"A Lot of Action, and a Sublime Love Story"
Reviewed by Monique Daoust
Posted July 4, 2014
LOVE AND LET SPY is the third book in Shana Galen's
delightful LORD AND LADY SPY series. Who would
suspect an English Rose such as Miss
Jane Bonde of being a spy? Jane is the last agent who is in
a position to capture the elusive FoncĂ©, the leader of the
French spy group MaĂ®triser whose aim is to bring down the
Miss Bonde was taken in by her uncle, Lord Melbourne, as a
child when her parents died; he is the leader of the
Barbican group, a division of the British Foreign Office.
Agent Bonde takes her ratafia, shaken not stirred and
carries a dagger hidden in her stays. She has never known
any other kind of life, and she likes it that way until her
uncle tells her she's getting a bit old, and at the ripe
age of 24, she ought to marry, which would also be a good
cover to explain her absences when she's away on missions.
Lord Melbourne has even decided whom her intended should
be: Dominic Griffyn, the bastard son of an actress, and
stepson to Lord Edgeberry.
Dominic had a rough childhood, and often prefers the
company of his horses to Society events, where is not
exactly welcome with open arms. He is however a bit of a
rake, and when a young woman says he fathered her child,
even though it's not true, that's when his stepfather and
mother decide it's high time for him to take a wife but
Dominic has no intention of marrying anyone.
Dominic and Jane are thrust into each other's arms, so to
speak, and inadvertently he becomes involved in the hunt
for FoncĂ©. To their astonishment, they are attracted to
each other, but Jane overhears a conversation between her
uncle and Dominic's mother that implies there is more to
their betrothal than they were told. Dominic might not be a
spy but he has very dark secrets of his own, and he is not
the only one.
LOVE AND LET SPY is, as were the previous installments, an
exciting spy story, with plenty of action, as well as
quite funny references to another spy of a similar name.
Ms. Galen is a very gifted author and gets better all the
time. In this book, she might have gone where no historical
romance writer has gone before, and the result is an
absolutely sublime love story that shines above everything
The characters are extremely complex, Dominic's story
is truly poignant, and Ms. Galen infuses LOVE AND LET SPY
beautiful, tender, and touching moments. There is one
specific paragraph that is so extraordinarily moving that I
read it over and over for the sheer beauty of the sentences
and the profound meaning conveyed by some simple words; get
your hankies ready. Thank you, Ms. Galen, for this splendid
book; LOVE AND LET SPY is no ordinary historical romance.
She cannot afford to fail...
Jane Bonde was raised to be a spy, but the ton knows her
only as an elusive beauty who turns men's heads when she
walks into a room. She's also the Crown's last best hope.
she can't find and destroy the diabolical FoncĂ© and his
French spy ring, England's defenses may fall.
But something even more dangerous than a madman stands in
her way-her fiancĂ©.
When love conflicts with duty...
The demons of Dominic Griffyn's past make it difficult for
him to get close to anyone. When his stepfather, the
marquess, demands he settle down and marry, Dominic allows
himself to hope that the beautiful but mysterious Miss
will help him forget his troubles. He may be right-the most
important mission of her career is about to plunge them
ExcerptThey stepped through the doors and into a garden lit by
torches and lanterns. The breeze caused the flames to
twinkle and flicker, and he could smell the fragrance of
summer flowers. The air was cool, but Miss Bonde did not
seem to mind it as they made their way past the small crowd
of men and women just outside the doors. She paused to sip
her beverage once again before setting the glass on a short
stone column. He led her down a gravel path, toward the
edges of the glow from the ball. Dominic had thought to
quiet and allow her to speak. In his experience, ladies
rarely remained silent for long. But Miss Bonde surprised
him, yet again, by keeping her own counsel. She surprised
him further by not object-ing when he turned down a long
aisle enclosed by tall, manicured hedgerows. Most well-bred
ladies would have objected, concerned for their virtue. But
Was his company that tedious?
"I have been to far more events this Season than I like to
admit," she said. Dominic was relieved. He had actually
contemplating speaking first. "And I have not seen you
before. Have you recently returned from abroad?"
"No." He expected some show of annoyance from her for his
brief answer, but she was peering up at the hedgerows and
seemed not to mind. In fact, she seemed not to notice him.
He actually peered at the hedgerows himself to see what
intrigued her so.
"Do you live in London?" she asked, dragging his attention
She smiled at that. "You prefer the country?"
"My lordâ€”" she began, looking up at those blasted hedgerows
"I'm no lord."
"Of course not. I do believe we have satisfied the
requirements of our respective guardians."
She glanced at him then, giving him her full atten-tion for
the first time since they'd stepped outside. Her eyes, he
now noted, were so blue as to be almost violet, and the
effect of those stunning eyes focused solely on him was a
bit unsettling, which must have accounted for why he wanted
to kiss her. Again.
"No, you are correct. That was poor wording. But you must
agree we have at least made a start. If you'd like to
to the ball, or perhaps slip away, I am perfectly capable
finding my own way back inside."
Dominic stared at her. She was trying to rid herself of his
company. He should have been offended, but he'd been
offended too many times, and this woman was a
She'd followed him down a dark path in a garden and then
tried to persuade him to leave. What was she about?
"I don't even merit a kiss?" he asked. He had no bloody
why he'd said it. He really did not intend to kiss her.
Her gaze, which had now strayed to some point behind him,
snapped back. "Pardon?"
"You heard me."
"I do not desire..." She trailed off and gazed above his
head again. Dominic turned quickly, to peer behind him, but
saw nothing except the hedgerows and darkness.
"What are you looking at?"
His attention was jerked back to her when she grabbed his
shoulders and turned him to face her. He barely had time to
sputter a curse before her hands were on opposite sides of
his face, and she was pulling him into a kiss.
His first instinct was to push her away, remove her hands
from his face. But to his surprise, her touch was actually
light and pleasant. Her gloved fingers were warm, her lips
silky, and her breath slightly minty. Why push her away if
he was enjoying this?
Because she wasn't really kissing him.
She held his face between her hands and pressed her lips to
his firmly, and after a few moments of this, Dominic
narrowed his eyes at her. Her own eyes were open and
above his head. "What the devil are you doing?" he mumbled
against her rigid lips.
She pushed back, and now she looked annoyed. "You said you
wanted a kiss."
"Is that what you call that?"
She gave him a look designed to make ordinary men quake in
their boots. But he was not ordinary, and he was not
affected by some chit's regal glare. He cocked a brow. "Is
that the best you can do?" Not that he had any experience
kissing womenâ€”not on the lips, at any rateâ€”but he could do
better than that.
"You said you wanted a kiss."
"I repeat, is that the best you can do?"
She turned on her heel, throwing her hair over her shoulder
in a gesture he found both annoyingly childish and
erotic. He wanted to catch that tail of hair and wind it
around his hand, pulling her back for a proper kiss.
never know," she tossed back at him, stomping away.
Well, he couldn't let that challenge go unanswered, could
It took two long strides before he caught her arm, but when
he yanked her against him, she surprised him by thrusting
elbow in his belly. He doubled over, and she caught him in
the jaw with her elbow, then spun around and kicked him in
the chest with her slippered foot.
The slipper saved him. If she'd been wearing boots, he'd
have fallen flat on his arse. As it was, he stumbled back
and caught her ankle before losing his footing, so she fell
too. They tumbled down together in a heap of arms and legs
and the frilly things ladies wore under their dresses. What
the hell was happening? Had she been training with
Jackson? Mostâ€”no, allâ€”ladies he knew would have fainted
rather than fight back. But she had not only fought. She
She was not going to win.
When the world stopped spinning, he turned his head to the
side and was rewarded by having it trapped thus. She
crouched above him, looking little worse for the tumble
they'd taken, and dug her fore-arm across his throat. "You
are going to stay down for the count of ten, and I am going
to walk away. Understand, Mr. Griffyn?"
"Where did you learn to fight like that?"
She grinned. "Want a lesson?"
"No, but I'd like to breathe again."
Her arm came up. "You can breathe while I walk away."
"I don't think so." She might have more skills, but he had
more strength. He grasped her wrists and pulled her down on
top of him. He expected her to kick, so he shifted to the
side and rolled over, pinning her beneath him. He straddled
her, his knee on either side of her ribs and her hands
off me before I scream," she seethed.
"Go ahead. That would make your aunt and my mother very
happy indeed. We'd be forced to marry."
Her breath puffed in and out in quick bursts, and from this
vantage point, he had a nice view of the curve of her
breasts as they rose and fell at the low neck of her
They were both wearing gloves, which meant he couldn't feel
her skin, but he could feel the pulse in her wrist racing.
Or perhaps that was his own pulse? In the moonlight and
shadows, her skin was almost iridescent, and her eyes a
shade of unearthly blue. She looked like some sort of
mythological sprite brought to life from the pages of a
"You'd run if I screamed," she said confidently.
Their gazes met and held, and he saw the flicker of doubt
"Have I done anything you expected?"
"I could throw you off."
"Maybe you could, but I'm willing to bet the effect on your
hair and dress would be about the same as if you screamed."
He should release her. He'd made his point, and he'd more
than paid her back for the insult in the supper room. He
didn't really intend to ravish her. Despite the rumors, he
was no barbarian.
"Off!" she yelled.
He almost released her. His fingers flexed, but he simply
could not do it. "I don't think so."
"Irritating man! What do you want?"
"I believe I was promised a kiss."
"That is not at all how I remember the conversation. Now
allow me to go, or I will be forced toâ€”"
He liked the sound of her voice. It was low and seductive,
but he could not bear to hear another word from her lips.
lowered his mouth to hers and cut off her protests. She
tensed beneath him, her lips going rigid again, but he
that with gentle pressure he was able to coax them into
softening. He brushed his mouth over hers, prepared for the
velvet softness of her lips, but not for the taste of her.
She was honey and cherries and the slightest hint of
something darker. He'd intended to kiss her lightly, leave
her wanting, but once he had a taste of her, he had to know
He teased her lips open, kissing her deeply, releas-ing her
wrists and locking his fingers with hers. He was painfully
aware that he was straddling her. That he was leaning over
her, holding her down. He was in control, and he liked it
that way. She moaned slightly, and he was instantly hard.
knew he should release her. They'd been missing far too
long, but he could not seem to stop touching her. And then
he did the unthinkable, something he had never done before.
He dipped his tongue between her lips and met her tongue
with his. The effect was electric. She jumped beneath him,
and the shot of arousal he felt was all but dizzying. He
knew he must stop. This was a gentle-woman, the niece of
Lord Melbourne. He could not kiss her this way.
But there was that dark, erotic taste of her, hovering just
out of reach, pulling him deeper and deeper until he was on
the verge of losing control.
That realization finally cooled his ardor. In one motion,
released her, stood, and backed away. She lay on the ground
below him, her eyes closed, her hands on the ground where
he'd pinned them, and her chest rising and falling rapidly.
Her cheeks were flushed, her lips swollen. She was the
picture of debauchery. Slowly her eyes opened, and she
stared at him. Looking down at her, he should have thought
she was the one who was completely vulnerable and
at his mercy.
But that was not the case at all. In fact, it was very much
Dominic walked away without looking back.
What do you think about this review?
1 comment posted.
Re: A Lot of Action, and a Sublime Love Story
Awesome interview. So well done. Having read it myself, they can go missed. But I don't think you had any spoilers at all. And still, touched on the important things.
(Lisa Hutson 1:47am July 10, 2014)
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