A Marquis' Betrayal
Lady Louisa Brooke has many suitors, but the only man for her is the wild and ruthless Marquis of Jardine. When Jardine suddenly abandons her after a long-standing liaison, he leaves her with nothing except the secret they share. Her future in ruins, Louisa recklessly accepts a mission from the head of the secret service and becomes embroiled in a perilous operation in which nothing is as it seems...
A Lady's Revenge
The Marquis of Jardine is determined to destroy the criminal mastermind who's sworn vengeance against all he holds dear. But when he hears that Louisa is to wed a dangerous enemy, Jardine is tortured by jealousy and fear for her safety. He tracks her down, only to discover that her mission collides with his.
A Love that Won't Be Denied
Together, Louisa and Jardine must now foil a plan to betray the secret service and escape a diabolical revenge. But can they put the past behind them, and take the greatest risk of all--on love?
Genre: Historical Romance
Single Title/Series: SWEETEST LITTLE SIN is a stand alone novel, however, I do recommend reading THE DANGEROUS DUKE first. The hero and heroine's story really starts with that novel and while its not entirely necessary, it can enhance the reading experience of SLS. In addition, some secondary characters have received their own books prior to its publication.
Cover Thoughts: Pretty but generic. However, I've seen this book at the bookstore and the blue definitely stands out in a crowd.
Why I Read It: I purchased this book. SWEETEST LITTLE SIN was a MUST read for me after reading about the hero and heroine, Jardine and Louisa, in THE DANGEROUS DUKE.
Lady Louisa Brooke has waited eight long excruciating years for the Marquis of Jardine to renounce his life-endangering job at England's Home Office and finally provide her with the marriage and family he once vowed. Now, after time has successfully completed its erosion of her once formidable strength to grasp tightly to Jardine's promises, Louisa only wishes to be rid of him and what ultimately proved to be a pack of lies, all of which she'd foolishly built her life around. Having forsaken years that she'll never get back, Louisa refuses to wait a moment longer to start living and when the Home Office comes knocking on her door, she answers it with relish.
Jardine has loved and feared for Louisa from the first moment he was felled by her warrior-woman eyes. Knowing that his enemies wouldn't think twice before abducting Louisa if their passion for one another became public, Jardine instead makes promises of forever then promptly leaves resulting in eight years of cat and mouse. While he hates that he's had to hurt her, Jardine's beastly possessive nature refuses to let her find happiness with another. Louisa is his and always will be. But when a deadly enemy proves to be closer now more than ever, Jardine knows that he must drive Louisa away once and for all or risk loosing her in the worst way. He must put an end to their liaison as well as her dreams for he'd rather Louisa be vibrantly alive than dead. However, he never dreamed that she'd promptly set her cap on one Mr. Radleigh; a man that Jardine suspects of much more than mere treason but more importantly, Radleigh could lead him to an even more fearsome enemy whose motive is a dark and personal revenge.
While Radleigh reeks of a perverse evil making Louisa shiver internally with fear, she gathers strength from finally having found a much needed purpose with the Home Office. No matter that their requirement of Louisa is trivial and she longs for more responsibility, she'll not shirk her duty and instead surpasses their demands by agreeing to marry Radleigh in order to secure an invitation to his country estate. The engagement wouldn't have been her choice but to decline would have proven her disinterest and therefore negated her chance for the Home Office's required invitation. What proves to be the most difficult with regards to Louisa's mission, however, is that she absolutely must not disclose a single shred of information to anyone. When Jardine makes a predictably arrogant attempt to curtail Louisa's engagement, she at first thrills in her heart that he may be jealous, but he soon smashes that hopeful notion. He didn't lie when he told he no longer loved her. Instead Jardine thinks her inept which only makes Louisa's smearing of his face within her pending nuptials all the more satisfying - sham wedding or not.
Frightened by the strange coincidence of Louisa becoming engaged to Radleigh, Jardine smells something foul afoot and gains his own invitation to the Radleigh country estate. Once there Jardine plans to no only protect Louisa but to find a very important list - one that documents the identities of each and every agent working or having worked for the Home Office. Radleigh plans on selling the list to the highest bidder but Jardine has every intention of seizing it for himself to use as bait for another dastardly enemy carrying a personal vendetta. Its the perfect opportunity for Jardine to wipe clean the danger that has stalked him relentlessly resulting in the infernal need to hide his love for Louisa. In the meantime, Jardine stalks Louisa as he tries to unveil the secret for her being with Radleigh. She's too smart to not notice Radleigh's radiating evil. Rather she's at the estate for another purpose and Jardine will go to any length to discover what that purpose is.
No sooner does Louisa arrive at Radleigh's estate when she realizes she's in way over her head. With her trust in Jardine having been obliterated, it's impossible for Louisa to disclose her reasons for being engaged to the nefarious Radleigh. With no one else privy to the mission, it leaves Louisa no choice but to obtain the list of agents Radleigh's hiding on her own - her brother's and Jardine's life may depend on it. Dogged by Jardine at every turn, Louisa does her best to search the estate for the list but to no avail. When friends soon begin to turn foe, Louisa is struck with the realization that everything comes down to her winning Jardine's heart once and for all. Together they just might make it out of this rancid entanglement alive but apart, they'll forever forfeit their right to love.
SWEETEST LITTLE SIN is sweet non-stop action. Nary a pause for breath between heartbreak, betrayal, and death, SLS certainly doesn't bore but its also not my favorite by Christine Wells. While I predicted Jardine to be deeply embedded within the spy element of the Home Office, I was a bit disappointed at the extent with which Wells' took it. The spy-thriller element saturates the novel beyond what I would have liked but it was nonetheless entertaining. My real hope, however, was for a central character driven plot rather then espionage but Jardine still stole the show.
A devilishly dark and dangerously magnetic hero, Jardine encapsulates all that and more. Having no real morals, no regret and no recompense for what his life has become as an agent, he is what he is and doesn't ever apologize for it. Why would we want him to? There's only one person that can crack Jardine's rigid control and that's Louisa. A force to be reckoned with in her own right, Louisa is my kind of heroine. She's skilled in horsemanship and weaponry as apposed to the pianoforte and water colors. She's smart with a biting wit and like Jardine, she's unapologetic for who she is. Apart the two are incredibly lonely and a bitter half of themselves and its only with each other that they become complete. It truly is a wonderful hero and heroine pairing.
Unfortuantely, I thought that the thick espionage plot overshadowed the combustible heat between Jardine and Louisa that ignited so passionately upon the pages of A DANGEROUS DUKE. I was disappointed that it took nearly two hundred pages to get to the heat and the build up prior to it was more then frustrating for its lack there of. Again, I think the spy elements were just too strong and therefore commandeered a hefty portion of the stage.
However, I'm still in love with Christine Wells. Despite my gripes, the plotting is still amazing. Abundant in detail with an incredible flow regardless of its rich and complicated material, SWEETEST LITTLE SIN embodies an epic feel. For a limited page count, this woman can pack it in!
For historical romance readers craving thick thriller plots, devilish heroes, and frightening villains, look no farther than SWEETEST LITTLE SIN.
Fiction Vixen Book Reviews: 3.5/5
ck2s kwips and kritiques: 4/5
The Season Blog
The Romance Dish: 4.5/5
Smexy Books: 4/5