Saturday, January 5, 2013

Checkmate, My Lord by Tracey Devlyn + 3 Featured Freebies

Checkmate, My Lord (Nexus, #2)
A desperate mother falls in love with the spymaster she’s sent to betray.

Spymaster Sebastian Danvers, Lord Somerton, has spent the last decade protecting England’s shores against a French invasion. Known for his cold logic and ability to sacrifice anything for the greater good, few can outwit him, and even fewer dare challenge him. Until now.

After being exiled to his country estate, Sebastian is surprised when his beautiful, no-nonsense neighbor turns her seductive wiles on him. But years of intrigue have left him wondering why a respectable widow would risk scandal for a few nights in his bed. Sebastian takes his time unraveling the widow’s secrets, for he quickly realizes she might be the one sacrifice he is unwilling to make.

Living a quiet existence at Winter’s Hollow, Catherine Ashcroft spends her days doing little more than caring for her precocious six-year-old daughter and negotiating her neighbors’ various complaints against their absentee landowner, the enigmatic Earl of Somerton. But, all her boredom comes to a searing halt after learning her newly returned neighbor might have had something to do with her husband’s murder.

Catherine's orderly existence soon upends and she now finds herself in a desperate bid to save her daughter’s life. But she must betray the earl to do so, even though she no longer suspects him of foul play. Catherine succumbs to the the earl’s passionate kisses and recognizes the same loneliness she has felt for years lurking in his hard, crystalline eyes. As her lover’s enemies close in, will Catherine be able to save both her beloved daughter and the handsome spy who has stolen her heart?

My Rating: 4/5

Checkmate, My Lord was a lovely romance, as good as the first in the Nexus series. It was full of the same combination of delightful romance and thrilling intrigue.

Catherine was a worthy heroine, which is saying much after seeing the heroine of book 1, Cora (who does show up with her fiance in this one). She is a devoted mother, willing to do anything to protect her child, even though in involved betraying the man she loves. My one complaint about her is that I don't get why she trusted the man who sent her to betray Sebastian. She was understandably wary of Sebastian while he was being nothing but kind. I don't get why that suspicion didn't extend to a man who she mentioned several times set her on edge. That just didn't seem to fit. But, she does come to her senses eventually, though a little late, so I got over it. It was just a little frustrating. 

Sebastian was wonderful, a total beast, which anyone who has read book 1 will know. But, in this book, we get to see more of his softer side than his cutthroat spymaster side, though that does show up. He was really sweet, especially to Catherine and her daughter, Sophia. Catherine and Sebastian were sweet together. They complemented each other and made each other stronger. Both were wary and refused to see what was right in front of them for a while but that didn't stop them from falling head over heels. And having some "fun" along the way ;)

The plot was interesting, though there were a few points when it could have moved faster. But it still kept me interested all the way through. And the ending was perfectly satisfying for Sebastian and Catherine's story while leaving a nice lead in into the next book.

Checkmate, My Lord was a wonderful book, full of romance and thrills. Romance lovers, you should definitely try this one out.

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!
Featured Freebies: 
I have 3 freebies to tell you about today, since I missed a couple of days. Each of these books, I've read before and really enjoyed. Go forth and get them for free!

1) Married in Haste by Cathy Maxwell
Married in Haste (Marriage)Brenn Owens, the new Earl of Merton, has come to London to choose a bride. The broad-shouldered war hero has his pick of the season's debutantes, but once he gazes upon Tess Hamlin, he knows he won't rest until he's made her his own. But behind Tess's light-hearted facade is desperation. She has no choice but to marry quickly, before news of her family's ruin becomes common gossip, so she accepts Brenn's sudden proposal—without letting him know the truth. He offers her days and nights of unforgettable passion and love, but how can she marry him without feeling she's betrayed him?

2) Pretty Persuasion by Olivia Kingsley
Pretty Persuasion

Young Lady Georgiana Montford is heartbroken and infuriated when she discovers her lifelong betrothed, Robert Balfour, in the arms of another woman. Severing their friendship, she vows to choose her own husband, a man who'll share her thirst for adventure. Yet, despite her attempts to forget him, Robert's place in her heart proves more unwavering than she could ever have imagined.

After seven years on his Caribbean plantation, Robert returns to England a changed man. Weary of traveling and troubled by his past, he hopes to attain peace of mind through marriage and family. Though scarcely daunted at finding Georgie in love with another man, he soon learns that winning her hand—and heart—will take more powerful means of persuasion than expected.

3) The Dancing Master by Paris Alexander
The Dancing Master (Stolen Moments)

Susanna Marriott needs to practise her dancing for her debut into society. And who better to help her learn than dashing man-about-town, Nigel.
Nigel doesn't care about waltzing, but he does care about the beautiful Susanna. When the devil on his shoulder whispers to him a way in which he can seduce his beautiful partner, he cannot resist.