Title: Isabella's Heart
Genres: Historical, Romance, Suspense
Publisher: Jeweled Dagger Publishing Pages: 364
Format: eBook, Print
In this follow-up, to Wigginton’s (Angelina’s Secret), the focus is on Isabella Deveraux, the daughter of Lady Angelina Marguerite Amelia Deveraux, the heroine of the first book.
As the story begins, Isabella experiences a disturbing dream about her twin brother, Charlie, on the eve of her 19th birthday. We quickly learn that Isabella has a sixth sense, just like her mother’s, and when she dreams about Charlie’s abduction in London, it’s more than a simple nightmare. She sets off immediately to London, setting into motion events that require her to reunite with her grandparents and eventually her parents, from whom she has been estranged from for years. Complicating matters further, Isabella’s grandfather hires an Irish mercenary to help her locate and rescue her brother and his two school mates. Forced to prove her worth to the mercenary Captain, she is placed in a compromising position and in doing so must open herself up to other emotions that she is not be yet ready for. The Captain is a handsome but brooding man, with a brutish disposition, who is willing to save the lives of three privileged young men, for the right price. Aiden Townsend decides that the best way to avoid suspicion as they travel the Irish country side in search of the abducted men is to pretend to be lovers. Despite Isabella’s grave concern for her reputation, she grudgingly gives her consent to the arrangement and romantic chaos ensues. The romantic tension between Isabella and Aiden intensifies as the search for Charlie also ramps up. During this fast-paced, action-packed tale, readers are treated to many rich historical details about political unrest in Ireland, lending credence to the story’s setting. It is a fun, action packed read with just the right amount of sexual tension to keep even the most seasoned romance reader engaged.
“Hey, what do you think you are doing, young man?” the farrier, Tucker Parker, growled as he grabbed me by my coat, spinning me around. If it had not been for his strong grip on my collar, I would have hit the ground hard.
“Shhh!” I said, almost jumping out of my skin. “Tucker Parker, you scared ten years off my life,” I scolded pushing him off of me, as I leaned down and picked my hat up off the ground. “Keep it down before you awaken the entire place,” I groused, while dusting the hat off and placing it back upon my head. Then narrowing my eyes at him, I began tucking my hair back under the hat.
“Sorry, Isabella, I didn’t realize it was you. I thought someone was stealing a horse,” he replied, in a hushed tone. “Which begs the question, where exactly do you think you are going at this hour of the morning?” he asked, standing in front of me with his hands on his hips.
“I have to take care of something and I don’t need the entire Order of Saints coming down upon my head, if you must know. So you can help me, Tucker, or get out of my way,” I said in a loud, angry whisper.
“Why didn’t you come and get me to help you?” he asked. Then taking a second look at me, as if he was truly seeing me for the first time. “And why are you dressed like a boy, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“I have a long ride ahead of me and I don’t want to attract any unwarranted attention, if you get my drift,” I added as quietly as I could, while throwing the blanket and saddle over Dodger’s back. “And why I didn’t seek you out at this wee hour of the morning is a silly question. You have known me for three years now and you know my history and general mistrust of men,” I replied, struggling to secure the saddle properly.
Taking hold of my arm, Tucker pulled me around to face him. He had a strange look in his eyes, before he stepped in even closer, as if he intended to kiss me.
Panic set in and I suddenly experienced a strange ringing between my ears. Bringing Tucker up short, I placed my hands against his chest, and gave him a hard shove, to stop any further advancement. “Have you lost your mind, Tucker Parker?” I cried, sounding a little harsher than I intended.
“You use to like it when I kissed you, Isabella Deveraux.”
“That was a long time ago.” I said, brushing him off as I turned back around to finish saddling Dodger. “I’m not that scared little girl any longer, trying to figure out which way is up.”
Taking a hold of my arm gently, he forced me to stop and look at him, “Then I will go with you, to make sure nothing happens to you.”
“No, you can’t,” I answered rather sternly.
“Why Izzy?” he asked, with that hurt look he always gets when I said or did something he didn’t quite understand. The sound of pain in his tone almost made me feel bad for being so harsh.
But dealing with Tucker’s delicate ego is not something I could handle, so I did what I always do in a situation like this, I pushed him even further away. “Tucker, I don’t have time for this,” I replied, irritated he was distracting me from my task.
“Oh now, look here,” he said, pointing at the strap, as if I had never saddled a horse in my life. “You’re doing it all wrong,” he said, shoving my hands out of the way.
“Keep it down, before you wake the entire stable up,” I scolded with just a hint of derision in my voice. Tucker proceeded to undo the leather strap, and then cinch it back up exactly as I had done it in the first place, only tighter. “If you don’t do it tight enough from the beginning, the saddle will slip and you will end up on the ground a mile down the road. You know Dodger is a prankster,” Tucker continued to pull on the strap until Dodger voiced his distain, by stomping his hoof and swatting Tucker with his tail. “Dodger always inflates his belly when you slip the saddle on his back.”
“Thank you for your unwarranted assistance, but I really must be on my way,” I stated flatly, changing out the feedbag for a bridle.
“I can’t let you go off on your own, willy nilly through the countryside. What if something happens to you? I would be responsible,” Tucker countered, stepping in front of me, trying to impede my progress. Then reaching up, he took a hold of Dodger’s bridle, and refused to let go.
“As if you have anything to say about the matter,” I stated under my breath. Gingerly stepping around him, I placed my booted foot in the stirrup and swung myself up onto the saddle. Leaning over, I secured my other foot in the other stirrup, while avoiding eye contact with him.