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Miss Amelia Bonnington has been in love with her childhood hero since she was eleven years old… or so she thought until a not-so proper impassioned and unyielding kiss from the not-so honorable and equally disreputable Lord Derrick Brinsley, gave her reason to question the feelings of the heart.
Lord Brinsley, shunned from society for running off with his brother’s fiancée, hasn’t cared about or questioned his lack of acceptance until meeting the beguiling Amelia Bonnington. One passionate moment with the fiery Miss Bonnington has him more than willing to play by society’s rules to possess the breathtaking, red-haired woman.
Amelia unwittingly becomes embroiled in espionage when she stumbles upon a smuggling ring in the modiste shop of her good friend. To prove her French friend’s innocence, she dangerously jumps into the fray, jeopardizing more than her life.
On undercover assignment to prevent the French from stealing the Royal Navy’s deadly weapon, Derrick must fight to protect British secrets from falling into the hands of foreign agents, and the chance at love with the only woman capable of redeeming him.
Christmas Eve, 1802
Amelia Bonnington braced herself as the crowd bumped and pushed, straining to get close to His Highness. The crème of society shoved and elbowed, politely-of-course, since one would never want to be accused of bad manners.
The Prince Regent stood on a small platform elaborately decorated with heavy boughs of greenery and red velvet, matching the Christmas décor of the massive ballroom. Hundreds of beeswax candles burned. No expense had been spared for the house party celebrating his royal visit.
Amelia had no desire to be part of the prince’s circle; they were a ghastly group who were only interested in themselves and their own pleasure.
She sucked in the little air left in the room and pushed, courteously-of-course, toward the door. The crowd and the heat were unbearable. She wasn’t one to swoon, but with the thick mix of perfume and the hot bodies, she felt tonight might be her first. She, one of the steadiest women, felt unsteady and unsafe. The last days of upheaval must have had a greater effect on her than she had wanted to believe.
Her whole world had been turned upside down and twisted sideways at this house party. In the last two days, her friends had been poisoned and kidnapped, and she had been ensnared in the French villain’s trap. But the deadly crisis had to be kept secret. Nothing must look out of the ordinary. No one outside the intelligence world ever know about the enemy’s threat to the Prince Regent’s life. The ball must go on.
Amelia looked over her shoulder for the closest exit, but the throng pushed her forward. She needed to escape from the packed room.
A gentleman used the chaos in the crowded room, to crash into her, to take liberties with her person. After spending the last four years in congested ballrooms, she fully recognized the scoundrel’s ploy. His heavy eyelids didn’t conceal his hungry eyes, focused down her décolletage. As his eyes remained fixated on her breasts, he grabbed her elbow, pretending to help her when in fact he intended to pull her close against his hefty, malodorous body.
His reek of stale alcohol and sour sweat constricted her stomach and burned her throat. She pulled her arm away from his grasp, repulsed by the wetness seeping through his gloves. “Sir, release me this instant.”
She was about to dig her heel into the supposed gentleman’s fat toe when suddenly a space opened around her and a smell of fresh lime soap surrounded her.
The perspiring man stared behind her. His slack mouth and his blood-shot eyes widened in fear.
She recognized Lord Brinsley’s scent without needing to turn; he was an impossibly difficult, yet irresistibly appealing man. His deep, velvety voice flitted down her skin like a caress. “Miss Amelia, may I escort you away from this mob?”
Relief and something much more potent buzzed all her nerve endings. She turned quickly and found herself pressed against the broad chest of the man she had been forced to conspire with to save her friends.
She hastily straightened herself. “I never thought I’d be happy to see you.” She refused to be like all the other women who fawned for his slightest glance.
He lifted an eyebrow and the corner of his mouth in that sardonic way she always found irritating. He was too big, too handsome, and too confident for her to find him irresistible. She’d never let him have the satisfaction of knowing she found him…almost irresistible.
Publisher and Release Date: Doe Bay Publishing, Feb 9, 2015
RHR Classifications: Historical Romance
Time and Setting: London, 1802
Genre: Historical Romance, Thriller
Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars
Review by Natalie
The beginning of A Code of the Heart takes place at the end of the second book in Ms Delecki’s Code Breaker series, A Christmas Code. Amelia Bonnington has spent the holiday assisting her close friends crack a spy ring and in doing so has been brought in close proximity with Derrick, the brooding Lord Brinsley. Derrick is a disgraced member of the ton who has been acting as a spy on behalf of the Queen and he can’t seem to keep away from the pale, fiery Amelia.
After sharing a kiss at the Christmas Ball, Amelia has sworn herself off Derrick but can’t seem to keep away from him as she helps her friends prepare for a wedding and a new baby. Suddenly thrust back into the middle of an intrigue involving fashion dolls, jewels and a French seamstress, Amelia can’t seem to get away from Lord Brinsley and his protective ways.
Derrick hasn’t given much thought to his reputation since supposedly running off to Scotland with his brother’s fiancée. He has used his reputation as a rake and a scoundrel to his advantage in the world of spies and intrigue, but something has changed. Derrick suddenly realizes that if he ever wants to win the hand of the lovely Amelia Bonnington, he will have to re-enter society and repair his tattered reputation. But at every step Amelia is there, casting her own safety to the wind trying to solve a mystery with her friends; infuriating Derrick as well as deepening his infatuation with her. She arouses his protective side and when he finds her dressed a young man in the middle of a bar-room brawl he knows he must act swiftly if he is to win her for himself.
Jacki Delecki’s Code Breaker series is a fun, fast read filled with engaging characters. A Code of the Heart can be read independently without any problem and gives the reader fun information on the fashion scene and use of fashion dolls to display new designs. Amelia is an interesting character – not exactly a tom-boy and not exactly a girly-girl. Lord Brinsley is dashing and seductive as well as protective of her. It’s easy to see how he could easily make Amelia forget her childhood crush on someone else. If you’re looking for a comfy way to spend a Friday night through the rest of this winter then grab a drink and curl up by the fire with A Code of the Heart.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Descended from a long line of storytellers, Jacki spins adventures filled with mystery, healing and romance. Jacki’s love affair with the arts began at a young age and inspired her to train as a jazz singer and dancer. She has performed many acting roles with the Seattle Opera Company and the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Her travels to London and Paris ignited a deep-seated passion to write A Code of Love, a romantic mystery set in the Regency era. Jacki is certain she spent at least one lifetime dancing in the Moulin Rouge.
Although writing now fills most of her days, she continues to volunteer with Seattle’s Ballet and Opera companies, as well as leading children’s tours of Pike Street Market. Her volunteer work with Seattle’s homeless shelters influenced one of her main characters in An Inner Fire. Jacki’s two Golden Labs, Gus and Talley, are her constant companions. Their years of devotion and intuition inspired her to write both dogs as heroes in A Code of Love. A geek at heart, Jacki loves superhero movies—a hero’s battle against insurmountable odds. Fortunately, her heroines don’t have to wear a unitard to fight injustice and battle for the underdog. Jacki’s extraordinary heroines love and heal.