The fate of France itself is at stake if these sworn enemies cannot change their ways—and their hearts.
Daphne de Duras is a proper French duchess by day and fledgling assassin by night. Her latest mission is to dispatch justice and protect the French aristocracy by executing Étienne de Noailles, disgraced former noble, legendary rake, and vampire emissary to the court of King Louis XV.
But Étienne’s alleged crime—the gruesome murder of Madame de Pompadour, the King’s mistress and Daphne’s friend—doesn’t quite fit the dashing vampire’s nature. With his immortal days suddenly numbered, Étienne needs to convince his would-be executioner not only of his innocence, but that they should hunt the real killer together—a challenge almost as difficult as convincing himself that he isn’t falling for her.
Daphne reluctantly agrees to a temporary partnership when Étienne persuades her that something more sinister is afoot. He can, after all, help her find answers in places she’s unable to go alone. And despite her deep loathing for any and all vampires, she can’t help but start thinking of a few other places she’d like to go with him.
Publisher: City Owl Press: Mystic Owl (October 14, 2021)
Publication date: October 14, 2021
Print length: 263 pages
Check it out on Amazon: http://mybook.to/TAATL
Add it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58722474-the-assassin-and-the-libertine
Love the Les Dames Dangereuses series and want to stay up to date on Lily Riley’s next release? Follow Lily on Amazon here: author.to/LilyRiley or check out her website: https://www.authorlilyriley.com/Review from Publisher’s Weekly:
Scandal, seduction, and supernatural secrets animate Riley’s deliciously decadent debut and Les Dames Dangereuses series launch. In 1765, a blood plague is spreading among the Parisian poor, turning them into vampires. For many, it’s a better fate than starvation as a human. As one of few courtiers infected, “legendary rake” Étienne de Noailles is appointed the vampire emissary to His Majesty. Though he tries to advocate for vampire rights, he’s treated as little more than a threat and a lust object at Versailles.
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I turned and bowed to the comtesse de Brionne and her petulant husband. He looked an impressive mix of haughty and irritated as his wife tugged him forward in my direction. She, however, seemed beyond delighted to see me, given my disheveled appearance. Her eyes flashed with humor and feminine conspiracies.
“Charlotte, it seems Monsieur de Noailles is having himself an unsavory evening. I suggest we continue on our way home and leave him to his debauchery.”
“Nonsense, Philippe! One must always say hello to one’s friends when out and about. Is that not so, Monsieur de Noailles?” She extended her hand to me to bow over, but her husband yanked her arm out of my grasp.
“Do not touch her,” he hissed at me. “Carry on your way, monsieur. Come along, Charlotte–now.”
The threat in his tone would have stayed many a woman, but Charlotte just whacked his shoulder with her folded fan. “Philippe, please. I apologize for my husband’s rudeness, monsieur. He has just lost a tidy sum at the card game following the duke’s dinner party and will be in an unbearable temper for the rest of the night.” Philippe glowered murderously, and I smothered my laugh.
“From whence do you come, Monsieur l’Émissaire? Working late in the evening? Maybe leaving a new paramour? Or perhaps, as my husband says—a night of well-earned debauchery?” Charlotte’s tone was light, but the scrutiny in her gaze sent a fresh wave of hot shame through me.
“The latter, I’m afraid, though it was hardly well earned. How fare you on this fine October evening?” I tried for the smooth coolness of my courtly tone, but it came out gritty and flat.
“Oh, fine, fine! You seem somewhat out of sorts, monsieur. Are you certain nothing is the matter? You look a little sick–or is it lovesick?” Her piercing eyes took in my rumpled appearance with a hint of sympathy.
I bristled. “No, madame. I assure you that is not the case.”
She eyed me for a moment, unmoved by my protest. I hid a grimace when her lips split into a wide, self-satisfied grin.
“Well, I wish you the best with your mystery lover. As I said, we’ve just come from the duke’s little get-together. It was lovely, of course, but they served stewed fruit for dessert—can you believe that? Really, what are we, English? I felt it was incredibly unpatriotic, don’t you? I’m sure the other guests were scandalized as well, don’t you think, Philippe?” She laid a soothing hand on her husband’s arm, but his icy glare did not stray from me. He gripped her arm tightly.
“Well, we’ve paid an acceptable call upon Monsieur de Noailles, darling, and it’s time we let him return to his evening. Come along, Charlotte,” he growled between gritted teeth.
“Philippe, mon cher, not so tight, please. You shall wrinkle my gown. Alors, Monsieur de Noailles, my husband is right! We must away, but do tell me, are you planning on attending the All Hallows Eve masquerade next week? I understand it’s meant to be a rather spirited evening,” she said, giggling at her own joke. “I will be glad to have Philippe by my side, in case I become frightened. It is good, I think, to have one you love close by on such a night, don’t you agree?” Her intense expression hinted at some secret meaning that the alcohol prevented me from understanding just then.
“I hadn’t thought to,” I answered. “I’m really quite busy at the moment. I don’t know if I have time for—”
“Well, that’s very nice, monsieur. Thank you for your time. Bonsoir,” Philippe muttered. Charlotte glared daggers at him and yanked her arm from his grip.
“Damn it, Charlotte, go get in the carriage! We will discuss your behavior when we get home. Let’s go!” Without a glance at his wife, he whipped around and stomped over to their waiting carriage.
Charlotte turned wide eyes on me and flicked open her fan. Her hands trembled—no doubt at her husband’s outburst—and she dropped the ivory accessory on the ground. Reflexively, I bent to pick it up and nearly fell backward when she bent down to meet me.
“Gather up your courage, monsieur,” she whispered. “If you do not attend the masquerade, I daresay you will disappoint some very important people.”
“Mon dieu, Charlotte! Get in here, now!” Philippe yelled from the darkness of the carriage.
“Oh, la! Monsieur l’Émissaire was just retrieving my fan for me, darling!” Charlotte called back to him. “You know how clumsy I can be after champagne and sherry at dinner,” she laughed. She gave me a dazzling smile and a saucy wink, then plucked her fan from my fingers and bustled away.
“Bonsoir, monsieur, et bonne chance!”
Wasn’t that excerpt phenomenal? Well, you’re in for a treat, because the rest of the book is dynamite! I absolutely adored The Assassin and the Libertine, and I can’t wait to see what Lily Riley publishes next!
Get ready for historical hotness in a paranormal world that’s sure to sweep you away! Lily Riley sizzles with a passionate debut that transports the reader to a version of 18th-century France where vampires roam among the aristocrats, indulging their dalliances and evading those bent on eliminating them. Enter Étienne and Daphne, a vampire and his would-be assassin, who circle each other with a simmering, evasive desire until the sexual chemistry becomes too much to bear. Offering a fascinating take on vampires that weaves in historical context, strong world-building, and social commentary, Riley has crafted an top-shelf story that balances magic and mystery with off-the-charts sexiness that will satisfy both die hard fans of paranormal romance and those trying it out for the first time. The Assassin and the Libertine is a steamy tale sure to stimulate the imagination that will leave you impatiently anticipating Ms. Riley’s next installment in this fabulous series.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lily Riley is a romance novelist currently focused on historical paranormal books that feature a little bit of cheek and a lot of steam.
Her debut novel, The Assassin and the Libertine, publishing under the Mystic Owl imprint of City Owl Press, comes out October 14, 2021.
When Lily isn’t writing about dreamy supernatural beings in 18th century France, she enjoys sipping champagne, eating cake, and dancing naked by the light of the full moon.
Find more about her at her website: https://www.authorlilyriley.com/ or on social media.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon, and Goodreads.