printed copy

My Wicked Little Lies

Victoria Alexander

ISBN 9781420117066
Publish Date 1/31/2012
Format Paperback
Categories Zebra, Historical, Romance

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander, a captivating new romance in which a daring young woman must choose between her past and her future…

Evelyn Hadley-Attwater has it all—a genteel Victorian life replete with loving husband, ball gowns and elegant parties. No one, including the man she married, suspects that she was once “Eve,” a spy for England’s most enigmatic intelligence agency. Summoned for one final assignment, the excitement of her former life and memories of her mysterious, flirtatious boss “Sir” prove too tempting…

Adrian Hadley-Attwater is a respectable, dignified gentleman. But even the most proper gentlemen have secrets of their own. Secrets from the rest of the world, from their families, from their wives. Secrets that have a price. Now, as a veil of secrecy frays, a tantalizing game of cat and mouse will test the bounds of unfailing love…

“For love, laughter, and lots of fun, read Victoria Alexander.” —Stephanie Laurens, New York Times bestselling author

Praise for The Perfect Mistress

“Smashing…very close to a perfect read.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“With a delectably dry sense of humor that rivals Oscar Wilde at his best, Alexander fashions the perfect romance, featuring two splendidly matched protagonists engaged in an exceptionally entertaining literary and romantic battle of wills.” —Booklist (starred review)

Prologue

My Dear Sir,

I am at once eager and filled with regret to write this missive to you as it shall be my last. No doubt, Sir Maxwell has informed you of my decision to leave my position. In truth, I never thought this day would come. I never imagined leaving this life which has been, in most ways, quite remarkable and, in all ways, extraordinary. And yet, I have grown tired of excitement and weary of secrets.

I have lived these past five years in service to my queen and my country. While I admit, it may well be selfish, the time has now come to live in service to myself, as it were. I long for nothing more than that which most women want. A husband, a family, and a place in the world where one knows one belongs.

I have met a wonderful man and I shall spend the rest of my days trying to make him happy. Which is not the least bit daunting as he has pledged to do the same for me. It sounds dreadfully ordinary, doesn’t it? And yet, I have never been so eager and, yes, excited.

I have always thought those who say they have no regrets seek either to deceive others or to deceive themselves. Yet, as I cast my thoughts back upon these last years, I find few regrets. If I knew at the beginning what I know now, I daresay, I would have chosen the same path although perhaps I would have been more clever. Or possibly not. Regardless, it has been a grand adventure.

As this is my last communiqué, I feel I can be completely candid. I have only one true regret, Sir. I wish we had met, just once, face-to-face. I confess, I have often thought of that, wondered if I would know you the moment I saw you. Or recognize the sound of your voice. Silly, of course, as I have never seen you nor heard you. But through the years I feel I have come to know you although, in truth, I know nothing about you at all. I have imagined, in the late hours of the night, a meeting between us. The gaze of your eyes, wise and, no doubt, seductive, meeting mine. The corners of your mouth curving upward in amusement. The sound of your laughter. I have imagined the feel of your hand around mine as we danced across a crowded ballroom floor.

But who knows? You are a man of many secrets. Perhaps we have danced together. Perhaps you were the short, balding gentleman I danced with at the French ambassador’s ball. Or were you the flirtatious Italian count who compared my eyes to the stars in the heavens? I shall never know and that is, no doubt, for the best.

I sit here now with a smile upon my face. I fear I have let my fancy take flight in this final note. Odd, that finality brings such freedom. But one does wonder about the road not taken, the quest not pursued, the last chapter of the book left unread.

You have my gratitude, Sir, for all you have taught me, for your guidance and friendship. Travel safe, my dear Sir. With warm affection love, Eve

He stared at the note for a long moment. The hand so familiar, the words so final. But then that was the way of endings and beginnings, at once sad and exciting. Still, one needed to put the past behind before one could turn toward the future.

He drew a deep breath and picked up his pen.

My Dearest Eve,

Your note brought a smile to my face but then your notes often have. I shall miss them. As this last exchange seems to be one of confessions, I have some of my own.

You have astounded me through these years with your cleverness and your courage. I look upon you with great pride. Your decision to leave is a true loss to your country and yet no one can fault you for your choice. You have given much and it is time, past time perhaps, for you to resume the life you should always have lived. You have well earned it.

I, too, have wondered at what magic might have been found in a meeting between us. Without the barrier of position or paper. Was there fire that simmered beneath the surface of our words, or was that no more than the nature of the work we have accomplished together? No more than my own inevitable desire for a woman whose presence has filled my life even as necessity dictated she be no more than the faintest hint of perfume wafted from a page lifted to my face. Ah, Eve, the thoughts I have had.

He paused and stared at the words he had written. What was the point? There was no real need to respond. And to tell her of his feelings now might well do more harm than good. Perhaps there would come a day...

He sighed and placed his unwritten note on top of hers, folded them, and slipped them into his waistcoat pocket. He pushed his chair back from his desk and stood. There was much to accomplish and little time left.

Endings and beginnings... such was the stuff of life.

About Victoria Alexander:

New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander was an award-winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was much more fun than real life. She turned to writing full time and has never looked back. Victoria grew up traveling the country as an Air Force brat and is now settled in a very old house in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two allegedly grown children and two bearded collies. She firmly believes housework is a four-letter word, there are no calories in anything eaten standing up, procrastination is an art form, and it's never too soon to panic.


Average Customer Review

Based on 5 reviews


Customer Review

Great Book!!! (Sunday, March 18, 2012)
Reviewer: CssndrMks

I just finished reading ‘My Wicked Little Lies’ and it was pretty good. I’d give it a 4.5 out of 5 simply because while it was enjoyable, there were a few slow moments, where I wanted to skip parts. For the most part, the plot was fantastic, there was a lot going on to grab the attention, but a couple times it moved a little slow.


I really liked reading this story though and I wouldn’t mind reading it again, and while I got this book free, I would not regret having paid for it. The characters were believable, the plot unique, and unlike anything I’ve read before.



It was a pleasant change to the cliché normally created in a historical romance. I especially liked the way Evie played such a large part of the story, and not just in the ballroom, but on the ‘battle field’ as well. I know that is hard to do given the time period, and I am impressed. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the story! Definitely recommended!


The ending was a huge shock…I wasn’t really prepared for it, so that’s good- and I loved the secondary romance that went along side by side with the main plot. My favorite part would have been the Rouse section however as I really love a little revenge in romances, particularly when you know the characters will end up together regardless.


Over all, it’s one of the better romances I’ve read lately, and I look forward for more from this author.

NEW SERIES WITH WITTY BANTER AND SINFUL SECRETS! (Wednesday, February 15, 2012)
Reviewer: AprilR

MY WICKED LITTLE LIES by Victoria Alexander is another exciting historical romance set in 1886 London. It is the first in the “Sinful Family Secrets”. It will be story of the The Hadley-Attwaters family. “My Wicked Little Lies” is about Adrian Hadley-Attwater, a gentlemen with secrets that could destroy everyone he loves and his lovely,feisty wife Evelyn Hadley-Attwater ,who also has secrets that could destroy them both. Together, they play a game,either knows they are playing,but soon learn that they are not what they thought. A long ago flirtation between two old friends,now come to play,as Eve and Adrian learn who each other ready are. A fast paced, adventure,with a plot with twists,witty banter,a feisty heroine,a strong hero,and secondary characters you will hold close as you learn their fate also. This author knows how to write a story full of love,laughter,fun,family,and passion. A must read for anyone who enjoys historical romance,family ties,secrets,and a wonderful new series. I loved this story and look forward to the next installment of the “Sinful Family Secrets”. Received for an honest review from the publisher. Details can be found at Zebra Books,published by Kensington Publishing Corp. and My Book Addiction and More/My Book Addiction Reviews.

RATING:5

HEAT RATING: MILD

REVIEWED BY: AprilR,My Book Addiction and More/My Book Addiction Reviews

Secrets of the Past (Monday, February 6, 2012)
Reviewer: Kathy Jund

Victoria Alexander once again visits the Hadley-Attwater family in this her latest work of historical romance centering on the head of the Hadley-Attwater clan, Earl of Waterston, Adrian Hadley-Attwater and his lovely bride of two year Evelyn Hardwell, now Lady Waterston. Evelyn is restless; this restlessness has not gone unnoticed by her husband of two years Adrian Hadley-Attwater! Adrian’s observation leaves him wondering if something is amiss in their relatively new marriage, for his wife at one time led a very exciting social life. Adrian who prides himself on his powers of observation and the fact that he is never wrong has convinced himself Evelyn has taken a lover! How surprised he will be to find out what little he does know of the true turn of events Evelyn has really taken on! A lie of omission would not be considered a true lie nonetheless, would it? This is a question asked and surprisingly answered in a multitude of ways through out this story, to be sure. Moreover, to what end will one go in order to prove them as so? As a reader, you will find yourself hard pressed to keep reading as secrets unfold while the pages turn. And turn they will..quickly! Once again, Victoria Alexander delivers a highly entertaining story of regency romance filled with dry humor and quick-wittedness and a little danger that will keep you enthralled. Cameo appearances by the entire Hadley-Attwater clan add to the fun and adventure. Definitely, a series Victoria needs to pursue.

My Wicked Little Lies is nothing short of a wicked (Wednesday, February 1, 2012)
Reviewer: Reader's Edyn

Due to word count constraints, the full review is posted at Reader's Edyn:
readersedyn (dot) blogspot (dot) com

I’d like to begin this review by explaining why I chose both the excerpt and the dialogue highlight. The excerpt was chosen because it is the catalyst within the story from which there is no return. Once Adrian sets his plans in motion, he has little choice but to see them through. Adrian and Evelyn are madly in love with one another, but both having come from rather exciting backgrounds, they each begin to feel a bit restless and consequently start questioning why they had chosen to marry each other. The excerpt is a terrific example of Adrian’s war within himself. Part of him knows that Evie loves him without a doubt and that they were made for another. But the other part, the part harboring that tiny bit of doubt, is what ultimately propels him to put Evie’s love and loyalty to the test. But there exists an unfair advantage. Adrian has not told Evie about his past life, as it were, yet he knows all about hers. He was, after all, the face-less superior she reported to and had cultivated an innocent flirtation with. But was that flirtation so innocent? And there in lies Adrian’s problem. Does Evie truly love him, or does she still hold feelings for … um … him … in her heart. Evie, of course, has no idea Adrian knows anything at all about her past, nor does she realize Adrian’s role in her former life.

The dialogue highlight I chose because it is one of the many fun, flirtatious scenes within the story. While the question of infidelity between the main characters in no laughing matter – and you all know what I mean – we do not, no how, no way, want to see even a hint of anything screwing with the HEA of our characters – Ms. Alexander crafts a wonderfully romantic story that includes mystery, intrigue, and some entertainingly lighthearted humor between the characters. This dialogue highlight showcases the wonderful relationship between husband and wife. Not to mention how much I appreciate the snark and very obvious love between them. It almost makes Adrian’s plans to seduce his own wife that much more ridiculous. How could that kind of sweet banter not be the result of true love?

As my first read from the talented Ms. Alexander, I can say with confidence that I will be returning to her books. I will say that this story was somewhat predictable. We learn Adrian’s identity very early on, so I do not feel that it is a true spoiler, but even with the predictability, I do not feel that such foresight destroyed the story in the least. Had it not been for the snark and witty interactions between the various characters, I may not have been able to make such a claim. I also found myself invested quite a bit with the relationship developments between Max and Celeste. We are not told their entire story, but are provided enough to know that there is, without a doubt, another installment to this series in the making. I am actually ashamed to have just discovered that I have had book 1 in this series on my wish list for the past few months, but did not make the connection until writing this review. You can safely bet that I will be picking that novella up right quick. Another safe bet is that I will buy any further series books without hesitation.

Those of you who love historical romance with a bit of mystery, a whole lot of witty humor, and some smexy scenes that steam up the pages, Ms. Alexander is an excellent choice for your reading pleasure. I look forward to adding a few more of her books to my collection and am interested in finding out if her writing style deviates at all depending on the plot. One thing is for sure: the Sinful Family Secrets series is a definite win for me. My Wicked Little Lies in nothing short of a wicked fun treasure.

(Advance Uncorrected Proof Paperback provided by Kensington for review)

Secrets of the Past (Thursday, January 5, 2012)
Reviewer: Kathy Jund

Victoria Alexander once again visits the Hadley-Attwater family in this her latest work of historical romance centering on the head of the Hadley-Attwater clan, Earl of Waterston, Adrian Hadley-Attwater and his lovely bride of two year Evelyn Hardwell, now Lady Waterston. Evelyn is restless; this restlessness has not gone unnoticed by her husband of two years Adrian Hadley-Attwater! Adrian’s observation leaves him wondering if something is amiss in their relatively new marriage, for his wife at one time led a very exciting social life. Adrian who prides himself on his powers of observation and the fact that he is never wrong has convinced himself Evelyn has taken a lover! How surprised he will be to find out what little he does know of the true turn of events Evelyn has really taken on! A lie of omission would not be considered a true lie nonetheless, would it? This is a question asked and surprisingly answered in a multitude of ways through out this story, to be sure. Moreover, to what end will one go in order to prove them as so? As a reader, you will find yourself hard pressed to keep reading as secrets unfold while the pages turn. And turn they will..quickly! Once again, Victoria Alexander delivers a highly entertaining story of regency romance filled with dry humor and quick-wittedness and a little danger that will keep you enthralled. Cameo appearances by the entire Hadley-Attwater clan add to the fun and adventure. Definitely, a series Victoria needs to pursue.


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