Sweetest Little Sin
By Christine Wells
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Lady Louisa Brooke has been in love with the handsome Marquis of Jardine for years. As the sister of a duke (and former spy for the Crown), she could have her choice of men, but only Jardine (also a spy) holds her heart . . . even though the exasperating man has let her down on occasion. While at a ball, Louisa experiences the ultimate disappointment as Jardine fails to show, despite never having missed her birthday before. When she confronts him later, he rebuffs her and tells her he no longer wishes to be with her. Louisa is shocked and heartbroken, especially because of the enormous secret they share. She decides to dust herself off and accepts a mission offered to her by the head of the secret service, Faulkner. All she has to do is encourage the attentions of one of her hopeful suitors, Mr. Radleigh, and obtain invitations for herself and one of Faulkner’s female operatives to Radleigh’s upcoming house party. When the agent mysteriously disappears along the way, Louisa is left to fulfill the mission on her own. That is until she sees who else is attending the party—the Marquis of Jardine!
Jardine has recently found out that Radleigh has in his possession a list of British operatives’ names. Even though the list is written in code, Jardine knows that if it falls in the wrong hands, specifically a traitor named Smith, it could spell disaster, torture, and even death to many of his friends and allies. Jardine arrives at the party as the guest and possible suitor of Radleigh’s sister, which infuriates his beautiful Louisa. What Louisa doesn’t realize is that Jardine has a reason for breaking it off with her—keeping her safe. If anyone knew his feelings for her, she would be a target. When danger begins to come in spades, Louisa and Jardine must work together to get that list. But will they be able to mend their broken relationship in the process?
Fans of The Dangerous Duke rejoice! Louisa and Jardine finally get their happily ever after, though it’s not without a few bumps. Ms. Wells makes these two work hard and when you close the last page, you know they have more than earned it. I thoroughly enjoyed the constant banter between Louisa and Jardine. One scene in particular between them and an oblivious Miss Radleigh had me laughing out loud.
Jardine’s attention swung back to Louisa. Forestalling whatever acid comment he seemed about to make, Louisa said, “We were just discussing hunting and so forth. Have you taken your gun out yet, Lord Jardine?”
Those mobile eyebrows climbed a little. “I beg your pardon?”
“Mr. Radleigh told me he bagged a brace of partridges this morning.” She widened her eyes a little. “Have you taken out your gun?”
The corner of his mouth twitched. “I must confess I am a little out of practice. But I hear you are proficient in the art, Lady Louisa.” His smile grew wicked. “Perhaps I might persuade you to help me fire my piece.”
If she’d been given to blushing, she would be as red as sealing wax, but fortunately, that wasn’t one of her weaknesses. “By all means. I’d be happy to lend you the benefit of my . . . advice.”
“Oh, shooting!” Beth shuddered dramatically. “Honestly, just hearing the awful bang makes me scream and put my hands over my ears.”
“You get used to it,” said Louisa, never taking her eyes from Jardine’s. “The sport can be most . . . satisfying. Don’t you agree, my lord?”
His eyes burned into hers. “Yes,” he said softly. “If one has the skill and the patience to do it correctly. And one needs the right teacher, of course.”
“Naturally.” Louisa smiled, holding his gaze. “It’s so easy to rush things, and go off half-cocked.”
Jardine’s foot stopped swinging. His fingers tightened their grip on the armrest of his chair.
At least she hadn’t been mistaken about the heat between them. It survived, powerful and volatile as ever.
She’d have to watch herself. While they sat in a room full of people, she was safe. Heaven help her if he got her alone after she’d taunted him like that.
Boy oh boy, did these two heat up the pages when they were alone! The love scenes were fast, furious and extremely passionate. Ms. Wells convinced me with her very first book that she was on her way to becoming a star in historical romance and Sweetest Little Sin just validates that. Filled with intrigue, incredibly likable characters, and Ms. Wells’s trademark wit and passion, Sweetest Little Sin will surely find its way to your keeper shelf!