Life as a Woman in a Man’s World
by J. Lavene
I’m not the woman I used to be. Unlike the costumed balls of my younger days, my life now is no masquerade. Nothing less than complete immersion in my life as Jacks Jackson will allow me to get my revenge for Jonathon’s murder. I can’t afford to be anything less than hard-as-nails. I must be a man, a detective and sharp-shooter. I must always be Jacks.
It’s not that there aren’t women doing detective work. Allan Pinkerton is more than willing to have a woman in the field. Even the NYPD hires female detectives now.
But women can’t get into all the places male detectives can and don’t get the same level of respect. I need that respect and the power it accords to find my fiancé’s killer.
So the lie goes deeper than a lie. The mask is no longer a mask. My family most likely believes I’m dead, abducted and killed by some criminal element. It’s better to be thought of as deceased than for my parents to know I’m living as a gunslinger in the rural wilderness. No one can come looking for me. No one can know Julia still exists.
With the exception of Lil Stockton: Lil knows my secret. She recognized me as Jacks in the early days of my career with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. Time with Lil allows me a few precious moments where I can enjoy the luxuries of a hot bath, a warm bed, and a sympathetic ear. Everyone believes we’re lovers, and we let them—another layer of the façade that is Jacks Jackson.
Of course, Allan Pinkerton knows too. He’s a shrewd businessman who cares more about results than any petty notions of gender. I’m his best performing agent, and my natural talent and training with firearms makes me a force to be reckoned with.
But Pinkerton uses his knowledge of the criminal underworld to string me along. I know he does it, and I let him.
Having to be Jacks requires every minute of every day. Julia’s anguish transformed me into another person: a hardened man driven towards justice.The days of languishing debutante are over, but is it true that Julia is really dead? Is Jacks all that will be left when I kill the man who destroyed my life? Or will any part of me even make it out alive?
a Rafflecopter giveaway