Publishing Date: December 28, 2021
She’s an avenging angel…who tempts him like the devil…
If Miss Laura Hopkins desired a husband, her beauty, brains, and fortune would make it easy to acquire one. Instead, Laura prefers to put her charms to another purpose entirely. Using the alias, Lady Sterling, Laura helps young women who have been mistreated or compromised by their employers. Some might see it as theft and blackmail. For Laura, it is a small measure of justice. But while in pursuit of her latest target, Laura is unexpectedly aided by a gentleman who announces that he is Lord Sterling.
As a spy for the Crown, Captain Jeremy Addison, Viscount Sterling, has been assigned all manner of dangerous missions, though none as complicated as investigating the beguiling Lady Sterling. Forced to pose as newlyweds at the home of a disreputable earl, Laura and Jeremy forge an unexpected alliance…and a passionate connection. But can such a dangerous masquerade possibly lead to a real, lasting love?
I knew I would love this as I have loved the first two books in this series, and I was delighted to be proven correct.
I loved the setup for the story — fake marriage and only one bed tropes are great fun — and Jeremy and Laura were wonderful characters to root for. I also loved the way they based their deceptions on scandalous plays. Also can I just say that having General Scott order Jeremy (reluctant Lord Sterling) to find (and marry!) Laura (pseudonym Lady Sterling) was just. Chef’s kiss.
The villains are dastardly and the way Lord and Lady Sterling’s occupations collided — rooting out traitors and punishing men who force themselves upon their staff and then throw them out — was both convenient and allowed them to rapidly become closer. The fake marriage and Laura’s injury also helped with that, as it forced them into close proximity and to rely on one another.
I loved that their attraction was based a great deal on one another’s cleverness. I appreciate cleverness myself, and finding a hero and heroine who are each not only clever but can appreciate the cleverness of their unwitting accomplice / partner is rare. I also greatly appreciated that neither expected the other to give up the occupation they cared deeply about in order to have a life together. This was a departure from previous books in the series and highlighted their mutual respect for one another.
This story relied quite a bit on coincidence but not enough that it bothered me. And the characters and their dynamic made up for it. I read it in a day and was thoroughly invested in it the whole time. Often in books — especially romance — there comes a section where the story drags and I put it down for awhile. With this one I stayed up late, reading past my bedtime to reach the end.
I hope there are more books in this series coming because I will absolutely read them.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for providing an e-arc for review.