Thursday, June 4, 2009

MY SURRENDER by Connie Brockway

MY SURRENDER by Connie Brockway (Published by Pocket Books, April 26, 2005)
Three young men are driven by an oath they have taken unto themselves to pledge their service to the three surviving daughters of the man who gave his life to save theirs. As children, each of these young men had been saved from Scotland’s post Culloden destitution by monks to be honed and raised as warrior assassins. Bound together by their childhood horrors, raised as brothers, these three young men secretly assign themselves to one sister, telling the family that if ever they need assistance, the sisters should simply send a yellow rose to the Abbey at St. Bride’s in Scotland’s Highlands and they will be there as quickly as they can. Leaving behind a rare yellow rose bush with the family, they quietly leave and scatter to the four corners of the world.

Charlotte Nash is the youngest of the Nash sisters and one of the most popular, outrageous, flighty flirts in the ton. And, it is all a ruse. Actually, Charlotte is an intelligent, hard-minded, determined young woman who wishes to honor her father's sacrifice by aiding in some way in the war against Napoleon. She is given that chance and becomes a spy for the Crown, while maintaining her hoyden personality.

Dand Ross is the consummate spy: hard, dangerous, cynical and unemotional. For years, he last allowed his two closest friends to believe that he is the traitor that caused their capture and subsequent torture in a French dungeon. When, actually, he has been continuing the work the three had been trained for, espionage, while actually trying to locate the true traitor. At the same time, he has been keeping an eye on his appointed charge, Charlotte, while passing information through her to the Crown.

When a letter falls into the wrong hands, with possible devistating consequences to the Crown, Charlotte volunteers to mascerade as a "fallen woman" in order to gain entry into an exclusive party where the letter is being auctioned off to the highest bidder. Her hastily devised plan to locate the letter and retrieve it has one serious flaw. She realizes that the man she is supposed to offer herself to as a new potential mistress, Comte St. Lyon, is well known in the ton and would never risk his position in society by ruining a virgin. So, she must recruit Dand, the only man she has ever truly been attracted to, to help ruin her in society's eyes and in fact.

Charlotte's inner turmoil, realizing she will forever be an outcast, unable to make a respectable marriage and, most importantly, hurting her beloved sisters, is heartwrenching. Dand, in his chosen role as protector, is put into an untenable position. Charlotte was asking him to go against every code a gentleman lived by. She always has intrigued him and he was certainly attracted to her, so he cannot imagine allowing another man to touch her. Dand is torn and tormented.

The development of both characters as the story progresses proves that not everyone is as they appear on the surface. Both characters are devoted to their secret professions and their cause and realize that there is no room for love in espionage. As a result, neither of them can divulge their feelings for each other and their anguish is palpable. There is tremendous sexual tension, intrigue, suspense and mystery in this book. The chemistry between the two main characters was sizzling. There is just the right amount of humor added when needed. In addition, the return of all the Rose Hunters for this final book is welcomed. And, the mystery of the identity of the traitor, which tantalized from the very first book in this excellent series, is finally revealed. I thought Connie Brockway saved her best for last with this wonderful romance.

I highly recommend this book, the final installment in the Rose Hunter series, as well as the entire series. See my reviews below on the first books in this series, MY SEDUCTION and MY PLEASURE by Connie Brockway.