An Affair with Mr. Kennedy
Pocket, $7.99, Jan. 31, 2012
London, 1887. Part stoic gentleman, part fearless Yard man, Zeno “Zak” Kennedy is an enigma of the first order. For years, the memory of a deadly bombing at King’s Cross has haunted the brilliant Scotland Yard detective. His investigation has zeroed in on a ring of aristocratic rebels whose bloody campaign for Irish revolution is terrorizing the city. When he discovers one of the treacherous lords is acquainted with his free-spirited new tenant, Cassandra St. Cloud, his inquiry pulls him unexpectedly close to the heart of the conspiracy and into the arms of a most intriguing lady.
And Cassie is no Victorian prude. An Impressionist painter with very modern ideas about life and love, she is eager for a romantic escapade that is daring and discreet. She sets her sights on her dour but handsome landlord, but after she learns their meeting was not purely accidental, she hardly has a chance to forgive her lover before their passionate affair catapults them both into a perilous adventure.
In 2010, Jillian Stone’s Victorian-set romantic suspense won the Golden Heart, the Romance Writers of America’s award for unpublished authors. That book then sold and is Stone’s debut, An Affair with Mr. Kennedy.
The hero, Zeno “Zak” Kennedy, seems like a disheveled Robert Downey, Jr. playing Sherlock Holmes. Zeno is a detective with the Special Irish Branch of Scotland Yard, exuding intelligence, determination, and sensuality that is overt, but not in your face. His mission is to prevent the Fenians, an organization dedicated to the establishment of an independent Irish Republic, from committing terrorist attacks against the British government.
Unwavering in his need to solve the deadly bombing at King’s Cross station in London, he encounters his perfect match in his new tenant, the feisty and bold Cassie, as far from a traditional Victorian woman as you can imagine.
“There are condoms in the dresser,” she blurted out.
Sliding out the top drawer, he removed a tin of rubber goods. “You do encourage the most lascivious behavior in me.” Zeno tilted his head. “Do you find my lovemaking in any way disturbing, Cassie? Because if you do – ”
“I don’t.” She bit her lip. “I suppose that makes me a terrible wanton, doesn’t it?”
“It makes you the most desirable young lady I have ever encountered.”
She stepped into his arms and gave him a kiss. “Since my naked bottom was exposed this afternoon, it is your turn, Zak, to remove every stitch of clothing.” She leaned against the bedpost. “And I shall watch.”
With a break in the case, and the knowledge that Cassie knows Zeno’s prime suspect, the pair are bound together in a thrilling chase to a most satisfying end. Cassie is more than equal to the the seductive Zeno, and their affair is one to watch and savor.
This setting allows the author to write a feisty heroine who is truly unconstrained by society, a woman who is as compelling as the delicious Zeno.
A.J. Wilson, Shark By Day, Lover Of All Things Plaid By Night – ajwilsononline.net