The Undercover Scoundrel by Jessica Peterson
Overview by Amazon:
Mr. Henry Lake spent the past twelve years uncovering the most scandalous secrets of Europe’s wealthy and powerful, serving as one of His Majesty’s most decorated spies. But when a mission to find the legendary French Blue diamond brings him back to London, and face to face with a beautiful noblewoman he once loved, it’s his own hidden passions that are uncovered…
Lady Caroline, Countess of Berry, knows better than to lose her head over a man. After an embarrassing romantic entanglement forced her into a loveless marriage and early widowhood, she learned to never trust in desire, especially when it comes to the man who once broke her heart. Only, despite her good sense, she finds Henry impossible to resist—even when he once again places her in deathly danger…
There is nothing more fun that a reunited couple! Henry and Caroline were secretly married twelve years before this novel takes place. Henry abandoned poor Caroline and was never heard from again. The story picks up when Henry returns to London on a mission for the Crown.
What was so cool about this book was that it takes place at the same time as the first book in the series, The Millionaire Rogue. I can’t remember the last time I read a series where that happens. I really, really enjoyed the Millionaire Rogue, so it was great to see the events from another character’s perspective.
The French Blue, aka the Hope Diamond, is the centerpiece of the story. This is a diamond that can solve world peace, save lives and create fortunes. For the last book review in this series, I did a lot of googling (is that a verb?) about the diamond and its history. However, you don’t have to as the author Jessica Peterson does it for you. She shares her research in the author’s note at the end of the book.
We start the story with an illicit wedding and a really great wedding night. Since these two characters have already done the deed, I was really hoping for a repeat when they saw each other again. But it’s like great foreplay in this book. They slowly reconnect physically and emotionally to each other. When they finally consummate their relationship again, it’s definitely worth the wait. The passion builds incrementally in the story as they get to know each other again.
There are some very familiar faces in this story. We spend time with the characters introduced in the first book, but get to see them in a different light. I really liked that aspect of this book. Jessica Peterson wields this literary device effectively.
It would be remiss of me to not mention the action. This book is jammed packed with action. From sneaking around estates, to flying acrobats, kidnap, murder and jumping out of windows, the action never stops. Just when you think the plan will work or the resolution is coming, a twist gets thrown into the mix. But it is not frustrating. You know how sometimes you feel like, “enough already!”? This book never made me feel that way. I found the plot to be believable and interesting.
There were a few elements that I would have liked to know more about, such as Caroline’s marriage to Henry’s best friend. But that didn’t detract from my enjoyment. I liked the characters and I find reunion stories so bittersweet. They are almost better than the blush of first love. Who doesn’t love a second chance?
This is a solid addition to the series by Jessica Peterson and I am looking forward to another one in the Hope Diamond series. Perhaps the Earl next?