"Ruining her wedding is only the start of this man's misdeeds"
Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted February 12, 2017
I previously enjoyed 'Spy Fall' a historical romance about
a pioneering lady parachutist, by Diana Quincy, so I was
glad to read another of her works. Third in her series
called 'Rebellious Brides' is FROM LONDON WITH LOVE. Emilia
St. George's wedding day is not proceeding as planned; the
man who jilted her five years previously appears on the
steps of the church in Hanover Square and throws her over
his shoulder. Emilia thinks he's either gone mad, or wants
to elope with her himself; Hamilton Sparrow has recognised
a hired killer and is trying to save the lady, but has no
time to explain.
From this lively start we progress through an unlikely
escapade. Rather than delivering Emilia to the safe hands
of her family, and calling the Bow Street Runners, Hamilton
rides off with her and takes her to the seaside town of
Hastings. A nemesis follows, so luckily at twenty-four
Emilia is strong enough to do some fighting. When matters
are resolved temporarily, the society's favourite church is
booked for a few weeks, so Emilia will have to wait for her
wedding, which will give her the chance to travel and see
art. Her intended, Edmund Worsely, is a diplomat. As she
waits Hamilton talks to his boss at the Home Office, for he
is secretly a Crown agent. He regretted not marrying Emilia
but could not expose her to danger. Now the danger has
found her anyway - perhaps due to the money she will
inherit? Hamilton decides to stay close.
Be prepared for rather more allusion to and indulgence in
sexual activity than found in most Regency tales. The point
is well made that women could see male nude statues and
paintings at the British Museum. Some women even sit and
copy them. While well-off ladies could not work, they were
encouraged to take up art as a hobby, and Emilia reveals a
stronger backbone when defending her right to draw and
paint. I also like her quick-thinking French maid, Sophie.
Nice little details like Belgian lace adorn the tale but
don't distract from the suspense.
Diana Quincy is a former television journalist. Her
historical romances move along briskly, combining a rake
with a skilled artist in this case, using danger to force
them into each other's company. FROM LONDON WITH LOVE is an
unusual adult romance with settings which have not been
over-used. If you have read the earlier books in this
series you will probably enjoy it right from the start, but
it can stand on its own merits. Even if Hamilton Sparrow
takes a while to grow on you. Really, ruining a girl's
With wedding bells ringing and a killer stalking from
shadows, a former British spy makes up for lost time with
the one that got away in this thrilling Regency romance
the author of Spy Fall and License to Wed.
Emilia St. George is moments away from marrying the
grandson of a duke when the man who once jilted her
to kidnap her at the altar. It’s the second time in five
years Hamilton Sparrow has ruined her wedding day, and
Emilia isn’t about to forgive him. The mere sight of her
ex-fiancé revives painful memories—and, most regrettably,
aching desires that refuse to be ignored.
Scanning the guests at Emilia’s wedding, Sparrow spots a
familiar face: an assassin he recognizes from his days as
spy in France. Whisking Emilia away, he’s pleasantly
surprised by her newly formed curves. Could this be the
flame-haired slip of a girl once promised to Sparrow? And
does the fop she still insists on marrying realize what a
prize she is? True, Sparrow left Emilia at the altar. But
he’s afraid that the only way to right that particular
is to risk the one thing he’s always guarded: his heart.
ExcerptFor the second time in five years, Hamilton Sparrow
ruined Emilia St. George’s wedding day.
By all outward appearances, the occasion was proceeding
as expected. St. George’s Church Hanover Square was
filled almost to the galleries with spectators eager to
witness the grand society wedding of an untitled heiress
to the much-admired grandson of a duke, a promising
diplomat who charmed everyone he met from the boulevards
of Paris to the bazaars of Casablanca.
Emilia stared down the long church aisle, past the grand
Corinthian columns, until her gaze found the elegant man
to whom she would soon be bound for the rest of her
natural life. Her intended, the Honorable Edmund Worsely,
stood upright by the altar, his lithe form framed by the
soaring stained-glass windows behind him.
But it was the image of another man that flashed before
her, of another groom, with laughing blue eyes and sharp-
edged features, who always made her insides feel like a
warm Christmas pudding. The old pain throbbed in her
chest again. I’m sorry, Emilia, he’d said the morning
they were to be wed, but I cannot marry you. And she’d
pretended to understand even as her heart shrank,
withering until it was nothing but a shriveled black
currant inside her chest.
Blast Hamilton Sparrow! He wasn’t even present, and yet
he was still managing to ruin her wedding all over again.
The specter of the man seemed to hover above, a lone
devilish presence among the angelic spirits floating high
up in the church rafters.
She exhaled, loud and sharp, determined to shove
Sparrow’s memory out of her mind and into the past so she
could truly focus on her husband-to-be. Edmund looked
fearsomely dignified in pearl gray topped with a navy
tailcoat, posture impeccable as always, his expression
suitably serious for the auspicious occasion.
Her stomach turned over.
You can do this. The affirming chant repeated over and
over in her head. She told herself the uneasiness
slithering through her gut was due to normal wedding-day
nerves and nothing more. All brides must have them.
It was true that, at times, Edmund did seem to forget
that she existed, not willfully or maliciously, of
course, but almost as though she was an afterthought. But
in other instances, he gave her his full focus, regaling
her with stories of travel and discovery, mesmerizing her
with the promise of the adventures they would soon share.
Emilia might not love Edmund, but she was enchanted by
the life he could offer her. This alliance would give her
everything she wanted: the chance to escape her humdrum
country existence, to keep her promise to Grandpapa, to
study and copy the greatest artworks ever created. To
avoid the prospect of a long and lonely spinsterhood.
She stretched her neck from side to side, attempting to
be discreet as she tried to ease the tension knotted
there. She ran a hand along the décolletage of the white
satin gown her mother had selected for her. The fine
Belgian lace trim was itchy, the irritation causing her
fair skin to become splotchy and uneven. To make matters
worse, the lace lining of her matching oversized
bonnetwhich was intended to hide the ridiculous shade of
her hair—rubbed uncomfortably against the nape of her
Edmund and the guests had yet to note her arrival,
because she stood alone in the shadows of the vestibule.
Her excited mother and chattering cousins had just left
her to slip inside and take their seats before the
It was time.
She drew a fortifying breath and stepped forward on the
black-and-white marble floor toward where her father
stood a few feet away, waiting to escort her down the
aisle to her future as Mrs. Edmund Worsely, to life as a
woman married to man she respected and admired, but did
“Emilia.” The tone was low, masculine.
Chills shot down her back. She knew that voice. It had
invaded her dreams for the past five years. But it
couldn’t be. Sparrow wasn’t even in London. Last she’d
heard, he was in Paris romancing his tarty mistress.
She peered into the shadows, fearful that wedding-day
nerves had morphed into hallucinations. “Sparrow?”
“Come here.” The urgent words vibrated through her.
It was him. Her temper flashed. Who was he to order her
about? “In case you hadn’t noticed,” she snapped, “I’m a
bit occupied at the moment.”
He stepped forward, emerging from the shadows. When the
light illuminated his face, her heart dropped, and then
soared, all at the same time. He was as beautiful as she
remembered. His coal black hair highlighted an impossibly
blue gaze and emphasized the precise cut of his
cheekbones. A perfectly tailored deep blue tailcoat
brought out the compelling shade of those eyes.
“What are you doing here?” she asked.
“You mustn’t go through with it.” His gaze was hard and
intense, absent the humor that usually sparkled there. “I
cannot allow it.”
Fool that she was, hope—warm and radiant—welled in her
chest like a rose flowering in the sun. He meant to stop
her wedding. Did he intend to finally claim her for
“Whatever do you mean?” She held her breath and her heart
beat faster as she waited for his answer.
“This is no time to talk.” He spoke brusquely. “Come.”
As she stared at his ungloved hand—powerful and long
fingered with square blunt nails—long-simmering outrage,
first kindled on their disastrous wedding day five years
before, began to burn in her lungs. “Go away. I’m not
about to let you ruin another wedding for me.”
A shadow passed over his eyes. “Emilia.”
The church organ began to play, its majestic strains
reverberating off the church’s plastered walls. She
didn’t recognize the musical piece. Edmund had chosen it.
“There isn’t much time.” His probing gaze landed on the
space behind her as if assessing something. “We have to
get you out of here.”
She adjusted her giant bonnet. “The only place I am going
is down the aisle to marry my betrothed.”
He did not reply. At least not with words. He simply
stepped forward, scooped her off her feet, and tossed her
over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.
Sparrow hadn’t meant to ruin her wedding day.
He’d come as a guest, invited by her father. But there
was nothing to be done for it. The moment he spied Pierce
Graves among the eager spectators outside the church
waiting for a glimpse of the wedding couple, he’d known
something was amiss. He could think of no good reason for
the hired killer to attend a Mayfair society wedding.
A cheer had gone up within the crowd when Emilia emerged
from her carriage minutes earlier, a mammoth bonnet
shielding her face. The way Graves’s unwavering gaze
tracked the bride until she entered St. George’s made
Sparrow’s blood ice. He’d worked with Graves before, in
another life, and recognized all of the signs of a
professional planning his next kill. But why Emilia? He’d
ponder that later, after he got her to safety.
“Put me down, you cretin!” Hanging upside down over his
shoulder, Emilia wiggled her bottom, the slippery satin
of her gown making it deuced difficult to keep a firm
grasp on her.
Walking in long, purposeful strides, he slapped her bum
and hissed, “Be still before I drop you on your head.”
“Ouch!” she yelped. “One of us has clearly already been
dropped on his head.” She squirmed and kicked even more
vigorously. To keep from losing his grip on her, he
clamped a hand hard over her hips, which were fuller and
far more womanly than he would have thought. The Emilia
he remembered had been a narrow slip of a girl. “I swear,
if you don’t put me down I shall bite you.”
Considering the hot outrage vibrating from her, he
wouldn’t put it past her to take a chunk out of his arse,
especially given that her face wasn’t far removed from
his nether regions.
“What happened to you?” he asked her, at the same time
sensing Graves coming up behind them. “You used to be
quiet and biddable.” As he spoke, he swung around to
plant Graves a facer. Caught unawares, the other man
collapsed with a grunt, but Sparrow knew Graves well
enough to know he wouldn’t stay down for long.
“What did you do?” Emilia shrieked, twisting her body for
a glimpse of the injured man. “You hit him!”
“Indeed I did.” To make sure Graves would stay down,
Sparrow slammed the point of his shiny Hoby boot into the
man’s gut. Graves crumpled on the stone floor.
“What is wrong with you?” Emilia’s voice rose in alarm as
she struggled to get down, kicking her legs below where
his forearm gripped her across the knees. “Why are you
accosting my guests?”
“I doubt you would have appreciated the gift he had in
mind.” He scanned the vestibule for the quickest escape.
Going out the front with the bride slung over his
shoulder wouldn’t do. Spotting a door at the west end of
the corridor, he ran toward it, his heart laboring hard
under the burden he carried. Emilia had more meat on her
than he recalled.
He reached the door and tried the latch, breathing a sigh
of relief to find it unlocked. Pushing it open, he
stepped inside, closing and bolting the door behind him
before scanning the space. It was a meeting room of
sorts, containing an oak table flanked by several ladder-
backed chairs. Sparrow eyed the lone stained-glass window
on the opposite wall.
“Put me down, you oaf.” Emilia stiffened her body in an
attempt to get him to lose his grip.
With a stifled curse, he bent forward and set her down on
her feet. “Don’t move,” he warned.
She stared at him with big, incredulous green eyes, their
shade as intense as the brilliant jade necklace he’d
bought Marie from Russia. The unwelcome memory of his
former mistress burned through his innards like acid.
Emilia pivoted and tried to unbolt the door, prompting
recollections of the past to fly out of his mind.
He slammed a palm hard against the wood, preventing her
from opening it. “What are you doing?”
“What am I doing?” She spun around, her eyes flashing,
her cheeks coloring beneath the faint freckles fanning
out from the bridge of her nose. “What am I doing? I’m
trying to get married you big fat idiot!”
“There is no call for a lady to use such language,” he
said absentmindedly, his real focus on the window.
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