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Suitors and Sabotage


In which falling for the wrong gentleman is the least of a lady’s worries.

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Swoon Index

  • Heat

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  • Tears

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  • Laughs

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  • Thrills

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Full Description

Shy aspiring artist Imogene Chively has just had a successful Season in London complete with a suitor of her father’s approval. Imogene is ambivalent about the young gentleman until he comes to visit her at the Chively estate with his younger brother in tow. When her interest is piqued, however, it is for the wrong brother.

Charming Ben Steeple has a secret; despite being an architectural apprentice, he has no drawing aptitude. When Imogene offers to teach him, Ben is soon smitten by the young lady he considers his brother’s intended.

But hiding their true feelings becomes the least of their problems when, after a series of “accidents,” it becomes apparent that someone means Ben harm. And as their affection for each other grows—despite efforts to remain just friends—so does the danger…


A generous breakfast had been laid out on the sideboard, enticing him with the delectable aromas of ham and fresh breads. Though there didn’t seem to be a pot of coffee or...


Ben turned with surprise, in time to see Miss Imogene enter the dining room and then take a half step back, straddling the threshold into the hallway.

“Ah, Miss Imogene,” he said, placing his half-filled plate on the table and then executing a formal bow of his head. “How are you this morning? Up early?” He smiled and was pleased to see a like expression spread across her face as she stepped farther into the room.

“I am well.” She winced, as though some thought of an unpleasant nature had flitted through her mind, and dropped her eyes to the floor. “Thank you.” Her voice was slightly muffled. “I believe the other ladies are keeping town hours.”

Ben puckered his brow. This would not do. He was certain that he had made headway with Miss Imogene yesterday. Helped her to feel comfortable in his company. He needed to extol his brother’s virtues since Ernest was not here to do so... And talking to the crown of her lovely head was of little use.

Tipping his head to the side, Ben squatted, trying to look up into her downturned face. His antic elicited a smile and then a laugh, and then, more important, she lifted her head.

“Whatever are you doing, Mr... Ben?”

“Well, I am trying to hold a conversation with a lovely young lady, full of wit and wisdom... and enamored with dogs and castles. But it would seem that something on the floor has caught her full attention.” Bending down, he made a show of picking up a spec of lint from the floor. “There. I have it, Miss Imogene. Worry no more, it has been found.”

“And what, pray tell, is it?”

“I think it’s a bug.” Offering the lint to her, he was surprised when she took it without hesitation and then proceeded to examine it.

“An unusual species. Often disguised as fluff.”

“Rare, indeed.”

“Indeed.” Imogene chuckled and dropped the rare bug on the floor with a jaunty look. “We’ll send it home.”

A laugh burst from Ben before he could temper it, and he stared at Imogene with admiration. Few returned his teasing so readily. “Come, let us break our fast,” he said, waving toward the sideboard—actually, her sideboard.


A Junior Library Guild Selection

"Anstey’s tale embraces a self-reliant main character, a loyal friend, innocent romance, witty conversation, and English country settings, each more splendid than the last. This is a delightful salute to Jane Austen and will be a treat for her fans." —VOYA

"Mystery and romance are delightfully intertwined . . . Taking inspiration from Jane Austen novels, Anstey’s latest is a lighthearted and romantic read." —Booklist

"All in all, this novel was a delight to read. ... I am continuously impressed by Anstey! ... These books are simply lovely to read, and I can't get enough!" —The Eater of Books

Duels & Deception:

"Jane Austen fans in need of a good new book, look no further. Cindy Anstey’s new YA novel, Duels & Deception, is your next regency romance treat." —Entertainment Weekly

"Delightful ... It is Jane Austen spiced with action, suspense, and humor." —VOYA, starred review

"If you love Jane Austen and Downton Abbey, you’ll definitely want to pick up a copy of this #girlboss book ASAP." —Brit + Co

Love, Lies and Spies:

"It’s Jane Austen meets Jane Foster in Anstey’s debut novel, which serves up a delightful combination of Regency romance, scientific curiosity, and spy intrigue for a tale that will have readers rooting for love and science." —Entertainment Weekly

"A tongue-in-cheek nod to Regency romances, Anstey’s lighthearted novel is perfect for readers looking for an Austen-inspired tale of intrigue and romance. The story gets an additional boost from Juliana’s many humorous scrapes, which are unbefitting of a nineteenth-century lady. This would make a nice companion for Garth Nix’s farcical Newt’s Emerald." —Booklist

"Love, Lies and Spies has it all: rollicking adventure, corky dialogue (my new favorite descriptive word, thanks to Cindy Anstey), thrilling peril and espionage, dastardly villains, memorable sidekicks, splendid romance, and oh yes, a perfectly paired hero and heroine. 5 out of 5 Regency Stars." —Austenprose