After escaping the guillotine in her native France, aristocrat Noelle de Vallon takes refuge with her aunt in Sussex. Feisty, resourceful, and determined to make her own way, she takes over the local smuggling operations, doubling their profits. But when their plans are betrayed, a man from her past steps out of the shadows to save her. Too bad he’s the last man on earth she ever wanted to see again.
Years ago, Richard, Lord Boltwood’s, plan to marry Noelle was foiled when his ruthless father shipped him to the Continent to work in espionage. But with the old man at death’s door, Richard returns to England with one final mission: to catch a spy. And Noelle is the prime suspect.
Noelle is determined to finish the smuggling run and escape back to France. She needs Richard’s help to do it, but how can she ever trust the man who abandoned her? And how can Richard catch the real culprit while protecting the woman who stole his heart and won’t forgive him for breaking hers?
Mademoiselle de Vallon, more commonly know has Noelle, has a kind and compassionate heart. Unfortunately, she is also naïve and fiery-tempered. Her traits add lots of charm to this story. Her need to help her fellow townsmen leads her to smuggling, mind you, to make sure the otherwise law-abiding folk have food on the dinner table. She is rather good at directing events and has already amassed money for herself – enough she hopes to be able to leave her aunt and uncle and venture out on her own, someday.
She has been informed by her ex-betroth’s father, Lord Boltwood, she is in imminent danger to being arrested as a spy. Those were close to his last words before he passed away. With this knowledge and the recent harassing of the excisemen, and almost disaster of the town folk caught, she is rethinking her destination. Perhaps living on the continent would be an alternative, far away from the fear of being caught.
A government official, Richard Boltwood, her nemesis, does come knocking, playing two roles. He’s investigating Mademoiselle de Vallon for the Home Office and the same time following up on his promise of betrothal. As with lots of what author Monajem writes, you find yourself chortling along with the situations the characters find themselves.
Richard Boltwood, having just lost his father, is now back as the new lord. He gallantly steps in to rescue Noelle. The dialogue between characters is superb. Lord Boltwood is all about control. Noelle is fiery-tempered and acts the hellion. The good news? Both have not lost the passionate feeling smoldering for two years and five months, awaiting their reunion. Can Noelle trust him with her heart?
Not only did I enjoy the humorous situation, the characters personalities and their dialogue, I appreciated being privy to some truly amusing inner thoughts. This is a fun light-hearted Regency certainly worth the read!