Lady Lover Smuggler Spy
"If you enjoy regency and historical romance with a healthy dose of mystery, you'll love A Collector's Item. This story is both refined and deliciously steamy, and you'll be hastily drawn into Rowena's world.” ~ Reader review of A Collector's Item
"Their love story is funny, romantic, and very sexy in Alicia Quigley’s hot but tasteful way, as they struggle with the smugglers and their pre-conceived notions about each other. A very fun read – highly recommended!" ~ Reader review of The Contraband Courtship
Mrs. Valerie Carlton is the widow of a soldier who died in the Peninsular Wars. Disowned by her family for “marrying down,” she survives working as a governess. When the elder son of the family makes unwelcome advances, Valerie leaves, seeking refuge with a close friend until she can find another position.
Sir Tarquin Arlingby, a wealthy, handsome bachelor on his way home, is staying at the same inn as Valerie and witnesses her being robbed before she can board the coach. He goes to Valerie’s aid and is instantly attracted to her. As her friend’s home is near his estate, he offers to drive her there.
An unfortunate accident forces the pair to spend a night in a village inn. Over dinner, Valerie talks about her experiences during the Spanish campaign against Napoleon and the sense of mission that she felt following the drum, which she misses in her current life. Sir Tarquin, who is secretly spying for the Crown by masquerading as a smuggler to pass information in and out of France, is intrigued by her bravery and his attraction increases. Valerie is also drawn to the handsome baronet.
Tarquin needs a French-speaking woman to pose as a smuggler during a mission to the “City of Smugglers” in Gravelines. When he discovers that Valerie speaks French like a native, he successfully recruits her for the job.
Will the pair survive their dangerous mission? Will they finally acknowledge the depth of their feelings for each other?
Find out in Lady, Lover, Smuggler, Spy, a Regency romance with intrigue, humor and just the right amount of moderately explicit sex for those readers who enjoy sensuality with their romances.
That is why I always enjoy Regency romances. Really what other kind of romance can there be? The English Regency period occurred at the beginning of the 1800’s. This was a time of burgeoning wealth, culture and enlightenment. The upper class lived in glorious mansions, with servants, elaborate meals, parties, and exotic travel all at their command. Of course, life for the other folks in England wasn’t so grand. And that leads us to Sir Tarquin Arlingby and Mrs. Valerie Carlton.
The two main characters in Author Quigley’s fine book meet when Sir Tarquin rescues Mrs. Carleton from a precarious predicament. Sir Tarqin is from a grand aristocratic family and is a tall, well-built and dashing man. Valerie Carleton is beautiful, and although she was born a lady, she had displeased her parents with her ill-advised marriage to a young soldier. When Sir Tarquin and Valerie meet, he is at the pinnacle and she is struggling. “She was indeed a woman of no fortune, who had defied her family and brought shame to their name.”
But many events conspire to help these two grow together. Author Quigley has created wonderful and richly described main characters, as well as a cast of delightful supporting friends and family characters. The book is well-paced and has beautiful phrasing. There are enough terms from the 1800’s to make the story believable without making it hard for us modern day readers to understand.
The romance is steamy and passionate. “Tarquin felt the instant of her capitulation, the moment where her lips trembled against his, and her body grew soft and conformed to his…” “He must imagine her to be a light skirt, a woman of no virtue.”
There is intrigue. “We have a new mission. You are well aware of the struggle in which our nation is engaged at the moment, and the difficulties in defeating the dictator Napoleon.”
Here is one of my favorite quotes, “Everyone needs to be well dressed. If there is anything I am certain of, it is that.
The book begins with “Lady, Lover, Smuggler, Spy is dedicated to all of us who find ways to let our adventurous spirits soar and to those who are still seeking their own ways.” The books ends happily for all, as all good romances should. I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did.