Love, Lies and Spies

Love, Lies and Spies

by Cindy Anstey

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Overview

Full of humor, English Regency charm, and starring a whip-smart strong female heroine, this hilarious homage to Jane Austen will “have readers rooting for love and science” (Entertainment Weekly).

Juliana Telford isn’t your ordinary nineteenth-century lady. She's more interested in publishing her research on ladybugs than in marriage or fashionable dresses. Spencer Northam isn’t your ordinary nineteenth-century gentleman. He’s a spy for the War Office on his first mission. But when Spencer’s assignment involves keeping an eye on the lovely Julianna and her friends, their plans for a season without romance are unapologetically foiled.

Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey is a debut novel with the perfect mix of romance, action, and adventure, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads.

Praise for Love, Lies and Spies:

"A delightful combination of Regency romance, scientific curiosity, and spy intrigue." —Entertainment Weekly

"Perfect for readers looking for an Austen-inspired tale of intrigue and romance." —Booklist

"A cute premise and cover make this a solid purchase for budding historical romance readers." —School Library Journal



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250084033
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: 04/19/2016
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 373,307
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: 830L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Cindy Anstey spends her time writing and adventuring around the world. She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her backyard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French. Cindy loves history, mystery and... a chocolate Labrador called Chester. Love, Lies and Spies is her debut novel. She currently resides with her husband in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Read an Excerpt

Love, Lies and Spies


By Cindy Anstey

Feiwel and Friends

Copyright © 2016 Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-08406-4



CHAPTER 1

In which a young lady clinging to a cliff will eventually accept anyone's help


"OH MY, this is embarrassing," Miss Juliana Telford said aloud. There was no reason to keep her thoughts to herself, as she was alone, completely alone. In fact, that was half of the problem. The other half was, of course, that she was hanging off the side of a cliff with the inability to climb either up or down and in dire need of rescue.

"Another scrape. This will definitely give Aunt apoplexy."

Juliana hugged the cliff ever closer and tipped her head slightly so that she could glance over her shoulder. Her high-waisted ivory dress was deeply soiled across her right hip, where she had slid across the earth as she dropped over the edge.

Juliana shifted slowly and glanced over her other shoulder. Fortunately, the left side showed no signs of distress, and her lilac sarcenet spencer could be brushed off easily. She would do it now were it not for the fact that her hands were engaged, holding tightly to the tangle of roots that kept her from falling off the tiny ledge.

Juliana continued to scrutinize the damage to her wardrobe with regret, not for herself so much as for her aunt, who seemed to deem such matters of great importance. Unfortunately, her eyes wandered down to her shoes. Just beyond them yawned an abyss. It was all too apparent how far above the crashing waves of the English Channel she was — and how very small the ledge.

Despite squishing her toes into the rock face as tightly as possible, Juliana's heels were only just barely accommodated by the jutting amalgamate. The occasional skitter and plop of eroding rocks diving into the depths of the brackish water did nothing to calm her racing heart.

Juliana swallowed convulsively. "Most embarrassing." She shivered despite a warm April breeze. "I shall be considered completely beyond the pale if I am dashed upon the rocks. Aunt will be so uncomfortable. Most inconsiderate of me."

A small shower of sandy pebbles rained down on Juliana's flowery bonnet. She shook the dust from her eyes and listened. She thought she had heard a voice.

Please, she prayed, let it be a farmer or a tradesman, someone not of the gentry. No one who would feel obligated to report back to Grays Hill Park. No gentlemen, please.

"Hello?" she called out. Juliana craned her neck upward, trying to see beyond the roots and accumulated thatch at the cliff's edge.

A head appeared. A rather handsome head. He had dark, almost black, hair and clear blue eyes and, if one were to notice such things at a time like this, a friendly, lopsided smile.

"Need some assistance?" the head asked with a hint of sarcasm and the tone of a ...

"Are you a gentleman?" Juliana inquired politely.

The head looked startled, frowned slightly, and then raised an eyebrow before answering. "Yes, indeed, I am —"

"Please, I do not wish to be rescued by a gentleman. Could you find a farmer or a shopkeep — anyone not of the gentry — and then do me the great favor of forgetting you saw me?"

"I beg your pardon?"

"I do not want to be rude, but this is a most embarrassing predicament —"

"I would probably use the word dangerous instead."

"Yes, well, you would, being a man. But I, on the other hand, being a young woman doing her best not to call attention to herself and bring shame upon her family, would call it otherwise."

"Embarrassing?"

"Oh, most definitely. First, I should not have gone out in the carriage alone. Carrie was supposed to come with me, but we quarreled, you see, and I got into a snit, and —" Juliana stopped herself. She was beginning to prattle; it must be the effects of the sun. "Second, if I had not been watching the swallows instead of the road, I would have seen the hole before my wheel decided to explore its depths — very scatterbrained of me. And third, if I return home, soiled and in the company of a gentleman with no acquaintance to the family, I will be returned to Hartwell forthwith in shame. All possibility of a Season and trip to London will be gone completely."

"Well, that is quite an embarrassing list. I do see the problem."

"Is there someone down there?" another voice asked.

The head with the blue eyes disappeared, but Juliana could hear a muffled conversation.

"Yes, but she does not want to be rescued by us. She says she needs a farmer."

"What?"

Juliana leaned back slightly to see if she could catch a glimpse of the other gentleman, but that dislodged a cloud of dirt.

"Achoo."

"Bless you," one of the voices called from above before continuing the conversation. "Yes, it seems that we are not the sort —"

Juliana's nose began to itch again. She scrunched it up and then wiggled it, trying to stop another burst. To no avail. "Achoo." This time her left hand jerked with the force of the exhaled air and broke several of the roots to which she was clinging. Slowly, they began to unravel, lengthening and shifting Juliana away from the cliff's side, out into the air.

"Oh no." She let go of that handful and reached back toward the rocks for another, hopefully stronger, group of roots. But she was not so lucky. Twice more she grabbed, praying that the tangle in her right hand would not get the same idea.

Just as she had decided the situation was now possibly more dangerous than embarrassing, a hand grabbed her flailing wrist. Relief flooded through her, and her racing heart slowed just a touch.

"Give me your other arm."

"I beg your pardon? You cannot expect me to let go."

"Well, if I am to pull you up, you are going to have to."

"Oh dear, oh dear. I really do not want to."

"I understand completely. But I am afraid we have no length of rope, no farmer is in sight, and your predicament seems to be proceeding into the realm of peril. Not to worry, though. I have this arm firmly in my grasp, my feet are being held — sat upon, to be exact, so I will not topple over — and all that is left for you to do is to let go. I will grab your other arm, you will close your eyes, and up you will come. Back onto terra firma."

"This is terra firma." Juliana pointed with her nose to the rugged cliff wall.

"Yes, but I doubt very much that you want to stay there."

"I like the idea of dangling in the air so much less."

The head nodded sympathetically. "Life is full of these trials, I am afraid."

"They seem to follow me around. I am a magnet for trouble."

"That is sad news. However, perhaps it would be best to discuss your penchant for interesting situations when we are on the same ground level — say, up here. It would make the discussion much easier to conduct."

"In other words, I should stop dillydallying."

"Exactly so."

"I really do not want to do this."

"I understand."

Juliana took a deep breath. "I am only eighteen, you know."

"I did not."

"That is much too young to die, do you not think?"

"I quite agree, which is why we are going to do everything we can to help you make it to nineteen."

"All right, I will do it."

"Brave girl."

Juliana felt anything but brave. Her knees were starting to wobble and her hands had decided to shake. She took several deep breaths, counted to three in her head, and then let go. She stretched her arm up quickly and for a flash of a second wondered if he could reach her. Then a firm viselike grip locked onto her wrist, and she did as the man had suggested: Juliana closed her eyes.

At first, his touch brought relief, but it didn't last long ... for she didn't seem to be moving. She was just dangling. It was better than falling or hitting the rocks, but she really would rather be going up, definitely up.

Juliana opened her eyes a slit. She could see that the man with the friendly smile was not smiling anymore. His expression was more of a grimace. Lifting her was clearly an effort, and Juliana shut her eyes again. She squeezed them so tightly that colors danced inside her head. Or was that because she wasn't breathing? It could be either one.

Juliana felt the sharp punch of an interfering cluster of rocks upon her upper leg and couldn't help but regret the thin nature of her muslin gown. Next time she flew off a cliff, she would try to remember to wear her worsted skirts. Perhaps then, ouch, she would not have to suffer additional bruising.

"It is all right now. You can open your eyes."

Juliana was startled. The voice was intimately close. Her eyes flew open and met those of the blue-eyed stranger. She lay on her side not two feet from her rescuer. The lopsided smile contrasted deeply with his beet-red face and his labored breath. Glistening perspiration dotted his forehead and dripped down his temples.

Juliana smiled broadly and was about to thank him when two other hands grasped her waist and lifted her to her feet as if she weighed no more than a feather. Her rescuer rose as well, and all three set about dusting themselves off. It took quite some time, as they were all thoroughly dirty.

Juliana was the last one finished. In fact, she wasn't done so much as she finally gave up. The streak on her hip was too ingrained to succumb to a brushing. She would have to sneak into the manor the back way and bribe Nancy to clean it without a word to anyone. If her aunt were to find out ...

Juliana suddenly realized that she had to swear these gentlemen to secrecy. At the very least, she had to convince them that the least said the sooner mended, or something like that. Juliana straightened up.

Two young men, who looked little more than her age, stared back with frank interest. Her rescuers were tall, handsome, and well built, but while one had dark wavy hair and blue eyes, the other had sandy locks and brown eyes. The sandy-haired man had a round face with a cleft in his smooth chin, and he moved with pent-up energy. The blue-eyed man with the friendly smile was rather loose-limbed, with a square jaw and an air of athletic grace.

Juliana was momentarily at a loss for words, a strange condition for her. It didn't last long.

"Sirs, I cannot thank you enough." She ventured a quick glance toward the cliff's edge, once again noting the huge drop. "My initial reluctance to accept your kind offer of assistance was not in any way due to a lack of appreciation. My disinclination was due solely to the fact that my shortcomings were about to cause my family grief. I do apologize for asking you to go away —"

"Oh, do not even consider it," the sandy-haired gentleman dismissed her hesitance with a wave of his hand.

"Still, I was wondering if you might not mention it to anyone."

"I beg your pardon?" His hand stopped midair.

"As gentlemen, I am sure you realize that my ... adventure ... was a little ... unladylike. Or at least that is how —"

"How your relatives will see it?"

Juliana turned toward the blue-eyed gentleman; his friendly smile was back.

"How very perceptive, sir. I know that your efforts showed a great deal of bravery, but I was wondering if ..."

"Say no more. Your secret is safe with us."

"Once again, I must thank you for your exquisite generosity." Juliana was almost limp with relief.

"If —"

She was suddenly stiff and alert again. "If?"

"If you would do us the same courtesy."

Juliana brought her brows together and tilted her head.

"We will not mention having to pry you free from certain death, if you do not mention having seen us on this side of town ... to anyone. An easy arrangement, don't you think?"

The sandy-haired stranger nodded. "Good thinking. Wouldn't want tales to reach the ears of my dearest mama."

Juliana smiled. "Well, yes, sir, that is easily done — since I do not know to whom I owe my gratitude."

"Wonderful, then it is established. You have never seen us before; we have never seen you. And should we at some time meet in any official capacity, it will be for the first time. Agreed?"

Juliana, smiling larger than she had in some time, dropped into a deep curtsy. "I am most pleased to forget you, sir." She turned and did the same to the sandy-haired man, who was watching her closely with a grin tugging at his lips.

Having settled the arrangement amicably, Juliana turned with renewed energy to her pony cart, and her stomach plummeted to her toes. The cart was on its side — one wheel still encased in mud from the deep rut that had been the cause of her ordeal — and the pony was gone.

"Oh dear, oh dear."

"Not shed of us yet, I am afraid," the blue-eyed young man said at her elbow.

Juliana almost jumped in surprise but held her reaction in check. Or at least she thought she had until she caught his look of amusement and his bold wink. She straightened her shoulders and lifted her chin.

"Not to worry, the cart is not heavy. We will have it over in a trice," he said easily, as if unaware of his improper proximity.

"That is all well and good, but without the pony, it may as well stay where it is." Juliana sighed. She raised a hand to her bonnet to shield her eyes and began scanning the horizon.

It was fortunate that the day's early-morning fog had rolled out to sea; it had left the rugged coast sparkling in warm sunlight. The vista was expansive, rich in textures and colors, and the visibility couldn't have been better.

The rooflines and chimney pots of Ryton Manor rose out of the forest canopy in the distance. Below the ancient manor, in an asymmetrical pattern of hilly fields and thick shrubbery, the bright yellow-green foliage of reawakening vegetation contrasted deeply with the blue-gray hues of the ocean. The pony's dappled black-and-white coat stood out most profoundly.

It had not gone far.

"There," Juliana said with great satisfaction. She pointed to a clearing just up the winding road.

"Ah, you are right, I see him. Bob —" The young man started to call to his sandy-haired companion. He glanced quickly toward her and then continued. "Could you get the pony while I right the cart, old boy?"

"Right-oh. Will do."

While the sandy-haired man walked away, Juliana halfheartedly tugged on the rail of her cart, testing the leverage. It didn't budge. This was not going to be as easy as the gents had surmised.

"I think we are going to have to wait for your friend to get back before we attempt to set the cart upright."

"Nonsense, just move your comely little self out of harm's way, and I will take care of it."

Juliana blinked at the none-to-subtle condescension. Perhaps she deserved it. This stranger could not help but have a skewed idea of her capabilities. She must look like a silly girl, a babbling, inattentive silly girl. Juliana gave him an elaborate bow and made sure that he saw her intentionally vacuous smile and fluttering eyelashes. "Of course, kind sir. My poor, helpless self will be waiting just over there." She pointed to the shade of a majestic oak on the other side of the road. It did look like a nice place to while away the time. And, likely, that is where she would be until the sandy-haired man returned to help, just as she had suggested in the first place.

Juliana backed up a few paces and then, after watching the man poke and prod various parts of the cart, she stepped forward and offered to hold his coat.

"That might not be a bad idea," he conceded as he handed it to her.

He still thought he could do it alone, foolish fellow.

Standing by the raised side of the cart, he began rocking it back and forth, using the momentum of the cart's own springs to bring it up farther with each dip. Then, in a great effort, he pulled the cart toward him. The vehicle tipped up into the air on one wheel.

Juliana was very impressed until she noticed that the cart was no longer moving. It was just hovering, hanging in the air, neither up nor down. "Sir?"

"Yes," came the strained reply.

"I think it might be easier to drive were both wheels on the ground."

"Likely."

Juliana tilted her head to see around the cart's railing. The man's face was red again with effort. "Would you care for some assistance?"

"Well, now that you mention it."

"Are you certain?" Juliana inquired politely, enjoying the feeling of vindication. "After all, I am standing away, as you directed."

"A slight nudge might do the trick."

"By me?"

"Ah, yes, that was the idea."

The cart started to shake slightly with his continued strain. With all due haste, Juliana crossed the road and levered her back against the railing. It took much more than a nudge; it was more like a shove, and a hard one at that.

At last the cart tipped toward the stranger, who smartly stepped out of the way, and came to rest on the crest of the road — on both wheels.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey. Copyright © 2016 Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
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.

Table of Contents

Contents

Copyright Notice,
Love Lies and Spies,
No Love Allowed,
These Vicious Masks,
About the Authors,
Copyright,

Customer Reviews