The Mystery Woman by Amanda Quick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
3.5 stars just because Ms. Quick dialed back her over-use of her most formulaic words and phrases (i.e. heat, heated, jacked up, raised senses, running hot, psychical, para-senses, etc.) and for a change included a hero who didn't believe in the paranormal at all, despite his own talent for finding things. While the sex scenes (I hesitate to call them love scenes because there still isn't a lot of foundation for the romance) remain eye-rollingly silly, at least there was no stock description of mind-blowing aura merging and whatnot. Hooray for small favors!
In book two of the "Ladies of Lantern Street" series, we follow Flint & Marsh agent Beatrice Lockwood as she masquerades in her role as a virtually invisible paid companion to wealthy ladies in need of assistance foiling dastardly plots. Beatrice came to the agency some months earlier when her previous employer was murdered by someone seeking to kidnap her. She manages to create a new life for herself in a new career, until during the course of an investigation she is located by Joshua Gage, former spy for the Crown, who needs her assistance in trapping the man blackmailing his sister, a client from Beatrice's old life. The blackmail scheme turns out to be just the tip of the iceberg, so Joshua and Beatrice team up to stop a madman before they become the next victims.
My favorite thing about this novel is that Beatrice is so strong and well-prepared. She carries a small pistol strapped to her thigh, she has a vial of specially-prepared smelling salts to ward off unwanted sexual advances, and she thinks quickly in emergency situations. She is no wilting wallflower. I appreciated that very much.
For readers' advisors: story and setting doorways (i.e. Victorian England). A couple of sex scenes.
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