Manual A Heartless Design (Secrets of the Zodiac Book 1)

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  1. A Heartless Design: Secrets of the Zodiac, Book 1 (Unabridged)
  2. A Heartless Design: Secrets of the Zodiac, #1
  3. A Heartless Design (Secrets of the Zodiac, book 1) by Elizabeth Cole
  4. A Secrets of the Zodiac Novel

In the end, I took a star off because I didn't like how the plot was resolved. I feel it weakened the heroine's position in the story. Overall, this is a light, easy read with delightful characters. View all 11 comments. I have fallen in love with this series and this author, Elizabeth Cole.

This is an outstanding spy series that is so well written with characters that are deeply explored. Hurry and get it and add it to your to-be-read list. I adore when a book has characters that you get emotionally involved with. I cared about Cordelia and Sebastien. Cordelia is an engineer as well as a woman of the ton. She lives on Quince Street I love this name with her Aunt Leona and has a household full of criminals turned servants.

She creates a false character Lear to continue on her work. She never thinks that the world of engineering could endanger her life. For years Cordelia worked on a special ship called the Andraste.

A Heartless Design Secrets of the Zodiac Book 1

The ship is a virtual fortress, clad with iron and impregnable from cannon fodder. Her father worried that people would use this for nefarious deeds and implored Cordelia to keep the plans hidden and safe. Cordelia continued to work on the plans after her father mysteriously died. This dream ship has caught the attention of the white and black hats. Both want the plans and therefore both want Cordelia.

Enter Sebastien.

A Heartless Design: Secrets of the Zodiac, Book 1 (Unabridged)

He is a member of the Zodiac, a spy organization for the Crown. He has been charged with finding the plans for the Andraste and securing them for England. Sebastien receives his orders while attending a London ball, where he spots the most luscious woman walking by. He finds her hiding in the gardens, very close to where his dossier of details is waiting for him. They share an intimate moment and she is gone. It was hilarious when Sebastien and Cordelia meet the next day.

The reasons for their meeting however, were not. After that ball, Cordelia returns home to find that the plans for the Andraste were stolen. She then has Sebastien appearing on her doorstep, a raging inconvenience. I loved how Cordelia stands up to him and puts him on the defensive. As a reader, this is when you subconsciously recognize that you are reading a well-conceived and developed novel. Cordelia has secrets she needs to keep. Sebastien is so charming and virile that she may just lose her head along with her virtue and her heart.

The two are thrown together with a frequent urgency as the stakes get higher and higher for Cordelia, Sebastien, the Zodiac and England. Sebastien wants to trust Cordelia, but he faces evasion and subterfuge at every turn with her. She is determined to keep her secrets. They are more valuable to her than her virtue. Cordelia is almost on the shelf at the age of twenty-seven. She can never give a man the power over her that could stop her work or her freedom. However, she wishes she had passion.

Enter Sebastien again. The two have been panting after each other and warily eyeing each other with passion and mistrust. Things get very steamy. But also very complicated. I think what I loved so much about this story is how both lead characters were afraid of the other. They were afraid to open their hearts and share their true nature with each other. Being intimate provided shelter from the truth for a while, but it ate away at them to share only a part of who they were. The author has created a wonderful, tangled web of deception and truth.

The plot had no holes in it and I really admired that Elizabeth Cole created such a strong female character. This is a real strength of the author, as her other books in the series contain female characters who have backbone and intelligence. Woe is the man who underestimates a woman in this series of books. I strongly recommend picking up this series and there is a fourth book in the works according to the author.

I sincerely hope that we will get to read about all twelve signs as this series is unique, extremely well-conceived and well written. Reviewed for www. View 2 comments. I didn't like this one as much as the first. I don't care for the protagonists being setup in an adversarial relationship where they mistrust each other for half of the book. The French Civil War is not something I enjoy reading about, and there were a lot of references to it. I also don't care for the idea that spies are willing to sleep with people to get information.

It may be true but it's unpleasant to read about in a romance. The story did keep me turning pages, and the characters are still interesting and layered. View 1 comment. Sep 12, Tracy T. I really enjoyed this book. Great hero and heroine, story line and plot. Great chemistry and some good sex scenes. The story line itself was a bit different in a very good way!.

There was plenty of dialogue too. I listened to this book as I read along via audible and the narrator did a really good job as well. Mar 06, Ira rated it liked it Shelves: historical. The heroine is an engineer, yes true, she designed, build and sell ships. Her latest designs is very advanced, in the wrong hand can be a very powerful weapon, and when The English and The French in wars, that won't good. Not many know about this because she created an imaginary guy to continue her work. The hero? He is a spy who tried to get his hand on this latest design.

So much potential for this story but unfortunately the execution not quite there yet. Then we know the villain from early on and the suspense bits was too tame. This could be a good read but it make me wanted to chuck my IPad!! I check the author's other books in this series, they all got a better rating than this one: I probably try to read her books again one day. Mar 25, Kogiopsis added it. Picked this up because it was free on ibooks, read it on my work breaks because I had nothing better to do. Romance isn't my genre, but every now and then there are standout gems that I enjoy; this just wasn't one of them.

That being said, I don't think it would be fair of me to rate it given that I knew going in that it wouldn't be my thing. It passed the time, and it wasn't grossly chauvinistic, and that's good enough. Better than typical Regency romantic suspense. Heroine was pretty damn smart, but not off-putting. Definitely unconventional, but not quirky. Typical villain though. Hero was great. Plot was unique but the author left a plot line unfinished perhaps for the next book in the series? The HEA was so very typical and a little too sweet considering the story. Overall a good read.

Perhaps not for me as I never felt particularly invested in the characters. But the book itself was well thought out, very detailed and you can see a lot of hard work went into its construction. Though it often felt like dry reading and was too wordy at times. The male lead was irritatingly dismissive and judgmental of the female spy at the start. Without due cause. They both acted rather immature in their first reactions to each other. Yet neither had done anything to warra Overall a good read. Yet neither had done anything to warrant the other putting his back up.

You would think no one could take offense within mere minutes of a first time meeting, especially when introduced through a trusted friend, but it was set up in that "Let's hate each other passionately for no discernible reason! The lead female, Sophie was also trying a little too hard to seem"cool" I guess we would say in modern parlance. She didn't really seem very comfortable in her own skin. And the emphasis the author placed on her not being a lady by birth meant we spent a lot of time with her hang-ups about this fact.

A lot of effort was put into describing surroundings unnecessarily. It's kind of hard for me to pinpoint exactly what I mean when I talk about too much focus on triviality but I suppose this passage below shows it a little with all the rigamarole around some hot water. Did water really have to feature that prominently that it's mentioned three or so times in a passage? It's water. Move on, a one sentence mention would do. Bruce had stayed with Jem to see that the coach was indeed fit to travel the next day. Sophie was shown to a large, bright room.

Fortunately, Bruce came in then, worn down by the effort of final repairs to the carriage. Jem will handle the rest of it, and we can continue on in the morning as scheduled. Lol I guess it also has to do with how used to the genre you are. For someone reading a historical romance for the first time these details are perhaps interesting and helpful in constructing an accurate impression of the norms and culture of the time period.

But if you are familiar with it already it becomes a case of too many factoids thrown in randomly and it merely distracts you as a reader. It draws you out of the story. It's as if the author did a lot of research and wants to include every interesting thing learnt along the way. For example, the fact that society marriages were often cold by virtue of being arranged for dynastic purposes is so generally known that the titbit about wives included below merely causes the scene to lose momentum Sophie, a little stunned, watched him as a wife might…though in a society marriage, it was entirely possible that a woman might never see her husband half-naked save for in the darkness of a bedroom.

And many proper ladies would never dare look more than they absolutely had to. Bruce and Sophie took too long to finally like each other, I thought. Quarter of the way through the book they still disliked and distrusted each other and since they had no improved opinions of each other I really didn't like them any more that I had at the start when all I felt was indifference.

It was still an interesting read, with some very insightful dialogue at times. I particularly liked the line about how women move through the world versus the security inherent in being a male. Things men do unthinkingly, such as walking around late at night, going to an unknown party location with a casual male acquaintance, getting into a cab, are things women can't always feel safe doing for practical reasons.

Life as a woman might not be as extreme as in the author's example but it's a poignant point Sophie makes. Tell me what a woman thinks on seeing a man. Maybe not all women even realize they think it—but they do. How much could he hurt me? In what ways could he hurt me? How can I escape?

How do I fend him off? How do I survive this? Only after she asks that question and makes those dozen small decisions can she move on to what you think of as normal thoughts. Understand this, and how can you go about treating half the world in the same way? We met Lord Forester in the first book of the series as he helps Sebastien and Cordelia escape France.

Forester meets with Neville aka Aries for his next mission. Although he is a Lord, he has no use for the fripperies of society and would rather be working his estate and managing the land. However this mission is We met Lord Forester in the first book of the series as he helps Sebastien and Cordelia escape France.

However this mission is different. Usually members of the Zodiac work independently of each other, but this mission requires two agents. Bruce meets his partner, Sophie, also known as Libra. He is absolutely astounded that a woman could be an agent — and a French woman as well!

From the moment they meet its game on. They take a hearty dislike to each other and have no interest in working together on this mission. So not only are they fighting the enemy, they are warring with each other too. Reading this I almost felt gleeful as I just KNEW it was going to be a spicy, scintillating tale that would have abundant passion, reckless adventures and a lot of danger. Sophie and Bruce must impersonate a French Comtess and her husband at an elite house party for those sympathetic to the French aristocracy.

Sophie is the master of disguises, a trick she picked up from being an actress as her cover story. Bruce is adept as well at subterfuge, but he still wants Sophie out of the way. As soon as they are alone, it becomes a contest of wills and seduction. Sophie uses her feminine wiles on Bruce and he cannot deny that he wants her. This is a big mistake with someone like Sophie as she now knows his weakness. The house party was equal parts solving the mystery of who in the British government is supporting the scheme to reinstate the French aristocrats and the relationship between Bruce and Sophie.

The two are complete opposites of each other. Sophie likes to improvise and is quick thinking on her feet. They disagree about almost everything to do with their mission and not only battle each other, but the guests at the party as well.

A Heartless Design: Secrets of the Zodiac, #1

Sophie must use her charm to attract the men they are seeking to investigate, but it burns Bruce to watch her have to do it. Sophie has had a very difficult life. Without the security of family or marriage, the Zodiac has become her life, which is something Bruce can definitely relate to. With that common bond, they find a truce with each other, which turns to passion. My heart was clearly engaged with this couple as when Sophie and Bruce first have sex she tells him he is the first man she has wanted to do it with.

Bruce has his troubled past as well, but nothing compared to the life Sophie has endured. The brutality of their jobs and the challenging decisions they have to make only make the words on the page have more depth and feeling. Sophie could be very stubborn when she felt wronged and because she was such a well-developed character, you completely understood her motives and feelings.

It never hurts to have a man grovelling in a historical romance novel. When their mission gets blown to bits, Bruce and Sophie finally work together to salvage what they can. The mission became as important to me as their relationship. I was on the edge of my seat to learn how it finished.

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As mentioned before, Cordelia and Sebastien play a role in this book and it was fabulous to get a glimpse of them. Everything about this book and series has just sucked me right in. The characters, the mystery, the details all stand out for me as excellence. This is a series I will be reading to the bitter end. And you should too! I give Heartless a solid three stars. Once again she doesn't disappoint. Set in Cordelia Bering is an unusual woman of the times, she's 27 and by the standards of the time she's considered an old maid, on the shelf if you like.

But Cordelia likes things just the way they are, she's refused all offers of marriage. A husband even one with half a brain might discover her secret. Then she meets Sebatien Thorne a former wastrel, but now reformed in the service of the crown, he is an elite agent belong to a group known as the zodiacs. Loved this story the author manages to make Cordelia's secret believable to the reader, both lead characters were likeable. I loved the mystery and the journey the author takes us on to the satisfying end she certainly knows how to weave a wonderful story with compelling characters.

ARC provided by the publisher This is awesome for a book that is free on kindle! It does not just pull together a plot for the sake of bringing the main characters together, it has substance! And that is a rarity, in this genre. Jan 12, Hailee haibooklovers rated it it was ok. Actual Rating: 2. This one just fell flat for me. View all 3 comments. Mar 16, Elena rated it really liked it Shelves: historical , romance , adult.

I love me some spy romances. Jun 16, Harisa Henderson rated it liked it. This was okay. It took me way too long to finish for what it is. The premise was good, the characters were fine, and I have to give the author props for creating strong, intelligent female characters. That's awesome. Also props for the criminal justice rehabilitation narrative thrown in there as well, I appreciate that especially in an historical novel.

However, for whatever reason this just didn't pull me in. The pace was extremely slow and I was often bored. I had no real desire to continue rea This was okay. I had no real desire to continue reading this except to take it off my "currently reading" shelf once in for all and I'm not a quitter. Jul 21, Gillian Murrell rated it liked it. This started as a cute historical romance but by the end it dragged a bit.

A Heartless Design (Secrets of the Zodiac, book 1) by Elizabeth Cole

Cordelia Bering a female engineer. Working under a false name as women were not taken seriously in this era, becomes caught up in an international plan to steal her plans, on a ship made from iron which could win the war for the French should they manage to get their hands on them.

Sebastien Thorne, a spy in the service of Crown has been given the job of intercepting the plans to stop them getting into the hands of the fr This started as a cute historical romance but by the end it dragged a bit. Sebastien Thorne, a spy in the service of Crown has been given the job of intercepting the plans to stop them getting into the hands of the french.

I loved this book! This is probably my 2nd favorite of the 6 that have been published so far. Cordelia is such a well-developed heroine with a nice combination of practicality and romanticism. I loved her intelligence and her determination The hero Sebastian was interesting as well. He is the first spy we meet, of 12, in the super-secret and elite Zodiac network in service of the crown.

This book kept me engaged and "on the edge of my seat" throughout. I really enjoyed this book by Elizabeth Cole. As the second son of an aristocrat, he came to inherit I really enjoyed this book by Elizabeth Cole. As the second son of an aristocrat, he came to inherit the title after the death of his more responsible brother. In the days of his youth, Sebastien plunged into the life of debauchery, gambling and other wild things to expend his energy.

It was as though he had all of his untamed energy and gifts that he needed to plug into a cause. The first part of his reformation came when he entered the service his father was definitely in favor of this. Many years later, Sebastien emerged as a man who got his act together. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser.

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A Secrets of the Zodiac Novel

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