Reviewed by May
Favorite Quote: “Do your worst,” she said lightly, “but I must warn you, a lady never surrenders.”
“We’ll see about that,” he murmured before seizing her mouth in a hot kiss.
The youngest of five, Lady Celia is the last to remain unwed and has just two months to find and marry a man. Her grandmother issued an ultimatum that they all marry within the year or be cut from her will, and she has no intention of making an exception for the pistol packing youngest of the hellions.
Jackson Pinter has been investigating the suspicious death of Celia’s parents and we have gotten to see the tension between these two in the previous books, indeed, the pairing of the Bow Street runner and Lady Celia is one that could be predicted early on in the series. Celia calls upon Pinter to investigate her suitors – she doesn’t want to marry someone after her fortune or hiding any great secrets after all. This forces the pair to converse more, and for “Proper Pinter” (her nickname for Jackson) to reveal some of his true feelings.
The main conflict in this book is the pride of these two main characters. Celia is an heiress, and doesn’t want to marry someone after her fortune, but rather someone who wants her for herself. Jackson does not want to marry Celia because he feels she will not suit to his lifestyle (as a mere Bow Street runner his station is much below hers) and he does not like the idea of living off her inheritance either. He also worries that she will think him a fortune hunter, not a man who is wildly attracted to her.
“Some of us cannot live on our family’s fortune, my lady.”
“While some of us are very fond of biting the hand that feeds them.” If he could throw her past words at her, then she could throw back what he’d said to her months ago.
She was surprised when a reluctant smile tugged at his lips. “A hit direct, madam. Perhaps I should get out of the line of fire while I still have my head.”
“Perhaps you should refrain from putting yourself in the line of fire in the first place,” she quipped. “An officer of the law ought to know better.”
While Jackson Pinter is below her socially, it doesn’t seem totally unbelievable for these two to marry. After all – her own grandmother ran a brewery that is where the family fortune comes from! Not only is Pinter shown repeatedly to be a good man of excellent character and a friend to her brothers, but he is perhaps the only man who can stand up and hold his own with the wild Celia. I enjoyed that he is a ‘good guy’ hero and in no need of reforming, but I grew tired of him thinking and talking about how she would have to give up so much, and that he didn’t know if she could handle being his wife.
Celia acts predictably as well, but I still found her quite enjoyable. She is strong yet insecure, and was a beautifully crafted character. I really liked the scenes with her brothers and how she bests them in all things guns, including having newer, fancier ones than most men and knowing how to use them! Yet with all her skill and intelligence, she has never felt attractive or pursued, and it was a pleasure to watch her fall in love and realize that Jackson Pinter was cold and proper towards her because he is so very attracted to her and cannot otherwise control himself.
The wrap-up of the murder plot that has stretched across the five novels in this series is cleaned up neatly and with almost no effort on the part of our characters. It all just comes together rather suddenly, and felt added on rather than woven into this story. It was disappointing, and the stubborn pride of both main characters went from charming to annoying towards the end of the novel for me as well.
While it didn’t hit a high mark for me like the previous novel, it was still a very enjoyable and entertaining read. I enjoyed the small parts the siblings played throughout, and that this could easily be read as a stand-alone or out of order from the other books in the series.