An Extraordinary Union
Alyssa Cole     

Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Loyal League
Book: 1
Heat Level: Hot

As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past . . .

Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.

Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton's Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.

Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy's favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other . . .

I’m always on the hunt for books with POC that can spark some sort of emotion in me. When the opportunity presented itself to review An Extraordinary Union, I jumped on it. Ms. Cole delivers a blazing passionate story about two people who are forbidden to love one another. From the very first page, I held on to one of the most dangerous and exciting rides that I have been on it a very long time.

Elle Burns is a former slave turned spy for the union. She first meets the hero Malcolm McCall as she was attempting to pass on a message to her superiors. She is slightly shaken to find herself attracted to a white man but she brushes that aside. Her main focus is her job for the union. She is proud to stand up for her people in her country. She is sent on a secret mission to pass as a slave and gather intel.

Malcolm never thought he would see Elle again. They run into each other at Senator Caffrey’s house where both are pretending to be something they are not. Malcolm is immediately drawn to Elle and he doesn’t hesitate to share his feelings with her. She scoffs at the notion that a white man could and would be interested in her. The pursuit begins J

Elle is such a strong female character. I admired that she took risk throughout the whole book. She would give up her freedom to pretend to be a slave to help her fellow men. I think that exhibits such braveness. She never flinches. She can shoot, read, write and is beautiful to match. The only thing against her at this time is that she is African American.

While I loved her, I also wanted to shake her. She fought Malcolm’s advances so hard.

“Get this fool idea out of your head, McCall. I will not have you.”

But you got o love Malcolm because he still sought to shake her stubbornness down. She has cause to hold onto her reservations. Their union is so unlikely but he held fast.

“I know you don’t take me seriously, but I …I feel something when I’m with you.” He saw her face screw up, and kept talking before she could stop him. “I know I’m not entitled to anything. Everything in the world conspires against anything being possible between us, but the world can go screw.”

Malcolm is a gem. He is patient and understanding. He respects Elle and is in awe of her and even tells her so in which she replies, “I know”. She is so cheeky!

Their partnership turns into a romance that is passionate and daring. I loved how in tuned and invested they became in their relationship after a while.

The action picks up at the end and gave substance to the historical plot. I became anxious wanting to know how will Malcolm and Elle get their HEA. Overall, I am pleased with how it ended though I expected to see more of a struggle. The book closes with an introduction to Malcolm’s family. I wonder if future stories will come of them.

Ms. Cole is a gifted storyteller who knows how to bring just the perfect amount of history, action and romance to her book.

~ Samantha