SECRETS FOR SEDUCING A ROYAL BODYGUARD Vanessa Kelly
The Renegade Royals
Zebra
ISBN: 978-1-4201-3122-2
January 2014
Regency Romance

England 1814

Aden St. George, illegitimate son of the Prince Regent, is on assignment from the government agency he spies for to rescue a young woman from her kidnappers. Although he's a skilled agent who has spent time on the continent, Sir Dominic, his boss, thinks Aden's experience is what is needed in this instance. Lady Vivien Shaw, sister of a lord, was brutally ripped from the carriage she was riding in and carried away. While there has been no ransom asked for, Aden knew he had to move fast as the kidnappers he suspected of taking the girl could be dangerous. When he finds her hidden in a warren of tunnels near the coast, he wastes no time taking her out of the area. The hope is that no one in the ton will learn of her disappearance, and her reputation will be saved. But Aden is unprepared for the lush, feisty Vivien when she is snarling at him one moment, and apologetic the next.

For Vivien, the nightmare continues even after she is rescued. Confused by the laudanum the thugs made her take, and the cool, efficient, and brutally handsome rogue who rescues her, Vivien isn't sure how to react. St. George, she knows, is from a prominent London family, and, in fact, it was Aden's mother who was in the carriage with Vivien and her mother when she was taken. But his casual expectations of her after the rescue (how ladylike is it to ride on a horse with a man you just met?), as well as his tentative questions about how she was treated by the kidnappers have her bemused, and a bit testy. Plus, she's cold, barely wearing anything, and it's dark. Still, her rescuer gets her home without anyone seeing her, and life will go on normally. Or will it?

Stalking Vivien is the toad-faced Prince Ivan Khovansky, a Russian royal whom Vivien's brother, Cyrus, the Earl of Blake, has befriended. The prince wants her as his wife, and Cyrus is all for this idea, especially if it means getting his family out of debt. The gambling debts of younger brother Kit and their mother are getting outrageous. Much to Vivien's relief, though, the mysterious Aden St. George keeps popping up just as the prince is about to pounce. No amount of saying no to the prince will convince him that Vivien does not intend to wed him.

Aden is not close to his mother, mostly because of the way his step-father responded to his wife's indiscretion with the Prince Regent. So when Lady Thornbury, Aden's mother, pushes Aden into the fray between the Russian prince and Vivien, he is confused. But his feelings for the younger woman are also confusing. He has always tried to distance himself from people due to his vocation, but also because Aden himself had been distanced from his family because of his paternity. While feeling protective of Vivien, he can't let his heart warm to her.

SECRETS FOR SEDUCING A ROYAL BODYGUARD is the first book in the new Renegade Royals series, and it's a great start. Aden is the consummate hero, but with the inevitable flaws that both anger and frustrate Vivien. She has her own issues, mainly her younger brother and mother and their gambling habit that is complicating things in every way. But who was it who kidnapped her, and why? She knows that Aden is hovering because he wants to find out, but is there another reason too?

Humorous, adventurous, and filled with passionate characters, SECRETS FOR SEDUCING A ROYAL BODYGUARD is excellent!

Jani Brooks