Review: Checkmate, My Lord by Tracey Devlyn

Checkmate My LordReviewed by Zarabeth

Spies! This is, in this reviewer’s humble opinion, a very tricky genre. Creating intrigue and danger can often often be a fantastic plot point for putting two people together and having them work through conflict to discover their love. But, there are many spy stories out there that are so predictable that they are no longer enjoyable.

I am very pleased to report that Tracey Devlyn has the skill to weave an intriguing, dangerous, enjoyable plot with a great mix of passion and romance!

Our hero is a spymaster, of course, who is put in a very difficult position trying to solve a homicide, keep his spies secret, and protect/investigate the very nosy and determined widow, our heroine. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer!

It certainly helps that our heroine is the lovely Catherine Ashcroft who could not be more delectable and it has been a very long time since either of them felt this way in the presence of the opposite sex. They are both overcome by passion despite all of the reasons they should not, and there are many, not the least of which being the safety of Catherine’s 7 year old daughter.

Will they be able to trust each other in the midst of danger? Can they solve the mystery before someone else dies? Will the sex always be THIS HOT?

I have my suspicions! But read it and you can be the judge! I give it 4.5 stars. Enjoy!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Checkmate, My Lord

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Friends to Lovers: I’m Not Your “Sister” Anymore

Guest Blog by Tracey Devlyn, author of A Lady’s Revenge

Have you ever fallen in love with the wrong man? More specifically, your brother’s best friend?

You’ve known him since you were a little girl. He’s a constant in your household and joins forces with your older brother in tweaking your nose. He’s pesky, obnoxious, and slightly more tolerant to having you tagalong than your sibling.

Then when you edge toward womanhood, your awareness of your childhood friend shifts, throwing you off-kilter in unexpected and terrifying ways. His eyes are more striking, his smile more sexy, and his bum…well, it exists now.

This is what happened to novice secret service agent Cora deBeau on the eve of her first mission to France. The summer before she set sail across the Channel, Guy Trevelyan, the soon-to-be Earl of Helsford, transformed from a brotherlike figure into a handsome and distracting man. When she started imagining all her days spent with Guy and her lifelong quest to avenge her parents’ murders began to fade, that’s when she knew it was time to flee, er, leave. Time and distance, that’s all she needed to dispel Guy’s hold on her.

For the next three years, she would catch a glimpse of an ebony-haired man or a whiff of spicy sandalwood and her memories of Guy would all come back. Then a storm of questions would flood her mind. Where was he? What was he doing? Did he ever think of her? Yearn for her with the same heart-twisting intensity she ached for him?

Not until she saw Guy’s beloved face emerge from the shadows of Valère’s dungeon did she truly understand that she could never, ever flee their love.

Excerpt from A Lady’s Revenge

(Setup: The year is 1804, England. Cora and Guy just finished a Tai Chi session in a meadow near the woods. Up to this point, Cora has resisted touching Guy because of the atrocities she had endured in a French dungeon. This scene is a major turning point in their relationship.)

Guy grasped her hand and led her to a large, fallen tree. Atop the lichen-crusted trunk sat her red leather slippers. “Do you wear these so you can find them in the woods?”

She sat next to them, slanting him a cross look. “Noooo. I wear them because they make me happy.” As you do. At that moment, she wished she had worn a pretty dress rather than her pai jamahs.

He knelt beside her and patted his knee, a request for her foot.

“I’m not so fragile, Guy. I can manage my own shoes.”

“I know. Now give me your foot.”

Reminiscent of his demand in the library, she knew he wouldn’t budge until she complied. “Stubborn man.” She extended her leg and couldn’t help but smile when he dusted dirt and debris from her bare soles like a father would a recalcitrant child.

“We make a good pair.”

Did they? She had always felt a connection to him. Something deeper than a mere friendship, something that had unfolded petal by fragile petal over the years.

A realization made all the more acute when her young girl’s admiration had transformed into a woman’s awakening. Her discernment of his masculine charms had gradually surfaced. She had noticed small things, like the magnificent length of his ebony eyelashes, the adorable dimple in his right cheek, and the fine hairs that peppered the backs of his hands.

She had felt awkward and guilty, especially once her focus shifted to admiring the breadth of his shoulders, the musculature of his thighs, and the beauty of his angular face. This was Guy, for goodness sake—practically her brother. Her thoughts had seemed immoral, wrong somehow, or at least that’s how she had felt at the time.

Her preoccupation with her friend grew to a degree that had kept her insides in a quivering knot any time he drew near, and her normally easy quips would lodge in her throat with just one of his teasing winks.

When she began imagining all her days spent in his company and her lifelong quest to avenge her parents’ murders began to fade, she started avoiding his company and eventually set off for France. She had hoped distance and the distraction of her mission would rid her of the unbearable longing he had stirred in her young heart.

She hoped in vain.

She stared down at his bent head. Sunlight sheened off his black hair, creating an illusion of moonlight dancing over dark waters. Long waves cradled his massive shoulders while he guided her foot into an awaiting red slipper. Without thought, she combed her fingers through his thick strands, taming their wild disarray, and wishing—no, longing—for the courage to bury her nose amidst all that luxury.

He stilled, as if fearing any movement would make her stop. He worried for naught. She loved feeling the silky texture of his midnight locks against her skin. Had dreamt of running her fingers through their length for days. Years.

He sat back on his heels and met her gaze, his internal struggle obvious. He, no doubt, wanted to give her some time to absorb the intimacy they had shared, but the demands of his body were at war with his strong mind. A situation she knew all too well.

In a near whisper, she said, “Turn around, if you please.”

His gaze sharpened, fired hot like a glowing cauldron. But he said nothing, simply maneuvered his body around until he faced the opposite direction, spine erect, senses alert.

She glanced down at the leather thong still wrapped around her middle finger. Its worn appearance was a testament to the many hours spent taming his gorgeous mane. She clamped the tie between her teeth while her hands smoothed over his hair.

“’Tis beautiful.”

He tilted his head back, his eyes closed. “Nonsense. Men don’t have beautiful hair.”

Leaning forward, she swept the tail she had created over her face, inhaling the faint scent of sandalwood mixed with the fresh country air. “You do.”

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Friends to lovers—has this ever happened to you or someone you know?

GIVEAWAY: Please leave a comment for a chance to win a print copy of A Lady’s Revenge. (U.S. and Canada only, please.) Last day to enter: April 6, 2012.

Thank you Love Romance Passion for having me here today!

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LadyRevenge

BRIEF SUMMARY OF A LADY’S REVENGE:

A British agent flees her French captor’s torturous dungeon and falls in love with the decoder responsible for her imprisonment.

NOTHING GETS BETWEEN A LADY AND HER VENGEANCE

In a daring rescue, beautiful and wily secret operative Cora deBeau is reunited with her childhood friend Guy Trevelyan, who wants so much more from her now than friendship…

HE’LL STOKE THE FIRE UNTIL THEY BOTH GO UP IN FLAMES

But Cora’s mission against the French has become personal, and even the fire between her and Guy won’t deter her. When it comes to getting sweet, cruel revenge, nothing will stand in a lady’s way…

Buy: A Lady’s Revenge

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Tracey Devlyn

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tracey Devlyn writes historical romantic thrillers (translation: a slightly more grievous journey toward the heroine’s happy ending). An Illinois native, Tracey spends her evenings harassing her once-in-a-lifetime husband and her weekends torturing her characters. For more information on Tracey, including her Internet haunts, contest updates, and details on her upcoming novels, please visit her website at:

TraceyDevlyn.com | Twitter.com/TraceyDevlyn | Facebook.com/AuthorTraceyDevlyn

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