"Adventure, romance, and hidden identities!"
Reviewed by Jennifer Barnhart
Posted November 1, 2013
Thomas Jellicoe returns home a broken man. His career as a
spy in India is in tatters because he revealed his true
identity to save the woman he loved, a woman he believed to
be dead. His surprise at finding her safely employed as the
governess to his nieces and nephews is nothing short of
miraculous and he will stop at nothing to win her again.
Catriona Rowen fled India, accused of murdering her aunt and
uncle. She changed her identity, hid away her precious
memories of India and the man she loved, to protect herself
from the real killer. Thomas' return has lured the killer to
the Jellicoe family and straight to Cat. Can Thomas protect
the woman he loves this time from a killer who has nothing
left to lose?
SCANDAL IN THE NIGHT is the third in the Reckless
novels by Elizabeth Essex. I've been a huge fan of this
series since the very first. Essex delivers the perfect
amount of historical detail and fascinating characters to
make each story unique, thrilling, and downright sensual.
Essex deftly balances the sexual tension between Thomas and
Cat with a plot that navigates between the past and the
present. This was a source of frustration for me at first
but I appreciated it more at the end of the story. Here's
why. The flashbacks reveal how Cat first met Thomas in
India. In India, she knew him as Tanvir Singh, horse trader
and Sikh. The flashbacks build their initial romance and set
up the conflict which is their lack of trust in each other.
Cat doesn't trust Tanvir with her secrets and Thomas can't
reveal his true identity to Cat. As we know they survive
their time in India because they do meet again, it deflates
some of the tension that could have been built when Thomas
believed Cat to be dead. On the other hand, the present day
plot for me wasn't nearly as tense and filled with conflict
as their time in India. This back and forth story-telling
drew me out of the present day story at first but as the
flashbacks became the main source of conflict and tension,
it was the present day that I didn't want to go back to.
I still love this story. I love Essex's writing and her
ability to create characters who are both flawed and
compelling. I love the details of British colonialism that
she captured. It simply took me longer to lose myself in
this story because of the non-linear timeline.
SCANDAL IN THE NIGHT delivers a fast-paced adventure, filled
with sexual tension in the beautiful setting of India. Cat
and Thomas' romance unfolds over time and continents with
the perfect balance of sensuality and tenderness. Like all
of Essex's work, the romance is built upon more than lust
and need. Her romances restore my belief in romance itself.
When the Reckless Brides set their sights on England's
eligible bachelors, nothing can stop them. But when they are
strangers in a strange land, anything can happen...
THE SPY WHO LOVED HER
Assuming a false identity as a prim and proper
governess, the bold and beautiful Cat Rowan thinks she has
finally escaped the wild misadventures of her past—and
the wickedly handsome spy who seduced her in India. Imagine
her surprise when her employer introduces his brother: the
very same cad who destroyed her heart!
THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY
The Honorable Thomas Jellicoe cannot believe his eyes
when he sees his beloved Cat—the British beauty who
nearly jeopardized his mission in India. Disguised as a
horse trader from the bazaars of the Punjab, the British spy
risked his life for one night of passion in her arms. But
here and now—breaking all rules of decorum—one
heated kiss ignites a flurry of gunfire. For their enemies
have followed them home. And love is the greatest danger of
Thomas tried to step forward to greet his family.
As though he had not yet had time to become
to solid ground beneath his feet. As though he had debarked
from the ship hours instead of days ago. His family would
think him ill with some sort of jungle fever.
"Steady on, old man," James murmured at his side.
Perhaps, after all those healthy years traversing
Hindu Kush, he had finally contracted a fever, if not in
Calcutta or on the ship, then in Glasgow or Liverpool.
Because he could have sworn the young woman he saw
the far edge of the sweeping lawn was Catriona Rowan.
Catriona Rowan. Here, in Hampshire, England, at his
older brother's estate, when he had looked everywhere else
in the world. In every village from Saharanpur to Delhi. And
farther south in Agra, and a thousand villages along the
Jumma and Ganges rivers to Calcutta. Then in Glasgow and
Liverpool and another hundred villages and towns in between.
Perhaps she was a fever dream. Perhaps his weary
was playing tricks on him now that he had finally resigned
himself to the fruitlessness of his obsession. Now that he
had grudgingly accepted his failure to find her. Now that he
had at last given up and come home.
My God. Either he had finally gone mad, or it was
How fitting. How bloody ironic. He had searched the
world over, when all he had needed to do was to come home.
To a place he had never been before. To the lush, green lawn
of his brother's exquisitely manicured estate, in the middle
of a bloody summer garden party—so improbably,
quintessentially English—cool, green, and orderly, all
graciousness and peaceful ease. Nothing like the seemingly
barren, dangerous mountain passes north of the Punjab.
Nothing like the crowded, intrigue–riddled bazaars of
Lahore. Nothing in these surroundings should make him feel
such a disorderly, contradictory rush of numbness and
pain—as though he were crawling out of his own grave.
"Thomas? I say, old man, are you all right?" James
a firmer grip of his arm.
He was not all right. He felt as if one of his
high–bred mountain horses had kicked him hard in the
chest, knocking him stupid.
She stopped just beyond the gathered circle of
waiting with polite disinterest from a distance as his
family stirred and swarmed around him. Her eyes followed the
children, keeping track as they congregated around him and
then broke apart.
My God. Did she not recognize him?
He told himself it was only natural. Six months ago,
before he left India, his own family would not have
recognized him. "How long has she been here?"
"Beg your pardon?" James did not take his meaning.
imagine everyone will stay at least a fortnight or so,
though Father may have to return to London. No need to hurry
"No. Her." Thomas let James follow his gaze. He had
her before. He would not take his eyes off her now.
"Oh, Miss Cates? I forgot, she will be a stranger to
you. Steady on there, Thomas." James's voice held the first
faint beginnings of a warning. "Miss Cates is our governess.
She's absolutely marvelous with the children. They adore
Of course they did. Children, and most people, not
mention any number of species of animals, could not help but
adore her. They had an instinct for the
truth—something he had lost first, before he had lost
her. "Did she ask for me?"
"Miss Cates?" James's laugh was uneasy, and a
placating. He put a steadying hand to Thomas's shoulder.
"No, Thomas. Why on earth would she?"
A thousand and one reasons, but mostly just one. She
But he could not stand there, rooted to the ground
a fakir in his roadside shrine, if he wanted her. "Introduce
"To Miss Cates? Thomas, are you quite all right?
man, the family is waiting–"
"Introduce me." His raw voice was nothing short of
unconditional. Unmovable as the granite hills.
"All right, if you insist," James muttered in a
frustrated tone that said he didn't know what else to do
with his clearly lunatic brother. "Miss Cates," he called to
her, "may I introduce you to my brother, the Honorable
Thomas Jellicoe? My brother is only just lately returned
from abroad, from India. Just this moment, in fact. Thomas,
She looked up at James, the pale oval of her face
showing nothing more than polite interest. But Thomas was
sure. His body stirred painfully back to life. He had been
half dead with grief, searching for her in vain. But if she
were alive—so, too, must he be.
He closed the distance remaining between them as
as his unsteady legs would allow, and stepped close, so he
could satisfy himself it truly was his Cat, and then closer
still, so he could smell the mingled scent of lavender and
starch rising from her skin. So close, she was forced to
change her focus from James and notice him.
At first, she only looked at the hand he extended,
roughened by weather and work with horses, and still far too
brown for an Englishman. And then her gaze slid to his
wrist, to the single, beaten silver bracelet he still wore.
Yes. Her disbelieving gaze ricocheted up to his
and her eyes darkened in shock. Remembrance and confusion
raced across her skin like a hot shadow, and then fled,
leaving her drained of color. Even her freckles blanched.
She pulled away abruptly, and pressed her hand to her
throat, stumbling a little sideways, as if her world were
tilting off its upright, starched axis.
He reached out to right her. In India, she had
of jasmine and lemons, not lavender and starch. He would
remind her of the jasmine.
"Miss Cates and I are acquainted." "
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