The mission did not go quite as Robert Ware--known in society as the new Earl of Kirkland--planned. A spy in the service of His Majesty, Robert is a "guest" at a masquerade party as he retrieves vital information for a murder investigation. Until he's quite unexpectedly interrupted by an exquisite, masked woman with glittering green eyes. And a pistol she has cocked and aimed right at him...
Lady Sophia Merrill has defiantly taken up justice's shining sword, determined to expose the brigand who murdered her eccentric but brilliant father, and stole his latest invention. Now she must masquerade as Robert's betrothed in order to infiltrate the Inventor's Society and find the killer. But the undeniable potent attraction between them not only imperils the investigation, but Sophia's reputation... and both of their lives.
|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|File size:||2 MB|
About the Author
Award-winning author Tina Gabrielle is an attorney and former mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. After multipublishing for a prestigious law journal, she fulfilled her dream of writing fiction. She is also the author of adventurous Regency historical romances In the Barrister's Bed, In the Barrister's Chambers, Lady of Scandal, and A Perfect Scandal from Kensington Books.
A Spy Unmasked is the first book of the In The Crown's Secret Service series. The second book in the series, At the Spy's Pleasure, is coming soon from Entangled Publishing.
Tina's books have been Barnes&Noble top picks, and her first book, Lady of Scandal, was nominated as best first historical by Romantic Times Book Reviews.
Read an Excerpt
A Spy Unmasked
An in the Crown's Secret Service Novel
By Tina Gabrielle, Terese Ramin
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2014 Tina Sickler
All rights reserved.
May 10, 1820
London, Viscount Delmont's ballroom
Robert Ware adjusted his black half mask and sipped a glass of claret as he surveyed the glittering ballroom. Tonight was supposed to be an ordinary mission, similar to the countless other clandestine operations he had carried out.
The Delmonts' masquerades were rumored to be quite dissolute, and from the look of the guests this party lived up to that reputation. Well past midnight, expensive champagne continued to flow freely. A voluptuous blonde with a dazzling diamond necklace and a vast amount of cleavage boldly met his eyes and licked her painted lips.
Robert grinned and raised his glass in silent salute. Ah, for king and country, he mused.
A liveried footman carrying a silver tray halted beside him. "Viscount Delmont's guards are now making the rounds in his private wing," the man whispered.
Robert swapped the claret for a flute of champagne from the server's tray without making eye contact with him.
Ian MacDonald was a fellow agent assigned to observe Lord Delmont's men while Robert carried out his assignment. Unobtrusive, of average height and build with brown hair and eyes, Ian easily blended in with a crowd.
"How much time will I have?" Robert asked.
"A half hour."
A half hour. Little time to retrieve the package and quit the place before the guards made their next rotation.
A booming laugh drew Robert's attention. Lord Delmont stood in the corner of the ballroom. He was unmasked and talking to three other men. As the head of the London Inventors' Society, the viscount's interests lay in chemistry. He was a bear of a man with a chest the size of a small armoire, meaty hands, and a short neck that gave him the appearance that his head rested directly upon his shoulders. By the look of Delmont's florid complexion and glassy eyes, he was well on his way to being drunk.
"I wonder what he says about the murders," Robert murmured.
"You mean to speak to the man? That's not part of the plan."
"He's not the mastermind behind the killings."
Ian focused his gaze over Robert's shoulder. "You'll have to wait for another opportunity to engage Delmont. The guards have returned to the ballroom."
Time to go. Robert drained his glass, placed it on Ian's tray and slipped out of the crowded ballroom into the hall. Voices of revelers echoed off the black-and-white Italian marble floor, crystal clinked, and a woman's trill of laughter followed.
He smiled at a group of bejeweled ladies and made a show of heading for the ornately carved staircase leading outside. As soon as the group passed, he turned right into Delmont's private wing. He paused to allow his eyes to adjust from the brightness of the ballroom chandeliers to the low-burning candles in wall sconces that dimly illuminated the corridor. Gilt-framed portraits of the viscount's ancestors peered down at him with haughty disdain as he moved past. He ventured farther, his footsteps muffled by the thick Brussels runner.
The library occupied the last door on the right. He had memorized the layout of the mansion weeks ago, as soon as Wendover, his superior at the Home Office, had advised him of the mission—one for which Robert had been handpicked.
Crack the safe. Retrieve Delmont's documents. If you are apprehended, the Crown will deny your involvement.
All things Robert knew. His unexpected and recently inherited title from his uncle—the Earl of Kirkland—could not change his past. He was a soldier in an invisible army. He would never be a decorated war hero. There were no medals, no accolades for men like him.
He reached the library and opened the door an inch.
Slipping inside, he quietly closed the door. Moonlight through the French doors behind a rosewood pedestal desk partly illuminated the room. It would have to be sufficient as he dared not light a lamp.
He scanned the space, his mind calculating where a safe might be hidden. Behind a priceless Rembrandt painting. Beneath the parquet floor under the desk. Perhaps behind a false stone in the mantle.
He found it built into a tall mahogany bookshelf. The gilded spines of the books gave it away. A complete set of Johnathan Swift's first-edition treasures. A rarity, indeed.
Pushing the books aside, he ran his fingers along the inside of the shelf until he felt a latch. There was a slight click when he pressed it and a panel swung open to reveal a formidable strongbox of hardwood with steel bands. His lips curled in a smile as he reached out to caress the lock.
"Ah, a Richmond Company lock," he whispered reverently.
He must use nondestructive manipulation. No one must suspect the safe had been tampered with until Lord Delmont went to retrieve his treasonous documents.
Robert withdrew his lock picks from his pocket and went to work.
Fifteen minutes later the safe was open and he stared at a pile of banknotes six inches thick and a fortune in rubies and diamonds.
He reached past the banknotes and jewels to retrieve a battered, leather-bound ledger and a sheaf of papers from the back of the safe. Tucking them inside the jacket pocket of his blue superfine, he closed the safe and secured the panel.
He was arranging the books in their precise order when he heard a rustle of clothing outside the door.
Slipping behind the end of the bookshelf, he reached for the blade in his boot just as the library door cracked open. He clutched one of the books in his left hand, preparing to throw it, when a figure entered the room.
A woman's voice.
She came forward, slowly stepping into a swath of moonlight until her features were fully illuminated.
His first impression struck him like a blow to the gut: she does not belong here. She was tall and slim and possessed a wild beauty. Among the garishly dressed women in the ballroom, she would stand out like fine Italian glass beside rough-cut jars.
She had fiery red hair. Odd, he'd never found females with such bright hair attractive. But this one was different. She wore a peacock-feathered mask and a turquoise gown. Her bodice was low, though nothing as vulgar as the other female guests in attendance. Yet it was her eyes that drew him. Not blue, as he would have expected with the flame-colored hair, but a mesmerizing green that glittered like emeralds from the slits of her mask.
He paused, slipping the knife back into his boot before stepping away from the shelf.
"Who are you?" she called out.
He assumed an air of nonchalance. "Merely a guest of Lord Delmont's," he said, advancing toward her.
Full lips parted, then closed, and she raised a pistol that had been hidden in the folds of her skirts. "Please do not move. I'm not afraid to use this," she said, aiming the pistol at him.
He concealed his surprise. Her grip on the weapon was firm, but her voice was not. Could she be working for Delmont?
He hadn't believed the viscount was solely responsible for the secretive agenda behind the Inventors' Society. Robert had suspected a mastermind behind the murders, but never had he thought a woman was involved.
He flashed his most charming smile. "Careful," he murmured. "Is it loaded?"
"Of course it's loaded," she snapped.
"What's your name?" he asked.
"As we are both masked, let's keep it mysterious. You may call me Robert."
"All right," she said. "What are you doing in here, Robert?"
"I needed to escape the heat and noise of the ballroom."
"That's what the terrace is for."
"Ah, but I thought to read."
She glanced at the book in his hand. "Gulliver's Travels? I'd hardly mark you as a man inclined to read Swift."
"How intriguing. What type of man do you believe I am?"
"A false one. Are you one of Viscount Delmont's spies?"
"A spy? I have no idea what you mean. I already told you. I'm a guest."
His eyes narrowed, and he studied her more closely. If she was employed by Delmont, then she would have known he was not. So who the hell was she?
"You're lying." She jerked her head in the direction of the bookshelf. "What's there?"
He shrugged. "Books."
Keeping the pistol aimed at him, she went to the bookshelf and moved one of the books.
The false panel was in place and was sufficient to conceal the strongbox.
Unless one knew what to look for.
Robert contemplated a swift blow to the head, nothing to cause permanent harm, just enough to render her unconscious. But if she wasn't working for Delmont, then that would leave her at the mercy of his ruthless guards.
With an unladylike oath beneath her breath, she whirled back to him. "Did you find what you were searching for?" she said.
Her eyes, visible through the openings in her mask, betrayed her fear. He could almost hear the pounding of blood in her veins. He was skilled at reading people, not only the truth behind their words, but their visceral physical reactions, and she was scared.
Scared and desperate.
"I don't know what you're talking about," he said.
Biting her bottom lip, she cocked the hammer. "Show me your pockets."
This was getting out of hand. His voice hardened. "Give me the gun before it accidently fires. This isn't a game."
She raised her chin in defiance. "A game! I'll fire if I'm forced to. Now give me what you've stolen."
"You don't intend to hurt anyone," he said.
"How do you know my intentions?"
"My intuition tells me you are in over your head."
"Then your intuition is wrong."
His laughter had a sharp edge. "When it comes to life and limb, I'm never wrong."
He stepped closer until he was within inches of the barrel of the pistol.
Her hand trembled. "No closer. Please ..."
"Lady, we must leave here. It's not safe."
She shook her head. "Not until you hand over what you've stolen."
A door opened and closed at the far end of the corridor. Male voices followed.
A swift glance at the minute hand on the long case clock in the corner of the room told him they were running out of time.
The woman must have heard it, too. A glazed look of panic shone in her eyes. "Show me!"
The voices were closer now, just outside the library door. It was too late; one of Delmont's guards would be upon them within seconds.
The handle on the door turned ...
In one smooth motion, he pushed her hand aside, grasped the pistol from her fingers, and jerked her into his arms. "Not a sound," he ordered.
She gasped in alarm as the door burst open, and Robert lowered his head and swooped down to capture her lips.CHAPTER 2
Sophia Merrill had seconds to comprehend it all. He roughly wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her against a mainmast of solid, male muscle. Through the black half mask she could make out brilliant blue eyes, their color like polished sapphires, and then his mouth covered hers with commanding mastery. Beneath the hardness of his lips she felt instantly overwhelmed and overpowered. The heat from his body enveloped her; the faint scent of his cologne coiled about her. Heart fluttering wildly, she raised her palms to press against his chest.
The door slammed against the wall.
"What are you two doing in here?" a male voice boomed.
Delmont's guard was a bald, brawny man with a square jaw and a bulbous nose.
Sophia jerked in alarm, but the arms of her tawny-haired captor tightened around her waist. Glancing down, he gave her a pointed keep-your-mouth-shut look.
Then he turned to the guard, and a guiltless smile curved his lips. "Ah, the lady and I desired a bit of privacy." Slurring his speech, he sounded like a guest who had made one too many trips to the punch bowl.
Masking her surprise, she went along with the ruse. Her position was precarious, and even if she did not know what his motives were, her own were not innocent, nothing she desired to be brought to Viscount Delmont's attention. Her disguise, the red wig and mask, wouldn't fool the viscount for long, and her identity was something she couldn't risk revealing.
For some reason, this mysterious man—the man who had called himself Robert—was bent on protecting her.
She stole a glance up at him. He was tall and although she was not petite, he made her feel small as he held her tightly against him. He cocked his head to the side, his tawny hair changing in the shafts of moonlight—blond, light brown, then darker—slightly longer than fashion dictated.
The guard hesitated, his eyes narrowing to slits. "How did you get in here? This wing is prohibited."
Robert hiccupped and swayed. "Pardon our intrusion. How does the saying go? Lovers will find a way?"
Her legs shook so badly she feared she would have fallen if not for the arm lashed around her waist. Yet he showed no sign of anxiety or tension. Rather he was like a chameleon, an actor of great skill, able to change his demeanor, his personality, his very essence in order to adapt to his environment.
One thing was clear: he was not one of Delmont's men. The guard would have known him, or worse, Robert would have turned her over to Delmont himself at this first opportunity.
Then who on earth was he?
The guard smirked. His gaze boldly swept over her body and lingered at her breasts. "I don't blame you, my lord, but you'll have to leave, nonetheless."
Robert made a jovial wave with his hand. "We shall return to the ballroom at once."
He released his hold on her waist to clutch her hand. When he led her around the end of the rosewood desk, she intended to follow him straight out the library door, but tripped on an object. Glancing down, she saw the leather-bound copy of Gulliver's Travels, which must have dropped when he jerked her into his arms. She immediately tried to hide the incriminating novel with a swish of her skirts.
It was too late. The guard's eyes narrowed speculatively as he spotted the book.
"Stop!" He barreled toward them.
Robert moved so fast, his fists blurred. His swift punch to the guard's stomach caused the man to double over.
She shrieked and leaped to the side as the guard charged headfirst for Robert, sending both men down. The pistol clattered across the parquet floor. They wrestled for control of the weapon; an end table toppled and a lamp shattered.
The deafening crack of the pistol firing resounded through the room.
For a heart-stopping moment, she feared Robert had been hit.
Then he rose with the pistol in his hand. Blood flowed from the guard's chest and began pooling on the floor.
Shouts sounded and were followed by screams from panicked guests in the vestibule.
"Good God!" she shrieked. "Is he dead?"
He grasped her arms and shook her. "Are you going to faint?"
"Good, because we have seconds before more guards arrive."
He caught her hand and pulled her to the French doors behind the desk. Throwing them open, he dragged her into the back gardens.
A thousand questions rose in her mind, but self-preservation outweighed her curiosity.
She had to escape before she was captured and murdered.
Just like Father.
"Move!" He started to run, pulling her with him.
Clutching her skirts in one hand, she followed as he headed away from the manicured lawns, toward the wooded acreage separating the mansion from town.
Her voluminous skirts hindered her, and sharp stones bit into the dainty soles of her ballroom slippers. A drizzling rain had begun to fall, leaving the grass wet, and she slipped. His hold was like an iron manacle about her wrist, catching her before she fell.
Shouts sounded from the open library doors. "In here!"
"He's dead!" another called out.
She could hear the screams of panicked guests as they fled from the ballroom and crowded together on the front lawn.
Robert and Sophia sprinted past a fountain, stone benches, marble statues of Roman gods and goddesses. Running past a formal maze, they made it through the tended section of the gardens, and reached a dense copse of trees.
They continued to run, weaving through tall elm and oak trees.
The terrain was wild here, and brambles snagged her skirts. Sticks snapped beneath her slippers, and she was forced to leap over low brush. Her chest heaved in her tight bodice, and her breaths came in rasps.
Excerpted from A Spy Unmasked by Tina Gabrielle, Terese Ramin. Copyright © 2014 Tina Sickler. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A Spy Unmasked by Tina Gabrielle was a joy to read. I love historical females who are more than a pretty face. Lady Sophia filled that bill. She's adventurous, intelligent and unafraid -- a perfect match for spy Robert Ware, Earl of Kirkland. I found it particularly symbolic that the book opens with Lady Sophia Merrill and Robert Ware meeting at a masked ball. The wild ride they have through the woods and him unmasking her sets off a series of unfolding events where the villains are unmasked. You'll be surprised when the final face is revealed. Pick this one up and spend some time with it. You'll fall in love with the Earl and want to be Lady Sophia. Tina Gabrielle gives us another reading adventure. A winner in my book.
A received this book from Entangled for an honest review. I couldn't put this book done. The chemistry between Robert and Sophia pops off the page. I want more of the two of them. Maybe a second mission. The opening of the book is like Julia Quinn's To Catch an Heiress. I knew right then I was settling back against my pillows to get comfy because I was going to be reading for a few hours. I loved the plot and watching it unfold. I'm not one to try to figure things out so I just enjoyed being at the house party. (what a house party!). The story of the mission is not easy to figure out nor is it too complicated to make me scratch my head. And the ending, I was like oh no it can't be but it was. A Spy Unmasked is a perfect story to escape from reality for a few hours. I wouldn't just mark this one to place on my to be read pile. I'd buy it and read it that night. It's marked for a second read from me as soon as I finish my work.
Very good read. I also agree the ending seemed rushed L.d.
I very much enjoyed this book. There is a lot of intrigue and Sophia is my kind of girl, stubborn and spirited. She is afraid, but she has enough back-bone to get in there and discover what is going on. I really liked Robert too, he is a hard headed man, but he learns quickly that Sophia is his match!
With sweet romance mixed with an intriguing mystery, A Spy Unmasked was an enjoyable read. It was a great romance and I really liked it. Sophia was a determined character. She wanted to take down her father's killer and she would find a way to do it no matter what. She was clever and knew how to play the game. I thought she was a great heroine. Robert was likable as well. He was extremely skilled and clever, but also sweet and a kinder man than he let on. I thought he was wonderful. The romance was lovely, sweet, with some spice. Sophia and Robert were a perfect match and I thought they were great together. The plot moved quickly and kept me interested the entire way through. The mystery of who was behind the murders was great and actually managed to take me by surprise. I didn't suspect who the culprit turned out to be. I enjoyed the story and the ending was lovely. A Spy Unmasked was a delightful historical romance that I really liked. Romance lovers, this is a book you'll definitely want to check out. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
I enjoyed reading this book. The plot was interesting, and it was unraveled in a fast pace engaging manner that I appreciated. I was really invested in the characters journey and that is always a fabulous thing. While I liked Lady Sophia and admired her determination to seek justice for her father’s death, I loved Robert. He drew me into the story, and I felt his anguish and the battle he underwent fighting his attraction and need for Sophia. I loved his past and how it shaped his character to where we have the perfect blend of tortured hero, charming and roguish gentleman but so honorable. The chemistry between the characters felt real, and it was sweet and steamy, the perfect combination. I will definitely read more from this author and I am already on edge for book 2
I've been reading a lot of books lately where the story gets split because of some event or another and I end up liking one part of the book a lot more than the other. This one was no exception. The Earl of Kirkland is a spy investigating the goings on in a secret society until Lady Sophia almost blows the whole operation. There is a point in the story where Sophia gets involved in the whole spying business a lot more than before. It's at that point where the read started to go a little off the rails in my opinion. I liked most of the read. The espionage aspect of the story was very enjoyable. I'm not usually one for crime solving and spy novels, so to enjoy that side of it was refreshing. It gave the book the suspense and sense of adventure it needed. The spying involved was pretty simple and repetitive, but I still found myself liking it. Most of all though, I liked how the author stuck with it throughout the book. The main focus was definitely the plot and not the romance which was great. My big problem was the ending of the book. Not so much right at the end, but several of the later chapters. Things moved way too fast. There was a really nice pace going between Sophia and Robert's relationship and then it just went full speed ahead in the worst of ways. It made sense at the start, but to have it go from 0 to 60 in just a few chapters was just terrible considering both characters refused to work together in the start. It wasn't believable in the end which was disappointing. Overall I was pretty much on and off with this read. I liked the characters, until I didn't anymore and I liked the plot, until it became a little dry. It was okay.
Lady Sophia is an amazing hero and she leads the plot without a problem. Everything flows naturally, she waltzes around the elements of the plot like she knows what she is doing. While on Avery’s you did notice some fragile elements, here everything stands in its place. The sexual scenes are hot, the most fragile romantic moments are heartfelt and warm. Sophia’s chemistry with Robert is genuine and you look forward to see everything will be all right for them. A love unmasked is a page turner especially when it drives off other regency novels and focus on an eccentric heroine. Tina Gabrielle takes a dare step with the first book of the series mixing mystery and suspense with good romance. And it also teaches that women that are almost mad scientist can love and be great wives and great spies as well!
Another book I got from Netgalley for an honest review. It took me a couple of days to get through it but because of private reasons. Anyway, the story is nice. A mask ball – a man and a woman who do not know each other. Robert Ware, the Earl of Kirkland, is a spy for the crown and attending a masquerade party to be able to investigate a couple of safes and retrieve documents. Being in the library of the house, a forbidden part of the house, documents in hand, he’s found by beautiful masked woman with red hair and glittering green eyes. Things happen and they have to flee together. But Sophia isn’t just anybody, she’s the daughter of a famous inventor who was recently killed, now she’s searching for clues who murdered her precious father. Quickly she learns that he is a spy and that his boss wants to send him to a week long house party but only married or engaged couples are invited so they pose as nearly betrothed, chaperoned by Sophia’s cousin Julia, to find more information about the Inventor’s Society and to find the killer. + Of course there is a lot of baggage Robert brings into this new partnership for example the death of somebody because he blames himself for it. And there are the inventions and the fact that most inventors didn’t want to see females in their branch. Tina Gabrielle plays with the attraction of those two people to each other, their passion and the chemistry. She knows that in some situations the only way out is marriage – because it is all about reputation. Sometimes I make myself think about reputation nowadays and things have changes such a lot. Nobody cares about sex before marriage anymore or to get married at all. I mean how many girls really save their maidenhood for their husband and the wedding night? I do now know a single person and I work with lots. It’s amazing how much things have changed in not even 200 years – thankfully! The author paints a nice picture of those days but for me there was too much about the “case” in the end and too little about the relationship. I hoped for more passion, more love scenes and maybe even more tension because everything seemed to go so smooth in the end. The style was nice but not thrilling. The characters well developed. Nice and easy storyline – 4 stars.
This story got moving straight away. Readers don't need to wait for more than a chapter to get to the good stuff. Safecracking, check. Hero being accosted by a masked redhead, check. A kiss to avoid discovery by the traitor's guards, check. When a story starts like that, how can you stop reading? Easy -- you can't. So, don't be surprised if you -- like me -- keep reading until long past the time the lights should have been turned off. My advice is to keep reading through the night and take a nap during your lunch hour tomorrow. I do have to admit that I thought I knew what was going to happen with this book. I assumed that the story was going to go through some expected twists and turns and would end up in a completely obvious, though satisfying, place. I was wrong. I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that there is an unexpected turn in the story that had me thinking "What? ... Who? ... When? ... What just happened?" This book is -- for me -- all about the characters. Lady Sophia and Lord Kirkland are multifaceted, beautifully conflicted characters. They could have been caricatures of the grieving debutante and arrogant spy, but they weren't. Kudos to the author for taking the unexpected road for both the hero and the heroine.A Spy Unmasked had the perfect mix of romance and mystery. I don't read historical romances very often but because this book was such a pleasure to read, I may have to put the genre back into my regular reading rotation. Reviewer's Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This review is an excerpt of a review on my book blog. All opinions and errors are my own.
I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. When Lady Sophia Merrill's father is found dead in a brothel in St Giles, ruled as an overdose of opium, Sophia is determined to track down the killer knowing that her father must have been murdered. In trying to get evidence, she runs into the hero, Robert, the Earl of Kirkland who is also investigating a series of murders on behalf of the crown. In order to keep her safe, Robert's superior decides to have Sophia accompany Robert in their mission to discover the mastermind behind the murders & Sophia & Robert are thrown together in a pretense engagement. I thought it was cruel *smirk* that the author made Robert celibate by choice after his wife died. Poor man was agonized with the temptation that is Sophia. "He might be celibate by choice, but he wasn’t a monk, and his eyes were drawn to the swell of her breasts, the voluptuous curve of her hips. With the flickering candlelight behind her, he could make out the shape of a hip, a long, slender leg. Her hair was loose, a bounty of chestnut tresses any red-blooded male would long to touch as he kissed her full lips." Love the sexual tension! The chemistry between Sophia & Robert was wonderful. Sophia is intelligent & her persistence in tracking down her father's murder was done very well. She didn't come over as being stupidly stubborn or irritating in her persistence. Robert is constantly fighting his guilt that he caused his wife's death & presents an aloof & cold facade which Sophia soon sees through. "She had come to the conclusion that there was much more to the Earl of Kirkland than he wanted her to believe. He wanted her to think him cool and aloof, the consummate spy. He used words to insult and inflame, but she was no longer fooled" The only issue I had with the story was that the ending was a bit rushed but otherwise this was a great read
A Spy Unmasked by Tina Gabrielle my review Review Courtesy of April Hollingworth A fun and intriguing read this is the first book in a fabulous new series. I found the characters fun and intriguing, both determined and yet kind and heartwarming. They are characters you would love to meet in person. A wonderfully fabulous read. Opening Scene: May 10, 1820 London, Viscount Delmont’s ballroom Robert Ware adjusted his black half mask and sipped a glass of claret as he surveyed the glittering ballroom. The Review: Robert Ware, the Earl of Kirkland is a spy in the service of His Majesty. On a mission to retrieve vital information for a murder investigation, Robert disguised as a guest in a masked ball is uncovered by an alluring masked woman, with stunning green eyes and a gun pointed and primed to shoot him. Lady Sofia Merrill is determined to uncover her father’s murderer at any cost, even if it means masquerading as Robert’s betrothed, in order to infiltrate the Inventor’s Society and find the killer. But soon their attraction for each other affects their investigation and Sofia’s reputation, making things perilous and dangerous, after all the killer has killed before and will again. Notable Scene: He flashed his most charming smile. “Careful,” he murmured. “Is it loaded?” “Of course it’s loaded,” she snapped. “What’s your name?” he asked. “What’s yours?” “As we are both masked, let’s keep it mysterious. You may call me Robert.” “All right,” she said. “What are you doing in here, Robert?” “I needed to escape the heat and noise of the ballroom.” “That’s what the terrace is for.” “Ah, but I thought to read.” She glanced at the book in his hand. “Gulliver’s Travels? I’d hardly mark you as a man inclined to read Swift.” “How intriguing. What type of man do you believe I am?” “A false one. Are you one of Viscount Delmont’s spies?” “A spy? I have no idea what you mean. I already told you. I’m a guest.” His eyes narrowed, and he studied her more closely. If she was employed by Delmont, then she would have known he was not. So who the hell was she? FTC Advisory: Scandalous through Net Galley provided me with a copy of A Spy Unmasked by Tina Gabrielle. Published through Entangled Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.