I read this book on an overnight trip to Kansas City in which I forced myself to catch up on writing and reading while recovering from a nasty cold/allergy thing. I had a hard time getting into it at first, but once it found its feet, it was adorable.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
An aeronaut spy crash lands into the son of the marquess she’s supposed to be spying on. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.
Well, Hello There…
One of the best parts of a romance is the meet-cute. It’s why I prefer the first chance romances to the second chance ones, because there’s more of a chance that we’re going to get to see the meet-cute happen. This story gives one of the more unique ones I’ve ever seen. Mari and her brothers are aeronauts who parachute out of hot air balloons (full disclosure: I read to get the feel and point of the story and I got a little lost in the details). During a jump that goes a little awry, Mari falls right into Cosmo (love that name).
Spy Meets Rake
Mari is feisty and independent and quirky (she has no problem jumping out of the sky but she’s afraid of horses). She also has a secret: she’s a spy. Her main reason for not wanting to be tied down is that she figures a man would make her give up her hobby and she’s not all about that. There’s also that spy thing, but I didn’t really get that that was an issue.
Cosmo is somewhat of a man-ho who lives a life of excess because he feels guilty about the death of his sister and the fact that had he not been out carousing, he might have been able to save her. His first impression of Mari is that she’s attractive, but mouthy. Her first impression of him is that he’s kind of a jerk. But as happens, they find out quickly that they may want to, you know, get to know each other intimately. Like most rakish heroes, Cosmo doesn’t want a relationship, but he falls in love with Mari despite the fact that her lifestyle scares him.
Quirky Plot Points
I got a kick out of the banter between the two and had some laugh out loud moments. I also thought the side characters and mystery were interesting. I spent most of the book being wrong about who I suspected was the secret villain. I also enjoyed the fact that Cosmo’s house had all sorts of hidden doors and passages. It was a fun detail and of course made for some interesting interactions between him and Mari.
The Romance Factor
Cosmo and Mari have a fun relationship, and though there are definitely some romantic vibes, it doesn’t get too cheesy or sappy. There are a few poignant moments between them, especially when Cosmo freaks out because he thinks Mari is hurt, and I really liked that even though Cosmo is scared of Mari’s sky jumping, he promises not to curtail it since he knows it’s what she loves. 3/5
The Steam Factor
Not only are there some hot scenes, the settings and situations Cosmo and Mari find themselves in lead to the eroticism (and sometimes humor) of the situation. There’s one scene when they’re up in the air in a balloon and another where Cosmo is trying to have a conversation with his father while Mari is under the desk distracting him. That one was kind of awkward, but it also cracked me up. 4/5
I loved the unique premise and I thought the mystery and the romance came together well to create a fun and entertaining story. Though it had some more serious themes, it still managed to feel lighthearted. I’m hoping the other books in the series are just as entertaining and well written.