It could have been a scene from one of my novels. As a rule, respectable ladies do not accept calls from Mysterious Gentlemen on business of the most grave importance--but I confess that I was possessed of a lively curiosity. The past three years had been so determinedly dull, I hoped Mr. Adam Hardesty would offer a tiny respite from it. Indeed, upon first glance, Mr. Hardesty had such a formidable, thrilling presence, he quickly became the model for the villain in the sensation novel I was currently writing.
Imagine my shock and distress then, when Mr. Hardesty accused me of being party to a plot of murder, blackmail, and general villainy! I knew nothing of such occurrences, and pro-claimed my innocence. Unfortunately, Mr. Hardesty left unconvinced, and I had an uneasy feeling over what his search would uncover. You see, Gentle Reader, though I live a most uneventful life now, my past contained a Great Scandal that would be ruinous if resurrected. To protect my secrets from Mr. Hardesty's investigation, I concluded that I would need to conduct an inquiry of my own, and if that meant sharing my findings with Mr. Hardesty, so be it. And my course of action had nothing whatsoever to do with the illicit, passionate feelings that he aroused in me--feelings that propriety would definitely frown upon...
Yours most sincerely,