A Brazen Bargain by Laura Trentham

A Brazen Bargain by Laura Trentham
Spies and Lovers Book 2
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (236 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Love soothes the deepest of scars.

Spies and Lovers, Book 2

Minerva Bellingham is at her wits’ end. Her younger brother, Simon, will have them penniless and on the streets if his extravagant gambling habit isn’t curtailed. An enormous debt to Lord Rafe Drummond is the final indignity.

Signing over her dowry is their only choice. Until Lord Drummond suggests something much more scandalous. She can keep her dowry—in exchange for the Bellinghams working three months as a housemaid and stable boy.
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Scarred from his service to the Crown, Rafe recognizes the young Simon Bellingham has the makings of a good duke. Minerva is a different story. Her pure, delicate beauty only underscores Rafe’s tarnished, bleak soul.

Yet he delights in cracking Minerva’s icy reserve to reveal a fiery, stubborn woman. And Minerva discovers the gruff master of Wintermarsh has the heart of a poet. But before they can find a future safe in each other’s arms, a menace from Simon’s licentious past slithers back into their lives, forcing Rafe to plan the most important rescue mission of his life.

Warning: Contains a paragon of the beau monde who gets the hang of polishing silver, and a master of the house who’d like her to make his bed—preferably with him in it. Also passion unleashed with the mere touch of a finger. Readers are encouraged to swoon.

“Had she made a bargain with the devil?” Quite possibly but, if the tension and chemistry that sizzled between Rafe and Minerva was any indication, extracting payment was going to be a pleasure for them both.

Book 2 of the Spies and Lovers series begins with some excitement. I haven’t read the first book but it looks like I’m missing out on a terrific story if I don’t remedy that soon. Book 2 is a stand alone so it isn’t that I feel that I need to have read the first to better enjoy the second, it’s just that the second was so much fun why wouldn’t I want to go back for more?

Rafe and Minerva apparently butted heads in An Indecent Invitation. I guess readers who want to see “how they met” might want to read that one first but I was able to pick up enough details to understand that there was some built in tension. Plus, Minerva calls Rafe an arse more than once. Respectable ladies of the Ton aren’t supposed to speak that way so, it really made me laugh. I could tell Rafe made his suggestion on how the Bellingham siblings could work to repay their debt as much to help young Simon as it was to poke at Minerva.

Speaking of Simon, bless him, he really needed a firm hand and no matter how much his sister loved him and berated him at the same time, she wasn’t going to be able to fix him. I really had to admire Rafe for heart and determination to see the young Duke fulfill his potential. I can’t be sure but I think I met his future Duchess and she’s going to be fiesty!

Maxwell Drake also looks like a likely candidate for a future installment of Spies and Lovers. He has the background similar to both Gray (from Book 1) and Rafe. Plus, he has the dark and broody presence down to an art. Total hero material! I’m very curious about the letter Minerva received from him while traveling in Scotland. He may have his hands full!

This was a really enjoyable book a good introduction to the series even though it isn’t the first in the series. After meeting Lily and Gray, I can tell I need rectify having not read their book, yet. Readers who love a good spicy historical set in the Regency Era should most definitely give this one a try.

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