From the Private Scandals Anthology
Title: Sleeping With Secrets
Author: Tori Carrington
Published in 2004 by Harlequin Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance Anthology
It has always been said that politics makes strange bedfellows, and at the ball that was the jumping point for Toledo Society’s fondest hope, Judge Jonathon Dubois, that’s evident in spades. The fact Gabriel Wellington IV is there at all says something loud and clear for those who care to listen. It is probably only that he had forgotten how deadly boring these society functions were until he actually made his appearance. The stark black and white of the formalwear, the courteous smiles, whispers, and innuendos hidden behind gloved hands all remind him of his hatred for this way of life. Putting all that aside, Gabe feels he has to be here, has to be seen, has to let them know that the Wellingtons are back, even if it is only the sole remaining son. Well, they had to remember that he is the last of the Wellingtons. He is the last son of a family dynasty who could trace the history of this miserable city back to its founding days. Even though a decade has passed, there are faces among the crowd that stir memories, and although the ambitious Municipal Court Judge is a new face, there are enough Gabe remembers only too well.
The aspirations of Judge Dubois toward gaining a seat on the Superior Court is the reason for this socio-political event, and Gabe is going to make the most of it. Sure, the politicians there want his money, his hard earned wealth. But his support will come with a price. He is certain, if they are to get the money he has worked so hard for, they in turn, will pay by restoring to him what was rightfully his, what death and an unscrupulous and greedy family had stolen from him in his grief. At twenty-two, there was not much that Gabe could do, but that was a decade ago, a decade in which he brought himself back from the depths of despair, pulled himself out of the gutter in which he could have wallowed. He worked hard to get where he is today, and some would be shocked at how he got there, but the scandal will never touch him again. He is wealthy now, has restored the family fortunes. He is back in Toledo, and ready to bring down the Harkins family. He had the tools and the know-how to accomplish it now. He remembers Lance was once his best friend, but the taunts he threw at Gabe tonight were misplaced. Well, Lance and his family would learn…Gabriel Wellington IV is back, sordid secrets and all, and seeking revenge.
She is vibrant, alive, and decadently attired in the luscious red dress that screamed sensuality. Rachael felt the eyes on her as she mingled, but her mind is not on the sights and sounds around her, but on the tall sinfully handsome man she has glimpsed entering the ballroom. He reeks of sex, and sin. From the bad-boy looks, to the golden tone of his tanned tux-clad body, Rachael Dubois feels the pull he exudes. The hair at the back of her neck prickles, and she knows someone watches her, and before she knows it he is ushering her out onto the dance floor. Rachael has to give it to him, he is tall, dark and handsome, the ultimate cliché, but there is something else, a sensuality, and a feline grace that only comes with total self-assurance. She is also aware that Gabriel Worthington is a man with secrets, but right now that is not her worry. If she is going to worry about anything, it should be about the possible impropriety of her dancing with a man who has a proposal before the council where she is a member. He has petitioned for a rezoning, and she has been opposed to it along with a group wanting to preserve the area as a historical site.
The trouble with Gabriel is that one night is not enough, and much to Rachael’s chagrin, it is proved to be only too true. She finds herself drifting into daydreams of forever, and that is exceedingly odd for her. She has always been the practical one, and the concept of love is over her head. Love is not something that she believes in too strongly, she has seen the devastating effects of it with her sister Leah’s bad marriage to a man who was cold, cruel, and calculating. He was so focused on his career he drove Leah into another man’s arms, and then blamed her for everything. Rachael doesn’t want that kind of a relationship, but with Gabriel she senses a true passion, and in his arms she finds a heaven and a haven that she never thought could exist. As her dreams are threatened, and the erotic images play in her head, Rachael reacts to the many suspicions in her mind. Was Gabriel just using her to get his way, and if so, what other plans did he have? She would really like to know why they are sleeping with secrets between them.
Tori Carrington has again given us a memorable story as an integral part of a wonderful anthology. Sleeping with Secrets is the best of the three, in my humble opinion, and is a hot little tale of forbidden passion and power. The characters draw you into the affair, and yet the author lets you see things from a perspective that both intrigues and excites you. From the beginning, you are drawn by the tall brooding figure that is Gabriel, and dazzled by the bright flame that is Rachael. As the story ignites, you are caught in the whorls and eddies of their conflagrations. The fires are hot with romance, and the secrets of his past, the ambitions of her future all combine to make Sleeping with Secrets one hot number for a cold winter’s night.
If you haven’t taken the time to find the PRIVATE SCANDALS anthology, released in January by Harlequin Books, look for it soon. It is an anthology that you really don’t want to miss, and you certainly can’t afford to miss Sleeping with Secrets. It is a definite MUST HAVE for all Tori Carrington fans. Look for it in a bookstore near you.
Yours in good reading,