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Scandalous Behavior
Cover of Scandalous Behavior
Scandalous Behavior
Stone Barrington Series, Book 36
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Stone Barrington will need to keep calm and carry on if he wants to survive his English vacation in this “addictive”* thriller in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.
 
After a series of nonstop adventures, Stone Barrington is eager for some peace and quiet in a rustic British setting. But no sooner does he land in England than he’s beset by an outrageous demand from a beautiful lady, and an offer he can’t refuse.

Unfortunately, Stone quickly learns that his new acquisition comes with some undesired strings attached—namely, a deadly mystery involving the complex relationships of the local gentry, and a relentless adversary who raises the stakes with every encounter. Stone’s restful country vacation is looking like yet another troublesome situation, but with his tireless aplomb—and the help of a few friends—he is more than up to the challenge.
Stone Barrington will need to keep calm and carry on if he wants to survive his English vacation in this “addictive”* thriller in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.
 
After a series of nonstop adventures, Stone Barrington is eager for some peace and quiet in a rustic British setting. But no sooner does he land in England than he’s beset by an outrageous demand from a beautiful lady, and an offer he can’t refuse.

Unfortunately, Stone quickly learns that his new acquisition comes with some undesired strings attached—namely, a deadly mystery involving the complex relationships of the local gentry, and a relentless adversary who raises the stakes with every encounter. Stone’s restful country vacation is looking like yet another troublesome situation, but with his tireless aplomb—and the help of a few friends—he is more than up to the challenge.
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    1

    Stone landed his airplane at Southampton International Airport, in England, and taxied to the FBO, Signature Aviation. As he came to a halt and shut down his engines, an Aston Martin coupe drew up alongside the airplane, closely followed by a sinister-looking black Range Rover with darkened windows, as was Felicity’s due as director of MI6, the British foreign intelligence service. As Stone opened the cabin door and came down the steps, Dame Felicity Devonshire got out of the Aston Martin and flung herself into his arms.

    After a kiss and a hug, Stone stowed the cabin steps, closed and locked the door, and got his bags out of the forward luggage compartment. A man in a dark suit got out of the Range Rover, took his luggage, and stowed it in the SUV.

    “What airplane is this?” Felicity asked.

    “The new one: a Citation CJ3 Plus.”

    “I love the paint job.”

    “Thanks, it’s my own. You can always spot me on a ramp by the stars on the tail.” He walked around the car. “And what Aston Martin is this?”

    “It’s the DBS, brand-new. I recently sold my father’s estate in Kent, so I splurged.”

    “You certainly did.” Stone got into the passenger seat. “I should check in at the FBO.”

    “Don’t bother, it’s taken care of. They’ll put it in the hangar straightaway and refuel it whenever you like.”

    “So what’s the big surprise?”

    “You’ll have to wait a little while and take a boat ride, before all is revealed.” She drove quickly out of town and onto a motorway for a short distance, which she covered in record time. Soon they were driving through the village of Beaulieu (pronounced “Bewley” in England), then down the eastern side of the Beaulieu River, a tidal estuary that flowed into the Solent, the body of water separating the Isle of Wight from the mainland. Soon she used a remote control to open a wrought-iron gate, hung on old stone pillars, and drove down a driveway lined with ancient trees until a large stone cottage with a slate roof revealed itself.

    “Come with me,” she said. “My housekeeper will take your bags upstairs and press your dinner suit.” She led him through a handsomely decorated living room and out a rear door, and they walked down a stone path to a dock, where a charming old wooden cabin cruiser was moored. She got the engines started while Stone dealt with the lines, and they proceeded downstream half a mile and tied up at another dock, where a sign read: WINDWARD HALL. They walked up from the floating pontoon and were met by a man in an electric vehicle who took them down a shaded drive.

    “Stop here, Stan,” Felicity said. “Come on, Stone, we’ll walk.”

    Stone got down from the cart and followed her farther along the narrow road. Without warning they emerged from the trees, and there before them, in a lovely meadow, dotted with old oaks and half a dozen grazing horses, was the most beautiful Georgian house Stone had ever seen. It was not overly large and it was symmetrical, with wings extending from either side. In the center was a white portico supported by four slender columns. Stone’s breath was taken away. “I’ve never seen anything so perfect,” he said.

    “That was my reaction, too, when I first saw this house as a child. The owner was a friend of my father.”

    “Who lives here?”

    “Sir Charles Bourne,” she said. “Come,...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 9, 2015
    In bestseller Woods’s extravagant 36th Stone Barrington’s novel (after 2015’s Foreign Affairs), the peripatetic multimillionaire travels to England, where Dame Felicity Devonshire, the director of MI6, gives him a tour of Windward Hall, the Hampshire estate Felicity tells Stone he should buy from its terminally ill owner, Sir Charles Bourne. The same day that Stone pays £10 million for Windward Hall, he purchases a new wardrobe, a Bentley, and a Porsche in London. The murder of a Hampshire neighbor, Sir Richard Curtis, provides a minor distraction. Meanwhile, Hell’s Bells, the latest movie from Stone’s filmmaker son, Peter, has made an enemy of Don Beverly Calhoun, the leader of an L.A.-based cult called the Chosen Few. Calhoun also takes a dislike to Stone, who discovers that Calhoun is attempting to purchase Curtis’s newly available estate. A series of escalating, sometimes amusing, tit-for-tat maneuvers ensue and eventually turn deadly. As his many fans have come to expect, Stone remains unflappable throughout. Agent: Anne Sibbald, Janklow & Nesbit.

  • Kirkus

    November 1, 2015
    In this moments-after sequel to Foreign Affairs (2015), Stone Barrington acquires an English country estate, a brand-new enemy, and a corpse on his front lawn. The corpse, the least consequential of these three developments, is that of Sir Richard Curtis, Stone's new neighbor when he purchases Windward Hall from Sir Charles Bourne, a dying family friend of Stone's sometime lover Dame Felicity Devonshire, head of MI6. Wilfred Burns, a hermit who's left the Royal Marines, where he served with Sir Charles and Sir Richard, to live quietly on the Windward grounds, promptly confesses to the crime and hangs himself in his cell. Stone's not satisfied with the confession, but it's hard for him (or the reader) to keep his mind on it when he's preoccupied with an orgy of consumer spending--not just the Windward estate, but a splendid pair of paintings, a new Bentley, and a wardrobe suitable for a country squire--and the attentions of his new lover, interior decorator Susan Blackburn. Not to mention Dr. Don Beverly Calhoun, who's taken offense at Hell's Bells, the smashing new fictional film directed by Stone's son, Peter, because he thinks it's a libelous portrait of the Chosen Few, the religious cult he leads. Calhoun threatens lawsuits but delivers stalkers with guns, all of them handily confiscated by Stone's colleagues in New York and Connecticut law enforcement. When Calhoun makes an offer on Curtis House, the prospect of having him as a neighbor is more than Stone can abide, and the two declare open war on each other. Complications ensue, but they're never all that complicated. As Stone continues to bed top women, buy every piece of real estate in sight, and vanquish the competition with the wave of a hand, you can't help but be struck by his increasing resemblance to Donald Trump. Or is that suggestion grounds for a libel suit?

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    December 1, 2015
    Stone Barrington is known for his crazy adventures, but even he needs a break, so he buys a large estate in England from wealthy Sir Charles Bourne, who is dying. Stone takes a liking to Bourne and is even more taken with the estate's interior designer, Susan. All goes smoothly for Stone, until his son, Paul, becomes a target of a religious cult, the Chosen Few. After Paul's latest movie, Hell's Bells, depicted a not-so-flattering picture of the group's leader, Dr. Don, the cult is out for blood. So Stone is at it again, trying to stop Dr. Don's evil plan for his son, while tackling another task: who murdered his new neighbor? While Dr. Don and his followers are the obvious choices, Stone learns that not everything is as it seems and sometimes the people closest to you are the ones who hold the darkest of secrets. Woods offers another wild ride with his hero, bringing readers back into a world of action-packed adventure, murder and mayhem, steamy romance, and a twist you don't see coming.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

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Scandalous Behavior
Scandalous Behavior
Stone Barrington Series, Book 36
Stuart Woods
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