Published by Forever on September 25, 2018
Purchase: Amazon, Kobo
After Waterloo, Eli Dawes, Earl of Rivers, was presumed dead-and would have happily stayed that way. He's no longer the reckless young man he once was, and only half as pretty. All he wants is to hide his scars away in his country home. But when he returns home and tries to sneak into his old bedroom in the middle of the night, he's shocked to find someone already there.
Rose Hayward remembers Eli as an arrogant rake who helped her late fiancé betray her. Finding him stealing into the house currently rented by Haverhall School for Young Ladies doesn't correct her impression. Her only thought is to get him to leave immediately. Yet the tension between them is electric, and her painter's eye can't help but admire him, scars and all. He might be back from the dead, but now Rose will do anything to make him feel truly alive.
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
Last Night with the Earl is the second book in The Devils of Dover series by Kelly Bowen. Although it’s part of a series it can easily be read as a standalone story.
Eli Dawes had the reputation of an arrogant rake before he left for Waterloo. He came back a different man. Wounded in the war he actually stayed in Europe well after it finished, not letting his family know that he was alive. It was only after he was found by somebody sent by his family solicitor who told him his father was dead and he was needed back home to take up his new role as Earl of Rivers, that he did indeed return. The last thing he wants is to take up life in London so he decides to go to his home in Dover, one that has been empty for years apart from a skeleton staff. He doesn’t want to face anybody, even staff, so he gains access to the house via a window that he knew he could jimmy open.
Making his way to his rooms in the dark he is shocked to find himself grabbed from behind by a woman who was holding a knife to his neck believing him to be an intruder. That woman turns out to be somebody he has known for years and has secretly loved. A love that he could do nothing about because she was in a relationship with his best friend.
Rose Hayward is that woman. A lot has changed since Eli went to Waterloo including the fact that this house is now rented and used by the Haverhall School for Young Ladies. They offer summer classes teaching young ladies to paint. Rose is one of the teachers. Rose was extremely hurt by her fiance leaving her, and also by Eli, who she thought was her friend, being involved in the break-up and her pain. To say they were both shocked to find themselves in the position they are in now is an understatement, especially as Rose thought that Eli was dead.
What follows is watching as Eli and Rose discover each other again, and how they both have to learn to deal with their demons before they can give in to the strong attraction they are feeling towards each other. Rose has to learn that Eli had nothing to do with the heartbreak she suffered in the past and that Eli is very much a changed man. Eli has to discover exactly how much Rose had suffered and how it changed her in ways he could never have realised.
This book had some beautiful heartfelt moments, not least a scene where Eli and Rose are shown a very rare painting that has Rose fall to her knees with emotion. Or another time when Eli is talking about what happened to him in the war. There are also plenty of light-hearted and romantic moments to keep a good balance in the book and I absolutely loved it. This is a story with a perfect ending which I wholeheartedly recommend.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.