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This is the third book in Maggie Andersen’s entertaining The Spies of Mayfair series.


ABOUT THE BOOK

(The Spies of Mayfair #3)

Genre :Historical Romance

Cover Blurb:

King George sends his private investigator, an Irishman, Kieran Flynn, Lord Montsimon, on a mission, the reason for which is unclear. Is it a plot against the Crown? Or something entirely unrelated? Flynn’s inquiries lead him to the widow, Lady Althea Brookwood. Known amongst the ton as a rake, Flynn is rarely turned down by a lady, and when Althea refuses not just him but many other men, he becomes intrigued.

After her neighbor, Sir Harold Crowthorne informs Althea that he means to take her country property, Owltree Cottage, by fair means or foul, she must search for help. The first man she turns to is promptly murdered and the second lies to her. That leaves Flynn, Lord Montsimon, a man she has been studiously avoiding. But Montsimon is decidedly unhelpful, and more than a little mysterious. Her only option is to seduce him. Althea has little confidence that she will succeed, especially as before her husband was killed in a duel, he often told her she was quite hopeless at intimacy.

When a spy is murdered, Flynn wonders just what Althea knows and what her involvement might be with the man the king wants Flynn to investigate.

Buy Links:

Amazon.com
Amazon.au
Amazon.co.uk
Waterstones
Barnes&Noble

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EXCERPT

With a swish of her ice-blue net gown worn over white satin, Althea hurried away, leaving Mrs. Pinkerton peering after her through her lorgnette. It was an appalling lack of decorum, and Althea was sure her ears were burning. A moment later, she had forgotten the ladies entirely, for Montsimon, a determined expression in his grey eyes, made his way steadily through the guests in her direction. She could not talk to him now. Heart thudding, she searched around her for anyone free to engage in conversation, but those close by were so deep in discussion it would be rude to interrupt.

“Lady Brookwood.” Montsimon bowed before her.

There was nothing for it. “Lord Montsimon.” She curtsied. It was extraordinary. Simply because she’d considered a possible affair with him, it had become difficult to meet his eyes, made bluer tonight by the coat he wore.

“I didn’t expect to find you in London,” he said in his pleasant tenor voice. “I believe your intention was to remain in the country until spring.”

“That was my aim,” she said, “but important matters have brought me back to town.”

A waiter approached. Montsimon took two glasses of wine from his tray and offered her one. Althea accepted it with a nod of thanks. She sipped the cold fruity wine, glad to find it lubricated her tight throat.

“Dreadfully crowded,” Montsimon said, bending his head closer to hers.

“The Gossards’ affairs are always a great success. Does your dog wait for you at home tonight?”

“No, he’s guarding my carriage,” Montsimon said with a glint of humor.

“Is he a good guard dog?” Her gaze swept the room again, searching for Lord Churton without success.

“Spot is very thorough. Even my friends are barred from the vehicle.” Montsimon frowned. “But something disturbs you this evening, Lady Brookwood. May I help?”

“You must pardon me, my lord.” She took a step away. “There’s someone I must speak to, but I can’t seem to locate them in this crowd.”

He followed, bringing them close again. “Who might that be?”

“It’s Lord Churton. Have you seen him?”

The expression in Montsimon’s eyes sharpened. Without explanation, he removed her wine glass, which was still half-full from her nerveless fingers. Conscious of those around them, she murmured a surprised protest. He placed her glass with his on a console table against the wall.

“Shall we take a stroll on the terrace?” He slipped her arm through his.

“I beg your pardon?” Althea shook free, but he firmly tucked her gloved fingers back into the crook of his arm and moved forward, propelling her along, while apologizing right and left. One man had the effrontery to wink at him! She gasped. He was manhandling her right before the gaze of the ton.

“I must speak to you where I can make myself heard without getting a crick in my neck,” he said in a low voice.

Hardly a satisfactory explanation! Astonished, Althea huffed out a breath while helplessly caught up in the momentum caused by his long stride. “I must say I’m surprised, my lord,” she muttered, afraid of creating a scene. “You can’t just drag me off….” A footman opened the French doors, and Montsimon swept her through them.

At a click of the door behind them, silence fell. The brazier’s glow did nothing to warm the frigid air. The terrace was deserted, for no other guest braved the outdoors at night in winter. Not without many layers of warm clothing, which she lacked. Goose pimples sprung up along her arms, and she shivered violently. Montsimon drew her farther away into the shadows as the cold breeze slapped like a hand across her face and décolleté. She mourned the absence of her fur-lined cloak. Her teeth chattered. “This had better be important, my lord,” she stuttered through cold lips.

With a muffled curse, Montsimon shrugged out of his tight coat, not without difficulty she was pleased to see. He placed it around her shoulders and did up the buttons. She almost sighed, the heat of his body made it wonderfully warm. As his fingers swept outrageously across her bosom, Althea averted her gaze and ignored his proximity the best she could. She did not intend to ask him to remove it again. Needs must. Her instinct was to stalk indignantly inside again, but her curiosity was roused. And at least her trembling had eased.

“You have only a few minutes to explain before I—”

“What is your business with Lord Churton?” His voice sounded strangely steely, his normally mellow Irish accent gone.

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ABOUT MAGGI

Maggi Andersen fell in love with the Georgian and Regency worlds after reading the books of Georgette Heyer. Victoria Holt’s Gothic Victorian novels were also great favorites. She has raised three children and gained a BA and an MA in Creative Writing. After husband David retired from the law, they moved to the beautiful Southern Highlands of Australia.

Maggi’s free time is spent enjoying her garden and the local wildlife, reading, movies and the theatre. She keeps fit swimming and visiting the gym.

Maggi is a multi-published author, and writes mysteries and young adult novels as well as her Georgian, Regency and Victorian romances.

Connect with Maggi:

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(The Spies of Mayfair #2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

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…

Publication date: December 2013

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(The Spies of Mayfair #1)

Genre :Historical Romance

Official blurb 

Horatia’s plan to join the London literary set takes a dangerous turn. Now that the war with France has ended, Baron Guy Fortescue arrives in England to claim his inheritance. When Guy is set upon in London, a stranger, Lord Strathairn, rescues and befriends him. But while traveling to his country estate, Guy is again attacked. Guy suspects his relative, Eustace Fennimore, is behind the attacks on his life. Horatia refuses to believe her godfather, Eustace, is responsible. Secure in the knowledge that his daughter will finally wed, Horatia’s father allows her to visit her blue-stocking aunt in London. But Horatia’s time spent in London proves to be anything but a literary feast, for a dangerous foe plots Guy’s demise. She is determined to keep alive her handsome fiancé, who has proven more than willing to play the part of her lover even as he resists her attempts to save him.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

This is the first book in Maggi Andersen’s The Spies of Mayfair series. I have not read any of Ms Andersen’s books before but an engaging heroine, a dashing hero, interesting secondary characters and just the right amount of intrigue made this a very enjoyable read.

Guy

Frenchmen always seem to have that “Je ne sais quoi” that makes them totally irresistible. So it’s understandable that Guy charmed his way into my heart. He’s romantic, seductive, passionate, flirtatious, witty, attentive and what woman could resist a compliment like this.

“Do you know your eyes aren’t brown? They are closer to pure amber with touches of green and gold. Like some rare stone.”

But there is another side to him. It’s when he recounts to Lord Strathairn the terrible things he witnessed whilst fighting against Napoleon’s army in Spain, that we see a man with strong values…a man of honour and integrity. He shows that same honour in his relationship with Horatia much to her chagrin!

Horatia

Horatia is a spirited (maybe a little too much at times but her intentions are admirable) and likeable heroine. She feels stifled by the confines of Malforth Manor and longs to be independent like her Aunt Emily,  sampling all that London has to offer …poetry recitals, museums, art galleries and parks. She has no desire for love or marriage until Guy comes into her life. He stirs her senses and she’s eager to explore these new emotions and passions.

I was totally charmed by their delightful romance. I especially loved their first meeting when Horatia is disguised as a young groom. It leads to all sorts of wickedly funny moments such as this one…

“You must become a good lover, my friend. It is a skill that requires much study to perfect.”
“In what way?” Oh why had she asked that? She’d just invited him to tell her. She bit her lip, half wanting to hear it and half fearful of what he would say.
“By listening,” he said, surprising her. “What she tells you gives many clues.”
“And if she tells you nothing?”
“You ensure the woman has her pleasure before you take yours, using all of your body, your hands, your tongue and lips, as well as your cock. When she comes, you will hear it, see it, feel it, and delight in it.”
Horatia dipped her head to hide her hot cheeks as he elaborated on what he liked a woman to do to him.

I was really intrigued by Guy’s friend John, Earl of Strathairn. There’s definitely a lot more to him than meets the eye and so I’m pleased he will be getting his own book, TAMING A GENTLEMAN SPY, coming in December 2013.

I adored Guy’s sister Geneviève who obviously cares for her brother and was not above throwing caution to the wind in her efforts to assist him.

I appreciate Ms Andersen’s obvious attention to detail with regard to the historical period and setting. I like how she included real life contemporary figures like the poet, Wordsworth and the actor, Edmund Kean.

The mystery aspect of the plot held my interest and the identity of the person responsible for the attempts on Guy’s life was a real surprise. I fear we haven’t seen the last of Count Forney either.

This was a delightful, entertaining romance and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 Stars 

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM 

I would like to thank the author, Maggi Andersen,  for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Read July 2013

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