Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: Bow Street Bachelors, #3
Release Date: December 29, 2020
Princess Anastasia “Anya” Denisova was staying in Paris when she learned that her brother Prince Dmitri perished in the battle of Waterloo. Heartbroken she makes plans to return to St. Petersburg with her companion Elizaveta and is in the process of dismantling her family heirloom tiara to pay for passage when she is accosted by a fellow countryman – Count Vasili Petrov – he is sure her brother sent her evidence of his traitorous activities and wants the letters and demands that she marry him so she would not be able to testify against him. She refuses but is easily overpowered by the larger man, but thankfully Elizaveta returns in time to save her. And in an instant, their plan changes, since her family is dead, there is no one to protect her from Petrov – so she fakes her death and escapes to England. Fast forward one year, she and Elizaveta have created a new life for themselves and she changes her name to Anna Brown. She has not only taken a job as secretary to the dowager Duchess of Winwick, but she has also befriended her neighbor – Charlotte Haye – the owner of a very exclusive brothel and offered to teach the girls to read and write. It is there that she finally meets her employer’s roguish nephew – Sebastien “Seb” Wolff, the newly minted Earl of Mowbray, owner of the Tricorn Club and sometime Bow Street Runner. She is at the brothel to give reading lessons to some of the girls when Seb comes in the room and mistakes her for a courtesan – they share a kiss and he offers her an outrageous sum to spend the night with him. She refuses and leaves – intent on never seeing his handsome face again. But She that plan is tossed when her worst nightmare comes true – Petrov has followed her. The dowager figures out what is going on and offers to hide her in the country – she will ask Seb to provide them with protection.
Seb is intrigued by the girl and amazed that she turned him down, something that has almost never happened to him. He should just forget about her, but he can’t – much to the delight of his newly married friends, who are also his business partners in not only the club but also in Bow Street. They are working the case of a Russian man found dead on the docks and believe it is connected to a Russian spy – a case that is frustrating them and one they could use help with. It is about this time that his Great Aunt asks him to provide an escort to her country estate – he forgot and sets out to find them – what he finds is their carriage under attack and his mystery woman being abducted! He saves her and his aunt insists that he must take her back to London and protect her – but they don’t tell him who she is or why they were attacked. Seb agrees and they return to London. He tells himself that she is off-limits and that she is irritating – but he is still fascinated and attracted to her. He recruits her to help with his case and slowly, she worms her way into his heart and the hearts of his staff. But when he learns the truth – he is enraged and sends her back to his Aunt – with a plan to save her from Petrov – He tried to convince himself that she means nothing to him, but when things go wrong and he finally admits what is in his heart – will he be able to save her in time or will she be lost to him forever?
I loved this well written, fast-paced final installment of the series – Seb and Anya are a wonderful couple and I just loved their interactions. The book has it all; intrigue, murder, steamy love scenes, witty banter, delightfully silly Russian superstitions, cameos from the other “Bachelors” and their wives, a really vile villain, a shocking surprise, and finally a hard-won HEA. I am sad to say that while this book was a great read – I was disappointed in the lack of an epilogue – it was the end of the series and I was hoping for a glimpse into the collective HEA – but sigh, no such luck. This is the third and final book in the series, but it could be read as a standalone title with no problems. I highly recommend this book and the entire series!
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*