THERE COMES A TIME IN A LADY'S LIFE...
Widowed Anna Wren is having a wretched day. After an arrogant male on horseback nearly squashes her, she arrives home to learn that she is in dire financial straits. What is a gently bred lady to do?
WHEN SHE MUST DO THE UNTHINKABLE...
The Earl of Swartingham is in a quandary. Having frightened off two secretaries, Edward de Raaf needs someone who can withstand his bad temper and boorish behavior. Dammit! How hard can it be to find a decent secretary?
AND FIND EMPLOYMENT.
When Anna becomes the earl’s secretary, both their problems are solved. Then she discovers he plans to visit the most notorious brothel in London for his “manly” needs. Well! Anna sees red—and decides to assuage her “womanly” desires . . . with the earl as her unknowing lover.
This is Hoyt's debut book, and she debuted with a bang. It's my favorite book of hers to date. It's touching, all sorts of sexy, and funny. I love the fairy tale as a lead-in to each chapter.
Anna is a wonderful heroine. I loved her willingness to go out there and support herself and her mother-in-law. I really like how she never let her husband's actions get in the way of her relationship with her mother-in-law. I think that says something about a person's character. I love that she saw past Edward's physical flaws to the wonderful man that he was. To the man that he would have... should have been had he not lost his family to smallpox and been scarred himself.
Edward. I loved him. He so wanted to hide all his pain behind an uncaring attitude, but was unable to do so. His caring came out in so many ways. In his compassion and teamwork with his tenants, in his interactions with his friends, to staying up all night with Anna while she helped her friend give birth, and with Anna herself. Even after he discovered her deception.
And the humor. Hoyt's humor is understated, but there nonetheless. One of my favorite scenes is when Anna and Edward are trying to come up with a name for his dog. She's appalled that he hasn't named him yet. She comes up with all sorts of silly names, and finally comes up with one that he likes. They have a bet as to whether the dog will come when called. If he comes, Edward will show Anna around the gardens, and if he doesn't, she will forfeit a kiss. This scene gives a glimpse of the humor and passion lurking behind the relationship. Breathtaking.
He waved a languid hand. "Proceed."
Anna cleared her throat. "Jock!"
Lord Swartingham began to smirk.
Anna drew a deep breath and let loose a most unladylike shriek. "JOCK!"
They both listened for the dog. Nothing.
The earl slowly pivoted to face her, the crunching of his boots in the gravel drive loud in the stillness. They stood only a few feet distant. He took a step, his beautiful, heavy-lidded eyes intent on her face.
Anna could feel the blood pounding in her chest. She licked her lips.
His gaze dropped to her mouth, and his nostrils flared. He took another step, and they were now only a foot apart. As if in a dream, she saw his hands rise and grip her arms, felt the pressure of his big fingers through her mantle and gown.
Anna began to tremble.
He bent his dark head toward hers, and his warm breath caressed her lips. She closed her eyes.
And heard the dog clatter into the yard.
Anna opened her eyes. Lord Swartingham was frozen. Slowly, he turned his head, still only inches from hers, to stare at the canine. The dog grinned back, tongue hanging from his mouth, panting.
"Shit," the earl breathed.
Quite, Anna thought.
Adorable. Jock has quite a personality and plays a wonderful part in this book.
The scene ends after a bit of conversation with this:
She nodded, and the earl snapped his fingers at the dog. As he passed her, she thought she heard him mutter something to the beast. It sounded more like idiot than Jock.
And Hoyt can write a love scene. Wowza. We'll just leave it at hawt.
I just adore this book. Is there anyone out there who hasn't read the Prince trilogy? Most people claim the Serpent Prince as their favorite, but this one is mine.
Waiting now for the conclusion of the Four Soldiers, To Desire a Devil. Not til November :(