#HumpDayReviews: The Mysterious Mrs. Pennybaker by Nancy Fraser

In the Roaring Twenties…

A former Hello Girl during WWI, widowed Ariel Pennybaker served her country proudly. She now carries on her late husband’s legacy…a home for the many returning, injured soldiers.

With her year of mourning nearly at an end, she’s had enough of her self-imposed celibacy. It’s time to get back in the game.

A chance meeting with a handsome WWI aviator has her imagining thoroughly naughty thoughts. When a second man walks into her life, her naughty thoughts turn downright decadent. What better way to fulfill her fantasies than by sharing both men’s beds.

As tempting as the idea is, Ariel has a huge secret, one she must protect at all costs. And, it’s possible one or both of her lovers is not what he seems.

An excerpt from The Mysterious Mrs. Pennybaker

MediaKit_BookCover_TheMysteriousMrsPennybaker“Satisfied?” she asked from where she stood against the farthest wall. “As I said, my stores include nothing more than pre-prohibition stock.”

Captain Beaton hoisted a bottle of fifteen year old scotch in his meaty hand. “This does appear to be fine product.”

She bit back the first retort that sprung to mind, and offered the captain the bribe she was certain he wanted. “Why don’t you take a bottle for yourself, Captain? Perhaps, as recompense for having to respond to my neighbor’s complaint.”

The man nodded and pocketed his prize. “I appreciate your offer, Mrs. Pennybaker.”

Rather than start toward the stairs, Lieutenant McMillan lifted a box from the floor of the cellar and balanced it on the edge of the closest table.

Ariel held her breath while he pawed his way through the posters and papers inside the wooden crate. He held one faded poster up to the dim light.

“War memorabilia. How very patriotic of you. I understand from the fellows down at the station you served the troops in France yourself, Mrs. Pennybaker.”

“Yes, Lieutenant. I did. I was a Hello Girl, working with General Pershing’s American Expeditionary Forces as part of the U.S. Army Signal Corps. I was stationed in Chaumont, France from spring 1918 through the fall of 1919.”

“You’re bilingual?” McMillan asked.

Ariel forced a smile. The young officer’s curiosity caused her a moment of concern. “Trilingual. I speak English, French, and German.”

The lieutenant made a closer inspection of the poster, as if studying it for some hidden meaning. “German and French. Unusual for a young woman living in America, isn’t it?”

“Not when you consider my mother was German and my father French. They immigrated to Montreal, Canada in 1895. A few years before I was born.”

“And, just how did you end up in the United States?”

She moved away from the young man and started toward the stairs, turning at last to ask, “What does my personal background have to do with the age of my wine cellar, Lieutenant?”

“Nothing I suppose, Mrs. Pennybaker. I’m new to the area and was just curious, that’s all. Forgive me if I’ve overstepped propriety.”

“Perhaps, Lieutenant McMillan, you should save your curious nature for deducing real crime and tracking down the culprits. I seems a shame to waste your valuable time on a few people getting together to raise money to help our disabled soldiers.”

Buy Links

On sale for 99¢ from July 12-14 at Amazon

My Thoughts

I’ve been watching lots of noir films this summer, as I journey through TCM’s #NoirSummer offerings (and an online class on the same), so when I read the description for The Mysterious Mrs. Pennybaker, I thought it might be a fitting summer read.

Though it’s set in the 1920s, a pre-noir era, there are some definite noirish elements that emerge in the book. The mysterious Mrs. Ariel Trumont Pennybaker is up to something, despite her outwardly wholesome appearance as a former Hello Girl (a telephone operator and translator during WWI) and current-day benefactor of war veterans. Her husband is deceased – though we never quite discover what happened to the man – and she’s got a cache of booze in her basement. What kind of secrets is she really hiding?

I didn’t want to peg Mrs. Pennybaker as just a no-good dame, nor a femme fatale out to bring men to ruin, but there’s some hinting at both archetypes throughout the story. Her satin panties, however, give her away every time. This woman’s got class – and an ass that won’t quit!

As for the sex scenes, hold onto your flapper fringe! Though I wasn’t crazy about some of the language used to describe Ariel’s erotic encounters (the word muff in particular seemed to come up so frequently, in terms of men manhandling the merchandise, that I wondered if she wasn’t wearing a merkin!), I loved watching a seemingly prim and proper gal from the Roaring Twenties getting down and dirty with two very different suitors.

Will we hear more from the mysterious Mrs. Pennybaker? It seems like her story isn’t quite finished yet. After all, there are plenty more happy endings to be had from her saucy flyboy, even if she’s already seen his cockpit.

All in all, this book is a fun, sexy romp through the 1920s that’ll have you singing the blues once the story ends.

About the Author

NancyFraserLike most authors, Nancy Fraser began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet, which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.

Published in multiple genres, Nancy currently writes for four publishers. She has published twenty-two books in both full-length and novella format. Nancy is currently working on a second fairy tale for Decadent Publishing.

When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five beautiful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.

Connect with Nancy on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, her blog, and her website, NancyFraser.ca.


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