Society of Beasts: The Soldier and the Spy – Annabelle Greene
A beholden man finds himself falling for the war hero he’s destined to double-cross.
Three hundred pounds for one night of protection. It’s a job offer, but it’s also a ruse. Captain Benjamin Frakes, war hero and de facto head of the Society of Beasts—a club for gentlemen who prefer gentlemen—is tempted to turn it down. But August Weatherby, the sexy, brazen stranger making the offer, has captivated him completely.
August is hardly the flush flirt he claims to be, however. An indebted man, desperate to save his infirm sister, August makes an ideal pawn for a lord eager to bring down the Society of Beasts once and for all. But August’s charge to find evidence against Frakes is at odds with his own virgin desire to entice the captain into showing him the true meaning of pleasure.
As August’s infiltration pushes him deeper into the beguiling world of delights behind the Society’s closed doors, he and Frakes discover new ways to push the boundaries of their own cravings. But with mounting pressure to complete his devious mission, August finds himself torn between the man his heart yearns for and the sister whose life depends on his betrayal.
The Society of Beasts continues to make historicals happen for me this year!
The Beasts are an uber-elite, super-secret club for gentlemen who prefer gentlemen. It was founded by Edward Stanhope and his friends, Frakes, Hartley, and Lambert, also known as the Lion, the Bear, the Sable, and the Wolf respectively.
The Soldier and the Spy picks up after the events of The Vicar and the Rake. Captain Benjamin Frakes is now the head of the Beasts after Edward settled in the countryside. While in a pub, he was brazenly approached by August Wetherby, openly flirted with, and commissioned to protect the young man from threats to his life while at they are attending a ball. Unknown to Frakes, Wetherby was tasked to out him and the club by a blackmailer.
It’s hard to root for a romance that started with deceit and continued on false pretenses for most of the story. So I didn’t really care for the romance or the two leads. They don’t detract from the story. I didn’t hate them. They’re just there.
What kept me riveted was the engaging storytelling and crisp writing, combined with the always impeccable delivery by Cornell Collins, who’s born to narrate these kinds of books. The plot moved at a steady clip. So even though I’m indifferent towards the leads, I was never bored. It’s not as twisty turn-y as Book 1, but there are plenty of suspense, intrigue, and shenanigans.
I am also deeply invested in the affairs of the Beasts, so I was happy to see the inner workings of the club. We are introduced to Josiah Balfour, the dedicated manager and star of the next book. He piqued my interest, and he’s paired with Hartley! I hope we get the audiobook for this soon.
Of course, I had to have updates on my favorite scheming dark lord, Morris, Edward’s younger brother. He lost his leverage in the first book, but later returned to form here. This is one of the rare occasions I’m cheering harder for the MF couple rather than the MM leads. Morris hopelessly pining after Caroline, Lady Ploverdale, while trying to keep his cold, Machiavellian image intact is making me squee~! I need their book so bad!!!
The Soldier and the Spy is an entertaining read and a solid installment of an addicting series. I might not have been swayed by the MM romance, but there is plenty of romance here that made me swoon!
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
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Honest by Band of Skulls for a book about a young man with secrets taking on a grizzled old soldier with a closely guarded heart.
You gotta be honest
You gotta be guarded
Sure I’m gonna say
Right on the inside, that is the hardest, the hardest game to play.
You sorted it all out and managed to slip through the night into the day.
Life and the soul do you ever get lonely?
I’m goin’ take you on.