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Excerpt from REJECTING THE ROGUE by Riley Cole

Thieves make the best rogues. And the worst heartbreakers.


Philomena Sweet, Victorian London’s finest safecracker, knows it better than most. The worst rogue of them all, dashing jewel thief Spencer Crane, smashed hers long ago.

And now he’s back, fleeing danger from their past. Danger he won’t survive without her help.

She’d love to refuse, but she can’t leave him for dead.

Spencer Crane would sooner steal costume jewelry than ask talented, wickedly bright Meena Sweet for help.

But revenge stalks them both. He needs her artistry. She needs his skills.

Neither needs the desire that sparks to life between them.

While they dodge criminals, carriages, and the occasional flying cabbage, who will protect these two notorious thieves from each other?

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In the author's words . . .

I've had so much fun writing this series! I love writing adventure, and delving into the fascinating history of Victorian Era London. But my favorite part by far has been creating the cast of the Restitution League—strong, independent women and then bigger-than-life men they love.

Enjoy a sneak peek from Rejecting the Rogue

by Riley Cole

“I’ve got you now, you beauty.”

Philomena Sweet tapped the mechanical drawing spread out across her desk and grinned. She’d found it, the way to defeat the newest, the most magnificent safe in history. If her calculations were correct, it shouldn’t take thirty seconds to breach.

She would have savored her victory a moment longer had it not been for the explosion.

To be fair, it was rather mild as explosions in her house generally went. Even so, it was strong enough to make the chandelier swing and slosh the last of the excellent Darjeeling out of its cup.

She whisked the plans away from the spreading tea. Obtaining the drawings for the newest Dreadstone Superior had been terrifically difficult. It wouldn’t do to lose them before she had the specifications committed to memory.

While the chandelier above her squeaked like a child’s swing, Philomena rolled up the large pages. She glanced at the overwrought casement clock she’d inherited from her mother’s maiden aunt. The brass cupids on either side of the clock face glared back. Their plump cheeks suggested an appreciation for mischief and gaiety. The hard set of their eyes did not.

Clearly, their appreciation did not extend to safecracking.

She stuffed the plans back into the carrying tube and rose from her chair. Poking her head out into the hallway, she called for the houseman. “Mr. Hapgood?”

The family factotum emerged from the parlor across the entryway, a dust rag in his rawboned hand. Though his tall frame was beginning to droop from the top like an aging daffodil, he still moved with the grace of the fisticuffs champion he’d been in his prime. “Miss?”

“I’m certain my cousin is uninjured, but would you mind checking on him?” she asked. “And please remind him that our client will be here directly.”

The tall man nodded and finished drying his hands on the dust rag. “Mrs. H just took the scones out of the oven, and tea is brewing. I’ll collect Mr. Edison.”

He took off toward her cousin’s laboratory at the back of the house.

“I can’t imagine Edison will be pleased with that recipe,” Philomena’s younger cousin, Briar, commented as she descended the stairs. “I thought he was working on a new sleeping draught. It’s supposed to render one unconscious in an instant. Can you imagine?” Her wide blue eyes twinkled. “So many possibilities.”

Philomena watched her cousin float down the staircase. The deep plum satin of her walking dress suited her creamy complexion to perfection. As always, her coiffure looked as if it required hours to complete, rather than the few minutes it took to twist that abundance of golden curls into submission.

Meena patted the swept-up twist Mrs. Hapgood had managed to make of her own ordinary brown waves. Both Briar and Edison had inherited their taste for danger—and their exceptional hair—from the Sweet side of the family.

All she’d gained from the male side of the line was her talent for thievery.

Briar caught sight of her and paused, a delicate hand on the banister. “Again?” She frowned. “Meena, you’ve worn that fusty old thing three times this month.”

Meena tugged the tight, buttoned sleeves of her linen day dress farther down her wrists, her movements a touch more forceful than necessary to straighten the delicate material. “I like this gown. It’s elegant.”

The charcoal broadcloth, with its severe lines and tastefully draped bustle, felt rich, like one of Mrs. Hapgood’s dark chocolate bonbons.

Smooth and satisfying, and devoid of irrational frippery.

“It is elegant. I was just hoping you’d wear the new dress, the yellow one with the…” Briar’s hands fluttered as she searched for words. “The lower neckline. It’s ever so much more—”

“Inappropriate,” Meena interjected.

“I was going to say ‘daring.’” Briar pinned her with a look that would have done a schoolmistress proud. “Dressing to be noticed isn’t a bad thing.”

Meena couldn’t agree.

While her cousin exuded the wild beauty of a riotous climbing rose, she herself preferred the potted aspidistra, serviceable in its way—and even given to blooming on occasion—but unlikely to cause an observer’s heart to race.

End of Excerpt

Copyright © by Riley Cole

Learn more by visiting the author's website. REJECTING THE ROGUE released November 13, 2018 from Jack's House Publishing.

Meet the Author

Riley Cole has a long fascination with all things Victorian. She loves the peculiar mix of science, mysticism, and innovation that collided in the Victorian Era. To say nothing of bustles. Bustles and outrageous hats and 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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Rejecting the Rogue by Riley Cole

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Type: Novel

Heat Level: 5

Language Level: 2

Violence Level: 3

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