The London Deception
    “What’s this I hear from your brother you’re in London?”
    Damn Campbell and his big fat mouth.
    “I just got here yesterday.”
    “And now it’s today, and your grandmother and I still haven’t heard from you.”
    “I was working, Grandpa.” She switched to the more familiar address, hoping it would soften him up. Not bloody likely.
    “Don’t make me give you my lecture on balancing family and work.”
    “It’s one I know by heart.”
    A heavy laugh echoed through the phone. “Well, then, you can make it up to us by having dinner with your grandmother and me. Tomorrow night at seven. She’s dragging me to the ballet tonight.”
    “Culture’s good for you.”
    “Not bloody likely. But we already contributed to the evening and she’s assured me we can’t not go.” He heaved a great, long-suffering sigh Rowan knew was all for show before pressing his agenda once more. “So. Tomorrow night.”
    “You know I’d love to see you, but I am working and I’m not sure of what my schedule is.” She thought of the preparations she and Finn still needed to make for their departure in a few days. “My client may need me.”
    “Seven. Tomorrow night, Rowan. There’s always time to see your family. And bring your client, for all I care. I’ve never met Gallagher and I’d like to.”
    Rowan just lay there, shaking her head on the fluffy pillow. She would not ask how he knew who her client was.
    She would not ask.
    “Your grandmother loves that he’s an Irishman, too. She’s all aflutter to meet him. Has been nattering on about how he’s one of the U.K.’s most eligible bachelors.”
    Thoughts of her kiss with Finn the night before assailed her in vivid Technicolor, but Rowan fought to keep them at bay. “I wouldn’t know anything about that.”
    “You’re young, single and healthy. Don’t think I don’t know it and don’t be pretending you haven’t noticed he’s altogether the same.”
    “Well.” He stammered slightly and Rowan couldn’t hold back the grin. “That’s all I’m going to say about that.”
    “You miss nothing, Grandpa.”
    “It’s only because my grandchildren honed that skill to a sharp point. If you all weren’t so hell-bent on giving your grandmother and me gray hair, I might have grown dull around the edges.”
    Much as she wanted to argue, Alexander Steele made a surprising amount of sense.
    “Seven sharp. And make sure Gallagher comes along.”
    “I love you.”
    “I love you, too, sweetheart.”
    “Some days I’m not sure why. You put up with a lot.” Rowan knew the events of the night before were close to the surface, but the words spilling from her lips still managed to surprise her.
    “Now, now. What’s this about?”
    “I’m difficult.”
    “Hell yes, you’re difficult. I wouldn’t have you any other way.”
    She smiled, the ready affirmation going a long way toward improving her mood. “I’ll see you tomorrow, then. Can I bring anything?”
    “Just yourself, love.”
    They disconnected and she lay in the dark, unable to fall back to sleep. The lure of work and her bright, shiny laptop perched atop the desk tempted, but old memories beckoned in louder voices.
    “The Warrington home was broken into the other evening.”
    “Bethany’s house?” The words tripped off her tongue, full of surprise and no small measure of shock. Rowan thought they sounded rather genuine and she mentally applauded herself as she gazed at her grandfather across his large teak desk, a beautiful piece that had belonged to a ship captain in the British Navy.
    Grandfather nodded. “Bethany and her family were away, fortunately, but the damage has been done. Lady Warrington has lost a rather valuable piece of jewelry.”
    “The Victoria bracelet?”
    Her grandfather’s eyes had widened at her knowledge of the piece, his normal, unassailable poker face nowhere in evidence. “You know about it?”
    “It’s all Lady Warrington and

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