This is part of a series of romance novels. They shift back and forth between a contemporary romance, between a historical researcher and the owner of the materials she’s using, and the people she’s researching.
All the people she’s researching are English spies during the Napoleonic period, all with floral code names, obviously inspired by the Scarlet Pimpernel.
In this outing, the researcher has finally bagged her man and so the drama isn’t as much whether they’ll get together so much as it is the very annoying “minor misunderstandings as plot devices” stage. I refuse to discuss these plot devices, as a protest against the entire concept.
Moving right along to the historical plot line.
Robert, the Duke of Dovedale, has returned to England after an extended period as a soldier in India. He doesn’t feel like the duke–he inherited in a more or less unexpected way–and doesn’t want to do duke things. The only reason he’s home is to track down a former acquaintance who has been selling British intelligence in India and who killed his mentor.
However, he’s blindsided by his little cousin Charlotte, all grown up and attractive. He gets a little bit involved but then distances himself because he’s on a quest, dammit.
In order to track down his quarry, he has to join the Hellfire club, which apparently involves hallucinogenic drugs and orgies. Not exactly edifying.
He (apparently?) resists the hallucinogens and hookers while investigating.
Obviously by the end Charlotte gets involved, despite his best attempts to protect her. She’s trying to save the King, and surprise surprise, the same bad guys are responsible for both nasty situations.
They all survive and she resists the urge to marry him, wanting him to choose her and not run away to India again, but of course, in the end she relents and they live happily ever after.
These are fun, fluffy books if you like a historical romance with a tinge of mystery.