The drama of London's Little Season continues in USA Today bestselling author Kasey Michaels's vibrant new series featuring three courageous war heroes surrendering at last to love…
Who would have thought a man could tire of being fawned over and flirted with? Ever since Cooper Townsend returned from France as a hero with a new title, he has been relentlessly pursued by every marriageable miss in London. Perhaps that's why the unconventional Miss Daniella Foster is so appealing. She doesn't simper or flatter. She only wants him to help unmask her sister's blackmailer, and Coop has never been so intrigued…
Let every other woman in London fight over His Lordship's romantic attentions. Marriage is the last thing on Dany's mind…at least until she samples his illicit kisses. Now, as a mutual enemy races to ruin Coop's reputation and Dany's family name, an engagement of convenience will spark an unlikely passion that might save them both.
The first book in this series, An Improper Arrangement, was my first Kasey Michaels novel, and while there were some aspects of it that I loved, overall I did not enjoy it quite as much as I'd hoped. But this second book really takes the series to the next level, and I loved it!
In the opening chapter, we learn that Cooper Townsend, whom we met in book one, is being blackmailed by the same person responsible for his unwanted fame, the author of the sensational chapbooks chronicling his supposed acts of bravery and good deeds during the war and beyond. These woefully exaggerated tales have gained Coop a legion of admirers, both male and female, but it is the latter that he has to dodge at every turn as every eligible maid and husband-hunting mama is out to land the catch of a lifetime. But now the author of the books is threatening to publish the third and final volume in the series, which will paint Coop as a cad who takes advantage of the damsels he rescues while exposing a real wartime secret that Coop--and the king, to whom Coop owes his title and allegiance--must keep hidden at all costs.
Enter Daniella Foster. Dany's sister is also being blackmailed for a foolish indiscretion, and Dany, being newly unleashed upon London from her banishment to the country and having just heard about the great hero Cooper Townsend, believes he's just the man to help them out of their pickle. He is a hero after all. How can he refuse to help a lady in distress? Just as she's trying to figure out a way to arrange a meeting, she literally walks out of a dress shop and right into him. Talk about fates colliding! Of course, Coop thinks she's yet another husband hunter, but her earnest plea for help has him intrigued. And when he realizes he and her sister are being blackmailed by the same person, he proposes a fake engagement to allow him all the access he needs to Dany's house and her company. As Coop and Dany, with the help of a few friends, try to track down the blackmailer, they realize there's much more between them than a mutual interest in catching a criminal. But as their net tightens around their quarry, a dangerous new element comes into play, and Coop and Dany find themselves not only fighting for their hearts, but for their very lives.
What I'm discovering about Kasey Michaels is that she has a real knack for creating engaging characters. I was utterly charmed by Dany, who is a breath of fresh air in historical romance, and in Cooper's life. The pace at which her brain works and her mouth moves is astonishing. And the fact that she's had no time or even an interest in learning how to act like a prim and proper lady of the ton makes her incredibly authentic. The reader can't help but fall in love with her right along with Coop. And Cooper is also a refreshing hero in that he's not a rake in need of reforming--despite his reputation for rescuing grateful damsels in distress. Unlike his other companions at the Battle of Champaubert, he went back for more, becoming a hero for a daring act of bravery at Quatre Bras. He is a soldier, a more somber man, and because of his unwanted fame, a man who has to be careful whom he lets get close to him. Watching him get knocked off his feet by Dany was a real treat.
This book is saved from the slower and more meandering pace of the first book in this series by the addition of a mystery, that of discovering who the blackmailer is and what his/her ultimate goal is. Really the only thing that keeps me from rating this higher is that I thought a few threads were underdeveloped and/or unresolved. Unfortunately, I can't go into detail here without the risk of spoiling anything, but they were minor quibbles when compared to how much I enjoyed the characters and the delicious banter and sexual tension between them. I am looking forward to reading Darby's story in book three this summer!
My Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
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