- Title: Sins of a Virgin
- Classification: Adult Fiction
- Genre: Historical Romance
- Format: Paperback, 384 pages
- Publisher: Avon (August 28, 2012)
- ISBN-10: 0062025791
- ISBN-13: 978-0062025791
Gabriel Huntford was a Bow Street runner. Seven years ago his life was changed when his twin sister, Susan, was murdered. Ever since he's been on a mission to find her killer. A killer who didn't just stop at one victim and still roams the streets of London. Her death is the reason he became a runner.
Before her death, his sister Susan had been involved with an aristocrat whose name her brother did not know. Now another murder has taken place and there was no mistaking he was the same killer. With that murder, a new piece of information has been revealed. The latest victim had been seen leaving with a gentleman. A gentleman who'd visited her before in a coach with a family crest containing some sort of animal. Using that information he's narrowed the list to seven possible suspects. Now he's been assigned to guard Madeline Valdan. A woman of questionable stature, but who may give him the answers he needs. Through her he may be able to peruse the financial records of his suspects and perhaps find a link to the murders. He never expected Madeline, however, to look like every man's fantasy. The type of woman who could tempt a saint to sin...and he was definitely no saint.
At the age of 14 Madeline Valdan was imprisoned for murder. While serving her sentence in Newgate prison she was found by Sir James Glavenstroke who recruited her and two others to be spies for the Crown. The group, code named Trio, were the best of the best and had saved countless lives and were invaluable during the war. Now, 10 years later, the war has ended and their services are no longer needed. Armed with a measly government stipend, not worthy even of a foot soldier, and a pardon for their crimes, they were let loose into the world. Madeline having a very narrow skill set could think of only one commodity she had left to sell...
Madeline trailed a hand slowly down her hip. "I bring you something for sale." She nodded at offers shouted by several of the bolder gentlemen to share their beds for the night. "Not quite. I'm here to inform you of an auction."
"What's being sold?" asked the overdressed and overfed Colonel Willington.
She scanned the room, gauging the reactions. Excellent. Every single one of them strained tor her answer. She waited three more heartbeats before answering. "My virginity."
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, but I was intrigued. Madeline is smart and strong, but she has no family to fall back on or friends other than her two fellow spies. She considered marriage for a fleeting moment, but with no ready prospects and not liking the idea of being under a man's thumb, she tossed the notion aside. So instead of thinking small scale she thought big, hoping that if she planned it right, she'd only have to sell herself once. So Madeline being the type of woman she was, came up with a plan.
She spent what little money she had on a slightly daring wardrobe, housing in London, and someone to guard her. She decided the best way to make someone think you had something of worth was to act like it was so valuable it was worth guarding. She never dared to suspect that she'd actually need guarding, but someone, be it a disgruntled associate from her spying days or a suitor upset because he can't afford her, is out to harm her. Lucky for her she has Gabriel, her own personal guardian angel, to protect her. The question is who would save her from him?
Madeline is a expert manipulator. That was her most highly prized skill when she worked for the government. She seduced men to gain needed intelligence England could utilize during the war. Her mantra would probably be, "Every man has a weakness...Any weakness can be turned into an advantage."
Gabriel is described being somewhat altruistic. He has a urge to protect others. While described as "not precisely handsome", he had an affect on Madeline that slowly grows stronger until neither of them can deny it. While he is attracted to her, he is also a bit appalled by the idea of her selling herself.
I truly enjoyed this one. There is the mystery of who killed his sister, who is behind the attacks on Madeline, and the question most of London is asking, "How do we know you're a virgin?"
Madeline's response is, "It's a gamble, is it not? And that, gentlemen, is why you will have to bid and bid well."
Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. A fun and witty read with a lot going on. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a STEAM--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.