A rabble rouser for justice, Sophie’s latest mission is to fight for the rights of the poor, the wretched—and the employees at Madame Hartley’s brothel. She’s not concerned about the criminals who will cross her path, for Sophie has mastered the art of deception—including the art of wearing trousers. Now her fate is in her own hands, along with a loaded gun. All she needs is instruction on how to shoot it. But only one person can help her: Lord Quint, the man who broke her heart years ago. The man she won’t let destroy her again…
The last thing Damien Beecham, Viscount Quint, needs is an intrusion on his privacy, especially from the beautiful, exasperating woman he’s never stopped wanting. A woman with a perilously absurd request, no less! For Damien is fighting a battle of his own, one he wishes to keep hidden—along with his feelings for Lady Sophia. Yet that fight is as hopeless as stopping her outlandish plan. Soon all Quint knows for certain is that he will die trying to protect her…
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The Lady Hellion
By Joanna Shupe
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2015 Joanna Shupe
All rights reserved.
Padding the crotch of one's trousers required a surprising amount of skill. Too big of a bulge drew attention. Too small and you risked the thing slipping down your leg.
Fortunately, Lady Sophia Barnes had enough experience to achieve the perfect balance. No one looking at her now would believe her a lady of twenty-seven, the daughter of a wealthy and powerful marquess—not dressed as she was, in gentleman's finery from head to toe.
Just as no one would believe her spare time was spent investigating matters for a class of women most Londoners did not even want to think about.
The evening, though chilly and unpleasant, had been moderately productive. As Sophie approached the hackney, the driver jumped down to open the door. Her maid, Alice, sat inside, huddled under blankets. Alice waited until the door closed before she spoke. "Well, my lady?"
Sophie knocked on the roof to signal the driver. Then she pulled a folded paper out of the pocket of her greatcoat. "No trace of Natalia, but I did find this." Beth, the girl who'd hired Sophie, was worried that ill had befallen her friend. Though Beth had now found herself a protector, Natalia still worked in a tavern near the docks, where extra coins meant taking a customer to the second-floor rooms. The two girls corresponded every week without fail, and Natalia hadn't sent word for almost a month.
Tonight, Sophie had gained access to Natalia's room and searched it. The only letter she'd found was in Russian.
Sophie stretched her unencumbered legs in the small space as the carriage rumbled forth into the night. Breeches really were a spectacular invention. "I wish I knew what it said. Beth only speaks English."
"We'd need to find someone who can speak Russian, my lady."
A name came to mind. A name she tried not to think of more than five—or ten—times a day. She often failed even at that. "I do know someone who speaks Russian. Lord Quint. He gave a short lecture during a gathering at the Russian Embassy three years ago." Sophie had attended, standing in the rear of the room. She hadn't understood a word, but oh, he'd been glorious. Speaking on some recent scientific discovery, he'd commanded the attention of everyone present, even making the dour-faced Russians laugh at several points.
Alice clucked her tongue. "La, his lordship won't be speaking it for long, that's for certain."
"Whatever do you mean?"
Her sharp tone caught Alice's attention. "I thought your ladyship knew. He's near death's door, that one. I saw one of his lordship's kitchen maids three—no, maybe four days ago. Fever's set in. His lordship won't let any of the staff tend to him and won't allow a physician in."
Sophie's stomach plummeted through the carriage floor and onto the dirty Southwark streets. No doubt Alice told the truth. The maid's network of servants would put any foreign spy service to shame. Quint ... near death's door. Oh, God. She knew a bullet had grazed him that night at Maggie's house, right before the fire had swept in. But she'd assumed he'd recovered. Everyone had said the injury wasn't serious. Damn, if only she hadn't been so wrapped up in her own life—
Her fist banged the roof. The driver opened the small partition and Sophie barked in her low register, "Stop at the southwest corner of Berkeley Square instead." Quint lived just down the square from her father's town house so she would get out and let Alice continue on.
"What are you going to do, my lady?"
Was it not obvious? "I'm going to save him."
Alice gasped. "You cannot very well show up at his front door"—her hand waved at Sophie's attire—"dressed ike that."
"They'll not let a stranger inside to see him, even one dressed as a gent. And besides—"
"Do not even start lecturing me on propriety. We bid farewell to that ship eons ago, Alice. Not to worry, I'll manage a way into his house."
By the time she arrived at the servants' door of Quint's town house, Sophie had conjured a plausible story. A bleary-eyed older woman in a nightcap opened the door, a frown on her wrinkled face. "Yes?"
"I am here"—Sophie deepened her voice—"at the behest of His Grace the Duke of Colton to attend to his lordship."
The woman held up her light, looked Sophie up and down. "You're a surgeon?"
"A valet, though I do have extensive medical knowledge."
"From a duke, you say?"
Sophie lifted her chin. "Indeed. And I do not think His Grace would appreciate you leaving me on the stoop to freeze."
The woman stood aside to allow Sophie to enter. They went into the kitchens, where Sophie removed her hat and greatcoat. "Where may I find his lordship?"
"His chambers. Won't let anyone in, not even a doctor. Most of the staff's already left. Figure every one of us will be out on the street in a day or two."
Without another word, the woman turned and shuffled to the corridor. Must be his cook, Sophie thought, and followed. "Stairs," the woman mumbled, handed Sophie her lamp, and continued on.
A few wrong turns, but Sophie finally found the master apartments. Inside, the air was cold and stale, the fire left untended. Moonlight trickled in from the windows, enough to allow her to see a large shape, motionless, under the coverlet. Quint. Please God, let him be alive.
She rushed over, and then nearly gasped. Dear heavens. His condition was worse than she'd feared. His skin was waxen, his lips cracked and swollen. His eyes were closed, with blue-black smudges underneath them. She shot her hand out to feel the side of his throat not covered with a bandage. Though his skin burned to the touch, she exhaled in relief. A pulse. Weak, but there.
She set her light on the table beside him. "Oh, Damien," she whispered, unable to resist gently smoothing the damp hair off his fevered brow. "This is what you get for eschewing a valet, you stupid man."
A strangled, pained sound came out of his throat when she checked the wound. Now red and ugly, the hole oozed when she gently poked it. He made another noise and weakly tried to shift away. At least he'd shown signs of life. Striding to the bell pull, she began a mental list of all the items she required.
Had she arrived in time, or was it too late? Ignoring the worry in her gut, she vowed not to fail. He would not die.
"Hear that, Quint?" she said loudly. "You. Will. Not. Die."
After ten minutes and many tugs on the bell, a weary, rumpled footman finally arrived. He'd clearly been asleep, but she felt absolutely no sympathy for the servants. They'd abandoned their master, which, whether he'd asked for it or not, was unacceptable as far as she was concerned. And Quint deserved better.
"Rouse every servant. Tell the cook to boil hot water. I need fresh bed linens and clean towels. Bring every medical supply in the house. And send for a physician."
"No arguments. His lordship is near death and I mean to save him, so do what I say. Now, go!"CHAPTER 2
"You have a visitor, my lord."
Damien Beecham, Viscount Quint, did not bother looking up at his new butler, his attention instead focused on the rows of letters in front of him. He had to get this idea down. Now—before it was too late. "Pass on the usual response, Turner."
The butler cleared his throat. "I beg your lordship's pardon, but the name is Taylor."
Quint grimaced. He could hardly be faulted for forgetting the lad's name, could he? Taylor had only been on the job for a few days. Or was this further proof of Quint's worst fear becoming a reality?
Nearly three months since the shooting. Three months and he was no better. Oh, the wound had closed, the fever abated, yet everything else that followed had only worsened.
He exhaled and dipped his pen in the ink pot. The invocation he'd adopted these past weeks went through his head: Remain occupied. Engage your mind while you can. Prepare for the worst. He looked back down at his cipher. "Apologies, Taylor. No visitors. Ever. Until further notice, I am not receiving callers."
"She said your lordship might say no, and if so, I was to tell you her name—the Lady Sophia Barnes. I was also to mention she planned on coming in whether your lordship allowed it or not."
Quint felt himself frown. Sophie, here? Why? Displeasure was quickly replaced by an uncomfortable weight on his chest. He could not face anyone, most especially her. "No. Definitely not. Tell her—"
Before he finished his sentence, Sophie charged into the room. Smothering a curse, Quint threw down his pen, came to his feet, and snatched his topcoat off the chair back. He pulled on the garment as he bowed. "Lady Sophia."
He'd known her for years—five and three-quarters, to be precise—and each time he saw her, he experienced a jolt of heady awareness. There'd never been a more remarkably remarkable woman. She had short honey-brown hair that gleamed with hints of gold in the lamplight. Tall for a female, she had long, lean limbs that moved with purpose, with confidence. Her nose and upper cheeks were dusted with freckles that shifted when she laughed—which was often. People fell under the spell of that laugh, himself included.
"Lord Quint, thank you for seeing me." Holding her bonnet, she bobbed a curtsy in an attempt to give the impression of a proper young lady. No one who knew this particular daughter of a marquess would ever believe it, however. She and Julia Seaton, the Duchess of Colton, were close friends, and the two of them had landed in one absurd scrape after another over the years. Last he'd heard, the two had required rescuing from a gaming hell after a brawl erupted.
"As if I'd had a choice," he said dryly.
She laughed, not offended in the least, and Quint noticed Taylor, mouth agape, hovering near the threshold, eyes trained on Sophie. Good God. Not that Quint hadn't experienced the same reaction in Sophie's presence a time or two. "That'll be all, Taylor. Leave the door ajar, will you?"
The butler nodded and retreated, cracking the heavy door for propriety. Ridiculous, really, when the entire visit was already deuced improper. "I hope you at least brought a maid, Sophie."
"Of course I did. She's in the entryway, likely planning to flirt with that baby you call a butler." Her lips twisted into a familiar impish half-smile. Once, she had given him that smile, leaned into him, and parted her lips ... right before he'd kissed her.
The memory nearly distracted him from the fact that he didn't want anyone in the house. Bad enough he had to keep the staff. "I am not receiving callers," he told her. "And this is not going to help your reputation."
She waved her hand. "No one worries over a spinster nearing thirty years of age. Now, shall we sit?"
He happened to know she was only twenty-seven, but no use quibbling with her. He glanced about. Books, papers, and various mechanical parts littered every surface. Not to mention there were the three heavy medical volumes on his desk—all on mental deficiencies. With rapid flicks of his wrist, he closed each one and moved the stack to the floor behind his desk. He then came around and cleared a chair for Sophie.
"Thank you." She lowered gracefully into the seat and arranged herself, bonnet in her lap. "I apologize for barging in. Your butler did try to turn me away, but I haven't been able to locate you elsewhere. You've become something of a recluse."
Better to be a recluse than take a trip to an asylum. He sat in his desk chair and said, "I have been occupied."
A tawny eyebrow rose. "So occupied you missed the opening lecture at the Royal Society last Tuesday?"
"I had a conflict," he offered, lamely.
"A conflict? With what? You've never missed one of the opening lectures before. Not in recent memory, at least."
He tried not to react, though he wanted to grit his teeth. "I did not realize my schedule was your concern."
She sighed. "Oh, dear. I've upset you already—and I haven't even arrived at the purpose of my visit."
"Meaning that learning the purpose will only upset me further?"
"Yes, I daresay you shall not approve, but I've nowhere else to turn."
"Why do I feel a pressing need to close the door before you speak?"
She shot to her feet, so Quint started to rise as well. "No," she said, "please, stay seated. I think more clearly when I am standing."
Reluctantly, Quint lowered. He had no idea what she wanted, but with Sophie it could be nearly anything.
Whatever her troubles, Quint did not care. Could not care. A healthy distance between himself and others must be maintained, especially with anyone who'd known him before the accident. Therefore, he'd hear her out and then show her to the door.
He waited as she traveled the study floor, slapping her bonnet against her thigh. Nervous, clearly. Her dress was both expensive and flattering, yet her boots were worn. No jewels. A practical woman underneath the trappings of a lady.
And he hated that he still found her interesting, even after she'd so thoroughly rebuffed him more than three years ago.
"What in God's name is that?" She pointed to an abandoned teacup on the desk.
He shot up and grabbed the forgotten porcelain container, which held a greenish-brown gelatinous mixture comprised of various herbs and spices. It looked every bit as terrible as it had tasted. He set the cup inside his desk drawer.
"Why are you here, Sophie?"
She folded her arms over her chest, a motion that called attention to her small, enticing breasts. He forced his eyes away as she spoke. "I would normally approach Colton or Lord Winchester with this request, but as you know, they are both unavailable. You are the only person I can ask."
"Your flattery overwhelms, madam."
She stopped and pinned him with a hard stare. "I did not mean to offend you, as you well know. Stop being obdurate."
"Fine. I readily acknowledge I am to serve as the last resort. Pray, get it out, Sophie."
She straightened her shoulders, lifted her chin. "I need you to serve as my second."
Lord Quint never sputtered. He did not fluster or ever forget himself. Logical, reasonable, and maddeningly unflappable, she knew the viscount could be counted on to keep a level head. It was one of the things Sophie liked best about him.
So when his jaw dropped, she braced herself.
"Your second?" Quint's brows flattened. "You need me to serve as your second? For a duel? As in, ten paces in a field at dawn?"
"Yes. Precisely that."
"And with whom in the name of Heracles would you be dueling?"
She nibbled her lip. What were the chances she could avoid explaining it before he agreed? "Does it matter?"
He traveled around the bulk of the desk and stopped in front of her. Though she was on the tall side, he was a few inches taller. She liked that he didn't loom over her. It allowed her to better see his face, and he had an interesting face. Astute brown eyes with golden flecks. A strong, angular jaw. High, sharp cheekbones that set off a nose too masculine to ever be called pretty.
His hair was shaggy, his clothes rumpled and appallingly ill-matched. No, he did not inspire swoons in the ballroom, but perfection had never interested Sophie.
And there was the root of the problem.
The man was intelligent in ways most people couldn't even comprehend. They thought him odd. Unsocial. Aloof. He never danced or paid afternoon calls. But those opinions, if he even paused to hear them, didn't affect him as far as Sophie could tell. He exuded confidence, unshakable beliefs that were based on well-researched facts. His ability to recall the smallest detail he'd read fifteen years ago fascinated her.
Quint folded his arms across his chest. "Yes, it very much matters. And it's not as if you can hide the other party's identity, if I'm to serve as your second—unless you plan to blindfold me. But all of that is irrelevant as I cannot, in good conscience, allow you to go through with a duel."
Without a cravat, the strong column of his throat shifted and rippled as he talked, and she was reminded that she'd once had the opportunity to experience the power in his lithe frame. Had once shivered as he'd clutched her so tight she could hardly breathe.
But that was long ago, years now, all before he'd fallen in love with someone else. A lump formed in her throat, regret nearly choking her, but she forced it down. "And I cannot see how you can possibly prevent it. I do not need your approval."
Excerpted from The Lady Hellion by Joanna Shupe. Copyright © 2015 Joanna Shupe. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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
After binge reading this whole series, I think this one was the best of the bunch! Sophie and Quint, what's not to love! A man who wants to be in control so much he doesn't indulge in alcohol, and a woman with a social conscience who hares off to help prostitutes in an era when they had no rights. I love the idea of a woman in Regency England being able to get away with dressing like a man to help women! What a fun twist. Allowing her to bring Quint 'back' after he almost died, by not taking no for an answer was another example of thinking outside of the box. There were so many in this book. I also love that Quint loved her as she was. Not an innocent? No matter. Dressed like a man? No matter except he provided her with a guard. He was as much removed from the Regency period as Sophie was. As in the previous books in this series, there is romance, a look at the seamy side of the Regency era, and what the main characters of the book and their friends were trying to do to help those less fortunate. The love story isn't lost by these actions, but in my opinion, enhanced. Add in Sophie's fathers dedication to England, Quint's expertise in solving ciphers and codes for the Crown, and their handler, you now have some quite tense moments that add to the story. We get to see other characters from the last two books make an appearance towards the end to help get Quint out of the house, and insure Sophie's safety. We FINALLY find out who has been murdering the prostitutes! All in all a fabulous end to the story and the series. If I could request that Ms. Shupe does a 'ten years later' story, I'd love it. I really want to see what's happened to all of these remarkably forward thinking people!
Lady Sophia Barnes is 27 and could almost be considered a spinster. She doesn't want a husband. She enjoys her freedom. She also feels she's found her purpose, investigating crimes of the lower class, crimes most people ignore won't listen to. When she has to accept the challenge of a duel while dressed as a man, she turns to the one man she can, Damien, Lord Quint. Lately, Quint has become a recluse. He suffers terribly every time he tries to leave his home. When Lady Sophia waltzes back into his life with her crazy plot, he wants her to leave him alone in his madness. When she refuses to listen, he can't help but be captivated by her all over again. This was a pretty good book. Sophia is in a position where she refuses her lot in life and does what she can to help others even if it means doing things unacceptable for those born female. Her temperament is perfect to help Quint get through his PTSD. Rarely are historical books written where the hero is total scholar, but I really liked Quint's character. Overall, pretty good story. I liked the characters. I'd recommend to anyone that likes this genre. **I received an ARC of this story in exchange for an honest review**
This is the third book in the series and I liked it as much as the first two. Well written with a genius hero who has issues of his own while worrying about the heroine and her escapades. No plot spoilers from me, but I think you'll enjoy it. I'll definitely read more from this author.
I liked the chemistry, passion and the banter between Damion and sophie...my favorite by far was Colton and julia ' s love story(the first book) I wish this had an epilogue, somehow tie in all the characters in the future..but was a good read.
This is book 3 in the Wicked Deceptions series. Trying to fight for the rights of the poor, Lady Sophia Barnes, has gotten herself challenged to a duel. Not knowing how to fire a gun, she must find someone to teach her. The only person who she dares to ask is Damien "Quint" Beecham, Viscount Quint. The man that broke her heart years ago. Battling his own demons, Quint doesn't want this intrusion into his life. Especially from the woman he has not stopped wanting. But knowing that Sophia will continue on with or without his help, he reluctantly agrees to help her learn to shoot as well as help her with her cause. Can these two former sweethearts find the love that each of them are craving? I loved this story just as much as the other two in the series! Sophia is not your typical society miss and Quint is definitely not your typical lord. They two of them complimented each other very well. With the added mystery of who is murdering the prostitutes and Quint's condition, the story had me on the edge of my seat throughout! This is definitely one of those stories that you read in one sitting because you just can't put it down. I can't wait to see what Shupe has in store for us next! Thanks go out to Kensington Books via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
Another great addition to the series! Both Quint and Sophie defy the roles expected of them in society and are perfect for each other. Past mistakes have kept them apart for years, but as they help each other out with their problems, the attraction and feelings come back with a vengeance. For as smart as Quint is, he really had a hard time seeing what was right in front of him in regards to Sophie, the mystery she is trying to solve and his illness. It was great catching up a bit with the couples from the first two books. Highly recommended to historical romance fans, can be read as a standalone, but I loved the first two books and recommend you read those as well. 4.5 stars ARC via NetGalley
In this story we focus on Sophia, a lady of the tonne with a very unladylike habit and passion. She’s a champion of the downtrodden, the lesser privileged, and those with few options. Roaming some of the most dangerous sections in London without chaperone and in *gasp* trousers, she is laser focused on making a difference. Damien Beecham, Viscount Quint is always struggling with his own demons. Shot in the last novel, he’s battling between retreating to the safety of his own home and thoughts and continuing to pine after Sophia, despite his own very real fears that his father’s madness is hereditary. He doesn’t realize that as he pines for Sophia, she also has delved further into her own hidden life to exorcise the hurt he caused with pulling away from their relationship. So, we have two characters who can’t ‘forget’ one another but are determined to move forward in their own lives without the other, until Sophia needs to learn to shoot, and Damien is the only one who can teach her. And nothing, to him, is more important than her safety, even if he won’t allow her to know it. Shupe brings all of the elements and the slow build for a confrontation forward to its conclusion in this story , and does it with flair. Sophia, while having a rather far-fetched premise for her ‘shocking’ behavior, is a wonderfully complex character. Her desire to make a diference in improving the security and lives of the women of the brothel is admirable, you can see her empathy with these women, in they all have few choices or options, and she wants that to change. Completely heedless of her own safety at times, the initial freedom of donning men’s garb and gaining instant freedom has gone to her head, and there are times when she does act as if she is believing her own disguise. It gives her plenty of moments to think and wonder, and a lovely interplay of her ‘ignoring’ her own feelings about Damien, yet not being willing to make a new move in any direction without thinking about him is sweet and truly shows her heart. For his part, Damien is struggling with some very real demons, and some ridiculous notions: without really seeing that Sophie is one of his biggest fans, and he wants her, no matter what. The growth he experiences as the mystery and danger finally come to a head have his heart on his sleeve, apparent to all but he and Sophie. Shupe has taken a long-developing story line through three books and come out with a lovely ending of a mystery, with the added benefit of yet another wonderful romance from two very different yet utterly well matched people. 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.
This book gives you all the feels. It is a wonderful last book in an amazing series. I loved that all the characters from the courtesan duchess are in all three books. The friendships between the heros and heroines are endearing. And make you want to hang out with this group of friends. Ms. Shupe was more playful in this book. For me the chemistry was brilliant between Quint and Sophie. A preference of mine is the hero being more experienced than the heroine. But the heroine being able to hold her own. So imagine the smile on my face reading the charged dialogue between these two. I look forward to more books from Ms. Shupe. She is an excellent author who writes feel good regency.
Sophie is unlike other women of society ... she doesn't care about getting married (her father brings it up every year and she keeps dodging that bullet), she doesn't really care about what others think and she dresses as a man to help solve mysteries surrounding local brothels. As if her life isn't crazy enough, fate has brought an old flame back into the picture. Sophia needs Damien's help, help he isn't willing to give. Actually, he isn't willing to do anything pertaining to Sophia. He wants her to stay away from him and for good reason and he'll do anything in his power to keep some distance between them. But things don't always work out as planned. This is the third book in the Wicked Deceptions series by Shupe and let me tell you one word: AMAZING. I'm sure I'm not alone in this but I have found so many series where I absolutely adored the first book and then the second book was crap and then the third book tried to make up for the second being crap and then it turns out even worse than the second. But that isn't the case with this series. I was absolutely hooked on this series from the first book and it's because of Shupe's ability to write unforgettable characters. I had a super high bar set with the second book and you know what? She hit that one out of the park as well and I figured once I got to the third, well ... there's no way that the third could be as good as the other two, right? Wrong. Totally wrong. The Lady Hellion was just as good as the other two! Since I have read the other two, I realized something with this one. The Lady Hellion was more of a slow burn at the beginning rather than the lighter-fluid doused fire with the other two. It just had a slower start. And normally, that would really bother me. For authors to get you used to one way of writing in a series just to switch it up on you for the last book is just plain rude. But. It needed to be that way with this one because of the man that Damien is. I don't think that it would have read as true to his character if the first couple of chapters flew off like a kite in the wind. I won't lie, I was a little irritated at first but then I quickly realized that it was all for a reason. Damien is a cautious and thoughtful character and he would have wanted things to move slowly and cautiously. Anyhow ... it's slow and I liked it. You will too. I really don't have much else to say ... Shupe is an excellent author whom I will be following for as long as she cranks these things out (which better be for many, MANY more years). Her character development is some of the best that I've ever read and coupled with her perfect timing in the plot makes for a gripping read that you won't want to put down. Yes, this is the third in a series. Do you need to read the other two books in order to understand this one? No, not necessarily. But I would highly recommend reading them just because there are a lot of back stories that will shed light onto the situations in this one. Plus, do you really want to miss out on those sassy ladies in the other two books? I'm telling you right now, you don't. If you are a fan of historical romance novels, Joanna Shupe is the lady to go to. She knows her stuff and she's very, very talented. * I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *
Wow! I liked Joanna' s first 2 books but this one is just a bit better. Joanna should be very proud of the people she has put into this book series. She has a couple of story lines going here. She has put in lots of spoilers with some twists and turns. Sophie has been trying to help the women in brothels. Now someone has been killing them. Quint was 6 when his father died after years of having crazy fits. Now Quint knows he will have them too. Spoilers. He stays locked up in his house and breaks codes for the Home Office. Sophie is told by her father that she will marry at the Season's end. She has a few spoilers of her own. As you read you are taken on a long twisty road. I hope you choose to read this book. If you haven't read the first 2 books then run to get them. Don't pass this one over. Enjoy! I have this book for an honest review for NetGalley.
Fantastic writing, great intrigue and a wonderful romance blossoms all at the same time! It's a fun romp for sure and very steamy! The lady is indeed a hellion! But with good purpose and intentions. She is a hero to the lesser class "ladies." The women whom no one else is willing to help. Lady Sophia Barnes is a very independent lady. She is headstrong and intelligent, which can be dangerous when mixed with carelessness. Sophia is very good at deception, which is a plus where she must travel to investigate the problems she is asked to help with. Her father has spoiled her most of her life and not seriously delved into her need for a husband, until now. He has given her an ultimatum that she does not believe. He tells her that she must find a match this season or he will do it for her. He already has someone in mind, but he will not tell her who the gentleman is. He fears she will try to run him off! She was once a very sought after lady, but she has refused any proposals. An unfortunate incident with a man she really loved has turned her from the marriage mart. She does not feel it is for her. The only other man that she would consider, will not consider her. Damien Beecham, Viscount Quint is a friend of sorts to Lady Sophia. Unknown to him, she is responsible for saving his life after a bullet wound and his own stubbornness nearly kills him. Sophia comes and goes as she pleases most of the time. He is adamant at first that she not come back, but he can never be parted from her for long, he worries about her too much when she does not come around. Quint has his own issues to deal with! He believes he is losing touch with reality, just as his father did before his death. He has panic attacks if he tries to leave his house so he has become a recluse. Sophia shares her secret with him that she has been investigating the disappearance of women in the brothels and she has been doing so as a Sir Stephen! Quint is beside himself with fear for her. He knows that there are people who are rightless when it comes to their "business" and will not look too kindly on "Sir Stephen" poking his nose into their affairs. He must protect her! But he can not get too close. She is the only woman he would ever consider to be his wife, but he is now losing his mind. He would not want to see her go through what his own mother survived with his father. He must put his feelings aside. This novel is really a fun read. There are dark parts, as we see the fear of insanity in Quint and the fear for the unfortunate, missing woman that motivates Sophia. The household staff provides amusement for sure! They are loyal shines throughout the story!. The other players in the book are very complex characters and very well written. The scenery description is wonderful as well. A very well thought out story! I will definitely be looking for the next book! I *I received and advanced copy for my honest review*
*I received this ARC via Netgalley* Good things definitely come in threes! Triple Crown winner, rising star Joanna Shupe delivers with the final book in her Wicked Deceptions debut trilogy, The Lady Hellion. Historical romance does not get any better than this. As far as I am concerned Ms. Shupe cannot write her books fast enough to satisfy my demand for her work. Her distinctive plots, exceptional characters and off the charts sensuality make for a sumptuous read!
The Lady Hellion, is the perfect conclusion of the Wicked Deceptions trilogy, written by Joanna Shupe. I found her characters Lady Sophia Barnes and Damien Beecham charming and passionate. Beautiful intense chemistry between the two, you will love Sophia. I really enjoyed this story, it was well written and fun to read! Having read her previous books The Courtesan Duchess and then The Harlot Countess, this one was intense. I loved following their wild and exciting episode filled with romance. Ms. Shupe is a talented writer to watch. It tells this story. A rabble rouser for justice, Sophie’s latest mission is to fight for the rights of the poor, the wretched—and the employees at Madame Hartley’s brothel. She’s not concerned about the criminals who will cross her path, for Sophie has mastered the art of deception—including the art of wearing trousers. But only one person can help her is Lord Quint, the man who broke her heart years ago. The last thing Damien Beecham, Viscount Quint, needs is an intrusion on his privacy, especially from the beautiful Sophia, exasperating woman he’s never stopped wanting. Will they get a second chance? I received a copy of The Lady Hellion from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I have had the privilege of reading Joanna Shupe’s first two books within the Wicked Deceptions series The Courtesan Duchess and The Harlot Countess. The Lady Hellion is book 3 in the series. Each and every heroine from this series is capable of looking after herself and is not afraid to stand up for herself. Ms. Shupe is consistent in writing strong-minded, take charge women leads for this series. However she does so in such a way that you not only see the touch side but their vulnerabilities as well. She also manages to create the perfect hero to balance the heroine out. I love strong and assertive female characters am grateful that this series has plenty to chose from. Have been enjoying reading these books and anticipating the next one. I received this story for an honest review.