cover image The Danger of Desire

The Danger of Desire

Elizabeth Essex. Kensington/Brava, $14 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-7582-5158-9

Essex (A Sense of Sin) delivers an unexceptional erotic Georgian-era romantic thriller. Meggs and her young brother were abandoned in London as children and became pickpockets to survive. Remembering her upper-class former life, Meggs is determined to earn enough to return to the countryside. Naval captain Hugh McAlden wants to recover from an injury and return to his ship, but he can’t pass up a special assignment to find a traitor who’s been leaking information from the Admiralty. When he sees Meggs ply her trade, he hires her to be his spy and thief in the suspect’s household. Their supposedly purely professional relationship becomes a hesitant flirtation that should flame into passion, but Hugh’s candid attraction comes across as creepy given Meggs’s relative youth and naïveté. Stock situations are otherwise competently handled and the eventual (and consensual) sex is steamy, making this an ordinary but satisfying morsel. (Dec.)