal but successful strategies to catch criminals, a habit that angers his superiors-and frustrates his new partner, by-the-rules Willow. Willow Mabson is a dutiful daughter with a secret penchant for crime solving; she fulfills her Sherlockian impulses with the help of her three closest friends, who make up the aforementioned Sleuth Society. After the inspector challenges her, the two put their heads together to solve the case of a murdered society photographer. James learns to see past Willow's homely facade, discovering a passionate, intelligent and curvaceous lady beneath. When the investigation strikes close to home, however, Willow must re-evaluate her values, the strength of her family bonds and the importance love plays in her life. Though the romance proves predictable, DeHart's thoroughly enjoyable mystery bolsters it nicely, which should make this a pleasure for fans of the off-beat series. (Aug.)

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Avon Historical Romance Series
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.92(d)

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Tempted at Every Turn

Chapter One

London, 1893

"Well, well, well, if it isn't a letter from 'Anonymous,'" Finch said, handing the envelope to James. "You haven't received one of these in a while."

Inspector James Sterling grabbed the parchment and sat behind his desk. The old chair creaked under his weight. He carefully unfolded the note and read through the flourishing words. A smile curled his lips. "It's been over a month since I've heard from her. Perhaps two."

Finch leaned over his own desk to try to peek at the letter, but James covered the paper with his hand. "Still convinced it's a woman?"

"Look at this penmanship." James flipped it around to show his fellow inspector, but gave him no time to read it before he dropped it again. "No man can write like that, with all the precision and elegance. Not to mention the vocabulary that she uses. She's educated."

"You can wipe that grin off your face, I don't think she's exactly an admirer." Finch stood and stretched.

James tucked the letter into his side pocket. Finch was right; the woman was no admirer, but the fact that he could annoy her so without even knowing her amused him greatly.

"We've got work to do." Finch pulled his tweed coat on. "The carriage house is sending a rig out front. You coming?"

"Right. We have to finish up the Clemmons case." He grabbed his own coat and followed Finch out of the Scotland Yard offices.

His mood sank. He hated having a keeper, having to report in to someone. And Finch had been his equal a few months ago, until Superintendent Randolph put him on suspension. Now James was stuckworking under Finch as punishment.

It wasn't working with Finch that irritated him. Finch was a good detective; James respected him. But the fact that James had worked tireless hours and solved more cases than almost anyone and then had it stripped away was beyond frustrating.

Now it was like working backward. He'd asked Randolph just yesterday how much longer this grueling penance would last, but the boss had just grunted and shrugged his shoulders.

Randolph was disciplining him for allegedly breaking the rules, yet he, himself, wasn't following any specific rulebook on James' punishment. The bastard was making things up as he went along. Something James knew all too well. It was how he lived his life.

Tomorrow, James would visit him again. If nothing else, if he pestered Randolph enough, perhaps he'd give in and give James back his team.

"You off to the Spotted Duck tonight with the rest of us?" Finch asked as they stepped into one of the Metropolitan Police issued carriages.

"No. I'm having dinner with Colin and his wife tonight."

"Oh, tell the old chum I said hello. Any chance he'll come back to the Yard?"

"Doubtful. Maybe I'll join him on his own. It would beat working for Randolph."

Finch chuckled. "You'd miss the glory."

"Oh, right, the glory," James said dryly.

"It won't be too much longer," Amelia Brindley said. She glanced at her husband. "I'm certain dinner will be ready momentarily." She smiled warmly at Willow.

Willow Mabson nodded politely. Amelia was her best friend and she loved her, but she should have declined the invitation to dinner tonight. She needed to be home caring for her mother, instead of leaving poor Edmond to do so. Her brother had much more important things to do than watching over their irascible mother. However, she'd been in such a state this past week that someone had to sit with her at all times. Thankfully, Edmond wouldn't have to handle things alone for too long as their father was returning from his short trip tonight.

Forcing herself to focus on the present, she noted the parlor was ornate but tasteful, decorated in soft golds and yellows. She should have felt calm and relaxed, yet she couldn't shake her feeling of unease. Willow plucked a wayward string off her blue satin skirt. She didn't have many evening dresses and it seemed silly to don one for a simple dinner with her friends. But propriety was quite clear on that matter. Besides, she had no idea who else was invited tonight; Amelia had been quite mum about the details.

Willow glanced around the room and noted Amelia and Colin exchanging knowing looks. Colin glanced at his pocket watch and nodded to his wife. The air was charged; something was amiss. Amelia and Colin were far too suspicious.

"Precisely what are you two about?" she asked.

Amelia jumped slightly. Her hand flew to her neck, where she fiddled with a necklace. "I haven't the faintest notion to what you're referring." She smiled brightly at Colin, who stood by the piano swirling the drink in his hand.

"Nothing at all," he said stiffly.

Willow resisted the urge to roll her eyes. They were up to something. She was no fool.

There was a quiet knock on the door, and then the Brindley butler, Westin, appeared. He cleared his throat. "An Inspector James Sterling has arrived. He said he would be in momentarily." He bowed heavily and stepped out of the room.

Willow came to her feet. Sterling? She shot Amelia a pointed glance as her heart inexplicably skipped a beat.

So this is what they were doing.

Amelia had offered to introduce them on several occasions, all of which Willow had declined. She hadn't wanted to meet him. Hadn't wanted to make a fool of herself. Because she knew that once they met, she would end up opening her mouth and chiding him for his flagrant lack of regard when it came to the rules and regulations of being an inspector with the Metropolitan Police.

She'd had opportunity to view those very guidelines once, while visiting her cousin, who worked as a clerk in the Yard offices. She'd only read through them as a matter of curiosity, but the instructions were clear . . .

Tempted at Every Turn. Copyright © by Robyn DeHart. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Tempted at Every Turn 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the third book in the Amateur Sleuth Society. The Amateur Sleuth Society is 4 ladies (friends) that band toghter to solve mysteries and their boredom. If you wish to read them in order the titles are: 1. A Study in Scandal 2. Deliciously Wicked 3. Temped at Ever Turn 4. A Marriage Most Convenient BN doesn't let you know that there are fournin this series and for thoes who do not wish to get confussed in the other story lines or just wish to read all the story lines!
PreciousCargo1007 More than 1 year ago
Good read. Great storyline. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did not like this book, and I've summed up all my dislike into two reasons. 1.”Intelligent” characters did not behave intelligently and characters’ decisions (and character traits) did not make sense. Both the male and female leads in this one are set up as intelligent characters. While it should be safe to assume that supposedly intelligent characters will use their noggins when making decisions, that’s not what happens in this book. Willow’s decisions have no logical basis at all, and I can’t think of a single instance of her intelligence in action throughout the book. James approaches investigating the same way a person would if his entire occupational experience of investigation consisted of his having watched a few episodes of Murder, She Wrote when he was a kid. So what was the point of describing them as intelligent people? In general, the characters in this book did not make sense. Willow’s mom suffers from some sort of mental illness, so Willow decided when she was about 18 or 19 that she would never marry because it was her duty to take care of her mother. To that end, she discouraged all male attention and made it to age 29 without a single suitor. Then she meets James. She still doesn’t want to marry, but her reasoning doesn’t make sense in light of a much more obvious reason to avoid marrying. I mean, if your mom is crazy, it makes sense to avoid marrying because you are afraid of passing mental illness on to your children. With that reason–perfectly logical–just hanging out there like an unacknowledged elephant in the room, it seems bizarre that Willow is so focused on the idea that she can’t marry because it would be impossible for her to care for both her mother and her family. Her decision just doesn’t make sense, except that, however unreasonable, it can be overcome by a HEA. James has spent his entire life bucking convention, and we’re given a reason for it, but it doesn’t really make sense. So his uncle got away with a crime because he was a peer (of the realm), and that unfairness prompts James to turn his back on society and all of its stupid rules. What does that have to do with polite behavior? And is James’ haircut (or lack thereof) seriously connected to his uncle’s perfidy? And–-I love it–-he can’t even consider marrying Willow because she’s someone his mom would like, and his most compelling character trait is that he never does anything that would make his mom happy. Isn’t that romantic? I’ve always dreamed of marrying a man who still acts like a 13-year-old. 3. She’s a clever girl, which means she’s almost as smart as a man of average intelligence. Willow only really demonstrates her cleverness twice in the book (the rest of the time the author just tells you that she’s clever rather than showing you), and on both occasions, the author points out that the proof of Willow's intelligence lies in her having figured out something that James already figured out. When I figure something out right away and it takes someone else a few minutes, hours, or days to catch up, I don't usually assume that the other person is intelligent just for having finally joined me on planet comprende. In fact, I usually assume that the other person is a bit dim for taking so long to get there. But in this book, James figures things out days before Willow does, and when she finally susses it out, he's like, "OMG, U R so smart!" It's ridiculous.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the 3rd in the series, about 4 young ladies who called themselves The Amatuer Sleuths Club. This was willow and james book, she was sending james letters throughout the 2 previous books about how he did not follow the rules as a detective, and how shrewd he was of making sure someone was found guilty dispite hes methods. They finally meet face to face at one of her friends house for dinner. Made a wager on who could solve the next case, with hes methods or with her methods following the rules. Fast paced book with love and passion and a mystery to boot!!! Loved it till the very end. Now mrs Dehart where is book 4? The story of charoltte? And whatever happ to the Jack of hearts? I only see 3 ebooks, really hope u publish the last one, if u ever wrote it :)