Ladies in waiting can’t help noticing more than they let on. After so many years at the court of Mary, Queen of Scots, Emma Howard sees quite plainly that the royal couple is anything but happy. Reeling from a failed marriage herself, Emma sympathizes with her beloved queen. But the last thing she wants is for the king to be murdered, let alone to witness the shocking act herself. With her whole world turned upside-down, Emma is saved by the quick thinking of a lowly printer . . . who, unbeknownst to her, is one of England’s most daring spies.
At Queen Elizabeth’s behest, Tristan has been stirring discontent against the Scottish nobility. Now that the king is dead, his mission is even more critical. There’s only one complication: the exquisite courtier who’s unexpectedly fallen under Tristan’s protection. Emma rouses his body and his soul. But after she learns that he’s a traitor, the fate of two nations hangs on her response. Tristan’s prepared to risk his life in exchange for hers. Will Emma do the same for the man she’s come to love?
Don’t miss these novels in the All the Queen’s Spies series:
WED TO A SPY | BOUND TO A SPY
And look for all of Sharon Cullen’s delightful historical romances:
THE NOTORIOUS LADY ANNE | LOVING THE EARL | PLEASING THE PIRATE | HIS SAVING GRACE | SEBASTIAN’S LADY SPY | THE RELUCTANT DUCHESS
The Highland Pride series: SUTHERLAND’S SECRET | MACLEAN’S PASSION | CAMPBELL’S REDEMPTION
This ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
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February 10, 1567
She should have taken Whickersham’s offer of a carriage ride home. But, no, she’d insisted she could walk to Holyrood palace.
Sometimes her stubbornness was not a pleasing trait. Tonight was one of those instances.
It was dark.
And her trailing lady’s maid was sullen and silently condemning. Maybe the issue was not that she was walking home, but that she had to bear the incessant sighs and dagger looks to the back from Gelis.
“It’s just another ten minutes,” Emma said over her shoulder.
Gelis bent her head and trudged onward, pretending to limp when Emma knew there was nothing wrong with the girl’s leg.
If she’d just taken the carriage she’d be in her chambers at the palace now, her feet up on a stool, the heat from a roaring fire warming her.
She buried her hands farther into her sleeves and tipped her chin down into her cloak. The wind stung her eyes and the occasional snowflake pricked her cheeks.
“See? We’re passing Kirk o’ Field now.” She wanted to say the words, to reassure Gelis that they were, indeed, almost home, but she didn’t want to release her chin from her warm cloak and she didn’t much care to reassure Gelis.
Emma breathed a sigh of relief as they passed Kirk o’ Field. She could see Holyrood palace in the distance, and she could practically feel the warmth of the fire now. A good mulled wine would be nice to warm her innards as well.
“Walking is invigorating,” she had told Mr. Whickersham when he’d offered his carriage. “Besides, I need the exercise.”
She rolled her eyes at herself and glanced behind her to see if Gelis was still following when she caught movement behind the girl.
About half a dozen or so men were running in their direction. Quickly Emma stepped to the side, pulling Gelis along by her arm. Gelis yelped and stumbled up next to Emma, but before the men reached the girls they veered off into the Kirk o’ Field orchard.
Curious, Emma watched them go. It was late in the evening. Most people with a lick of common sense were in their homes, in front of their fires, or getting ready for bed. Emma and Gelis had not passed anyone at all in the few blocks they’d walked from the Whickershams’ at the other end of High Street. Where had those men suddenly come from?
“Come, Gelis,” she said. “We must hurry.”
Gelis snorted. “I been telling you that the whole time. Somethin’ ain’t right. I got a feeling in my bones.”
Emma disregarded Gelis’s bones and continued on, but her mind was on those men. It appeared that they had been carrying weapons but it was dark and she couldn’t be positive.
Emma walked faster.
They were passing the other end of the orchard when Emma heard a noise that gave her pause. She looked to her left, into the orchard, and saw those men again. A few were bent over, touching something on the ground. Emma stopped, even though her mind was telling her to run, and peered closely into the darkness.
Was that a body they were bent over?
She couldn’t be certain but she had to be wrong. Why in the world would there be a body lying in the middle of the orchard? Unless some poor, hapless being expired there on the spot. What a terrible way to go. All alone, in the middle of a field, on a cold, dark night.
She heard someone yell out, but could not make out the words. A person leaned over the body, placed his hands on it. The legs of the person lying on the ground flailed. The arms jerked.
Beside her Gelis was muttering and looking longingly at the palace. Did she not see what was happening?
And what exactly was happening?
It almost appeared as if whoever was standing over the body, reaching down, was attempting to strangle the one on the ground.
Suddenly the legs stopped kicking, the arms collapsed and the person did not move again.
Emma covered her mouth to keep her shocked gasp in. She looked up and down High Street. The area was strangely empty except for the men surrounding the body on the ground.
A large clap of thunder suddenly rent the air. Emma fleetingly thought that it was strange to hear thunder on a snowy February night. Then a bright light pierced her eyes and the Kirk o’ Field building exploded.
The impact lifted Emma off her feet and tossed her backward. She thought maybe she had screamed and then thought that she couldn’t let those men know she was here, watching their dastardly deed.
Bits and pieces of stone from the building began falling from the sky. Emma stared up at them as they came hurtling toward her but she had no strength to cover her face, to get up and run.
And then she knew nothing.
The explosion rocked Tristan’s bed and woke him up. He hurriedly pulled on clothes, grabbing his cloak as he headed out the front door of his print shop.
People were coming out of their homes, still in their nightclothes and nightcaps, their eyes clouded with sleep. Some were hurrying toward the orange glow on the horizon, lanterns in hand.
Tristan closed and locked the door to the print shop and followed the others. They were talking excitedly, speculating as to the source of the sound that rattled the windows and the dishes in the cupboards.
Tristan listened with half an ear, his mind cataloguing the theories being tossed about.
“Had to have been a lightning bolt come from the sky,” one man said.
But the sky was clear, not a cloud in sight, and who had ever heard of lightning and thunder in February.
It was snowing but it was a lazy snow, the sparse flakes drifting slowly about. The orange glow grew brighter, and Tristan could just make out the lick of flames against the black backdrop of the sky.
An explosion of some sort?
“We’re under attack,” a woman wailed.
Tristan highly doubted they were under attack but it was a more plausible explanation than lightning.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am voluntarily submitting my honest review after receiving an ARC of this ebook via NetGalley. This continuation of the All the Queen's Spies Series functions very well as a standalone novel. The characters are likable and easy to relate to, and the dialogue is crisp and engaging. The plot moves swiftly and is intriguing and engaging. The romance, however, falls somewhat flat, as a heroine as battered and scarred as Emma seems highly unlikely to drop her guard and allow herself to relax enough to truly connect with Tristan so quickly. Her willingness to risk so much for him after such a short acquaintance and after their relationship has been built upon a foundation of lies he told her is suspect in the extreme. Still, the novel is a quick read laced with excitement and intrigue. Fans of historical fiction and spy novels will enjoy this book.
Set in the Elizabethan era, Lady Emma Hamilton is a member of Queen Mary’s court. In Lost To A Spy, Lady Emma is walking home with her maid, from dinner with friends, when she is an inadvertent witness to the assassination of Lord Darnley, the Queen’s husband. Caught by the shockwave of an explosion used to cover up the murder, Emma is thrown clear and hits her head, leaving her unconscious. Her maid is terrified and runs away, but Emma is soon found by Tristan Fitzherbert. He takes her home to his apartment above the printing shop he runs. She is still unconscious, but she soon comes around. Immediately a spark begins to flare between the two of them. The only problem is, he can’t tell her he is really a spy for Queen Elizabeth, and she can’t tell him that she thinks she has seen a murder. The murder of the king. Having escaped an abusive marriage when her husband mercifully died, Emma is afraid of men. She is attracted to Tristan but can’t forget the past. She soon comes to believe, however, that Tristan can be the one to show her what lovemaking really can be. They spend days together learning to love each other, knowing the entire time they will have to part. Even if she hadn’t been the witness to a murder, and if he wasn’t a spy, she is a Lady and he is a commoner. Genuine And Enjoyable This was a truly enjoyable story, I liked the characters very much. Their interaction was genuine and I felt I really understood them. This is the third in the series of spy novels by Sharon Cullen. I will definitely be on the lookout for the other books in the All The Queen’s Spies series, Wed To A Spy, and Bound To A Spy, and four more books by this author. Reviewed for LnkToMi iRead in response to a complimentary copy of the book provided by the publisher in hopes of an honest review.
Fast paced romance that takes place in Tudor Era England. The chemistry between Tristian and Emma was off the charts. The sex was even better. The intrigue was suspenseful and I was literally on edge at the end of the book. Love this series and can't wait to book 4!!
I really enjoyed Emma and Tristan's story. With Emma coming from a horrible marriage, it is a wonder that she was able to trust any man again. But with patience and understanding, Tristan was able to show Emma that not all men were as horrible and dishonorable has her late husband. While they navigate the aftermath of the death of the king, the two grow closer than either of them ever imagined they would with another person. Having both claimed never to wed again, they were surprised to find themselves not wanting to end their affair. Can they get out of Scotland with their lives to start over and find their HEA? This was a great addition to Cullen's All the Queen's Spies and I look forward to the next book in the series!
Book three in the All the Queen's Spies brings us the murder of Darnley, the King of Scotland, which was hinted at in book two, Bound to a Spy. Lady Emma is walking home when she witnesses the murder right before a massive explosion lands her in the care of Tristan, an English spy turned printer. Tristan isn’t sure why he brought Emma to his home, he just knew he couldn’t leave her in the streets. It doesn’t take him long to see it as the opportunity it is when he discovers she witnessed the murder of the king. She is very reluctant to believe Queen Mary knew of the plot or that Bothwell, a closer adviser to Mary, was in on it. But she can’t refute what Tristan says or what she hears on the streets. The people don’t trust Bothwell and she comes to realize the Queen she loves isn’t woman she is now. Tristan and Emma get to know each other during the week she spends in his home and she comes to trust him, the first man ever since her abusive husband’s death several years ago. So she puts into Tristan’s hand her full trust, and what comes out of that is beautiful and passionate. However, the morning after she comes to discover evidence that paints Tristan as not so honest or innocent and she fleas back to Holyrood palace where she speaks with the Queen and overhears Bothwell speak of rounding up printers for questioning. She rushes to warn Tristan and the resulting adventure adds drama, suspense, hope, and determination to an already successful plot. I loved how everything unfolded. I liked the escape from Scotland and the scene with Tristan, Emma, and Queen Elizabeth shortly after arriving in England. I hope LaGrange gets his own book and I want to find out what happens next in the intrigue and drama at the Scottish court.
Engrossing historical, filled with timeless issues of conspiracy, women with no rights, abuse and romance! A spy and a lady, both having failed marriages; both sworn off any hope for love and nuptials. Enjoyed the way this was all brought together! Hoping LaGrange will get his book. Think I know who his mate will be☺ Voluntarily read ARC, through Netgalley and publisher, for honest review.
The fear, Emma had it from being married to an abusive husband and the fact that she had seen the king killed. She didn't know who to trust. Tristan was an English spy and a printer. He saved Emma and picked her up, took her to his place and nursed her. This was a great read, the characters were considerate, loving and curious. There were some very interesting turns to this tale like Tristan gets arrested, tortured and hurt very badly. According to descriptions, the land is green and lush, beautiful. He does not want to settle down, he feels guilty about his wife. I so loved the action, all the secrets and the love beginning to grow. The author did an excellent job of the plot being smooth, even paced and gathering the bits to make sense. An excellent read.
I have really enjoyed this series. Tristan always seemed so aloof compared to the others and I was glad that we got to see him as he really is in this story. Emma is so much stronger than she believes and Tristan helps her realize it. After Emma witnesses a murder and then an explosion, Tristan rescues her and nurses her back to health. He realizes that she probably witnessed the murder of Queen Mary's husband. Emma doesn't trust any man and she certainly isn't going to tell this printer what she witnessed. But, it doesn't take long for her to realize that she can and does trust Tristan. When Tristan is nearly murdered, she realizes that she must make some big changes.
A fast paced adventure involving intrigue, murder and spies, what more could you ask for in a historical romance? Sharon Cullen has placed the reader in Scotland at the time of the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots and all of the turmoil during that period. She brings the times alive with her descriptive prose and engages you in the characters and their lives. Lady Emma Hamilton is fortunate. She had lost her parents and is taken into the royal court by Queen Mary as a courtier. She accidentally sees a murder and is rescued by none other that Tristan, a lowly printer. But as fate would have it, people are not always as they appear! Tristan is really an English spy sent to Scotland to spy on the Queen. What follows is an intriguing tale that will keep you glued to your seat with all the twist and turns. As Emma and Tristan get to know each other, there is no telling what will happen. This is a well written tale, that although part of a series, can be read as a standalone. I cannot wait to read more from this author and know you will really enjoy this story..
Lady Emma Hamilton, widow and friend to Queen Mary of Scotland, was abused by her deceased husband and does not trust men. Walking back to Holyrood Palace with her maid, after dinner at a friend’s house, she sees men gathered around what appears to be a body in the orchard nearby and then she is thrown by the explosion in the Kirk o’ Field building. Tristan, a printer, wakens from the blast and runs out to see what has happened. He finds her unconscious and to protect her, takes her back to his rooms above the print shop. When she awakens in a strange place, she learns Lord Darnley, Mary’s husband, was killed the night of the blast. She’s determined to return to the palace and help Mary, but when they walk by the explosion site, she asks to go back to the print shop with him. Tristan teaches her that all men are not like her deceased husband She eventually goes back to the palace but is still uncomfortable with what she knows. She discovered he is more than just a printer. When he is arrested for printing placards, she does everything she can to save him. There is so much more going on and I will not spoil it. There is a HEA and a reunion with some of the people in the first two books. I have truly enjoyed this trilogy, but this one is my favorite. If you like historical romance with some real history, this series is for you.
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