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A SPY UNMASKED
The mission did not go quite as Robert Ware–known in society as the new Earl of Kirkland–planned. A spy in the service of His Majesty, Robert is a “guest” at a masquerade party as he retrieves vital information for a murder investigation. Until he’s quite unexpectedly interrupted by an exquisite, masked woman with glittering green eyes. And a pistol she has cocked and aimed right at him…
Lady Sophia Merrill has defiantly taken up justice’s shining sword, determined to expose the brigand who murdered her eccentric but brilliant father, and stole his latest invention. Now she must masquerade as Robert’s betrothed in order to infiltrate the Inventor’s Society and find the killer. But the undeniable potent attraction between them not only imperils the investigation, but Sophia’s reputation… and both of their lives.
MY REVIEW –
A Spy Unmasked has all of the elements historical romance readers have come to expect, plus a bit of suspense that spices the story nicely. First there’s, a hunky hero. Robert is hunky, smart, and sexy, and even manages to come off as a bit of rake at first – yet another historical romance standard. Second, there’s a spunky heroine, a wronged one, too as her father was murdered. Then, there’s the pretense marriage, the fear of a scandal, and sticky situations. I always feel sorry for the poor chaperones. It’s not their fault the hero and heroine won’t admit to themselves they’ve gotten in deep. The scene in the maze is quite hot and I wouldn’t recommend a historical read without the hotness. I love a hot historical!
The things that make this book different are: There’s almost a steampunk edge to this one, which I don’t often see in a normal historical romance. A lot of times the focus is on the ton and the scandal, but this one had a focus on inventions. Not enough that I’d call it a “steampunk” but enough so that I think it can cross genres nicely. Second, the spy story keeps you turning the pages just as much as the romance. I have to say that all that sneaking around late at night made me want to learn to pick locks too! And the story conclusion will be a shocker to many readers. I figured it out right before the twist and still I loved it! Lastly, the inclusion of the séances and the medium are in fact historically accurate but one doesn’t see them used every day to such good extent. It mixed well with the steampunk-ish elements as all are mechanically related, so to speak.
I give this book 5* out of 5 for a job well done and am impatiently looking forward to Jane’s story. (as in, give it to me now and nobody gets hurt!)
Enjoy an excerpt:
Sophia Merrill had seconds to comprehend it all. Robert roughly wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her against a mainmast of solid, male muscle. Through the black half mask she could make out brilliant blue eyes, their color like polished sapphires, and then his mouth covered hers with commanding mastery. Beneath the hardness of his lips she felt instantly overwhelmed and overpowered. The heat from his body enveloped her; the faint scent of his cologne coiled about her. Heart fluttering wildly, she raised her palms to press against his chest.
The door slammed against the wall.
“What are you two doing in here?” a male voice boomed.
Delmont’s guard was a bald, brawny man with a square jaw and a bulbous nose.
Sophia jerked in alarm, but the arms of her tawny-haired captor tightened around her waist. Glancing down, he gave her a pointed keep-your-mouth-shut look.
Then he turned to the guard, and a guiltless smile curved his lips. “Ah, the lady and I desired a bit of privacy.” Slurring his speech, he sounded like a guest who had made one too many trips to the punch bowl.
Masking her surprise, she went along with the ruse. Her position was precarious, and even if she did not know what his motives were, her own were not innocent, nothing she desired to be brought to Viscount Delmont’s attention. Her disguise, the red wig and mask, wouldn’t fool the viscount for long, and her identity was something she couldn’t risk revealing.
For some reason, this mysterious man—the man who had called himself Robert—was bent on protecting her.
About the Author:
Award-winning author Tina Gabrielle is an attorney and former mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. She often picked up a romance and let her fantasies of knights in shining armor and lords and ladies carry her away. After multi-publishing for a prestigious law journal, she fulfilled her dream of writing fiction.
A Spy Unmasked is the first book In The Crown’s Secret Service series. The second book in the series, At The Spy’s Pleasure, is coming in April 2015 from Entangled Publishing. She is also the author of adventurous Regency historical romances, In The Barrister’s Bed, In The Barrister’s Chambers, Lady Of Scandal, and A Perfect Scandal from Kensington Books.
Publisher’s Weekly calls her Regency Barrister’s series, “Well-matched lovers…witty comradely repartee.” Tina’s books have been Barnes & Noble top picks, and her first book, Lady Of Scandal, was nominated as best first historical by Romantic Times Book Reviews.