In 1888 London, an aspiring journalist will do almost anything to get a story on the front page of her father's male dominated newspaper. Long grown tired of revamping redundant weekly missives regarding high-society fashion and gardening tips, Samantha Winston yearns for the day when she might prove it doesn't take a pair of over-inflated bollocks to merit the coveted headline...even if it means going undercover to unearth the identity of the most sadistic killer to ever darken Whitechapel's fog-laden alleys. Yet when Samantha intersects the path of Adam Hawkins, a meddlesome, fork-tongued, disarmingly attractive American seemingly hell-bent on ending the elusive killer's reign of blood and terror, she finds herself no longer the huntress, but the hunted...
“Would you care to tell me what is troubling you?”
Unmoved by his feeble attempt at a truce, Samantha marched over and slapped the crumpled newspaper on the desk. “This!”
“Ahhh.” George’s cigar wobbled between his teeth before he plucked it from thinning lips. “Dreadful, is not it?” He handed the paper back with a mocking leer. “I certainly hope they apprehend the monster soon. Not that you should worry, my dear. ’Tis obvious the man has a vendetta against unfortunates.”
She loved her father, but at the moment, saw him as the narrow-minded male he was and longed to erase the pompous sneer from his rounded face.
“Turn it over.” Samantha squeezed the words out. She watched him read the back page and end with a casual shrug. A frustrated scream begged for ventilation, though she managed to choke it back. It did not matter how many times she complained. It would not change anything. Women would ever be viewed as the weaker sex, both physically and—the thing that irked her more than nails raking a slate—mentally. “What happened to my story? How could you butcher the article and still credit Sam Smith?”
Jason went to stand by their father, an older image of himself. “The Match-girl story is not exactly front page worthy anymore, Sam.”
“Why? Because the victims are both poor and female? It would certainly be a different argument were the victims male, whether poor or not.” Samantha cast the middle brother a gimlet glare when he made to speak again. “Stay out of this, Jason.”
“Sammy,” George chimed in, “must we go through this every time we have to make adjustments? You know how the business works. Sam Smith is your pen name, or have you decided to change it?”
“What is wrong with Samantha Winston?” Arms crossed under her breasts, she paced the braided maroon rug in front of the desk.
“For heaven’s sake, we have been through this time and time again. Nothing has changed, nor will it. If you want to write for Whitechapel Quill, you must use a pseudonym. As to your Match-girl story, once word came through that the murderer had slain another victim I had to edit some pieces of lesser interest. I thought you would understand that.”
She understood, and under the circumstance, could not expect her Match-girl story to merit front page news. However, it should have at least been on page two. Not one to hold her tongue despite years of verbal reprimands from her father, Sam stopped pacing and fired back, “Is that why page three has a three-quarter follow-up by Kyle as to the cleanup of America’s blizzard from last March?”
“Oh, never mind that.” She pressed her palms onto the cool, smooth wood of the desk and leaned forward. “You could have at least asked me to revise my own story.”
“I am sorry, dear. I did not want to wake you. Your mother said you were up late looking over wedding plans.”
That was not why he hadn’t asked her to edit her story and everyone in the room knew it. Damnable men. She would love to chop them, one and all, with a garden hoe and condemn them to a life of knitting, cooking, and gossip. “I dedicated weeks to that article. London needs to know about the hazards of white phosphorus. Neither Jason nor Kyle could have covered the story any better. If I were a man, I guarantee it would not have been slaughtered like a spring sow and demoted to a corner on the bottom of the back page.”
“If you feel that way, then perhaps you should stick to writing about fashion and gardening. You know, things of interest to you women,” Jason heckled.