Between a Rake and a Hard Place (Regency Rakes) by Mia Marlowe and Connie Mason
In this third and final of the Regency Rakes series set in 1817, we meet the last officer, Sir Jonah Sharp, being blackmailed by Fortescue Alcock over the crushing English defeat at the Battle of Maubeuge, just prior to Waterloo. Jonah's brother officers, Lord Nathaniel Colton and Lord Rhys Warrington, having staved off the threat of ruin by the despicable Alcock, are helping Jonah clear his name of the intrigue and treachery that has been whispered at, but unproven. Jonah must prove his innocence or tarnish a young woman's reputation to avoid his family's name being dishonoured by the scandal.
This time we watch the road Jonah travels as he tries to avoid manipulation by the leech Alcock. Fortescue's grand plan is to bring ruin to another of the contender's for the Royal Bride. For his services Alcock has promised evidence of treachery, or at least evidence of the truth about the doings at Maubeuge.
The trio has learned that a man who can assist is at Portsmouth. Unfortunately Lady Serena, the bride contender, unwittingly takes a hand in obscuring their search.
Based on the true search for a royal bride to secure the English throne for one of the unmarried sons of King George III, vulgarly referred to by the press at the time as 'Hymen Race Terrific.'
Jonah, Lord Nathaniel Colton and Lord Rhys Warrington worked during the war effort at the instigation of an organization called the Triad. They were assassins for their country.
His work has wrung Jonah out. He hides a damaged soul, having been called on to take lives as he has. Serena lightens his way.
Lady Serena Osbourne is an unusual young woman. She has a list of things she wants to do before she makes the political marriage of a lifetime. A marriage she sees as her duty and an opportunity to guide a future leader of the nation.
A list 'of hidden pleasures' that she wants to fulfill before country and duty intervene.
Item 1: Wear men's clothing in public
Item 2: Gain admittance to an exclusively male club
Item 3 etc. etc.
Jonah rescues Serena from a potentially scandalous situation when she attempts the first two items on her list. Fortunately for Jonah's mission their relationship looks set to develop in a rather more interesting way than either of them conceived.
A NetGalley ARC