Magnate, p.1

Magnate, page 1



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  “Wait!” she blurted. “I have an idea. Let’s make a wager. You give me an amount of money, and, if I cannot double it on the exchange within three months, then you’re off the hook.”

  Before he thought better of it, he asked, “How much?”

  She shrugged. “You may decide. Five thousand, perhaps?”

  He admired her spirit, so he played along. “Too low. Let’s make it ten.”

  “Fine. And when I double it, I’ll take the twenty thousand and another fifty to start my business.”

  “Our business,” he corrected. “And you only get three weeks. Not three months.” No use making it easy on her.

  Her jaw dropped. “Three weeks! I cannot possibly—”

  “Then we have nothing else to discuss.” He stood and walked around his desk. “Good day, Miss Sloane.”

  “Fine! Three weeks.”

  He suppressed a smirk. She would need to learn better negotiation skills for certain. He shoved his hands in his pockets. “Tell me something.”


  “What’s in it for me?”

  “Well, money, of course.”

  “I’ve got plenty of money. You’ll have to do better than that.”

  This caught her off guard, and she started chewing her lip. “I . . . There’s nothing other than altruism and money in it for you, I’m afraid.”

  “One unappealing and the other completely unnecessary. What else?”

  Joanna Shupe’s Wicked Deceptions Series Is the Talk of the Ton!

  The Lady Hellion

  “A beautiful and complex love story featuring a hero who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and a heroine with a penchant for saving the day. Shupe is very talented, walking a fine line between Quint’s demons and Sophie’s charming, almost madcap character. These two sparkle in this wildly entertaining story.”

  —Sarah MacLean, The Washington Post

  “Shupe invites readers to sit back and enjoy the terrific chemistry between the unconventional Lord Quint and the exasperating Lady Sophie in the conclusion to the Wicked Deceptions trilogy. With emotional intensity, poignancy, passion and murder, they won’t be disappointed.”

  —RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars

  “Sophie’s independent nature makes her a delightful protagonist . . . The romance is delectable as sensual love scenes balance the well-woven mystery subplot.”

  —Publishers Weekly

  “I enjoyed this series quite a lot, and am looking forward to see what Shupe writes in the future.”

  —Smart Bitches Trashy Books

  “The Lady Hellion is a fabulous, wonderful book! Sophie is a superb heroine, the kind little girls dream of being. It is also refreshing that Quint is neither a rake nor a rogue, but he is most definitely a brooding hero, and it is totally relevant to the story arc. The Lady Hellion is built upon a very clever premise, and Ms. Shupe crafts an exciting and meticulously researched story fraught with suspense, startling plot twists combined with frissons of sexual tension, and a beautiful, tender love story—and what an ending! Absolutely terrific!”

  —Fresh Fiction

  The Harlot Countess

  “With her knowledge of the modes and morals of the Regency era, Shupe delivers a well-crafted novel in this second installment of her Wicked Deceptions series. Steady pacing, delightful characters and an ability to build steamy sexual tension make for a lively love story.”

  —RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars

  “A good story well told. This is a fun series.”

  —Romance Reviews Today

  “An intriguing tale, The Harlot Countess, the second book in author Joanna Shupe’s Wicked Deceptions series, is an emotion-packed, sexy historical romance that will keep readers captivated right up to the very end. Angst, heartache, vengeance, blackmail, secrets, miscommunication, passion, forgiveness, romance and love all intertwine in a story that readers will not soon forget.”

  —Romance Junkies

  The Courtesan Duchess

  “The powerful passion in this riveting tale of betrayal and forgiveness will knock your socks off!”

  —Sabrina Jeffries

  “Joanna Shupe’s compelling story of an estranged couple brims with emotion and sensuality.”

  —Miranda Neville

  “Heartfelt . . . This original and alluring novel is a very promising beginning to Shupe’s career.”

  —Publishers Weekly

  “Shupe’s debut Wicked Deceptions tale is passionate and seductive. Her carefully drawn characters and their nicely crafted, poignant love story engage the readers’ emotions and will have everyone anticipating the next book in the series.”

  —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

  “Shupe launches her romance-writing career with a polished Regency-set historical that successfully merges engaging characters, steamy sensuality, and a dash of danger into one captivating romance.”


  “A lively story . . . A naïve, desperate heroine and a thoughtless, rakehell hero mature delightfully as they come into their own in this steamy debut that is the first of a back-to-back trilogy and skillfully sets the stage for more stories to come.”

  —Library Journal

  “From its first naughty page, be prepared to be swept away by Joanna Shupe’s The Courtesan Duchess. Julia will win your heart, and hero Nick’s too! This skillful debut reads sure and true, and I can’t wait to see what Joanna dreams up next in the series.”

  —Maggie Robinson

  “One of the best debuts I’ve read in years. Joanna Shupe’s The Courtesan Duchess is fast-paced, compelling, and super sexy. You won’t be able to put it down.”

  —Valerie Bowman

  “Joanna Shupe is a wonderful new voice in historical romance. The Courtesan Duchess takes readers on a steamy ride from Venice to London, proving that some happily ever afters are worth waiting for.”

  —Jennifer McQuiston

  Books by Joanna Shupe

  Wicked Deceptions

  The Courtesan Duchess

  The Harlot Countess

  The Lady Hellion

  The Knickerbocker Club





  (coming in November 2016)

  Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation


  The Knickerbocker Club




  All copyrighted material within is Attributor Protected.

  Table of Contents


  Joanna Shupe’s Wicked Deceptions Series Is the Talk of the Ton!

  Books by Joanna Shupe

  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


  Copyright Page

  For Sally and Claire:

  Never stop dreaming.


  The Gilded Age, which falls roughly from 1870–1900, was a fascinating time of innovation, upheaval, and new ideals. This era wrought powe
rful industry, incredible corruption, and extreme wealth in America. There were social struggles, as waves of new immigrants, the middle-class, and recently freed slaves attempted to find a place in this country. In addition, New York’s Knickerbocker families were desperately trying to uphold their rules and traditions while the nouveau riche angled to gain a foothold in the upper classes.

  I set Magnate in early 1888 for a specific reason. In March of that year, the East Coast experienced one of the worst snowstorms it had ever seen, with over twenty inches of snow dumping on New York City. I couldn’t resist using this natural disaster as a plot point. I spent hours looking at real photos of the storm’s aftermath as well as reading the news accounts, which were harrowing and, in many cases, heartbreaking.

  A great deal of debt is owed to Victoria Woodhull and Tennessee Clafin, who served as part of the inspiration for Lizzie, the heroine in Magnate. These two sisters opened the first female-operated stock brokerage firm in 1870. Backed by Cornelius Vanderbilt, the women stormed Wall Street and were an instant success. Interestingly, their offices had a private door in the back that led to a women-only lounge, a system that allowed women to begin to take independent control of their finances. Sadly, their firm only lasted three years, and it would be not until 1967 that the first woman purchased a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.

  Many people helped in the writing of this book. First, I am fortunate to have the dean of a business school as well as an economics professor in my family. So thanks to Denise and Joel, who patiently answered all my stock and finance questions, and provided resources to help with the accuracy of several stock details. Also, a huge thank-you to my husband, Rich, who helped plot out much of this story, then re-plot when things weren’t working and my head was spinning.

  I owe undying gratitude to my pals Lin Gavin, Michele Mannon, JB Schroeder, and Diana Quincy, who each helped brainstorm on this story, read the manuscript early on, and kept me on track when I faltered. Thanks to Chris Gavin, who patiently answered my stock questions on a trip at the beach. Thanks to both Megan Frampton and Sonali Dev for their comments on the manuscript and general awesome writerly support. And thanks to the other Violet Femmes—Tina, Jaye, Maria, RoseAnn—for reading the first chapter at a moment’s notice! You rock!

  Also, thanks to Peter Senftleben (who pushed me to up my game on this manuscript), Jane Nutter, and the entire team at Kensington for getting behind my stories, no matter what time period I write in. Thank you to Laura Bradford for being her awesome agent self, as well as doing an early read through on Magnate and giving me critical feedback on the characters.

  My thanks to Greg Young and Tom Meyers, better known as The Bowery Boys, for their amazing podcast, Web site (, and willingness to answer my questions about Washington Square. If you like New York history, please check them out!

  Most of all, thank you to the readers! I am so grateful for all of the support and feedback I get from you. I hope you enjoy the Knickerbocker Club series as much as I enjoyed writing it. All the errors here are my own.

  Chapter One

  Man cannot do without society, and society cannot be maintained without customs and laws.

  —American Etiquette and Rules of Politeness, 1883

  Seventy-Fifth Street and Fifth Avenue, New York City December 1887

  If given the choice between bears and bulls, Lizzie vastly preferred the bull. Bears were tentative and sluggish, whereas bulls charged forward and caused things to happen. She had finally decided to consider herself a bull, ready to pursue her hopes and dreams by any means necessary.

  Which is how she found herself on upper Fifth Avenue this afternoon, waiting in the largest mansion on Millionaire’s Row. The monstrosity belonged to one of the wealthiest men in the world, a steel magnate who had reputedly forged his empire through daring, determination, and sheer grit.

  And before Lizzie left his house today, she intended to convince him to take another risk, this time on her.

  A noise caught her attention, and she turned as an immense man stepped into the receiving room. “Miss Sloane, I am Emmett Cavanaugh.”

  Lizzie clasped her trembling hands and tried not to gawk. She’d heard the rumors, of course. Not only was Cavanaugh the owner of the powerful East Coast Steel, but he was also her brother’s friend. Still, the bits of news and gossip here and there hadn’t quite prepared her for the shock of actually seeing him in person.

  He was huge—a mountain of a man. Thick and tall, with wide shoulders that could only be borne of physical activity. The breadth of his chest . . . good heavens. His tailor must charge a fortune for the additional fabric required to clothe him.

  He did not smile. No welcoming warmth lit his expression, no curious twinkle shining in his eyes. He merely stood watching her, as if taking her measure as well. Her knees wobbled in the weighted silence, uncertainty hollowing out her belly and drying out her mouth. There was a hardness about this man, an edge, like one of the new skyscrapers towering unapologetically over the city’s old, elegant buildings.

  “Mr. Cavanaugh,” she returned, straightening her shoulders. “Thank you for seeing me.”

  “Of course, though I’m a bit unclear on the rules. I don’t normally entertain unmarried ladies in my home. Am I supposed to offer you refreshment?”

  Yes, she’d heard rumors of the types of ladies he entertained. All actresses, and the liaisons never lasted long. “That’s not necessary. I promise not to take up too much of your time.”

  “Then by all means, please sit.”

  Lizzie lowered herself onto a chair and studied him through her lashes as he assumed the chair opposite. She hadn’t expected him to be quite so . . . striking. He had full lips and a finely curved jaw. Stark, slashing cheekbones and slightly long, dark brown hair. A small indent graced the tip of his bold chin, an imperfect mark on an otherwise perfect profile, and her heart began picking up steam, thumping hard in her chest. His handsomeness made her even more unsure of herself, unsure of her decision to come here today.

  But what choice did she have? She needed a partner, one wealthy and influential enough to help get her business up and running. Using her talent for stock speculation, she could save her family’s finances if given a chance. Unfortunately, no one else would even meet with her. Emmett Cavanaugh was her last hope.

  She cleared her throat. “The reason I’ve called today is that I have a business proposition for you.”

  One dark eyebrow shot up. “A business proposition? Interesting, though I’m curious as to why you’ve not taken this idea to your brother. William Sloane does own one of the country’s largest railroads.”

  True, the Northeast Railroad Company was one of the biggest railroads, and Will had served as the president since their father’s death. Her older brother never included her in business matters, however. He staunchly refused to discuss any of their financial problems, insisting he had everything well in hand, even when she knew otherwise. “Stick to your parties and theater, Lizzie,” Will often said. “Leave the business side of things to me.”

  Why couldn’t she do both, as Will did? That precise attitude—that women were narrow-minded creatures incapable of understanding financial matters—never failed to anger her. No one took her ambition seriously, not even her friends. To them, her dreams were merely a temporary fancy, one that would disappear the instant she found the right man to marry. All the more reason to move forward with her plans, quickly and quietly.

  “I have spoken with him, yes, but he’s proven difficult to convince. I’m hoping you’ll be more open-minded.”

  “Well, that does intrigue me. But what about the Rutlidge boy, the one to whom you’re nearly engaged?”

  Hardly a surprise Cavanaugh had heard the rumors about her and Henry Rutlidge. Will was keen on the match, as was Edith Rutlidge, Lizzie’s good friend and Henry’s sister. But Lizzie hadn’t yet made up her mind. Henry’s views on women in business were far from progressive. “Mr. Rutlidge i
s not in control of his own pockets, I’m afraid, and his father would never agree to what I’m proposing.”

  “Then I suppose I’m flattered to be approached. You must tell me this radical idea.” Cavanaugh moved not a muscle, his focus unwavering yet guarded. She hoped that was a sign of interest on his part.

  “I want to open a stock brokerage firm. I am seeking a partner, one to provide working capital to get started. Someone high profile enough to help me lure clients.”

  No sign of amusement or horror showed on his face. His expression remained unreadable. “Like Vanderbilt did for Woodhull a few years back?”

  “Precisely.” She relaxed a bit. He understood.

  “And who will be doing the advising?”

  “Me. I will advise on all the trades. I do plan to keep that knowledge from the male clients, however, at least until they’re comfortable with the idea of working with a woman.”

  He tilted his head and stroked his jaw. “You speculate on the exchange?”

  She nodded. “Indeed. Of course, I can’t trade myself, so I plan to hire a young man to represent me on the exchange floor.”

  He gave her a long, indecipherable look. She couldn’t tell if he was considering her plan or preparing to laugh.

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