Tuesday, March 24, 2015

While You Were Spying by Shana Galen

The latest addition to the REGENCY SPIES series, WHILE YOU WERE SPYING is the highly anticipated prequel to WHEN DASHING MET DANGER and PRIDE AND PETTICOATS. 

Francesca Dashing would like to forget that Ethan Caxton, the Marquess of Winterbourne, exists. He humiliated her in front of all of London Society—and he doesn’t even remember it! But when Ethan shows up in her sleepy Hampshire town, he’s hard to overlook, and his presence stirs up long-buried feelings. Francesca tries to keep her distance…until her life is threatened and the mysterious and handsome marquess comes to her rescue, in more ways than she ever thought possible. 

Winterbourne has traveled to Hampshire on orders from the Foreign Office—he’s investigating an arms smuggling ring and is determined to find its leader. Miss Dashing stumbles into his way—literally—and derails both Ethan’s assignment and his ordered country life. Ethan knows he needs to ignore the distraction, but when Francesca is the victim of a vicious attack, he’s compelled to put aside his mission to protect her. Guarding the viscount’s daughter is work, nothing more, and Ethan has no plans to let down his guard…until Francesca’s chocolate-brown eyes and endless compassion melt the ice in his heart and lay siege to his defenses.

Published & Release Date: BMLA Digital, April 7, 2015

Time and setting: 1800, Hampshire and Yorkshire, England  

Genre: Regency Historical Romance

Length: 360 pages

Heat Level: 1 Scorching Hot Flames

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Vikki’s Musings

When I discovered While You Were Spying, Spies Book 0, was coming out, I could not wait to read this upcoming release by Shana Galen, an author I have long admired for her delightfully witty and emotional stories. When the chance came up for me the read this book prior to publication, I immediately accept it for an honest review. As usual with Ms. Galen’s novels, I was pulled in right away and remained that way until the last page. I love that when it happens.

Francesca Dashing has given up on marriage after having suffered the abusive of her ex-fiancée. A man who belittled her, making her feel unattractive and that she does not have anything to offer another man. She spends her time in her hospital where she cares for any stray animals in need of care.

When an abused colt lands Francesca in the middle of one of Ethan Caxton’s—the Marquess of Winterbourne—covert operations, he has no choice but to save her from the irate owner of the animal. Ethan is a man she has been extraordinarily attracted to, ever since he danced with her during her London season. Even though, he embarrassed her by leaving her standing in the middle of the dance floor. When he saves her, she immediately falls under his spell.

When Francesca’s life is in danger, Ethan steps in to protect her from harm. He proposes an engagement between them to explain why her father would allow a known rake to stay in his home with his innocent daughter. After one of the attacks on Francesca, which places them in a compromising position, they hastily marry to avoid scandal.

Will Francesca teach Ethan to trust again, or will his past keep the wall surrounding his heart firmly in place, never allowing him to feel the full glory of her love?

Shana Galen has penned yet again, another fast-paced story with just the right amount of action and emotionally-charged scenes. I read When Dashing Met Danger, Spies Book one, many years ago and fell in love with Ms. Galen’s writing style and read all her releases at that time. Through the years, I have continued to read her adventurous tales of love and mayhem. While spy stories are not my usual choice, hers are so well-written and full of wonderfully executed sexual tension, I devour them.

While You Were Spying gives the reader everything the author normally delivers in a novel. Francesca is a marvelous heroine, kind, loyal and true, all qualities I love in the female protagonist. While she is strong and fierce when protecting one of her beloved animals, she is vulnerable as well. She had suffered much from her ex-fiancée, which undermined her self-worth and desirability. This is where the hero comes in and shows her she is very desirable and has tremendous value.

Ethan is a hero I always enjoy. He’s dashing, remarkably handsome and a bit of a bad boy all in one deliciously yummy package. On top of that he is a spy for his country, fighting to protect his king and country. He has also suffered terrible heartache and betrayal, making it difficult for him to trust in Francesca’s innocence and steadfastness. I thoroughly enjoyed his character’s growth as he struggles to accept his growing love for her.

While this story has all the humor and adventure I have grown to expect with Shana Galen’s writing, it also has many deeply moving scenes, one of which didn’t just make me teary-eyed, it had me wiping away the tears rolling down my face. I highly recommend this incredible tale of love overcoming past emotional hurts for both amazing characters. I’m confident that you will love them as much as I did. This is definitely a story I will read again. Happy reading!