Find thrills and sexy chills in Scandalous's latest historical romance...
Every gentleman has his secrets...
After years of marriage to a selfish man who preferred gambling to his young bride, Jane, the widowed countess of Stanwell, now seeks what she was long denied-a satisfying lover. Naturally, a lady needs a list of eligible candidates, which doesn't include the dangerously handsome (if far too arrogant) Gareth Ramsey...until he steals a sinful kiss from Jane's all-too-willing lips.
Reputed as an arrogant barrister, Gareth's real occupation is as a spy in the service of His Majesty, and his suspect is on Jane's list of possible lovers. With her life in danger, there's no safer place for Jane than with him-and in his bed. But Jane is as distracting as she is infuriating, and keeping her by his side while he pursues his mission might just endanger them both...
|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.
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. Tina lives in New Jersey. She loves to hear from readers. Visit her website to join her newsletter and enter free monthly contests at www.tinagabrielle.com
Read an Excerpt
At the Spy's Pleasure
An In the Crown's Secret Service Novel
By Tina Gabrielle, Alycia Tornetta
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Tina Sickler
All rights reserved.
June 10, 1821
Tonight I will find a lover.
Jane's pulse skittered with excitement as she stepped into the glittering ballroom. Tonight, for the first time, the widowed countess of Stanwell would abandon her mourning and find a man who could satisfy her needs, her secret desires, her pleasure.
Dozens of chandeliers holding hundreds of candles illuminated the ballroom. The elite of London society was present to celebrate the betrothal of the earl of Newbury's daughter to the Duke of Westmont. Jane knew the guests well. They were the same people she'd mingled with ever since her own debut ten years prior—aristocrats, powerful members of parliament, society hostesses, as well as the newest crop of debutantes and their marriage-minded mamas.
The same people who now smiled politely to her face and gossiped maliciously behind her back.
Jane wove through the crowd and halted by the refreshment table.
"Thank goodness you've finally discarded that horrid black."
The words came at her shoulder. Jane turned to find Lady Olivia, her close friend and the bride-to-be, smiling at her.
"I wouldn't call my mourning gowns horrid," Jane protested. Her current gown was deep purple, and she'd chosen it because the dressmaker insisted the rich shade accentuated her blond hair and fair complexion. Looking around the room, Jane realized her dress was still far from the vibrant colors of some of the other women's gowns.
"Well, I'm glad to see you're not in widow's weeds. It's been well over two years since Lord Stanwell's death. Tonight is my engagement ball, and I hope that your dance card will soon be filled," Olivia said.
Jane rolled her eyes. "Few gentlemen will approach to dance no matter how I'm garbed."
"You must give them a chance."
"I've tried. Society is not ready to forget." At Olivia's silence, Jane shrugged. "It makes no difference anymore. I've decided to take matters into my own hands."
Olivia's blue eyes widened. "What on earth does that mean?"
"Charles is gone. It's time I moved on."
Olivia smiled in approval. "I wholeheartedly agree. As your best friend, I've been praying for this day. Many eligible gentlemen are in attendance tonight. It's no secret Lord Bromley dislikes the notion of a fresh-faced debutante just out of the schoolroom."
Jane wrinkled her nose. "Not Bromley. He wants a wife."
"You don't want to remarry?"
Jane leaned close and whispered. "I want a lover, not a suitor. And most definitely not a husband."
Olivia's mouth opened and closed, then she pulled Jane behind a potted palm. Glancing both ways to make certain they were not overheard, she spoke urgently, "A lover? You've been mostly secluded in your town home, suffering from melancholy, only wearing mourning gowns since ... since ..."
Olivia couldn't seem to say the words, so Jane took pity on her friend and said them for her. "Since Charles's suicide?"
Olivia swallowed. "Well, yes. And now you seek a lover?"
"Not just any lover. A skilled, experienced lover who has no interest in finding a wife."
Before Olivia could respond, Lady Newbury walked past their hidden spot calling for her eldest daughter. She was accompanied by the Dowager Duchess of Westmont, a tall woman with a long, bony face and sour expression.
"Your mother is searching for you," Jane said.
"Mother has been relentless tonight and insists on currying favor with the Dowager Duchess."
"The dowager seems taut as a bow."
"She's miserable and quite opinionated. She believes that at five and twenty, I'm too old to be marrying her grandson. She's demanded an heir and spare to the dukedom straightway, and measured my hips to see if they're sufficient to the task of child bearing."
Jane burst out laughing. "You're jesting!"
"I wish I were," Olivia said dryly.
"You don't have to marry the duke if—"
"No. It's not like that," Olivia said. "I adore Edward."
"And the dowager?" Jane asked.
"Will live in the dower house away from the main estate. But I've told Edward it doesn't matter where we live. I'd be happy in a country cottage as long as we are together. Despite what everyone thinks, I'm not marrying him to become a duchess."
Jane hugged Olivia. "Edward is the fortunate one."
Lady Newbury and the dowager strolled past once again. An anxious expression crossed Olivia's mother's face as she looked about the room for her wayward daughter.
"I must speak with them," Olivia said, with a meaningful look at Jane. "But I shall return quickly. We must talk about your shocking plan."
Olivia hurried off, and Jane remained behind the cover of the ornamental greenery. Scanning the ballroom, she spotted a group of relatively young gentlemen conversing. The men were bachelors and widowers, and any one of them would be eligible candidates as lovers, as she was seven and twenty.
Simon Marbury was particularly handsome, with a full head of fair hair and deep blue eyes. She wondered if he would be discreet enough to handle an illicit affair. He was known to care more about the folds in his cravat and the cut of his coat than intellectual pursuits, so she needn't worry about him delving into her soul. She had no intention of ever losing her heart or head to a man again.
The result had been disastrous.
A burst of laugher followed by hushed whispers from the nearby refreshment table drew her attention away from the men. Jane pushed aside a large palm frond to glimpse a group of ladies assembled by the punch bowl.
"Can you believe it? Lady Stanwell is present tonight and she's not wearing her customary black," a feminine voice said.
A giggle followed. "Perhaps she's husband hunting," a second lady said.
"What man would have her? After all, her husband shot himself in the head," a third woman added.
"And over a horse," said the first woman.
Jane froze as fingers of ice seeped into her every pore.
Oblivious to her presence, the women ruthlessly continued.
"She was first to find his body."
"Rumor has it she drove him to do the deed."
"She's cursed. No man will risk being with her."
Jane longed to spring from her hiding place to confront the malicious women face-to-face. She opened her mouth in dismay, but instead a suffocating sensation tightened her throat.
Her chest rose and fell with her labored breathing. The walls of the ballroom were closing in on her. Her bodice was too tight, her corset preventing any air from reaching her lungs. She felt light headed and ill.
This couldn't be happening. Not here, not tonight.
She looked around frantically and her gaze homed in on the open French doors leading onto the terrace.
If she could make it so far ...
Stepping from behind the palm, she rushed past the refreshment table and headed for the cool outdoors. Two, three, four ... Eight more steps and she would make it.
She sucked the fresh night air into her lungs. The soft soles of her ballroom slippers were silent on the stone terrace. Hurrying to the ornate balustrade, her fingers wrapped around the iron.
After the brightly lit ballroom, the terrace was dim save for the garden torches below and the sliver of a half moon. She breathed deeply, her eyes adjusting to the dark, her heart rate slowing. The fragrant scent of rose bushes wafted to her. The barbs from the cruel and hurtful insults ebbed, but the ache in her chest did not completely ease.
She doubted the pain would ever entirely go away.
"Are you going to let them win so easily?"
Jane whirled at the masculine voice. She had thought the terrace was empty, but to her surprise she saw a man leaning against the doorway, legs crossed, arms folded ... watching her. Candlelight from the ballroom behind him cast his features in shadow.
"Pardon?" she asked.
"Don't tell me you're going to let those magpies distress you?"
A sliver of alarm raced down her spine. "Who are you, sir?"
He stepped into the light from the torches. Jane sucked in a breath as recognition swept over her.
It couldn't be.
Sweet Lord, up close he was a sight to behold. Just as she remembered. He was a barrister, the estranged son of Baron Suffolk. She had met him over a year ago when her cousin Sophia had married an earl, Lord Kirkland, who happened to be Gareth Ramsey's friend.
Amidst the refined gentlemen at the ball, he had the rugged look of an unfinished sculpture. Well over six feet tall, his broad shoulders, chiseled features, and solid stance gave him the appearance of a seasoned boxer. He wore black and white evening attire, stark colors that would make most men of her acquaintance appear sallow, but on him emphasized his masculinity.
He was a dark figure of a man, big and powerful, and his face had a confidence that bordered on arrogance. He certainly was not the kind of man a lady would want to be caught alone with on a ballroom terrace. On the few occasions they had spoken in the past, they had never gotten along.
She stiffened. "I don't know what you mean, Mr. Ramsey."
His eyes sharpened. "Ah, you remember me, Jane."
Jane. Not Lady Stanwell. His complete disregard of social decorum was one of the reasons he'd unnerved her.
"I was nearby and overheard those women. I watched you flee the ballroom," he said.
"I didn't flee," she blurted out, then bit her lip as she realized she had revealed too much.
He knew about her, of course. Everyone knew. She was highly conscious of his scrutiny. Mercifully, the moonlight hid the extent of her discomfort.
He took another step forward. "You shouldn't care."
"I don't," she said sharply.
He arched a dark eyebrow. "Then why are you hiding?"
"I'm not," she snapped.
Jane glanced back into the ballroom, wanting to run again. But this time from Gareth Ramsey's overbearing presence.
The orchestra began a waltz and the strains of the music drifted onto the terrace. Jane glanced into the ballroom. Olivia was dancing with Edward, and the young couple twirled across the parquet floor. Their faces were flushed with happiness, anticipating their wedding day and marriage with gleeful ignorance.
Oh, to be so innocent.
Mr. Ramsey chuckled and Jane raised her eyes to find him studying her. A corner of his full lips turned upward in a mocking expression, and she felt a strange pull low in her stomach.
For a fleeting instant, she imagined what kind of lover he would be.
Dark, dangerous, all consuming.
He may be the most masculine man she knew, but he was too intense, and instinct told her that he was not a man to be trifled with. A woman could easily lose control of an affair with Gareth Ramsey.
And that wasn't at all what she wanted.
She'd be far better off with the Simon Marburys of the ton.
Gareth took a step closer and Jane was suddenly nervous. She could smell his cologne, sandalwood and bergamot, and feel his black eyes taking in her features.
"I must return," Jane said.
"Why so soon after your mad flight?"
She refused to allow him to bait her. "There is to be a champagne toast to the future happiness of the engaged couple."
"Ah, and you are eager to participate?" he asked, noting her interest on the dance floor.
She shrugged. "Yes, of course. They are fortunate to have found true love."
Gareth scoffed. "Come now, my lady. Only fools believe in true love."
Her gaze narrowed. "Are you calling me a fool?"
"It depends," he drawled.
Jane had come to the same conclusion regarding affairs of the heart after Charles's suicide. But something about Gareth Ramsey's rudeness and dark scowl irked her. She had an overwhelming urge to argue with the intimidating man.
"Are you saying His Grace doesn't love Lady Olivia?" she asked.
"I know the duke. I'm not questioning his motives." Jane couldn't recall the last time she had felt anger toward someone other than herself or Charles. The feelings of vulnerability and dismay that had encompassed her moments ago as she hid behind the potted palm dissipated like a puff of smoke. In its place was a simmering fury.
"You think Lady Olivia is manipulating her betrothed?" she asked.
"It has crossed my mind. Westmont is a duke, and the lady has much more to gain from the match."
"Then your mind is demented," Jane snapped. She had never met such a maddening man in her entire life. Charles had been charming and handsome; Gareth Ramsey was like a bear. "You're wrong about Lady Olivia," Jane argued. "She is my closest friend, and she is an innocent young lady who has never been married."
"Where females are concerned, I believe age and experience have nothing to do with their ability to manipulate men to do their bidding. They are born with the knowledge."
She cocked her head to the side and narrowed her eyes. "What happened to turn you into such a bitter man, Mr. Ramsey? Did a woman break your heart? Or leave you at the altar?"
He laughed. "Hardly such nonsense. I would recover from such a trifle mishap. No, Lady Stanwell. As a barrister, my practice has opened my eyes."
"Pray tell me, sir, what type of legal practice could possibly result in your backward beliefs?"
"I dispose of unwanted wives."
Whatever answer she had expected, it wasn't that.
She'd known of his chosen profession, of course. All of London knew. Gareth Ramsey had obtained the near impossible—the coveted divorce for an influential viscount. News of the wife's torrid adulterous affairs—which had led to the Act of Parliament—had been in the newspapers for months afterwards. But Jane had forgotten about Mr. Ramsey's reputation and she could only surmise her faulty memory was due to the stress of tonight's events combined with his intimidating presence.
Gareth chuckled. "You are quite fascinating, Jane. It's good you're widowed."
She gasped. A gentleman would never dare say such a thing to a lady. Especially to a woman with her past.
She raised her chin a notch. "Why is that?"
He stepped close and leaned down to whisper in her ear. "Because if you were my wife, I wouldn't allow you to speak to a man alone on a ballroom terrace for any extended period of time."
She experienced a spark of excitement at his barbaric and possessive words and his warm breath against her cheek. A tingle of awareness ran down her spine, and her heart gave an involuntary jolt. Looking up, she met those dark eyes without flinching.
"Would you care to dance?" he asked.
"After voicing such harsh opinions, you are asking me to dance?" she asked incredulously.
"Why?" he demanded.
Jane measured him with a cool appraising look. "Because you are too cocksure, too arrogant, and far too jaded for me, Mr. Ramsey."
To her surprise, he burst out laughing.
She whirled and walked away. His deep chuckle followed her, the sound rippling down her spine.
It wasn't until she was back in the ballroom, passing the gossips who'd sent her fleeing onto the terrace, that she realized she was now too preoccupied with thoughts of Gareth Ramsey to care about the women's furtive glances and hushed whispers.CHAPTER 2
Gareth Ramsey walked into Turner's coffeehouse in the Strand and spotted his friends, Daniel Forster and Robert Ware, seated at a corner table. The strong aroma of coffee wafted through the room. "Well, what do you have for me?" Gareth said.
Daniel looked up and frowned. "Why do you assume I have anything?"
"Why meet in a coffeehouse this late in the afternoon? You usually prefer whiskey at White's," Gareth said.
When Daniel scowled and Robert chuckled, Gareth grinned. The three men had been close friends since attending Eton together. Daniel was the oldest son and heir to Viscount Clayborne. Robert Ware, otherwise known as Lord Kirkland, had inherited an earldom and recently married.
A waiter arrived and set down three steaming cups of coffee.
Gareth eyed his friends over the rim of his cup. "It's been a while since I've been contacted by the Home Office."
Robert had been first to be recruited as a safecracker. Thereafter, the government had need of gentlemen with access to Society, and Daniel and Gareth had been recruited.
Excerpted from At the Spy's Pleasure by Tina Gabrielle, Alycia Tornetta. Copyright © 2015 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
Review Courtesy of April Hollingworth This is the second book in the fabulous, In the Crown Secret Service series, and I’m loving it. Each book can be read as a standalone. This book takes you on a journey into the past, during a time of dashing men and women in beautiful gowns, where dark deeds lie hidden behind a smile and danger lurks in the greed hidden behind a charming façade. Where a few good men must do what is necessary to protect Crown and Country, even if it means, becoming the lover of a woman who can disrupt his orderly life and make a mission that should be simple, become ever so much more dangerous. The chemistry sparking between Gareth and Jane is practically combustible. Gareth tries to convince her to take a chance at the fire between them, after all neither of them wants anything other than passion. But will secrets and the dangerous mission, Gareth is on, keep them apart? Opening Scene: June 10, 1821 London Tonight I will find a lover. Jane’s pulse skittered with excitement as she stepped into the glittering ballroom. The Review: The widow Jane, Countess of Stanwell, has decided she has been denied a satisfying lover, after years of being ignored by her, now, deceased husband. A selfish man who preferred to ignore his young wife, for the pleasure found in gambling. Not knowing how to find a suitable lover, she does the logical thing; she gathers a list of eligible candidates. This list does not include the dangerously handsome (if far too arrogant) Gareth Ramsey. Until he steals from her a sinful from her more than willing lips. Reputed as an arrogant barrister, Gareth’s real occupation is as a spy in His Majesty’s Service, and his suspect is on Jane’s list of possible lovers. With her life in danger, the only safe place for Jane is with him, and in his bed. But the infuriating woman is a complete distraction, and keeping her by his side while he’s in pursuit of his mission, might just put both their lives in danger. Notable Scene: He may be the most masculine man she knew, but he was too intense, and instinct told her that he was not a man to be trifled with. A woman could easily lose control of an affair with Gareth Ramsey. And that wasn’t at all what she wanted. She’d be far better off with the Simon Marburys of the ton. Gareth took a step closer and Jane was suddenly nervous. She could smell his cologne, sandalwood and bergamot, and feel his black eyes taking in her features. “I must return,” Jane said. “Why so soon after your mad flight?” She refused to allow him to bait her. “There is to be a champagne toast to the future happiness of the engaged couple.” “Ah, and you’re eager to participate?” he asked, noting her interest on the dance floor. She shrugged. “Yes, of course. They are fortunate to have found true love.” Gareth scoffed. “Come now, my lady. Only fools believe in true love.” Her gaze narrowed. “Are you calling me a fool?” “It depends,” he drawled. FTC Advisory: Ellie McMahon through Net Galley provided me with a copy of At the Spy’s Pleasure by Tina Gabrielle. Published through Entangled Scandalous, Entangled Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
This is the first book I have read by Tina Gabrielle and I find that I loved this one so much that I am getting her others. This is the second in a series "In the Crown Secret Service" I found that you didn't have to read the books in order to enjoy them.. so if you are like me reading them out of order don't worry. The heroine is a widowed named Jane, Countess of Stanwell.. Jane has had a bad marriage and takes it into her head to find out what she has been missing from her marriage bed. There enters a hero Gareth Ramsey who is a undercover spy. Jane list of possible lovers has name on it! Gareth is also trying to protect Jane so their is a mystery in this story. I also like the secondary charters in this book and would recommend this book!
This is my first book to read by Tina Gabrielle. I enjoyed it very much and want to go back to read the first one in this series. But I loved Gareth Ramsey. He was very self-confident and was very good with his words. He was direct, passionate and protective. Jane was a spitfire of a character. She did not let the suicide of her husband destroy her. She found her confidence and did not settle. By the end of the book, she was a character worth her salt. I enjoyed the secondary characters as much as I did Gareth and Jane. Her Aunt Eleanor was a hoot. Her knowing eyes and her meddling made me smile and laugh. Her friend Olivia was a very sweet and true friend. And I am hoping for a book for Gareth's friend Daniel. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.
An excellent escape into the world of intrigue and romance. Jane was in an unhappy marriage and after mourning for two years has decided to take a lover, but who? She makes a list of possible candidates that ends up in the wrong hands. A wonderful read, I enjoyed the story as well as the characters, it kept me entertained throughout. Enjoy!
Hard to put down. Loved the characters. Will definitely read more of this author's books.
After reading A Spy Unmasked I knew I wanted to read all the books in this series. Is my hint too big that I'd like another Spy from Ms. Gabrielle? It's a wonderful read with a great couple. I've been noticing some books focus heavily on either the hero or heroine's problems. I think they work better for conflict. This story deals with Jane's problem with being deceived. There is no inner turmoil on Gareth's part. He can't tell her because the job won't let him. A simple plot that reviewers can't blow holes through. I liked it. I liked it a lot. I think I lean toward liking Gareth a little more than Jane. I mean who wouldn't fall for a man that asks to be your lover. Heat level is mild. Which for this book I think worked nicely. They are mild characters without too many wild ideas. I think hot scenes would have left the reader thinking where is this coming from. My recommendation is, if you like to escape realty pick up a copy of At the Spy's Pleasure.
Jane, the widowed countess of Stanwell, has decided that she is entitled to live her life to the fullest. She's going to take a lover. She hasn't know marital happiness. Her late husband was a gambler who had no time for her. Now she has her chance. Jane is a contradiction. She's both innocent and reckless. I liked her zest for life. Unfortunately some of her decisions were not the best. When she meets Gareth Ramsey, she's drawn to him. He exudes power and confidence. He's a barrister with secrets. No one knows that he's an agent of the crown and is working on a case. He finds Jane addictive but he won't commit because of his dangerous profession. I enjoyed the battle of wills between these two. The sparks fly when they are near each other. He cares for her and will protect her when she becomes entangled with his target. Their romance was passionate and made me want them to get their HEA despite all the obstacles.Tina Gabrielle did an excellent job. She wrote a passionate story filled with danger and intrigue. The setting was perfect for romance and the secondary characters were excellent. I couldn't put down At The Spy's Pleasure. I 'm hooked on this series and am looking forward to more books for me to enjoy.
This is book 2 in the Crown's Secret Service series. After years of marriage to a selfish gambler, Jane, the widowed countess of Stanwell is ready to take a lover. She has made a list of candidates and is slowly making her decision. When Gareth Ramsey gets ahold of her list, he asks her to put his name on it. Gareth has been attracted to Jane since the first time he saw her. Working for the home office doesn't give him time for a wife, but a lover, he has time for. Getting close to Jane is part of the job, her list includes a man he is investigating, but it definitely has it's perks. But what happens when Gareth's lust for Jane turns into something much stronger? Jane is tired of men lying to her and Gareth's whole life is a lie. Can he save what they started? Loved this story. I've been reading a lot of stories lately that include the male or female lead as a spy. I think that element just adds to the overall enjoyment of the story. Seeing the tension between Jane and Gareth in the first book in the series, A Spy Unmasked, I had hoped that Gabrielle would pair them up for this story. I was not disappointed! The banter between the H/H is masterful and is always a plus (something that is always a favorite in my book!) I can't wait to see what Gabrielle has in store for us next!! Thanks go out to Entangled Publishing via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
The first I have read from Tina Gabrielle, and I’m wondering just how I missed her books, but am pleased to be offered the opportunity to read At the Spy’s Pleasure, the second in her In the Crown’s Secret Service historic romance series. This book did not require that I had read the first in the series, but you will want to grab that title simply to stay in the world Gabrielle has created. Set in 1821 London, Jane has decided to strike out on her own and find a lover. Her marriage was wholly unsatisfactory to a selfish man with gambling as his first love, his death by suicide allowed her some freedom of movement heretofore denied. Yes, there were wagging tongues nastily accusing her of being at fault in her late husband’s choices, but that just stirs Jane to further action. She compiles a list of potential candidates to fill the position of lover, and sets out to make her enquiries. Gareth Ramsey is most notable for NOT being on Jane’s List. She shied away from the arrogant barrister, whose countenance is far too handsome. Until Gareth gets wind of her ‘list’ and discovers that a person he is targeting in his true occupation as a spy for the Crown is a contender. The flirtation and stolen kiss to sway Jane to adding him to her list starts a lovely interplay between the two: both determined to NOT fall in love or become attached. Both of these characters have deep wounds and secrets, Gareth’s are a bit more obvious, but Jane’s solid sense of self and her strong friendships with Olivia and her Aunt give her added confidence in her own choices: survived the worst, what can a dalliance with Gareth do to her? They truly are made for one another, if only the secrets that they have concealed won’t tear them apart. With plenty of tension, action and out of the world chemistry between them, this story was a lovely diversion and I read it through in one sitting. Certainly enough to add the first book in the series (A Spy Unmasked) to my ever-growing slush pile of titles to read, and one that puts Tina Gabrielle firmly on my shelf of authors to watch. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
At the Spy's Pleasure was a sensual and enjoyable read, and just as intriguing as the first book in the Crown Secret Service series. The author has a vivid way of describing settings and people that is captivating, and she drew me in from the opening of the book. Jane and Gareth chemistry was wonderful, and I thoroughly enjoyed their bantering and simmering attraction from the beginning to the end. Jane was a good character. After mourning two years for a husband who did not love her, she decided to be bold, daring, adventurous, and take a lover. One she could revel in lust with, without losing her heart. I enjoyed her quest for passion, for life, and I even admired her reasons for protecting her heart. The chemistry between her and Gareth was sweet and sensual, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment they graced the pages together. The only thing I did not love about Jane was that she was willing to deceive someone after she fled from Gareth because he lied to her. A serious case of the pot calling the kettle black. I understood her reason for it, but in that moment I did not like her. It all ended wonderfully of course, and I sighed in satisfaction when the book ended. Gareth, I loved everything about him. Brooding and Handsome, a spy who is dedicated to king and country, confident, assertive, deliciously sexy, and just dying for the right woman to twist in him knots. I loved that Jane shook him up, and I enjoyed the journey to their happy every after. Overall this was well written romance. The plot was also interesting and well-paced, and I loved, loved that it did not overshadow the romance. Instead we got the intriguing mix of a spy seeking justice, and hot and sensual romance. I would recommend to historical romance lovers.
There is something so fun about reading a romance set in England in the 1800s. Perhaps because it was an era that is associated with love and romance, a fantastical time that probably wasn’t nearly as wonderful as we make it out to be. Even so, I fall easily into the ideas and sink into the story, wooed by the picture we portray. However, that’s only if it’s done correctly, and this book easily swept me away. Jane has been dealt a rotten in hand in her life so far, with a husband who ignored her in favor of his gambling addiction, and the subsequent scandal he caused through his death, and then being ostracized by the society for his stupidity. Luckily, widows are granted much more freedom in their life and Jane is determined to make the most of it. She doesn’t ever want to have her heart trampled again, or be trapped by marriage, but she does want to experience the passion she has read and heard about. So, she sets out to find herself a lover, making a list of possible candidates and actively pursuing her goal. Gareth is the youngest son of a Barron, but has forged his own way in life by becoming a much desired Barrister. Unbeknownst to society, he is also a spy for the crown. His newest assignment is to uncover the source of faulty weaponry being sold to the military. Through sheer happenstance, he runs into Jane and discovers her list, noticing that his prime suspect in at the top. He pursues her, she runs, sparks erupt, and an explosion ensues! Jane and Gareth both have strong personalities, which cause some clashing at times. But, their smart banter only fuels the attraction between them. I loved watching their relationship grow, the sexual tension strings the pages tightly together. Even more though, I enjoyed the way they easily fell into a friendship of sorts, outside the bedroom. Enjoying each other’s company and engaging in intelligent conversations and getting to know each other. Without that element, the couple would have fallen rather flat. I wouldn’t have believed it when their feelings began to become involved. The secondary characters really make the story. I love Jane and Gareth, but without Olivia, David, and Jane’s aunt, it would have lost some of its fun and flare. They really helped move the plot along and put a smile on my face several times. The premise of the story is interesting, though there’s not much in the way of plots twists and action (with the exception of a couple of hot boxing scenes), and it’s actually quite predictable. However, it still kept my attention and had me eager to see exactly how the events would unfold, even if I was sure where the story was going. This book is well written in general, but kudos to the author for keeping to the time period and not modernizing it, which would have broken my concentration and made the story hard to get into. I truly enjoyed reading At the Spy’s Pleasure. It’s not a re-read for me, but I highly recommend it.
This is the first book by Tina Gabrielle's I've read, and it won't be the last. I enjoyed reading this romance, the characters are warm, intelligent, sexy, the story is original and exciting, and was hard to put down once I began reading. I look forward to reading book one in this series, and I hope you read this book and enjoy it as much as I did. This is the story about a spy who sets his sights on saving the lady from, well, herself. Jane, a widow, is determined to find a lover. She's made a list of eligible men, however, Gareth gets his hands on her list, and is determined he will be Jane's lover. Now the chase is on, and Jane can't fight her attraction for Gareth, and she finds herself in the middle of his investigation of another of her potential lover's. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Jane, the widowed Countess of Stanwell has been in mourning for her husband for 2 years but has finally decided to rejoin society even after the scandal of her husband’s suicide - he shot himself after his prized stallion lost a race. After suffering an unhappy marriage with a husband who never loved her but only cared for gambling, Jane wants to savour life & find an uncomplicated lover who will give her pleasure after years of being lonely & starved of affection in her marriage. Gareth Ramsey is the youngest son of a Baron, a successful barrister and also a spy for the crown. His latest assignment has him investigating a man whom Jane has earmarked for her lover. When he finds Jane list of "Possible Candidates for Lovers" he's both alarmed that his mark is on her list and aggrieved that he himself is at the bottom of the list! I was initially a bit put off with the idea of a heroine looking for a lover but Jane’s character was well written & I could sympathize with her reasons. She’s initially somewhat antagonized by Gareth’s extreme masculinity but his powerful maleness quickly becomes a point of attraction instead (not surprisingly!). Gareth has never been one for lasting relationships but he cannot help but be charmed by Jane’s combination of innocence and passion. I liked how both of them worm their way under each other’s skins & their chemistry is quite potent *smirks*. If you object to pre marital sex then be warned that their relationship goes in that direction quite early on as both are adamant at the beginning of having an affair only. The love scenes are well written & fit in with the storyline. A quick easy read tho some of the language was a bit modern & a bit abrupt it was still enjoyable Copy gifted in exchange for an honest review
Spies, mystery and romance! Set in 1821, London, this story ‘stars’ Jane, the widowed Countess of Stanwell. She’s always been ‘good’ and done as she’s told. First following her family’s instructions, including who she should marry, and then having years of marriage to a man who preferred horses and gambling to his young wife before he committed suicide. Now, after two years of mourning, she’s ready to live for herself – starting with finding herself a satisfactory lover. She consults her friend and together they make a list of possible candidates…. though she only puts the initials of the man she’s most attracted too, Gareth Ramsey. Gareth Ramsey is the second son of an Earl and a barrister famed for helping rich husbands divorce their wives. Secretly he’s also a spy in His Majesty’s service and he finds that the suspect he is currently investigating is on Jane’s list of possible lovers. He finds he is also disturbed to find he’s not top of the list! Neither wants marriage or commitment but, with her reputation and life in danger, their attraction so strong, will they be able to resist each other? With a feisty, independent but naive female lead, an alpha, arrogant, ‘determined not to succumb’ male lead and a crime to be uncovered this is a great read. The author makes it easy to relate to and empathise with the characters. Gareth’s undercover spy work and his determination to keep Jane safe add to the mix, making this a book I have no hesitation in recommending. You do not need to read any other books in this series to enjoy this one – but you may, like me, be tempted to do so! Thanks to the author, publishers and NetGalley, too, for letting me read an ARC in exchange for an honest review.