EXCERPT: The Lady Travelers Guide to Larceny with a Dashing Stranger by Victoria Alexander

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Romance! Intrigue! Art theft?! Enjoy all this and more in Victoria Alexander’s latest, The Lady Travelers Guide to Larceny with a Dashing Stranger! In this addicting addition to the Lady Travelers Society series, Lady Wilhelmina Bascombe’s luxurious lifestyle disappears in a flash with the death of her husband. Without other means, she hopes to hunt down a family treasure — a Renaissance masterpiece being kept in Venice. Little does she expect for another — a man! — to believe the painting formerly belonged to his family. Dig in to our preview, because Wilhelmina and Dante Augustus Montague have a lot to discuss … if only the heat between them wasn’t simmering! 
 
He had always considered himself an honorable sort and nothing he had done thus far was truly dishonorable. Certainly his initial reasons for cultivating her friend¬ship remained and he had always intended that friend¬ship to be genuine. It would be of no benefit otherwise. There was nothing the least bit deceitful about that. A voice in the back of his head — no doubt an overly active conscience — questioned exactly who he was trying to convince. He ignored it.
 
“If one didn’t know better, one would think you were trying to be more than her friend.”
 
“Rubbish.”
 
“Not at all.” She shook her head in dismay at his ob¬vious idiocy. “Flirtation, my dear Dante, is not the best course if all you desire is friendship.”
 
“I am and always have been a perfect gentleman, es¬pecially where ladies are concerned,” he said in a lofty manner.
 
“Interesting that you choose not to deny it.”
 
He shrugged. “There is nothing to deny.”
 
Especially as his sister was right. He and Willie were engaged in a definite flirtation. He wasn’t at all sure how it had happened. Oh, he had certainly flirted with women in the past but even with Juliet, a woman he considered to have a great deal of potential for a wife, his behavior was never less than proper. Of course — as his sister would attest — he could indeed be charming when he chose to be, although he usually considered such efforts rather silly and certainly not worth the time.
 
In that perhaps he was mistaken.
 
Flirting with Willie was oddly natural and effortless. He’d never imagined flirtation with a woman who was every bit as intelligent as she was lovely would be both enjoyable and shockingly addictive. Willie Bascombe brought something out in him he never knew existed. Flirtation with her was like a game of chess or a subtle kind of warfare. Engaging and exciting and irresistible. One never knew where the next move would lead. First and foremost, of course, he wanted the Portinari. Be¬yond that he had no idea what he wanted. For the first time in a long time, if ever, he didn’t know what might happen next. At the moment, life struck him as an un¬expected adventure. It was a disturbing and strangely delightful thought.
 
It had struck him, as well, on more than one occasion, how remarkable it would be to kiss her — to drag her into his arms and kiss her quite thoroughly on the top viewing platform of the Eiffel Tower. Or in the shadow of the giant incandescent lamp at the Gallery of Machines. Or be¬hind the corrals at the Wild West show. It was an absurd thought. Not at all anything he would ever do. He was not a man of impulse nor had he ever so much as consid¬ered kissing a woman who had not invited a kiss before. That would be extremely improper. Worse, it would com¬plicate his ultimate purpose. He really needed to ignore such thoughts. And yet he could not get the idea out of his head. Even here, amid the artistic genius of the ages, the idea of pushing her back against the wall between a Titian and a Raphael and pressing his lips to hers…
 
Willie caught their attention and waved to them to join the rest of the group.
Dante drew a steadying breath. “Aren’t you going to give me any advice? You always insist on giving me ad¬vice for this sort of thing.”
 
“What sort of thing, Dante?” she asked in an all-too-innocent manner as they started toward the others.
 
“I don’t know,” he said sharply.
 
“Yes, well, that is a bit of a problem. I would never presume to give you advice on something that was as yet undefined.”
 
He snorted. “You’ve never let that stop you before.”
 
“Perhaps but you’ve never taken my advice before.” She cast him an assessing glance. “Nor have you ever asked for it.”
 
His jaw tightened. “Today, I am asking.”
 
“And today I have no advice to give.”
 
“You always — ”
 
“Very well.” She halted in midstep and met his gaze firmly. “You’ve never been the least bit indecisive about anything. Nor have you ever considered that you might possibly be wrong.”
 
“That’s scarcely advice.”
 
“I’m getting to it. You, brother dear, need to decide what is more important to you. The lady or the painting.”
 
The lady or the painting? Which will he choose? Pre-order your copy from one of these retailers to find out: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Indiebound
 
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