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Flawless -- Jana Richards

Flawless

France, 1942. The world is at war. The Nazis have stolen the infamous blue diamond, Le Coeur Bleu, intending to barter it for weapons that will destroy the Allies. Jewel thief Hunter Smith is given a choice; help the French Resistance steal back the diamond and avenge the death of his best friend, or stay locked up in an English prison. He chooses revenge.

Resistance fighter Madeleine Bertrand’s husband died when he was betrayed by Hunter Smith. How can she now pretend to be married to the arrogant American? How can she betray Jean Philippe’s memory by her passionate response to Hunter’s kisses? Neither is prepared for the maelstrom of attraction that erupts between them. To survive they must uncover the mysteries of the past and conquer the dangers of the present. But first Madeleine must decide if her loyalties lie with her dead husband and the Resistance or with the greatest love of her life.

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reviews

All the elements of a really good story make this one a keeper. The plot was well developed with lots of twists and turns. The characters acted like real people, even the immoral vicious ones. The situations Hunter and Maddie found themselves in were believable. And from what I know from studying World War II, I think the actions and events were accurate.

So, in summary, put aside your book markers because you won't need them; turn off the phone because you won't want to be interrupted, lock the door, and ENJOY this one by Jana Richards.
Seriously Reviewed

I really enjoyed this book. I was sucked in to it in order to find out what happened to Madeleine and Hunter. This is a very intense story involving the Nazi's and a ruthless general. It also involves revenge and redemption and finding love again. All these things are wrapped up in a good story. Madeleine learns to trust Hunter and falls in love with him. I like that Hunter wasn't perfect but the girl still wanted him. The plot with the general and the jewel smuggling was intense and left me wanting the good guy to win, which they did. The final destruction of the general, his horrid staff and other bad guys was quick and powerful, which to me is a good story part. The end must be believable, and that was the ending those evil people deserved.

Overall, it was a well written, intense, believable, love story.
Jennifer, You Gotta Read Reviews

The reader is skillfully transported to 1942 occupied France with pertinently placed descriptions of the countryside and will fall in love with the old chateau and its architectural secrets. Hunter’s and Madeleine’s back stories are woven seamlessly into the present action and explain who they are—and why. General Dietrich comes off as a very believable villain—the man you love to hate and want to see get his just desserts!

Whether or not a reader is familiar with (or even interested in) this particular historical era, she will find Flawless a terrific read both for suspense and romance.

Judy Nickles, The Word Place
Read the entire review.

I was rooting for Madeleine and Hunter right from the start, and quite swept along by their plans for getting the better of the Nazi general occupying the local chateau. The author does a great job of handling the fact that Madeleine is widowed and still grieving her former husband, yet finds herself falling for Hunter. The conflicts and main plot are set up directly at the start, and the reader can concentrate on the romance, breathlessly waiting to see if Madeleine and Hunter can escape the dangers they face - together.
Deniz Bevan - The One Hundred Romances Project Blog

excerpt

“From now on you will be known as Jacques Lemay, Monsieur Smith.”

Monsieur Gagnon filled his pipe, dropping bits of tobacco onto his wife’s immaculate floor. Madeleine sat off to one side of Monsieur Gagnon’s kitchen, watching as Madame Gagnon prepared breakfast for her husband and their “guest.”

Madeleine silently seethed as Smith—non, Lemay—helped himself to another piece of bread. Did he have to eat so much? Didn’t he know that food was scarce here in Lille, just as it was all over France?

She listened as Smith handed over the new two-way radio to Monsieur Gagnon and explained its use.

“It’s supposed to have a clearer and stronger signal than the radio you’re using now,” Smith said. He flipped a few dials to illustrate. “They also told me it is easier to scramble the signal to avoid detection.”

“Bon.” Monsieur Gagnon beamed in pleasure. “Good communications are essential to our work. Thank you for bringing it.”

“No problem. What else can you tell me about my cover here?”

“You are to work as a junior gardener at the chateau. I wrote to the head gardener, as if I was you, inquiring about work. He’s desperate for help. The Germans have rounded up many young Frenchmen and shipped them east to work in factories in Germany, so there are few able-bodied men available. You start tomorrow.”

He paused as his wife set a bowl of porridge in front of him. Monsieur Gagnon could not be connected with Jacques Lemay in any way; their comings and goings to this house had to be done with the utmost discretion. Madeleine knew the importance of keeping Monsieur Gagnon and his wife safe. He was the heart of their operation, their connection to the outside world through the radio he operated. If something went wrong and Hunter Smith was captured, it was crucial that no trails led back to Monsieur Gagnon. The safety of their réseaux, their Resistance network, depended on it. She hoped Smith understood the danger.

“I said in the letter that you had not worked as a gardener before, so he is not expecting you to know the difference between a delphinium and a dianthus.” Monsieur Gagnon poured milk onto his porridge. “But he is expecting you to work hard. If you don’t, you could be fired, or your cover could be blown.”

“I can manage.”

“The job might require a little more than sticking a shovel in the ground occasionally and spreading a bit of manure,” Madeleine said. The others turned to stare at her.

She immediately regretted her sarcastic remark, regretted throwing his words in his face. She shouldn’t let this man get to her, but she couldn’t seem to stop herself. They needed to work together for the sake of the mission. But she hated him. After what he’d done to Jean Philippe…

Hunter’s gaze locked with hers, and the heat of his anger scorched her clear across the room. She refused to back down from the challenge in his stare. She’d be damned if she’d let him intimidate her.

“Madeleine, enough.” Monsieur Gagnon spoke sharply. “Regardless of your feelings, we need him. He is our only hope for getting the diamond out of the hands of the Nazis.”

He was right. If they couldn’t steal Le Coeur Bleu, Jean Philippe would have died for nothing. She couldn’t let that happen.

She inhaled deeply and looked away. “All right. We’ll work together.”