December 7, 2022

Blog Tour Promo Post: City of Fortune by Victoria Thompson

at 12/07/2022 02:54:00 PM

When a day at the races reveals sabotage and subterfuge, Elizabeth Miles must use every ounce of her craftiness to even the score in this all-new Counterfeit Lady novel from USA Today bestselling author Victoria Thompson.

Wealthy but uncouth Sebastian Nolan has invited his lawyer, Gideon Bates, and his lovely new wife, Elizabeth, to attend the famous Belmont Stakes. Nolan is anxious for Gideon and Elizabeth to help his daughter, Irene, acquire a bit of polish, now that his venture into thoroughbred racing has allowed them entry into society. He is also hoping to find her a rich potential suitor. Elizabeth is not exactly the society girl Nolan believes her to be, but she is eager to attend the races. Her con artist family has made a lot of money at racetracks, although not from betting on the horses, and she enjoys the excitement of the track.

Irene Nolan seems more interested in horses than husbands, and she jumps at the chance to show Elizabeth her horse, Trench, and introduce her to his rider, Cal Regan. Elizabeth soon realizes there is more than just a working relationship between Irene and Cal. But she also knows that Irene’s father would never allow his only daughter to marry a jockey. When Cal takes a terrible tumble injuring both himself and Irene’s beloved Trench, Elizabeth and Gideon learn that the mishap was not simply bad luck—the horse and rider are victims of sabotage.

It turns out that Sebastian Nolan has more than a few skeletons in his closet, and someone is out to get their long sought-after revenge. Elizabeth knows that to help Irene and Cal, she is going to need some help in creating the quintessential con. With the ever-honest Gideon at her side, she enlists those closest to her to come up with a scheme that will either ensure young Irene and Cal a first-place finish or have disastrous consequences.

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The ladies recognized the yellow silks Cal Regan wore and they made all the appropriate remarks about how beautiful Trench was. He was indeed. A dark gray with white stockings and a white blaze on his face, he stood out from the all the other horses and not just because of his unusual coloring. He seemed taller and larger and gave the impression of being carved from living stone. Gideon had no trouble at all understanding why Nolan had placed all his hopes on this animal.

Irene had hurried on ahead and she was already beside Trench, in earnest conversation with Mr. Quaid and Cal Regan.

“I can’t find a thing wrong with him, Miss Nolan, and neither could the vet,” Quaid was saying.

“He worked out fine this morning,” Regan confirmed, obviously anxious to put her mind at ease.

Irene reached up and gently stroked the enormous stallion’s face as if he were a lap dog. “I just have this feeling…”

“Females and their feelings,” Mr. Nolan said in an attempt to lighten the mood, but Irene scowled. “Quaid knows what he’s doing, Irene, and so does Cal. If they say he’s good to go, then we have to trust them.”

“It’ll be all right,” Regan said softly. “I’m going to win this one for you.”

Irene gave him what she might have thought was a grateful look in return, but even Gideon could see she felt more than gratitude for the jockey. She might tower over him, but she obviously cared for him, and he undoubtedly returned her feelings.

Could the two of them be in love?

Gideon glanced at Nolan to see if he had noticed, but he was too busy looking over his horse. What would Nolan say if he thought his daughter was in love with a jockey? Probably what any wealthy father would say if his daughter was in love with the chauffer. Jockeys as good a Regan earned a generous salary, but their careers were too often cut short by injury or simply by the bad luck of losing too many races. Nolan would want much more security than that for his only child. Irene would know that, of course, and she couldn’t possibly be seriously involved with Regan.

The call came. “Riders up!”

“We need to get back to our box so we can see the race,” Nolan said. “Come on, Irene. Cal will take it from here.”

Irene cast the jockey one last longing look and then followed the rest of them as they made their way back. Gideon was glad to see his mother link arms with Irene as they strolled. She would do her best to calm the girl. Gideon gave Elizabeth his arm.

“Do you think there’s something wrong with the horse?” she asked him quietly so Irene wouldn’t hear.

“I have no idea, but surely the trainer wouldn’t let him race if there was.”

“Racehorses are such delicate creatures, for all their strength. So many things can go wrong with them.”

“Let’s hope it’s just pre-race jitters on Irene’s part.”

The horses were parading by the time they found their places again. They watched as each one reached the barrier. It seemed to take an age for them all to line up, although it was probably no more than a minute or two. The remaining crowd yelled, “They’re off!” as the barrier flew up and the horses darted forward. It was a slow start, and Regan kept Trench from taking the lead, allowing the speedsters to charge ahead and wear themselves out. They had just rounded the first turn when he gave Trench his head. The stallion started to pull away from the pack when something happened.

They were all on their feet immediately, trying to see, but the horses were on the far side of the track and the rail was in the way. One thing was for certain: Six horses had come out of the first turn, but only five were entering the final turn. None of those five jockeys wore the Nolan yellow silks.

“What happened?” Irene cried. “Where are they?”

Then they saw Trench. He had risen and staggered away from the rail, and to their horror they saw he was dragging Cal Regan whose foot was caught in a stirrup.

Irene screamed, and she was running away from the box and down to the track before anyone could stop her. Nolan ran after her without a word.

Excerpted from City of Fortune by Victoria Thompson Copyright © 2022 by Victoria Thompson. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

About the Author

Photo Credit: Monica Z. Photography 2015

Victoria Thompson is the Edgar® and Agatha award-nominated author of the Gaslight Mysteries including Murder on Pleasant Avenue, and the Counterfeit Lady Mysteries including City of Scoundrels. Learn more online at

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