Earlier this week I was honored to be given an advance copy of Undercover- an Austen Noir by Cat Gardiner. I could not put it down! I really could gush about this book all day. This was the sexiest Darcy I’ve ever read. He’s self-assured but vulnerable. Strong-willed but putty in Elizabeth’s hands. Dutiful to family obligations, but accepting of Elizabeth and supportive of her goals. The way he thinks of Elizabeth blows me away. We know he’s gorgeous and yet when he’s with Elizabeth all he can think about is “Why me?”
It’s not all steam and romance. There’s dark secrets, old betrayals, a kidnapping, a murder, and mysteries to solve. There were so many unexpected twists! Elizabeth and Darcy’s humor and wit shined through. This is a truly unique, one of a kind story.
Here’s the book trailer:
And the blurb:
A Pride and Prejudice, non-canon variation, Undercover brings a unique voice and new style to the genre: Noir, a romantic, crime fiction novel filled with intrigue, steamy nights, and 20th Century historical fiction. Jane Austen’s beloved characters become entangled in a Philip Marlowe-esque adventure of love and mystery.
It’s November 1952 in New York City where mysterious denizens linger in smoky bars and darkened alleys. The second Red Scare is dredging up a new swarm of “Commies”; “duck and cover” are the lingo of the day. And hard-boiled private eyes aren’t always men.
One audacious dame, Elizabeth Bennet, is undercover in a case of suspected murder: her best friend, Mary King, has been missing for eighteen months. Determined to find the man she believes did the girl in—one George Wickham—her investigation collides with an enigmatic bachelor, Fitzwilliam Darcy and his socialite sister, Georgiana.
Darcy is loaded, from a high-society family with all the money and the right connections for a future in politics. Elizabeth’s a career girl from the wrong side of the East River, but the sexual chemistry between them cannot be denied. She is focused on finding Slick Wick and he is hell-bent on stopping her investigation. But why? He’s hiding something, but she’ll use almost every weapon in her H-bomb arsenal to get his lips flapping.
Murder, kidnapping, and a brainy broad with a body for sin are just enough to break Darcy’s stone-cold reserve. She’s so provocative that maybe he’ll even be taking a trip down the aisle despite where she’s from, what she does, and the fact that she knows George Wickham.
Be advised: this novel contains mature sexual content
Cat let me choose my favorite excerpt, and without hesitation, my mind went to the scene where Darcy first sees Elizabeth. This is a mature excerpt.
Darcy couldn’t tear his eyes off the seductress now exiting the booth on the opposite side of the lounge. She had sat virtually cloaked in darkness, nursing a drink and a cigarette, but for a few fortunate moments of illumination from the meandering stage lights, he could see the fleshy pucker of kissable red lips surrounding the filter or the rim of the glass. He suddenly felt no remorse for crossing the threshold that separated him from the respectable life in which he lived. Not just an affluent financier and member of the best society, he was now a sleazy voyeur—and stalker of the man who proudly wore that low-life distinction.
When the dame rose and stood at the edge of the booth, his eyes traveled the length of her well-formed body silhouetted in a tight-fitting skirt; his gaze lingering on that shapely bottom of hers until she turned to face his direction. Knowing that she couldn’t see him, he smirked then took an appreciative drink of both her and his gin. His stare remained fixed on the exaggerated sway of her hips as she drew closer to the spotlight, legs that reached the stars sauntering provocatively with each step in alluring stiletto shoes. Her vixen body awakened his repressed, hungry need, but her stunning beauty took him by surprise. An exotic vision with light-colored eyes so in contrast to her midnight allure that he was lost adrift in her storm even if she was more than likely a lesbian. Forget Wickham for the moment; his only desire was to observe her. The performer on stage had nothing compared to the allure of this siren calling his name. His hands flexed at the very thought of squeezing her ample assets, pointed prominently, ready for his mouth …
Focus on why you are here! You are not that foolish young carouser you were during the war.
The woman was an incendiary bomb. His arousal twitched, his craving growing. Good God, man! Stop this! He shifted uncomfortably in the booth.
As she took the four steps up toward the powder room, he delighted, again, in the rise and fall of her bottom until she was out of sight.
Think of your reputation. Just being here puts you at risk!
But, truth was, keeping his sister from the clutches of his former Navy buddy superseded all personal concerns for his own welfare. He’d risk destroying his career to protect her reputation, fortune, and future. His attention drew back to the degenerate man, once his commanding officer, who had shown him the seedier side of life, manipulating the then wholesome son of a senator to do things he’d never dreamed of doing before serving in the South Pacific. Smoking and a tattoo had been verboten until the USS Stevens, then a girl and hooch whenever he could get them, not to mention the bar fights. Was it war or was it Wickham that made him do the things he’d done?
Darcy took another drink attempting to clear his mind of those mortifying recollections of a young man unfettered from the reigns of good society’s expectations. Maybe Georgiana was feeling the same need for liberty, but she better not act on it with Wickham. He’d follow this man every night to make certain that she was not with him.
Are you dying for more yet?
Cat Gardiner loves romance and happy endings, history, comedy, and Jane Austen. A member of National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and her local chapter TARA, she enjoys writing across the spectrum of Pride and Prejudice inspired romance novels. From the comedic Christmas, Chick Lit Lucky 13, and bad boy biker Darcy in the sultry adventure Denial of Conscience, to the romantic comedy Villa Fortuna, these contemporary novels will appeal to many Mr. Darcy lovers. Her newest release is a sultry Pride and Prejudice Noir, just released 4/20/16
Her greatest love is writing 20th Century Historical Fiction, WWII-era Romance. Her debut novel, A Moment Forever will release in late spring 2016 with The Song is You following.
Married 23 years to her best friend, they are the proud parents of the smartest honor student in the world–their orange tabby, Ollie. Although they live in Florida, they will always be proud native New Yorkers.
“I love an adventure! So my storytelling uses fresh innovation to bring the reader on a multi-tiered journey. Incorporating visuals and music, the reader can become immersed with Spotify playlists, blogs, and inspirational image Pinterest boards. Books should be an escape to a time, place, or world where you can lose yourself.”
I hope I’ve whet your appetite to pick up this book! Be a “real cream” and be sure to follow Cat on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. She has amazing Pinterest boards!