Series: Rebels and Rogues, #2
Release Date: December 18, 2018
After reading the first book in the series – A Companion’s Secret and absolutely loving it, I couldn’t wait to read this installment of the Rogues and Rebels series. This book features Cami’s younger sister Erica Burke, an aspiring botanist and Major Tristin Laurens, the new Duke of Raynham.
Erica is traveling with Cami and her new husband on their wedding trip, Erica left Ireland after the failed rebellion that killed her betrothed and came to England to start anew. She is studying the flora she has seen and tracking her findings in her journal. Her most prized possession. But when she enters the carriage after a quick stop at an inn, she realizes she left the book in the dining room. Without a word to anyone, she races back into the inn and gets her journal – when she returns to the yard, she learns that they left without her. She sets out on foot and is caught in a storm, she manages to make her way to an abandoned cottage – but it isn’t really abandoned, Tristian is there waiting out the storm.
Tristian never imagined he would be the duke, his life is in the military and he works covertly collecting information (AKA a spy). He has delayed returning home as long as he can and now he is mere miles from his home, he could have pushed on but he needed a little more time before facing his new life – one he doesn’t plan on keeping, he wants to return to his work in France as soon as possible. When Erica bursts in the cottage, he is surprised and a little suspicious, but he offers to help her reunite with her sister. The next morning, they walk to his home, she is shocked to learn he is a duke. His stepmother, is gracious and kind to Erica, especially when she learns that she will have to stay for awhile, the bridge has been washed out. But Erica is not the only guest, several local gentry have been visiting to welcome Tristian home, including his late brother’s assumed bride (they were never formally betrothed).
Tristian gets several shocks, first he learns that the Pilkington’s expect him to marry Caroline in his brother’s place and then he learns from his friend Capt. David Whitby that there might be a spy in their midst, as several rumors concerning Tristian have been circulating.
Whitby plants a seed in Tristian’s mind that Erica might actually be a spy and he becomes obsessed with finding out what is in her journal. When he is caught trying to take it in the middle of the night, he proposes. She of course declines, but wants to know why he wanted it. When Whitby confronts her, she decides it is time to set things straight with Tristian and catch the real spy.
I did not enjoy this book nearly as much as I did the first book. Erica was flighty, immature and impetuous, the author did try and explain her actions and personality to the reader, but for me, it wasn’t enough and I really never warmed up to her. I also never really “felt” a connection between Erica and Tristian, when Erica reveals to herself that she loved him, I was surprised and when he thinks the same, I couldn’t believe it – I have no idea when or more importantly why they fell in love, it seemed completely random and out of the blue. The writing was good, the mystery of the spy was interesting and surprising and the love scenes were steamy, but the romance fell completely flat for me. This book is the second in the series, but it can be read as a standalone.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*