Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Wicked Secrets, #3
Release Date: February 11, 2019
Colin Smith is back in England, much to his disgust, after 10 years in India and Egypt. He hopes to sell treasures he found and find a patron that will enable him and his business partner Debananda “Deb” Mukherjee to return to Egypt and hopefully discover even greater treasure. His hope is to capture the attention of the Marquess of Chatwell, who is a collector of antiquities and rich.
Lady Claire Harrison, daughter of the Marquess of Chatwell, has accompanied her father to see Colin’s treasures, Claire has an eidetic memory and remembers everything, every boring, mundane moment of her life. She longs for excitement and adventure, but is resigned to her quiet life – until see lays eyes on Colin and falls in love at first sight. Claire is not stupid, she knows that Colin is not suitable as a prospective groom and that her father will never approve, so she comes up with a plan – she will help him find the lost treasure of Scipio which includes the Cleopatra emerald – he will be rewarded and recognized by the crown and then her father would allow him to marry her! Now all she has to do is convince him to “help” her find the treasure and marry her.
Colin is interested in the treasure, but not Claire – or any lady in the “ton”, he has no love for the nobility. His mother was a ladies man and was raped by her employer’s husband and cast out when she learned she was pregnant. Colin reached out to his father when he was a young man and was told in no uncertain terms, that he was not going to help him. Colin’s bitterness against the nobility runs deep, but Claire is different and he likes her – but he still won’t help her.
Claire’s father requests a meeting with Colin and makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Help Claire find treasure – fake treasure – and the Marquess will become his patron. Colin agrees, but underestimates Claire’s determination to have Colin find the treasure and marry her.
This is a well written, amusing, uncomplicated, quirky story with very likable characters, warm love scenes, treasure, secrets, lies, wonderful secondary characters and a sweet HEA, complete with an epilogue. This is the 3rd book in the series, but I have not read the previous books and had no issues whatsoever.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review of an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*