About Thief’s Mark
- Series: Sharpe & Donovan (Book 8)
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: MIRA (August 29, 2017)
A murder in a quiet English village, long-buried secrets and a man’s search for answers about his traumatic past entangle FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan in the latest edge-of-your-seat Sharpe & Donovan novel
As a young boy, Oliver York witnessed the murder of his wealthy parents in their London apartment. The killers kidnapped him and held him in an isolated Scottish ruin, but he escaped, thwarting their plans for ransom. Now, after thirty years on the run, one of the two men Oliver identified as his tormentors may have surfaced.
Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan are enjoying the final day of their Irish honeymoon when a break-in at the home of Emma’s grandfather, private art detective Wendell Sharpe, points to Oliver. The Sharpes have a complicated relationship with the likable, reclusive Englishman, an expert in Celtic mythology and international art thief who taunted Wendell for years. Emma and Colin postpone meetings in London with their elite FBI team and head straight to Oliver. But when they arrive at York’s country home, a man is dead and Oliver has vanished.
As the danger mounts, new questions arise about Oliver’s account of his boyhood trauma. Do Emma and Colin dare trust him? With the trail leading beyond Oliver’s small village to Ireland, Scotland and their own turf in the United States, the stakes are high, and Emma and Colin must unravel the decades-old tangle of secrets and lies before a killer strikes again.
New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers delivers the gripping, suspense-filled tale readers have been waiting for.
Emma wasn’t surprised when the gardai couldn’t do much, given the delay and little physical evidence. At this point, it was unlikely they’d locate passersby who might have seen something. To complicate matters, the broken window opened onto a small, fenced terrace with a private gate—which her grandfather had left unlocked. Someone walking through an unlocked gate wasn’t likely to draw attention.
Once the gardai left, he insisted she and Colin return to the Shelbourne. “Go,” he said, opening the front door. “Enjoy yourselves. Room’s paid for. It’s too late to get a refund.”
“I don’t like leaving you here alone,” Emma said. “You could always stay at the hotel, too.”
“Three’s a crowd anytime but on a honeymoon?” He shuddered. “No way.”
She smiled. “I didn’t mean in the same room.”
Her grandfather grinned. “I bet you didn’t. Relax. I’ll be fine. If this guy wanted to harm me, he’d have jumped me when I came home instead of scooting out the back door.”
“That doesn’t make me feel better, Granddad.”
“Lock up,” Colin said. “Gate, windows, doors. We’ll give you a hand.”
“I don’t need a hand. Go.”
Emma hugged him, kissing his cheek. “Call Lucas and fill him in or I will. Thanks for our night at the Shelbourne. We’ll stop by before we leave for London tomorrow.”
He returned her hug, kissed her on the cheek. “Always good to see you, Emma.” He turned to Colin. “You, too, Colin. Welcome to the family. We’ll do better than a broken window next visit.”
Once they reached the street, Colin glanced at Emma. “He’ll have the whiskey before he locks up the place.”
“No doubt. He’s tired. He doesn’t like to admit he’s not forty anymore.”
Colin slipped an arm around her. “We still have our fancy room for the night.”
She leaned into his embrace. “That we do. I haven’t heard from Oliver since he left us the champagne at Ashford Castle our first night here. Do you think the timing of the break-in with our arrival in Dublin is a coincidence?”
“I don’t think anything that involves Oliver York and your grandfather is a coincidence.”
They crossed a quiet street. “We can see Oliver while we’re in England,” Emma said.
“You can see Oliver.”
“You’d let me go on my own?”
Teasing time. As if Colin “let” her do anything. He tightened his hold on her, drew her closer. “I don’t know, I think I could get into a submissive Mrs. Donovan.”
She laughed. “Oh, you think so?”
His deep blue eyes sparked with humor, and something else. “We can find out tonight.”
They walked hand in hand past Merrion Square, one of Emma’s favorite spots in Dublin, with its black iron fencing, lush greenery and soothing Georgian ambience. She’d spent countless hours there during her months working shoulder-to-shoulder with her grandfather, learning from him, enjoying his company, his experience, his brilliance as a private art detective and consultant. Everything she’d gleaned she’d put to use in her work with the FBI. The quiet, pristine square had been a pleasant spot to consider her past and her future. Her past had been a stint in a Maine convent. Her future was here, now, with Colin.
Her grandfather had accepted her decision to leave Sharpe Fine Art Recovery, if not enthusiastically at least with his good wishes. “You’ll be Special Agent Emma Sharpe the next time I see you,” he’d said with a grimace. “I’ll never get used to it, but it’s what everything you’ve done to date has prepared you to be. Go catch bad guys, Emma. Stop them. Lock them up. Keep us safe.”
Colin tugged on her hand. “Lost in thought?” he asked.
She smiled. “Totally.”
He pulled her closer. “It’s a beautiful evening in Dublin.”
It was, indeed. The warm weather and the prolonged daylight of June had brought the crowds out to the streets. Shops, pubs and restaurants were bursting, and people were flowing into St. Stephen’s Green. Although tempted, they decided to skip a walk through the park and returned to the Shelbourne and their elegant room.
A plate of chocolate truffles and two glasses of whiskey were set out on a small table, with a note:
To Mr. and Mrs. Donovan,
Enjoy the last night of your honeymoon.
Colin lifted a whiskey glass and handed it to Emma. “Your grandfather is impossible, but he does have his charms.”
“It was a spectacular ten days, wasn’t it?”
She nodded to the note. “I like the sound of Mr. and Mrs. Donovan. I’ll have an easier time in Rock Point as a Donovan.”
“You think so?”
“Your brothers won’t think you’re manly if I go by Sharpe.”
“That’d ruin my reputation for sure.” He picked up the second glass. “I don’t care what you call yourself, you know.”
“I know. I’m learning to tease like a Donovan. I love being married to you whatever anyone calls me. We’ll be home soon enough. Right now, we’re on our honeymoon.”
His gaze settled on her. “Yes, we are.”
A warmth spread through her. She clinked her glass against his. “Sláinte.”
Colin smiled. “Sláinte,” he said, and he set his glass and then hers back on the table.
Carla Neggers is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 60 novels, including her popular Sharpe and Donovan and Swift River Valley series. Her books have been translated into 24 languages and sold in over 35 countries. A frequent traveler to Ireland, Carla lives with her family in New England. To learn more and to sign up for her newsletter, visit CarlaNeggers.com.