Read Rogue Spy Online

Authors: Joanna Bourne

Rogue Spy

BOOK: Rogue Spy

Praise for


“Once in a while, during every reader's literary life, you encounter a book that reminds you why you are a reader. It renews your faith, if faith was lost; it rekindles your interest, if interest waned; and every word, every page, is a wonder. Adrian and Justine's story is not only such a book . . . it confirms Joanna Bourne is one of the best authors currently writing. If Ms. Bourne continues writing at such quality, she would deserve to be called one of the greatest romance authors ever. And I mean that.”

All About Romance

“Bourne is a master wordsmith, able to charm, excite, or break a reader's heart with the stroke of her pen. . . . My opinion is this is the best novel she has written and destined to be a classic in the romance genre.”

Dear Author

“Bourne mixes heart-pounding mystery and romance in her spellbinding fourth Spymaster historical romantic thriller. . . . Just the right amount of intrigue makes this vivid romance a gripping page-turner.”

Publishers Weekly

Praise for


One of the Best Books of 2010,
Publishers Weekly

Honorable Mention, Best 2010 Romance Novels,
All About Romance

Best Romance Books of 2010,
Kirkus Reviews

Best of 2010 List,
Dear Author

Guiltiest Summer Reading Pleasures,

“Addictively readable . . . A flawless romance in which an espionage-steeped plot is deftly balanced with a lusciously sensual love story.”


“With exceptional characters, brilliant plotting, a poignant love story, and clear, realistic descriptions, this engrossing, provocative romantic adventure could easily make revolutionary France a more popular setting . . . Intriguing, refreshing, and rewarding.”

Library Journal

“Bourne is a magnificent writer. If she were a chef, you'd eat slowly to enjoy each bite. With her books, you savor every word.”


“Sometimes . . . [I] forget what a truly great book looks like—and then I read one like
The Forbidden Rose
 . . . It's fantastic.”

All About Romance

Praise for


An American Library Association RUSA Reading List Award Winner for Romance

One of the Top 100 Romance Books of All Time as Voted in 2010,
All About Romance

2009 RITA Finalist for Best Historical Romance

“What a terrific story! One of the most unusual, resourceful, and humorous heroines I've ever met; a spy to swoon for; and a great twisty plot with a sense of genuine danger.”

—Diana Gabaldon,
New York Times
bestselling author of
An Echo in the Bone

“Love, love, LOVED it!”

—Julia Quinn, #1
New York Times
bestselling author of
The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever

“Wow, what a captivating, unique heroine! Joanna Bourne's voice is distinct, fresh, and engaging.”

—Madeline Hunter,
New York Times
bestselling author of
The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne

“A breathtaking adventure that kept me turning pages with breathless anticipation. Joanna Bourne is a master of romance and suspense! I can't wait to read her next book!”

—Teresa Medeiros,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Goodnight Tweetheart

“This is a flat-out spectacular book . . . I cannot say enough good about
The Spymaster's Lady
. It is smart, masterful writing and I cannot wait to see what Bourne does next.”

All About Romance

“As a longtime reader of romance I can say that it is a rare novel that leaves me speechless . . . Everything about the book is a revelation.”


Praise for


Winner of the RITA Award for Best Regency Historical

“Bourne's latest espionage-based series historical entices with subtle subterfuge and heated romance. Glimpses of the leads' sordid pasts add depth, and Bourne's consummate way with a story line and an explosive denouement do the rest.”

Publishers Weekly

“A very, very good historical romance featuring complex and flawed characters far out of the typical wallpaper mode . . . Bourne is an undeniably powerful new voice in historical romance.”

All About Romance

“Ms. Bourne proves to be an excellent storyteller. [Jess is] one of the most complex and interesting heroines I've seen in a long time.”

Fresh Fiction

“A fantastically clever tale with twists and turns aplenty. The setting and characters will have you quickly entrenched in the time period, and the witty dialogue and steaming sexual tension will keep you happily wrapped in Ms. Bourne's world.”

Romance Junkies

“This tale drenches itself in sexual tension so taut that there are times you can hardly catch your breath. . . . Steeped in rich historical atmosphere, and superbly written,
My Lord and Spymaster
is a definite all-nighter and must-read for anyone who relishes a really good book. You won't be disappointed.”

Romance Reader at Heart

“Another notch in Joanna Bourne's belt for a job well done. No, not just well—but excellently well.”

Romance Reviews Today

Berkley Sensation titles by Joanna Bourne







Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) LLC

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014

USA • Canada • UK • Ireland • Australia • New Zealand • India • South Africa • China

A Penguin Random House Company


A Berkley Sensation Book / published by arrangement with the author

Copyright © 2014 by Joanna Watkins Bourne.

Excerpt from
The Forbidden Rose
by Joanna Bourne copyright © 2010 by Joanna Watkins Bourne.

Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

Berkley Sensation Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group.

BERKLEY SENSATION® is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

The “B” design is a trademark of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) LLC,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

eBook ISBN: 978-1-101-62560-6


Berkley Sensation mass-market edition / November 2014

Cover art by Alan Ayers.

Cover design by George Long.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.


To Rowen


Praise for Joanna Bourne

Berkley Sensation titles by Joanna Bourne

Title Page





Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

Chapter Twenty-two

Chapter Twenty-three

Chapter Twenty-four

Chapter Twenty-five

Chapter Twenty-six

Chapter Twenty-seven

Chapter Twenty-eight

Chapter Twenty-nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-one

Chapter Thirty-two

Chapter Thirty-three

Chapter Thirty-four

Chapter Thirty-five

Chapter Thirty-six

Chapter Thirty-seven

Chapter Thirty-eight

Chapter Thirty-nine

Chapter Forty

Chapter Forty-one

Chapter Forty-two

Chapter Forty-three

Chapter Forty-four

Chapter Forty-five

Chapter Forty-six

Chapter Forty-seven

Chapter Forty-eight

Chapter Forty-nine

Chapter Fifty

Chapter Fifty-one

Chapter Fifty-two


Special Excerpt from
The Forbidden Rose

About the Author


I am deeply grateful to my wonderful beta readers, Sophie Couch, Madeline Iva, Mary Ann Clark, Jan Burland, and Laura Watkins. Their wisdom and good sense have kept me out of trouble more times than I can count.

I'd like to thank Fabienne Camille and Catherine MacGregor for help with the French language used in the manuscript and Zan Marie Steadham for help with the Latin. My thanks also to Deniz Bevan for helping me with edits. Any correct usage is the fruit of their effort. The mistakes are all my own.

As always, all my gratitude to my knowledgeable and patient editor, Wendy McCurdy, and my wonderful agent, Pam Hopkins.


When you must run, carry nothing and never look back.


The end of her own particular world arrived early on a Tuesday morning, wrapped in brown paper and twine, sealed with a blob of red wax. She found it at the bottom of the pile of the morning's mail.

She sat at her desk in the library, pleasantly full of breakfast, opening letters, ready to be brisk with the contents. Camille Leyland—Cami—dutiful niece, British subject, codebreaker, French spy, ready to deal with the morning post.

The Fluffy Aunts didn't believe in opening mail at the breakfast table. “A barbarous custom,” Aunt Lily called it.

Books filled the room she sat in and most of the rest of the substantial cottage. They ran floor to ceiling along every wall of the front parlor, the entry hall, the back parlor, what had originally been a bedroom, and this little study at the back of the house. Books, plump with pages of notes and bristling with bookmarks, stuffed the shelves two deep and wedged in every available space on top.

In the next room Aunt Lily and Aunt Violet bumbled back and forth, trailing scarves and arguing amiably about . . . something to do with Gnostic symbology. In any case, they
had wandered deep into the maze of academic dispute. Any decoding done today would fall in her lap.

The window at her back was open to the morning. Sun fell across these nearest shelves in the pattern of the windowpanes, eighteen trapezoids across the books. The leather binding was mellow brown, red, and blue. The gold lettering on the spines turned to curls of fire.

To work, to work. She'd get the pesky small business of the day out of the way first. It was an old relaxing routine to cut a fresh nib on the pen and unstopper the ink. She slipped her shoes off and cuddled her stockinged feet under her, comfy as a cat. Her desk was bare as the deck of a ship at sea. When one codes and decodes for diplomats and the secret agencies of the British government, one keeps a tidy desk.

“I can't find . . .” Aunt Violet leaned in at the door. “Cami, did you move the Norbert manuscript for some reason?”

“Try the boxes on the table.” That answer usually worked.

“I have it here.” Aunt Lily's voice came around the corner. “I was consulting it last night. Fanshaw is wrong. Incorrect citations. Sloppy scholarship. No real knowledge of his subject. He is quite simply wrong.”

“Ex scientia vera,”
Aunt Violet said.

Half a lifetime of Latin over the dinner table made the translation automatic. “From knowledge, truth.” Herself, she'd always thought one could have too much truth.

Aunt Lily crossed the door to the front room, coming in and out of the line of sight, carrying a large manuscript. “Stupid as
. Not the Hungarians. Stuffy old fools and their Cambridge politics.” That was obscure, but probably true, the Fluffy Aunts being shrewd in such matters.

A serene, blue and gold morning filled the sky outside the window to her left. The air was full of academic infighting and the scent of late roses. This first letter . . . she glanced at the postmarks. That was from Aunt Lily's man of business. She could set it aside, unopened. The Fluffy Aunts invested in cog production and rope inventories and God knew what and didn't seem to go bankrupt.

She slipped her letter opener under the seal of the next letter and loosed the news that Mr. Owens, owner of the Sparrow
Bookshop in London, had located a copy of
De Componendis Cifris
, exhaustively described herein. How much would they authorize him to bid on it? That went to the pile on the far left, for Aunt Violet, who collected. A bill for a hat slid into a drawer with other bills to be paid next time she was in London. A letter from Germany, in German. That was for Aunt Lily.

Paper by paper, she sorted order out of chaos. It was not unlike decoding, in its way.

Aunt Lily stalked about, muttering, in the other room, “Not Ogham. Not Welsh. Next he's going to spout nonsense about Aramaic.”

The letter opener was an antique dagger from Italy, honed to a killing edge. But no one would wonder why she kept a deadly weapon in the house. Lay it gently in a desk drawer and the knife became unremarkable as a goose quill.

It was beautiful in a spare, serious way, the sort of knife one of her Baldoni ancestors would have used to commit murder. She'd bought it in London eight years ago for that purpose, and it worked. She hadn't killed anybody with it since.

The knife was also perfectly good at opening letters.

The next offering of the mail was a note, elegantly addressed and hand-delivered from the manor. There would be a tea next Tuesday. Would the Misses Leyland care to attend?

Tea and tittle-tattle, chatter of King Charles spaniels, flooding in the lower fields. The Fluffy Aunts would love it. She set that aside to write a bright, cheery answer later, because the bottom of the pile held something more interesting. Her last but not least of the morning was a square packet wrapped in clean brown paper, tied with string. It was wider than her hand and not much thicker than an ordinary letter. Some object about the size of a shilling weighted the center.

Because of what she'd once been, because of what she'd once known, she saw the dozens of small details and tried to fit them into a pattern. Shopkeeper paper, suitable to wrap Byron's poems or a ham. Ordinary twine. Unremarkable red wax for the seal. That seal slopped over the flap of the paper and the knot in the twine. It would be hard to lift undetectably, if anyone took a notion to engage in that sort of behavior. The signet could have been the letter
or a boat. Or a duck.

The aunts had an eclectic network of friends spread to every corner of the map. Sometimes their friends sent curios. But when she turned the little package over, it was addressed to her, not one of the aunts. Educated writing, probably in a man's hand. The postmarks showed it had been sent from London four days ago.

She cut the string and smoothed the wrapping back to reveal a sheet of cream-colored writing paper inside, folded in thirds, then folded inward at the sides. When she picked it up, a ring fell out to spin in a long, small clatter and wobble itself flat.

A gold ring. Her fingers told her it was real gold and worth far too much to send in a letter through the post. The band held a pearl the size of a pea. She slanted it to the light. It was set in a circle of ten very nice little rubies. Well matched, square cut, excellent color, about a carat all told. Very nice indeed.

A child's ring. She'd seen this somewhere.

Her body recognized disaster before her mind did.

She read the first lines of the letter and distinctly, crystal by spiked crystal, she felt herself turn to ice.

My dear Camille,

We are not yet acquainted, so I enclose this small token as introduction. You will have seen this ring in the portrait that hangs above the fireplace in the parlor of Wythe Cottage. Hyacinth Besançon, née Leyland, toys with a brown-and-white spaniel named Felix, called Lix-Lix. The child to her left, the genuine Camille Besançon, wears this ring.

She is here with me now. I foresee great awkwardness when this somewhat more authentic Camille returns to her aunts' house. The Leylands might forgive your deception. The British Service, Military Intelligence, and the Foreign Office will not.

If you try to run, they will pursue you mercilessly.

Make some excuse to travel to London. Meet me at the Moravian church in Fetter Lane on Friday at noon. Bring with you the key to the Mandarin Code. Do so, and you may continue your comfortable life with the Leylands. I
will present you with the inconvenient remnant of the past I hold. You may do with her as you will.


A friend

Snakes of fear slithered along her bones. She had not forgotten how to be terrified, even after many years of safety.

Outside the window, in the garden, a few house sparrows had come to hop about in the grass. The brightest color was the quince tree, yellow against the brick. The hollyhocks were seedpods now, all their leaves brown, looking disgruntled with autumn. Even in early September frost nipped them at night. She could see beyond the wall to the wood on the other side of Dawson's field. Tree shadows flickered against the sky.

It was really a beautiful day.

For ten years she'd been safe in the village of Brodemere, playing the part of the Leylands' niece. But before that, she'd been one of the Cachés, one of the terrible, well-trained children sent to England by the fanatics of the Revolution. She'd been a French spy, placed in an English family. Placed with the Leylands, because the two dithering, scholarly old ladies were the codemakers and codebreakers for the British Intelligence Service.

The British Service would not be forgiving. They could not allow a French spy who knew so much to escape. It would not matter to them that she had never stolen secrets. That she had long since shaken free of her French masters. She'd read thousands of documents as she ciphered and deciphered. The British Service couldn't afford to let her live.

She let her breath out unevenly, accepting this truth. One must know when it is time to run. When she was a child, her parents had died because they stayed one day too long in Paris, playing a role that was too profitable to abandon.

She lowered the fluttering letter to the blotter to cover the ring. Rested her hands on the desk so they wouldn't shake. She would not alarm the Fluffy Aunts. Would not bring them to her desk, worried and curious, full of sharp, shrewd attention.

It had been a long, fine game, being Camille Leyland. She'd played it so thoroughly she had almost forgotten it was a lie.

Aunt Lily stood at the table in the corner and leafed through a folio book, exchanging opinions through the open door with Aunt Violet . . . something about the Hermetics and Rosenkreuz. They'd slipped into speaking German.

At any moment either of them could look in her direction and know something was terribly wrong.

Become smooth as an egg. Placid as tea in a cup. Show nothing.

She bent over the desk as if she were reading the letter. Nothing in the poise of her body betrayed fear. Nothing, nothing showed on her face.

I have not forgotten what it is to be a Caché.
At the school in Paris—the Coach House, it was called—she'd learned to recite the English kings, to play spillikins and Fox and Geese, to make small bombs, to dance the Scotch Reel, to kill with her hands. She'd had a different name then. Memories of that time spun and tumbled in her head like a pack of cards, tossed in the air, falling.

When she looked up, the world was changed. The books beside her desk, the mail in its prim stacks, the big lamp, the copybooks and quills, the sharpened pencils in the Etruscan cup felt strange, distant, trivial. The woman she was becoming, second by second, no longer belonged in this quiet village, in this small house where two harmless old women argued about Finnish vowel sounds.

The Fluffy Aunts knew the Mandarin Code as well as she did. The man who sent this disgusting letter must be well aware of that. If he couldn't get the code from her, he would come to acquire it from them. Her first task, before all others, was to lead his attention away from this cottage. Away from the aunts.

She slipped the letter opener into her sleeve, where it stopped being harmless and turned into a dagger again. She put her palms flat on the desk and made herself think.

From the next room, Aunt Violet called, “So vexing. He agrees with Johnson.”

“Then they are both wrong.” Aunt Lily snapped the volume she was studying closed. Emphatically, she pushed her glasses back up the bridge of her nose.

“Huncher is very unhelpful. I'll try Middleton.”

“I'd accept Middleton,” Aunt Lily stepped briskly from the room, “
cum grano salis.

. . . with a grain of salt
. She would miss them so much.

She folded the letter, feeling the texture of it acutely, seeing every nuance and shade of the wood grain of her desk. The pearl ring was light in her hand when she picked it up.

For ten years, she'd lived in this safe, pretty cottage in the place that belonged to Camille Besançon. At night, in her room up under the slope of the roof, in the narrow bed beside the window, she'd looked out over the fields toward the mill pond and imagined the child who'd died. That child, her parents, and the young brother had been murdered so a Caché could be placed in the Leyland household. So many murders committed so a French spy could live in the cottage in Brodemere with the Latin and tea cakes, German, algebra, Hebrew and Arabic, the intricacies of code, the calculus, Spanish, Polish, chess, good wine . . . “There is nothing worse than inferior wine,” Aunt Violet always said. “One might as well drink ditchwater.”

I couldn't have saved that child. I was a child myself, and helpless.

But in the silence of the night, all those years, she'd felt guilty.

Could Camille Besançon have somehow escaped the slaughter? Could the little girl who'd worn this ring possibly be alive?

15.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

The Chaos Curse by R. A. Salvatore
Eleven Days by Lea Carpenter
Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke
Open Heart by Elie Wiesel
Enlisted by Love by Jenny Jacobs
The Siren by Elicia Hyder
Money To Burn by Munger, Katy