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Welcome to my post for the The Earl's Mistress book tour! I have a review coming up, as well as an excerpt and a giveaway for a set of another of Liz Carlyle's series, including A Bride by Moonlight, The Bride Wore Scarlet, and The Bride Wore Pearls. But, before we get to all that, allow me to introduce the book:
Release date: August 26, 2014
Genre: Historical (Regency) Romance
Series: MacLachlan Family & Friends #10
New York Times bestselling author Liz Carlyle creates her darkest, most sensuous story yet, as a delectable but desperate governess runs headlong into the path of a notorious rake...
Women rarely refuse the wicked Earl of Hepplewood, whose daring exploits are only whispered about. But when his new governess answers his proposition with a slap, then stalks out, references in hand, Hepplewood finds more than his face is burning.
Isabella Aldridge has brains, bravado, and beauty—but the latter is no use to a servant. Her circumstances are desperate, and with Hepplewood's words ringing in her ears, Isabella realizes she must barter her most marketable asset . . . her body.
But when fate sends Isabella back into Hepplewood's arms, the earl must make an impossible choice—draw Isabella down into his sensual darkness, or behave with honor for the first time in his life.
My Rating: 4 Roses
Isabella was a good heroine. I liked that she was strong and determined to take care of her sisters and live independently. However, I had some issues with her. She could be a bit self-righteous, somewhat hypocritical, and frustratingly indecisive, mostly regarding her relationship with Anthony. It annoyed me that, even though she chose to become a courtesan, she acted like Anthony forced her into it (and, she wasn't even his mistress for very long, which made that title a bit of a misnomer). However, it wasn't enough to make me actually dislike her, so I ended up being okay with her.
Hepplewood (or Anthony) was better. He came off as cold and distant, but it didn't take long to see beyond that. He was fiercely loyal to his loved ones and would do anything (legal or not) to keep them safe. And, despite his denial of having a conscience, he felt things deeply and blamed himself for more than he could get credit for. I thought he was sweet and wonderful and I adored him.
The romance was lovely. Despite Isabella's issues, I still though that they were sweet together. Even though circumstances were against them, they still fell hard. Not to mention to steaminess going on between them. Definitely enough to turn the heat level waaaaay up.
The plot was fast paced and I was hooked the entire way through. There were a couple of twists and Isabella fought to keep her sisters from the guardianship of her cousin. I really enjoyed the story and the ending was wonderful.
The Earl's Mistress was a lovely historical romance. It was sweet, hot, and an enjoyable read. Romance lovers, this is a book worth checking out.
*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Isabella stepped backward. “Eagerness?” she parrotted, her eyes fixated upon a broad expanse of bare chest.
Hepplewood moved with a languid grace, shaking out his shirt as he came. “I was glad to learn you’d taken my good advice,” he said, shoving an arm in a sleeve, “but the coincidence of the thing did take me aback—as it has you, too, I see.”
But Isabella couldn’t begin to make sense of it; her brain felt stuffed with wool and her lungs had ceased to work. Hepplewood dragged the shirt on, his chest wall rippling as he drew it down his lithe, smoothly muscled torso.
Somehow, she forced her gaze to his face, resisting the urge to run back to the carriage. “I beg your pardon,” she said again, blinking slowly, “but whatare you talking about?”
He propped one hand on the gatepost that still stood upright, his gaze sweeping her length.
“My advice,” he said with a faint smile, “to give up the dull business of governessing for an option that better suits your . . . well, let us call them your God-given attributes.”
Indignation welled up inside Isabella. “How dare you,” she said quietly. “I do not know, Lord Hepplewood, just what sort of deceit you employed to trick me here, but I will have—”
“Mrs. Aldridge,” he interjected, his eyes flashing dangerously as he came around the gatepost.
“I should very much like the two of us to get on, butdeceit and trickery are not insults I’ll tolerate.” He set a large, very firm hand on her forearm. “Do we understand one another?”
But the word coincidence was slowly seeping into her consciousness.
“Surely you don’t mean to claim . . . ” Isabella cut off her words, and tried to draw back. “Surely you aren’t suggesting this is purely—”
“Accidental?” He gave an odd half-smile. “Little in life is. I saw a woman I wished to bed, but alas, she declined. Still, women, to my mind, are very nearly interchangeable. It was no great inconvenience to ask the resourceful Mrs. Litner to find me another raven-haired, violet-eyed beauty willing to slake my lust. Imagine my surprise when she wrote that I should expect you.”
“Dear God.” Isabella tried to back away, but the hand on her arm did not relent. “I don’t believe it.”
“Mrs. Aldridge,” he murmured, his eyes roaming over her face, “you approached Louisa Litner with every intention of marketing yourself in just the fashion I suggested. And she has sent you to—well, let’s be blunt—to charm and to flirt with and to almost certainly warm the bed of one Mr. William Mowbrey, a gentleman of very specific tastes. What can it possibly matter to you that I have turned out to be Mowbrey?”
“I . . . I don’t know.” Isabella tried to think. “It just does.”
“Does it?” His voice dropped, his eyes suddenly heavy. “My dear, you intrigue me.”
“I don’t wish to intrigue you,” she managed, setting a hand against his chest. “I want n-nothing to do with you.”
But she knew it wasn't true; not entirely. More than once during the long drive from London, she had remembered their almost-kiss, and wondered what this man next would be like. Would his eyes flash with fire? Would his touch singe her through her clothes?
Oh, yes. It would.
And she, apparently, was an idiot.
Hepplewood had caught her chin, and was holding it none too gently. “No, Mrs. Aldridge, I was not mistaken in you,” he murmured, his voice thickening. “You are a stunning creature—and very much in need, I think, of being tamed.”
Up for grabs is a full set of Liz Carlyle's St. James Society series, which includes A Bride by Moonlight, The Bride Wore Scarlet, and The Bride Wore Pearls.
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