This is a well-written historical romance set during the Napoleonic Wars. The events in the story mostly take place in London, with some taking place in the British countryside. The author uses “flashbacks” to give us insight into both the hero and heroine’s past. The characters are amusing, very active and adventurous.
Chelsea Bellamy has grown up in the British countryside, the only daughter of a deceased county squire. Chelsea’s father had wanted his daughter to be well educated and encouraged her sense of adventure. When Chelsea receives a ransom note stating that Robert, her brother and only living relative, will be killed if she doesn’t bring 500 pounds to a London church, she realizes that the only way to raise the funds is to resurrect “One Eyed Jack”, a thief that hasn’t been active in 30 years. Jack is in fact a family servant, a man her father reformed but who reluctantly goes along with Chelsea’s plan because of duty.
Anthony Grenville, Lord Montrose, is a tall, incredibly handsome and battle scarred man. He’s home from the Napoleonic war and is bored, he’s even agreed to marry a woman he doesn’t love. When he’s held up at gunpoint by a young “One Eyed” thief and a “One Eyed” assistant, he’s infuriated and then intrigued. A week later he is even more surprised when he’s being robbed by the same “One Eyed” thief at his home. This time Anthony is faster than the thief and blocks his escape only to discover that the thief is a woman, a woman whom he immediately desires. Anthony is determined to make Chelsea his mistress, no matter how many times she turns him down. When she finally confesses her reason for becoming a thief, he agrees to assist her and they become accomplices in a plan to rescue Robert bringing Jack along as their third accomplice.
Anthony and Chelsea are attracted to each other; however, they want different things from a relationship. Chelsea wants love and marriage to a man who will respect her and one that she can respect. Anthony wants a lover to help him relieve the boredom guaranteed in his arranged marriage. Chelsea’s a woman ahead of her time, she’s adventurous and willing to take risks for those she loves and is an easy character to believe in. Anthony is a man used to getting what he wants either because of his looks or his position in life. The author does a good job developing the characters and we get to see both characters change and grow throughout the story. Chelsea realizes that she might never get a chance at what she wants with Anthony and has to decide if she’s willing to take a risk on a short affair, meanwhile, Anthony realizes that he’s in love for the first time in his life and that he wants more than just an affair with Chelsea, he just has to work everything out.
The secondary characters play important roles in the story and were also well developed, starting with Jack, the reformed thief, family servant and father figure to Chelsea, to Lady Phoebe, Anthony’s fiancée, who’s too young for him. I loved how the author resolved all of the story lines at the end and how the plot moved at a steady pace. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Tarr’s work.
Miss Chelsea Bellamy is desperate
Her beloved brother is being held for ransom! Impoverished after the deaths of her parents, Chelsea doesn't have five shillings, never mind the five hundred pounds the kidnappers are demanding. With no one to turn to, she resorts to highway robbery to raise the sum.
Lord Anthony Grenville is bored
Viscount Montrose's coach is overtaken by a highwayman--who turns out to be no man at all! Anthony hasn't been this intrigued by anything, or anyone, since his return from the war. And when he catches the flame-haired thief breaking into his London house to further fill her coffers, he comes up with a plan to rescue her brother--and resolves to seduce her into his bed!
Their passion is mutual
Chelsea accepts Anthony's aid, but she'll never become his mistress--even if the thought of it fills her veins with liquid fire...