Congratulations to K.C Bateman on another sensational novel!! A fast paced read with a great heroine with an unusual occupation. The final novel in her Secrets and Spies Trilogy is full of adventure, a heroine who can stand on her own two feet and a poor unsuspecting hero who has no chance against such vitality! Parfait!!
Sabine de la Tour is the infamous Phillipe Lacorte, a highly sought after and elusive French forger. Sabine and her friend Anton Carnaud (who is often mistaken for Phillipe) work as a team for Napoleon, counterfeiting a small fortune for him. After Napolean is imprisoned, General Jean Malet who oversaw their counterfeiting is the one other person who knew about the fake currency and wants the whole fortune for himself. After their home is ransacked in France, they realise Anton’s life is in danger and they must leave France. Burning most of the fortune and keeping some for emergency purposes, they hatch a plan to enable Anton to buy passage to America and Sabine free to build a new life for herself, leaving behind their criminal ways.
“Three months, no longer. No wives. No virgins. No exceptions” is the rule Richard Hampden, Viscount Lovell lives by. He is wealthy, titled, handsome and oh yes, also an English spy. He is passionate about his country and has been trying to track down the elusive Phillipe Lacorte to procure his services for the English government for quite some time but has never had him within reach. He is also due to choose his next mistress, as his most recent contract has come to an end and the ladies are practically throwing themselves at him.
Sabine has spent her entire life staying a step ahead of Richard, but for the sake of Anton and her future, she must sacrifice her identity and forge one last time, this time for England. Sabine’s clever plan is to give herself up and her services as Phillipe Lacorte to Richard, for the princely sum of ten thousand pounds which enables great freedom for herself and Anton after this final job. Close to midnight, Sabine turns up alone on Vicount Lovell’s doorstep handing his butler a note, confident that Richard will want to meet with her hear what she has to stay. Unravelling a perfectly forged invitation with his signature to meet with him at his home, Richard is intrigued with what he sees and what the butler tells him. Assuming this is a ploy chosen by an eager young woman to gain his affections as his next mistress, he invites her in to hear what she has to say. Sabine breezing in and announcing herself as Phillipe Lacorte is not what he had expected and neither was her outrageous blackmailing demands of ten thousand pounds for her forging services.
Richard realises his predicament and gives in to her demands, as she threatens to otherwise release her fake currency into England’s economy. But, this doesn’t mean he is defeated, as he wants to use her services to wheedle out a group of French sympathisers in England. Yes, she comes at an exorbitant price but he doesn’t plan to make her life easy despite his attraction for her. He will give back as good as he gets and damn the attraction between them! With Jean Malet hot on Sabine’s heels and other complications that arise within the criminal underbelly, Sabine and Richard try to fight the attraction between them while learning to trust each other and working together to achieve their mission.
What an adventurous book this was to read! Sabine and Richard have great chemistry between them and the storyline moved at a rapid pace. These two were such great characters who butted heads and verbally duelled so well that it leaves you laughing out loud and rooting for them both! Raven and Heloise (A Raven’s Heart #2) also make a reappearance which was lovely and Raven’s brotherly ribbing of Richard was highly amusing.
K.C Bateman’s witty dialogue is always entertaining and her writing style is a pleasure to read. Her experience and knowledge with antiques and art really shine through in this book which I absolutely loved reading about! Not only are you getting a great romance but mini lessons in arts and antiques too! I LOVED LOVED the story but I did give only four stars overall as I noticed a few hiccups along the way. The dialogue was really anachronistic at times and I felt like I noticed it more so in this book than the previous two. Also, Sabine never reveals that she is a virgin to Richard and there was no mention of him realising either! I thought it would be fun when she finally reveals that she is a virgin, duping him at his own rigid rules! Sabine is also meant to have difficulty with her eyesight which was mentioned quite haphazardly throughout the book without consistency. I haven’t read many books where the heroine has difficulty with her vision and this was a nice touch and I was a little disappointed it wasn’t expanded on. These are obviously very minor issues as the story transcends above all flaws and intrigues the reader immensely!
*Thank-you K.C Bateman, Netgalley & Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept for the ARC.