Once an Heiress by Renee Ryan

Boston society darling Gigi Wentworth leaves behind everything she holds dear for the sake of love—only to learn that the man with whom she’d planned to elope is nothing but a thieving scoundrel. Abandoned in New York City and saddled with debt, Gigi must sell a prized family heirloom, but even that sacrifice isn’t enough to get her home. Her determination drives her to take on work as a lady’s maid, keeping her identity a secret…until she’s discovered by a former friend with a hidden agenda.

Although dealing with his own serious family issue, Christopher “Fitz” Fitzpatrick sets out to return the missing heiress to her rightful place in society. But the more he interacts with this new Gigi, the more shocked he is to find her so changed. Gone is the frivolous beauty in expensive gowns. In her place is a woman he could grow to love. When secrets are revealed, will Gigi and Fitz find the trust they need to confront the past and open their hearts?

Book Details

  • File Nameonce-an-heiress-by-renee-ryan.epub
  • Original TitleOnce an Heiress (Gilded Promises)
  • Creator
  • Languageen
  • IdentifierISBN:9781542046350
  • PublisherWaterfall Press
  • Date2017-09-25T16:00:00+00:00
  • File Size535.464 KB

Table of Content

  • 1. Praise for Renee Ryan A Touch of Scarlet “Renee Ryan’s second book in her Gilded Promises series, with its emotional depth and wonderful sense of time and place, is another thoroughly engaging and sigh-worthy read.” —Winnie Griggs, award-winning author of inspirational historical romance Journey’s End “Utterly charming and not to be forgotten, Journey’s End is Gilded Age delight.” —Victoria Alexander, #1 New York Times bestselling author “Powerful and inspiring. Journey’s End is a wonderfully rich and rewarding book.” —Gerri Russell, bestselling author of Flirting with Felicity “Renee Ryan’s heart-tugging story set in New York’s Gilded Age kept me turning the pages well past my bedtime!” —Winnie Griggs, award-winning author of inspirational historical romance “Ryan’s written a touching story of family, forgiveness, and a forever sort of love.” —Holly Jacobs, award-winning author of These Three Words The Marriage Agreement, an RT Top Pick “Fanny cares for Jonathon deeply, but she won’t
  • 2. Unnamed
  • 3. ALSO BY RENEE RYAN Gilded Promises historical romance series Journey’s End A Touch of Scarlet Charity House historical romance series The Marshal Takes a Bride Hannah’s Beau Loving Bella The Lawman Claims His Bride Charity House Courtship The Outlaw’s Redemption Finally a Bride His Most Suitable Bride The Marriage Agreement World War II historical series Dangerous Allies Courting the Enemy Village Green contemporary romance series Claiming the Doctor’s Heart The Doctor’s Christmas Wish Stand-alone works Heartland Wedding Homecoming Hero Mistaken Bride “New Year’s Date” in A Recipe for Romance Wagon Train Proposal “Yuletide Lawman” in A Western Christmas Stand-In Rancher Daddy Published as Renee Halverson Extreme Measures
  • 4. Unnamed
  • 5. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, places, events, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Text copyright © 2017 by Renee Ryan All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher. Published by Waterfall Press, Grand Haven, MI www.brilliancepublishing.com Amazon, the Amazon logo, and Waterfall Press are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc., or its affiliates. ISBN-13: 9781542046350 ISBN-10: 1542046351 Cover design by Kirk DouPonce, DogEared Design
  • 6. To Dee Halverson, for being a loving and supportive mother-in-law. Thank you for sharing your son with me.
  • 7. Contents Start Reading Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve Chapter Thirteen Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fifteen Chapter Sixteen Chapter Seventeen Chapter Eighteen Chapter Nineteen Chapter Twenty Chapter Twenty-One Chapter Twenty-Two Chapter Twenty-Three Epilogue Discussion Questions About the Author
  • 8. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found. Luke 15:32
  • 9. Chapter One New York City, Herald Square, 1901 Gigi Wentworth pulled the bulky, oversized cloak tightly around her shoulders and stepped into the early-morning foot traffic. A cold gray mist snaked around the hem of her skirt. The frigid air was a stark reminder that winter would have the city fully in its grip before long. Wrapped inside the heavy black wool, Gigi took comfort in her shrouded anonymity. No one would recognize her in the ugly garment. They would certainly never suspect she was the missing daughter from one of the wealthiest families in America. That was, of course, the point. For nearly a year, Gigi had put forth great effort to create an ordinary, forgettable persona. Reaching up, she stuffed an errant strand of faded blonde hair beneath the hood of her cloak. She increased her pace, quickly rounding the corner of Thirty-Fourth Street and Sixth Avenue. With no small amount of relief, she spotted the three perfectly round, golden spheres suspended above a weathered awn
  • 10. Chapter Two She was here. Christopher Nolan Fitzpatrick could practically feel her presence. It had taken him considerable time and money, two private investigators, and several wrong turns, but Fitz’s search was over. He’d found Gigi Wentworth. According to the current investigator’s report, she’d changed her name—one of the many reasons the trail had gone cold—and was now working as a lady’s maid in Esmeralda Cappelletti’s household. A lady’s maid! In an opera singer’s home. How far the spoiled heiress has fallen, Fitz thought wryly, his eyes narrowing as they roamed over the interior of the Summer Garden Theater. Gigi was nowhere in sight. But she was here. Fitz was certain of it. The tensing of his shoulders, the uncomfortable roil in his gut, and the inability to breathe easily were nothing new. Fitz always had this visceral response whenever Gigi was near. His reaction to the woman was the source of his greatest frustration. He managed most areas of his life with decisiveness and
  • 11. Chapter Three Fitz calculated he had four, maybe five, seconds to close the distance between himself and Gigi before she made a break for the exit. He’d lost her once. He wouldn’t let her get away again. As he continued holding her stare, moving purposefully toward her, something inside Fitz shifted, softened, and then resettled in a way that made him regret what he’d come here to do. He swallowed back the uncomfortable sensation and kept striding in Gigi’s direction. Moving closer, ever closer, he took in the straight spine, the square shoulders, the soft quiver of her chin before she firmed it. She was afraid. Of him? Or that her lies and deceit had come to an end? He would find out soon enough. With grim determination, Fitz kept his gaze locked with Gigi’s, willing her to understand he wasn’t here to hurt her. He didn’t want explanations or details of her ruin, and he certainly didn’t want an apology. What he wanted was far more tangible. Hoping to ease her fears, he splayed his han
  • 12. Chapter Four As Fitz exited the theater, a touch of shock wound through his determination. His encounter with Gigi had left him unsettled. He felt restless and uneasy, and no closer to securing the item he’d come to retrieve. Pulling out his watch, he checked the time. Not yet four o’clock. He could meet with the private investigator before heading back to his hotel to change for dinner with Esmeralda and her daughter. Fitz allowed himself a small smile of satisfaction. An evening with the opera singer—in her private residence—would afford him the opportunity to seek out Gigi once again. He would end their business tonight, once he figured out how best to approach the matter. Gigi had changed considerably. He’d hardly recognized her. But there was no reason for him to grieve. She’d made her choices. And so had he, some harder than others. Wishing for a different outcome to their story belonged to his younger self. He’d made initial contact with the woman. The hardest part was over. Yet
  • 13. Chapter Five An hour later, Gigi circled Sophie, taking in her appearance with an objective eye. The young woman did indeed, as Esmeralda had requested, look ravishing in a blue silk gown the color of lightning trapped in a bottle. Gigi smoothed out a final wrinkle and declared, “You are ready.” After a slight roll of her shoulders, Sophie nodded her agreement. Consulting the clock on the mantelpiece, she sighed, clearly reluctant to spend an evening with her mother and a man she didn’t know. “I believe I will read awhile before I head downstairs.” “I’ll leave you to it.” Gigi exited the room. Out in the hall, she leaned back against the door and released a short sigh. All she wanted to do was sit in her tiny room, stare at a blank wall, and review the disturbing events of the day. She needed perspective. Much had changed in her life. Everything had changed. She caught her mind wandering to Fitz. She tried not to worry. How could she not? With his appearance came too many contingencies
  • 14. Chapter Six Fitz couldn’t see Gigi yet, but he could hear her heels striking the stone steps that led to a basement door below Esmeralda’s town house. He squinted into the inky night, finally spotting the dark figure moving toward him. His shoulders shifted, flexed, and then went still again as a shadow elongated, then morphed into a familiar cloaked shape. “Good evening, Gigi.” “My name is Sally.” She stepped into the circle of light cast by the streetlamp. “I am Sally Smith now.” Insulted that she spoke in that ridiculous accent even when they were alone, Fitz said nothing, letting the stony silence stretch between them in the hope of intimidating her. “So.” A sigh leaked out of her. “You’re determined to extract your pound of flesh.” It was his due. Her scandalous behavior had complicated his life in ways she couldn’t possibly understand. He was responsible for keeping too many secrets that weren’t his own, including hers. And there she stood, glaring at him as though he were the vi
  • 15. Chapter Seven Fitz’s throat tightened. He brutally swallowed the burning ache, composed himself, and strode across the street. He waited until he heard Gigi enter Esmeralda’s town house before turning back around. Stuffing his hands in his pockets, he stared up at the three-story structure. A man used to getting what he wanted, and wise enough to reject what he couldn’t achieve quickly, he found himself in uncharted territory. His heart pounded with antipathy. Gigi’s resistance to giving up the pearls wasn’t a surprise, precisely. The woman had always been difficult. It was, however, a complication he could do without. One of the previously darkened windows on the third floor came alive with flickering light. Gigi lived in the servants’ quarters, Fitz concluded. The thought sat about as well as her inability to be reasonable had earlier, which was to say not at all. There was more to her story, something she wasn’t telling him about the pearls. She’d seemed genuine in her desire to ret
  • 16. Chapter Eight Gigi found Sophie as she usually did at this hour. An early riser, the young woman sat at the table near the window, drenched in the golden, rosy tint of dawn. Esmeralda’s treasured cat, Othello, slumbered in a sunbeam at Sophie’s feet. Gigi moved to the table and set down the tray of pastries, coffee, and two soft-boiled eggs in pretty enameled cups of blue-and-gold porcelain, Esmeralda’s signature colors. “Good morning, Sophie.” Gigi handed the young woman the New York Times and then poured the Earl Grey tea she preferred in a cup. “I trust you slept well.” “Not a wink.” “Oh, dear.” Gigi studied Sophie more closely, noting the light dusting of purple shadows beneath her red-rimmed eyes. Alarm had her asking, “Do you want to talk about it?” “Not especially.” The words were spoken without conviction. “If you’re sure . . .” “Oh, Sally. It’s just . . . No.” She shook her head decisively. “There is nothing I wish to discuss at present.” Hands slightly shaking, Sophie spread
  • 17. Chapter Nine Fitz saw Gigi bearing down on him. His footsteps slowed, then stopped altogether. His mind raced. What had caused that look to come across her face? He’d never seen her quite so intense. Caught in the moment, he couldn’t help but notice how the lines of her black dress swung in soft waves around her ankles as she marched across the divide between them. Her eyes, that mesmerizing silver-blue, so beautiful, so enthralling, held her determination. His guard instantly went up. Fitz was staring at a stranger. No longer Gigi Wentworth, but not meek Sally Smith, either. Whoever this new, severe woman was, he was intrigued. He saw strength when he looked into her eyes, an expression more truthful than words. Perhaps that part of her hadn’t existed before. The horror of what she’d been through struck him anew. What must she have suffered in those early days after Dixon had abandoned her? Believing her father had forbidden her return, she’d been forced to fend for herself in a large
  • 18. Chapter Ten Several hours later, Gigi was once again tucked safely in the warmth of the town house on Riverside Drive. Standing beside Sophie in the young woman’s enormous closet, she studied the contents with the critical eye of someone who’d once prided herself in her own wardrobe. Esmeralda had spared no expense on her daughter’s attire. Despite her negative remarks about New York society, the mother wanted her only daughter to achieve success in her father’s exclusive, privileged world. Beauty was not enough to win approval. Sophie must learn to put on airs without seeming as though she were doing so. It all started with choosing the right gown. As the young woman hesitated in indecision, Gigi fought the reflex to choose Sophie’s gown for tonight’s dinner party at her half sister’s home. Sophie skimmed her fingertips down the skirt of a pale-pink silk dress with intricate embroidery on the bodice. It was a good choice, but not the best one. Gigi resisted the urge to say as much. Sh
  • 19. Chapter Eleven After turning his back on the clinic, Fitz was too agitated to sit inside a closed carriage. Nor did he want to be alone with his thoughts, and so he covered the ten blocks to the Summer Garden Theater on foot. Moving at a good clip, he was propelled by a need to escape Dr. Trent’s diagnosis. A cold mist hung on the air, mimicking the gloom in Fitz’s heart. He hunched his shoulders against the wind and rounded the street corner, putting the doctor’s visit in the back of his mind. At the edge of the next block, he caught sight of his reflection in the shop window on his right. It was only the dimmest of impressions but enough to send waves of shock quivering through him. Fitz saw his father in the blurry image. The likeness went beyond the physical, Fitz knew, in ways that couldn’t be seen or easily measured. They were both hardworking, dedicated to the firm and its employees, loyal to a fault, and loved nothing more than family and a balanced ledger. Dr. Trent had confir
  • 20. Chapter Twelve Fitz was a man who rarely confronted defeat. He set a goal and strategized the best plan of attack. He then destroyed every obstacle until success was his. It was a good way to go through life, safe and effective. Just shy of a week after his arrival in New York, Fitz was in a state of complete frustration. He hadn’t accomplished a single goal he’d set for himself. He’d yet to find a cure for his father’s condition, though he’d spoken to three more specialists. And three of the five investments he’d been considering had proven unworthy of his time. Most disturbing of all, he had no idea what to do about Gigi. He should have known better than to come for her himself. But now that he was here, he would not—could not—leave without her. Gigi deserved a chance to make amends with her family, and Fitz would see that she got it. It didn’t matter that she was proving difficult. He’d endured tougher barriers than her stubborn resistance. Fitz was a man who dealt in facts. Thus, a
  • 21. Chapter Thirteen Ever since leaving the Harvard Club and his two nauseatingly happy former schoolmates, Fitz couldn’t stop thinking about missed opportunities. When he’d listened to Luke and Jackson expound on their marriages, Fitz had thought he understood the source of their happiness. Yet he hadn’t, not fully, not until he’d stood in the doorway of this overstuffed, messy room and watched Gigi read to three little girls. He’d seen a mother with her children. He’d seen the future he might have had, had he acted sooner. Had he been smarter. Gigi could have been his wife already, if only he’d been less mechanical in his pursuit of her. Now, it was too late. He inhaled sharply. She did the same, the movement reminding him he still had a hold on her waist. He released her and stepped back. An unexpected bout of longing captured him, longing for a home and a family of his own, for a comfortable, settled life with a good woman by his side. With this woman by his side, their children gather
  • 22. Chapter Fourteen An hour after sharing her thoughts about a permanent nursery at the theater, Gigi entered Esmeralda’s town house through the back door. At Mrs. Garrison’s curt order, she quickly shut out the cold. Time had gotten away from her, and now Gigi would have to move quickly if she wanted to help Sophie prepare for the ball this evening. Tonight would be the young woman’s official debut into New York society. She must look perfect. Gigi took the stairs two at a time, trying unsuccessfully to focus on the task that lay ahead, rather than her encounter with Fitz. He’d claimed they could become friends again. She wanted that, truly she did, but Gigi wasn’t sure they could regain what they’d once had. Her fingertips went to her lips, locking in the sigh that wanted release. Fitz had kissed her. He’d kissed her! She’d adored the feel of his mouth on hers. The sensation had nothing to do with friendship. Gigi would have never imagined such a simple meeting of lips could throw her a
  • 23. Chapter Fifteen Gigi hadn’t always preferred quiet evenings at home. In truth, she’d hated being left alone, especially when there was a party or ball or theater event going on somewhere in the city without her. Much had changed in her life. She had changed. She relished her solitude now. And took pride in her life of service, craving her evenings alone whenever Esmeralda and Sophie went out and the other servants were enjoying their own time off. As she did most nights, Gigi took the opportunity to play the piano. Sheltered from the world that had once been so much a part of her, she could allow her emotions free rein. She could let her tumultuous feelings flow through her fingers. Gigi had one goal this night. Forget her problems, if only for an hour. She tucked the invitation to luncheon at Elizabeth’s house in the pocket of her dress and went to the music room. Battling unwanted sensations, she sank onto the piano bench. The Steinway was a new addition to the town house. It was sma
  • 24. Chapter Sixteen Once outside Esmeralda’s town house, Fitz moved quickly. The urgency that raced through him sounded in the hard strike of his heels. He crossed the street, slipped into the shadows, and waited for Mr. Offutt to show his face. He didn’t have long to wait. The investigator joined him in the darkness seconds later. As he did at each of their meetings, Offutt asked, “You want me to keep following her?” This time, Fitz gave a different answer. “No.” He’d made the decision days ago, but his change of heart was solidified the moment he’d walked into the music room and heard Gigi playing the piano. “I’m no longer in need of your services, Mr. Offutt.” There was enough light from the streetlamp for Fitz to see the other man’s eyebrows lift. “You sure about this?” “Completely.” Fitz reached inside his coat, pulled out his wallet, and extracted a handful of bills. “That should settle our account.” The investigator moved closer to the light and began counting the money. “It’s all t
  • 25. Chapter Seventeen Gigi was grateful she’d chosen a seat next to the center aisle, in the very last pew in the back of the church. If at any moment the service became too much, she could leave without having to disturb the other churchgoers, including Fitz. He stood next to her, holding a hymnal open. Looking at her without quite looking at her, he angled the book until she could see the page. As if on cue, the first strains of organ music wafted through the sanctuary. Although Fitz concentrated on the book, Gigi could feel his attention on her. She couldn’t look at him. His behavior in the carriage had left her reeling. Instead of judging her, he’d offered tremendous sympathy and reassurance, once again proving he was a good and decent man. Gigi should be dancing for joy. She felt nothing but regret. How could she ever measure up to a man like Fitz? He was full of integrity and honor, while she was a fallen woman. His words, and something she must never let herself forget. Unable to re
  • 26. Chapter Eighteen Gigi and Fitz had reached a stalemate in their relationship. As she lay in her bed Monday morning, staring up at the ceiling in the gloomy pre-dawn light, she accepted that they would never be more than something between friends and passing acquaintances. Especially if he remained distant, speaking only of business matters. An automobile company, indeed. Her eyes had glazed over as soon as he’d expounded on the virtues of multi-cylinder engines, which Gigi suspected had been the point. She flipped onto her stomach and sighed. She couldn’t help but think Fitz’s reticence to share anything personal was because of her past. He might claim she was Nathanial’s victim, he might even sympathize with her plight, but that didn’t mean he saw her as a potential mate. There’d been no talk of anything beyond friendship, no attempt at another kiss. All the proof Gigi needed that Fitz thought her unworthy of something deeper. At least he’d agreed to let her redeem the pearls on her o
  • 27. Chapter Nineteen “What a spectacular piece of driving.” Luke climbed out of his motorcar and, goggles still in place, sauntered over to shake Fitz’s hand. “And may I remind you, gloating is rude and unseemly.” Fitz accepted Luke’s congratulations with a self-satisfied grin. It had been a hard-won race, with Luke almost overtaking him at the finish line. Almost, but not quite. “You’ll get me next time.” “Count on it.” Fitz laughed at the gruff promise. “You always were a fierce competitor.” “Something we have in common.” “Too true.” Barely able to see the other man through all the grime on his own goggles, Fitz shoved them to the back of his head. Luke looked out over the track they’d raced around for the agreed-upon twelve laps. “I noticed how you chose the driving line and followed the same path each lap.” “Actually, it took me a few trips around to pick the best route,” Fitz admitted, looking out over the muddy track, too. “I usually like to walk the course backward to figure out whe
  • 28. Chapter Twenty Afraid he would make matters worse if he tried to talk his way out of the debacle he’d created in the Griffins’ parlor, Fitz left Gigi in her friend’s capable hands and returned to his room in the Waldorf-Astoria. He’d done what he could to ensure Brian’s silence. There would be plenty of time to repair the damage. He would seek out Gigi and discuss their next step later tonight or first thing in the morning. For now, Fitz needed to think. To do that properly, he needed privacy. He slammed the door behind him with a bang and yanked open the top drawer of the small writing desk. With swift flicks of his wrist, he laid out several sheets of paper on the desk and began reviewing the notes he’d scribbled after each consultation with the medical experts. Now, with his future at stake, Fitz searched for something, anything, to give him hope. He’d asked each of the doctors if his father’s condition was hereditary. None had been definitive in their answer, but not a single one o
  • 29. Chapter Twenty-One Fitz didn’t make it back to New York in time for opening night. Gigi hadn’t held out much hope that he would. Who was she kidding? Of course she’d held out hope. For every hour he was gone, all forty-five and three quarters of them, she’d waited anxiously for his return. He’d sent no word. Not a telegram, not a note by special courier, nothing. His silence hurt. And the longer he stayed away, the more certain she became that he would never return. To make matters worse, Gigi had another, equally troubling situation to deal with. Sophie had disappeared. The young woman had gone missing the same night Fitz had left town. At least Sophie had left word. Nothing more than a hastily scribbled note, but that was better than no communication at all. Now, as Gigi unfolded the piece of parchment paper for what must have been the seventieth time in two days, she admitted the truth to herself. She’d failed Sophie. As surely as if she’d personally helped the young woman escape th
  • 30. Chapter Twenty-Two “I’m sorry, Miss Smith. I’m afraid the pearls are no longer in my possession.” Stunned speechless, Gigi blinked at the pawnbroker. She must have misunderstood. He couldn’t have said her great-grandmother’s pearls were gone. “You . . . what?” she croaked. “I sold the necklace.” No, it wasn’t possible. Mr. Ryerson couldn’t be this cruel. “We had an agreement.” The eyes that looked at her were sharp and measuring. “What can I say? The client made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.” “But you . . .” Fury surged, prowling through her blood, seeking release like a wild animal straining at its leash. “You put your promise in writing.” Surely, he would honor their agreement. Forcing down her panic, Gigi fumbled inside the velvet satchel on her lap, pulled out the piece of paper, and slid it across the desk. “Ah, yes, that.” He studied the promissory note with a satisfied smirk. “There are only two signatures here, yours and mine. You failed to secure witnesses to our transaction.
  • 31. Chapter Twenty-Three Her father had agreed to see her. The thought gave Gigi small comfort as the family’s stiff-backed butler led her to Harcourt Wentworth’s private study on the first floor of Harvest House. “You are to make yourself comfortable.” He opened the door without fully securing eye contact. “Your father will be along shortly.” “Please tell him not to rush on my account. I don’t mind waiting.” “I will relay your message.” He turned to go, then paused and glanced back over his shoulder. His gaze filled with compassion. “If I may be so bold as to say, it’s good to have you home, Miss Gigi.” “Thank you, Joseph. It’s good to be home.” They shared a brief smile before he continued on his way. The moment he disappeared around the corner, Gigi stepped inside the cavernous room. With nerves fluttering in her stomach, she roamed aimlessly. She barely glanced at the masculine décor, hardly noticed the rich wood paneling or bookshelves lining three of the four walls. The only sound sh
  • 32. Epilogue The wedding reception lasted two hours. Gigi and Fitz had a train to catch for New York City, where they would spend their wedding night and two additional days. With Calvin Fitzpatrick’s illness, and Gigi still in the early phases of restoring her relationships with her family, neither the bride nor the groom wanted to stay away any longer. Due to the modern convenience of railroads, and Fitz’s newfound penchant for calling in favors, the newlyweds were settled in their suite at the Park Avenue Hotel by the end of the day. While her husband ran a mysterious errand, Gigi stood at the window overlooking the bustling streets below. She watched the sun dip below the horizon, turning a strip of low-riding clouds a kaleidoscope of pinks, purples, and golds. Fitz entered the suite, calling out her name. Gigi glanced over her shoulder. “Yes?” “You will be happy to know I have secured us a private box for the performance tonight.” Her brows shot up. According to the hotel manager, Esm
  • 33. Discussion Questions Why is Gigi visiting the pawnshop in Herald Square? What happens during the meeting with the owner that leaves her upset? How long does she have to come up with a solution? What is Gigi hiding from? Why has she changed her name to Sally Smith and taken on the role of lady’s maid? Who is she serving now? Who does Gigi encounter at the Summer Garden Theater? What does his appearance mean? Have you ever had a plan that was thwarted before you could put it into motion? Explain. Describe Fitz and Gigi’s history. How did Fitz find Gigi? Why has he come now? Does his reason for seeking her out change over the course of the book? If so, how? What does Esmeralda want Gigi to do for her concerning her daughter? How does Gigi feel about this? How does Sophie feel? Why does Fitz seek out a medical professional? What comes of this meeting? What happens the first time Gigi asks Fitz to let her return the pearls? What happens the second time she asks? Why has Fitz had a change of
  • 34. About the Author Photo © 2012 Caroline Akins / One Six Photography Renee Ryan is the author of over twenty inspirational, faith-based romance novels. She received the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense in the Inspirational category for her novels Dangerous Allies and Courting the Enemy. She is an active member on the board of the Romance Writers of America. Ryan currently lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, with her husband. For more information on the author and her work, visit www.reneeryan.com.

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