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Checkmate, My Lord

Cover of Checkmate, My Lord

Checkmate, My Lord

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Praise for A Lady's Revenge:

"Devlyn makes a unique mark on the genre with her powerful prose and gripping theme."—RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

The Stakes Are High, The Players in Position...

Catherine Ashcroft leads a quiet life caring for her precocious seven-year-old daughter, until a late-night visitor delivers a startling ultimatum. She will match wits with the enigmatic Earl of Somerton, and it's not just her heart that's in danger.

Let the Games Begin...

Spymaster Sebastian Danvers, Earl of Somerton, is famous for his cunning. Few can outwit him and even fewer dare challenge him-until now. After returning to his country estate, his no-nonsense neighbor turns her seductive wiles on him- but why would a respectable widow like Catherine risk scandal for a few passionate nights in his bed?

"Devlyn reveals the darkness of the spy game and entices readers with a talented and determined heroine."—Publishers Weekly

"Wildly romantic, quick paced, and entertaining from beginning to end."—The Book Girl

"Dark and sexy...full of adventure and mystery but also a powerful love story...a must read."—My Book Addition Reviews

Note from the publisher: As of 6/17/2014, the erroneous eBook file issue has been resolved and the eBook delivers in full. If you've received an incomplete download, please contact Barnes & Noble customer service or Sourcebooks (www.sourcebooks.com)

Praise for A Lady's Revenge:

"Devlyn makes a unique mark on the genre with her powerful prose and gripping theme."—RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

The Stakes Are High, The Players in Position...

Catherine Ashcroft leads a quiet life caring for her precocious seven-year-old daughter, until a late-night visitor delivers a startling ultimatum. She will match wits with the enigmatic Earl of Somerton, and it's not just her heart that's in danger.

Let the Games Begin...

Spymaster Sebastian Danvers, Earl of Somerton, is famous for his cunning. Few can outwit him and even fewer dare challenge him-until now. After returning to his country estate, his no-nonsense neighbor turns her seductive wiles on him- but why would a respectable widow like Catherine risk scandal for a few passionate nights in his bed?

"Devlyn reveals the darkness of the spy game and entices readers with a talented and determined heroine."—Publishers Weekly

"Wildly romantic, quick paced, and entertaining from beginning to end."—The Book Girl

"Dark and sexy...full of adventure and mystery but also a powerful love story...a must read."—My Book Addition Reviews

Note from the publisher: As of 6/17/2014, the erroneous eBook file issue has been resolved and the eBook delivers in full. If you've received an incomplete download, please contact Barnes & Noble customer service or Sourcebooks (www.sourcebooks.com)

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  • From the book

    One

    August 6, 1804
    London, Somerton House

    "Please, my lord," Catherine Ashcroft said. "If you would only read my husband's letters." She indicated the small packet she'd placed on the Earl of Somerton's clutter-free desk moments ago, willing him to pick it up. Despite her personal misgivings about her humorless neighbor, she had made this godforsaken trip to the city to beg his assistance, hoping her late husband's friend would know what to do.

    With trembling fingers, she pushed the tattered, black beribboned packet across his desk. "These two mention you," she said. "I have more at Winter's Hollow. Could you please read them and tell me if anything feels amiss?"

    He cast her a level stare. "Aren't you in a better position to judge such things, Mrs. Ashcroft?"

    From the moment she had entered his study ten minutes ago, he had treated her with courtesy and respect, but she had yet to witness a single emotion crease his strong brow or bend his full lips. It had always been so with him. Unlike her late husband, Jeffrey, she had never enjoyed a companionable relationship with the earl. Their acquaintance had always been one of distance and wary glances. A situation she now regretted, for Lord Somerton might be the only one who could help her locate her husband's murderer. A murder she might have been able to prevent had she been home to receive his numerous missives.

    Catherine's gaze took in the earl's wide shoulders and six-foot-something frame, both a formidable contrast to Jeffrey's slighter build. Not for the first time, she noted his calm strength and an almost indistinguishable aura of danger penetrating the air around him.

    "Indeed, sir." Her fingers curled until her nails dug into the tender flesh of her palm. "I have already determined something's wrong, but what, exactly, I do not know." Had there been any other way of determining Jeffrey's state of mind, she would have gladly followed it. Being in the earl's company made her body hum with restlessness and her mind waver with doubt-a state that likely had her father, a highly decorated naval officer, convulsing in his grave. There had been no getting around this meeting, though. Jeffrey's virtual abandonment three years ago ensured she knew little of her husband's activities and even less of his desires.

    Lord Somerton's eyelids lowered a fraction. "What makes these letters different from the rest of Ashcroft's correspondence?"

    This was the difficult part. His lordship was known for his cold logic and his intolerance for theatrics of any sort. How could she explain the tenor of desperation that penetrated Jeffrey's every word? Its subtlety would be easily missed by those unfamiliar with her husband. Most would think her daft to fault her husband's written words of love, but Catherine knew them a farce. Would Jeffrey's friend also read the message beyond the words?

    "I'm not sure I can supply you with a satisfactory explanation, my lord," she said. "It's complicated, to say the least."

    He tapped his fingertips against the small stack of letters several times and then caught the telling sign of irritation and stopped. "I'll be sure to listen very closely, Mrs. Ashcroft."

    Emotion, at last. But it came with a cost. His scrutiny intensified and the space between them turned thick and suffocating. Catherine smoothed her damp palms down her black pelisse, and a sudden urge to flee scraped against her nerves. What if she had been wrong about the character of Jeffrey's letters? Maybe he really did wish to reconcile and happened to be...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 26, 2012
    The second book in Devlyn’s Nexus series (after A Lady’s Revenge) craftily combines espionage in Regency England with a healthy dose of sizzling romance. Widow Catherine Ashcroft has asked Sebastian Danvers, Lord Somerton, to examine her husband’s last letters to her, believing they hold the clues to Ashcroft’s murder. Sebastian, a spy for the Crown, agrees to assist her; he has little else to do, having been banished from London while his ties to a double agent are investigated. As Sebastian resumes his neglected duties as lord of Bellamere Park, Catherine helps him to regain the trust of his tenants. Her willingness to embark on a love affair with him baffles Sebastian, who clearly wants no long-term relationship and wonders whether her persistence masks hidden motives. Catherine’s struggles as a widow and the mother of a young daughter reveal a hidden strength not often present in Regency-era heroines, and Sebastian’s dark, emotionally guarded demeanor is laced with complexity that only the most stalwart heroine can unravel. Devlyn’s seamless writing will entice readers and keep them eager for the next installment. Agent: Donald Maass, Donald Maass Literary Agency.

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Checkmate, My Lord
Checkmate, My Lord
Tracey Devlyn
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