The Lady Hellion
Book 3, Wicked Deceptions
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A marquess’s daughter, Lady Sophia Barnes doesn’t take no for an answer. Especially when she’s roaming London’s seedy underground…dressed as a man.
A rabble rouser for justice, Sophie’s latest mission is to fight for the rights of the poor, the wretched—and the employees at Madame Hartley’s brothel. She’s not concerned about the criminals who will cross her path, for Sophie has mastered the art of deception—including the art of wearing trousers. Now her fate is in her own hands, along with a loaded gun. All she needs is instruction on how to shoot it. But only one person can help her: Lord Quint, the man who broke her heart years ago. The man she won’t let destroy her again…
The last thing Damien Beecham, Viscount Quint, needs is an intrusion on his privacy, especially from the beautiful, exasperating woman he’s never stopped wanting. A woman with a perilously absurd request, no less! For Damien is fighting a battle of his own, one he wishes to keep hidden—along with his feelings for Lady Sophia. Yet that fight is as hopeless as stopping her outlandish plan. Soon all Quint knows for certain is that he will die trying to protect her…
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
yet another wonderful romance from two very different yet utterly well matched people.
In this story we focus on Sophia, a lady of the tonne with a very unladylike habit and passion. She’s a champion of the downtrodden, the lesser privileged, and those with few options. Roaming some of the most dangerous sections in London without chaperone and in *gasp* trousers, she is laser focused on making a difference.
Damien Beecham, Viscount Quint is always struggling with his own demons. Shot in the last novel, he’s battling between retreating to the safety of his own home and thoughts and continuing to pine after Sophia, despite his own very real fears that his father’s madness is hereditary. He doesn’t realize that as he pines for Sophia, she also has delved further into her own hidden life to exorcise the hurt he caused with pulling away from their relationship.
So, we have two characters who can’t ‘forget’ one another but are determined to move forward in their own lives without the other, until Sophia needs to learn to shoot, and Damien is the only one who can teach her. And nothing, to him, is more important than her safety, even if he won’t allow her to know it.
Shupe brings all of the elements and the slow build for a confrontation forward to its conclusion in this story, and does it with flair. Sophia, while having a rather far-fetched premise for her ‘shocking’ behavior, is a wonderfully complex character. Her desire to make a diference in improving the security and lives of the women of the brothel is admirable, you can see her empathy with these women, in they all have few choices or options, and she wants that to change. Completely heedless of her own safety at times, the initial freedom of donning men’s garb and gaining instant freedom has gone to her head, and there are times when she does act as if she is believing her own disguise. It gives her plenty of moments to think and wonder, and a lovely interplay of her ‘ignoring’ her own feelings about Damien, yet not being willing to make a new move in any direction without thinking about him is sweet and truly shows her heart.
For his part, Damien is struggling with some very real demons, and some ridiculous notions: without really seeing that Sophie is one of his biggest fans, and he wants her, no matter what. The growth he experiences as the mystery and danger finally come to a head have his heart on his sleeve, apparent to all but he and Sophie. Shupe has taken a long-developing story line through three books and come out with a lovely ending of a mystery, with the added benefit of yet another wonderful romance from two very different yet utterly well matched people.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.