ORDER A COPY:Too Wicked to Wed (Lords of Midnight)
Publishing Date: November 1, 2011
Paperback: 349 Pages
Rating: 5 stars
Outspoken and independent, Lady Alexa Bingham enjoys the heady freedom of making all her own decisions, even though the challenges of overseeing her family’s country estate are daunting. But when a chance encounter with London’s most notorious rake awakens a secret longing for adventure, she accepts her aunt’s invitation for a Season in Town . . . only to find that breaking the rules of the ton has serious consequences.
The Earl of Killingworth uses his rakehell reputation to hide the fact that poverty has forced him to work for a living. As the owner of a gambling den and brothel, Connor has no time for glittering ballrooms or innocent young ladies. But after a reckless wager leaves him with a new business partner, he is forced to take a risky gamble . . . Will the cards fall in their favor? Alexa and Connor begin to play a dangerous game of intrigue and deception as they seek to outwit a cunning adversary who wants to put them permanently out of business. But if they are not careful, it is the flames of their own fiery attraction that may destroy them.
When Lady Alexa Hendrie needed help from Connor Linsley, the Earl of Killingworth, to find her brother, she didn’t know the meeting would change her life. Her attraction to Connor was dangerous for a young country girl. Especially a girl like Alexa who always manages to ignore the stifling rules of society which shackle young woman to drawing rooms and husband hunting. Alexa is too intelligent for that nonsense. She has studied finances, farming and all other unsuitable studies for young ladies. She has taken up the running of the family estate, and her good business sense has significantly increased the family holdings.
Connor, better known by the gentlemen of society as The Irish Wolfhound, is the owner of The Wolf’s Den, a gaming house and brothel. Connor is a self-made man, earning his own fortunes, after his father gambled away everything but his title. Connor is also a certified bachelor and rake. But he is enough of a gentleman to know he needs to keep his distance from the frustrating but intriguing young Lady Alexa.
After a game of chance has Alexa winning half of The Wolf’s Den, Connor and Alexa need to come to an understanding on their partnership since someone is desperate to destroy their business.
As they work together to find the villain trying to harm them, can a sweet country lass reform a rake so that they can begin a new type of partnership?
I love a strong heroine, and have been disappointed with most of the historical romances I have read lately. It seemed that although most of the historical heroines don’t sit around anymore wringing their hands waiting to be rescued, most are too busy waiting in the ballroom for the right husband to come along and they are too worried about having the proper lace to be all that interesting.
Alexa is more a modern heroine sent back to the past. She doesn’t want to sit around learning how to sew pillows and play the harpsichord. She learned how to manage the business of her family estate and to make it profitable. She’s smart and wants to be useful. Although she does have some issues with self-esteem (who doesn’t) due to the constant barrage of society and relatives telling her that her behavior as well as her sun-kissed looks are out of line with the current wants of the ladies of society. She is used to being dismissed by men as just being a woman and by woman as not being lady like. But she does not let that stop her from being herself.
Connor is a bit of a grumpy, lone wolf. He is too used to taking care of himself and seems a bit uncomfortable when someone shows him concern or friendship. Although he is quick to snap, he is still a likeable character and it is interesting to watch him soften up to Alexa.
There is the whole intrigue of who is trying to harm Connor’s business which kept the story moving, along, but to me the more interesting part of the story were these two characters.
This was a very enjoyable story. I had this cued in Netgalley for some time now and kept re-downloading it because it sounded so good. I am glad that I finally moved it to the top of my reading list since it was a truly enjoyable story.
I definitely will be reading Too Tempting to Resist which features one of Connor’s very charming friends. The next book comes out in April.
Received copy from Netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher.
The Wolfhound gave a harsh laugh. “Nosy Little kitten, aren’t you? Seb ought to lock you in your room, before you stray into real trouble.”
Alexa fisted her hands and set them on her hips. “Ha! Let him try.”
“You have spirit, I’ll grant you that.” He paused for a moment. “Still interested in making a deal?”
“What is your price?”
Her face must have betrayed her surprise, for he flashed a rakish smile. “Haven’t you ever been kissed before?”
She sucked in a sharp breath. “O-of course I have.”
“Oh, I think not,” drawled the Wolfhound. “I’d be willing to wager a fortune that no man has ever slid his tongue deep into your mouth and made you moan with pleasure.”
“Why, you impudent whelp—”
Her words were cut off by the ruthless press of his mouth. He tasted of smoke and spirits—and a raw, randy need that singed her to her very core. She swayed and suddenly the Wolfhound swept her into his arms. With several swift strides, he crossed the carpet and pinned her up against the wall, setting off a wicked whisper of crushed silk and flame-kissed flesh.
Alexa meant to cry out, but as he urged her lips apart and delved inside her, outrage gave way to a strange, shivering heat. Her protest melted, turning to naught but a whispered sigh. As did her body. Against all reason, it yielded to his touch, molding to every contour of his muscled frame. Broad shoulders, lean waist, corded thighs—Alexa was acutely aware of his overpowering masculinity. The scent of brandy and bay rum filled her lungs, and the rasp of his stubbled jaw was like a lick of fire against her cheek.
She knew that she should push him away. Bite, scratch, scream for help.
And yet. And yet…
And yet, as his hands moved boldly over her bodice and cupped her breasts, she could not resist threading her fingers through his silky gray-threaded hair. Like the rest of him, the sensation was sinfully sensuous.
A moment later—or was it far, far longer?—the Wolfhound finally ceased his shameless embrace and leaned back.
“A man could do far worse on the Marriage Mart than to choose you,” he said softly. “For at least he will likely not be bored in bed. Indeed, I might even be tempted to swive you myself, if innocence as at all to my taste.”