"Devlyn spins an intriguing historical romance packed with emotion and suspense."—New York Times bestselling author Dianna Love
Seduction is His Duty to King and Country
Ethan deBeau has charmed his way into the beds of countless women, enticing them to whisper all kinds of state secrets in his ear. But his latest assignment is completely different: find a missing young boy. It's practically child's play for a master spy such as Ethan. Until Miss Sydney Hunt threatens to unravel all his carefully laid plans. Who is the world is this woman?
But Tempting Her is All for Pleasure
Sydney has worked hard to maintain a facade of respectability—all while keeping a network of contacts among London's underground world. When she hears of strange activities at a local home for orphans, she's determined to find out what's really going on. Until she runs headlong into a notorious rake eager to expose every inch of her...
Praise for Checkmate, My Lord:
"Sexy and edgy...those who enjoy Brenda Joyce will delight in this."—Booklist
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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."
He squeezed her wrist. "How long was I out?"
"All of a day and most of a night."
"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."
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."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This spy thriller was a little grittier than the average historical romance. We definitely get to see the dark side of London and the perils of spying. I enjoyed the great interaction between Ethan de Beau, one of the top spies in England's Nexus organization, and Sydney Hunt, the proprietoress of an employment agency who goes beyond the call of duty to see that her clients are in safe, respectable jobs. They both end up looking for a kidnapped boy who may be in a local orphanage. This could also be the key to bringing down a network of Napoleon's spies in England. It turns out that working together may just be the best way for each to get what they want, but they'll have to divulge long-held secrets and trust each other to get the job done. I wish the ending had a little more detail, but overall it was a satisfying tale of spies, danger, and learning to trust the one you love.
Loved the concept. Loved the characters. I jumped in the book and didn't stop until it was finished. I went to Central Park so I was tickled to relate in that part of the book.
5 out of 5 for this reader folks! There must be something about spies and regency romance that really turns my crank because every book I have read with this mix I absolutely enjoy. Maybe it's the mystique, suppose to be proper but really bad ass under all the titles and manners .. I don't know .. but I sure love it! Lady's Secret Weapon by Tracey Devlyn is the third book in her Nexus series. I broke a huge reading rule of mine by reading the third book in a series before the first two. I am kind of obsessive about reading things in order and anticipating secondary characters future story lines. As I had just been introduced to the characters in this third book, I did feel a little like I missed something (I was going to give this book a 4.5 out of 5 for that feeling but it's not the authors fault I didn't read the first two), but that being said I am sure a non obsessive series reader may feel like they didn't miss anything. Again this is my own personal "reading rule" and I like to see past characters make an appearance and have that warm feeling that they found their happy. So a brief setting ... London, early 1800's, the Nexus organization is a group of individuals who become spies to combat Napoleon's effort to take down England. Each spy brings something different to the table, and in this story our main man Ethan is the master of seduction for information. At the beginning of the book, we find Ethan seriously injured and a cloaked woman secretly attending to him. Months pass and Ethan is eager to find out who this woman was. Shortly after being given a mission to find a missing orphan boy, he comes across a woman who not only seems to have an invested interest in the young boys orphanage he is surveying, but is setting off bells of familiarity in his head. Sydney runs a business that enables the ton to find employees that will suitably match their employer, while playing a part in the underground spy circuit. She uses her proper lady cover to infiltrate the orphanage and is shocked at what she discovers. Then there is this hot rogue that seeks her services and now she can't stop thinking about him (she is our cloaked lady and is fearful that Ethan will recognize her). Before they know it, Ethan and Sydney begin to work together in the joint effort to take down a French spymaster and an English traitor (I guess this traitor has reeked havoc in the beginning of this series as well). While fighting the bad guys, they also fight their passion for each other. So these two are well matched. Both a little sassy and eager to fight the bad guys while figuring out a mystery that will unravel big secrets, I loved reading our naughty Ethan's troubles of seducing Sydney. I mean this is what he does! I loved reading Sydney play the cool cucumber in Ethan's presence while the blood was boiling just underneath the surface. When this tension breaks .... FANS MYSELF! LOL Love a regency romance full of secrets, action, lust and love? Check out A Lady's Secret Weapon. I am going to rewind and read the first two books now. Maybe I'll enjoy the "know what has already happened" aspect of this series as opposed to what I am use to! HAPPY READING! :)
In A Lady's Secret Weapon by Tracey Devlyn, the third installment in her historical romance/suspense Nexus series, we are following Ethan and Sydney's story. This is such a great read. The historical elements are wonderfully detailed and rich. I loved finding out about Specter. The mysteries wrapped in romance in this book are just incredible. This is an amazing series...I love the Nexus characters. Tracey has built a series full of passion and suspense.
Ahh, Casablanca, you and Entangled are quickly becoming my favorite publishers for romance. And you, of course, top the duo in historicals because of your awesome stable of authors! Tracey Devlyn is now included in that number for me. I loved the push and pull of all the secrets that both Sydney and Ethan have. Both have deep and compelling reasons to do what they do, and they’re both totally driven to continue doing them even as they try to keep their alternate identity/task (spying) a secret. I loved Sydney because she comes from such a working-class background and never shies away from that fact. She’s a bastard, but doesn’t exactly advertise it, though in the gossip-filled world of London, it’s not a secret either. She’s turned her humble beginnings and appreciation/respect for the servant class into a somewhat profitable business for herself. Her parents support her and she’s an independent woman. She has little need or want for a man, but then Ethan comes along and finally helps her purge the dark wound from her childhood (and that’s all I’m going to say about that, other than said dark wound needs to be strung up by his unmentionables, covered in honey, and then have a jar of fire ants dropped on him). Ethan’s only desire has been to lead the spying agency, ever since his father passed and it was expected that he would one day step into his father’s shoes. He’s utterly devoted to the spying agency, and is devastated when he learns he’ll be passed over for the promotion. But while there’s a heavy level of resentment toward his friend, who got the promotion, he doesn’t let that get in the way of any of his missions, nor finding out who saved his life (a cloaked figure and a maid, both of whom turn out to be Sydney of course – this isn’t a spoiler, it’s clear in the prologue). Their current missions overlap surrounding an orphanage and these two strong characters, while growing closer, don’t let their emotions distract them from the path of discovery. They learn to work together and save one another, both from the monsters involved in the orphanage debacle and their haunted pasts. I can’t say enough positives about this book. This is totally a 5-star review from me and I can’t wait to read more by Tracey Devlyn. Thank you Sourcebooks for letting me read this! Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
A LADY'S SECRET WEAPON by TRACEY DEVLYN is an fast paced Regency Historical Romance set in 1804 London. #3 in the "Nexus" series,but can be read as a stand alone. See, Lady's Revenge" and "A "Checkmate, My Lord". Follow notorious rake and Nexus spy, Ethan deBeau, Viscount Danforth and Miss Sydney Hunt,whose business it is to place domestics into suitable employment,oh, but she is so much more. Follow, these two has they navigate danger, sensual tension, and a mission to expose the French Spymaster, LaRouche, English traitor Lord Latymer, and expose what is going on at the orphanage. Ethan is in search of a child, whose mother wanted him kept safe, he is at the orphanage, or so they believe. Fast paced and suspense filled. With enduring characters with a few twists and turns. As Ethan and Sydney get closer to the truth,danger lurks,their passion and feelings for each other grow stronger. Is there anything more alluring than a romance with danger, mystery, suspense and sizzling passion? Well, if you believe in this promise,than I would encourage you to pick up "A Lady's Secret Weapon",for it has all of this and so much more. A must read for any historical romance reader! I have read all Ms. Devlyn's stories so far and must say they only get better! Well done! I hope to read more on the traitorous Lord Latymer, and the next group of Nexus agents. Received for an honest review from the publisher. RATING: 4.5 HEAT RATING: Mild REVIEWED BY: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
For readers who love mystery, thrillers and historical romance, A Lady's Secret Weapon is going to be an early Christmas gift. Compelling characters deal with political machinations in the Napoleonic Wars era in Regency England, with hot seduction a delicious undercurrent throughout the text.
OMG!!! This was the last book in Tracey Devlyn’s Nexus series and what an end it was!!! If you have been tracing this series from book one, with Cora and Helsford, you may have been gearing up for Ethan’s book and of course to who the mysterious Specter was from Somerton’s in book 2. Well your wait is now over~ We find out who this Specter person is and more in this end to a great debut series! In this book we got a chance to see more of the elusive and protective Ethan deBeau. Though we knew of his “occupation” within the Nexus Spy group we got to really see who he is in this ending. I’ll have to say I really enjoyed reading this side of him and he absolutely had a lot going for him. Sydney is a proprietress of her own Hunt Agency in which she helps the working class find suitable jobs for their skills and suitable employees for the aristocrat’s home. But she has many jobs within her own agency and many more secrets to bind to if she wants to keep her agency from crashing and her reputation in tack. But as she got more acquainted with Ethan, to her unwanted desire, it was getting harder to keep her many jobs a secret from him. And since he has claimed to have suspicions about her, which sparked his interest, he’s vowed to keep her by his side and fancy the challenge to break her mold. I love both these characters and enjoyed knowing their past and their mental thoughts about everyone and everything around them. I found them to be very aware of the people and their surrounding which made them great in their work and I love how they can out wit the other whenever they were around each other. Mostly Sydney is doing all the besting on Ethan, which I loved reading, because Ethan just makes a fool of himself. And of course, it’s great to see a great man in need of help from a lady from time to time. Men can’t do everything on their own and us ladies aren’t damsels in distress who can’t do for themselves, so it was super fabulous that Sydney was a super much needed heroine who can do things on her own and is a super determined, strong, independent, and brave woman! So I absolutely adored this book. I had no problem at all with it and was super super happy to find out who Specter was! I super had my suspicion and thought it was someone else all together and smiled myself with figuring it out early on in the book but was I wrong! It was totally not a shocker but still it was. But I did surprised myself with the knowledge of Somerton’s and Ethan’s age because I still can’t fathom the fact that Somerton was the guardian and mentor for Ethan and Cora. That is still shocking to me. Aren’t they like, close in age? Somerton, in my mind and eyes, is just too young, too young! Isn’t he? I mean, he’s like a father to them, right! Still shocking. The only thing that disappointed me was the ending shall I say. There wasn’t exactly an ending to the “mission” which totally disappointed me. I loved the ending to Ethan and Sydney’s relationship but the ending over all was just…. It left me with many unanswered questions and probed more questions as to what happened to this and that…. I was very disappointed, that is unless, it was just the fact that I have an eARC version and not the full edited version; therefore I’ll have to check that out. But from this ending it did probe the question as too, is this really the end for the series? I really do want a story for that funny witty friend of Ethan’s, the Marquess of Shevington, which we had a great laugh with in parts of the book, mainly the beginning, but still, I really want to see his own book. He is that character I really want to get to know better and from what we got to glimpse from this book, he needs his own story! Here’s a great clip scene with Shev and Ethan! : “What the devil is that atrocious noise?” Ethan cocked his head and listened. “It’s a bird, Shev.” “Well, make it stop.” His friend rubbed his temple. “All this walking and squinting against the sun has given me a megrim. One more piercing tweet from that feathered beast and my head will splinter in two.” Waving the Marquess inside, Ethan said, “You’ve been upright too long. Go home and get some sleep before your mother’s dinner party. She won’t be please if you arrive looking like a dissipated sot.” After Ethan closed the carriage door, Shev nodded towards Somerton House. “There’s a ginger-haired creature bouncing in the window. Good day, Danforth.” Sure enough, Ethan turned his back on his departing friend and found Sophie Ashcroft jumping up and down and waving at him. ~A Lady’s Secret Weapon; pg. 121 Don’t you just want Shevington to have his own book! Ahh, he is great indeed! So, this book is just amazing, with spying, some action, more spying, some interrogations and sneaking abound, dark places and tensions…. They’re fabulous! This eARC was provided by the publisher threw Netgallery.
I enjoyed this book as much as the others. Love....intrigue...historical drama all rolled into one. Tracey Devlyn is a new author for me but one I have come to appreciate. She sets the scenes...gives just the right amount of detail so you are not bored...and makes you thoroughly enjoy the characters. Catching up with past main characters is appreciated but the way it compliments the story is highly desired. This series is my frost recent historical favorites.
This is a great historical romance by author Tracey Devlyn. There is a sizzling attraction between Ethan de Beau and the heroine of the story, Miss Sydney Hunt. Add to that a lot of intrigue and suspense and you have a great read. You will definitely get lost in the pages of this story!
Lord Ethan DeBeau, Viscount Danforth is an agent of a secret government organization called the Nexus. Miss Sydney Hunt runs a business placing domestics in suitable situations... but is that all she does? I loved that Sydney was a big, beautiful, ride to the rescue, heroine. She came to the aid of our hero, Ethan, several times but that in no way means he is weak. They just make a great team. Ms. Devlyn wrote an action packed mystery, filled with romance and two protagonists who were very easy to fall in love with. Do yourself a favor and crack open this beauty.
Thrilling Spy Romance! 4 ½ stars Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for a copy of this book A LADY'S SECRET WEAPON written by Tracey Devlyn. This is the first time, that I read one of her book and I was not disappointed! It's the third book in her NEXUS series! I really enjoyed this historical romance filled with intrigue and mystery! I loved her two spies Ethan, a spy in a group named Nexus, well known to protect England and Sydney, also a spy! Lots of beautiful emotions! Both will start to trust each other and share secrets from their past. Her characters were well developed! Great characters, a tight plot, an atmospheric historical setting, it's a story of tenderness and passion! Beautiful chemistry between her hero and heroine. I was hooked from the first page and could not put it down. I will definitely be reading more books by this author Tracey Devlyn. I highly recommend this book!
Oh my gosh, where to start with this book? I was really looking forward to A Lady’s Secret Weapon by Tracey Devlyn because the hero, Ethan, is the bad boy of the series and I have a thing for bad boys. They are usually more troubled than the good boys, so when they make the switch it is more raw and emotional. Pairing Ethan with the independent heroine Sydney was just explosive. The third book in the Nexus Series is filled with several plot lines that are all wonderfully woven together to keep you on the edge of your seat. I have had to read each of these books carefully because there is so much going on I don’t want to miss a thing and they move quickly. The character development is phenomenal. Ethan and Sydney are well developed characters with lots of internal conflict. There are some deep seeded issues they both reluctantly have to come to terms with before they can move on with their relationship. I was surprised at how some of the plot lines played out due to the way the characters matured over the story. Ethan and Sydney brought out the best in one another, even if it they provoked each other a lot with their bantering. They are a very entertaining pair and make each other stronger. I love seeing that in a romance. The major intimate scene in the book was done extremely well. It was very passionate, gentle and sweet and made me swoon at the end (and I don’t swoon easily). Tracey does an awesome job with the mystery and intrigue in her Nexus stories. These books are true romantic mysteries and full of suspense. It is so fun to see how her spies worked back before they had all the modern day gadgets like bugs and cameras. They had to use a lot of creativity, whit and instinct. A Lady’s Secret Weapon is very emotional. I don’t want to give all the examples because some are spoilers but the emotional ride went beyond just Ethan and Sydney’s relationship and internal struggles. I was completely surprised at the ending of the story which makes me want to read it again just to see the story in a different light. It is always fun to read more about characters from previous books, so I love that the other members of the Nexus were in this book a lot and 7 year old Sophie who has as much energy as all of the characters put together. If you like romantic mysteries (historical or contemporary) that are full of espionage and intrigue, I highly recommend A Lady’s Secret Weapon.