Release Date: May 2, 2017
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC provided to me by the author*
Before I read this book I had never heard of Jessica Cale. Now that I have read this book – I wonder why people are not shouting from the rooftops about her! What a fantastic story this was – it is set in Restoration Era England – Southwark to be precise. This is not a light, fluffy read – there are no ballrooms, no Lords and Ladies, no fancy gowns and jewels – it is a gritty read and I LOVED IT!!
Before I started this book, I emailed Ms. Cale and asked if there was anything I needed to know before I started this book as it is the fourth in the series and I hadn’t read the previous books. She assured me that this title could easily be read as a stand alone title, but did warn me that Meg was the “villain” in the second book. And she was absolutely right, even without her little heads up about Meg – I never felt lost or bewildered while reading this story.
Meg has been running the family’s inn for years, even before her father has passed away, it has not been easy but she has managed to keep the inn going. Meg has not had an easy life, she was “sold” by her father to pay a debt and has been ill used by men ever since. She is gorgeous and known far and wide for her famous temper and her equally famous bosom. She comes across as strong, sensual and totally in control, but she longs for a love of her own. She has had lovers by the legion, but none that would ever wed her or offer her more than a few nights of pleasure – until she meets Jake.
Jake’s life took a swift downward turn when he lost his family, his betrothed and his livelihood in the Great Fire. Alone and without options, he became a fighter. Now at 38 with a bad leg and hands that are broken and unable to do much more than fight – he finds himself adrift. His promoter has let him go and once again finds himself alone and without options – until he chances upon a barroom brawl at Meg’s inn.
Jake clears the bar and offers his services to Meg. Meg has lusted after Jake for years (and he her) and she is a little star stuck when she meets him – but in typical Meg fashion she takes control and strikes a bargain with Jake.
I don’t want to give too much away – but this story is amazing – it is well written, flows perfectly, has many ups and downs, a lot of sexual tension, some violence, some HOT love scenes, some heartbreaking moments, some sweet moments, a few laugh out loud moments, a redemption of sorts, great secondary characters and true soulmate love. These two have so much to overcome – religious prejudice, social prejudice and past loves/lovers -that at times it seems impossible for them to have a HEA – but when they do – SIGH….
I highly recommend this book and will definitely be reading more of Ms. Cale’s work!