Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Pretender: The Liar's Club by Celeste Bradley

Book Description:
Rule #1: Never fall in love.

She had a secret she'd do anything to hide.
Agatha Cunnington, a headstrong beauty from the country, has come to London in search of her missing brother James. The only clue she has is a cryptic letter signed The Griffin. Agatha decides to disguise herself as a respectable married woman so that she can go about the city unnoticed. But for her charade to work she needs a suitable "husband," preferably someone tall, elegant, and rakish-someone like Simon Montague Rain.

He had a secret he'd do anything to hide.
Simon Montague Rain, also known as The Magician, is a member of The Liar's Club, a renegade group of rogues and thieves in the service of the Crown. When someone begins murdering members of the undercover cabal one by one, Simon is given the mission to bring in The Griffin, one of his comrades who is suspected of betraying his brothers. Simon goes undercover and infiltrates the home of "Mrs." Agatha Applequist who he believes is the Griffin's mistress. Before Simon knows what's happened, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to Agatha's soft, feminine charms-and he is tempted beyond reason to break the first rule of The Liar's Club: never fall in love.

This was a simply delightful romance - I really loved it! It was a rollicking roller coaster ride of a story, funny, charming, exciting, mysterious and sexy - plus, a happy ending! What more could you want?

I loved Agatha, our heroine. She was so spunky and strong willed! Yet, she was ingenuous and delightful - not to mention she had a delicious figure, and knew how to use it to her advantage when out to get information (or her way) from men. Whether dancing with overstuffed generals or dealing cards in a sexy outfit in a gaming hell - she left men spellbound!

Simon was a dashing hero as well. At first, I was put off that he was not noble born, but you get over that very quickly. Tall, dark and handsome with arresting blue eyes he has an amazing physique (as both Aggie and his valet can testify). Plus, throw a little James Bond in there and he's irresistible! The two of them are so funny together, posing as man and wife, and the way they first meet is very funny when Aggie insists he takes off his clothes, and he thinks she means to bed him! She just wanted him to take a bath and pose as her make believe husband. Well, as soon as they meet the sparks fly and the story unfolds.

The main fly in the ointment here is, since Simon is a spy, he can't act on his urge to love and marry Agatha because then his enemies would use it against him? Should he choose his love of England and duty - or his love for Agatha? She is so winsome and a joy - and she tells the biggest and funniest lies! Some real whoppers!

Lots of surprises and gotchas in this book, and it was all very clever and it had a spectacular ending - I won't spoil it, but this is a must read! Ms. Bradley is the Queen of great endings. Clever, a bit sappy, but oh so wonderful, and the sex scenes are great (fans self) but not over the top - they're just right!

This is the first in The Liar's Club series, and I can't wait to read the rest of them!


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