Book SEVEN in the Red Dog Conspiracy series.
From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Patricia Loofbourrow.
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A drive-by shooting leaves Jacqueline Spadros with little remaining support for the life she's built apart from her estranged husband Tony.
As evidence grows that the Hart Family is behind the attacks, which up to now have been laid on the doorstep of the notorious Red Dog Gang, Tony brings formal charges against the Harts before the Commission.
Jacqui wants to stop the Red Dog Gang and learn the truth about Charles Hart's obsession with her.
But the truth is stranger than she ever imagined.
And what she learns changes everything.
Warning: shooting, blood, a depiction of illness, abduction, betrayal, peril, sensuality, language, smoking.
THE TWO OF HEARTS is the seventh chapter of New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Patricia Loofbourrow’s Red Dog Conspiracy series, loved by over 60,000 fans of science fiction, hard-boiled noir mystery, and psychological crime thrillers from masters such as James S.A. Corey, Richard K, Morgan, and Michael Connelly.
You are strongly urged to read this series in order! The Red Dog Conspiracy is one big book, and if you skip around or read out of order you will not understand what's going on.
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"Totally different from other books I have read."
"The story starts out at a run."
"... sheer delight ..."
"Bridges continues to reveal secrets ..."
"... a bigger picture we can’t see and playing Jacqui like the card she is rather than the one she believes herself to be."
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Enjoy a sample from The Two of Hearts (Warning! Spoilers for books 1-6):
A hot rain battered my window-screen as thunder rolled overhead. I reclined upon the sofa in my parlor, gazing out past the screen to the narrow street beyond.
Jonathan Diamond sat in an armchair beside me, trouser-legs rolled up, his damp feet now resting upon a towel set on a chair. His boots and socks hung by the fireplace to dry. “The storm’s only supposed to last another hour.”
His hands shook, just a little. And I didn’t like the way his feet looked, discolored and swollen. But he claimed that under the circumstances, they were quite well. “Is there anything I might have Mary get you?”
Jon grinned over his shoulder at me with a small shrug. “I’m wonderfully well-fed, warm, and dry, sitting next to the most beautiful woman in the world. What more might I need?”
My cheeks grew hot. “Since when have you become a flatterer?”
He reached over to take my hand, and I loved the way his dark, dark skin looked against mine. “Never.”
We usually went out to luncheon, Jon and I, but I’d felt unwell — not ill, mind you, but that bleeding malady which strikes women monthly, like clockwork. And even so, he’d dared brave scandal and defy quadrant-folk custom to call on me.
A baby’s wail came from far beyond the kitchen. Squeezing Jon’s hand, I scooted up to press it to my cheek, eyes burning. “I don’t deserve such regard, Jon.”
He smiled warmly. “Of course you do.”
My butler Blitz Spadros came in through the door to the kitchen wearing house clothes, carrying a tea-tray. “Care for some more?”
Our temporary housekeeper Mrs. Crawford must still have been at luncheon. It was the first of the month, and I’d given my lady’s maid Amelia the day off, just as her husband and children back at Spadros Manor had. “I’ll have some.” I swung myself around to sit up, slipping my feet into my house shoes, which sat upon the floor. My back hurt, and my innards ached, but the doctor had said tea was good for my health. And I was a bit thirsty.
“No more for me,” Jon said. “I’ve used my allotment for today.” He grinned. “Have to leave room for my tonics.”
Jon had a heart condition, which seemed to have worsened of late. The doctors had told him nothing more might be done, and even last week published a treatise upon his remarkable longevity. Yet despite his duties as Keeper of the Court, Jonathan took life in great ease and merriment those days, as if his ailment was merely an inconvenience. “Is your daughter well, sir?”
Blitz let out a laugh. “Being a newly-born babe must be a difficult matter, judging by the heart-rending nature of her cries. Yet the doctor claims she’s perfectly well.”
Ariana Spadros was only dealt in six weeks before, and seldom slept. I turned to Jon. “Your mother was an Apprentice and your grandfather an Inventor. Are you very good at fixing things?”
Blitz said, “What is it you need fixed?”
I unhooked the key to my dresser from my waistband and handed it to him. “There’s what looks like a small hatbox in my top dresser drawer. Would you bring it to me?”
Blitz gave me a wry grin. “As you command.”
Jon and I both burst out laughing.
Blitz left through the door to the front hall.
Jon said, “Did you see the special edition news? A copy arrived just before I left to come here.”
I shook my head.
Jon shifted to face me. “You won’t believe what Mayor Freezout said in his speech before the City Council today. He proposed that the Four Families should be sent to the Prison!”
“Good gods,” I said. “Has he lost his mind?”
“There were several editorials asking the same thing. And that fool bill of Pike’s is back —”
“Wait,” I said. “Doyle Pike’s writing bills now?” At one time, Mr. Pike had been my lawyer, until he tried blackmailing me.
“No, the young one. Thrace, I believe? The one with the District Attorney’s office. He wants to make refusing to speak with the police a felony offense, rather than a fined misdemeanor.”
I scoffed. “No one should be forced to speak with anyone, least of all one of those scoundrels.”
Jon leaned back. “At least the Council’s got some sense.”
The City Council had kept Freezout from going to outsiders for help about the train crisis. The trains seemed to be in perfect order once again, which was reassuring. But there’d been rumors that Freezout still wanted outside laborers in to help with the continual power outages.
I never understood why Mayor Freezout would want outsiders involved with the city’s repair. The only thing I might imagine was that bringing those people in would shame the Families somehow.
But with the Feds looking for any excuse to take the city, his actions endangered us all.
Blitz returned with my magnification spyglass case in his hand, peering at it. “What’s this?”
I rose, taking it from him, then sat, taking out the spyglass. “It opens up, you see? Then when you look through it, small items are magnified.” But it wobbled loosely these days, rather than opening straight. I’d paid a great deal for it, and it seemed more prudent to have it repaired rather than try to find another.
The sound of a carriage came clattering through the rain, which seemed odd. Our street was really too narrow to drive fast like that.
In the midst of handing my spyglass back to Blitz, he looked past me, eyes wide. “Get down!”