A Reckless Soul by Elizabeth Cole

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A seductive agent, a disillusioned lord, and a web of deceit only they can untangle… Sophie Bertrand is skilled in acting, espionage, and the subtle art of seduction. An independent spirit, she fought her way from rough streets to the top secret circle of spies known as the Zodiac. Her newest assignment is one of her most delicate yet: hunt down a traitor within Britain’s own government. But there’s a catch…this time she can’t work alone. Bruce Allander has a title, honor, wealth…but he’d trade it all to restore his family. The Zodiac gives him a chance for justice in a world that’s already taken too much from him. Now he finds himself close to this captivating Frenchwoman-possibly too close. Sophie defies all his expectations, yet in her he senses a kindred soul. Passion draws the two together, but a web of betrayals threatens to tear them apart. To survive, they have to trust each other. They have to be a little reckless… “A Reckless Soul” is the second book in the Secrets of the Zodiac, a series that blends romantic suspense with the rich background of the Regency period.

Publisher and Release Date: Skyspark Books, April 2014

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting:  Regency Era
Genre:  Historical Romance
Heat Level:  2
Reviewer Rating:  4 stars

Review by Susan:

Sophie Bertrand is a Mata Hari type figure; two-thirds seductress, one-third honest and virtuous, and one hundred percent devoted compatriot of the British Crown.  A Reckless Soul, the second book in Elizabeth Cole’s Secrets of the Zodiac series, delves into the world of British spies exposing traitors inside England during the Napoleonic Wars.

Born in Paris, Sophie is fatherless, and her mother was guillotined during the Reign of Terror. She is a modern-type of gal, accustomed to being alone and relying on her own resources.  She finds security in a pseudo-family working for a ring of British agents dubbed the Zodiac.  Her code name is Libra and her boss is Aries, the alias of Julian Neville.  Aries assigns Sophie to discover the identity of the traitor inside the British Cabinet who is assisting an underground group intent on restoring the ancient regime in France.  Orchestrated by Alain Volange and Thomas Theriot, the group aims to hire a band of mercenaries supplied by the known criminal Arceneau.  Though Arceneau never appears in the story, his presence haunts Sophie continuously.

Part of Sophie’s disguise is to be married, so Aries chooses an agent to be her husband when in the social circle she’s to infiltrate.  Scorpio, aka Lord Bruce Allander Forester, is picked to play the part.  The two have an antagonistic relationship at first, snapping at each other and attempting to beat the other in a game known only to themselves.  Their rivalry ignites sparks of sexual attraction, despite their differences. Sophie is impulsive and a quick thinker ready to improvise on the spot, whereas Bruce is cautious and plans ahead.  Their natures are total opposites but complement one another nicely.

The narration uses an active figure of speech which illuminates the characters’ innermost thoughts and motives.  Though Sophie and Bruce have doubts about trusting one another in the beginning, the audience always knows what’s going on inside their minds.  Their secrets are unveiled to the reader, creating a bond between the characters and their audience.

Startling surprises are scattered throughout the story giving the plot depth.  The only drawback is that the author focuses an extensive portion of the book on the Zodiac network, which makes it difficult to believe that Sophie and Bruce could be affectionate to one another outside their roles as operatives.  A charming read, A Reckless Soul is a complex tale that takes the reader through an intricate maze presenting Sophie and Bruce as a dynamic couple who mirror 21st century attitudes.

 

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