An auxiliary Nemesis agent and a former client go undercover as servants at a country estate during the Christmas season to expose corruption among London society’s powerful elite. Michael and Ada never thought they would again be working side by side in the pursuit of justice. Now that they’re on a case together, the attraction they had once shared flares to life, making a dangerous assignment even more unpredictable. Can they take the heat?
This blurb came from the author’s website.
The nice thing about reading a series after it’s already going is the ability to read multiple installments without having to wait–in other words, going on what is called a book glom. I was lucky enough to start reading Archer’s Nemesis Unlimited when she had two novels and a novella already out. So after reviewing Dangerous Seduction, the second novella last week on the blog, I dived right into this novella.
Winter’s Heat introduced two new characters, Michael and Ada. They had met during an earlier case and became attracted to each other. But Nemesis business interrupted their budding relationship and it never went anywhere. Ada was hired as additional help for the Christmas season at a particular country estate. Given her lower class upbringing, she was accustomed to the duties expected of a maid, so going undercover in that capacity was relatively easy. Expecting a partner from Nemesis, she was surprised and displeased to see Michael after the method of their previous break-up. Michael was a regular employee of Nemesis who was just returning from the successful completion of another mission. He went undercover as a temporary footman and the experienced member of the team. In addition to knowing the details of their official mission, Michael had some personal goals of his own.
I found it interesting seeing this world adapted to a novella. In this particular case, Nemesis wasn’t trying to stop a crime from continuing to happen. Instead they were after the ringleaders who had escaped with their profits. This allowed the relationship more prominence, which I appreciated given the shorter length of the story while still satisfying my curiosity for intrigue. It also helped give depth to the story that the villains, while not seen participating in anything wrong, proved through their words that they were despicable individuals.
Even with the shorter length, Winter’s Heat included some elements I have decided are vintage Archer. Michael respected Ada in what she could do and what she decided to attempt. He never tried to say that she couldn’t do certain things because she was a woman. Ada also respected and trusted Michael on a professional basis even when she was unsure on a personal level. Any chance of success required teamwork, trust, and the discovery of unknown skills. The combination of those elements along with the sexual tension created an enjoyable read.
I give Winter’s Heat a B