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To Wed a Scandalous Spy (Royal Four) [Mass Market Paperback]

Celeste Bradley
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

25 Feb 2005 Royal Four (Book 1)
Lovely, highborn Willa Trent was an orphan, raised by a local, somewhat odd family in the country, who want nothing but the best for their girl. So when she drags home the unconscious man she accidentally hit with a slingshot, they arrange a hasty marriage and pack the couple off with best wishes. Armed with a groggy husband and a new future, Willa's pie-eyed optimism has no limits...until she discovers the secret, dangerous world of Nathaniel Stonewell, Earl of Reardon, a.k.a "Lord Treason". Though Nathanial is reviled by most of England for his devious plot against the Crown, he is, in reality, a member of an elite cadre of secret royal defenders on a daring undercover mission. He must keep his secrets at all costs, especially from Willa. And yet, he is enchanted...though he stubbornly refuses to surrender to his passion. Far better, he tells himself, to turn his back on love than risk everything for it. Luckily, his bride has other plans.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St Martin's Press; St. Martin's Paperbacks Ed edition (25 Feb 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312931166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312931162
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 10.8 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 600,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


The Pretender"Totally entertaining."--New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn "An engaging, lusty tale, full of adventure and loaded with charm."--Gaelen Foley, USA Today bestselling author of Lord of Ice "Bursting with adventure and sizzling, Bradley certainly knows how to combine engaging characters with excitement, sensuality, and a strong plot."-Booklist (starred) "Bursting with adventure and sizzling passion to satisfy the most daring reader."--Romantic Times "A charming heroine and a dashing spy hero make The Pretender a riveting read...entertained me thoroughly from beginning to end."--Sabrina Jeffries, USA Today bestselling author of After the Abduction The Impostor"Bradley carefully layers deception upon deception, keeping the intrigue level high and the tone bright...Readers will race through this delightful comedy of errors and eagerly anticipate the next installment."-Publishers Weekly "With delicious characters and a delectable plot, Bradley delivers another enticing read brimming with the mayhem and madness that come with falling in love when you least expect it. The devilishly funny double identities, witty dialogue and clever twists will captivate."-Romantic Times (Top Pick) "Don't miss this second book of the Liar's Club series. With humor, passion and mystery, it's absolutely delightful in every way! I can't wait for the next one." -Old Book Barn and Gazette The Spy "Only a clever wordsmith can make this complex, suspenseful tale work so perfectly. Bradley pulls us into the wonderful world of the Liar's Club and gives us a nonstop read brimming with puzzle after puzzle...delicious characters and a delectable plot, Bradley delivers another enticing read."-Romantic Times par"With its wonderfully witty writing, superbly matched protagonists, and intrigue-steeped plot, the third of Bradley's Liars Club historicals is every bit as much fun as The Pretender and The I

About the Author

Celeste Bradley is the "New York Times" bestselling author of "Scoundrel in My Dreams," "Desperately Seeking a Duke," and the Royal Four and Liars Club series, among many others. Prior to giving writing a try, Celeste was a professional artist. Believing that storytelling is as much of an art form, she applies those skills to writing. She is a two-time RITA Nominee and winner of the prestigious Historical Storyteller of the Year from "Romantic Times Book Reviews." Mother of two teen divas, Southern-born Celeste lives in the Southwest. Her hobbies include gardening, jewelry making and collage. She feels very strongly that literacy can change lives.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars keeper! 21 May 2007
By liegh
Format:Mass Market Paperback
spin-off from the liar series...this was the first of bradleys books that i had come across, and i was pleasantly suprised.

Lovely, and quirky Willa Trent was an orphan, raised by a small village, who want nothing but the best for their girl. So when she drags home the unconscious man she accidentally hit with a slingshot, they arrange a hasty marriage. Armed with a groggy husband and a new future, Willa's pie-eyed optimism has no limits...until she discovers the secret, dangerous world of Nathaniel Stonewell, Earl of Reardon, a.k.a "Lord Treason"...
This is when the story really begins...

I thought the characters to be quirky, funny, sweet, broody and very entertaining. There have been numerous times when i have found myself laughing out loud...just one bit of advice though - it might be better to read the Liars series first before you start to read the royal four, although it isnt a neccessity...however it does makes it easier to understand nathianels story, and the history behind "Lord treason".
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bradley fans will love this one! Read the Liar's Club first though.... 9 April 2006
By Snow White - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
(NOTE: I would recommend reading Celeste Bradley's Liar's Club books before this one b/c some of the supporting characters play an important role in this one, and the hero in this one plays important supporting roles in those as well.)

Ok, so Celeste Bradley novels aren't for everyone (I realized this when I notice only one or 2 of her books are stocked in B&N or not at all.) but I would recommend her at least ONCE (book 2 of the Liar's Club The Impostor is my favorite so far and on my DIK list). Her books are NOT easy breezy reads to just skim through - the plot and action is very rich and a very integral part of the novel - not just a setting for a romance.

Plot: Layered so well that it's easy to get sucked into it. The first 120 pages are about how the hero and heroine meet and they ride to his home while he's trying to spy on a villain. There are also two major plot twists near the 2nd half of the book that are related to the Liar's Club books, and I'd imagine that a reader couldn't fully appreciate them if they haven't read the Liar's books first....I was VERY excited when those twists happened, but I don't want to spoil it. I love spy romances like this for all the dangerous elements that add to the story - not just a heroine wondering, "oh, does he love me?" And I'll always declare that Celeste Bradley writes the BEST flashback scenes I've ever read in romances - I feel like I get transported back in time whereas with other novels reading a flashback scene can feel like the plot is stumbling blindly through the pages....

Characters: One thing I LOVE about Bradley's romances is that no two characters are the same - I distinctly remember the differences and personalities of EVERY character I've read in her books so far....Another thing - they don't ALWAYS get a long and live as one happy family - the way they intertwine reminds me of Kleypas' books only more clever - not all of the heroines are trusting friends right away when they first meet - and sure some of the heroes from previous books might be a bit jealous of the other heroes for certain reasons but not one of her characters is completely perfect and paragon w/ out a fault - they are VERY human and full of life and when I read about them I get totally drawn into her books. The heroine in this one seems a little scatter-brained but she's VERY smart with animals and biology. The hero (who has the spy alias "cobra") is told by the heroine that he is "just like a cobra" and at first he panics thinking that she's figured out his secret - but she explains to him that he's just sensitive and he'll puff-up if he's cornered but normally he just prefers a cool distance and he's rather harmless and reserved. I love the Great Aunt and the dress maid Lily that helps Willa prepare for Kitty's party - (I wish I had a "Lily" to help me with wardrobe!) Oh yeah - and all the villain's get their due punishment! :)

Final Grade: A very high B+ to a low A-

This one isn't on my Desert Island Keeper list but I keep all of Celeste Bradley's books anyway b/c of the smart writing and the rich plots and character development. If you enjoy Celeste Bradley's books or if you want a good regency spy romance - this one can't be missed!
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars an entertaining 3 1/2 star read 3 Feb 2005
By tregatt - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Celeste Bradley begins a new series (the Royal Four or the Quatre Royale) with "To Wed a Scandalous Spy," dealing with spying and intrigue in Regency-era England. This series features four intrepid heroes, all of noble, aristocratic blood, all committed to protecting the realm no matter the cost. "To Wed a Scandalous Spy" features the head of the Royal Four as hero, who bears the codename Cobra, and who is in reality Nathaniel Stonewall, the Earl of Reardon.

Readers were introduced to Reardon in "The Impostor" (Bradley's other Regency-spy series, the Liar's Club). In that book, Reardon had posed as a selfish, dissolute lord in order to infiltrate a group of French sympathisers, the Knights of the Lily. But that operation had left Reardon tarnished with the reputation of a traitor, and it was assumed by one and all (even his family) that the only reason he was never prosecuted for treason was because of his title. Ostracised and shunned, Reardon hasn't allowed the past to affect his work, even if he has been hurt by the reaction of family and one time friends. And now it looks as if one of the ex-members of the Knights, Forster, is back in England, bent of wreaking havoc again. But on the way to intercept and capture Forster, Reardon is felled in a country lane by a young lady with a slingshot. Trying to make up for her mistake, Miss Willa Trent, spends the night caring for a concussed Reardon, only to be discovered in the morning by her guardian. The upshot is that Reardon finds himself married to Willa. All at once, Reardon's life has become quite complicated, for not only is he a spy on a mission, but now he's also a spy with a wife he finds quite delectable -- a wife he'd like to appear a hero to, instead of the treasonous snake everyone assumes him to be! But can the Cobra afford to let go of the callous persona he has created?

While I enjoyed "To Wed a Scandalous Spy" on several levels, certain aspects of this novel (mostly the way things were tied up in the end) gave me pause. The book started off well, and Celeste Bradley did a good job of keeping things humming on an even and interesting vein. And then of course came that fatal last chapter in which certain things about Willa's family and past were revealed, and without going into plot-spoilers, all I can say is all those revelations just made no sense. For if they were true, than Willa's guardians behaved in a manner that could be termed as being completely irresponsible. That niggle aside, "To Wed a Scandalous Spy" was an entertaining read: the story was an interesting one, the hero was a fine and noble one, and the heroine, while a little scatty at first, will win approval because of her steadfast belief in Reardon. On the whole, an entertaining 3 1/2 star read.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 5 Oct 2005
By Britt - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book was amazing. I really enjoy reading each one of her books for the simple fact that each character is unique to that book. So many authers get into rut where each character seems more like the last. Not with Bradley, she always weaves very intersting character with their own unique quirks. I loved how Willa had such a flighty nature and Nate so wanted to be the hero to her. Even the sex scenes were unique to this book and very steamy. While the plot line was a little unbelievable it still was so much fun to read I didn't mind. I found myself laughing out loud quite a bit. Bradley always delivers great characters, great dialoge and great fun. This book really lived up to her other ones.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly enjoyable mind candy 21 Sep 2005
By Tracy Middlebrook - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was thoroughly delighted and entertained by this novel. I've only read one other Bradley romance and don't remember much, other than that I was impressed that her heroine was more than just a brainless ninny.

I found the character of Willa to be so utterly enchanting. I laughed out loud many, many times while reading this novel. It was the perfect companion while stuck at home, ill in bed...even if the laughing out loud did sometimes bring on a coughing fit. While the novel's most basic plot (wounded man healed by love of a good woman) is pretty common, I find that some type of barebones plot is shared by almost all romances (perhaps one of the reasons i don't read them so much). However, i thought Bradley's dialogue was thoroughly engaging, and her characters were very amusing. Highly enjoyable mind candy.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book 23 May 2005
By B. Straub - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This story grabbed my attention right away. It wasn't a real intense book but it was very enjoyable AND interesting enough that I read just about every line there was to read. (I tend to skim thru alot of books) There certainly was a great amount of humor which I loved and Willa was so cleverly funny that I found myself chuckling quite a bit throughout the book. Not an easy feat for someone hard to please. I am looking forward to the next installment...THE ROGUE. Sounds like another winner. This book(SPY) got me out of the reading doldrums. I've been following Ms. Bradley since her first book FALLEN, which I loved. I have not liked all of hers as much but reading TO WED A SCANDALOUS SPY was truly a delight!
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