ORDER A COPY: His Mistress by Christmas
Publishing Date: September 27, 2011
Hardcover: 312 pages
Rating: 4 stars
For three years, Lady Veronica Smithson has been a happy, independent widow. Still, the right gentleman could provide the benefits of marriage without the tedious restrictions. And in Sir Sebastian Hadley-Attwater, renowned explorer and rogue, Veronica is sure she has found him.
Sebastian will inherit his fortune in a matter of weeks—if his family deems him responsible enough. There’s no better way to prove his maturity than with a home and a wife. But though the lovely Veronica will share his bed, she refuses to marry.
An intimate sojourn at his new country house will surely change her mind. For Sebastian never takes no for an answer. And even in the midst of mischief-making relatives and unexpected complications, he intends to persuade his Christmas mistress that they belong together—in this and every season to come…
Lady Smithson lost her beloved husband after years of blissful marriage. It has been three years now and Veronica is ready to move on. Since title and fortune are already hers, she does not wish to be saddled with a husband. Lady Smithton simply wants a lover, and she has set her sights on Sebastian.
Sir Sebastian Hadley-Attwater has returned home after years of travel to exotic locations. He has purchased an estate and is now ready to settle down and write his many adventures. That is until he meets Lady Smithson and his thoughts turn to having a beautiful, intelligent and vibrant wife to settle down with.
When Veronica turns down Sebastian’s offer of marriage, indicating her desire to be his mistress, he decides to take her to his new home in hopes that he will seduce her into accepting his offer to be his wife. Everything is going quite well until his family drops in for Christmas to meet his new wife Then things are just starting to get interesting.
This was a delightful story and Veronica and Sebastian are wonderful together. Veronica reminds me of an older and more mature Lizzy Bennett with her quick wit and playfulness, but unlike Lizzy’s Mr. Darcy, Sebastian is not the least stuffy and enjoys his banter with Veronica.
I can see the other characters being set up for futures stories. Although I appreciate that several of the characters are widows and the use of the mature, experienced woman will lead to more interesting stories lines than the usual innocent maidens, but with more than half of the characters introduced being widows and widowers whose spouses died very early in the marriages, it makes me feel like you only have a small chance for your main characters to have a HEA that will last until a golden anniversary.
“Did you think I wasn’t coming?” A voice sounded behind him.
He bit back a satisfied grin, stood, and turned toward her. “Not for moment.”
She raised a skeptical brow.
“Very well, then, in the interest of honesty, I confess.” He laughed. “There was a moment, possibly two, when I had my doubts.”
“I’m not sure if I’m gratified or disappointed.”
“You strike me as the kind of man who is supremely confident about everything.”
“I am.” He took her hand and raised it to his lips, his gaze never leaving hers. “Except, perhaps about you.”
“My, that is gratifying and quite delightful.” She smiled. “You do that exceptionally well, you know.”
He could feel the heat of her gloved hand in his. Her scent wafted around him. A vague mix of enticing spice and exotic flowers that suggested not so much the markets of the mysterious East that he had stepped foot in but those places he’d never been. The hidden harems of that concealed world—secret and erotic and unexplored. His stomach tightened. He cleared his throat. “Do what?”
“Kiss my hand while staring into my eyes.” Her tone was light, but her eyes simmered. “It’s quite effective, you know.”
“However”—she removed her hand from his—“it is entirely too practiced.”
“But it is effective?”
“Oh my, yes.”
He stifled a satisfied smile. “Even on you?”
“Goodness, Sebastian.” She tilted her head and studied him. “I am female and subject to the same desires as any woman. Even if I am far too intelligent to be taken in by them.”
He grinned. “Pity.”
“Indeed it is,” she said under her breath…