I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Margery and her aunts need money and Margery would prefer not to be sold to the first man who offers to save them. With the rediscovery of an old book that is a family treasure to Margery's aunts, the three hope they have found a way to change their fortunes. Margery ends up traveling to meet up with a book appraiser; she was expecting his father but gets the younger more attractive son. Rhys is not only delighted by his guest because he instantly finds her attractive but also finds himself salivating over the book she has brought him. It was written by a monk named de Valery and is rumored to contain a secret code that when paired with a sister copy will reveal a centuries old treasure, specifically the 13 hidden treasures from Arthurian times. Rhys and Margery end up pairing together traveling to decode and find hidden clues while dodging shady characters who may or may not be part of the secret society Order of the Round Table bound to protect the treasures and fight the building attraction growing between them.
Margery and Rhys are both charming characters but there was a slight lack of substance to them. Rhys was the more flushed out of the two, he had the faint sketchings as a never good enough son, arrogant but in a likeable way, and a spicy take charge presence in the bedroom. Margery showed glimpses of being strong willed and minded but they also seemed to be followed by actions that lead to "I'm doing this no matter!" creating TSTL situations. The characters worked well together as they progressed the treasure hunting arc, even if they don't pack a solid punch. Where Rhys and Margery's flame burns the brightest is in their limited bedroom scenes. Rhys is a scholar and loves his words, therefore encouraging Margery to speak her mind. These scenes are steamy and a little more sexy than usually found in historicals.
The treasure story arc was intriguing, even when it seemed to occasionally bumble along with additions of characters and clues. The pace slows a bit as the author tries to flush out the meaning and point of the de Valery Code but picks back up as final revelations are revealed. The main characters, their relationship, and mystery story thread are a bit like a new born foal. It all starts off very eager, wobbly, and precarious in its efforts but endearing you to its cause. Overall, this story is a great step away from the usual regency flair and its characters add to its likeability. With thirteen treasures to possibly be found, I expect more books on the way and I'm hooked enough to want to read the next in the series.