Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Nefertiti's Heart by A.W. Exley

Cara Devon has always suffered curiosity and impetuousness, but tangling with a serial killer might cure that. Permanently.

London, 1861. Impoverished noble Cara has a simple mission after the strange death of her father - sell off his damned collection of priceless artifacts. Her plan goes awry when aristocratic beauties start dying of broken hearts, an eight inch long brass key hammered through their chests. A killer hunts amongst the nobility, searching for a regal beauty and an ancient Egyptian relic rumored to hold the key to immortality.

Her Majesty’s Enforcers are in pursuit of the murderer and they see a connection between the gruesome deaths and Cara. So does she, somewhere in London her father hid Nefertiti’s Heart, a fist sized diamond with strange mechanical workings. Adding further complication to her life, notorious crime lord, Viscount Nathaniel Lyons is relentless in his desire to lay his hands on Cara and the priceless artifact. If only she could figure out his motive.

Self-preservation fuels Cara's search for the gem. In a society where everyone wears a mask to hide their true intent, she needs to figure out who to trust, before she makes a fatal mistake.

5 Stars, 3.5 Flames

Cara Devon returns to London after a seven year absence to attend her father's funeral, not out of grief, but to sell off his precious collection of artifacts. Those artifacts destroyed her life and were the cause of her being a social pariah at the young age of fourteen. All Cara needs is the journal her father kept detailing all his acquisitions and where they are hidden. When two men break into her house and try to steal it from her, she shoots one in the shoulder and the other in the hand; a not so subtle message to their employer to back off. She has an alternative solution, a business proposition.

Their employer is Nathaniel Trent, Viscount Lyons, or as he is better known, the Villainous Viscount. When he assumed the title the family was facing ruin. So Nate started an air ship cargo company. A lucrative business on its own, it also served as a front for his illegal activities. Now he is at the top of the underworld food chain, ruthless and cunning, a man you do not want to cross. Which is why when he receives Cara's message, he is intrigued, even more so when he meets her. Nate wants her, and knowing her history, is patient enough to wait for her to come to him.

Protective, overbearing, alpha male we all wish we could have. I love Nate. He has a strong unemotional facade. So when little glimpses of what he's feeling slip, it magnifies the scene, like a punch in the gut. Even with no promise of more from Cara, because let's face it, no alpha male thinks he's irresistible, he protects her. One of my favorite scenes is in a cafe where Cara is having tea with a best friend to meet her friend's fiance. When the fiance learns Cara's name, he gives her the cut direct, turning his back on her. Embarrassed and wishing she could pull her gun, Cara gets up to leave. Before she can turn Nate is there like a knight in shining armor and asks her to join him at his private table, leaving the fiance to scramble around in his chair so as not to appear as if he is cutting Nate. Loved it!

Cara is different. She barely observes the fashion regiments for young ladies, conceals multiple weapons on her person, and has no problem holding her own against the leader of the crime world or investigators from Her Majesty's Enforcers. Inspector Fraser is suspicious of Cara, especially as she gained the most from her father's death. When girls from Cara's past are found with keys in their hearts, Fraser takes a closer look at Cara as a suspect. Cara begins to investigate on her own when she realizes the person who is murdering debutantes may have murdered her father as well. Not that she cares about her father, but something about the key and the heart triggers a memory. Cara begins searching for what she believes may be the key to solving the murders, Nefertiti's Heart. A mechanical jewel, Nefertiti's Heart is one of her father's most prized possessions, and unlike his other artifacts this one isn't in the journal. With Fraser sniffing around her and Nate's men on her tail, Cara remains oblivious to the danger she's in until its too late. The murderer sees her and wants her for his own.

Ms. Exley jumps right in with her story. Boom! She draws you in with a stain on the floor. Cara experiences a brief flash back to how the stain got there, and then continues searching for her father's journal before the would-be thieves arrive. Of course the back story isn't enough, so you read a little more, then some more, until suddenly the clock chimes 2AM and you're 3/4 of the way through the book and you just can't stop now! Must continue! The mystery of who is killing the girls and why almost takes a back seat to the dance between Cara and Nate, but as the book progresses the killer is given more and more voice, detailing why he is committing these heinous crimes. Slowly the two tales converge into one and the killer is revealed. Brilliantly done! The book is fast paced, and the relationship between Cara and Nate is, whew! spectacular. Nate is attentive, he sees Cara, almost as if he can read her mind. And Cara needs that attention, to be loved. But she also knows how to handle Nate, she isn't a milk and water miss. She's headstrong and determined, able to go toe to toe with Nate and not allow him to walk all over her. I have to say that Nate and Cara are probably one of my favorite pairings, and Nefertiti's Heart is now a top ten favorite book. I cannot wait to read book 2 in the series, Hatshepsut's Collar. If you enjoyed Meljean Brook's The Iron Duke, you'll love Nefertiti's Heart This book is a must buy, I give it 5 stars, 3.5 flames.

posted by Emily

No comments:

Post a Comment