SWEET DECEPTION is the 2nd in Heather’s Veiled Seduction series.  I absolutely loved this book.

sweet deception

Derick, Lord Frederick Aveline, has spent the past fourteen years spying on the French for the English.  When he returns to Derbyshire on the trail of a traitor he swears this is his last mission.  Upon arrival at Castle Aveline he finds nothing prepared for him, no grooms at the ready, no candles lit, nothing.  Upon entering the castle he discovers petite, feisty Emma Wallingford giving orders to his staff and villagers in the dining room, assigning locations to each of them in the search for a missing maid.  Emma’s been acting magistrate for the village after her brother George’s accident left him incapable of fulfilling those duties.  Her magisterial duties have given her purpose and made use of her many talents.  Her continuance in that role now lies in the hands of the boy she adored & trailed whilst growing up.  The man who still calls her by the nickname the boy gave her, Pygmy, Derick, Lord Frederick Aveline.

Derick’s lived the past fourteen years as a double spy. His French heritage and English nobility gave Derick an advantage sniffing out traitors to the crown on the continent during and after the war.  When we first met Derick in Sweet Enemy he was surreptitiously investigating Geoffrey Wentworth, Earl of Stratford, as a possible traitor.  After clearing Geoffrey the trail has led Derick to the last place he wants to be, Derbyshire.  Shortly after arrival Derick decides to use Emma’s knowledge of and acceptance by the locals in his search for the traitor.  What he doesn’t count on is Emma’s effect on him.

I had to wonder, after meeting Derick in Sweet Enemy, exactly what kind of hero he would make.  The conflict between Derick and Emma chiefly stems from Derick himself.  His self-loathing regarding past actions in service to the crown and revelations flung in his face by his mother the last time he saw her.  He’s perfectly tortured and deeply honorable.

     It must be because she’d always been there. Not consciously, or even obviously, but rather like a single gold thread woven into the tapestry of his life.  When he was young, he wouldn’t have noticed it, instead drawn to the rich colors – the reds, the greens, the blues.  But those vibrant shades had long been sullied, turned dark and dull making the gold shine out even more.  There all along, and all along the most valuable thread of all.  And now, as a man well aware of the preciousness of gold, he could no longer miss it – no longer miss her – and he greatly feared that now that he’d noticed her, she could never be unseen.

But he would do his damnedest.

See?  How could Derick possibly be more perfect?

Emma Wallingford is brilliant.  Her brain is logical, analytical, literal, and her filter is defective leading to both trouble and hilarity.  She also has an endearing habit of mutilating her metaphors.  Her one season was disastrous owing in large part to these traits.  Derick has always been “the one” as far as Emma’s concerned.  She’s still drawn to the man just as she was the boy despite the fact that details about him refuse to add up.  That’s a problem as Emma puts great faith in numbers and equations, firmly believing they can explain almost everything, including crime.  Emma is a mathematician and early criminologist.  I absolutely adored Emma.  For me she outshone Liliana, the chemist heroine of Sweet Enemy, and that’s quite an accomplishment.

Here’s analytical, logical Emma’s epiphany regarding Derick, once she put aside her hurt feelings and considered all that had gone before, physical and otherwise.

     It was as if she’d been looking at Derick through a kaleidoscope that blurred his edges, but it hadn’t mattered because he’d been such a beautiful, dazzling thing.  But now, with a turn of the wrist, the lenses had aligned and he’d come suddenly into sharp, stark view with all his faults on display.

And she found him even more beautiful.

Dear God, she was a crazy woman.    

How could I not adore her and believe her to be perfect for Derick?

The childhood history Derick and Emma share adds a pleasing piquancy and familiarity to their interactions.  Thanks to Emma’s missing filter, metaphor mangling, and penchant for mumbling asides out loud there’s plenty of levity to balance the darker feel of SWEET DECEPTION.

I can’t put my finger on one outstanding aspect of SWEET DECEPTION that so ensnared me and snared I was, reading avidly while not wanting it to end.

With that in mind it has to be the sum of all the individual features that stood out to me while reading:

1)      Believable tight plotting

2)      A knack with turning a phrase.

3)      The right touch of darkness with a smidge of mystery and danger.

4)      Intelligent, realistically drawn characters whose emotions were so intensely depicted I experienced them as they did.

5)      And last but certainly not least, one of the most exquisitely tender and moving love scenes I’ve ever read.  I was practically a puddle by the end.

The Author’s Note is always worth reading in this series because it explains the facts behind the story.

SWEET DECEPTION is an unpredictable unabashedly intelligent historical romance that, for me, surpassed SWEET ENEMY.  Loved it!

4.5 stars

9780451236104_SweetEnemy_CV.indd  Book 1

Beakers and ball gowns don’t mix, so when lady chemist, Miss Liliana Claremont, goes undercover as a husband-hunter to investigate Lord Geoffrey Wentworth, the earl whose family she suspects murdered her father, romance isn’t part of her formula. But it only takes one kiss to start a reaction she can’t control…

Read the Prologue and First Chapter HERE…

sweet deception Book 2

In the dark, the greatest lover can become the most dangerous conspirator…

Lady criminologist, Miss Emma Wallingford, unknowingly finds herself tangled up in the dangerous final mission of Lord Derick Aveline, a spy who also happens to be her long-lost first love. But when deception, however sweet, is the name of the game, no one can be trusted. And every love–and every life–is at risk.

Read the First Chapter HERE.

SweetMadness.indd  Book 3 coming April 2, 2013

There is a fine line between love and insanity…


Ever since her husband’s sudden and tragic death, Lady Penelope Bridgeman has committed herself to studying the maladies of the mind, particularly treating traumatized soldiers of the Napoleonic Wars. It is this expertise that brings the Marquess of Bromwich’s family to her door.

Gabriel Devereaux’s unexpected and unpredictable episodes are unlike any Penelope has studied. The once proud soldier has been left shaken and withdrawn, but she manages to build a fragile trust between them. Strangely, Gabriel seems completely lucid when not in the grips of his mania, and in the calm between bouts, she is surprised by how much she is drawn to him.

Despite his own growing feelings, Gabriel knows that he is fit for no one, and is determined to keep Penelope away from his descent into madness. But even though she knows firsthand the folly of loving a broken man, Penelope cannot stop herself from trying to save him, no matter the cost. Read the Prologue and First Chapter HERE…


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