He’s turned seduction into an art form…
Rafe Beaumont, fifth son of an earl, uses his irresistible charm with the ladies to glean dangerous war secrets. Now he’s putting those skills to the ultimate test: capturing an elusive assassin by seducing his daughter. The problem? She’s entirely immune to Rafe’s flattery.
Never before has Collette Fortier met a man as attractive as Rafe. But her father’s life is at stake, and succumbing to Rafe would be disastrous. But when Rafe turns the tables on her, offering support and friendship instead of a fleeting affair, Collette finds herself tempted in ways she never could have imagined…
In this excerpt from An Affair With a Spare, known seducer Rafe Beaumont must confide in his commanding officer that his latest assignment is proving difficult.
“What do you mean you have nothing to report?”
Draven asked that evening at the club that bore his name. Draven had found Rafe in the dining room and signaled to him for privacy. Rafe had gone reluctantly. He was not ready to see Draven yet. But he’d joined the lieutenant colonel in a room on the top floor of the club that no one used. From the looks of it, Porter, the Master of the House, stored linens and paintings here.
“Exactly what I said,” Rafe answered. “This assignment is…taking longer than I imagined.”
“Then perhaps you should do more than simply imagine.”
Rafe bit back the saucy retort on his lips out of respect for Draven. “Yes, sir.”
Draven paced, his wild, red hair jutting in several different directions. “What have you found out so far? Has she revealed anything to you?”
Rafe rubbed his temple. He’d had a headache all week. That was what came of being forced to converse about poetry and politics for hours on end. “She hasn’t exactly spoken to me, sir.” Unless one counted a litany of facts on hedgehogs. Rafe still wasn’t certain what to
make of that exchange.
Draven stopped midstride. “I asked you to find out who she is working for and what she knows. That means you have to do more than take her to bed.”
Rafe clenched his jaw. “Yes, sir.”
“What do you have to say for yourself, Lieutenant?”
Rafe didn’t have a whole hell of a lot to say. He only wished the problem was too much time in bed and not enough teasing information from her. “I’ll do better, sir.”
Draven threw his hands up and paced away. “You will try harder. Is that what I’m to tell the Foreign Office? My man will try harder? What exactly is the problem? Is she that tight-lipped?”
Draven had no idea. And Rafe wasn’t about to tell him that he’d only managed to get a few sentences out of the chit. And most of those made little sense. He knew his progress wasn’t acceptable. He knew his commander expected more. But Rafe didn’t bloody well know what to do. He’d never met a woman like her.
Draven sat, attempting to appear patient. “If you don’t tell me the problem, I can’t help you.”
“There’s no problem, sir. I will have more to report soon.” And he would. This was his chance. He would not fail.
“Report now. I want details.”
Hell’s teeth, but the whole situation was humiliating. Rafe had never needed help with women before.
“That’s an order, Lieutenant.”
Rafe blew out a long breath. “I haven’t bedded her, sir.” That was a detail. Perhaps it would be enough for Draven.
Draven shrugged. “Fine. That’s not part of it anyway.”
Rafe nodded, staring at his hands. He didn’t like what he had to say next. “I may not be able to…er, bed her, sir.”
Draven’s eyes narrowed. “You find her that repulsive? I saw nothing wrong with her.”
“It’s not that. It’s simply that she doesn’t appear interested in me, sir.”
“Are you saying I should get another man? Because I have already tapped you for this.”
“I’m not saying that at all.” Rafe blew out a breath and folded his hands together as though in prayer. “I mean, I’ve lost—” His voice caught in his throat. “I’ve lost my…charm.” That wasn’t exactly the word he wanted. But it was the easiest way to describe the effect he had on women. Or the effect he had on all women but Miss Fournay. “But I swear I will find it
again. There must be a way to reach her…”
Draven said nothing for so long that Rafe finally looked up at him. Draven stared at him, brows furrowed together. “I am no judge of these sorts of things, but you don’t look any different to me. You’re still as”—he cleared his throat—“handsome as you always were. Christ, I never thought I’d be saying that to one of my men.”
“Thank you, sir, but my”—he swallowed—“allure is more than looks.”
Draven stabbed his hands on his hips. “What? Am I to list all of your accomplishments? All the reasons the woman should fall, if not in love, in lust with you?”
“Please don’t. I’m merely saying that whatever my accomplishments might be and however pleasing my looks to other women, they do not seem to appeal to Miss Fournay.”
“Beaumont, are you telling me the woman is not interested in you?”
Rafe didn’t answer.
“Are you saying she rejected your advances?”
Rafe winced. “Not exactly.”
“Then what’s the problem?” Draven bellowed, losing his patience.
Rafe had lost his about three days ago. “I wish I knew, sir. She stares at me, blushes when I look at her, and is all but speechless and flustered when I speak to her. And yet she doesn’t try to catch my attention. She never even asked for an introduction! Finally, tonight I approached her and the woman all but swooned when I held her hand, but then she excused herself and walked away. She’s not like any other woman I have ever known.” Rafe gave Draven a bewildered look, hoping the man could understand the situation because Rafe sure as hell couldn’t. “But I will try another tactic. Perhaps it’s my approach…”
Draven stood, walked across the room, and then began to laugh. At first Rafe thought perhaps he hadn’t heard correctly, but no. Draven’s shoulders were shaking and the sounds he made sounded unmistakably like laughter. “You find this amusing, sir?”
“God help me, but I do,” Draven answered, laughter in his voice. He turned, and Rafe was annoyed to see tears all but streamed down his cheeks. “It’s about time you experienced what the rest of us mortals do.”
Rafe didn’t bother arguing that he too was mortal. “And what is that, sir?”
“Rejection by the female of the species.” Draven began to guffaw again, and Rafe had the urge to punch him.
“Bright, funny, poignant, and entertaining―everything historical romance fans could ask for.” ―Kirkus Reviews Starred Review for No Earls Allowed
“An endearing love story that kept me up all hours reading… Wonderful!” ―SABRINA JEFFRIES, New York Times bestselling author, for Third Son’s a Charm
Oh, this series!
Rafe’s story was all I hoped it would be when he got stuck babysitting the orphans at Juliana’s orphanage in the last book. 😉 One knew there had to be something lurking behind his love-’em-and-leave-’em ways (his nickname in the war was “the Seducer”) and oh, did it tug at my heartstrings to hear what it was. There were some guilty giggles, too–no, it’s not amusing that a small child is forgotten by the rest of his large family, yet somehow Ms. Galen’s retelling of a few of the situations made me smile. More than once. (Not my fault! Blame her excellent storytelling skills…)
Speaking of amusement, Collette’s tendency to spout off random hedgehog facts when she’s nervous (more often than not having to do with their mating habits–apparently these are the books she read to help her learn English???) had me out-and-out LOLing so. Many. Times. Add in the drama and danger of spying and (possible) double-crossing and/or double-agenting, and it’s pretty much a given that I’m going to love this book. Likable, relatable characters, humor, andespionage? Yes, please!
Ms. Galen definitely piques our interest in her epilogue about what is going on with the scarred and mysterious Jasper–that had better mean that his book in next! In the meantime, I’ll get caught up by listening to Ewan’s story in an attempt to buy patience…
Rating: 4 stars / A-
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
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