Beautiful strangers by Ellen Dean


 I have_been completely seduced by this woman, in every sense of the word.

In a heartbeat, Lou caught her, pulling her in as if her life depended on it. She had known their bodies would be a perfect fit and surrendered to the moment.It was sheer joy to hold Beth close. With her arms around Beth’s waist, she held her even tighter whispering, ‘I’ve got you. I wouldn’t throw you into the arms of another woman.’


I read a very good synopsis of this novel and the plot seemed and proved to be pretty good, yet the characters have truly disappointed me.

The choice of names and the jobs of the characters were promising a dramatic romance, then the conspiracy between the dangerous character, the police, her group and our heroin was somehow destroyed by the imbalance of the characters and the happening of the facts.

The main character, Beth – Elizabeth McConnell, Surgeon is having the position of General Surgeon with Mr. George Dickinson’s team in Newcastle that had fallen into her lap, as had the perfect two bedroom apartment an estate agent friend found for her.

The way she’s physically described leaves you in awe :

Most women_would die for a body like hers. As can be the way with natural beauty, she was unaware of the fact that most people regarded her as drop dead gorgeous, but sometimes_a bit more confidence in that department   wouldn’t have gone amiss.Not only beautiful on the outside, she was beautiful on the_inside too. Naturally caring and sympathetic. Many regarded her as docile and pliable, but in reality she had a determined character, and a strong will.

She also has a special gift, her visions :

„Pushing through the hospital doors she crossed her fingers in the hope that her psychic visions would leave her alone. In their strongest intensity they were capable of rendering her both speechless and useless. They had haunted her since_childhood, just like her precognitive dreams had. The last thing she wantedwas to cut into_a patient only to have their life history flash through her mind. She must remember to surround herself with a protective force field beforetouching her patients as one-to-one contact could be a trigger if she was caught unawares. Since the death of her father the stress made her more susceptible topicking up other peoples energies.

She never spoke about them. She had only ever shared her experiences with two other people. Her great-aunt, also psychic, and a very old friend, ValTaylor, who had been on her mind recently. Val had unsuccessfully tried to persuade her to explore and use her gift. No chance of that. People would thinkshe was crazy. A century ago women were burned at the stake for less.


The most important thing that happens to Beth is that she meets Hyacinth Dickinson, George’s wife. H. As she’s nicknamed by friends is supposed to be the strongest character, the most passionate and the most dangerous as the plot surrounds her and obeys towards her. She is also a doctor, but she doesn’t practice anymore and she just lives in luxury and has various affairs with women and a strange group around her. She has a gift too, she can read people’s minds and wants Beth for her group, then for herself, then again for her group and some amusement.


„Her long, sleek, brunette hair elegantly swept up into a stylish knot enhanced Beth’s sparkling brown eyes and fine chiselled_features. Her pristine white coat glowed in the lamplight. Fashion conscious to the end, under the white coat she wore a cream cheesecloth top over a long denim skirt, and neat designer shoes. Light makeup, and diamond studs in her ears completed her ensemble. She believed it was important to look good for the patients.

She glanced back into the mirror to adjust her collar: a faint image of a blonde woman stood behind her. It was just the briefest glimpse and then she was gone, but it was enough for Beth to see that the woman was offering her a necklace.

Beth shivered as if someone had poured icy water over her. Oh no, not again. I don’t believe this. ‘Leave me alone,’ she shouted. ‘I don’t want any psychic interruptions today.’ 

„Sadly, it was all down to her father’s fatal heart attack. Unsurprisingly, Isabel, her grief-stricken mother, had completely gone to pieces, as had her younger sister, Catherine, who totally shunned the support of her husband, and sank into depression. All turned to Beth for her comfort and strength of character,which made her feel duty bound to put her surgical career on hold and return home to support them, and run the family estate. Property, stock, tenants, and such could not look after themselves”


I haven’t managed to understand Beth’s decisions nor indecisions as she always behaves against or for the winds of Hyacinth.

“Up in her bedroom her mood was no sweeter. Her fortieth birthday was looming. She refused to acknowledge it, flatly and icily rejecting George’s feeble offer of a celebration. As far as she was concerned there was nothing to celebrate.

She stripped off. Standing naked in front of the full-length mirror she examined herself critically from all angles. She knew she had a stunning body. No sign_of cellulite. Virtually no stretch marks from the birth of her children. Her blue eyes flashed back at her. She didn’t feel forty. Finally satisfied she didn’t look it,she studied her natural blonde pubic hair, letting the fingers of both hands slip into the curls. She could turn herself on in an instant. And she had time. Her left hand moved to fondle her breast, squeezing the nipple as the fingers of her other hand probed a little deeper into her warm, slick opening

Beth hides from her attraction to Hyacinth to whom everyone else is attracted to and she’s just irresistible and none can refuse her. Beth understands her gift, but she’s afraid of it.  And the turning point is when she meets Lou Scott in London on a train with Hyacinth and she’s fascinated by her. We continue to see H. Chasing Beth for various reasons and in different ways, Beth and Lou don’t get in touch, although their attraction is glorious. Beth gets caught into H.’s  Infamous group and diamond rush although she’s warned by her police friend Lindsay to stay away from H.

Beth’s crush on H

„Despite her decision to block Hyacinth out, it was impossible. Every time Beth thought about her, she felt excited, butterflies in her stomach, the whole thing. She just had to be with her, like a teenager with a crush. She was so smitten she couldn’t eat.”

H’s goals

‘You know darling, we have such a lot in common . . . my friends are going to love you.’ H deliberately stopped the conversation there. She wanted Beth to concentrate on what she’d said about her beautiful friends. She knew she was rushing things, but couldn’t help it and discovering Beth’s love of diamonds was a wonderful unexpected bonus. She hadn’t planned to tell Beth anything like she had today, but had been unable to stop herself as she’d described some of her coven’s rituals, picturing Beth in the leading role. Another bonus would be to get her into bed with Petra. That would be some threesome. She was currently enjoying pitting her wits against the feisty Swede, confident she would get her way in the end. She never failed to.”

Shower scene : Beth & H

„Working up a rich lather with some beautifully scented soap, she almost slipped when the shower door opened and Hyacinth stepped in behind her, naked.

‘You’re full of surprises, aren’t you? Do you make a habit of sneaking up behind people?’ Beth snapped. Terrified, but wildly excited, she stood rigid not knowing what to do.

Hyacinth didn’t answer. Instead she kissed the nape of Beth’s neck and started sliding her fingers up and down Beth’s thighs as the warm water cascaded over them. Putting her arm around Beth’s waist she turned Beth to face her; so close their nipples touched.

Beth felt ready to explode. Dizzy with fearful ecstasy, yet despite the hot water she was covered in goose pimples”

At one point , finally, she and Lou meet, get to know each other quickly and share the bed just as quickly, yet Beth seems always to return to H. They have a mental fight as H. Can read her thoughts and knows about Beth’s visions. H. drugs Beth and seems to involve her in her group through a ceremonial orgy. Lindsay warns Beth again that H. Is involved in the diamond stealing business group : The Ametyst and that she’s dangerous, yet Beth just sticks with H. who seems to have a certain power upon her, even at the moment when Lou can get hurt by H. Who placed stolen diamonds into Lou’s and Beth’s bags. The plot is complex, yet proves very simple and those up’s and down’s are getting boring in certain moments, as it’s obvious it’s prolongued.


Beth and Lou adjourned

Beth nodded, not taking in what she was saying, just enjoying the sound of her voice, and the joy of being able to look at her again. Small quivers of excitement flickered in her stomach, growing in intensity. The room, although extremely spacious, felt hot and airless, the whole scenario surreal. Feeling she was in a situation that seemed right and natural; she couldn’t wait to jump in with both feet. Am I losing my mind, or am I looking at my soul mate?

Lou moved around the table to stand in front of Beth. ‘You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.’

‘Thank you.’

The energy crackled between them.

Beth breathed in Lou’s presence. Her pounding heart almost exploded when Lou leaned forward; soft lips kissed her forehead, then her eyes, the tip of hernose. My lips! Kiss my lips! She squirmed in anticipation as Lou trailed kisses along her jawline, her tongue flickered against Beth’s earlobe. Please kiss mylips! As if in answer Lou lightly kissed her lips before parting them; Beth greedily accepted the unfamiliar tongue exploring hers. She was so highly charged, itfelt like bolts of lighting were shooting through her. Instinctively her arms wrapped around Lou, gripped her buttocks and pulled her in close. She wanted thiswoman.

She allowed Lou to lead her into the bedroom, help her onto the four poster bed and surround her with pillows.

‘Watch and enjoy.’ Lou stood before her at the bottom of the bed. She pulled the comb from her hair, releasing a shimmering blonde curtain, then started tosway in time to the now earthy beat of the music.

Beth was spellbound; awash with desire.

Lou’s erotic, rhythmic dancing mesmerised her. Turning her on even more. She watched as Lou stroked her own body, sliding one hand up her thigh to raiseher skirt showing the lacy pattern around her stocking top. The other tweaked her nipple. She licked her lips seductively, as if aware of the throbbing anguishoccurring between Beth’s legs. How I’d love that tongue between my legs.

Beth moved to sit on the edge of the bed, and beckoned Lou to her. ‘I want to undress you.’

She unhooked Lou’s skirt and it dropped to the floor revealing shapely legs encased in silk stockings. Beth’s shaking hands fumbled with Lou’s shirtbuttons.

‘Relax, lovely. Gently does it. I’m not going to bite you . . . not yet anyway.’

Beth slipped the shirt over Lou’s shoulders. It floated to the floor revealing her perfect, barely-covered body. Beth’s eyes were drawn to the dampnesscoming through the thin material of Lou’s panties.

‘You’re overdressed, Beth. Let me make you more comfortable.’

Beth groaned out loud as Lou settled astride her, blonde pubic hair greeting black. Her nipples tightened under Lou’s touch awaking Beth’s direct line toher clitoris. Am I dreaming? she thought, as Lou’s fingers travelled down to her navel, circling, her body shivered, she wanted Lou’s fingers inside her. Shegroaned again, her rigid nipples straining to meet Lou’s lips.

Lou, still licking, teasing, stroked Beth’s body, exploring, caressing, discovering erogenous zones Beth didn’t know she had.

Beth mirrored Lou’s actions. They kissed for a while then continued exploring each others bodies. Each wanting to pleasure the other.

I can smell Lou’s arousal. Beth relaxed, giving Lou an open invitation.


Beth feels guilty about the orgy that never happend and her night spent with H. Which gave her no pleasure, she actually just faked an orgasm and stood close to H. Because she was blackmailed by her for the diamonds in Lou’s bag.

H wants Beth, Beth fakes orgasm

„‘Hyacinth, I don’t . . . ‘Beth faltered. ‘I don’t know about . . .’

‘I know. I know. You’re not sure about making love with another woman.’ H’s hand moved lower, playing with Beth’s pubic curls. ‘I’m so glad you don’t shave darling.’

Beth wanted to vomit.

‘Don’t worry my precious. I am an excellent teacher. I can take you to heights you never imagined.’

No, you can’t. I’ve already been there. Beth grabbed H’s hands. ‘I can’t do this. I‘m sorry.’

‘It’s only nerves, my little lesbian virgin. Close your eyes — let me lead the way.’ H cooed, her hands breaking free to fondle Beth’s already sore clitoris.

Beth winced. ‘You’re not listening.’

H put Beth’s little outburst down to shyness. Certain she was doing the right thing she climbed into the bath behind her, sinking gracefully into the warmscented water. Immediately she started to push her pelvis into Beth’s lower back. No re-action. What was wrong with the girl? She wasn’t responding at all.And what was worse, she couldn’t get into her mind. Beth seemed to be blocking all access. Physical and telepathic.

Beth almost screamed in frustration. This wasn’t right. She wanted this over with. But realized that there was only one way out, and that was via orgasm. Her orgasm.

‘I know how awkward first times can be, darling.’ H pulled on one of the hotel’s thick white robes. ‘Next time will be better. I promise.’ She ignored Beth’s lack of enthusiasm.

It hadn’t been awkward with Lou. Everything had been perfect.

‘Hurry up. Come to bed. If you’re a good girl, we can do it again.’ H said confidently.

I’d rather stick pins in my eyes.”

Beth told Lindsay afterall about H.’s reasons and what she knows and what she has envisioned, mainly  the way H. murdered an individual by letting him drown inside his car in the harbor.


The Amethyst group revealed

“‘Constance arrived. She didn’t see us. We stayed out of sight.’ Beth wound a long strand of her dark hair around her finger. ‘They are planning to initiate me, probably something to do with their witchcraft.’ Beth thought for a moment. ‘That’s twice I’ve heard that said.’

‘Witchcraft, eh? What book are you reading now Beth? Talk about an overactive imagination.’ Lindsay played it down, but was pleased to learn that Constance had been there.

‘Lindsay!’ Beth lifted the hot kettle, poured the boiling water into a brown earthenware teapot and left it to brew on top of the Aga.

‘Let’s get back on track. Penny Corday,’ Lindsay said sternly, ‘is known to Interpol.’

‘Really?’ Beth nearly dropped the kettle.

‘You have to promise me that this conversation stays between us, no matter what. Promise?’

‘Promise.’ Beth sat down heavily, facing the window so that she could watch for Lou coming in from the stables.

‘Penny was the only survivor of a boating accident engineered by an Italian group known as The Syndicate.’ Another pause on the line. Knowing her friend, Beth could imagine the ubiquitous cigarette being lit and inhaled. ‘Penny should not have been on that boat. The Syndicate didn’t know she was on board, but they probably wouldn’t have cared one way or the other.’ Another pause; probably another pull on the cigarette. ‘Unfortunately this brought Penny to their attention. She was only on board because she’d managed to wangle a lift.’

‘Are you saying that this Syndicate caused the accident?’

‘Yes. The boat blew up. It was a miracle Penny survived.’

‘But why? This sounds all very Al Capone.’

‘You’re not kidding. Apparently Penny’s friends were smuggling diamonds, and The Syndicate didn’t like it. Penny has always insisted that she has no memory of the incident.’

‘If all of this happened years ago, why are you telling me about it now?’ Beth dunked a plain biscuit into her tea, half of it broke off and dropped in. ‘Oh shit!’

‘What? Is that Lou coming back?’

‘No. I’ve just dunked a biscuit in my tea and half of it broke off.’


‘Sorry. Go on.’ Beth tried to scoop bits of biscuit out of her tea with a spoon.

‘LISTEN! I’m working on an operation that involves a world-wide diamond smuggling ring in which that very Syndicate are heavily involved.’ Lindsay aggravation was palpable. No doubt she was raking her hand through her hair. ‘They want supremacy and are stamping out anyone they see as a threat. The Amethyst Group come into this category.’

‘The Amethyst Group?’

‘It’s Hyacinth’s group.’ Lindsay paused. ‘Hyacinth Dickinson is a diamond smuggler, Beth.’ Another pause before she said. ‘Did you already know that?’”

“Penny sensed danger in Serena who had pursued her relentlessly, expertly manipulating her way into Penny’s bed and into the group. Penny couldn’t remember agreeing to bring Serena here tonight, yet here she was. She’s no different from the rest of us, she thought, watching Serena hang onto H’s every word. We’re all Hyacinth’s slaves or pleasure puppets, depending on how you looked at it.

Of course, in the end,one of H.’s complices gets arrested and that’s the begining of her fall, Beth and Lou live happily ever after, yet H. promises revenge to traitors and one last vision for Beth proves that H. hasn’t gave her up yet, wherever she would be.


H’s lessons

“Every night for two weeks she returned to the flat to practice telepathy with Hyacinth. Her success was phenomenal. She never failed to access H’s mind, and began to relish their mind games. Nor did she feel alone. It was as if H was physically with her. She would be back soon.

Tonight was different. She’d tried for hours to make contact, without success. She was weary, but tried again. Nothing. You told me you wouldn’t block me. What is going on that you don’t want me to know about?

Several times the following day Beth tried to catch H out by attempting to scan her mind, but she couldn’t get on to H’s frequency. Now she was worried. Was H in trouble? Surely not. She’s invincible. It’ll be this Penny business; or is this my second lesson?”

H’s reason for always = Beth

‘Shut up and listen. Lou’s provisionally booked a ticket for you to fly out to LA in a couple of days. And you, lady, are going.’

Briefly Beth’s heart sang. Lou still loved her but, what about the grotto?

‘Lindsay, don’t. How can I go now? You know what she did to me with Vanessa, and I gave her my heart, completely.’

‘She loves you. She was set up.’

‘I don’t understand.’

‘I’ve found Vanessa and I’ve spoken to her. She was under orders,’ Lindsay paused. ‘H controls her. I told you that woman has more contacts than youcould begin to imagine.’

‘But why? Does Lou know?’

‘It’s you. It’s always been you. Hyacinth will go to the ends of the earth to get you. And no, Lou doesn’t know the real reason and we need to keep it that way.’

Hyacinth felt ill. Drained. Her head was pounding as if millions of hammers were thrashing her brain. Beth, why are you doing this to me?

I was disappointed by the chaotic plot and the predictable turns of the characters and their indecisions, I truly expected more from this novel, yet that’s what I got and I can say I liked the first chapters of the book as they were promising a smart plot. I expected more from Beth’s character and far more from H. who was a thief and a murderer, but she showed nothing of their most obvious shades of character. The ones I liked, how they were built and evolved in the plot, were Lou Scott and Penny Corday, H’s complice.


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