Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1)

Death was not prejudiced by mortal things such as station or gender. It came for kings and queens and prostitutes alike, often leaving the living with regrets.

Fear is a hungry beast. The more you feed it, the more it grows.

Haven’t you got an organ to weigh, people to annoy, or notes to scribble down for Uncle Jonathan? Or perhaps you’ve got another patient to experiment on.”
“Dr. Wadsworth was called away on more urgent matters. It’s just the two of us and I’m quite bored of your moping about. We could be taking full advantage of our time together. But no,” he sighed dramatically. “You’re intently reading rubbish.

Her dress was made of watered silk and was of the most gorgeous lavender I’d ever seen. The stitching was superb. A flash of the last cadaver I’d sewn back together crossed my mind. Not to boast, but my stitches had been as good. Perhaps a pinch better.

He was in love. How exceptionally wonderful for him. I wished them both a lifetime of misery with ill-mannered children. I swallowed my annoyance down and plastered on a smile. “I hope you’ll both be very happy together.

His eyes are golden brown when he’s intrigued by something. He’s regal-looking and handsome, but he’s more interested in formulas and solving crimes than he is in me or poetry. He acts devilishly warm one moment, then frigid the next,” I said. “So there will be no children or any beautiful paradise in our future. Most of the time I cannot even tolerate his presence. His arrogance is… I don’t know. Annoying.

Hurry along, then,” I said, grabbing my orchid and securing it safely in my journal. “I want to sit by the window.”
“Hmm.”
“What now?” I asked, losing patience.
“I usually sit by the window. You may have to sit in my lap.

I’d agreed to meet him here only to go over case details. Now he was doing that infuriating thing where he’d inevitably guess my secret plans, and I’d have to murder him. In front of all these witnesses, no less. What a pity.

I’d like to see you carry on with a corset digging its bones into your rib cage,” I said, returning the favor and eyeing his clothing. “And manage a skirt still covering most of your breeches and whipping around your thighs in this wind.”
“If you’d like to see me out of my breeches, simply ask, Wadsworth. I’m more than happy to accommodate you on that front.”
“Scoundrel.

If I don’t murder you this afternoon, it’ll be a gift sent directly from God Himself, and I vow to attend services again,” I said, holding a hand against my heart.
“I knew I’d get you to church eventually.

If you’re not careful,” I said, brushing imaginary wrinkles off the front of my riding habit and breeches, hoping the flush in my cheeks would come across as anger and not embarrassment, “you’ll be the one dragged here in bits and pieces.”
Thomas tilted my chin up with a finger, his intent gaze setting my skin aflame. “I do love it when you speak so maliciously, Wadsworth. Gives my heart a bit of a rush.

I glared so hard I feared my face would get stuck that way. “If you ever try anything like that again, I will stab you in the foot, Thomas Cresswell.”
“Ah. There’s something about you saying my name that sounds like a blessed curse,” he said. “If you can work up a good hand gesture to go along with it, that’d be exceptional.

I promise. I’ll be as silent as the dead.”
“Ah,” Uncle said, putting a hat on and tugging it low, “the dead speak to those who listen. Be quieter than even them.

I rolled my eyes. Leave it to Uncle Jonathan to worry about prostitution being too much for my feminine persuasion, yet think nothing of me seeing a body spliced open before I’d even had my luncheon.

I was determined to be both pretty and fierce, as Mother had said I could be. Just because I was interested in a man’s job didn’t mean I had to give up being girly. Who defined those roles anyhow?

My heart raced. Part of me wanted to draw him into a hug and heal his wounds, and part of me wished to ferret out all his secrets and piece the puzzle of him together this instant.

Oh, how I despised remaining silent under such awful judgment. I’d like to remind each man who held such poor opinions of a woman that their beloved mothers were, in fact, women.
I didn’t see any men running about, birthing the world’s population then going on to make supper and tend to the house. Most of them buckled to their knees when the slightest sniffle attacked them.

Roses have both petals and thorns, my dark flower. You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate. Show the world your bravery.

Someone screamed; perhaps it was me. Though it would have made me happier if it were Thomas Blasted Cresswell.

There’s nothing better than a little danger dashed with some romance.

The snake stuck its tongue out, tasting the air as we inched by, then hissed. Nathaniel nearly tripped over the man seated beside the aisle, trying to dodge the reptile. I ran my fingers over its large, leathery head as I passed—stifling a giggle as my brother’s eyes bulged and he swiped my hand away. “Are you mad?” he whispered harshly. “That beast tried eating me whole, now you’re making a pet of it. Can’t you be normal and like cats?” He shook his head. “If we make it out alive I’ll buy you as many kittens as you’d like. I’ll even purchase a farm in the country where you can house hundreds of them.

Thomas smiled at my eye roll, puffing his chest up and standing with one foot proudly resting on a chair as if posing for a portrait. “I don’t blame you, I am rather attractive. The tall, dark hero of your dreams, swooping in to save you with my vast intellect. You should accept my hand at once.

Those who deserve respect are given it freely. If one must demand such a thing, he’ll never truly command it. I am your daughter, not your horse, sir.”
I stepped closer, enjoying the way Father leaned away from me as if he were just now discovering that a cat, while precious and cute, also had sharp claws. “I’d rather be a lowly wretch on the streets than live in a house full of cages. Do not lecture me on propriety when it’s a virtue you so grossly lack.

What I’m talking about is trying to solve a riddle or crime. Emotions play no role there. They’re too messy and complicated.” He leaned on his elbows, staring into my eyes. “But they’re good in other situations, I suppose. For instance—I’ve not yet figured out the formula for love or romance. Perhaps I shall learn one day soon.

Whenever I scared him, he turned into some foreign person. One who was both frightening and frightened at once.

Wield your assets like a blade, Cousin. No man has invented a corset for our brains. Let them think they rule the world. It’s a queen who sits on that throne. Never forget that.

Wield your assets like a blade, Cousin. No man has invented a corset for our brains. Let them think they rule the world. It’s a queen who sits on that throne. Never forget that. There’s no reason you can’t wear a simple frock to work, then don the finest gown and dance the night away. But only if it pleases you.

Without lifting his head from his own journal, he said, “Not having any luck figuring me out, then? Don’t worry, you’ll get better with practice. And, yes”—he grinned wickedly, eyes fixed on his paper—“you’ll still fancy me tomorrow no matter how much you wish otherwise. I’m unpredictable, and you adore it. Just as I cannot wrap my massive brain around the equation of you and yet adore it.

You look quite lovely today, Audrey Rose.” He stepped forward, staring down at me, and I fought to keep my eyes from fluttering shut. Thomas drew closer until I was convinced my blood would explode from my body like fireworks splattering across the night sky. “Perhaps you should comment on the excellent cut of my suit. I look rather handsome today as well. Don’t you think?

You simply need to hone your powers of deduction, Wadsworth. Look at the obvious and go from there. Most people ignore what’s right before their eyes. They believe they see, but oftentimes only view what they want.