Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Spies and Lovers #5

A Daring Deception

Rate this book
She is desperate for a fairy godmother. Fate gives her a wicked duke.

Simon, the Duke of Bellingham, is dreading his sister’s house party, especially as her matchmaking hat is firmly in place. Attempting to atone for a misspent youth, Simon has become a sober, respected member of Parliament—and a hunted bachelor. His plan to avoid the minefield of ambitious mamas and their daughters is cast aside when he happens across a lady whose beauty is enhanced by her warmth and teasing tongue.

Miss Jessica Tremaine never forgot the kindness Simon showed her on a dark day when she was a young girl. Unexpectedly crossing paths once again, he assumes she’s a lady’s maid and not the girl from a troubled aristocratic family. It’s clear he doesn’t remember her, and for a time, she allows herself to dream of a future away from her despicable stepfather.

Simon learns of her deception and retreats to London to nurse what he suspects is a broken heart. When Jessica finds herself in London and in danger, she turns to the one man she trusts—even if he doesn’t trust her.

Warning: Contains a lady in need of a knight-errant, a duke in need of a lady, and a deception that ignites a passion for the ages.


First published January 26, 2021

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Laura Trentham

44 books889 followers
Author of smart, sexy Southern contemporary romance, Regency historicals, & heartfelt Women's Fiction
Series include:
Sweet Home Alabama
Spies and Lovers
Heart of a Hero
Highland, Georgia

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
103 (44%)
4 stars
77 (32%)
3 stars
42 (17%)
2 stars
10 (4%)
1 star
2 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 31 reviews
657 reviews18 followers
January 25, 2021
Another absolutely delightful story by fantastic author Laura Trentham, full of action, danger, humor, good and evil, sweetness, spice . . . . I could probably have written part of this review before even starting to read the book, because every book this author writes is so consistently outstanding with the same warm, sweet, sexy, wonderful feel. But while A Daring Deception has all the sweet and sexy elements we’ve come to expect in a romance by author Trentham, this time she also supplies a fair measure of darkness – spousal abuse, child abuse, greed, and intent to murder. There’s a lot of suspense in this story, a lot to make you frightened for and worried about Jessica.

Jessica and Simon have met before – when she was a child and he saved her from harm at the hands of her stepfather Goforth. She’s never forgotten Simon; he is in her dreams. Goforth has never forgotten Simon, either. He married Jessica’s mother after her husband died and moved the family to England when he learned Jessica’s brother Blake would inherit an earldom. He is an evil bully craving money and power and no one, including Simon, will get in his way.

Simon, the once wild Duke of Bellingham but now a respected member of Parliament trying to avoid his sister’s matchmaking efforts remembers Jessica as well. But when they see each other again – and the attraction between them is strong - he mistakes her for her own maid, not recognizing her as the Jessica Tremaine he saved all those years ago and never connecting her with the plain, frumpy, boring Jessica she has become to society. Of course she’s intentionally made herself unattractive and of course the secret will come out. And that’s where the story becomes impossible to put down. Jessica knows a relationship with Simon is hopeless and Simon knows a relationship with a maid is hopeless, but ooh, the heat, the passion, the desire to grab what they can while they can. Goforth will stop at nothing to get what he wants, so even when the secret is out and Simon feels betrayed and heartbroken and wants nothing to do with Jessica, it’s then she needs his help more than ever. But will he help? Can he forgive? Is theirs the bond of soulmates?

Historical novels are fun. The characters in them battle many of the same challenges we face today while having to fight through the rules and restraints of their time. Author Laura Trentham brings an extra special layer to her historical novels, in fact, to all her romances: excellent writing, strong characters, true love, adventure, grand passion, and some heart-warming and steamy scenes that will have you smiling while fanning your face. Thanks to the author for providing an advance copy of A Daring Deception for my reading pleasure and honest review. The pleasure was immense. I loved this book and recommend it, and anything else written by Laura Trentham, without hesitation. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Eileen.
1,922 reviews
January 25, 2021
A Daring Deception by Laura Trentham, book six in her Spies and Lovers series is another wonderful read; filled with amusing banter, magnetic attraction, chemistry, and subterfuge. Simon, the Duke of Bellingham, knows his sister is trying her best to find a wife for him; it’s the only reason he can think of for her upcoming house party. After atoning for his wild, misspent youth, Simon has become a sober, respected member of Parliament, and a well-sought after bachelor. Simon is determined to marry a lady he loves; like his parents and sister. Avoiding the eligible women at the party might be part of Simon’s plan, he just never expected to encounter the warmth, wit, and teasing tongue of his unusual neighbor. Jessica Tremaine never forgot Simon and the kindness he showed her when she was a young girl, newly arrived in England, with a bit of a temper; standing up to her stepfather’s cruelty. Unexpectedly crossing paths with him she leads him to believe she a lady’s maid and not the girl from the trouble aristocratic family nearby. She truly believes he doesn’t remember her and dreams of a future far away from her loathsome stepfather. Upon learning the truth about Jessica, Simon rides off to London, nursing a broken heart. Yet, when Jessica finds herself in London and in major danger, she seeks out the one man she trusts; even if she believes he doesn’t trust her. Simon, still caring for Jessica, willingly becomes her knight-in-shining-armor, helping her out of her dilemma.

I really loved reading this book and had a great deal of trouble putting this book down. Ms. Trentham wrote a beautiful love story that is not to be missed. She provided a tale rich with kindness, magnetic attraction, off the charts chemistry, amusing conversations, and endearing characters giving Jessica and Simon the opportunity to find a true and forever love. I highly recommend A Daring Deception to other readers.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
Profile Image for Margaret Watkins.
2,831 reviews55 followers
January 23, 2021
An undeniable attraction between the Duke of Billingham and Miss Jessica Tremaine leaves both of them with memories of an encounter that fed their dreams of what might have been. It is unfortunate that they both come with so much baggage that Jessica is unable to be honest with Simon, and he hates liars. This novel is suspenseful from the opening chapter, making the romance that develops between the main characters even more powerful. The novel is well written and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. I could understand Simon's feelings at being duped but his harsh stance towards Jessica was painful. With the amount of abuse and degradation suffered by Jessica, one could feel for her and the fact that she didn't cave in, but kept the safety of her brother the object of her focus, makes her a heroine to be admired. I didn't think it would be possible, but this romance comes to a successful and happy conclusion bringing about the best possible solution to the problems facing Jessica. I received a copy of this book as a gift and this is my honest and voluntary review.
Profile Image for Winnifred D..
552 reviews16 followers
June 9, 2022
I read the first book in this series a while back, and was happy to have a chance to read this on KU. Laura Trentham is a talented writer, and I always like a good "wounded warrior" romance. I thought this H/h had nice chemistry, with the H being a stubborn borderline-alpha who's really a softie and the prim and proper h who's fiery underneath it all. I also liked the dynamic between H, h, and h's brother, who is a spoiled, irritating boy at the beginning but matures into a man by the end.

There are a few things that kept this from 5 stars from me:
--The biggie is the premise. The whole idea that a duke and his sister would be forced to perform menial labor at the home of the man the duke is indebted to is just too unrealistic to work. The author does all she can to try to stretch logic, but it just can't be stretched that far. The h has no reason to be in the H's home in the first place, no matter how various characters try to justify it, and word would have gotten out. She should have been ruined the second the villain learned what was going on. There was no reason for him to keep it a secret; he'd been using her brother and he hated the H, after all.
--If the h HAS to pay the H back, why the heck as a housekeeper?? She's great with numbers and investments and has been running her family's estate. The H is disorganized and not a good bookkeeper, so the h could have agreed to help him with his finances. Early on the H makes a surly comment about that not being women's work. Why didn't the h try to prove him wrong?
--SPOILER AHEAD.....................I dislike the trope when H's feel pressured to marry h's because of a possible pregnancy. Why couldn't have H returned to h merely because he loved her, without her brother making false implications and hinting at a possible engagement with another man? That ruined a bit of the HEA for me.

I did enjoy this overall, once I just decided to accept the flawed premise. I like the author's writing style and she does a great job of making the emotional scenes work. This is one of her early books, and you can see why she's become a popular author.

Steam level: 3 bordering on 4. There is some spice, folks.
Profile Image for Heather.
591 reviews
September 29, 2022
This book is part of a series and can be read as a standalone, but I will say you meet these characters in previous books so it helps with the storyline. This is Jessica and Simon’s story.

We meet Jessica very briefly in book 2 and I knew she would be tied with Simon so I couldn’t wait to read this. It is set 10 years after they first meet and I loved the concept of that. Jessica is desperate to help her brother become the Earl and by doing this she has to tolerate her horrible stepfather and his scheming. She has had a tough life and you can’t help but hope for her. She never forgot Simon and the kindness he showed a complete stranger all those years ago.

Simon is all grown up in this book and his wild ways are far behind him. His sister, Minerva, is determined to find him a suitable wife and will stop at nothing to help him. He is determined to find love, just as she did, but his hopes are growing dimmer by the day until he encounters a beautiful woman on Wintermarsh’s property.

They experience mistaken identity for a good portion of this book. Although I understood Jessica’s reason for hiding, it sort of annoyed me. Simon was so kind and loving and deserved the truth. Eventually she was discovered and they found each other again. It just lost it lure with the length of time she kept her true identity hidden.

This was not as strong as the other books for me. I was hoping for more from these two. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
1,182 reviews1 follower
October 6, 2021
Wow! Another wonderful installment in this series. I was hoping that Simon's book wouldn't be a disappointment. And, it wasn't for the most part. I think for a majority of this book it was a 5 star read for me. I loved Simon's character in this book. Because, let's face it, in his sister Minerva's novel he was kinda a incompetent, but lovable goof. This one, he has aged, he's man and smart and caring to others around him. His first encounter with Jessica has him protecting her from her cruel stepfather. Yes, this set-up gave me Cinderella vibes.

And Jessica was strong and caring too. She disguises herself as more dowdy than she really is to keep her stepfather away from bartering her to some horrible man and protect her younger brother who is heir to the estate.

Even when Jessica met Simon under those false pretenses of being her maid Abby. I felt the connection between the two of them. Simon was very much in love with Jessica and easily forgave her duplicity once he understood the reasons why.

I will say this book lost a star around the 75% mark. I just didn't like the vibe of what was happening in that moment and how it was so easily brushed aside once it had been used for that plot point. It seemed a little off for me.

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this book. Probably my second favorite in this series!
Profile Image for Terri.
1,861 reviews23 followers
January 24, 2021
I haven't read many books of this genre for many years, but when the opportunity came to read an early copy of this book I jumped on it. I have read numerous contemporary romances by Ms. Trentham and have totally loved them. Could the same be said for her writing about Dukes and Duchesses? Absolutely. Good writing is just good writing.
The attraction between Jessica and Simon was almost immediate and hotter than hot! Her situation in life was common for that time, but no less pathetic because of that fact. I loved that Simon treated her with respect even when he thought she was a lady's maid, a position in life at the time that did not garner respect from the ton. The romance between them was heart tugging and built slowly enough to fan the embers without being overwhelming.
The deception in the book added interest and a little intrigue to the story. It added just a little extra to the plot and kept me wondering how long Jessica was going to be able to pull it off. I really didn't expect Simon's reaction.
Wonderful writing added to a wonderful plot and characters made for a very entertaining read.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.
575 reviews
February 9, 2022
a rollercoaster of suspense and angst

If you’ve read the previous books on the series you’ve watched Simon grow from a spoiled entitled brat to a man of honor with Rafes help. Characters from the first 4 books have appeared in this novel very naturally with hints of their marital outcomes and successes which is gratifying. Jessica was hinted to in a previous book and the scene appears in the prologue. The story is engaging from the start and your heart clenched. Reading about spousal abuse and child abuse is never easy. The story goes from one crisis to the next and as a reader you wonder how they are going to get out of it, and what’s next. Jessica is a very sympathetic character whose trying to hide in plain sight to protect herself. She doesn’t have skills, friends or many supports and has been abused much of her adolescence. Fate brings her together with Simon at a time that she needs the most help. Their coming together is fate, mystery, and a bit careless. It offers her freedom she hasn’t experienced. It offers Simon also freedom to be just a man, but it gets complicated and twisted by evil forces and ramps up the heartache until the HEA.
This is an excellent story, with characters that spring to life who you care about.
Profile Image for Becky Claxon.
1,825 reviews9 followers
January 19, 2021
Simon Duke of Bellingham Lady Jessica Tremaine
If you enjoy regency novels, you will love this one. Jessica’s mother remarried in America after her English husband died. It had to be so hard for Jessica as her father was wonderful and her step-father was awful! Once her step-father (Goforth) found out his stepson Blake inherited an earldom he took the family to England planning on making lots of money off his stepson. I hated how Goforth abused the children, especially Jessica. I loved it when Simon, Duke of Bellingham, said something to Goforth when he hurt Jessica in an Inn they were trying to get a room. Simon instantly became Goforth’s enemy. I was impressed how smart Jessica was, especially how she disguised herself as ugly after her mother died. This subterfuge ended up getting her in trouble with Simon as well as with Goforth. The story was really exciting at times as well at times I wanted to bust Goforth! I strongly encourage you to read the book. I was given a copy and voluntarily wrote a review.
Profile Image for Janet.
3,945 reviews35 followers
January 26, 2021
Simon, the Duke of Bellingham, dreads his sister’s house party, especially as her matchmaking hat is firmly in place. His plan to avoid the minefield of ambitious mamas and daughters is cast aside when he happens across a lady whose beauty is enhanced by her warmth and teasing tongue. Miss Jessica Tremaine never forgot the kindness the duke displayed during a dark day when she was a young girl. Unexpectedly crossing paths once again, he assumes she is a lady’s maid and not a well-born lady from a troubled family. And the deception begins!
This is the sixth book in this brilliant series & whilst it could be read on its own I’d recommend reading from the beginning. A very well written book, which drew me in from the start & kept me on the edge of my seat until I finished it well into the night. Strong believable characters, I loved both Simon & Jessica their attraction sizzled from the start & the chemistry between them was palpable. Their road to a HEA wasn't smooth but it did make for a five star read
My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read
Profile Image for Amber.
1,085 reviews2 followers
February 8, 2021
I've been waiting for Simon's story since book 2, this takes place 10 years after that.
Simon is beginning to lose hope he'll ever find what his sister and Rafe have, when he comes across a young woman bathing in a pond on Wintermarsh lands. He stealthily follows her home to see where she's from and finds she lives in the estate next door Penhaven.
Jessica has never forgotten what Simon did for her all those years ago, so when he shows up to issue and invitation to a house party she doesn't know what to do. She has spent years hiding her true self both physically and emotionally from her abusive(physical and mental) stepfather.
She plays the wallflower during the day and sneaks out as herself every night where Simon happens upon her. She lies about who she is an things get complicated from there.
Loved the story but the ending was a bit abrupt and there seemed to be a lot of set up for the hero of the next story.
1,834 reviews8 followers
January 18, 2021
First off, I love Laura’s writing. Her heroines are smart and clever. The story is engaging and keeps you on the edge of your seat and in this book, I was definitely about to fall off. The one problem I had with the book was the deception. I hate deceiving (it can only end up poorly) and I thought Jessica went on way too long with her deception and really hurt Simon. I don’t know how he forgave her. I understand her reasoning but she could have gained his confidence and told him. Okay, done with that. When the story goes to London it is a whirlwind of action which I loved. It was great seeing all of the characters from the previous books.

I hope Northcutt gets his own story – he is a major hottie. I also I liked McKelvey and hope something good comes his way. Oh yeah, those brooding types.

I received a complimentary copy from the author.
Profile Image for Nancy Ku.
1,357 reviews11 followers
January 23, 2021
A Daring Deception (Spies and Lovers Book 6) by Laura Trentham

I really am enjoying this series and catching up with old friends in this book. This is Simon and Jessica's story. Years ago he saved her from her stepfather's anger. When he see's her again he thinks she is a maid. She makes herself look unattractive with padding and makeup so her stepfather will not notice her. Of course they fall in love but Simon is in love with the maid he thinks she is and her stepfather hates him for the setting down of years ago. I hated to put this book down until I finished it and I am looking forward to Book 7 A Scandalous Secret. Thank you Laura for this book.
Reasons I enjoyed this book:
Action-packed Easy-to-read Entertaining Great world building Happily Ever After Page-turner Romantic Steamy Tragic Witty Wonderful characters
Profile Image for Connie.
1,581 reviews5 followers
January 28, 2021
I received a complimentary copy of this book and I am voluntarily reviewing it.

This is a fantastic story. I was totally enchanted with it. It took me longer to read the story as I tended to go back and re-read many passages. The plot was intriguing and I was immersed to the point that I felt like I was there right in the middle of it. The author gave just enough descriptive detail that my mind was able to fill in the rest. There was nothing to detract from the storyline. I grew up on historical romance and there were some that were so descriptive that I grew bored but not here.

This was a sexy read. I would recommend this to anyone over the age of 18. It was also written in my favorite dual POV format. This helped to fully understand the characters.
Profile Image for Julia David.
1,987 reviews16 followers
January 21, 2021
Jessica is so strong. She has survived so much over the years. Her mother died and her step-father is extremely abusive. He will sell her off to the person who can give him money, prestige or power. She fell in love with Simon when she was just a young girl. He came to her aide when her step-father was abusing her in public. Years later they meet again and she is so different. But, will Simon see under the surface? As Jessica's step-father is getting ready to auction her off to the highest bidder, Simon is trying to free her from her imprisonment. Will he get there in time?
Profile Image for Samantha Glass.
883 reviews6 followers
January 18, 2021
A fabulous way to spend an evening. Tucked up in ny reading chair with this book as company, and the hours flew. I truly enjoy the spunk, smarts, and determination the author writes into her heroines, despite what society of the age would have them embody. No wallflowers here. And her heros are daring, willing to buck convention, and have a bit of rake in them as well. Sifting through the layers conversation is such fun. Another enjoyable entry in the series.
Profile Image for Aj.
1,513 reviews
January 19, 2021
Another engaging, well crafted story by Laura Trentham. A Daring Deception is filled with passion and desire between Jessica Tremaine, a lady in a desperate situation where only a wicked Duke, Simon Bellingham can save her.

It's a fine line between deception and love. Simon and Jessica are wonderful characters and their story keeps you engaged to the end.

I received an ARC and this is my honest review.
Profile Image for Jennifer Hevern.
286 reviews5 followers
February 4, 2021
I absolutely loved Simon & Jessica. I absolutely HATED Goforth! He was a fabulous hateful villain. I loved this entire story. Jessica was NOT a weak snivling heroine. She was strong in every way, with her words being the strongest. Simon was real & authentic in everything he did, from protecting those he loved to his strong moraI code in parliament. I strongly recommend this historical romance with great twists and even greater surprises.
1,289 reviews4 followers
February 16, 2021
And a great series marches on

This is yet another brilliantly written story in what is a great series. The plot is full of emotional turmoil and misunderstandings. The characters are wonderfully portrayed and include an unscrupulous stepfather, a heroin and hero who have the love and determination to overcome their obstacles. This steamy historical romances would be liked by anybody who enjoys a bit of suspense.
320 reviews
February 20, 2022
Great series, great author

I truly enjoy this author and series, lots of love romance and intrigue to be had among the story. This story did drag just a tad for a short while at the start but definitely picked up after that, Jessica and Simon have a bit of a difficult go do to her step father and the scenarios keep you reading. Enjoy this book, I am off to read tbe next in the series.
Profile Image for Angela Harriman.
361 reviews
November 7, 2022
Thoroughly enjoyable

I love the action, the romance and the humor. Could hardly put it down. I really like how resourceful the heroine is, hiding her true self away to thwart her stepfathers' plans. Rescuing herself even when faced with insurmountable odds. The hero is an honorable gentleman, eager to follow the right path. I like how justice is served in the end. Villains should suffer for the crime. Cannot wait to read the next one.
Profile Image for Christy.
301 reviews5 followers
January 30, 2021
I have been waiting for Simon story since A Brazen Bargain. Book 2 was also when we met a spirited teenage Jessica.

Simon and Jessica's story was worth the wait.

Romance, danger, and intrigue with a great villain to despise. As a reader it was great to catch up with Minerva and Rafe and other characters from past books.
874 reviews2 followers
August 15, 2021
A good ending for the series

I liked reading and hearing about previous characters. The story of Simon and Jessica was a good ending. Simon had learned so much from Rafe in an earlier story and it was good to see how he'd grown. I did like his friend, Damien. He tried to make Simon see the truth behind his plan when he thought she was the maid.
Profile Image for DENISE I..
315 reviews1 follower
May 21, 2023
Decent continuation of the series

I had a little trouble completing this one. It feels like the author did as well.
It was a good story. Great start. Good premise but feel through about half way through the book.
I can’t put my finger on it but the prior books had more intrigue. More action than the “whoa is me attitude” that was drawn out a little bit too long.
Profile Image for Caligirl.
105 reviews
August 16, 2023
not my fav

Been reading this series while traveling around South Africa on holiday … have enjoyed the books up to this one … didn’t feel the chemistry between Simon and Jess at all .. they were rather boring and so was the dialog … the villain in the book (step-father) was the only interesting character as evil as he was ..

The flow of the book also didn’t work for me .. I’ll finish the series because there are only 2 books left… but this was a Meh for me ..
Profile Image for Pam  Bereznak.
1,117 reviews56 followers
January 27, 2021
This was a great read.

I loved Simon and Jessica. I loved their story and loved the way Laura Trentham brought them to life.

I have read this whole Spies and Lovers series and they are all good but I think is my favorite.

Profile Image for Edna J Bayes.
114 reviews
June 26, 2023
Not What I Like

The story line was a good one but the sexual content was way too much for me. Skipped a whole lot of pages. I doubt I will buy anymore books from her because of this. I want a good clean story. You can have a great romance with out sex details.
1,381 reviews2 followers
January 27, 2021
This book was well-written and entertaining. The book was fast-paced, held my attention and I didn't want to put it down. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more books by this author.
January 31, 2021
Loved this book, up all night reading. Will be reading the other books in this series.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Rachel.
305 reviews2 followers
April 15, 2021
This book was good but a little slow for me. I did enjoy the couple's backstory and their evolution as they grew up.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 31 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.