Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: Love and Let Spy, #1
Release Date: August 18, 2020
After being stationed on the island of Dominica for seven long, lonely years, Lt. Thomas Sutherland is finally going back to England. He returns and briefly considers looking up the girl he fell in love with just before he left, the girl he didn’t get to say goodbye to, but never forgot, but then convinces himself that she is no longer his Miss Quayle and that the past is best forgotten. He reports to his commanding officer, General Zebadiah Scott and learns that he has inherited the title of Earl of Magnus as well as the Scottish estate Dunnock Castle. General Scott will not even consider giving Thomas a new post until he goes to Dunnock and makes sure all is well with his tenants. He also tells Thomas that the castle is currently being leased to Robin Ratliff, an author of some renown, but that the lease is up for renewal in less than a month, so will also have to decide if he will renew the lease or take up residence at the castle himself. Thomas sets out, sure that he will not be staying at Dunnock. He arrives and is shocked to learn that Robin Radliff is not in residence, but his amanuensis, Mrs. Higginbotham is and she is none other than Miss Jane Quayle, the woman he fell in love with all those years ago.
Jane Quayle has a secret, she is not a widow or an amanuensis, she is Robin Ratliff, the author of several wildly popular gothic novels. She can’t believe Thomas is standing in front of her! She last saw him the night her life changed forever and has barely given him more than a passing thought over the years (well maybe more than a passing thought, but certainly she hasn’t dreamed about him, at least not very much). Thomas doesn’t want to tell her he is Lord Magnus, so after spying a threatening letter to Ratliff on her desk, he says he was sent to investigate the threats. It doesn’t take long for either of them to figure out the other’s secrets, but it will take longer to figure out who is threatening Jane and for Thomas to decide if he is willing to leave his military career behind and take up the responsibilities of being the Earl. It will take even longer for these two to admit that their love never died and that their HEA is possible if they are willing to reach for it…
I really loved this story, it was a well written, nicely paced novel with wonderful characters. It was a fun read, but not silly, Thomas and Jane are incredibly likable and the chemistry between them is undeniable. I was hooked from the very first page and devoured this book, it is filled with secrets, laughter, steamyish love scenes, a bit of mystery, a demented villain, great secondary characters, some spoiled dogs, second chances and a very delightful ending complete with an epilogue. This is the first book in the series and I am happy to recommend this title and will be anxiously awaiting the next installment!!
*I am voluntarily leaving a review of an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*