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Excerpt from DARING THE DETECTIVE by Riley Cole

He’s everything she disdains. She’s nothing he admires. But love has its own delightful logic.


Whether bartering with Barbary pirates or angry Gypsy kings, Zadie Whitlock lives by her wits… and the business end of her parasol.

Detective Caleb Burke lives to right wrongs. He can’t abide Zadie’s daring, impulsive ways, especially after she leaves him bound to a library shelf with his own handcuffs.

Still, the damned woman ignites a passion he can’t ignore.

Nor can Zadie. Which is troublesome in the extreme, because Caleb Burke isn’t the man for her. He’s too honorable, too loyal, and far too likely to follow the rules.

Dazzled by her indomitable spirit, Caleb makes a fateful choice that sets the two of them on a hunt for lost Viking treasure. Failure will see his career in ashes, and Zadie on trial for her life.

Pursued by deadly forces, they’ve got the power of the Restitution League on their side… and their own stubborn hearts in the way.

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In the author's words . . .

I love the chemistry between brash, brazen Zadie and cool, calm and collected Caleb. I'm also happy to be including the adventures of the characters from the first two books. After spending so much time with my couples, I've come to love them...writing their ongoing stories has been a big highlight for me.

What is the hardest chapter/scene/book you’ve written so far, and why? Writing the break up scene between Caleb and Zadie was the hardest by far. Caleb is SO heroic—honorable and fair and kind—and he can’t bring himself to ask Zadie to give up her dreams for him, so he walks away (at first, of course). That just broke my heart.

Has there been one character you’ve written who, for whatever reason, has stood out above the rest? Which one and how? Nelly Tremaine, the little office girl. She simply showed up out of the blue in Rejecting the Rogue. She wasn’t in the outline, wasn’t even on my radar, and she just showed up as the hero was being pursued by the police. Now, she’s such an integral part of the Restitution League family that I can’t believe she just appeared…writing magic. I treasure those moments.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? I have 2—A Chinese jade ox that my mother brought back to me from China. I was born in the year of the ox, so I’m supposed to be calm, gentle, and stubborn. Yeah. That kinda fits. I also have a bear totem that was given to me by a dear friend. It reminds me to channel fearlessness and confidence.

Enjoy a sneak peek from Daring the Detective

by Riley Cole

The moment Meena Crane introduced her to the tall, quiet man in the shadows, Zadie Whitlock’s knees went weak. Her reaction had nothing to do with his glorious physique or those penetrating brown eyes.


It was the badge pinned to his jacket that sent her spinning. Who would have guessed the League included a blasted detective?

Though her intuition screamed at her to leave, she curled her fingers around the haft of her parasol and allowed her hostess to finish the introductions and shepherd her toward the sitting area at the back of the impressive offices.

If it weren’t for the crusher glowering at her from the corner, she would have been impressed. The League’s offices were even grander than she’d expected. All polished wood and modern business machinery, the space crackled with energy. And the members themselves outshone their workspace. Bright and engaging, Meena Crane and her crew appeared capable of tackling the direst of cases. But despite the favorable impressions, Zadie ached to make her excuses and back straight out of the building.

Zadie smiled at her very pregnant hostess and tried her best to pretend that Caleb Burke didn’t exist, but that was a losing proposition. Lean and powerful, he exuded the cynicism of a man who’d seen every form of deceit. Perhaps if he weren’t watching her like a hawk outwaiting a mouse, her stomach wouldn’t ache so. She’d heard the League was composed of confidence artists and thieves, all reformed now, of course. But she hadn’t expected them to include a man with a badge.

That could change everything.

And the man sensed it. His casual pose didn’t deceive her. He was gathering up every crumb of information she offered. And many she didn’t mean to reveal.

Zadie continued to avoid his gaze, wishing she could dismiss his presence as easily. As if any woman alive could ignore that beautiful mouth, or the broad shoulders stretching his light wool jacket to its limit. But looks aside, it had taken her only seconds to realize he possessed the type of quiet confidence that made a man extraordinarily dangerous. He wouldn’t hesitate to toss her in jail should she give him the least opportunity.

But Aunt Margaret had gone missing, under the worst of circumstances, and Zadie had no idea where to begin searching. She could steal a diamond stickpin straight off a man’s tie, face down the roughest crew of smugglers, or authenticate an Egyptian vase at a glance.

But finding one slender, gray-haired treasure hunter had her at a loss.

As if she could read Zadie’s thoughts, Meena paused, teapot poised above a cup, and smiled reassuringly.

“How can we help you, Miss Whitlock?”

It was a simple question, with a simple answer. As with most things in life, though, it was the part in between that was bloody complicated. Zadie returned the woman’s smile, pretending she wasn’t tempted to tear straight out of the building.

With a grace amazing in a woman so obviously increasing, Meena leaned across the table and offered Zadie a cup. She sipped the excellent Darjeeling and nodded slowly, buying a last few seconds before she had to make up her mind about confiding in this Restitution League.

“My aunt has disappeared.” The words rushed out before she could reconsider her course of action. “I have cause to believe she’s in danger.”

Meena stilled. “Surely the police could assist you?”

“They are investigating, but they’re not looking in the right place.” She gestured helplessly. They’d interviewed her several times since the housekeeper had reported her aunt missing. But she hadn’t volunteered anything that would really help. She didn’t dare. And now, with a detective looming over her, she was treading a fine line again.

End of Excerpt

Copyright © by Riley Cole

Learn more by visiting the author's website. REJECTING THE ROGUE released January 22, 2019 from Jack's House Publishing.

Meet the Author

Riley Cole writes sexy, sassy historical romances set in the innovative, energetic Victorian Era. And she loves parasols. Parasols for rain. Parasols for sun. Parasols that morph into swords. Nothing more to say, really.

Sadly, Riley has little use for umbrellas in the dry foothills of the Eastern Sierra, but a proper cuppa never comes amiss.

If you enjoy high adventure with your historical romance, delve into Riley’s version of late Victorian London. Thieves, rogues, and love await.

Visit Riley Cole's Website

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Daring the Detective by Riley Cole

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Type: Novel

Heat Level: 5

Language Level: 3

Violence Level: 2

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