Title: What a Rake Wants book 3 (The Spies of Mayfair)
Author: Maggi Andersen
Genre: Regency Romance/Mystery
Story Setting: Ireland, London, 1820
Publisher: Knox Robinson Publishing; First edition (August 26, 2014)
~The Spies of Mayfair Complete Series~
A Baron in Her Bed, book 1
About the Story: King George sends his private investigator, an Irishman, Kieran Flynn, Lord Montsimon, on a mission, the reason for which is unclear. Is it a plot against the Crown? Or something entirely unrelated? Flynn’s inquiries lead him to the widow, Lady Althea Brookwood. Known amongst the ton as a rake, Flynn is rarely turned down by a lady, and when Althea refuses not just him but many other men, he becomes intrigued. After her neighbor, Sir Harold Crowthorne informs Althea that he means to take her country property, Owltree Cottage, by fair means or foul, she must search for help. The first man she turns to is promptly murdered and the second lies to her. That leaves Flynn, Lord Montsimon, a man she has been studiously avoiding. But Montsimon is decidedly unhelpful, and more than a little mysterious. Her only option is to seduce him. Althea has little confidence that she will succeed, especially as before her husband was killed in a duel, he often told her she was quite hopeless at intimacy. When a spy is murdered, Flynn wonders just what Althea knows and what her involvement might be with the man the king wants Flynn to investigate.
My Thoughts: This story was highly entertaining, actually a joy to read. The series is certainly worth purchasing. The story held my attention long into the night. Ms. Andersen’s writing has considerable depth with descriptive words painting scenes around me. Maggi Andersen’s story flowed smoothly, easily followed, while being absorbing. From the very first pages to its end, I felt I was there watching it all happen.
The hero, Flynn, Lord Montsimon, was not your ordinary rake. He had a heart, albeit a bit rusted. His circles included bestowing favors on widows. While at balls, widows’ eyes followed with the come-hither look, hoping they would be the one favored that evening. Flynn was happy as a rake. Marriage was the furthest thing from his mind. He also was employed as a spy for King George, a job at this particular moment frustrating. It wasn’t clear to him or the men he worked with what sort of problem they were tracking for the king.
His heart carried a hurt from his mother walking away from his father when Flynn was very young. Buried in his subconscious was the question, wasn’t he lovable enough? Why hadn’t she taken him with her? He was brought up by an austere and somewhat cruel father, but was given the education needed to continue the title of the family.
Lady Althea was a very inexperienced woman in the world of men, married at 17 to a man who didn’t know how to love her. When Lady Althea was approached by Flynn, looking for an eligible widow to woo, she pushed him away, wanting nothing to do with him. This only whetted Flynn’s appetite while challenging his manhood. Was he losing his touch? He was more intrigued than ever before. While pursuing the unpursuable Althea, both he and Althea became friends. She was feisty and wanted to take care of herself. Since Althea needed protection against the forces about, he had to protect to. He couldn’t help himself, and also couldn’t understand why he was acting this way.
I enjoyed the way the author introduced the softer side of Flynn. A stray dog had ‘adopted’ him and he hadn’t the heart to deny him when the mangy mutt, found in his stables, wouldn’t let Flynn leave London without him. He howled running frantically behind the carriage until Flynn stop and picked him up. (Who can resist animals in stories, anyway!)
The story was evenly paced with a continual ratcheting of danger surrounding Althea. She had no one who could help her so she turned to Flynn. Lady Althea was a level-headed and brave woman, only wanting to live simply, independently after an unsatisfying marriage. She didn’t want to be involved with another man for they weren’t to be trusted with her heart. Flynn was more than a handsome package, as Althea found out. As she started to get to know Flynn she genuinely liked him and then her heart followed her treacherous body, no longer listening to her good advice.
I plan on beginning the series from the beginning. I’d like to find out how all Flynn’s spying friends were snatched from the jaws of a loveless life.
Althea danced with several partners. But when the musicians struck up a waltz, Montsimon beat several other men to her side. She held herself stiffly at first, but the skill of both the musicians and Montsimon’s dancing could not be ignored. She began to enjoy herself.
“Sir Henry must have brought the musicians from London,” she said. “They are quite superb.”
“Accomplished certainly.” Montsimon swept her around the floor. “I find the country air invigorates one. But then, when one is suffused with energy, there is little of the right company with which to enjoy it. What does one do?”
Must he make every comment sound suggestive? “One could ride or hunt.” She raised her eyebrows. “Or play cards or backgammon.”
“I find no difficulty in employing myself.”
“How fortunate you are not to suffer ennui by the lack of society.”
“Sometimes society can be a bore.”
“Really?” He studied her thoughtfully. “You surely can’t be much above six-and-twenty.”
A soft gasp escaped her. The devil had added two years to her age. “How old I am has nothing to do with it.”
He quickly turned the flash of humor on his face into a concerned frown. “You’re not ill?”
She raised a brow. “I’m very well, thank you for your concern.”
“Of course you are.” His gaze roamed her face. “You’re positively glowing.”
“Dancing with you might contribute to my high color, my lord,” she said, her voice tinged with sarcasm.
“I’m pleased to hear it.”
“You may not be if I elaborated.”
A smile tugged at a corner of his mouth. “Surely you aren’t about to retire and become a recluse? I believe I heard a collective sigh from all the gentlemen in the ballroom.”
“Not at all,” she said crisply. Was he working up to request a liaison, as two other men here had done? She tensed, preparing to give him short shrift.
“Do you like dogs, Lady Brookwood?”
Startled, she gazed into his grey eyes, finding them sharp and assessing. How unpredictable he was. “I like all animals. I have a cat.”
“I seem to have acquired a dog,” he said with a rueful look. “Turned up at my stables in London. I tried to give it to my coachman, but Spot…” He shrugged apologetically when a laugh escaped her lips. “Yes, I know, not very attractive a name, is it? But he does have an awful lot of black spots – not at all handsome, I’m afraid.”
“What sort of dog is he?”
“Eh? Of indifferent breed. A bit of this and a bit of that, with a remarkably long curly tail.”
“Is he friendly?”
“Very much so to me, although not always to others.” He grimaced. “But a fine ratter as it turns out.”
“He won’t like to be left behind.”
“It’s only for a few hours.” He grinned. “Spot is spending the evening in Sir Horace’s stable.”
Her smile broadened in approval. “You brought the dog with you?”
Montsimon adopted a chagrined expression, although she doubted the validity of it. “I did try to leave Spot behind in London, but he would have none of it. Followed my carriage, so I had to take him up.”
Althea was still smiling when the dance ended. His kind heart was a nice surprise, but it may well have been a ploy to soften her attitude toward him. She considered it wise to keep him at arm’s length.
About the Author: Maggi Andersen fell in love with the Georgian and Regency worlds after reading the books of Georgette Heyer. Victoria Holt’s Gothic Victorian novels were also great favourites. Maggi’s free time is spent enjoying her garden and the local wildlife, reading, movies and the theatre. She lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of Australia.
Her next Regency series, the Baxendale Sisters is a spin-off from Taming a Gentleman Spy in so much as the first book features Lord Edward Winborne, Lady Sibella’s brother and introduces the eldest Baxendale girl, Lady Honor. There’s no release date as yet.
(What the author says about herself): I am an avid reader and reviewer who loves that happy ending! I write historical romance and have enjoyed some success in that genre. I also write contemporary romantic suspense and young adult novels. I studied for a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing before embarking on my writing career. Growing up close to a beautiful Sydney beach, I now live in the country. My husband has retired from his law practice and is now chief cook in our house allowing me to focus on my writing. We feed the assorted wildlife in our pretty, historical town, and support the RSPCA and IFAW. You’ll find animals often feature in my books. My recent Regency series is the Spies of Mayfair and I’m working on another. Join my newsletter to learn my latest news, excerpts, contests and specials.
http://www.maggiandersenauthor.com. Twitter: @maggiandersen Facebook: Maggi Andersen Author