Olivia and Clayton are young lovers, completely wrapped up in each other, until Clayton discovers that Olivia’s father is embezzling money from the government through his paper mill. Olivia refuses to believe that her father could ever do such a thing, and so asks him about it, sure that there is a perfectly innocent explanation. Instead, her lover is thrown into prison, and her father tells her that he’s been hanged.
Ten years later, Clayton walks back into Olivia’s life intent on destroying the mill which ruined his life, only to get her hauled off to Russia by accident. Convinced that she’s a spy, since that’s what Clayton’s been doing since he vanished, a group of Russian gangsters kidnap Olivia and attempt to coerce her into breaking a code for them. Clayton follows to rescue her, but doesn’t expect to fall for her charms a second time …
This was a fun read. I was mainly drawn to it because it takes place in Russia, which seemed like it would be a refreshing change from the usual Regency-style romances set in England. I’ve read and loved plenty of those but I’m definitely open to more locations and different storylines. Mostly, the setting didn’t impact hugely on the book. It’s colder and the bad guys are after the tsar instead of a king or a prince, but otherwise, the romance followed along reasonably traditional lines.
Not that I minded, because the romance itself was done well. I liked that Randol flashed back to their youth but backed it up with romance that was solidly in the present, too. Their quest to stop the assassination plot brings them together while their fragile trust is replenished. It also gives them numerous opportunities to prove themselves to one another, as events around them make life challenging. This is a really good background for a romance read, as it makes the book about a lot more than just how this particular couple can fall in love.
I’m actually quite sorry that I missed the first book in this series before reading this one, too. While I didn’t need the background of Clayton and his two fellow spies to understand what was going on, or to appreciate their relationship, I’m definitely one of those people who prefers to read a series in order, and now I think I’d probably have liked the first book.
A sweet romance with a decent spy plot that adds an extra element to the book, Sins of a Ruthless Rogue is a good romance read and I’d certainly recommend it to other romance readers.
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