A Spy Unmaksed by Tina Gabrielle
Overview by Amazon:
The mission did not go quite as Robert Ware–known in society as the new Earl of Kirkland–planned. A spy in the service of His Majesty, Robert is a “guest” at a masquerade party as he retrieves vital information for a murder investigation. Until he’s quite unexpectedly interrupted by an exquisite, masked woman with glittering green eyes. And a pistol she has cocked and aimed right at him…
Lady Sophia Merrill has defiantly taken up justice’s shining sword, determined to expose the brigand who murdered her eccentric but brilliant father, and stole his latest invention. Now she must masquerade as Robert’s betrothed in order to infiltrate the Inventor’s Society and find the killer. But the undeniable potent attraction between them not only imperils the investigation, but Sophia’s reputation… and both of their lives.
I LOVED this book. What made this story so excellent was the amazing plot the author developed, with rich characters and complicated emotions. It was such a great story to read and it had me dying to know what happens!
Lady Sophia has been unsuccessfully trying to find out what happened to her father. He died under very mysterious circumstances and she is seeking revenge for the heart breaking loss she has endured. Her father, although a noble, was a scientist and was deemed the ‘Mad Marquess’ by the ton. That nickname stung to the sensible Sophia and she has shunned ton events for many years. She is still young and very beautiful, but realizes the life of a lady is not her calling. She has her own inventions she likes to tinker with in her father’s empty laboratory, but the death of her father cannot go unavenged.
She meets Robert one evening at Lord Delmont’s ball. Robert is investigating Delmont as he thinks the Scientific Club he belongs to is up to nefarious deeds, possibly selling military secrets. Robert works for the Home office and is officially a spy. His speciality is safe cracking. He is shocked to find himself being accosted by Sophia while investigating the safe at Delmont’s house. It’s an interesting introduction as neither is willing to explain what they are after. They are caught and together they flee the house before they are unmasked.
Sophia refuses to be left to the side lines, so Robert’s superior contrives a plan that the two should pretend to be engaged in order to secure an invitation to a Scientific Club week long get together at Delmont’s country estate. Robert is livid at this plan. He wants nothing to do with Sophia, for a couple of reasons. One he finds her distracting and rash, two he has taken a vow of celibacy and she tempts him and three, he wants to work alone. Robert is overruled and off the two go to the country party.
Sophia wants revenge and information, but she never imagined she’d have to pretend to be engaged in order to get in the game. She finds Robert a mystery. He’s handsome as sin and she appreciates his intellect and cunning. She quickly realizes however, that Robert is going to insist she sit on the sidelines and chat with the other wives at the event, rather than sleuth around with him. This does not sit well with her and I totally loved the sparring the two do over who will take on which deeds.
Being at the Delmont’s is a challenge for Sophia as she firmly believes that he is responsible for the death of her father. She despises the man and it gets even worse for her when Delmont takes a sexual interest in Sophia and wants to seduce her. Being under his roof is torture enough. This is where Robert shows what a good man he is. He is very protective of Sophia, although he rebels at the thought of her being ‘his’ permanently. He has a past that torments him. His demons and memories stop him from establishing deep relationships and even superficial sexual ones. He has to focus on his job or drown in memories that haunt him and taunt him when he looks at Sophia and knows that he isn’t worthy of her.
As they investigate over the week, there is plenty of time for them to spend together and get to know one another. They find that they like each other. She admires him and thinks of him as the kind of man she would have liked to marry if her life wasn’t the way it turned out. Robert finds Sophia to be a strong and intellectual woman that he is compatible with on many levels. They share a few kisses, which raises the temperature of their relationship and starts to make the fake engagement feel a little bit more real.
Sophia and Robert’s investigation doesn’t turn up the information they hope for. They spend time with an odd assortment of characters that belong to the Scientific community and try to figure out what special skill each has that the mastermind and Delmont want. There are a few close calls and when Sophia comes under suspicion by Delmont, Robert is her avenging angel and rescues her. When Delmont tries to get rid of Sophia through extremely dangerous means, Robert once again rescues her.
Sophia is confident and smart. She can go back to her life after this party and resume her activities; however she doesn’t want to let one experience pass her by. She pushes Robert to his breaking point and the two share a night of exquisite love making. The scene was so well written and it came at the perfect point in the plot that it makes so much sense that these two would reach out for each other and stop trying to fight what in inevitable.
They are caught in the action by the house guests and the sham engagement must become a wedding in truth. They leave the party and head directly to London to be married. Robert shares his dark past with Sophia and tells her that they will not consummate the marriage and she can get an annulment. He can’t live with himself if his work puts her in danger. This does not sit well with Sophia and after a few days of wedded bliss, she storms the castle. She is in love with Robert and cares for him deeply. It’s such a relief when her feelings are returned.
The mystery of the Scientific club and Sophia’s father’s death is still not resolved. They become partners in crime and investigate together. They finally figure out what is behind the club and the illegal activity that must be stopped. The major surprise is who is the mastermind.
I was so surprised when I read who was behind the betrayal. It was moments like this that made the book so amazing. The saying ‘the truth shall set you free’ is very accurate about this ending. Robert is freed from his past and Sophia has the resolution she so desperately wanted. The icing on the cake was the fact that they found each other and now have the rest of their lives to spend together.
I adored this book. The plot was a great page turner. It had me guessing from one moment to the next what evil lurked around the corner, whether Robert would kiss Sophia and who was the mastermind. This book is everything you hope for in a historical romance novel – love, a great mystery, adventure and a very satisfying ending!