STARRED REVIEW
June 27, 2019

Cover reveal: ‘Once a Spy’

See the incredible cover of Mary Joy Putney’s Once a Spy, and read an exclusive excerpt!

STARRED REVIEW

Cover reveal: ‘Once a Spy’

June 27, 2019

See the incredible cover of Mary Joy Putney’s Once a Spy, and read an exclusive excerpt!

STARRED REVIEW
June 27, 2019

Cover reveal: ‘Once a Spy’

June 27, 2019

See the incredible cover of Mary Joy Putney’s Once a Spy, and read an exclusive excerpt!

STARRED REVIEW
June 27, 2019

Cover reveal: ‘Once a Spy’

See the incredible cover of Mary Joy Putney’s Once a Spy, and read an exclusive excerpt!

STARRED REVIEW
June 27, 2019

Cover reveal: ‘Once a Spy’

See the incredible cover of Mary Joy Putney’s Once a Spy, and read an exclusive excerpt!

June 27, 2019

Cover reveal: ‘Once a Spy’

See the incredible cover of Mary Joy Putney’s Once a Spy, and read an exclusive excerpt!

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Mary Jo Putney’s Rogues Redeemed series made our 2017 best romance covers list, and I would be shocked if something similar doesn’t happen this year. Seriously, look at this.

 

 

This quite frankly awe-inspiring cover art was inspired by Jacques-Louis David’s iconic portrait of Napoleon (right), which is fitting for a romance that takes place during the chaos of his abdication, escape from Elba and ultimate defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. British intelligence officer Simon Duval is called back into service when Napoleon returns from exile, throwing his new marriage to Suzanne Duval in jeopardy. Read on for an exclusive excerpt below! 


Simon had been one of many guests at her wedding to the Comte de Chambron. She’d been only fifteen, dazzled by suave Jean-Louis and thrilled to be making such a grand marriage. Since Simon had been near her age, they’d developed a teasing friendship in the days before the wedding, but that had been a lifetime ago.

She settled in the chair to the right of the fireplace. “How did you find me?”

“Captain Gabriel Hawkins.” Simon took the seat opposite her. “He and I shared an alarming adventure in Portugal some years back. By chance we ran into each other and, as we exchanged news, I learned that he’s just returned from a voyage to Constantinople and you were a passenger.”

She stiffened. “Did he tell you my circumstances?”

Voice gentle, Simon said, “He said you were in the harem of a powerful and deeply corrupt Turkish official, and that your aid was invaluable in rescuing two English women, including the young lady who is now his wife.”

Those were the bare facts. She hoped that Hawkins had said no more than that. “And in return, he rescued me and brought me here.”

“Hawkins said he offered to take you to France, but that you chose to join émigré relatives who were in the French community in Soho.” His perceptive gaze was evaluating her and the clean but worn sitting room. She could guess his thoughts. In London, Soho was the French quarter where the wealthy émigrés lived. The poor ones struggled to make a living in this rundown neighborhood in the St. Pancras parish.

Answering his unasked question, she said, “After Napoleon abdicated, those cousins returned to France to reclaim their property. I was not surprised to find them gone. But no matter. I prefer to make my own way in England rather than return to France. There is nothing for me there.”

His gaze flicked around the worn sitting room again. “Forgive me for asking, but how are you managing?” “I sew well and I’ve been doing piecework. Soon I should be able to find a permanent position.” She smiled wryly. “But I do wish I’d been able to bring the jewels I had when I was a favorite in the harem! I’d have been able to buy my own shop.”

“Money makes everything easier,” he agreed, his brow furrowed. “I’m fortunate that my mother came from a successful English merchant family and her fortune remained on this side of the channel.”

“Very prudent of your mother and her family.” She cocked her head to one side. “Are you here only to look up a distant family connection? Perhaps you are bored now that you’ve sold out of the army?”

“Not bored, though I am rather at loose ends,” he admitted. “But as soon as Hawkins mentioned you, I wanted to see if you were the right Suzanne Duval, and if so, to learn how you are faring.”

Mr. Potter returned, a tea tray in hand. The tray was dented pewter and there was a chip in the spout of the teapot, but her landlord presented the refreshments with the air of a duke’s butler. There was also a dish of shortbread.

“Thank you, Mr. Potter!” Suzanne said warmly. “You and your wife have outdone yourselves.”

“The pleasure is ours, my lady.” He inclined his head and withdrew from the room.

“My lady?” Simon asked as she poured tea for them. “He knows that you’re an aristocrat?”

“He was just being polite, though you might have changed that.” She sipped her tea, then offered him the shortbread. “Have a piece. Mrs. Potter is a wonderful baker.”

He followed her advice and murmured appreciatively after he bit into it. “She is, and she doesn’t stint on the butter.” He finished his tea in a long swallow and set the cup down with a clink. “I wonder if I might find old friends or relations in the émigré community. Have you found your compatriots welcoming even though your relatives have returned to France?”

Her mouth twisted. “The grand émigrés in Soho will have nothing to do with a woman who was a whore in Turkey.”

He winced. “Surely no one said such an appalling thing!”

“The aristocratic ladies did. Their husbands tried to corner me in empty rooms,” she said tartly. “I decided I would be safer among my more humble countrymen here in St. Pancras.”

He bit off a curse. “You deserve so much better than this, Suzanne!”

She sighed. “If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that no one ‘deserves’ anything more than the right to struggle for survival. I’d rather be here altering gowns in a cold room than living in luxury in a Turkish harem and wondering which night might be my last, so I think I am doing well.” She raised her teacup in a mock toast. “Will you drink to my survival, Simon?”

“I can do more than that,” he said, his gaze intense. “Marry me, Suzanne.”

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