THE WICKEDEST SECRET . . .
Major Nathaniel Grey is free to bed whomever he wants, whenever he chooses, and that’s exactly how he likes it. His only loyalties are to country and the two friends he served with-brothers he’d do anything for. So when one of them is gravely injured and asking for his little sister, Grey will move heaven and earth to bring her home. He’s greeted not by the gangly girl he remembers, but a stunningly beautiful woman holding a loaded musket. And he’s utterly captivated by her . . .
IS A SECRET SEDUCTION
Once upon a time, Emily would have loved nothing more than a stolen hour with her brother’s best friend, the dashing officer who captured her heart and soul. But things are different now-and so is she. Gone is the eager young woman who believed in love. In her place is a widow weighed down with secrets who desperately needs to disappear before they’re revealed. But Grey’s sinfully sexy smile offers protection unlike anything she’s ever known, tempting her to risk everything . . . even her heart.
Publisher and Release Date: Forever, March 2016
Time and Setting: England, 1816
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 Stars
Review by Sara
All I can say about the opening chapter of Along Came a Rogue is that’s one hell of a way to introduce your hero! Within the first few pages the reader knows exactly what kind of rogue Nathaniel Grey is and there is no secret that he’s quite enjoying that lifestyle.
Settling his affairs in town before transferring to Spain, Major Nathaniel Grey takes full advantage of his status as a war hero and agent of the War Office to find entertainments at the opera other than what’s on stage. With the night still young and his companion returning to her husband’s side, Nathaniel plans on visiting his club for more diversions until he hears that his close friend Thomas, Lord Chesney, has been critically injured in a robbery gone wrong. He arrives at Thomas’s home to find their mutual friend the Duke of Swarthmore already there, but receives a very cold reception from Thomas’s family.
As a commoner, Nathaniel was never fully accepted by Thomas’s parents as an acceptable associate for a future Duke. His status was further lowered when he was caught seven years earlier kissing their daughter, Lady Emily. Since that time Nathaniel has heard little about Emily’s life except that she had married, was estranged from her brother and bow she refuses to travel to London to keep vigil as Thomas clings to life. When Thomas pleads from his possible deathbed to see his sister, Nathaniel takes it upon himself to travel to Yorkshire and bring the reluctant woman back to her family.
Lady Emily would fly to her brother’s side if she didn’t fear that her presence might put him at additional risk. Suspecting that the recent death of her husband was not an accident, Emily has kept herself safe by staying close to her home and trusting only her lady’s maid with her biggest secret. Nathaniel’s arrival on her doorstep is anything but welcome as her heart has never forgotten the dashing soldier who gave her her first real kiss, but his insistence she travel to London is counter to her own plans to flee to Scotland and safety. The decision is taken out of Emily’s hands when her home is set on fire and Nathaniel realizes the danger Emily has been facing for months on her own.
The journey from Yorkshire to London brings Emily and Nathaniel closer than they had ever been before, forcing them to confront years’ worth of misconceptions. Emily’s secret is quickly revealed, but in spending time with Nathaniel she learns quite a few of his secrets that could be just as dangerous as her own. The more she discovers about who Nathaniel has become since their youth, the better Emily understands her own rekindled affection for the man. Emily loves deeply and falls hard for her protector yet she cannot let him discover her feelings as she knows any future together would sacrifice the life Nathaniel has created for himself.
I enjoyed Along Came a Rogue, but I felt that Nathaniel and Emily’s past wasn’t explored enough. Because their shared history is the launching point for many of their fights, misunderstandings and their new romance, I would have liked a better sense of what they felt for one another before reuniting. I never got a full picture of what exactly had happened between the two of them seven years prior other than they had kissed one another, got caught and that Emily’s life took a wrong turn through exile and an unhappy marriage. The reader is told that Emily had a strong affection for Nathaniel at that time, but we’re not really told what he thought about their encounter. We are perhaps supposed to guess that he too felt something more than just friendship for Emily, yet from how Nathaniel acts before their reunion I wouldn’t say he was broken up about their separation.
Fortunately, both Nathaniel and Emily are pretty likeable characters. Even with his roguish behavior in the opening pages, Nathaniel is a good person who finds ways to succeed while the social rules of the time would have held him back. His own family background is a small mystery with clues hidden in conversations and throwaway lines. I loved Emily’s strength of character, developed from facing the challenges of her marriage as well as protecting her secret from those who might hurt her. It was only when she arrives in London and takes the misguided advice of her mother that I lost a little respect for her character. I wanted her to talk to Nathaniel about their future rather than jumping to conclusions and making a choice without his input. It was a misstep that put the brakes on a story that was moving at a great pace up to that point.
Anna Harrington knows what her audience wants in an historical romance and has a light touch in creating her stories. I’ve enjoyed both titles in her Secret Life of Scoundrels series and cannot wait to see the final member of this trio of friends fall in love.