Emma Wildes continues her Ladies in Waiting series with Twice Fallen, a story about a somewhat world weary spy and a woman who must overcome a painful past. Miss Wildes also includes another story in this novel, one about an older woman and the man who adores her but this is not as exciting as the main protagonist's tale.
Lillian Bourne has a scandalous past, she ran away planning to elope but instead, her beau did not marry her. He instead married another woman. Lillian's older brother has persuaded her she must venture back into society and Lillian does this reluctantly never thinking she will find a match. She needs to keep her life as scandal free as possible though and her plans are almost ruined by Lord Damien Northfield a former spy who accidentally gets locked into a library with Lillian.
Damien is intrigued by Lillian; she is smart, humorous and quite lovely. These two have a memorable beginning; they must escape through a secret passage to avoid a scandal upon their first meeting. These characters are controlled and they have a smart if somewhat slow igniting relationship. Their dialogue is excellent though and I did not find them predictable.
Damien is on a last mission to ferret out a blackmailer and his quest leads him back to Lillian who could be in danger. Lillian is loyal, maybe too loyal, she has suffered for years because of her fiancé's jilting and she has kept mum about the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Damien is smooth and subtle but when he needs to be, he can be forceful and direct. His dealings with Lillian are both and his forthright approach creates some of the best scenes in this novel as it forces Lillian to evaluate her feelings for Damien.
The second story in this book involves Lillian's cousin James and his affair with an older woman who is an artist. This couple, even though they have a much more intimate relationship than Damien and Lillian were predictable. It was almost as if a checklist was used to create a character, bohemian artist, check; commitment shy, check; devoted to the artistic process, check; wants a physical relationship only, check; hurtful past with a former love, check. The only surprise was the female lead felt this way rather than the male.
Lillian and Damien were a better couple because they had a more interesting romance that involved blackmail, kidnapping and subtleness. I would have liked more time devoted to their story.