I devoured this book on the beach. Which may seem a bit odd considering that the story takes place in the gloomy, often wet, underbelly of Victorian London, but go with me on this one. I loved Ingrid and Byrnes as a leading couple. You get the cool, collected blue-blood (not a vampire), who is desperate to get “revenge” on the hot-blooded, strong willed, and flirtatious verwulfen (think werewolf but without the actual shift) because she’s the only one to truly best him. Then throw in a really well-crafted paranormal murder mystery plot on top of that. I thought the romance itself was steamy when needed, and sweet and tender as the couple grew, making it both a slow burn romance, and just the right level of animalistic passion at the same time. Personally, I like my romance books with a heavy dose of plot that isn’t centered on the couple hooking up, and “Mission: Improper” delivered on all fronts!
I haven’t read any of the other books in McMaster’s London Steampunk series, so I had no attachment to any of the side characters in this book that, supposedly, have more of a focus in other stories. Which is probably why the few chapters that were in Ava or Gemma’s point of view were the least interesting to me, though they do serve as good introductions to the central couple characters in the next books in the Blue Blood Conspiracy series. I really enjoyed the world building in this series though, the steampunk elements were well done, and I absolutely loved the twist the author takes toward the traditional vampire/werewolf romances, and just those paranormal creatures in general.
But my favorite thing about this book in particular was just how evenly matched Byrnes and Ingrid are. There is no odd power dynamic which is typical when you have romances with paranormal people. In many ways, Ingrid is more than just Byrne’s match when it comes to strength and fighting abilities, she has just as much experience as him, and there’s no questionable age gap between an immortal being and a young person. Both are cunning and smart, and believably damaged to where the answer to “fixing” them doesn’t necessarily lie just in sex, which made them incredibly well-rounded characters. But, given each of the books' in this series focuses on new characters and different types of mysteries each time, I was left wanting a bit more closure to the actual case Ingrid and Byrnes were working together before it switches to the new couple in the next book, which is why I’m giving it 4.5 stars. But, either way, it was highly enjoyable and I’ll definitely be adding more books from this series to my TBR!
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