This post is actually for two books, the first is a short story that serves as an introduction to the series and the second is for my review for the first book. Barbara and I will be reviewing the entire series as the books are released – from what I understand each book is already available for preorder on most major formats at a special introductory price of $0.99! There are 12 novellas by 12 authors in the series, which share a common theme, but are all stand alone titles.
Series: The Wicked Earls’ Club, # 0.5
Release Date: December 29, 2017
Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Cute little intro to the series – it is super short and doesn’t really delve into any “Earl” in particular. But, it is informative and gives the reader a little background on the club before jumping into the series.
At the time of this posting, this title was available on Amazon for free!
Series: The Wicked Earls’ Club, #1
Release Date: January 9, 2018
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Luke Bentley, Earl of Sussex is an unrepentant rake, but his days of living wild and free are about to come to an end, his parents have decided that is time for him to settle down and start a family and they have the perfect woman in mind for him -Lady Tabitha Riley, the Duke of Waverly’s daughter.
Luke is convinced that Tabitha aka Tabbie (if my sister Tabitha is reading this – I am so sorry – that is how the author spelled it!) is a boring wallflower and has no desire to marry her. His friends disagree and tell him to meet her before he makes any decisions.
Tabbie is a wallflower – by choice! She is incredibly bright and is a natural born schemer, so when her father tells her about the possible match, she immediately begins to think of ways to avoid being married to Luke. Oh, Luke is handsome and charming, but he is a rake and her previous interactions with him have convinced her that he is not husband material.
When they meet, Tabbie cuts to the heart of the matter immediately, they don’t want to marry, so they must find a way to end this farce without causing a scandal. Luke is taken aback – this shy wallflower is not what he expected – she is lovely, smart and witty. He is even more shocked when he realizes that he desires her. When Tabbie suggests they meet later to discuss their plan, Luke knows it is a bad idea, but he also knows he will being going anyway!
When they meet later, Tabbie tells him her plan, he will be caught with another woman and Tabbie will be free. Luke points out the flaws in her plan and then he kisses her. Luke is shaken down to his toes by the kiss and quickly tells Tabbie he will find a woman and set their plan in motion.
After leaving the estate to return to London, Luke begins to change, he hasn’t had a drink in days and with his mind clear, he sees the man he is and doesn’t really like it. He follows through with his promise and returns to the house party with a woman in tow. But the more he thinks about it, the less he wants to go through with the plan.
Tabbie meets with him and the woman and finds herself a little jealous, but it is for the best, Luke would only break her heart. She leaves to find her father, so they can “catch” Luke in the act with another woman, thus releasing her from having to marry him. But when they enter the room, Luke is alone. When Tabbie manages to get Luke alone, she asks why he blew the plan and he is honest. He says he wants her and would like a chance to get to know her. He asks for time to prove that he can be the man she needs and surprises her by sharing his views on marriage and commitment.
Tabbie agrees to give him time, but she is still sure that there is no such thing as a reformed rake and he will eventually tire of her and move onto the next woman.
These two really are well matched and Luke is much kinder and more understanding with Tabbie than I would have expected. Tabbie will struggle with her feelings and trust issues, but will she be willing to risk all to gain the love of a lifetime?
The story is very well written, flows nicely and is very fleshed out for a novella. There is witty banter, somewhat steamy love scenes, wonderful characters and enough twists and turns to keep the story interesting.
This is the first book in the Wicked Earls Club collaboration series and Ms. Anderson has set the bar high for her fellow authors. While the story was not technically perfect, I enjoyed it and would be happy to recommend it.