Lady's Secret Weapon

Lady's Secret Weapon

4.7 8
by Tracey Devlyn
     
 

What happens when England's most notorious rake falls in love with London's most elusive underworld spy?


Sydney Hunt and her extensive system of spies have worked hard to improve the lives of London's less fortunate.
Hearing of illegal occurrences at a nearby orphanage, Sydney is forced to join ranks with a notorious rake known for

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Overview

What happens when England's most notorious rake falls in love with London's most elusive underworld spy?


Sydney Hunt and her extensive system of spies have worked hard to improve the lives of London's less fortunate.
Hearing of illegal occurrences at a nearby orphanage, Sydney is forced to join ranks with a notorious rake known for charming his way into the beds of wives and mistresses across
Europe. Ethan deBeau, Lord
Danforth, is headed to London to locate a missing child,
and soon he and Sydney are entrenched in London's dark underworld. She harbors more secrets than the Foreign Office and he'll uncover each one, kiss by kiss.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/26/2013
In Devlyn’s deftly crafted third Nexus novel (after Checkmate, My Lord), a British spy finally meets his match. Ethan deBeau, Viscount Danforth, works for the Nexus organization, trying to ferret out traitors in 1804 London. Known for seducing women for their secrets, Ethan is unprepared for his reaction to Miss Sydney Hunt, the proprietress of a well-known London employment agency. Using the pretense of employing her to search for new staff for his home, Ethan really wants to know why he has seen her leaving the Abbingale Home for Displaced and Gifted Boys. Ethan has been watching Abbingale in hopes of finding a young boy who might have been placed there by the traitor Latymer. Ethan is completely enthralled by Sydney, a commoner who swiftly breaks down the class barriers between them. Their romance is both passionate and sweet, carried on the tides of mystery and suspense. Devlyn’s series keeps getting better, leaving the reader eagerly anticipating the next installment. Agent: Donald Maass, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"Tracey Devlyn creates a breathtaking world of passion, danger and intrigue." - Anna Campbell, author of Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed

"Tracey Devlyn spins an intriguing historical romance packed with emotion and suspense where love and duty battle for first place in the hearts of spies." - New York Times Bestselling author Dianna Love

" Devlyn is a smart storyteller who crafts taught, exciting, emotional novels-the type of story that lingers long after the happily ever after. 4 ½ Stars, Top Pick! " - RT Book Reviews

"Fans of Brenda Joyce's Cahill series, in particular, will be happy with this unique and refreshing addition. Devlyn is a writer to watch. " - Booklist

"Devlyn's series keeps getting better, leaving the reader eagerly anticipating the next installment. " - Publishers Weekly

"If you like romantic mysteries (historical or contemporary) that are full of espionage and intrigue, I highly recommend A Lady's Secret Weapon. - See more at: http://magicalmusings.com/2013/09/28/review-a-ladys-secret-weapon-by-tracey-devlyn/#sthash.vr7nt1Co.dpuf" - Magical Musings

"A compelling plot, spy characters who are both larger-than-life and believably human" - Miss Bates Read Romance

"I will definitely continue following Tracey Devlyn's books." - Books Like Breathing

"Those that like action and intrigue will definitely enjoy this series. " - Ramblings From This Chick

" If you are looking a fun escape into a Victorian world of espionage filled with interesting characters, dramatic twist and turns, and steamy chemistry between the main couple, then pick this up." - That's What I'm Talking About

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402258299
Publisher:
Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Publication date:
10/01/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
205,818
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Prologue


Pain splintered inside Ethan's skull the moment his head slammed against the cold surface. Against his will, a moan ripped from his throat, and his body curled into a tight, protective knot.


"Dammit." His breath huffed against the floor, forcing a cloud of ancient dust into his face.


"Careful, my lord," a voice rasped, a moment before something soft slid beneath Ethan's head.


He tried to open his eyes but managed only a small slit, barely enough to discern the broken crate to his left and the hooded figure kneeling at his side.


"Where am I?" Ethan made another attempt to open his eyes, to no avail.


"In a warehouse near the London Docks."


Docks. Images flashed through his mind like the blast of a firing squad. Three Goliaths, an uncomfortable carriage ride, a sound beating in a dockside alleyway. A cool hand pressed against his throbbing forehead.


Ethan's jaw clenched. He'd been so close to locating the Frenchman who had brutalized his sister. The anticipation of snapping the man's neck had made him lose sight of his surroundings, for which he'd paid dearly.


"How did I get here?" He struggled to a sitting position. "Who are you?"


The cloaked figure's gloved hands halted his clumsy attempt. "You were carried, and my identity is of no consequence."


Unable to resist, Ethan eased back down. Even though the cloak's hood hid his savior's features, Ethan felt the stranger's intense scrutiny. "Why do you protect your face? You have nothing to fear from me."


"What makes you think fear is the reason behind my need for privacy?"


Ethan sensed, more than saw, his savior retreating. An unfamiliar terror gripped his gut. "Wait."


"Rest, Lord Danforth. You are safe here."


Quiet confidence laced the stranger's raspy voice, soothing the edges of Ethan's fear. Never had he felt so helpless, or so tired. He fought the pull of oblivion for all of ten seconds. Before he slipped into darkness, a single thought registered.


How did the stranger know my name?


***


Sydney paused to give her eyes time to adjust to the large, gloom-filled room. The moment the makeshift bed against the far wall took shape, she moved quietly to the viscount's side.


The low light hid most of the destruction to his handsome face, as did the cold compress over his swollen eyes. However, she could still see the darkened flesh across his jaw. The apothecary she brought in to assess the damage had discovered severe bruises covering his torso and lacerations dotting his face and body. Thankfully, she had detected no broken bones, though the woman had cautioned her that he might have sustained injuries inside his body. Only time would reveal what's hidden beneath the flesh.


Rest, cold compresses, and beef tea would see him through the worst of it, the apothecary had said. Sydney had no doubt. His lordship had youth, strength, and sheer stubbornness on his side. Besides, he'd likely survived far worse. Still, she didn't want to wake him from his healing slumber. He'd hardly moved an inch since they placed him on the narrow cot hours ago. Every so often, she would hold her fingers below his nose to make sure Death had not visited while she'd been away.


Sydney sighed. No matter how difficult, she would follow the apothecary's prescribed orders. The quicker his lordship healed, the quicker she could send him on his way. She set the tray containing a bowl of beef tea, a linen filled with ice chips, a glass of water, and a bottle of laudanum on the floor and then perched on the edge of his bed. The frame creaked, and his lordship shot upright, his steel-like fingers clamped around her arm, digging deep. The spent compress covering his eyes dropped to the floor with a splat!


"What are you doing?" he asked between gritted teeth. He angled his head back to better see her, blinking several times for focus.


Sydney hunched her shoulders and tucked her chin to protect her features, even though she'd already rubbed coal dust on her face and pinned a large, frilly maid's cap on her head to protect her identity. "I've brought you food and something to relieve your pain, m'lord." She prayed her tone carried the right amount of submissiveness. "How are you feeling?"


His harsh breaths penetrated the short space between them. Finally, his grip slowly eased, though he did not release her. As he lowered himself back down to his mound of pillows, his hand slid along her arm until his fingers bracketed her wrist.


"Like a ballroom full of drunken lords trampled my body."


"Better then."


He squeezed her wrist. "How long was I out?"


"All of a day and most of a night."


"So long?"


"The apothecary gave you something to help you rest."


A long pause. "I don't remember."


"You were fighting a fever." Sydney pressed her palm to his forehead. "Much better now."


"I have to get out of here. My sister-" He sent her a wary glance. "She'll be worried."


"You mustn't move for a few more days." She smoothed her hand over her rough, threadbare skirts. "If you'd like to give me her address, I'll have a note sent around."


An emotion Sydney didn't understand hardened his jaw a moment before he shifted his attention away.


She bent to collect the tray but was unable to balance it with one hand. Pausing, she slanted a meaningful glance at her wrist.


He opened his fingers.


"Thank you." When she reached for the tray again, his hand moved to her leg. She whipped her head around to peer at him, jarring a lock of hair free. "Kindly remove your hand, m'lord."


His lips quirked into a spare smile. "I'm hardly in a position to ravish you."


Sydney could barely think above the hammering of her heart. The heat from his palm penetrated the rough layers of her skirts, directing her attention to that small four-inch-by-four-inch area. Setting her jaw, she lifted the tray to her lap and tucked the loose skein of hair behind her ear. Then she laid the icy compress across his eyes.


He sucked in a startled breath. "Perhaps a little warning next time," he said through gritted teeth.


"The same could be said to you, sir." She opened a small bottle and tapped several drops of the reddish-brown liquid in the glass. She swirled the water around before removing the compress from his eyes. "Drink this."


"What is it?"


"Water laced with laudanum."


His lips firmed into a thin line before raising the shaking drink to his lips. Liquid splashed over the rim. "Damn me!"


"Here, m'lord." She wrapped her hands around his, steadying the glass. "All of it," she commanded when he tried to stop halfway.


When he finished, he shoved the glass away, scrunching his face at the bitter taste. "Next time, dribble your poison into some brandy. Might be a little more palatable that way."


Ignoring his surly remark, she retrieved a bowl of broth and raised a brimming spoonful to his mouth.


"You're not feeding me like a greenling cub."


She returned the spoon to the bowl. "Then you'll go hungry."


"How do you figure, Miss-?" When she did not fill in the blank, he continued, "I've been feeding myself for a rather long time."


"Not with those trembling hands." She ventured another spoonful up to his lips. He waited a belligerent three seconds before opening his mouth.


Relief spread through Sydney. She didn't know what she would have done if he'd refused the beef tea. For some men, pride forced them into making poor decisions that had terrible consequences. She was glad Ethan deBeau was not one of them.


Her relief quickly faded into agitation. She could feel the intensity of his stare all the way to her bones. An insistent quiver started at the base of her spine and worked its way up. The darkened chamber and his swollen eyes would limit his visibility. She knew this, believed it. But she could not shake her sudden, desperate sense of urgency.


"Where's the cloaked chap that dragged my carcass in here?" Fatigue laced his words.


"I couldn't say, m'lord."


"I owe him my thanks."


She quickened her pace, refusing any further attempts at conversation. The less he knew, the less likely their paths would ever cross again.


"Rest your head on the pillow again, please."


"You're leaving." His voice was hollow, resigned.


Empathy gripped her heart. She glanced around the desolate chamber, hating that she had to keep him here. "Would you like a candle? A book? Perhaps another blanket?"


He grasped the ice-filled linen and placed it over his eyes. "No."


Dismissed.


Sydney gathered everything onto her tray and made her way to the door. An odd reluctance to leave him held her immobile. She chanced a glance over her shoulder at the same time he delivered a low, unmistakable warning.


"I won't be this helpless forever, little maid."

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