Her Majesty's Most Secret Service #1
by Tara Kingston
Published on August 22, 2016 by Entangled Publishing LLC
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Romance
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A woman with a secret and a dangerous man forge an undeniable passion.
In Victorian London, reporter Jennie Quinn employs deception as a weapon. Going undercover to seek justice for a murdered informant, she’s drawn into a powerful criminal’s seductive game of cat and mouse. Enigmatic former lawman Matthew Colton is as dangerous as he is clever, but the passion in his kiss is too tempting to resist. She aches to trust him, but she will not abandon her quest for the truth.
Colton is a man with secrets of his own. Thirsting for vengeance, the disgraced Scotland Yard detective has infiltrated the criminal world he’s vowed to destroy. Jennie intrigues him, even as she breaks down the barriers around his heart. He yearns to uncover her secrets—in and out of his bed. Driven to shield her, he’ll risk everything to protect the woman whose love heals his soul.
This book was provided by the publisher (via NetGalley). This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
A determined reporter hellbent on a breakthrough story and the destruction of a crime boss meets the right-hand man of said crime boss in When A Lady Deceives, a romance that really wasn’t much of a romance.
Jennie is undercover as a barmaid in an attempt to gain more information about a notorious criminal and his relation to the death of a woman. Through her “amazing” investigative skills she ends up in a bar fight and is saved by Colton, the criminal’s man and with a pretty nasty reputation himself.
Okay, that’s the story!
Because after they meet, it’s just a dance back and forth between arguing over Jennie’s safety and the two of them lusting after each other.
I had high hopes for Jennie. I can’t say I’ve ever read a romance with a reporter as the heroine and she’s not afraid to go in deep to get her story. And in the darker parts of the city, it gives the whole idea an edge that was blunted by Colton. She still pursued her mission, a terrier of a character if I ever saw one, but the vast majority of the book remained about their lusty attraction.
Colton really didn’t do anything for me as the leading gentleman. His past is all mysterious and perhaps he isn’t the criminal he’s made out to be, but that actually made me dislike him (I’m a sucker for the redeemed bad boy trope). And all of his self-conflict over his job falls to the wayside when he sees Jennie. Suddenly his world revolves around her completely. So long, character development!
When A Lady Deceives had a lot of potential as a story with a chance to be dark and edgy and “smart” where many romances aren’t (trust me, I enjoy those other romances too but anyone who regularly reads the genre has probably seen the patterns a million times over). Instead the book spends far too much time watching Jennie and Colton stare at each other and try to keep it in their pants. And at the end the big reveal really didn’t do anything. There was nothing to bring the reader to that climax and feel the shock, the surprise, that I’m sure was intended. Frankly, there just wasn’t enough of the story to lead the reader in any one direction other than the fact that we know Jennie and Colton will end up together.
I think the author had a good writing style but the storytelling fell flat in favor of a lusty burn between two characters. I’m not sure I’m inclined to read any more of the books to come in this series but I may pick up other books by this author down the road. As for When A Lady Deceives, I can’t say it’s one I would recommend buying.