“Lord Nicholas is a paragon of manhood. And his eyes, Dear Reader! So blue!” Pearls & Pelisses, June 1823
Since being named on of London’s “Lords to Land” by a popular ladies’ magazine, Nicholas St. John has been relentlessly pursued by every matrimony-minded female in the ton. So when an opportunity to escape fashionable society presents itself, he eagerly jumps—only to land in the path of the most determined, damnably delicious woman he’s ever met!
The daughter of a titled wastrel, Lady Isabel Townsend has too many secrets and too little money. Though used to taking care of herself quite handily, her father’s recent passing has left Isabel at sea and in need of outside help to protect her young brother’s birthright. The sinfully handsome, eminently eligible Lord Nicholas could be the very salvation she seeks.
But the lady must be wary and not do anything reckless…like falling madly, passionately in love.
This book was a guilty pleasure to read on a slow day, but the plot was very predictable, and I found the characters lacking oomph. Isabel is an Earl's daughter who runs a house in the country, taking in women who need shelter from their abusive husbands or are running for some other reason. It's her job to keep these women hidden, but the house becomes compromised when a Duke's sister runs away to seek shelter there after becoming pregnant. The Duke hires a friend to find the chit and bring her back. Nicholas St. John used to be a well known tracker in his days of traveling the world, but now he's known for his love of antiques and holds a vast knowledge of them. He does the Duke a favor by agreeing to find his sister, but when he catches her scent, he finds more than he bargains for in the house's mistress, Isabel.
Isabel is on her last financial leg, without a farthing to her name to rub against another. She has a vast collection of antiques that she decides to grudgingly sell, and it's just her luck that Nicholas is in town for reasons unknown to her. She asks him to appraise her statues, and thus brings the wolf into the chicken coop. She has so many secrets that she draws Nick in, and they both are drawn to the other even though Isabel knows she can't trust him. She barely knows him!
But Nick has always had a thing for damsel's in distress, and this particular damsel calls to his blood. He can't deny her or the trouble she's found herself in and desires to protect her from the hardships of her life, and in doing so wants to learn her secrets and bare the burden with her.
That's the overall jist of the story. I didn't really get into the romance. It was too sudden and things just felt forced in this book, which was disappointing. Nothing was really a shocker, and I was able to set the book down if something else came up.
However, I did enjoy Nick's character immensely from the first book. He's the 2nd son of his father and brother to the current Marques, but he has a fortune of his own that he's amassed over the years. He has a sense of humor that was charming, but he's supposed to be this brilliant man which I saw little evidence of. It was more of a plot device to bring Isabel and Nick together. Isabel is kind of annoying with her constant trust issues after Nick has done nothing but prove he wants to help her with her issues, but she does learn to trust him eventually. And not too late either before she loses the man she loves.
It's a good book, just not spectacular. HOWEVER I'm reading the 3rd book in the series now, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heat, which already has captivated me and shows a lot of promise to be just as good as the first novel. It's sad to say this particular book was lukewarm at best in both characterization and plot. Nothing got my blood pumping.
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