Review: Never Wager Against Love (Kellingtons, Book 3) by Maureen Driscoll

never wager against loveHero: When Arthur Kellington was younger he saved a Romany fortune teller from a terrible situation and got his fortune told in repayment. He was told his true love would be shot and he’d be too late to save her. With news like that, Arthur decided to never fall in love. But he doesn’t try very hard to stick to that resolution when he meets the heroine.

Heroine: Vanessa Gans, bastard daughter, and an agent of the Crown, is chasing after two criminals and potential spies. She steals Arthur’s horse, but soon discovers that Merlin is very obedient to his master. When he catches up with her and insists on helping her find these bad guys and pursue the treasure, she’s not sure it’s a good idea. He’s a civilian and could get hurt… or at least that is what she tells herself. In truth, she’s scared of her reaction to him.

Review: Like the previous novel, Never Miss a Chance, this one has overlapping parts. Occasionally within the story there is some POV changing to Kellingtons who are not the main character, as they have some significant cameo run-ins with their significant other. It’s worth reading the series in order not to miss them.

Strengths: Arthur – he believes in Vanessa, let’s her take the lead, and throws himself in front of a bullet for her.

Weaknesses: I figured out the bad guy during his initial scene in the story. It took some fun out of the treasure hunting aspect of the tale.

Sexiest sequence: Making love in a vault!

Last minute thoughts: Is it Liam’s romance yet? Pout! I am desperate to read his ducal romance!

[Rating:3.5]

Buy: Never Wager Against Love (Kellington Book Three)

Review: No Longer a Gentleman (Lost Lords, Book 4) by Mary Jo Putney

No Longer a GentlemanHero: Grey Sommers used to be a gentleman, but nowadays he’s a prisoner in the dungeon of a French official. Grey’s been there for 10 years and counting. He prepares himself using what limited means he has for the day when escape might be possible. That day finally arrives when a sweet grandmother opens the door to his cell. Should he be attracted to the grandmother? He needs to get laid!

Heroine: Cassie Fox orphaned from the French Revolution is fiercely determined to see the end to Napoleon’s reign. She goes undercover for the British government as a spy and helps ferry lost Englishmen across the channel. This new assignment has her chasing a sliver of a lead to find the long lost Lord Wyndham. Disguised as an old woman peddling trinkets, perfume, and health syrups, Cassie makes her way to the castle at just the right time to slip in and rescue the gentleman. How come he’s so gorgeous though? Shouldn’t he be weak and incapacitated from his time in imprisonment? A girl has to watch out for her heart with a man like him trying to claim it.

Review: Grey’s vulnerability is beautifully written. I particularly liked the times when he still believed Cassie to be a much older woman. He was drawn to her femininity and softness and kindness and kept finding himself turned on by her. I thought it was extremely cute and it plays out very similarly to how a hero finds himself lusting for the dressed-as-a-boy-heroine. Cassie is a strong heroine able and dependable. She plays the rescuer role very well and makes an excellent Knight in Shining Armor.

Something that didn’t make much sense: Cassie apparently has cousins in England and never sought them out because she didn’t think they’d remember her? Umm… say what? I think having no family would have worked better because it would have made Cassie’s reasons to become a spy valid and less like running away from family.

[Rating:3.5]

Buy: No Longer A Gentleman (The Lost Lords)

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Review: The Temptation of a Gentleman (The Jordans, Book 2) by Jenna Petersen

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

Men have always come to women as knights in shining armor, but in Regency times, they were clothed in much more refined armor than that. Marion Hawthorne thinks she is marrying a most honourable man, but Noah Jordan thinks otherwise, he thinks he is a murderer and she might be at great risk of her life. Noah is a spy who has been ordered to go into the luxury and independence of the country, where he hears a murder might be on the cards, and feels he has to save poor Marion from certain death.

At the moment this is all supposition, yet his superior is convinced that it will happen if he doesn’t investigate it, observe the clues and prevent her demise at the hands of a rogue. He doesn’t expect to meet the lovely woman, but once he does, he asks for her help with his investigation – the problem is, once he does that, he risks falling in love with her.

Noah is a man who likes the thrill of action, the chase, but now that he has been sent into the country to investigate a murder, he loathes the fact he is mixing with the social elite, and it bores him terribly. To be a part of the ton, watching endless hours of society life makes him wish he were back home. He thought he was out of the spying business, but finds that his superior wants him to do it again, for old time’s sake. He has to mingle with the elite and his cover is that he is looking for a wife. In his own mind, he hates the idea of having to come home to one woman every night for the rest of his life, only to leave at night to visit a mistress or his friends for a game of cards. His life has the awful chance to become even more boring until he meets the woman he would want as his companion, and perhaps his wife.

Marion is a woman who hates travel of any kind, and especially when she feels uncomfortable in it. She has a mind of her own and doesn’t mind expressing it in front of her father or anyone she might dislike. She hears about the infamous Mr Jordan from Josiah Lucas, a man who is actually glad he hasn’t come to visit them. When she enquires, she is told he is a rake of the highest order, and one unlikely to be one she should get to know. How wrong she is for when she meets him, she finds him to be nothing like the rake he has said.

I had to laugh at the first time Noah meets Marion – his horse, Phantom eating her pencils while she is out sketching! It is a wonderful scene to start with, and one that definitely breaks the ice between the two of them. Noah is captivated by her, and can’t help but have lewd thoughts run through his mind at the very sight of her. He is concerned however when she tells him who her intended man is to be – and wishes it were him. He deludes himself into thinking he is only talking to her to get information for his investigation, yet he is drawn to her and can’t get her out of his mind.

Marion, I found was an honest woman who talks freely in front of others, even with Noah, a man she doesn’t know as intimately as she would like. He doesn’t mind her having opinions, but she knows it’s not in the slightest bit ladylike.

Once read – never forgotten, there’s the impulse to read again.

[Rating:5]

Buy: The Temptation of a Gentleman

Review: Lord and Lady Spy by Shana Galen

Reviewed by Cara Lynn

Lord and Lady Spy by Shana Galen is a wild ride through the past.  I was given an uncorrected advance copy by LRP to review, but I only saw one mistake in the book.  Sometimes the mistakes can be so glaring that they take away from the story line.  But this didn’t have that problem.

Normally, I’m not a fan of historical romance — they are entirely too vapid and silly for my taste — and because I don’t read them often, I’m not up with the historical context and haven’t gained enough knowledge to make them interesting or fun for me.

Not so, this book!

The Story

Lord Adrian Smythe and Lady Sophia Smythe have secret lives — both are spies and both have been let out to pasture since the Napoleonic war with France has ended.  It so happens that they are married to each other, but neither knows the other is a spy.  To a degree, it reminds me of Mr & Mrs Smith, but significantly different.

The story jumps right in with both of them ready to apprehend the same man — Sophia has hidden in the closet of his lover; unknown to her, her husband will scoop in and take the credit.

As the Wolf and the Saint, they have had success in their careers.

Sophia has hid her considerable talents under drab clothes and big glasses, unless she is on assignment.  Adrian appears to her to be boring and tedious, though there is sexual tension between them.  For a period of time, Sophia has denied Adrian her bed, because she has suffered three miscarriages, and while she would dearly love children, she is frightened, as well she should be in that day and age — or even this day and age.

Then they are each called out in the middle of the night to meet with their superior, to decide who will gain the last remaining spot as a secret agent.

And they bump into each other, learning the truth about their identities.  They have to work together to solve a heinous murder, but whoever solves it first, gets the spot.

Along the way, they learn to trust each others strengths — Sophia relies on feelings and intuition, whereas Adrian is more analytical.  He is a better shot; she is good with a knife.  He learns she does not really need his protection; she learns to value his protection, rather than chafe against it.

The sex

And the sex is better than good.  It is very well written.  How about sex in a carriage… how about sex in front of a window… how about sex that is interrupted by an assignation…how about sex… how about sex with love…

My take

It is well written; held my interest; seemed to fit in with the mores of the day, yet was modern enough for current sensibilities.

Have you read it?  or any other of her books?

I will be on the look out for more.

[Rating:5]

Buy: Lord and Lady Spy

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Ten Reasons Why Secret Identities are Sexy

by Shana Galen, guest blogger and author of Lord and Lady Spy

In my new historical romance, Lord and Lady Spy, both the hero and heroine have secret identities. He’s secret agent Wolf, and she’s secret agent Saint. The fun thing is that while Sophia and Adrian have been married five years, neither knows of the other’s secret. And how the sparks fly when the truth is revealed!

I love stories with secret identities. This isn’t my first secret-identity book and probably won’t be my last. Why are secret identities so sexy?

  1. When you have a secret identity your secret self can do things your public self never would. As Lady Smythe, Sophia would never tell her husband what she wanted from him in bed. But as Agent Saint, she’s more than happy to give a few orders.
  2. Secret identities mean lots of midnight rendezvous and clandestine meetings. Sometimes these dark, furtive meetings can lead to more than simply spy business.
  3. Secret identities mean dressing the part. A dowdy lady of Society can dress as a sexy siren when she’s playing her role as spy.
  4. Secret identities mean secret scars. How much fun to compare battle wounds, especially when they’re in interesting places!
  5. Secret identities mean you have an excuse for slipping away from a boring ball or house party. On business—or pleasure!
  6. When you have a secret identity you have the chance to meet your spouse all over again for the first time. Who wouldn’t want to experience that initial spark of attraction again?
  7. A secret identity as a spy means Sophia and Adrian have to come up with lots of explanations for prolonged absences when they’re working on a mission. But they also get to travel the world.
  8. Secret identities mean secret talents. Sophia has skills with a dagger, and Adrian’s a crack shot with a pistol.
  9. Secret identities mean you don’t get much share of the applause for your accomplishments. On the other hand, your accomplishments often bring you into contact with the most powerful men and women of the day. Why, yes, prime minister, I would like to come to dinner!
  10. And, finally, secret identities are sexy because it’s a secret we the reader know and the characters don’t know. At first. I love to guess how the hero or heroine will realize the secret and how he or she will react. I think this scene in Lord and Lady Spy is pretty sexy and exciting.

Do you like secret identity stories? What makes them sexy?

Visit my website (www.shanagalen.com) for excerpts, trailers, and news about Lord and Lady Spy and all my books.

LORD AND LADY SPY BY SHANA GALEN – IN STORES SEPTEMBER 2011

No man can outsmart him…

Lord Adrian Smythe may appear a perfectly boring gentleman, but he leads a thrilling life as one of England’s most preeminent spies, an identity so clandestine even his wife is unaware of it. But he isn’t the only one with secrets…

She’s been outsmarting him for years…

Now that the Napoleonic wars have come to an end, daring secret agent Lady Sophia Smythe can hardly bear the thought of returning home to her tedious husband. Until she discovers in the dark of night that he’s not who she thinks he is after all…

Buy: Lord and Lady Spy, Lord and Lady Spy (UK)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shana Galen is the author of numerous fast-paced adventurous Regency historical romances, including the Rita-nominated Blackthorne’s Bride. Her books have been sold worldwide, including Japan, Brazil, Russia, Spain, Turkey, and the Netherlands, and have been featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. A former English teacher in Houston’s inner city, Shana now writes full time. She’s a wife, a mother, and an expert multi-tasker. She loves to hear from readers: visit her website at www.shanagalen.com or see what she’s up to daily on Facebook and Twitter.

GIVEAWAY: I have 2 copies of Lord and Lady Spy. Open to: US and Canadian readers. Enter by: Answering Shana’s question about secret identities. Last Day to Enter: September 30, 2011.