"The pace is lively, the sexual tension palpable and the love story perfectly delightful. Fun and touching, this magical read is a keeper." RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2 Stars, Top Pick!
Everyone warned Lady Susanna about Gideon, but where has playing by the rules ever gotten her? Enticed by his "no compromises" approach to life, Susanna follows Gideon into London's dark underworld. When excitement turns to danger, Susanna must decide what price she's willing to pay...for the love of a reformed thief.
Gideon Harrow has spent his life in London's dark underworldand he wants out. A thief and a con, he plans one last heist to finally win his freedom. But when everything goes wrong, he finds himself at the tender mercies of one of Society's most untouchable womenLady Susanna Derring
Susanna has spent her life in London's glittering ton, under the thumb of a domineering motherand she wants out. When a wickedly charming rogue lands at her feet, she jumps at the chance to experience life before it's too late. But as she descends into London's underworld, she finds that nothing not even Gideonis as it seems. As excitement turns to danger, Susanna must decide what price she's willing to pay...for the love of a reformed thief.
Covent Garden Cubs Series:
Earls Just Want to Have Fun (Book 1)
The Rogue You Know (Book 2)
I Kissed a Rogue (Book 3)
Praise for Love and Let Spy, an RT Book Reviews Top Pick:
"Splendid... an absolutely sublime love story... infused with beautiful, tender, and touching moments." Fresh Fiction
"An utterly wonderful historical romance." Books of Love
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
"Sit up straight," the Dowager Countess of Dane hissed at her daughter before turning back to their hostess and smiling stiffly as the marchioness prattled on about bonnet styles this season.
Lady Susanna straightened in her uncomfortable chair. She was wilting in the heat that all the ladies had already remarked upon as being unseasonably warm for June. Susanna fluttered her fan and tried to take an interest in the conversation, but she didn't care about hats. She didn't care about garden parties. She didn't care about finding a husband. If her mother ever heard Susanna admit husband hunting was not her favorite pursuit, she would lock Susanna in her room for days.
Susanna did not mind being locked in her room as much as her mother seemed to think. In her room, she could lose herself in her drawing. She could bring out her pencil or watercolors and sketch until her hand cramped. Sketching was infinitely preferable to spending hours embroidering in the drawing room, listening to her mother's lectures on decorum and etiquette.
Susanna did not need to be told how to behave. She had been raised to be a perfectly proper young lady. She was the daughter of an earl. She knew what was expected of her.
One: She must marry well.
Two: She must at all times exhibit good ton.
Three: She must be accomplished, beautiful, fashionable, and witty.
That third expectation was daunting indeed.
Susanna had spent two decades playing the perfect earl's daughter. She'd had little choice. If she rebelled, even minutely, her mother quickly put her back in her place. At the moment, Susanna wished her place were anywhere but here. She sympathized with her failed sketches, feeling as though it were she tossed in the hearth and browning in the fire. She burned slowly, torturously, gasping for her last breath.
Could no one see she was dying inside? Around her, ladies smiled and laughed and sipped tea. Susanna would not survive much longer.
And no one cared.
Ladies of the ton were far too concerned with themselves-what were they speaking of now? Haberdashery?-to notice she was smothering under the weight of the heat, the endless cups of tea, the tinny politeness of the ladies' laughs, and the interminable talk of bonnets. If she were to sketch her life, she would draw a single horizontal line extending into forever.
Susanna stifled the rising scream-afraid she might wail aloud for once, rather than shriek silently and endlessly. Before she could reconsider what she planned, she gained her feet. She wobbled, shaking with uncertainty and fear, but she must escape or go quietly mad.
Lady Dane cut her a look as pointed as a sharpened blade. "Do sit down, Susanna."
"E-excuse me," Susanna murmured.
"What are you doing?"
Susanna staggered under the weight of the stares from the half-dozen women in their circle. She had not thought it possible to feel any heavier, but the addition of the women's cool gazes on her made her back bow.
"Excuse me. I need to find-"
"Oh, do cease mumbling." Lady Dane sounded remarkably like a dog barking when she issued orders. "You know I hate it when you mumble."
"I'm sorry. I need to-"
"Go ahead, my dear," their hostess said. "One of the footmen will show you the way."
Susanna's burst of freedom was short-lived. She'd no more than moved away from her chair when her mother rose to join her. Susanna choked back a small sob. There really was no escape.
"Could you not at least wait until we had finished our conversation?" Lady Dane complained, as though Susanna's physical needs were the most inconvenient thing in the world.
"I'm sorry, Mama."
"Why don't you stay, Dorothea?" the marchioness asked. "Surely Lady Susanna can find her way to the retiring room by herself."
Susanna's gaze locked on her mother's. Inside, she squirmed like one of the insects her brothers used to pin for their collections. Lady Dane would most certainly defy the marchioness. She would never let her disappointing daughter out of her sight.
Susanna had one glimmer of hope. Her brother's scandalous marriage a few weeks ago had noticeably thinned the pile of invitations the Danes received. The family was not shunned exactly, but they had spent more nights at home than the debutante daughter of an earl should.
Not that she minded.
Her mother patted Susanna on the arm, the stinging pinch delivered under cover of affection.
"Do not dawdle."
Susanna need not be cut free twice. She practically ran for the house.
"She is perfectly safe here." The marchioness's voice carried across the lawn. "I understand why you play the hawk. She must make a good match, and the sooner the better."
The sooner she escaped this garden party, the better. Every group of ladies she passed bestowed snakelike smiles before raising their fans and whispering. Sometimes the whispers weren't even whispered.
"Dane introduced a bill to establish a central police force! What next? Gendarmes?"
A few steps more.
"I heard her brother began a soup kitchen."
"St. Giles! Can you imagine?"
Susanna ducked into the cool darkness of the town house and flattened herself against the wall. She closed her eyes, swiping at the stinging tears. Breathe, breathe. Free from the whispers-that-were-not-whispers and the stares and, best of all, her mother, she slouched in smug rebellion.
"May I be of assistance, my lady?"
Susanna's spine went rigid, and she opened her eyes. A footman bestowed a bemused smile on her. She imagined it was not every day a lady ran away from the marchioness's garden party and collapsed in relief.
"The ladies' retiring room. Could you direct me?"
"This way, Lady Susanna."
She followed him through well-appointed though cold, impersonal rooms until she reached a small room filled with plants, several chairs, two small hand mirrors on stands, a pitcher of fresh water and basin, and screens for privacy. Susanna stepped inside and closed the door. Finally alone. She straightened her white muslin gown with the blue sash at the high waist. Her hat sported matching ribbons. She might have removed it if it would not have been so much trouble to pin in place again. At the basin, she splashed water into the bowl and dabbed at her face. One look in the mirror showed that her cheeks were flushed and her brown eyes too bright. She had the typical coloring of a strawberry blond, and her pale skin reddened easily.
In the mirror, she spotted something move, and a woman in a large, elaborately plumed hat emerged from behind the screen. Susanna's heart sank.
She willed the woman to return to the party quickly and leave her to her solitude. The screens provided a convenient shield.
"You are Lady Susanna, are you not?"
There would be no hiding. The urge to crumple into a ball on the floor almost overwhelmed her, but she was the daughter of an earl. Susanna pushed her shoulders back.
"Yes, I am. I'm sorry. I don't believe we've met."
The woman patted her perfect coiffure, which was tucked neatly under her hat, and poured water from the ewer over her hands. "I am Lady Winthorpe."
The countess's face brightened with amusement. "I see you have heard of me. Do not worry. All of my children have married." She bent, baring her teeth in the mirror and examining them closely. "I cannot tell you what a relief it is not to have to push them at every titled man or woman in Town. I imagine your poor mother is at her wits' end."
Heat rushed into Susanna's face, and her cheeks reddened most unbecomingly. Dane's marriage was indeed scandalous, and because it was, no one mentioned it to her.
"I..." Her tongue lay thick and clumsy in her mouth.
"What came over the earl?" the countess asked, patting the yellow and white plumes of her hat, which matched her gown. "Why would he make such a poor match?"
The countess turned to stare directly at Susanna.
"Lady Elizabeth is the daughter of the Marquess of Lyndon." She'd said it so often it had become a chant.
The countess flicked open her fan and wafted it. Painted on the fan was an image of a peacock with its feathers spread. "Lady Elizabeth was raised in a rookery as a thief. Even being the daughter of a marquess cannot redeem her."
She would not shrink. Susanna forced iron into her spine. "My brother loves her. That is enough for me."
"Love. How sweet."
The fan snapped closed, and the countess tapped Susanna's arm with it. "What does your mother think of this profession of love?"
"I-" Susanna had no idea. She'd never once heard her mother speak the word love, although she railed against her eldest son's mésalliance often enough.
"She was in love once. Did she ever tell you that?"
Susanna dared not open her mouth for fear she would only babble. Were they still speaking of the Dowager Countess of Dane? Surely, she had never been in love. Her mother did not know the meaning of the word. But perhaps Lady Winthorpe spoke of Susanna's late father. He had not exactly doted on his children either, especially not on her. But the countess might have mistaken the late earl's marriage for a love match.
"My father and mother-"
The countess waved the fan, narrowly missing Susanna's chin.
"I do not refer to your mother's marriage. She married him for the title and the money, I imagine. Your mother is no fool. But there were days, in our youth, when I thought she might choose another course." The woman's blue eyes had become so unfocused as to look gray. "Handsome young beaux. Picnics in Hyde Park. Nights at Vauxhall Gardens. Long, dark nights." She winked at Susanna, and Susanna flinched with shock.
The implication...or was it an insinuation...or an intimation...?
The countess was not to be believed.
"I don't know what you mean."
"No, I see that you don't. In any case, your mother made her choice." The woman's eyes, blue again, narrowed.
The countess stared at her so intently, Susanna actually took a step back.
The countess tapped her chin with the edge of the fan. "I wonder..."
Susanna held her breath, leaning forward to hear each and every syllable. All for naught. The woman didn't continue. The long silence, coupled with her curiosity, compelled Susanna to prompt Lady Winthorpe.
Voices rose and fell outside the door, and Susanna emitted a weak cry of protest. The door opened, revealing two young women speaking quietly to each other. One look at Susanna and their conversation ceased. The girls shared a look before they disappeared behind the screen and dissolved into giggles. Susanna toed the pale pink carpet with her slipper.
"Good day to you," the countess said, opening the door and stepping out into the music room.
Susanna stood rooted in place with the giggles behind her and questions swirling like dust motes in her mind. She should not pry further, but she was always doing as she ought. Her slipper dug into the rug, attacking the threads viciously. She caught the door before it could close all the way. The countess whirled when Susanna emerged behind her, and Susanna took advantage of the woman's surprise.
"I cannot help but ask, my lady. What do you wonder?"
"I think I had better not answer that." She spoke slowly, enunciating every word. Weighing each one against her tongue before speaking it. "Your mother would not thank me."
And there was that look again-the pitiful look one gave a pinned insect.
"But I see you, Lady Susanna, with that hair and that nose, and I do wonder." She sauntered across the music room. "Yes, I do."
Susanna touched her hair and her nose. What of them? Did the countess mean to deliberately confuse her?
Susanna crumpled onto the piano stool. She'd used every last ounce of bravery in the failed attempt to wheedle information. At this point, bravery hardly mattered. Chasing the countess was not an option, least of all because it would mean returning to the garden party.
Neither did she wish to return to the retiring room.
She wandered to a harp and plucked at one of the strings, feeling the thick wires vibrate through her gloves. She'd always wanted to play the harp, but her mother had not allowed her to learn. Sitting with the instrument between her legs was unseemly. Susanna plucked another string, enjoying the light, airy sound of it.
What had the Countess of Winthorpe meant about her mother being in love? Had her mother fallen in love with a man before she met Susanna's father? A man her mother met at Hyde Park...no, not Hyde Park. Hyde Park was fashionable, the place to see and be seen. The sunny breezes of Hyde Park chased away any scandal.
But dark, sensuous Vauxhall Gardens...
Susanna had never been. Her mother would not permit it. Her brothers had undoubtedly visited, but Susanna did not possess their freedom.
She should ask her mother what Lady Winthorpe meant. Her mother's reaction might provide some clue. Of course, her mother might also tell her it was none of her concern, but Susanna was twenty now and would certainly marry in the next year. Lady Dane might relish the opportunity to share stories of her own days as a young debutante.
Susanna almost laughed aloud. Her mother relished nothing except ordering Susanna to sit still and stop slouching. Perhaps she might ask her new sister to take her. Marlowe had promised Susanna an adventure as the forfeit for losing a wager. Susanna would have dearly loved an adventure.
Her mother would never allow it, of course. Proper girls did not run away on adventures. Sometimes Susanna was so weary of acting properly.
The door of the music room swung open, and Lady Litton entered, shutting the door quickly behind her. She was a few years older than Susanna and had become betrothed after her first Season. She'd already given the viscount she'd married two healthy sons.
Susanna rose, and the viscountess, sensing the movement, spun around.
"Oh, it's you," she said with a dismissive wave. "Run back to your mama. She will be wanting you to laugh at her bon mots."
"My mother does not make bon mots." Clearly the woman did not know Lady Dane.
Even clearer was Susanna's mistake in speaking out. Lady Litton's dark eyebrows slashed together, and the ribbon of her pink lips thinned further.
"That was not my point."
No. Her point had been to encourage Susanna to run away. Undoubtedly, Lady Litton had a rendezvous with a friend or lover planned in this room. Though Susanna did not know who that could be, as this was a ladies' garden party. For a brief moment, Susanna wished she had simply run away.
But then something made her square her shoulders. Perhaps it was the thought of adventure. Perhaps she was still locked in her fantasy of Vauxhall, still imagining she could be someone else on those dark walks.
Someone brave and interesting and desirable.
"Why don't you run back to your mama?" Susanna said, surprising herself when the words from her thoughts came out of her mouth. "I am using this room at present."
"Then use another." Lady Litton advanced, her parasol held before her like a weapon.
Susanna's legs threatened to bolt for the exit, but she stood firm, even though she shook inside.
"You use another."
Lady Litton's eyes widened. Then she smiled, a very snide sort of smile. "Oh, I see. Your new sister has been influencing you. Tell me, Lady Susanna, what is next? Will you pick pockets and raise your skirts for every man in a dark alley?"
Susanna's arm rose without her permission, and her hand made loud contact with Lady Litton's cheek. A flower of red bloomed on the viscountess's pale skin, and with a look of shocked horror in her eyes, she raised her hand to the offending mark.
Susanna thought the look must have mirrored her own. What had she done?
What if her mother found out?
She opened her mouth to apologize, but Lady Litton shrieked before Susanna had a chance.
"You little bitch! Now look what you've done!"
As Susanna stared in silent amazement, a tear slid down Lady Litton's cheek.
"If you want the room, then take it." The viscountess stomped away in a flurry of skirts and flounces, her hand still on her abused skin.
Susanna stared after her until the door slammed, then looked down at her hand, still stinging with the force of the slap.
Perhaps she was not as much of a coward as she'd thought.
And perhaps now was the perfect time for that adventure.
* * *
Gideon stood in the Golden Gallery in the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral. All of London sprawled before him. The sun set on the River Thames, clogged with ships of all sizes and shapes. The forest of masts jutted from the foul, murky water like dead tree branches in winter. Just beyond, the soot-blackened buildings of London were crammed together as though huddled in fear. The day was hot and the streets teeming with short-tempered people jostling their way through the throngs. Peddlers pushed carts, children chased dogs, and horses pulled rattlers. The noise on the streets deafened him at times.
High above it all, blissful silence reigned. The wind whooshed in his ears and ruffled his hair.
"I could get used to a view like this," Gideon said, spreading his arms like a king surveying his kingdom. He breathed deeply for effect, as the air up here wasn't much cleaner than that on the streets. "Smell that fresh air. The wind in my hair. This is the life."
But even in the heavens, he found only temporary escape from the world below.
Beezle stood just behind him, his gaze as dark as the dirt under his fingernails.
"You do the trick, and you can have any life you want," Beezle said quietly. With Satin dead, Beezle was the new arch rogue of the Covent Garden Cubs. Gideon had tried to distance himself from the gang since then, but old habits were hard to break. That, and Beezle was none too willing to allow one of his best rooks to walk away.
Reluctantly, Gideon abandoned the indigo-and-orange skies of London. "I pinch the necklace, and I never have to see your ugly mug again?"
"And here I thought it was the blunt you were after. A hundred yellow boys will make you rich as a gentry cove."
"The necklace is worth ten times that."
"The necklace is mine, and I choose to let you in on the game. Do we row in the same boat, Gideon?"
He didn't want to row in Beezle's boat. Hell, he didn't want to be in the same ocean as the arch rogue, but this was his chance. The blunt from this job would allow him to walk away from rooking. He could be his own man, start over in a new place, with a new name. Be whomever he wanted.
He'd never make it out of London without first lining his pockets. It took guineas to start over, and that's where Beezle came in.
Gideon rocked back on his heels, imitating the swells who had all the money and time in the world.
Beezle waited. His expression remained hooded, but Gideon would have bet a shilling-if he'd had one-the arch rogue chafed at being made to wait. They were of a similar height-he and Beezle-and both had dark hair. That was where the similarities ended. Beezle had a narrow, birdlike face perpetually twisted into a malevolent expression. Gideon liked to think of himself as a rum duke. He bore no one ill will and was generally good-natured.
Gideon held out a hand, offering it to the devil.
Beezle's icy fingers wrapped around his flesh, and Gideon's belly clenched in revulsion.
"Let's do the trick," Gideon said.
After that it was a simple matter to make their way to Mother Cummings's house at Six George Street. Mother Cummings rented rooms for as little as a shilling, but it was a bawdy house as well as a front for fencing goods. The molls' game was to lure a man into bed-the more foxed the better-then purloin his property and make a run for it. Then everyone in the house would claim never to have heard of the moll who'd filched the goods. At the first opportunity, Mother Cummings was sure to fence it. If anyone was likely to have cargo of real value in St. Giles, it was Mother Cummings.
Mother Cummings had dozens of hidey-holes for the goods she acquired. Gideon had either seen or heard of most of them since he'd fenced cargo through Mother Cummings a hundred times or more before he'd joined the Covent Garden Cubs. Gideon's job was to find where the necklace was hidden, filch it, and hand it over to Beezle. Beezle would fence it himself and give Gideon a hundred guineas.
A hundred yellow boys was more money than Gideon could even imagine, but he didn't want to start thinking about the blunt before he did the job. He would be a thief in a house full of thieves. He couldn't afford distractions.
Of one mind, Beezle and Gideon paused outside a gin shop on George Street, just across from Number Six. No one paid them any attention as they took careful note of the comings and goings at Mother Cummings's. A steady stream of men filed in and out. Gideon would be all but invisible in the public rooms.
"You coming in?" Gideon asked after a quarter of an hour passed.
Beezle's small eyes never left the door across George Street. "I'll wait here for the drop."
Gideon had been counting on that. He gave a casual shrug. "Suit yourself."
He started away, but Beezle gripped his shoulder with hard, bony fingers. "Don't even think about double-crossing me, Gideon. Racer and Stub are keeping watch in the back. Get the necklace. Give it to me. If you even think about keeping it, I'll smash you myself."
Gideon spread his arms in mock indignation. "Take the necklace for myself? Would I do that?"
Beezle dug his fingers painfully into Gideon's shoulder.
Gideon covered his heart with a hand. "You don't trust me. That hurts, Beezle." He tapped his chest. "Right here."
Beezle's grip slackened, but his expression remained deadly. Gideon missed Satin. The old arch rogue was quick to cuff the cubs, but he was also quick with a grin. Gideon had usually been able to make him laugh.
"Get the necklace," Beezle said.
"Work, work, work." Gideon rotated his shoulder, shrugging off Beezle's hand. "Be right back."
"You'd better be."
The interior of Mother Cummings's house was as Gideon remembered. The well-worn stairs led to the drawing room where molls plied men with gin, then coaxed them to nearby bedrooms. The rooms for rent were on the second floor, and the ground floor was for dining and business. Mother Cummings was rarely in residence after two in the afternoon, so if a rook wanted to fence something, he learned to come in the morning.
It was a long time until morning, so Gideon should have plenty of time to search.
A large woman with a red face and bruised knuckles pointed upstairs. "All the rooms are rented, but go upstairs and find a rum blowen to entertain you."
Mother Cummings was no fool. She had a guard on the first floor. Gideon had counted on at least one sentry. Upstairs, he made a pass through the drawing room, peeling the molls off when they tried to persuade him to sit or drink. Finally, he slipped back out and headed past the closed bedroom doors until he reached the servants' stairs. He shut the door behind him and started down them, only to topple over a young mort sitting on one of the steps with a bottle of Blue Ruin.
She looked up at him with bleary, red eyes. "Shh. Don't tell."
"It's our secret." Gideon pressed a finger to his lips. He moved around her and cracked the door on the first floor, peering out. The entry was just a few feet away, where the guard woman growled at a young man. Mother Cummings's library-if a room with no books could be called such-was across from him. That library was the most likely hidey-hole for the necklace.
Gideon slid across the corridor and lifted the library door latch.
The door didn't open.
He cursed under his breath and, with a quick glance at the guard, retrieved a dub from his coat pocket. With slow, steady movements born from years of practice, he slid the tool into the lock and maneuvered it about until he felt it snap into place. His gaze never wavered from the guard. If she saw him now, he was stone dead.
A group of coves came in, but they were looking up the stairs, thinking about what lay ahead. They had no reason to note a man standing near a door by the servants' stairs.
He twisted his wrist, hearing the lock click. The sound was deafening in his ears, but the guard dog didn't turn. Withdrawing the dub, Gideon slipped it back into his coat, turned the handle, and slithered into the dark library.
Gideon felt his way toward a window and tossed several gowns draped over it onto the floor, allowing more light inside. He was met by a dozen haphazard piles of random treasures. Silk handkerchiefs lay on top of a table beside slabs of cheese and bacon. Brass knobs and shutters shared space with a mound of ladies' petticoats, hats, and shoes. In the corner, a duck quacked. Stacked beside the creature's cage were pails and coal scuttles. Gideon scanned the larger items, noting a tall chest in one corner. He crossed to it quickly, opening drawers and feeling inside for the contents-lead, glass bottles, a mirror, brushes...no baubles.
He tried another drawer and another until they'd all been searched. Perhaps she kept the necklace elsewhere. A parlor? The dining room? It could be anywhere, but this was the only room he'd never seen anyone but Mother Cummings enter. If the necklace was in the house, it must be in the library. A valuable necklace like that: Would she have left it here? It was widely known that Mother Cummings didn't live at Six George Street. Maybe she'd taken the necklace to her other home to keep it safe until she found a buyer.
Gideon scanned the room again, looking for a hiding spot, something he'd overlooked. The necklace had to be here. If it wasn't, his future was as lost as a pamphlet thrown into a fire.
He couldn't allow that to happen. He couldn't spend the rest of his life diving into pockets or cracking houses. He wanted out.
He leaned against the cold hearth and tapped his hands against his thighs as he meticulously studied every spot in the room. He had to be missing something. Why hadn't he found any ladies' fal-lals? Not a ring, not even an earbob. His foot kicked back, hitting the grate in the hearth, and he pulled his boot forward before the ash could coat it. But when he looked down, he didn't see any ash.
Gideon crouched and stroked his fingers over the grate.
No sign of wood or coal in the hearth. That was interesting. Even in summer, these houses were drafty. Surely Mother Cummings would want a warm fire while she inventoried her treasures. Gideon wished he had a glim-stick, but his eyes were so used to the dark, he figured he could see almost as well without one. Lying on his back, he shoved his shoulders into the hearth, wiggling until they fit. Then he reached up and felt the chimney stones. Bits of soot and ash dropped onto his face, but he ignored them as his deft fingers explored.
Brick, brick, brick, hole.
Gideon grinned in triumph, angled his wrist, and reached into the hole. His fingers closed on a velvet bag, and he tugged it out. Wrenching his shoulders from the hearth, he pulled the bag open. Inside, several rings tinkled, and a rum thimble ticked the minutes away.
Even better, something flashed and winked. Gideon lifted the diamond-and-emerald necklace. He whistled softly to himself.
"There you are," he murmured.
He thrust the bag into his coat and stood. Now all he had to do was cross the room, open the door, and make his escape.
Footsteps clomped without, and the door handle rattled.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is book #2 in the Covent Garden Cubs Series. Even though it's part of a series it can be read as a stand alone issue. Not only does this book contain romance, it also has danger, adventure and a dog named Beauty who becomes very protective of her human saviors. The H/H is from 2 different classes of life and we think that a relationship between the two will never work. Surprise! We get to read how it all unfolds between a privileged, young, naive Lady and a bad boy thief. It's also enjoyable to read how the overprotective mama realizes her mistakes and finds love again with an old flame.
I found the plot too slow-moving. I did not like this book even half as much as the author's other efforts. Worthy of reading, but only by a small degree.
Lady Susanna didn’t care about hats or garden parties and she didn’t care about finding a husband but she was twenty and probably would have to marry within the year. If her mother knew the way Susanna felt she would lock Susanna in her room for days. Susanna didn’t mind as she loved to draw and she could get losti n it. Susanna was the daughter of a Earl and knew what was expected of her. Susanna had escaped to the ladies room and found Lady Winthorpe was there. Lady Winthorpe was a countess but she had known Susanna’s mother when she was young and her mother had been in love with someone else. Susanna wanted to ask more questions but Lady Winthorpe left. Gideon was a thief but only did that to survive. Gideon wanted to get out and be free of Beezle and do something with his life. One last take. As long as Gideon got the necklace he would be free. Gideon was actually a good guy and had a good heart. Gideon knew Marlowe she had been his accomplice but he helped Marlowe escape the clutches of Beezle. Marlowe was now married to Susanna’s brother and was the Countess of Dane. He ended up at Susanna’s home planning to hide the necklace but was caught by Susanna. Susanna has been craving some action so she gives Gideon a proposal that she will give Gideon back the necklace if he takes her to Vauxhall Gardens. So Gideon agrees. I liked this story but felt Susanna really trusted Gideon way too soon especially since he was a thief. The attraction between Susanna and Gideon was very evident but a thief and the daughter of an Earl but then her brother married for love. I did laugh at some spots and there was a good plot and it was well written. I absolutely loved the dog Beauty and she definitely added to the story. There was action but the story was predictable but i still liked it. I recommend. I received an ARC of this story for an honest review.
Complete ripoff of Disney's "Tangled." I'm shocked.
The Rogue You Know by Shana Galen is a wonderfully well written historical romance. Ms Galen has crafted a book with lovable characters, drama, action, humor and spice. Gideon and Susanna's romp through the less desirable sections of London is a humorous thrill ride. I enjoyed this book from cover to cover and look forward to reading more from Shana Galen in the future. The Rogue You Know is book 2 in the Covent Garden Cubs Series, but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.
The second in her series Covent Garden Cubs fails to deliver a story worth reading. I skimmed ninty per cent of it. Susanna is immature and foolish, bordering on stupidity. At half the length this would still be too long. Gideon can't speak without f*** this and f*** that. The previous story this did'nt have the foul language and was better written. Skip this as not worth your time
Lady Susanna Derring has been under her mother's thumb since she was born. Never allowed to divert from the straight and narrow path, Susanna is longing for adventure. So when she catches a thief in her home, she demands that he gives her that adventure. Although she didn't count on quite the adventure she got! Determined that this was the last job he was going to take before making a new life for himself, Gideon was willing to take a huge risk that could set him up for life. Trying to get away from the people he stole from, he goes to the home of Lord Dane, his best friend's husband. He didn't count on running into the beautiful Susanna. What can go wrong during one night of adventure? I LOVED this story!!! My wish after reading Earls Just Want to Have Fun, I had hoped that Galen would pair up Susanna and Gideon. I'm so glad that she did!! One reason I like this series is because it offers something different from the typical historical romance that takes place in townhouses, ballrooms and estates. We go into the rookeries. This adds a different feel to the story that other stories in this genre don't have. Susanna longed for adventure and she definitely got more than she bargained for. The story kept me so engrossed that I read it in one sitting! Even though the story only takes place over a few days, Galen does a wonderful job of showing us how Susanna and Gideon's love for each other grows. Definitely another for the keeper shelf!! I can't wait to read Galen's next book in the series, I Kiss a Rogue, which stars Sir Brook Derring the Bow Street Runner!! Thanks go out to Sourcebooks via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
This book is classic Shana Galen adventure and excitement. She is the skilled master at creating tense moments and nail-biting action in her well-choreographed and realistic chase and fight scenes. Susanna Derring is the younger, sheltered, and fearful (of her mother) sister Lord Dane, who married Marlowe (Earls Just Want to Have Fun), Gideon’s crony and former Covent Garden Cub. The Cubs are a group of child thieves similar to Lorraine Heath’s Scoundrels of St. James series. Susanna longs to escape her quiet and boring life and yearns for a life beyond tea and fashions. She grabs hold of it when Gideon Harrow literally comes crashing into her life. Gideon has stolen a necklace and is on the run from his Covent Garden Cubs when he runs to Marlowe’s in-laws’ townhouse in Mayfair, hoping for a safe haven. With this necklace (which he is withholding from the Cubs), he hopes to escape his life of theft and begin a new and respectable life. But Beezle, the leader of the Cubs, is on to him and is on the hunt for him all over London. Susanna comes upon Gideon and impulsively blackmails him into taking her to Vauxhall Gardens where, she suspects, her mother long ago enjoyed an encounter with her one true love. Susanna is curious about this since her mother is so stiff and proper to the point of humiliating Susanna publicly and often. If Gideon agrees to take her to Vauxhall, she’ll return the necklace. I like Gideon and wanted more from his point of view. He’s a sympathetic portrait of someone who found himself in poor circumstances and is now desperately trying to get out and make his life better. Susanna is a friendly and rather naive free spirit who has been stifled by her mother’s expectations of a good match for her and the drills of proper decorum. During her two days in the dirty streets of London with Gideon, she really lets loose and has the adventure of a lifetime. Along the way, she befriends nearly everyone she meets (including some downright scary characters in Gideon’s world), rescues a ragtag and loyal dog, enjoys intimacies with a most improper man, and runs helter skelter all over London’s poor neighborhoods as they run from Gideon’s many enemies. Their goal of eventually visiting Vauxhall Gardens seems almost anticlimactic considering all that they go through to get there. And Susanna’s law-abiding brother, Brook, is connected to the Bow Street Runners so her exploits eventually end. The secondary character development of Susanna’s mother, Dorothea, is nicely portrayed as she comes to terms with how her mistakes have impacted her children’s lives. Galen creates sympathy for a woman who, at the story’s beginning, doesn’t seem very deserving. I also like the minor characters Susanna and Gideon meet in their breathtaking escapades; they add a richness and authenticity to the novel. I could smell the stench and see the dirt and refuse in the streets and hear the coarse accents of the lower classes. All of these aspects lend a great richness to the storytelling without being cloying or manipulative. The romance between Susanna and Gideon is very sweet, almost innocent, and seems to build slowly despite their few days’ acquaintance. Galen writes with feeling and heart and their encounters simmer with passion as they get to know each other in truly trying circumstances. This is another fine addition to Galen’s Covent Garden Cubs series. Brook’s story is next and I look forward to reading this serious brother’s happy ending.
The Rogue you know is a scintillating and heart warming read ! I simply love Lady Susanna ! She's an absolute delight. Suffocating under her mothers steely glare, Susanna wants nothing more than just the chance to breathe without her mother hovering over her every move. Susanna is tired of the staid normalcy of her privileged life. She wants an adventure, she wants to feel alive. And when she meets Gideon, she realizes this is her chance. Gideon is a thief and belongs in the rookeries, not in the elite ton. So when he is forced to take a spoiled society brat to Vauxhall Gardens, what he least expects is to fall head over heels in love with her. Gideon and Susanna are stunning characters and they're adventure to find love is filled with suspense, danger and intrigue. Then there is the second love story of Susanna's mother the Dowager Countess of Dane, who once loved a man who was considered way beneath her. So she let him go and married someone of higher rank. Now, many years later she's still head over heels in love with him and finally gets the chance for her happily ever after. The Rogue you Know is a fantastic tale of two couples finding their happily ever after. ** I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review **
Another great installment in the Covent Garden Cubs series! I haven't read a whole lot of Shana Galen but I have really each installment in this series. This book is part of a series but it could easily be read as a stand alone novel. There are characters in this story from earlier books but everything that you would need to enjoy this story is contained in this book. I wouldn't hesitate to grab this book even if you haven't read the previous installments. I really liked this book even though my initial reaction was that it was a bit predictable. After giving it some thought, I have decided that being predictable isn't always such a bad thing, especially when it comes to historical romance. I like to read historical romances that are historically accurate so that adds some predictability to the equation. I am not an expert on this time period by any means but based on other books that I have it read, it did seem to be at least somewhat accurate. I also like to see a happy ending. I not only like it....I demand it. There is almost nothing worse that a romance novel that does not have a happy ending. I could have told you that the two main characters would end up with their own happily ever after before I read the first word. That means that during the entire book, I knew that they would overcome any problems because they had to end up together. This is the kind of predictability that works for me. You know what...it doesn't even matter because I enjoyed the journey. It is the little things that make a book a little different than the rest that makes all the difference. I love the fact that this series is focused on a group of thieves. One of the main characters in this story, Gideon, is one of those thieves. It quickly becomes apparent that Gideon is really much more than a thief. He is really quite honorable and a genuinely good man who happens to be a thief simply because it is a means to survive. For me, Gideon was really the star of this book. I did like Lady Susanna more as the book progressed but at the beginning of the story she seemed overly spoiled and I have to admit that I wanted to slap her a couple of times. Of course, as the daughter of an Earl that would probably be quite realistic. I enjoyed the chemistry between Gideon and Susanna. I found that I really liked them as a couple and their willingness to sacrifice for each other was well-done. I really liked the pacing of the story. There was a surprising amount of action for a historical romance which I think really sets this series apart from many others. The dog, Beauty, was fantastic and stole more than a few scenes. The dog was able to get the pair out of a couple of nearly impossible situations that did stretch the imagination a bit but I enjoyed every scene that featured Beauty. The balance between action, romance, and a bit of humor made this novel very enjoyable. I would recommend this book to fans of historical romance. This is only the second full length book written by Shana Galen that I have read but I plan to continue reading works by this very talented author. I can't wait to see what else is going to happen in this series. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
#2 in the new and exciting "Covent Garden Cubs" series. A wonderful, humorous, witty tale of romance, passion and love. The H/H is passionate and make a unique but intriguing couple. Once again, Ms. Galen has written a tale filled with passion and romance. Another hit in this exciting new series. A Regency Romance lover's delight. A must read! *Received for an honest review from the publisher via Net Gallery* Rating: 4.5 Heat rating: Mild Reviewed by: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
I was not as enthralled with Gideon as other heroic characters in Ms. Galen's books. This is a fast paced book, I think I would have developed more affinity for Gideon if the book were longer.
This book took place in a short period of time, but that time was jam packed with adventure, danger and romance! This is my favorite, so far, of a very good series. Lady Susanna wants an adventure. Gideon Harrow is a thief looking for a new life. She met him when he broke into her home looking for her sister-in-law. So she doesn't turn him in, he agrees to take her to Vauxhall Gardens. Of course, things don't always work out as planned. I will say I loved Beauty, the dog they found or she found them. No plot spoilers from me. I highly recommend the entire series.
I absolutely love Shana Galen's writing. This is the second book of her Covent Garden Cubs series and it is fun, quick-witted and vastly entertaining. This is the story of Gideon, a thief who is looking to escape his life. While running from Beezle, the head rogue, he encounters Susanna. Susanna is in her library trying to come up with a way to go on a venture to Vauxhall. In comes Gideon and she blackmails him into taking her. On the way, they face many obstacles and encounter many adventures. This is a wonderfully, thrilling story.
Shana Galen has added another great addition to her Covent Garden Cubs series. This book features Susanna Derring, the little sister of the Earl of Dane and Gideon Harrow, an associate of the Marlowe (Susanna's sister in law and former thief). Susanna has been sheltered by her overbearing mother and she longs for freedom and adventure. She catches Gideon breaking into her home and blackmails him into taking Vuaxhall Gardens. From there a grand adventure ensues and their shared experiences form a bond that leads to friendship and romance. This book is the second in the series and I would definitely read Book #1 Earls Just Want to Have Fun first. I enjoyed this book and look forward to finishing the series. I was given a free copy for an honest review by netgalley.com.
Susanna Derring is living a life of propriety: a domineering mother who is a stickler for propriety are ‘stifling’ Susanna’s every moment. Bored to tears and longing for something ’diferent’ even her simplest requests are denied her. See, Susanna believes that her life would be better if she could only get to Vauxhall Gardens, yet she is denied the opportunity at every turn. Gideon is a thief, and a member of the loose collective, The Covent Garden Cubs. He’s tired of the life, knows that there is more to be and do outside of London, but he has just one more heist to give up the life forever. It’s hard not to like him: he wants more and different, and is completely unafraid of facing his own faults or deeds. He’s also got a strong sense of honor, as strange as that sounds that informs his life and actions. A mistimed encounter brings Susanna and Gideon face to face- and Susanna uses the moment to convince Gideon to take her to the Gardens. From here – the story runs full out. And in a short 36 hours – the two share moments of discovery (on both sides), danger (Gideon is being chased), honest interactions and several moments that bring both growth and emotion. While I would have preferred a longer trajectory, the fast and furious action kept both characters on their toes, and had the connection between Gideon and Suzanna moving forward at rapid fire. Fun, light and funny, this story had all the hallmarks of a fun escape read: romance, action, danger and two characters that are hard not to like. 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
I loved it! I didn't think Gabriel and Lady Susanna would have anything in common or could possibly have a relationship with such differing backgrounds, but I was wrong. Gabriel Harrow is a thief living in St Giles and Lady Susanna is the daughter of an Earl living in Mayfair. The only thing they have in common is Marlow, Susanna's new sister-in-law and Gabriel's old friend. Susanna feels stifled and longs for an adventure, and when she encounters Gabriel, she coerces him into taking her to Vauxhall Gardens. Of course, something that seems so easy is anything but, and she certainly does have an adventure, with Gabriel and a stray dog she names Beauty along for the ride. With Gabriel's former associates chasing them, Susanna isn't afraid to defend herself and her companions, making new enemies as well as friends along the way. I loved the spunky little dog, as well as the secondary characters like Brenna and Des. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the Covent Garden Cubs series, I'd like to see Susanna's brother Sir Brook find his match.
Shana Galen's expertise in adventure and period lingo excel in the latest work in her Covent Garden Cubs series, The Rogue You Know. Liberally peppered with witty exchanges between the characters, long held secrets, and simmering sexual tension between the hero and heroine, this book will take you for a fun and at times sentimental ride though Regency London. A charming look at reaching beyond social constraints and inner fears, this story is a great way to spend an afternoon! *I received this ARC via Netgalley.*
I am totally loving the Covent Garden Cubs series. The characters are a ton of fun and there's just enough of a suspense to really keep things moving along. We met Susanna in the previous book in the series when her brother made a scandalous match with kidnapped noble. Now it's Susanna's turn to give her mother the vapors as she set off to have an adventure with Gideon. Susanna was very much what I had pictured a pampered, proper, and totally repressed young lady would be like. Straining against the reins of society and her mother's idea of how she should behave, she is bound and determined to experience just one grand adventure before settling down with some dull lord. Gideon didn't set out to find an adventure, but when he stumbles into a dark room and finds himself at Susanna's mercy, he finds he has little choice but to do as she wishes. He finds that it's a strange talent she seems to have. She can talk her way into and out of just about anything. Gideon does he best to show that he isn't a gentleman, but deep down he can't help but let his better side show through and really take care of Susanna as they find themselves falling into one predicament after another. Their adventures take them through the shady side of London and Susanna sees a side of life she never realized even existed. She get much more than she expected out of her little adventure, and I enjoyed every minute of it. *This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
After twenty-odd years of growing up under the strict, all-seeing eye of her mother, Lady Susanna is finally presented with an opportunity for adventure when a handsome thief - Gideon Harrow - stumbles in through the library window. Susanna knocks him out with a candlestick, takes his prized (stolen!) necklace, and then demands he take her to Vauxhall Gardens in exchange for the necklace's return. But this is no simple trip - neither have any money, half of London is after Gideon's head, and the other half are looking for the missing Susanna! Along the way, Susanna meets people she otherwise would never have seen, allows herself to loosen the strict rules and expectations her mother place upon her, and maybe even begins to fall in love. In a clear and acknowledged nod to Disney's "Tangled" (and perhaps a little "Titanic" too), THE ROGUE YOU KNOW is an exciting romp through London's lower class, pushing our hero and heroine together, and showing them that love is found where you least expect it. Despite her strict and regimented upbringing, once Susanna escapes her mother's house she becomes quite headstrong and brave, but her innocence and kindness also shine through. She faces down a hoard of men out to capture Gideon and befriends the large mutt snapping at Gideon's heels. She is determined to make it to Vauxhall and shows both strength and fortitude in accomplishing that goal by any means necessary. Gideon is our reluctant hero. At first, he wants nothing to do with Susanna, her family, or her request to see Vauxhall Gardens. He just wants to get the necklace, fence it, and leave London forever. But in a truly satisfying character arc, he starts to care for Susanna and soon Gideon will do anything to protect her. Though their love will set the society tongues wagging yet again, Susanna and Gideon are a wonderful, romantic match. They both fall hard and fast for the other, recognizing this adventure they are on may be their only opportunity to be together due to the sharp class divide that stands between them. I should note that this is the second in a series, but you can read this without reading the first novel. (That said, I also highly recommend reading the first novel too!) Overall, THE ROGUE YOU KNOW is a fast-paced, action-filled romance with some great laugh-out-loud moments. If you enjoyed "Tangled," you will love this book. This will get readers out of the ballrooms and into some of the back alleys of regency London. I can't wait to read the next book in this series! Originally posted at Plot Twist Reviews [dot] Com I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Shana Galen does it yet again! Adventures and action, unpredictable plot twists, fabulous characters, and of course a lovely romance; everything is there for the discriminating historical romance fan! Beautifully written, witty, fast-paced and sweetly sexy!
Just loved reading this one! This is a great series, all stand alone but with the same family! Wonderfully clever writing!