A Counterfeit Courtesan by Jess Michaels
Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Shelley Sisters, #3
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Juliana Shelley is the “fixer” in her family, one of the Shelley Triplets, but even she couldn’t fix the upheaval caused when Ellis “Handsome” Maitland convinced her sister Anne to run away with him. The ensuing events left Juliana scarred and her reputation in ruins, any hope of a happy marriage is put to rest by her father, he says she will never marry and will live with him as his secretary and hostess – not the life she hoped for. In an attempt to be the master of her destiny, Juliana secretly escapes to the scandalous club The Donville Masquerade, with the hope that she can at least know pleasure on her own terms. Never once did she expect to encounter Ellis there or to want him beyond reason, but that is exactly what happens.
Ellis is in the club trying to track down Lord Winston Leonard – the youngest son of the Duke of Coningburgh – the source of all his current troubles. Ellis is an accomplished thief and scammer, raised on the streets, he knows the underworld and has been running his “games” for years – but when he and his friend Solomon, the Earl of Harcourt ran afoul of Lord Winston and Solomon is killed, Ellis knows this game won’t end until they are both dead. To protect those he loves, he convinced the Anne, the fiancée of the new Earl of Harcourt to run away with him, hoping to learn what happened to the gem that Solomon stole from Winston. He never expected Winston to kidnap Juliana, thinking she was Anne or to hurt her and then disappearing but still leaving the threat to his loved ones. Nor does he expect to fall in love with the very stubborn Juliana. Ellis knows he is not good enough for her and that being with her places her in danger, so he tries to push her away – but when he learns Juliana has information he needs to find the gem – he will have to play by her rules and can only hope they both survive!
I thought this was a well written, fast paced story that neatly tied up the series with a surprising twist. The book has a little of everything, intrigue, mystery, steamy love scenes, surprises, danger, drama, a great cast of characters and an unexpected, yet delightful tie in to both the Notorious Flynns and the Wicked Woodleys series!! This is the third book in the series and I would really recommend reading the books in order for maximum enjoyment.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*