Friday, April 10, 2015

Blog Tour: Sebastian's Lady Spy by Sharon Cullen

First, can we take a moment to appreciate the model in the banner? Good, right?  Yeah. 

Today I'm happy to be hosting Sharon Cullen's Sebastian's Lady Spy, the fifth book in her Secrets & Seduction series. From Loveswept, it was released on March 31st. I've become increasingly picky about my historical romance (possibly because I feel like I'm reading so much of it lately), but Lady Spy adds a healthy dash of spy action so it's already ahead of the pack....

You may remember (or not) that I reviewed the fourth book, His Saving Grace, in this series back in January. I thought it was a really unique book, and that made me curious to see what Cullen had in store for us in book five.

Be sure to check out other stops on the book tour, hosted by Tasty Book Tours, particularly because you can find other excerpts!

The Book

Seduction abounds in Sharon Cullen’s steamy historical romance! For the Crown’s top agents, love is a hazard best avoided—until an unforgettable affair exposes their undercover hearts.

Sebastian Addison has a powerful secret. To society he is the Earl of Claybrook, the patriarch who raised his siblings after the death of their parents. But to the king, Sebastian is Britain’s top spy—a position that has taken an emotional toll on him. Contessa Gabrielle Marciano has also been living a lie, her title a cover devised by the Office of Intelligence. The femme fatale was plucked from a life of crime and prostitution and trained to restrain her passionate nature. Until she meets the earl.

For three deeply sensual days and nights, Sebastian and Gabrielle drop their masks, indulging in pleasures that seem too good to be true. Then the lovers go their separate ways. Seven months later they reunite when inside sources report that an English aristocrat has been aiding France in a plot to topple the Crown. Their objective: to find the turncoat. Their greatest challenge: to keep their wild, wounded hearts from derailing a mission of life and death.

Sebastian's Lady Spy is available now!

When he stepped to go around her, she shifted in front of him, her steady gaze challenging. “Is something amiss, my lord?” Her Italian accent wrapped around him and held him in a strong embrace.

“As I was telling Atwater earlier, I work alone.” When in the world did she become an operative? And why hadn’t she told him seven months ago? Bloody hell, why did it hurt so much to find out now?

“This time you don’t,” Atwater said, his voice hard and uncompromising. “The crown has heard rumors of a Jacobite stirring.”

“The Jacobites were silenced six years ago, after the ’45 uprising,” Sebastian said, not taking his eyes off her.

“There are supporters who would like to see another uprising,” Atwater said. “We have information that indicates France plans to use the Jacobites to distract us so they can move onto English soil.”

Sebastian had heard the same rumors. However, he wasn’t as concerned as Atwater or the crown. Bonnie Prince Charlie was rusticating in Rome, far into his cups, and more than likely hadn’t given two thoughts to Scotland. “France can never win against us,” Sebastian said.

“Nevertheless, we need to find the instigator, whom we believe is someone of the aristocracy. We need you and the contessa to attend as many balls and soirees as possible. Listen and watch and discover who the perpetrator is. A couple would be less obvious than a lone person.”

Gabrielle raised a brow, her lips quirking, but her eyes told a different story. She was wary of Sebastian; she didn’t know what to expect. There were memories lodged in her deep eyes that he didn’t want to acknowledge, for that would lead him down a path he had walked away from seven months ago. That they had both walked away from.

Stepping out of that bedchamber had been the single hardest thing he’d ever done. He’d relived that night so many times in his mind, wondering what would have happened if he had stayed or if he had said something different. What if he had told her his secrets? Would she have accepted him?

Now he knew that she had known all along.

I can’t give you more than I already have. The truth is, I’ve been called away from Venice and must leave within a day or two. It’s time.

Out of all the words she had said to him, those had stuck in his mind the most. He’d always wondered what she meant. He was beginning to suspect he knew. She, too, had been called away on another mission.

Damnation, but he was a fool.

My Review

Sebastian's Lady Spy is an excellent historical romance-spy story. Sebastian and Gabrielle are a well matched couple, both sensual, independent, patriotic individuals.

I loved Sebastian and Gabrielle. They're both badass spies, which in and of itself is pretty awesome. Gabrielle is also amazingly tough emotionally - she's able to soldier on despite some really difficult circumstances. I appreciated that she rose above, regardless of how difficult Sebastian was being.

There's a lot happening in this book, between the romance and the mission, and it all unfolds very quickly. While the novel isn't long, it is jam-packed and absolutely worth picking up for the huge entertainment factor. I thought there was a really good balance between the romance and action. I do wish I'd read the book earlier in the series that addressed Sebastian's sister's escapades and brought Sebastian and Gabrielle together initially, but this is more out of curiosity than any sense I was really missing out. 

There are some interesting secondary characters in this one, a few that I definitely want to know better. Hopefully we'll learn more about their fates in future books!

The end of the book is very emotional, and for me, it felt like an appropriate way to bring everything to a climax and then resolve the relationship. I feel a bit uneasy about saying that I was entertained by the journey that Gabrielle and Sebastian took because of some of the darker twists and turns, but I did enjoy reading this one.

The teaser for the sixth book has me on the fence - I'd love to discuss it once you've read it so when you've checked it out, come back and comment so we can talk!

The Bottom Line:

Grab Sebastian's Lady Spy. It's worth a read, particularly if you like spies and lots of action in your historical romance.

5 stars
For fans of historical romance, spies, quick pacing

About the Author

Sharon Cullen is the author of the historical romances The Notorious Lady Anne, Loving the Earl, and Pleasing the Pirate, as well as many novels of romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. If you’d like to find out more about the author and her books, you can visit her blog or her website. She is addicted to social networking so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion: books.

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