Published by Entangled: Scandalous on August 14th 2017
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Lady Evie Chesterfield is a darling of the ton who refuses to become engaged. She’s been desperately in love with her brother’s friend, Richard Maitland, Marquess of Westfall, since forever. But the dark, dangerous marquess only sees her as a friend and refuses to marry any woman. When circumstances change and Evie has no choice but to take a husband, she decides to convince London’s most notorious gentleman to marry her by seducing the scoundrel.
Richard Maitland decided long ago that he wanted nothing to do with love. So when the gorgeous, off-limits Evie asks him for lessons in seduction, Richard knows he’s playing with fire. Despite Richard’s determination to protect her from his dastardly reputation, he is tested at every turn by his need for the infuriating, but enticing, Lady Evie. Before too long he is faced with making an impossible choice…
Lady Evie hatches a daring plan to secure her marquess…
“I need lessons in seduction.”
“Bloody hell. If you must work to ensnare your gentleman’s regard, he is a bloody fool,” Richard said gruffly. “You are beautiful, Evie. Clever, witty, and kind. He should be damn well fortunate you would consider him.” He scrubbed a hand over his face. “Who is this idiot?”
You, my darling. “I would rather not say.”
“Why in damnation not?”
“I already know you are going to investigate Ponsby, as you did all the other suitors who have approached me over the years. I would…prefer you not to do so with my secret gentleman.”
“And if I gave you my word?”
“I will still be directed by my desires and withhold his name from you.”
“And what makes you think I have any notion of what in God’s name you must do to attract this buffoon?”
Evie couldn’t help laughing. “Rumors says you’ve had various lovers—actresses, famed courtesans, ladies belonging to high society and ladies of questionable morals. Surely you have some idea of how they caught you so thoroughly?”
“Perhaps it was I who caught them,” he said with some amusement and with such arrogant superiority she wanted to slap him.
She settled with an inelegant shrug. “Unquestionably it was mutual.”
“And what do I get from this?”
“You get to make a dear friend the happiest of women.”
After a pulse of silence, he responded, “And that is all the incentive I need.”
A wide smile split her face, and he sucked in a harsh breath. Evie pushed out her hand for him to shake. He held her palm lightly. “Then we have a bargain. You will teach me how to kiss properly, in secret of course, how to flirt, and you will attend balls and dance with me so that he can be dreadfully jealous.”
Richard shook her hand. “I may be present at a few balls, I may dance with you, I may give you meaningful insight on how to attract this unmitigated idiot, but there will certainly be no kisses.”
It was something, Evie conceded grudgingly, but just not quite what she needed. “And why no kisses?”
The air tightened with an unexpected tension, and the pulse jumped in her throat.
“That would be too dangerous.”
“You have kissed me before.”
A powerful heat flared in the depth of his gaze. “That has no bearing on how we must go forward now. And those kisses were chaste.”
“Chaste? You’ve intrigued me, Richard, I quite thought at the time they were illicit and daring. Are you suggesting there is more?”
He narrowed his gaze in warning.
She pursed her lips. “You would prefer I seek someone else’s tuition for lessons on how to kiss properly?”
“Good Christ, I implied nothing of the sort.”
“Without lessons in the art of delicate seduction, I am certain I am to muck it up. The very idea is intolerable.”
He swallowed, at an apparent loss of word as she moved to sit beside him. She quite liked ruffling the feathers of a man of the world like Richard. Acting on pure feminine instinct, she lifted the veil from her face and lightly kissed the firm side of his jaw. Her heart pounded an exhilarating yet terrifying tempo. When he didn’t shift from her tentative exploration, her anxiety lessened, and her curiosity increased. How far could she tempt him?
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~~Reviewed by Lisa~~
This is a wonderful story of steadfast love, devotion, and faith in one man and the man that is slow on the uptake. We have Lady Evelyn “Evie” Gladstone, daughter of an earl and the darling of the ton and Lord Richard George Maitland, the spare to the heir of the Duke of Salop. They meet when she is 16 and he is 24. They form an unusual friendship, in that they are of the opposite sex and they are not showing any signs of courting or marriage. They have an easy way about them, they are great confidantes to each other and they both feel complete and at ease in the other’s presence.
Through the following six years: Richard is betrayed by a woman he thought he loved, he becomes the Marquess of Westfall after the untimely death of his brother, Evie uses some interesting tactics to dissuade would be proposals, and their friendship grows. Through the betrayal, Richard makes a decision that is frowned upon by the ton, becomes persona non-grata, is estranged from his family and becomes a man with a mission.
This story is wonderfully written, we see the changes in Richard and they are not all for the better. At times, it reminded me of Beauty and the Beast and Evie has the touch to bring the beast around, if he would only stop and get out of his own way. He is so caught up in HIS mission that he fails to SEE Evie for the strong woman that she has grown into. The conversations are well done. This is the third in the Wedded by Scandal series and can be read as a standalone book. Ms. Reid has given us just enough information to make it a seamless story when mentioning the other book’s characters. The sprinkles of their friends are perfect in their ability to make Richard rethink his stance and in helping Evie to stand up for herself and what she wants in her life and her HEA. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey and I am looking forward to finding out about Richard’s sister, Phoebe.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.