Title: Checkmate, My Lord (Book 2 – Nexus Series)
Author: Tracey Devlyn
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: February 1, 2013
Received from: NetGalley
A desperate mother falls in love with the spymaster she’s sent to betray.
Spymaster Sebastian Danvers, Lord Somerton, has spent the last decade protecting England’s shores against a French invasion. Known for his cold logic and ability to sacrifice anything for the greater good, few can outwit him, and even fewer dare challenge him. Until now.
After being exiled to his country estate, Sebastian is surprised when his beautiful, no-nonsense neighbor turns her seductive wiles on him. But years of intrigue have left him wondering why a respectable widow would risk scandal for a few nights in his bed. Sebastian takes his time unraveling the widow’s secrets, for he quickly realizes she might be the one sacrifice he is unwilling to make.
Living a quiet existence at Winter’s Hollow, Catherine Ashcroft spends her days doing little more than caring for her precocious six-year-old daughter and negotiating her neighbors’ various complaints against their absentee landowner, the enigmatic Earl of Somerton. But, all her boredom comes to a searing halt after learning her newly returned neighbor might have had something to do with her husband’s murder.
Catherine’s orderly existence soon upends and she now finds herself in a desperate bid to save her daughter’s life. But she must betray the earl to do so, even though she no longer suspects him of foul play. Lauren succumbs to the the earl’s passionate kisses and recognizes the same loneliness she has felt for years lurking in his hard, crystalline eyes. As her lover’s enemies close in, will Catherine be able to save both her beloved daughter and the handsome spy who has stolen her heart?
In this second book of the Nexus series, we find the Chief of Nexus, Sebastian/Lord Somerton dealing with an investigation in which he is told to give up the names of his secret agents. While he is dealing with that, Catherine Ashcroft has asked him to look into the death of her husband, one of the Chief’s agents (but Catherine is unaware of this at the time). Catherine will stop at nothing to get answers and finds herself involved in a very evil world of secrets and lies where her life and lives of those she loves are threatened. I thought Tracey Devlyn did a fabulous job with the plot line in this story. It continues on from the first book between France and England so it helps to read A Lady’s Revenge first.
Sebastian and Catherine were two people that continued to go back and forth with each other. One minute they were giving into their attraction and the next minute they did not trust one another and tried to build up walls around their hearts. The both did agree, however, to have an affair while Sebastian was in town but would end it when he went back to London. Of course these things never work out exactly as planned, right? Sebastian did not want to get attached to Catherine and her daughter, Sophie, for fear of placing them in danger just by having the relationship with him, but he found that difficult. Catherine was too afraid to give her heart to Sebastian, for fear of losing another man because of his dangerous job. Sophie, who was six, added such emotion to the story. She was so full of life and curious that she always seemed to catch people off guard. It was great fun to watch her melt the hearts of grown men. I enjoyed the rest of Sebastian’s family including Cora, Guy, and Ethan. I love Ethan’s lack of filter when he speaks. You never have to guess what he thinks or how he feels about something. I found Cora to be a wonderful friend to Catherine near the of the story and for being one of the only females in Sebastian’s life who could tell him what he needed to hear regarding women and love. All of the people in Sebastian’s close circle have such a good relationship and work very well together when a conflict arises. I especially liked watching Cora and Ethan bicker with one another as all siblings do now and then.
I have not read a lot of historical romance books. I had always stayed away because I felt a little lost in the story due to the different language and words used from earlier time periods. Tracey does a great job at keeping the language a little more modern, thus creating an easy flow to the book, without taking away from the setting. Because of this I was able to focus on the story and found it difficult to put down. This book has plenty of mystery, suspense, love, romance, and even the laughter of a free spirited six year old. I highly recommend this it and look forward to the third book in the series!
Reviewed by: Amy R.