3.5 starsNot sure why I keep reading this series, since most of the books are very similar to one another. Just the Hero and Heroine change. Guess the author has a way with words? Characters?All I know is that if she'd trim 50 pages or so and cut through all the vacillating crap where the Heroine has a secret or something she's keeping to herself because she doesn't know if she can trust the Hero... and the Hero has his own agenda about deciding the Heroine is THE ONE for him, except he figures he needs to seduce her first and then tell her... And yet, I still read them! Letitia and Christian were lovers 13 years ago, when she was 16-17 and he was 19-20. Then Christian joined the Guards, where he was quickly snapped up by Dalziel to join the British secret intelligence ranks in the war against Napoleon. Christian hadn't even had the time to officially offer for Letitia's hand, but the two of them knew it was official. Letitia promised to wait for Christian.Except that Christian discovered 8 years ago that Letitia married George Randall, and it was supposedly a love-match. Christian is still furious with Letitia for her betrayal. And since he's been "retired" from his secret service, he's been avoiding her. Except that today, she showed up at The Bastion Club with an urgent message, which said she needed his help - he was the only one who could help her. When he bothered to appear, he noticed she was in mourning black. She quickly told him that her husband had been murdered the night before, and that her brother Justin was suspected of the murder - which, she claims, is completely ridiculous. Letitia needs Christian's help to find Justin (who's disappeared) and clear him of the murder AND discover who the true murderer is.Except then we have to go thru pages and pages of wondering WHY Letitia won't tell Christian her reasons for marrying Randall and not waiting for him. Or IF her marriage was a happy one. And we have to endure Christian teasing and seducing Letitia - his price for her request - when he's really trying to drive her mad and punish her.At least in this book, other members of The Bastion Club come to aid Christian quickly. And there's an obvious reason why Christian and Letitia can't be together until the mystery is solved. But because Letitia is a "Vaux" (an old ton family known for drama, temper, and emotional outbursts), she can still move freely about in Society without raising eyebrows; she knows just how to play it, and being a Vaux, she's expected not to stay with strict mourning rules. Especially since most of the ton was as bewildered as Christian is about why she married Randall at all. They all saw her with Christian, and even the day after Randall's murder, the influential ladies of the ton make it clear they expect Christian to come through this time and marry her.THEN we have to endure pages and pages of the secrets of George Randall... It's somewhat fascinating, except, as usual, the author stretches it out way too long. No one knows quite where Randall came from. He doesn't seem to have any friends - none showed up at the funeral. He wasn't much for Society, except he did like to be around influential members of the ton, although Randall never asked for favors or befriended or tried to ingratiate himself with them. Randall seemed to show up in town 12 years ago with a boat load of cash. And he's 1/3 owner of something called Orient Trading Company, which has 14 unknown businesses that deposit large sums of cash into 3 different banks each week. So The Bastion Club members, including Dalziel, get involved to figure it all out with the help of their man-of-business Montague.Since I skipped 4,5,&6, I don't know if Dalziel was in those books, but he was in #3 more than in 1 & 2. I wonder if he slowly made more and more appearances in this series? In this book, Dalziel figures prominently, hiding Justin in his own home after Christian finds him. It seems that Letitia and Justin know Dalziel's real name and address - something that intrigues the other members of the Bastion Club, because they don't know who he is. They know Dalziel's not his real name, and that he's "one of them" (aristocracy/gentry). But other than that, they don't know a thing about him.I suspect because Christian is the last club member to have his story told (even though I suspect all of these stories occurred within the same London Season), Dalziel's story is in the final book. Which is likely why he figures prominently in this book. And why we start to learn more and more about him. He's fascinating!Anyway... this book goes along as expected. The whodunnit isn't too surprising, although the reasons behind it are. Lots of secrets: Personal secrets, financial secrets, secret rooms, secret passions....But Letitia and Christian are a good couple - as good as Penny and Charles from book #3. It's much easier to accept the main plot line of quick seduction when the two people in question knew each other well in the past - were friends and/or lovers before.