Love comes to those who need it most.
What will happen when an earl determined never to love meets the only woman who can tear down his defenses?
Lady Nicola Emory adored her brother’s best friend, John Randall, Earl of Bainbridge, from the moment she met him. But the handsome earl, a mysterious and tormented agent of the Crown, never gave her any notice until the eve of her betrothal to another man. How was she to know that her intended betrothed was plotting to overthrow the Crown? When Nicola stumbles upon the proof of his treason, she’s suddenly on the run for her life and John is the only one who can protect her. But in saving her life, will he put his heart at risk?
John Randall long ago decided never to allow anyone into his heart. Protecting the royal family and defeating England’s enemies are all he needs in his life. That suddenly changes when he’s forced to go on the run with Nicola Emory, the one girl with the power to steal his heart. With every hour they spend together, he finds his solid wall of protection collapsing. He’s faced death many times before and doesn’t fear it. But admitting his love for Nicola will force him to confront the demons haunting him since childhood. Will digging up those dangerous memories free his heart? Or close it to love forever?
This is a story where love prevails. It’s also a story where childhood events mark a person’s emotions for all time. Can John Randall work through them and be able to live again?
Lady Nicola is an incredibly kind person. She is also betrothed to a man she finds distasteful—finding him bedding a woman just before her marriage. She seeks out the man in her life she’s been attracted to for comfort and advise, but being a friend of her brother’s, he can’t do more than just comfort her. John Randall, Earl of Bainbridge.
“She’d gotten into his heart long ago and he hadn’t been able to get her out no matter how hard he’d tried. But she was his best friend’s sister, so it was hands off for him.”
Of which makes a very hurtful position for Lady Nicola and a bit of irritation to John Randall. She couldn’t get him to acknowledge attraction, but his actions showed her. She mattered to him. His heart leads him one way and code states another. But one thing is clear to John. He’ll protect the girl with his life and as the story unfolds, destiny comes to call. Their ‘relationship’ stalls but moves forward when Nicola’s life turns from spurning a nasty man she was betrothed to, to being chased by Somersby and his outlaw ruffians. The beast within John is unleashed and he protects her anyway he can.
Lady Nicola is well suited for John. She’s intelligent and quick in coming to conclusions. She’d make a good agent for the Crown John thinks. In this story, she does a fair amount of sleuthing. John doesn’t feel he is good enough for her. He is also afraid that she’ll buckle under the danger of his job. He cannot lose another loved one.
John whisks Lady Nicola away with a little something she discovers at Somersby’s mansion. Something Somersby wants desperately, and he’s ripe for the killing. Lady Nicola needed proof he is not suitable marriage. But her proof is even more than that.
More is afoot besides Somersby. Selena, an excellent agent, is somehow involved. She has always wanted John for herself. She sees how he looks at Lady Nicola. Nothing is worse than a woman spurned. This just makes the story juicier.
The tension is palpable with the unfurling of events. I couldn’t help but be caught up with the deplorable situation Lady Nicola and John find themselves and how they manage to survive.
The story is crafted in a style I enjoy. Both protagonists grow, John learns he is a worthy person. Lady Nicola finds she has quite the adventurous spirit and a back-bone of steel. There are no slow moments, but fast-paced scenes with emotionally packed moments as John does what he does best as an Agent of the Crown. Of course, Platt has provided added entertainment with the growing romance between the Lady Nicola and John—enough to curl one’s toes.