Start reading Deadly Desire (Francesca Cahill Series Book 4) on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player


Deadly Desire (Francesca Cahill Series Book 4) [Kindle Edition]

Brenda Joyce
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $7.59
Sold by: Macmillan

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Whispersync for Voice

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration. Add narration for a reduced price of $3.49 after you buy the Kindle book.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $7.59  
Paperback --  
Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $0.00 Free with your Audible trial
Mass Market Paperback --  
Mystery & Thriller Kindle Books for $1.99 Each
Now through December 14, select mystery & thriller Kindle books are $1.99 each. Browse the full selection to find your next great read or holiday gift.

Book Description

The time is turn-of-the-century New York City. Society's elite host glittering balls inside sprawling mansions while outside, the teeming streets harbor secrets of their own.

New York City's Police Commissioner Rick Bragg has been called upon to investigate a shocking crime. Reluctant to pull Francesca Cahill into a case that could be very dangerous, Rick also knows the beautiful and brilliant heiress has a natural ability for sleuthing that could aid him--even it if means working side by side with a woman who tempts him like no other. And so Franscesca and Rick begin a harrowing journey through the squalid underworld of the city that plunges them deeper and deeper in a peril neither could have imagined--and a desire that only continues to grow...
Brenda Joyce's Deadly Desire is a sizzling hot historical romance.

Editorial Reviews


"Joyce excels at creating twists and turns in her characters' personal lives."--Publishers Weekly

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Deadly Desire
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 1902 -- 10:00 A.M.
Francesca Cahill began to plot how to steal out of the house the moment she awoke. She was in the habit of arising at an unfashionable hour, or so her mother accused, but then, Julia Van Wyck Cahill was as fashionable as one of the city's reigning social matriarchs could be. Francesca never deceived herself--not only was she a bluestocking and a radical reformer through and through; she felt rather certain that, behind her back, she was also sometimes labeled an eccentric. No mind. She did not give a whit for fashion anyway, or parties or shopping or teas. She had secretly enrolled at Barnard College, hoping to attain her degree and follow in the footsteps of her idol, the journalist and reformer Jacob Riis. But in the past month, since January 18 to be exact, her plans had somehow, fatefully, changed.
It had all begun with the abduction of her neighbor's six-year-old-boy. Francesca Cahill had discovered the odd, not-quite-a-ransom note and, more important, had been crucial to the city's police department in investigating and then solving the case. In fact, she had worked very closely with the city's new police commissioner, Rick Bragg.
She smiled as she paused in the huge front hall of the house that had been built eight years ago and dubbed "the Marble Palace" by the press. She directed her smile at the new doorman, who she thought was named Jonathon. He was her own age, and, as blond and blue-eyed as she, he smiled back.
The note had arrived fifteen minutes ago. It had been in a sealed and unmarked envelope, which in itself was somecause for alarm. The scripted contents had been a nearly indecipherable scrawl. It read:
Dearest Francesca.
we are in dire need of your help! Do come immediately.
Your friend,
Mrs. Richard Wyeth Channing
The note had been written by Mrs. Channing, her brother's fiancée's mother. And apparently it had been written in extreme haste, as the handwriting was so poor it might have been executed by a child in grade school, not to mention the fact that the envelope had not carried Abigail Channing's name or address. Francesca had not a doubt that the Channings were in trouble.
But how?
She smiled bravely at the doorman. "Jonathon, if you do see my mother, is there any chance you might not mention that you have seen me go out?" As she spoke, she glanced guiltily down the hall, where huge Corinthian pillars were set at intervals until a wide white alabaster staircase led to the three floors above. She had badly burned her right hand while saving the life of Maggie Kennedy--a poor seamstress with whom she was starting to have something of a friendship. Now it was thoroughly bandaged, and she had been ordered to remain in her bed--or close to it--for an entire week. As much as she had no wish to gain an infection, the doctor had told her two hours ago that she was healing quite nicely. In fact, her hand no longer hurt her at all.
And how could she refuse a call for help from the woman who would one day be her brother's mother-in-law and, by familial extension, a second mother to her?
Francesca was very glad now that she had refused to take laudanum that morning, which she had instead discreetly thrown away. Francesca suspected that her mother was hoping to do far more than merely obey Dr. Finney's instructions to keep her at home for an entire week. She thought, butcould not prove, that Julia wished to dull her own daughter's personality with the laudanum, in the hope of keeping her out of further jeopardy and any more criminal investigations. Her entire family had been thoroughly undone by this latest incident; in fact, almost everyone she knew was quite upset that she had been so badly hurt while attempting to protect Mrs. Kennedy.
Jonathon had turned white, apparently rather fearful of her mother. "Miss Cahill, er, if she does ask--"
"You have not seen me," she instructed with a cheerful smile, as she was simply thrilled to have a new case on her hands. "I promise you, Jonathon, no harm will come of it. My mother is quite used to my headstrong and independent ways."
Jonathon looked very unhappy indeed.
Taking a big breath, Francesca stepped outside into the frigidly cold air, the huge front door closing behind her. Her right hand was bandaged and so she wore only one glove on her left. She began to smile, a bit exultant. It was a rare day indeed that one outwitted Julia Van Wyck Cahill.
Of course, she must not gloat. There was serious business ahead, if her instincts served her.
The sweeping front lawns were crusted with hard, white snow. Francesca paused below the front steps, sighing with relief. Her gaze swept past the circular drive, the wroughtiron gates, and the light vehicular traffic on Fifth Avenue. A four-in-hand was coming down the street, as were two hansoms and a very elegant brougham. Even from this distance, she could see past the trees bordering Central Park, and several horseback riders were on the riding path, while a woman and two children strolled beside it. It was actually, in spite of the cold, a beautiful day.
And then a man she had quickly come to despise--and fear--spoke into her ear.
"Good afternoon, Miss Cahill. It is a beautiful day, is it not?"
Francesca nearly jumped out of her skin as she whirled to find Arthur Kurland, the dastardly reporter from The Sun,standing behind her. He had been hiding behind two mansize Greek urns just below the mansion's front steps.
Francesca was breathless. This man was extremely skilled at uncovering secrets, and she certainly had a secret or two that she wished to hide. She tried to smile. "Mr. Kurland. Were you about to call on someone in my family--or were you lurking about the hedges trespassing?"
He smiled and stepped forward. He was in his thirties, dark-haired, and of a medium build. His appearance was nondescript. But there was nothing nondescript about the articles he wrote for The Sun or his perceptiveness and acuity. The man missed nothing--unfortunately. "I suppose I am guilty as charged." He grinned. "I am waiting for you, Miss Cahill."
"Then you are wasting your time, as I have had a touch of the flu and I have nothing interesting to report to you." She started walking briskly down the drive toward the avenue. Her intention was to hail a cab, as her father, Andrew Cahill, had his coach and Julia would be out to lunch shortly in the other Cahill vehicle.
"Surely the police commissioner brought you some interesting news for me to scoop," he said, falling into step beside her. He smiled. "I do believe he has called on you every day since the Cross Murderer was apprehended. What happened to your hand?"
Francesca halted in midstride, facing him with a dreadful feeling. Was he insinuating something? He had seen her and Bragg together too many times to count--they had investigated three politically sensitive cases together, starting with the Burton Abduction.
"Miss Cahill?" Arthur Kurland gripped her arm. "It is so interesting--but hardly newsworthy--that Commissioner Bragg has been calling on you every day since the Cross Murderer was incarcerated. Or is it newsworthy?" He grinned.
"If the commissioner's social life is newsworthy, then you are in dire trouble, indeed, as a newsman," she said tartly. "Bragg goes way back with my father, in case you did not know."
"I know all about your father's political associations. He is even closer to Bragg's father, Rathe Bragg, who has just returned to the city, by the way."
Francesca started. Bragg hadn't said a word about his father returning to the city.
Kurland grinned. "An exchange of information, Miss Cahill. You do recall how we work? I give you something, and you give me something."
She had been conned by this man once before, with the terrible consequence of betraying Bragg's brother Calder Hart. She fought to recover from her surprise. "I truly have no information for you."
"Somehow, I doubt that," he said as she began walking even more briskly toward Fifth Avenue. He kept pace with her. "I think Bragg has been making condolence calls. Did you know that the Cross Murderer is in Bellevue Hospital, with second-degree burns?"
"Really?" Francesca was cool, hardly feigning surprise.
He smiled again. "What happened to your hand, Miss Cahill?"
"I broke it," she snapped, but her anger was only a mask for her fear.
"Why do I always get the most distinct impression that you are hiding something from me?" he asked, with obvious delight. "Why do I have the strongest feeling that you and Bragg are hiding something from me--from the city?"
She didn't have to look at him to know that he was grinning. "You are like a gnat," she said very rudely. "No one is hiding anything."
"Not really. But I do have a sting, my dear, one that can be fatal."
She froze in midstep and faced him. Real fear seized her. This man was a prize-winning journalist. And he had no compunctions, no morals. It was only a matter of time before he pieced together the puzzle of all of their lives. And then what?
Her heart beat hard. "What do you want?"
"Tell me something important, something that I do not know." His eyes were suddenly hard.
"I have nothing to tell," she said tersely.
"Really? Then why is guilt written all over your face?" Kurland asked.
If she gave him what he wanted, he would be satisfied and go--at least for now. "Very well. You win. But you shall owe me for this."
He whipped out a small notepad and a lead pencil. "Yes?" he asked eagerly.
"I stopped the Cross Murderer from striking again. I am the one who set the fire, and that is why my hand is burned."</div...

Product Details

  • File Size: 543 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0312982631
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (May 16, 2002)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005EHQEV8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #438,783 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but you must read the whole series..... October 11, 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
i read Deadly Desires first and realised during it that there were 3 other books written already in the series. i loved the book-particularly because i found the characters and their lives so engrossing. i've since read the rest of the series and a lot of things in Deadly desire fell more completely in place. The heroine Francesca Cahill is admirable, young and gutsy. It was a surprise to me to find that there are actually two heroes and that Francesca may end up with either one of them. I strongly favour Hart Calder who is half brother to Rick Bragg, the man that Francesca fancies herself in love with at the moment. Throughtout this book there is a compelling and ever increasing chemistry between Francesca and Hart but currently there is no strong evidence to suggest which one of the two Francesca will end up with. whoevever Brenda Joyce eventually pairs Francesca with will no doubt leave many readers disappointed as both heroes are popular. i suspect that some readers may not like the fact that the heroine is attracted to two different men .she is convinced that she is in love with Rick but he is married already although estranged from his wife. It has to be kept in mind that Deadly Desire is the latest in a series and to enjoy it one will have to want to read the rest of the series otherwise too many questions are left unanswered which 'one of readers' might find unsatisfactory.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars couldn't put it down.... May 3, 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read Deadly Affairs and Deadly Desire back-to-back. I started reading this at 7am and finished it at 2pm (cleaning the house in between) I had to know the outcome!! Deadly Desire picks up right where Deadly Affairs ends. The romance between Bragg and Francesca heats up and we meet Braggs family, as well as the infamous Mrs. Bragg, Rick's Wife. Ms.Joyce raises the stakes with several delicious twists in the fact, I find it difficult to believe that this is the final book in the Francesca Cahill series. Ms. Joyce has once again left much of the plot hanging at the end of this 4th book..with much indication that there MUST be at least a 5th book to wrap it all up!!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! May 27, 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I think that Brenda Joyce really got a good series going this time with Deadly Desire beng the best so far. I love the relationship between Fran and Calder, they are perfect for each other. The author really kept the tension going and you can sense the intensity of feelings that Fran and Calder have for each other. Though Bragg is supposedly the hero, the way the series is going, Calder surely wins out because though he is highly attracted to Fran, he is in control and will not take advantage of her like how Bragg is doing it with her in the train and car. It seems that Calder deeply cares for and respects Fran. I really hope they end up together. Can't wait for the next of the series to come out.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Fourth Book Lost Me! May 16, 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love this series. I really do. But you just don't know how frustrated I was that after buying all four books, there is no resolution to the series. Everything is still left up in the air, and according to Ms. Joyce's Web site, there is no guarantee that she'll be able to continue with the series. (She has no contract as of yet with her publisher to write anymore of the Deadly series.) I was a little angry about that. I have been trusting her all the way, but this book really bugged me. And with one book coming out every month, the publisher and the author gave the illusion that the series would wrap up by the last book. Shame on both of them.
Now to the book itself: The mystery that opens in this book goes unsolved. Multiple characters are introduced and then left dangling with no explanation. Even the love story that was so compelling in the other three books jarringly goes off course and another hero is substituted. The story line with the sister is just stagnet. I won't spoil what happens, but I wish I had stopped at book number three.
I know lots of people have loved this book, so I may be the odd woman out, but I felt compelled to write this review. I hope Ms. Joyce can get her publisher to let her at least write one more book to wrap this story up. I feel really disappointed that the series wasn't planned better.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely the best Francesca Cahill novel yet!! September 22, 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Deadly Desire" is author Brenda Joyce's fourth installment, and by far the best book yet in her historical mystery series featuring New York City debutante, bluestocking and amateur sleuth Francesca Cahill. Miss Cahill, the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, is an unwilling member of New York City's social elite at the turn of the 20th century. She lives in a Fifth Avenue mansion, with her parents and older brother, attends glittering society balls and fundraisers, and is a champion for social reform. An intellectual, but not a snob, Francesca is determined to do something with her mind other than plan dinner parties. Unbeknownst to her mother, she enrolled in Barnard College with aspirations to become a journalist. However, since she met and fell in love with newly appointed police commissioner Rick Bragg and began solving crimes, her grades have been suffering. With each new book Rick's and Fran's friendship has grown and their love for each other has deepened, especially since they spend so much time together working on cases. Unfortunately, there are complications in the commissioner's life which prohibit him from proposing marriage and planning a future with the young woman he cares for so much.

Although I am hooked on the series' secondary characters and their ongoing stories, I have been very skeptical about the quality and credibility of the narrative in the first three books. With "Deadly Desire" I think Ms. Joyce has hit her stride. This actually seems more like an installment in a serial novel than a stand alone romance/mystery. In fact, most of the characters are from the previous books and the mystery is part of the continuing storyline, involving Francesca, her family, friends and those who touch upon their lives.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars who's the real Bragg? Rick or Calder
Enjoying this book. My advice is read it as a PG soap opera and not a hot blooded heart stomping book like our girl Brenda is known for. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Val on the lamb
4.0 out of 5 stars and I enjoyed it immensely
This is the first book I read of Brenda Joyce, and I enjoyed it immensely! I now have to read the previous titles in the series. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Marilu Vallejo
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Good Deadly Novel
This like all of the novels in the series is worth reading. I love the interactions between the characters, especially Francesca and Hart.
Published on July 9, 2004 by BrwnEyedNurs
4.0 out of 5 stars This one will hold your attention!
Set in 1902. New York City's Police Commissioner Rick Bragg was dragged into another crime investigation with Francesca Cahill. Read more
Published on March 3, 2004 by Detra Fitch
5.0 out of 5 stars deliciously entertaining
I can't believe some of the dumb reviews this series has gotten. No one is pretending this series is supposed to be anything other than what it is. Read more
Published on October 25, 2003 by lusty22
2.0 out of 5 stars heroine is a tad overwrought
I might have given it more stars if the heroine were more intelligent and less overwrought. I did enjoy reading it, but Fran seems too obsessed with Bragg to think coherently. Read more
Published on April 18, 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Reading, But Needs Some Kind of Conclusion!
I received one of Brenda Joyce's Deadly series novels as a gift and upon reading it (Deadly Affair) I promptly went in search of the rest of the series. Read more
Published on January 27, 2003 by D Cote
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating and a must read!!!
I am am huge fan of Brenda Joyce. This book is the fourth in the Francesca CaHill series. I first read Deadly Love and thought that it was okay but without any real development of... Read more
Published on January 8, 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but too many errors.
I loved the story and the characters. However, Ms. Joyce and/or her editors should have proofread this book better. Read more
Published on August 6, 2002
1.0 out of 5 stars $$$ ...
I've enjoyed this author before and invested the bucks for the first three books of this series. That's about all I'll spend to discover the romantic conclusion of the characters... Read more
Published on July 18, 2002
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

Brenda Joyce is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of fourty-nine novels and five novellas. There are over fourteen million copies of her novels in print and she is published in over a dozen foreign countries. A native New Yorker, she now lives in southern Arizona with her son, dogs and numerous Arabian and Half-Arabian reining horses. Brenda divides her time between her twin passions' writing powerful love stories and her quest to become a nationally ranked Top Ten equestrian. For more information about Brenda and her upcoming novels, please visit her websites:, and

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category