Undercover agent Sam Hawkins has devoted his life to protecting king and country. So when he receives orders to assassinate a ruthless traitor, he doesn’t question his mission. But Sam didn’t know his deed had a witness–the beautiful and mysterious betrayer’s wife. Now he has no choice but to take her as his prisoner–one he can neither trust . . . nor resist.
Élise, Lady Dunthorpe, will do anything to escape her powerful captor–including seducing him senseless. She didn’t know of her miserable husband’s crimes, but she has secrets of her own, secrets that threaten everything she holds dear. With his piercing dark eyes and gentle touch, Sam inflames Élise’s deepest desires, but how could she ever trust a man who won’t let her go? Caught between the crown he’s sworn to serve and the woman he’s come to love, Sam will risk his heart–and his very life–to keep her safe.
Rating: B- for narration, C for content
The Scoundrel’s Seduction is the third book in a trilogy featuring the three Hawkins brothers, one of whom is the Duke of Trent, the other two being his illegitimate half-siblings. The hero of this story is the eldest brother, Samson Hawkins, who is employed by British Intelligence. He’s not so much a spy as he is a man who gets his hands dirty behind the scenes, and at the beginning of the story is carrying out the order to assassinate Viscount Dunthorpe, a French collaborator and traitor to the Crown. The operation goes smoothly until the very end, when Sam discovers that his deed was witnessed by none other than the traitor’s French wife, Lady Élise. Thinking quickly, Sam realises that he has only two options – to kill her, too, or to take her with him until he can determine another course of action. He might be a ruthless government agent, but he draws the line at killing a woman, and swiftly bundles her out into the night.
Taking her to a safe house to await orders, Sam sets his two colleagues, Laurent and Carter, to guard Élise. He suspects that she may have been in league with her husband, although she continues to protest her innocence.
Knowing nothing about these men, other than that one of them murdered her husband in front of her and then kidnapped her, Élise is both afraid and furious. She is determined to escape and hand over the important information she possesses about Dunthorpe’s activity to the Duke of Trent, whom she has met on occasion and knows to be an honourable man. Unaware of Sam’s relationship to Trent, she manages to get away, but her freedom is short-lived; Sam catches up with her and takes her back to the house. Over the next few days, Sam comes to admit the possibility that perhaps Élise is innocent of involvement in her husband’s schemes.
Unfortunately, however, their quiet, hidden existence is suddenly shattered when the house is attacked, and Sam, Laurent and Carter have to get Élise away as soon and safely as possible. Élise knows who is behind the attack on their lives – the new Lord Dunthorpe was more than her husband’s heir, he was also his accomplice – and he wants Élise dead. Not only that, but Sam suspects that the British are going to want him to dispose of the loose ends left over from the assassination – and even though he is not completely without suspicion of his lovely captive, he dreads the prospect of receiving orders to kill her.
Thus The Scoundrel’s Seduction gets off to a flying start, but once the story shifts out of London, the pace slackens off and the secondary plot starts to assume more importance. This storyline has been running throughout the whole trilogy and it concerns Sam’s mother, the dowager Duchess who, prior to the events of the first book, suddenly went missing. This being the final book in the set, it ties up those events, and answers some of the questions that (I’m guessing) were posed in the earlier books.
You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals