“I suppose I can’t expect to keep you under lock and key. You’re hardly a criminal. . .are you?”
It takes a criminal to catch one, and Nicholas Brentwood is just the man for the job. Reformed in more ways than one, the rough-around-the-edges Brentwood is a member of the Bow Street Runners, London’s early nineteenth-century fledgling police force. There’s none better than Brentwood at catching the felons who ravage the city’s streets, and there’s nothing he loves more than seeing justice served. Beautiful and beguiling, Miss Emily Payne is not the sort of miscreant Brentwood usually hunts down. When he is assigned as her bodyguard, he vows to protect her from her father’s enemies, who will stop at nothing to carry out their mission fueled by greed and revenge.
All her life, Emily has longed for love, but it remains beyond her grasp. This season she’s determined to find a husband, which is quite the undertaking with a hound-dog guardian like Brentwood watching her every step. If he would just give her some measure of freedom, she is sure she could win the heart of society’s most eligible bachelor.
Emily’s headstrong persistence challenges Nicholas in ways he doesn’t expect but of one thing he’s certain—of all the cunning criminals he’s dealt with in the past, this time he’s met his match.
Regency romance writer Griep (A Heart Deceived) sets this action-packed novel in the days of the Bow Street runners, amateur neighborhood police in early 19th-century London. Spoiled heiress Emily Payne means to escape her unloving father by taking up with Henley, a handsome cad. Unknown to her, however, her father has run afoul of the smugglers with whom he's been doing business and has made his own plans to skip town. He hires experienced lawman Nicholas Brentwood to watch out for his daughter in his absence. There's one pursuit after another: Brentwood chases Emily as she sashays around town, oblivious to the danger she's in; unscrupulous characters chase first her father's business partner, then Emily; Brentwood chases Henley and the smugglers; and finally Emily and Brentwood chase each other as the only safe havens in a perilous world. A dying sister, a pregnant maid, and a gaggle of murderous foes round out the character list. Terrific fight scenes and tender reunions round out the galloping plot. The inspirational element is light, potentially enlarging the audience for this historical romance.