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Leona Hewitt is in the midst of a complicated burglary when she stumbles upon the corpse of a beautiful woman. Almost instantly afterward, she spots a man. If he's the killer, Leona is in trouble. She may be dressed as a man--a definite no-no in proper Victorian society--but she's no physical match for the powerful male who discovers her. Instead of the killer, she discovers he's something almost worse--an investigator for the mysterious Arcane Society and a man who's after the same crystal she seeks. Considering that the Arcane Society has attempted to keep the crystal from Leona's family for generations, there's certain to be trouble. With sexy men like Thaddeus Ware, though, trouble can sometimes be very pleasant.
Not pleasant at all is the reaction of Lord Delbridge--the man from whom the two steal the crystal. Delbridge needs that crystal desperately--with it, he'll be allowed membership in the elite Third Circle. Without it, not only will his application be denied, the Third Circle might decide he knows too much. Unfortunately for Leona and Thaddeus, Delbridge is intelligent and has hired a serial killer as an assistant (hence the body).
Author Amanda Quick writes a fun and sexy story. As with many of Quick's heroines, Leona is an intriguing (improbable) mix of innocence and energy--who finds sex to be just the thing. Secondary characters with lots of quirks add amusing touches to the adventure. Thaddeus doesn't really know what hits him when Leona moves into his life--but he serves as a stabilizing force in Leona's Mercurial life.
THE THIRD CIRCLE isn't Quick's strongest work, but it is an entertaining read. I found this one hard to put down.