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The Lady Has a Past (Burning Cove #5) by Amanda Quick

Blurb: Investigative apprentice Lyra Brazier, the newest resident of Burning Cove, is unsettled when her boss suddenly goes on a health retreat at an exclusive spa and disappears without another word. Lyra knows something has happened to Raina Kirk, and she is the only one who can track her down. The health spa is known for its luxurious offerings and prestigious clientele, and the wealthy, socialite background Lyra desperately wanted to leave behind is perfect for this undercover job. The agency brings in a partner and bodyguard for her, but she doesn't get the suave, pistol-packing private eye she expected.

Simon Cage is a mild-mannered antiquarian book dealer with a quiet, academic air, and Lyra can't figure out why he was chosen as her partner. But it soon becomes clear when they arrive at the spa and pose as a couple: Simon has a unique gift that allows him to detect secrets, a skill that is crucial in finding Raina.

The unlikely duo falls down a rabbit hole of twisted rumors and missing socialites, discovering that the health spa is a façade for something far darker than they imagined. With a murderer in their midst, Raina isn't the only one in grave danger—Lyra is next.

Review: Amanda Quick (actually Jayne Ann Krentz, in general) is one of my all-time favorite authors and I think that The Lady Has a Past is my favorite Burning Cove book yet! I don't know whether it was the two-for-one romance (Raina/Luther AND Simon/Lyra, heck yeah!) or the incredibly exciting mystery or the superb characters and dialogue...heck, maybe it was all of it. The book absolutely nailed it on every level.

Krentz always writes the most relatable heroines who tip into adorably quirky without being annoyingly over the top about it and Lyra was no exception. She is fearless, smart under pressure, and incredibly bold. I think there is a very good chance she is one of my favorite Krentz heroines of all time. I totally understand why the cool and aloof Simon was unable to resist her charm because I fell in love with her from page one.

Our hero Simon was nerdy, brilliant, totally unflappable when guns are pointed at him, and awkward in most social situations which made him exactly my brand of hero. He didn't know the first thing about handling a heroine as out-going and curious as Lyra. And it was the best. There is nothing I enjoy more than a serious hero who finds himself completely turned around by a spectacular heroine.

We've gotten teases of the relationship between Luther and Raina in previous books, but the romance was shared between them and Lyra and Simon here and I couldn't be happier about it. The double romance ensured that I didn't have to go more than a chapter without being deliciously slapped in the face with romantic dialogue, brooding males vowing to rescue their women, or hot make out sessions. This, of course, explains why I devoured this book in one night with barely a bathroom break. Getting to watch Luther and Raina finally define their relationship was worth the long, long wait.

Like I always say, no one does romantic suspense like Krentz so it was no surprise that I found myself equally entranced by the romance and the whodunit mystery. I always try to guess the ending and, thus far, I've never been able to do that with a Jayne Ann Krentz novel. The endings are always so incredibly satisfying and The Lady Has a Past lives up to that reputation.

This was truly just an amazing read that captivated me from start to finish. I was giddy for hours afterwards. Fans of historical romances who wanted something different than 1800s England will really enjoy this 1920s California series.

*For those who don't know, Amanda Quick is the historical pen name for Jayne Ann Krentz and in my reviews I refer to her by her true name for continuity purposes.


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