Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Rogue Chronicles, #3
Release Date: June 23, 2020
After the death of his father, Thomas Raybourne is tasked by his brother, the new Earl of Carlington with turning the family publishing business into a success. Thomas has no experience in publishing and is widely known as a rogue, a reputation he relished until just a few months ago. Now he is focused and wants to succeed, he has overhauled the entire publishing operation and learns that unfortunately the only book they have that is making any money is a murder mystery written by A. Golden. But he is shocked to learn that A. Golden is actually Miss Annabelle Gold, the lovely girl he kissed on a moonlit terrace a few months ago!
Annabelle has a passion for writing and used her talent to help her family financially when her father’s business began to decline along with his memory. But now that her sister Caroline married the Earl of Aberland and things have begun to look up for the family, Annabelle can once again write for the pure joy of it. She has written the second book in her mystery series and has been waiting to hear from her publisher. When she doesn’t hear anything for weeks, she finally makes the trip to their office. She is just as shocked to find Thomas there as he was to see her – but he is surprisingly supportive and eager to publish the next installment. She can’t deny that she is attracted to Thomas, but a deep-seated fear of losing herself if she marries has her keeping all potential suitors at bay – including Thomas.
They make plans to reissued the first book and publish the second one, but just as they finalize their plans, there is a murder that clearly mimics a murder in her first book. They decide to hold off publishing until the murderer is caught and work together to find out who (and why) they are using her book as inspiration. They stumble across a potential suspect, which ends with them forced into a betrothal, yet gives them no evidence to stop the murderer. But when a second mimicked murder doesn’t tie to the victim of the first murder, they race to stop their villain before they can strike again. All the while, Annabelle and Thomas grow closer and wonder if they can defy the odds and find their own HEA. But when the villain approaches Thomas and threatens to destroy someone he loves; will Thomas be able to thwart them or will he make Annabelle’s worst fears come true?
I thought this was a well written, nicely paced book with likeable characters, very low steam love scenes and an interesting mystery. Thomas and Annabelle are a wonderful pairing and you can’t help but root for their HEA, the mystery was good, but the villain wasn’t much of a surprise to this reader. There were cameos from previous characters and I enjoyed catching up with Caroline, Aberland, Louisa and Granger and was thrilled that there was an epilogue. This is the third book in the series, but it can easily be read as a stand-alone title.