Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: Love and Let Spy, #2
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Amanda Bartlett, the Countess of Kingston has been widowed for nearly three years and her life has become somewhat boring and predictable. She lives with her two young sons and her mother, who came to “help” after her husband’s death and hasn’t left since. Her mother has taken over the role of chatelaine and Amanda doesn’t want to upset her by resuming her duties. The same goes for her boys, her husband named her and his friend George, Lord Dulsworthy as guardians, but with the exception of refusing to let him send her elder son Jamie off to Harrow, she has let him dictate things too. Her mother is a stickler for propriety and has even gone as far as to decide what invitations Amanda accepts – which is practically none, it is clear that her mother and George expect Amanda to marry George and let things continue as they have for the past few years. But all that changes when Amanda accidentally and unknowingly gets caught up in espionage!
Sir Langley Stanhope is a spy known as the Magpie, thanks to his ability to mimic anyone, so he is the perfect choice to be sent to retrieve a codebook that was passed to Lady Kingston by an agent on the street. The agent was captured but was able to send word of what he did with the codebook. Langley goes to Amanda’s house disguised as a shop clerk – but is brushed off by George. Later George takes the book and tells Amanda it will be returned. When it isn’t, Langley takes a chance and goes back to Amanda’s house – planning to break-in, but instead finds Amanda, who tells him George took the book, she offers to help him get it back – help that he reluctantly agrees to accept.
Langley feels like he has something to prove to his boss, not long ago he let himself become distracted while on a mission and another agent died – he carries that guilt and doesn’t feel worthy of the honors bestowed on him and he has sworn to never let himself be distracted again – but his feelings for Amanda make that almost impossible and after sharing a kiss with her, he knows he needs to get as far away as he can – but his boss has other ideas and commands Langley to personally see to Amanda’s protection. Langley tries to keep his distance – but Amanda has never felt so alive and isn’t about to let Langley shut her out!
This was such a delightful read, it is well-written and paced nicely, with a great blend of intrigue and sexual tension. Langley and Amanda are both likable, have great on-page chemistry and they each have their own issues to overcome before they find a HEA together. The book has mystery, secrets, betrayal, intrigue, spies, warm love scenes, abductions, and finally a hard-won HEA as well as a sweet epilogue that nicely sets up the next installment of the series. This is the second book in the series, but it can absolutely be read as a stand-alone title with no problems.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own. *