Overview from Amazon
In The Secrets of a Scoundrel, New York Times bestselling author Gaelen Foley has created her most exciting Inferno Club novel yet!
Nick, Lord Forrester, has a reputation that is legendary— both as a lethal warrior and a wicked lover. But when his rule-breaking ways land him in a Scottish dungeon, he’s left there to rot, until a mysterious lady visits his cell and offers him a way out.
All he must do is risk his neck on the mission she proposes—and obey her every command. One look at the luscious beauty has Nick ready to promise her anything, but he must resist his desire, or she could send him straight back to prison.
Virginia, Lady Burke, is well aware that the powerful ex-spy will try to take command of their quest, but it’s her job to keep him under control. Yet how can she keep this untamable scoundrel under her thumb when all she really wants is to unleash the smoldering passion between them?
I have read all the Order books by Gaelen Foley, in fact I have read all her books. She is a solid writer. She takes you on an adventure and there is mystery, suspense, well thought out plotlines and very steamy scenes.
In the previous Order books, the agents contact Virgil, the gruff Scotsman, was murdered. I love how Foley resurrects him so to speak by creating a daughter no one knew about. Through her story you get to know more about the Order, Virgil and the background of how these lethal assassins came to be.
The story opens with Nick imprisoned for almost betraying the Order, murdering the Prime Minister and wanting to end his association with the Order – which is not allowed. Virginia (Gin) needs help to solve a complex situation and frees him to acquire his skills, but also to allow him the opportunity to redeem himself.
She is beautiful and a widow, he is darkly handsome and the two have sparks right off the bat. They both hold their cards close to their chests and it is enjoyable watching them circle one another, stripping away little pieces to learn who the other person really is and what their motivations are.
Of course Gin hasn’t been totally honest with Nick. There is the matter of her son, the true reason she is on her journey to the Bacchus Bazaar and her intimate knowledge of the Order. Nick has no choice but to run from dire situation to another in order to put the pieces of the puzzle together to solve the mystery. Gin told Nick she wanted to rescue girls who were being sold into slavery (true). She needed to get into an auction called the Bacchus Bazaar in order to do it (true). But also being sold is her father’s diary, stolen by her erstwhile assistant. The diary is written in code, but can be broken. Virgil entrusted it to her and she let it get away. She hides this information from Nick until at least two-thirds of the way through the book and it adds to an already crowded plot line, but does somehow manage to untangle loose ends that didn’t quite make sense.
The story takes them from English countryside estates to Paris to the Mediterranean island of Corfu. So you get a bit of everything in the novel. The imagery is vivid and the author does a decent job describing the methods of travel and the exotic locations.
One of the many reasons Gin wanted Nick to help her was his extensive knowledge of thugs, ruffians and leaders of the Underworld. One such association is with a beautiful French woman named Angelique. The author makes it clear Nick was her stud and plaything. In order to get some information he is intimate with her. Not all the way and Gin doesn’t know AND he is doing it to save her life, but if you prefer your hero to not tangle with another woman at all, then be forewarned. Since Gin is a unstatisfied widow, she hungers for Nick. She’s had a crush on him for years, not that he even knew of her existence. When the two finally connect its steamy.
But as Gin comments, Paris is for lovers and they take advantage of their time there to get to know each other carnally. Nick suffers from broken self-esteem and Gin’s interest is healing to him. Unlike a lot of historical romance novels, Gin is not a virgin so there is not tentative love making and easing the virginal heroine into it. It’s wild and passionate from the start and the author is descriptive about the sex without being crude. I wouldn’t mind waking up in the morning the way Gin does!
There are some elements to the book that distracted for me, such as Nick’s gambling, drinking, wenching past in order to hide his feelings of inadequacies. It was a point that kept coming up and I realize that was to anchor how important the love they were developing was, but it got a little tiresome. Another thing that irked me was Gin’s desire to be an Order agent and how she could all of a sudden take command and over power a ship. It seemed far fetched and when Nick left her in the hold on Rotgut’s ship, I was shaking my head.
I did enjoy the relationship between Gin and her son, Philip. It allowed the reader to see the heroine as more than an absentee parent or a complete ninny. She struggled to parent a head strong teenager and to live her life on her terms. I admired Philip’s tenacity in following the pair and he provided some comic relief throughout the book.
The Promtheans have been put down, the men of the Inferno Club who served the Order are all wedded and mending their hearts and spirits after fighting for some many years. It was a good conclusion, although I would have enjoyed more interaction with the other Order members and their wives, but what can you do?
I look forward to reading Gaelen Foley’s next adventure.