Avon Romance March 29, 2011
by Gaelen Foley 400 pages
BLURB ON BACK OF BOOK:
The Inferno Club: In public, this scandalous society of London aristocrats is notorious for pursuing all manner of debauchery. But in private, they are warriors who would do anything to protect king and country . . .Once, she had vowed to marry the Earl of Falconridge. Now, she vows to forget him. After he abandoned her for a life shrouded in secrets, Mara, Lady Pierson, has succeeded in keeping him away, until he appears in London unexpectedly, making her fall in love all over again.
Forced back into Mara's life by duty, the earl quickly stays for love. He has never forgotten this passionate beauty and never meant to break her heart. But their new found happiness is endangered—because the Inferno Club demands much of its members, and his vital mission is exposing a deadly plot that could threaten their very lives . . .
In reading historicals, I am not usually real big on the perilous adventures of the hero/heroine as such. But can I say I was thoroughly caught up is this rousing, charming tale of intrigue.
The Earl of Falconbridge, Jordan Lennox, is the irresistible earl of the title. And oh yeah, he was certainly all that and more. Jordan is every inch a Regency James Bond, in looks, carriage and countenance. Recruited into the Inferno Club at a very young age, Jordan receives intensive training that would make MacGuyver jealous. Centuries old secret society to fight evil, and promote chivalry, Jordan is determined not to become bitter, cynical and cold as the older agents.
Cut to 12 years later at Christie's Auction Rooms in London. The heroine is Lady Mara Pierson, widow. Her friend Delilah has informed her she is being watched quite intensely by a very handsome man. But Mara is not interested. She is trying to secure a painting as a gift for the Prince Regent, a particular friend. Plus, she is enjoying her independence and has no use for men at the moment, even though the ton thinks her true friendship with the Regent is much more. her life is full, especially with her toddler son, Thomas.
Imagine her surprise when she finds out the handsome man is none other than Jordan Lennox, bringing up harsh memories of pain and anguish of her youth. And heartbreak. She thought Jordan was her true love, until he left her without a word, 12 years before.
In essence, Jordan has become that hardened, cynical aloof man he swore he wouldn't be. Twelve years of being a spy out of the country can do that to you. Seeing Mara again has rocked his world, though he does not show it. Their meeting is frosty and full of disdain. But the spark still remains. Mara is not aware Jordan is a spy, she believes he has been off living a decadent life of a rich aristocrat regardless of his talk of working for the Foreign Office.
Suddenly they are thrown together at dinner parties, as it is said, there is a fine line between love and hate. Jordan carries his own hurt, Mara did not wait for him, she went off and married Lord Pierson. breaking his heart, though he would never admit it to himself. Jordan was at the auction house as he is in the middle of a mission. A mission Mara soon finds herself wrapped up in.
There are a couple of flashbacks which fleshes out their past a little more, and some subplots concerning other members of the Inferno Club that are quite riveting. The villain, Bloodwell, is almost like the Bond nemesis, Dr. No. Slick, intelligent and deadly.
Jordan soon hears the gossip about Mara and the Prince regent. After he rescues her from an unruly mob of Corn Law protesters, the couple actually begin to talk, and clear the air on some matters. And Jordan for all his outward cool, inside he still loves Mara deeply, even asks to be let back into her life, in whatever capacity she deems fit. Even to be her pretend paramour to lessen the gossip about her and the Prince.
Pretend does not last long, especially when they kiss, all the passion comes roaring back. And yow for that encounter in the carriage *sizzle* Ultimately it is about love lost and found again, trust and forgiveness.
Jordan is a great hero, cool as Bond, but like Bond, when he falls, he falls hard. He tries to keep Mara safe and away from his intrigues, but it is to no avail. She is in it up to her neck. An exciting finish and great set up for the next book.
3.5 out of 4 stars for the book
KOVER KUDOS: Great cover, could pass for Mara and Jordan.
3 out of 4 stars for the cover