Reviewed by JenMadeline has spent the past 10 years of her life as part of a trio of spies. Plucked from the gallows, she was trained in stealth and seduction. She did her job well, but when her usefulness came to an end, she was pensioned off with a sum she would never be able to live off of. Her only resources are her beauty and her ability to read people. She puts both to work, with an outlandish plan to raise funds.
After six months of setting herself up as an unattainable courtesan, she puts her virginity up for auction.
Gabriel is a Bow Street Runner who has devoted the last seven years of his life to finding his twin sister's killer. Now, he has been assigned to work for Madeline. She needs him to investigate the men who are bidding in her auction. While he is tempted to turn her down at first, he comes to realize that he can use the job to investigate some of the same men he considers suspects in his twin's murder.
Though he sees how lovely she is, Gabriel has no intention of falling for his new employer. He watches with a mixture of awe and disgust as she beguiles suitor after suitor with practiced ease. But then, in unguarded moments, he catches glimpses of the real woman behind the mask and he can't help but want her.
Madeline wants Gabriel too, but she can't take her eye off the prize. She won't grow old in poverty. Things become even more complicated as someone begins making attempts on her life. Surely it is someone who knows her from her past. Each brush with death pushes her closer and closer into Gabriel's arms, but can they really have any kind of future together?
I liked Madeline. She is tough and smart and practical. Mercenary, even. I liked Gabriel too, for the most part. He's a good man, though a little judgemental. He has honor. I just didn't love the progression of their relationship. For one, it took more than half the book before they even kissed. It was so drawn out just for them to make their first tentative step. Beyond that, their circumstances made it difficult for me to feel warm and fuzzy. Madeline is, after all, lining up a liason with another man for the whole book. And Gabriel's opinion of her is often less than flattering.
Not to mention, I figured out the villain less than halfway through the book.
Things did pick up once Madeline finally shows Gabriel who she really is. But it takes so long to get to that point. --I didn't dislike it, but it didn't do much for me either.
*ARC Provided by Avon
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Sins of a Virginby Anna RandolRelease Date: August 28, 2012Publisher: Avon