A former slave finds danger, intrigue, and passion undercover as a spy in first of this Civil War–era romance series from an award-winning author.
Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.
Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton’s Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.
Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy’s favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other. . .
An Entertainment Weekly TOP 10 ROMANCE BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A Bookpage TOP PICK
A Kirkus BEST BOOKS OF 2017
A Vulture TOP 10 ROMANCE BOOKS OF 2017
A Publishers Weekly BEST BOOKS OF 2017
A Booklist TOP 10 ROMANCE FICTION 2017
“Richly detailed setting, heart-stopping plot, and unforgettable characters.” —Deanna Raybourn, New York Times–bestselling author
“You should absolutely read this book, immediately, if you haven’t already. . . . This book is a marvelous, intelligent, respectful, breathtaking treat for your brain.” —Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
Opening a series set in the Civil War era, Cole (Mixed Signals) hits all the right notes in this smartly written espionage romance brimming with vivid characterization, heartfelt dialogue, and sensual sweetness. Ellen "Elle" Burns, a sassy freedwoman, and Malcolm McCall, a charming immigrant from Scotland, are both spies committed to using their skills to defeat the Confederacy. Their collaboration is complicated by the sizzling chemistry between them. Elle has given up her freedom to pose as a mute slave in an influential Confederate household, as her photographic memory lets her retain confidential information after just a glance. In the same household, Malcolm claims to be a Confederate soldier, hoping to endear himself to Confederate officials. Their closeness leads to genuine mutual understanding of their private selves and a satisfying intimate relationship. But Elle knows the perils of an interracial romance, and she struggles to trust a man who lies so glibly. Despite their ability to work seamlessly together and their growing belief in a shared future, a risky plan to secure vital information goes awry, threatening the success of the mission and their lives. Cole's sparkling gem of a romance portrays love at its most practical and sublime; she writes with lyricism, intelligence, and historical accuracy. This fascinating novel is a most welcome addition to the historical romance genre.