Gilded Secrets

Gilded Secrets
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Defending his legacy…at any cost When scandal threatens the luxury auction house that bears his family’s name, Vance Waverly suspects the media feeding frenzy is an inside job. Could his gorgeous assistant, Charlotte Potter, be plotting his downfall? There’s one way to find out: seduce the truth out of her!Charlie is between a rock and a hard place. She can reveal Waverly’s secrets to her unidentified blackmailer or lose custody of her child. Whatever she does, she’ll lose the career she loves. But losing the man she’s come to love – her big, bad boss – could put her over the edge…The HIGHEST BIDDER Where everything’s for sale, true love is priceless… ‘A beautiful plot that kept me turning the page way past my bedtime!’ – June, Retired, Carlisle


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“So, what are you doing here?”

“I work here,” Vance said, one corner of his mouth lifting.

Brilliant, Charlie. Just brilliant. “Yes, but you usually don’t come to the auctions.”

He shrugged. “I wanted to see you.”

“You see me every day.” Nerves plucked at her insides and Charlie fought to keep from showing them.

“Yeah, but this way’s different,” he said. “We’re not in the office. We’re more like … friends.”

She laughed and took a sip of her water. “Friends?”

“Something wrong with that?”

Oh, if he only knew. They weren’t friends. Friends didn’t make friends feel all hot and flustered and nervous. Friends didn’t inspire dreams that had her waking up in the middle of the night reaching out for him. And friends most certainly didn’t spy on each other—or have the power to fire each other, for that matter.

“I guess not,” she said, because she could hardly repeat everything that had just raced through her mind.

“Good. Because I’d like to take my ‘friend’ out to dinner tonight.”


About the Author

MAUREEN CHILD is a California native who loves to travel. Every chance they get, she and her husband take off on another research trip. An author of more than sixty books, Maureen loves a happy ending and still swears that she has the best job in the world. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children and a Golden Retriever with delusions of grandeur. Visit Maureen’s website:

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Gilded Secrets

Maureen Child

To the five talented, amazing women I was lucky enough to work with on this continuity. Thanks to you all for making the work so much fun!


Vance Waverly stood outside the auction house that bore his name and stared up at the impressive facade. The old building had had a face-lift or two over the past 150 years, but the heart of it remained. A structure dedicated to showcasing the beautiful, the historical, the unique.

He smiled to himself, letting his gaze slide across the “lucky” seven stories. At street level, twin cypress trees, trained into spirals, stood silent sentinel at the doorway. Windowpanes glittered in the early-summer light. Black, wrought-iron railings framed a second-story balcony. Gray stone gave the building its aura of dignity and the wide, arched window above the double front doors was etched with a single word—Waverly.

A glimmer of pride rose up inside Vance as he stared at the world his great-great uncle, Windham Waverly, had created. The long-dead man had ensured his own version of immortality by leaving behind the auction house that carried an illustrious reputation around the world.

And Vance was one of the last remaining Waverlys. So he had a proprietary interest in seeing that the auction house remained at the top of its game. As a senior board member, he made certain that he was involved in everything from the layout of the catalog to hunting down pieces worthy of being auctioned at Waverly’s. This place was more his home than his luxury condo overlooking the Hudson River. The condo was where he slept.

Waverly’s was where he lived.

“Yo, buddy!” a voice shouted from behind him. “You gonna be there all day or what?”

Vance turned to see a FedEx driver, packages stacked on the dolly he was balancing, waiting impatiently behind him. Vance stepped out of the way and let the man pass.

Before slipping into Waverly’s, the driver muttered, “People think they own the damn sidewalks.”

“Gotta love New York,” Vance muttered.


Vance glanced to his right and watched as his half brother walked up to meet him. Rarely in New York, Roark had flown in for a meeting with some of his contacts. He was as tall as Vance, over six feet, with brown hair and green eyes. Not much of a family resemblance, but then, the brothers only shared a father. And until five years ago, when their father, Edward Waverly, died, Vance hadn’t even known Roark existed.

In those five years, they had built up a solid friendship, and Vance was grateful—even though Roark insisted on keeping their family ties a secret. Roark still wasn’t convinced that Edward Waverly had actually been his father. But the connection was enough to keep him at Waverly’s. There was no proof beyond the letter Edward had left with his will. It was enough for Vance, but he could respect his brother’s wishes.

“Thanks for meeting me,” Vance said with a nod.

“Better be important,” Roark said, falling into step beside Vance as they walked past Waverly’s toward a small café on the corner. “Late night and I’m not officially awake yet.”

He was wearing dark glasses against the sunlight, a worn brown leather jacket, T-shirt, jeans and boots. For a second, Vance envied his brother. He’d rather be in jeans himself, but his suit and tie were what was expected at Waverly’s. And Vance always did the right thing.

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