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Dangerous Allies (Love Inspired Historical) Mass Market Paperback – September 14, 2010

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Product Details

  • Series: Love Inspired Historical
  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373828446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373828449
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.8 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #796,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

20 November 1939

Schnebel Theater, Hamburg, Germany

2200 Hours

They came to watch her die.

Every night, they came. To gawk. To gasp. To shake their heads in awe. And Katarina Kerensky made sure they never left disappointed.

Tonight, she performed one of her favorites, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. In typical Nazi arrogance, Germanizing the arts hadn't stopped at simply eliminating "dangerous" persons from cultural life. The Chamber of Culture had continued its purification function by also ruling that Shakespeare—in German translation, of course—was to be viewed as a German classic, and thus acceptable for performance throughout the Fatherland.

Leave it to the Nazis to claim the English playwright as their own.

In spite of her personal reasons for hating the Third Reich, Katia loved the challenge of taking a role already performed by the best and making Juliet her own.

For a few hours on stage her world made sense.

Now, poised in her moment of mock death, her hair spilled past her shoulders and down along the sides of the raised platform on which she lay. She held perfectly still as her Romeo drank the pretend poison and collapsed beside her.

She could smell the brandy and sweat on Hans as the foul scents mingled with the mold growing on the costume he hadn't washed in weeks, but Katia thought nothing of it. She was a professional and approached the role of Juliet as she would any role, on or off the stage. With daring conviction.

Hitting his cue, George, the bald actor playing Friar Laurence, made his entrance. As the scene continued to unfold around her Katia remained frozen, her thoughts turned to the actors who should also be sharing the stage. She was one of the lucky ones. Instead of playing a star-crossed lover doomed for eternity, she could have been among many of her peers thrown out of the theater due to whispers—often untrue—of their Jewish heritage or socially deviant behavior.

For now, at least, she was safe. As she was the daughter of a Russian prince, Vladimir Kerensky, fame had been her companion long before she'd stepped onto a stage.

Would notoriety be enough to keep her safe?

The Nazi Germany racial policy grew increasingly violent and aggressive with each new law. If anyone checked Katia's heritage too closely they might discover her well-kept secret.

To the Germans, she was merely a real-life princess playing at make-believe. A natural, as her mentor Madame Levine had always said. Good skin. Innate talent. Beautiful face and hair. All added to the final package. But the brains? Katia kept those hidden behind the facade of ambition and a seemingly ruthless pursuit of fame.

If the Germans only knew how she really used her talents. And why.

Opening her eyes to tiny slits, she tilted her face just enough to cast a covert glance over the audience. Her latest British contact was out there waiting. Watching. Bringing with him another chance for her to fight the monster regime and protect her mother with means she'd been unable to use to defend her father.

She drew in a short breath and focused on becoming Juliet once more. The scent of stage dust and greasepaint was nearly overpowering. Dizzying. The spotlight blinding, even with her eyelids half-closed. Nevertheless, Katia remained motionless until her cue.

"The lady stirs.…"

As though in a trance, Katia rose slowly to a sitting position. She fluttered her eyelashes and let her arms drag behind her. Arching her back, she held her arms limp, making the motion appear effortless.

Presentation, Madame Levine had taught, was the difference between a rank amateur and a true artist.

Pitching her voice to a hoarse whisper, she said, "O, comfortable friar! Where is my lord?" The muscles in her arms protested, but she continued to hold them slack.

Katia wrapped her temporary role of the doomed Juliet around her like a protective cloak then tossed a confused, sleepy look over the audience. "I do remember well where I should be." She sent the audience a long, miserable sigh, then wiped the back of her wrist across her brow. "And there I am."

Pushing a shaky smile along her lips, she let it cling to the edges of her mouth for only a moment before hiding it behind a pout. "Where is my Romeo?"

Friar Laurence tugged at her as he began his impassioned speech to make her leave the tomb with him.

Ignoring his pleas, Katia peered around. She blinked once. Twice. Then turned her head away from the audience.

Friar Laurence came to the end of his speech. "I dare no longer stay."

Katia focused her attention on the actor lying next to her, narrowing her performance down to this final moment. Nothing existed before. Nothing after. Just this handful of lines. A few moments when escape was possible.

Feigning horror at the sight of her dead husband, she allowed a lone tear to trail down her left cheek. In a tragic whisper she recited her next lines, pretended to search desperately for a drop of poison in the vial she rescued from Romeo's clenched fist, then listened to the lines spoken offstage.

She pulled her brows into deep concentration. "Yea, noise? Then I'll be brief." She made a grand show of searching Romeo's belt. On a gasp, she widened her eyes. "O happy dagger!"

Snatching the fake blade, she raised it high above her. Arching, she tossed back her head, snapped it forward again, then locked her gaze on to the thin blade. "This is thy sheath…"

With a dramatic flourish, she stabbed herself just above her stomach. "There…rust, and let me die."

Swaying, she sucked in her breath, buckled over in pain, and collapsed on top of Romeo.

As the rest of the cast trooped in for the final scene, Katia remained unmoving, only half listening to the words of the rest of the play.

Knowing her performance had been one of her best, she tried to ride the wave of success. But the joy remained elusive this evening, as it had each night since the Nazis had discovered Madame Levine's fraudulent papers.

And just as the Lord had done back in Russia during the revolution, God had abandoned Germany. Now most of the people Katia loved were dead, imprisoned or worse.

Her mind raced back to the last time she'd seen her mentor, now shipped off to Neuengamme, for her lie as much as for her Jewish heritage. There had been no warning, no time to help.

Would Katia's mother be next? The quick burst of fear came fast and hard at the thought.

Why didn't Elena Kerensky see that no one was safe in Nazi Germany, not even Russian royalty? Why didn't she understand that the very people who had killed Katia's beloved father—for no reason other than his distant relation to the Romanovs—were no different than the Nazis? Hitler could easily broaden his definition of a Jew to include anyone with only one Jewish grandparent, rather than the current definition of two.

At that thought, fear played in Katia's head, taunting her and convicting her. She would not allow her mother to die for so small a reason.

Katia was no longer a helpless eight-year-old witnessing the death of her loving father and loss of her beloved homeland. She was no longer an innocent who believed prayer was the answer, that God cared enough to stop the violence. As an adult she put her trust only in herself, not in a hard-hearted God who allowed courageous men like Vladimir Kerensky to die at the hands of their enemies.

At least now, as a British informant, she had the means to protect one of her parents.

A sense of control surged. The power of it danced a chill up her spine, giving her a foundation of order beneath the chaos.

The actor playing the Prince of Verona said his final line, dragging Katia back to her immediate job for the evening. "For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo."

The applause broke out like a rumbling stroke of thunder. With a convicted heart, Katia rose to take her bows.

She was ready to begin her next mission, ready to fight the Nazis, ready to stop the tyranny before it swallowed up her mother and others like her.

* * *

Avoiding the crush of people milling around backstage, Lieutenant Jack Anderson leaned a shoulder against the wall behind him and watched Katarina Kerensky in action. She accepted the congratulations from her fellow cast members and adoring fans with understated grace.

In stark contrast, the overbright laughter and din of heavily accented voices sounded like a gaggle of geese, rather than a celebration of a remarkable woman's acting triumph.

Out of instinct and years of training, Jack surveyed his surroundings. He eyed the tangle of ropes and pulleys on his right, the large circuit box on his left. Extra props were set in every available spot. Dusty costumes lay strewn over a large paint-chipped box. There seemed to be no order, no organization. A full hour in this world and he knew the chaos would drive him mad.

The putrid odor of sawdust, human sweat and unwashed costumes took away the mystique of the fantasy world he'd watched come alive less than an hour before. From his seat in the twelfth row, the actors had glittered under the lights. Here they looked haggard, wilted.

Except for one.

The woman he'd come to meet was a surprise. And he was only half-sorry for it. Even as the thought rolled around in his mind he realized he should have had some instinct, some internal warning, that this mission wasn't going to be as tidy as the new chief of MI6 had claimed. Not with a woman like Katarina Kerensky involved.

Clearly, the British had a hidden agenda. But were they using this mission to ferret out individual loyalties, or was there a darker motive? Had the spymasters grown to distrust Jack and set a trap for him? Or was Kerensky their target? Given Jack's direct relationship with Churchill, the latter was far more likely.

Jack now admitted, if only to himself, that he hadn't prepared enough for his first glimpse of the famous actress. His sudden inability to catch an easy breath was like having a destroyer deposited on his ch...

More About the Author

Renee Ryan grew up in a Florida beach town where she learned how to surf and skateboard very poorly. As a teenager, she gave up on both pursuits and began entertaining herself during countless hours of "laying-out" by reading all the classics.

After graduating college, with a degree in Economics and Religion, she explored various career opportunities at a Florida theme park and a modeling agency. She moved on to teach high school Economics, American Government and Latin while coaching award-winning cheerleading teams.

Renee now writes for Love Inspired Contemporary and Love Inspired Historical. For further information about Renee, check out www.ReneeRyan.com

Customer Reviews

I would like to read other books written by this author.
This book has it all: solid characters, a fast-paced plot and history that's more than wallpaper.
Victoria Bylin
Katarina's acting abilities help her seem like a ditzy woman.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sis Steele on August 30, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Troubled times often inspire intense romance. Each day is an unknown, faith is tested, and what good is present must be grasped with both hands. In Dangerous Allies, set during WWII Nazi Germany, Renee Ryan has created an inspirational romance that is not only intense but thought provoking. This fast moving tale of suspense features a tortured alpha hero and a smart, engaging heroine, each with their own secrets to hide. As these two explore the challenges of being Christians fighting a very present evil as well as their unexpected love for each other, the reader cannot help but alternately hold their breath and cheer them on. Definitely one for the keeper shelf.
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I enjoyed Dangerous Allies very much,and felt it was well written for the most part. However, despite showing us very clearly why Katia had lost her faith in God,the author never explained why Jack had lost his faith,and then without any explanation the last third or fourth of the book,she has these two people suddenly believing in God again and praying to Him,and I didn't see any reason why they had changed their belief,(other than scriptures suddenly coming to Jack's mind frequently)and turn back to God,so I found that unbelievable!

I enjoyed the tension and suspense that such a situation and era provided,and I also liked both the hero and heroine.

Recommended for those who would enjoy suspense in their historical romances.
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By EG on December 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dangerous Allies was a good story! It was a very good read.
Love the characters and it kept me interested. I would like to read other books written by this author.
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Wow! I can see why this book won the 2011 The Daphne Du Maurier Award For Excellence In Mystery/Suspense, Inspirational Division. The intrigue level was exceedingly high for most of the book. I found it very engaging - although not at all restful!

Katarina Kerensky is an exiled Russian princess living in Germany. Horrified at what the Nazi's are doing,she is working for the British, getting them the information they require to help protect Britain & to win against the Germans. An excellent actress on stage, she also uses those skills to play the very dangerous game of espionage. That, & also to hide the fact she & her mother have a very dangerous secret.

She trusts no one. Not even God - He let her down years ago when her father was killed at the hands of the Russians.

Then she meets Friedrich Reiter, her contact for the next mission she has been assigned. He is the first person to get through her guard, knock her off balance, get her thinking about God - & prove himself trustworthy of her secrets & her heart.

Jack Anderson has been working undercover in the SS, is now to meet up with the famous actress. Hardened by the persona he has had to take on, & the things he has had to do, he can't afford to let this beautiful contact turn his head & trust her with his heart.

As one thing after another goes wrong, Jack & Katia forge an alliance to beat the enemy - & find not only a love to last a lifetime, but one also for eternity.

Having greatly enjoyed this book, I now have the 2nd of Renee Ryan's WW2 books on my wish list. Courting the Enemy (Love Inspired Historical) won the 2012 The Daphne Du Maurier Award For Excellence In Mystery/Suspense, Inspirational Division, so am expecting another great read!
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Deep in the Third Reich, Katia Kerensky plays a dangerous game. The dispossessed daughter of a murdered Russian prince, Katia came of age in her mother's German homeland, becoming a popular stage actress. But the princess's most radical role is wrapped up in her deepest secret -- with a Jewish maternal grandparent, Katia works as a spy for the British to defeat the Nazi agenda and secure her mother's protection. Jack Anderson is Katia's latest contact -- an American working for the British in deep cover as one of Himmler's henchmen, the fearsome Friedrich Reiter. The horrors Jack has experienced in order to maintain his cover have stolen his faith in God and humanity, and working with a beautiful, headstrong, and idealistic German contact does not fit into his plans. But in order to secure valuable intelligence, Katia and Jack must take the greatest risk of all -- a leap of faith in each other and the God they both thought had long-since abandoned them.

Dangerous Allies was a nice change of pace for me, a diverting slice of escapist fiction set during my favorite historical time period. In my experience with category romance, its rare to find European-set World War II spy stories, and Ryan has a bit of a flair for crafting characters that feel authentic to the time period, in that they are highly aware of the horrifying dangers facing them during this time period. With the bulk of the novel's action taking place over a 2-3 day time period, Ryan keeps the action moving at a brisk pace and develops a relatively believable romance between her two leads, considering the length constraints of the category romance format. That said, Jack's near constant self-loathing and Katia's obsessive angst grew rather tedious.
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