(The Spies of Mayfair, #2)
Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)
John Haldane, Earl of Strathairn, is on an urgent mission to find the killer of his fellow spy. Has the treasonous Frenchman, Count Forney, returned to England to wreak havoc? Or has someone new landed on English shores to stir up rebellion in the Midlands? After visiting the young widow of one of his agents, Strathairn strengthens his resolve. A spy should never marry. And most certainly not to Lady Sibella Winborne, with her romantic ideas of love and marriage. Unable to give Sibella up entirely, he has kept her close as a friend. And then, weak fool that he is, he kissed her…
Lady Sibella Winborne has refused several offers of marriage since her first Season years ago — when she first set eyes on the handsome Earl of Strathairn. Sibella’s many siblings always rush to her aid to discourage an ardent suitor, but not this time. Her elder brother, Chaloner, Marquess of Brandreth, has approved Lord Coombe’s suit. Sibella yearns to set up her own household. She is known to be the sensible member of the family. But she doesn’t feel at all sensible about Lord Strathairn. If only she could forget that kiss…
I thoroughly enjoyed this second book in Maggi Andersen’s The Spies of Mayfair series with its engaging story, appealing characters and delightful romance. There is also mystery, drama and intrigue.
John Haldane, Earl of Straithairn:
Somehow, the surge of adrenaline and sense of living on the edge banished the anguish he carried. And nothing else had thus far come close.
John is a man of action rather than words and, after returning from the Napoleonic Wars, he can’t contemplate hours of debating in the House of Lords. So he inhabits the dark and dangerous world of spying in an attempt to uncover Napoleonic sympathisers threatening to destabilise the British Government. The intelligence work has also given him a purpose in life that he found missing after his return from the war. It also helps keep at bay the terrible wartime memories that continue to haunt his dreams.
John and Sibella have shared a close friendship but his feelings have deepened beyond friendship. But he knows that, in his line of work, death could be lurking just around the corner and he is determined to remain single. His resolve is further strengthened when a close colleague is murdered leaving behind a wife and child. He could never subject a wife to such pain and so he keeps his feelings in check.
Lady Sibella Winborne
No wonder her mother was giving any likely candidate for her hand a push. Unfortunately, Mama didn’t push; she shoved.
Whilst her mother has been occupied with bringing out the last of Sibella’s three sisters and enjoying her grandchildren, Sibella has managed to avoid several suitors over the years since her own come out. However, at the age of twenty six, she is in danger of being left on the shelf and her mother is now pressurising her to marry.
John Haldane, a family friend, is the only man she has ever desired but he has a strong aversion to marriage. Believing John will never be hers and longing for a home of her own and a family, she may be willing to settle for her brother’s choice of suitor, the polite and well-mannered Lord Coombe.
Sibella and John’s story has all the elements I look for in a romance:
A protective, caring hero:
He fought the strong pull of attraction; he could not bend. His life was too dangerous; he would never risk Sibella. She was far too precious.
A strong-willed, intelligent heroine:
But now, after that kiss! She’d find a way to make him face the truth. They were after all, perfectly suited.
Delicious sexual tension:
With a swift movement, he cradled her face in his hands; his lips, firm but gentle, covered hers, stifling her gasp of surprise. Coherent thought slipped away as his arm encircled her waist and pulled her hard against him. His hold tightened and the kiss deepened, teasing her lips and stealing her breath.
A few stumbling blocks along the way:
“I don’t enjoy having to say this to you John, but it befalls me as head of the family. Sib has a love of home and hearth. She looks for a husband who will sit by the fire with her at night. That isn’t you, is it?”
“She deserves the best, and no, it isn’t me, Chaloner.”
And somewhere, a ruthless murderer lurked, well-armed and with some evil design to bring chaos to England
Of course, this is a romance, so assuredly there will be a Happy Ever After…
Moments later, Straithairn slipped the gold band on her finger. He exhaledon a long sigh of contentment.
She was his.
Once again, Ms Andersen has woven true historical events into the story, creating a real sense of the era with its political and social unrest.
A charming romance and a touch of intrigue combine to make Taming a Gentleman Spy a wonderfully entertaining story.
REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS
SENSUALITY RATING: WARM
Read February 2015
The Spies of Mayfair series (click on the book cover for more details):
I would like to thank the author, Maggi Andersen, for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.