In the prim and proper world of the British aristocracy, strict rules govern every interaction. But what happens when a lord or lady throws caution to the wind, and ignores all the dictates of propriety? Fabulously indiscreet romances are the result and we’ve chosen three of the best for your enjoyment this month.
THE LADY'S CHAMPION
Shana Galen launches her new series, The Survivors, with Third Son’s A Charm. Handsome, brooding Ewan Mostyn is the third son of the Earl of Pembroke. Estranged from his family after an abusive childhood, Ewan is fiercely loyal to his unit of fellow soldiers, known as Draven’s Dozen. The unit, entirely made up of nobility’s superfluous younger sons, bonded during the war and now each is struggling to adapt to civilian life back in London. Ewan’s work as a bouncer at a gambling club earns him a reputation, which brings him to the notice of the Duke of Ridlington.
The Duke’s daughter, Lady Lorraine Ridlington, is determined to marry a man her parents do not approve of. As it happens, her would-be suitor, Francis Mostyn, is also Ewan’s despised cousin. The prospect of Francis charming the pretty young woman out of her dowry is too much for Ewan to ignore. So he agrees to become a bodyguard—and Lorrie immediately begins plotting to thwart both her father and Ewan by evading them and finding a way to marry Francis.
Lorrie talks—a lot—while Ewan is so stoic that he barely talks at all. But before long, these two seemingly disparate people discover they have much in common. Lorrie begins to see more in Ewan than a handsome face and brawny muscles, while Ewan learns Lorrie has a sharp brain and kind heart in addition to her very pretty exterior.
Third Son’s a Charm is a rare treat. However, it is the honorable, charming and endearing Ewan and Lorrie who are the real stars here. While each is engaging in their own right, together they make up the perfect romantic couple.
A CINDERELLA STORY
Olivia Drake concludes her popular Cinderella Sisterhood series with The Scandalous Flirt. Once the darling of London society, Aurora Paxton caused a scandal when she was caught kissing a gentleman. This youthful misdeed resulted in her banishment to the country. She loves her eccentric Aunt Bernice, but misses her young stepsister and the wider world of bustling city life. Her quiet life changes drastically when a mysterious lady arrives on her doorstep and informs Aurora that her stepmother is being blackmailed and desperately needs her help to uncover the villain. Aurora’s stepsister is currently engaged to a duke and a potential scandal would ruin all her plans. Aurora reluctantly agrees, for her beloved stepsister’s sake. The mysterious lady gifts Aurora with a lovely pair of red silk dancing slippers, and departs.
Aurora arrives in London to find her stepmother as difficult as she remembered, while her stepsister has grown into a lovely young woman. Aurora is shocked to learn the man suspected of blackmail is none other than Lucas Vale, Marquess of Dashell. She met Lucas eight years earlier and even danced with him at a ball. Lucas can hardly believe Aurora Paxton is back in London. He’s never forgotten the dance he shared with Rory eight years earlier but he’s not a fan of young ladies who indulge in scandalous behavior. When Rory confesses her stepmother suspects him of blackmailing her, Lucas is furious. Still, it’s in his best interest to help her solve the case and they join forces. Both try to deny the powerful attraction between them—both are unsuccessful. Thrown together as they play detective and follow clues, it’s difficult to remember all the reasons they can never be together. Will they give up everything to be together? Or will scandal and family tear them apart?
With an intriguing plot, vivid descriptions of Regency England, and a brave hero and wise heroine to cheer for, this excellent novel is sure to keep readers fully absorbed.
Eloisa James launches a new series, The Wildes of Lindow Castle, with Wilde In Love. Handsome, brilliant Lord Alaric Wilde spent several years traveling the world. He published books of his adventures and unbeknownst to him, those tales have made him a celebrity in England. Hordes of women sigh, dream of him and clutch engravings of his portrait to their bosoms. Upon his return to England, Alaric is stunned and appalled to learn he’s famous and quickly flees to his family’s estate in Cheshire.
Miss Willa Ffynche is a guest at the Wilde family castle and although she’s never been a besotted fan of the adventurer, she’s curious to meet him. Both Willa and Alaric are intrigued yet wary of the other, each recognizing an attraction. On her part, Willa knows her very private nature is at odds with Alaric’s very public persona. He will always be famous; she will always crave quiet surroundings. Still, neither can deny there is more than physical desire drawing them. Soon, Alaric openly acknowledges he wants more than friendship from Willa but, smart woman that she is, she refuses his attempts to lure her into romance. When someone from Alaric’s past threatens Willa’s safety, Alaric must risk his life to keep her safe. Faced with the possibility of losing him forever, Willa must confront her fears and decide whether her need for privacy can survive Alaric’s fame.
Alaric and Willa are utterly charming. Their seemingly polar-opposite character traits make for amusing, witty dialogue and James vividly portrays the earthy, witty world of Georgian England. Readers are certain to cheer for this couple and eagerly await the next entry in The Wildes of Lindow Castle.
Lois Dyer writes from her home in Port Orchard, Washington.