I was delighted to travel back to Burning Cove in The Bride Wore White by Amanda Quick. This historical romantic suspense with paranormal elements shares a story of romance, murder and mischief.The Bride Wore White
by Amanda Quick
Series: Burning Cove #7
Genres: Historical Romance
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Being Madame Ariadne, Psychic Dream Consultant, wasn’t Prudence Ryland’s ideal gig, but it paid well which was reason enough to do the work—until she realizes that her latest client intends to kill her. But Prudence, a master at reinvention, finds a new job and home as far away as possible and is finally able to relax—which turns out to be a big mistake. Letting her guard down means being kidnapped and drugged and waking up in a bloodstained wedding dress in the honeymoon suite next to a dead man. With the press outside the hotel, waiting with their cameras and police sirens in the distance, it’s obvious she’s being framed for the man’s murder. Prudence knows who is responsible, but will anyone believe her?
It doesn’t seem likely that rumored crime boss Luther Pell or his associate, Jack Wingate, believe her seemingly outrageous claims of being a target of a ruthless vendetta. In fact, Prudence is convinced that the mysterious Mr. Wingate believes her to be a fraud at best, and at worst: a murderer. And Jack Wingate does seem to be someone intimately familiar with violence, if going by his scarred face and grim expression. So no one is more shocked than Prudence when Jack says he’ll help her. Of course, his ideas for helping her involve using her as the bait for a killer, but Prudence feels oddly safe with Jack protecting her. But who will protect Prudence from her growing fascination with this enigma of a man?
While each novel in the Burning Cove series features one couple and a suspenseful storyline, I recommend reading the series in the order of its release. Characters, locations and references will all be enhanced by doing so.
The tale begins when we meet Prudence Ryland, a Psychic Dream Consultant known to the world as Madame Ariadne. When she realizes her current client intends to kill her, she picks up roots and reinvents herself. Everything goes swimmingly until she wakes up in a hotel room next to a dead man. She flees and reaches out to Luther Pell for help. That assistance comes in the form of Jack Wingate.
From the moment Prudence and Jack met, I loved the back-and-forth barbs and sizzling chemistry. She believes in the paranormal and Jack is grounded in facts. It’s decided she will renew her role as Madame Ariadne to draw whomever is trying to frame Prudence. The tale that unfolds was suspenseful with a clever whodunit and a delicious side of romance.
I am enchanted by Burning Cove and the characters Quick brings to life. Followers of the Arcane Society series will savor references to the series. Prudence is quite intelligent, just like Jack, whose intuition and dreams appear to be in the same realm as Prudence’s gifts. His narrative and ambitions were extraordinary, and seeing these two collaborate and become closer was a pleasure.
The romance felt like a slow-burn as respect came first despite the chemistry. I rooted for them and loved the behinds the scenes matchmaking from other characters.
I devoured their story in two sittings and regret nothing. Except for the fact that I’ll have to wait for the next story in the Burning Cove series.
Read an Excerpt:
Tapson stiffened violently as if he had touched a live electrical wire.
In a sense, that was exactly what had happened.
Tapson stared at her in disbelief and mounting horror. He began to tremble. The tremors became spasms. The knife fell to the carpet, landing with a soft plop.
“No,” he said. “You can’t do this to me.”
His eyes rolled back in his head. His right hand went limp. He no longer had a death grip on the rim of the bowl—he was incapable of gripping anything. He collapsed on the floor and lay still.
She took a shaky breath and yanked her hand off the crystal. The pain of the psychic burn wasn’t from a physical injury—her fingertips had not actually been singed—but her nerves were severely rattled. She could not afford to succumb to an anxiety attack, not now. She needed to stay focused on survival, because it was obvious her entire world had just been turned upside down.
“Damn you, Tapson,” she whispered to the unconscious man. “I hope you are trapped in a nightmare. I hope you are locked in it for the rest of your life.”
She had to think. She had to concentrate on the next move.
She took a step and then stopped and put a hand on the table to keep from losing her balance. When she had her nerves under control, she made her way around the table. Crouching beside Tapson, she groped for and found a faint, erratic pulse. He was alive, but she was sure he would never be the same.
There was no way to calculate how much damage she had done to his nerves and his senses. The technique of channeling energy through crystal with enough force to destabilize the source of a person’s dreams was highly unpredictable. It was hardly the sort of skill one could easily practice and refine, at least not in an ethical way.
The talent for doing what she had just done was rare, even in a family with a long history of psychics who could read dreams. But the few accounts left by her ancestors who had possessed the ability had been clear on one point—disrupting an individual’s dream energy was guaranteed to cause considerable damage.
First things first. Her own survival was at stake. She had to get rid of Tapson. She could not let him continue to lie there on the floor of her reading room. What if he woke up and was still capable of killing her? What if he never woke up at all?
She briefly considered trying to hide the unconscious man. Even if she could manage the process—doubtful, because Tapson was large and powerfully built—there was no practical way to haul him any significant distance in the busy city.
There was really only one solution to her problem. She would call an ambulance and explain that Tapson had suffered a stroke during a reading. If or when he woke up, there was a good chance he would not remember exactly what had happened. Even if he did remember what she had done to him, he would have a hard time convincing the police she had tried to murder him with psychic energy.
For her part, she had no way to prove that he had tried to murder her, let alone that he had killed others.
Regardless of what happened to Tapson, her reputation would be destroyed if the press got hold of the story. The rumors alone would ruin her. Clients would certainly not be eager to book appointments with a psychic known to have had a client collapse during a reading. That sort of thing did not make for successful marketing.
She did not believe in omens and portents, but this situation was about as close as one could get to a sign from the universe informing her that it was time to move on.
Excerpted from The Bride Wore White by Amanda Quick Copyright © 2023 by Amanda Quick. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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