The Earl of Basingstoke by Aileen Fish

Earl of Basingstoke: Wicked Regency Romance (Wicked Earls' Club)Earl of Basingstoke: Wicked Regency Romance by Aileen Fish
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Wicked Earls’ Club, #5

Release Date: February 6, 2018

I really enjoyed this installment of the Wicked Earls’ Club and for a relatively short novella, there is quite a bit going on!!

Lady Phoebe Woodson, she has been infatuated with Nathan Curruthers, Earl of Basingstoke since she met him three years ago, too bad he doesn’t remember her… She writes fantasy “on dit” about the two of them in her journal and has been warned by more than one person to get over her infatuation of him and find a nice man. But Phoebe still holds out hope that Nathan will finally “see” her and they will fall in love and live happily ever after.

Nathan has been thinking of finding a wife, the ton believes him to be wicked and that he fathered an illegitimate son, but he longs for a simple life and at 29 he believes it is time. So he begins his search, he arrives at Almacks (thankfully his mother is friends with Lady Sefton!) to begin his “hunt”. He spots Phoebe and is immediately interested, he begs for an introduction and is promptly mortified to learn that they had already been introduced. He asks her to dance. Phoebe is floored, she must be dreaming because the man of her dreams has just asked her to dance and seems interested in her. But all too soon her mother drags her away.

Nathan calls on Phoebe, he is smitten, she is everything he never knew he wanted and he wonders how long he will have to wait before he can ask for her hand. But not everyone is happy with his interest in her, her parents are dead set against a match, but her mother allows her to spend time with him, thinking she will see his true colors and find a better man.

But Phoebe and Nathan are clearly meant to be and things progress between them and it seems like a HEA is inevitable. But then a nasty rumor is printed in the gossip pages saying Phoebe was seen leaving Nathan’s house in the middle of the night and her father forbids her to associate with him. Phoebe is still not ready to give up, she meets with him in private and they make plans to see each other at upcoming events, but Nathan doesn’t show. Days later, she sees him while visiting the menagerie with friends and he is not alone, he has a young boy who must be his son with him. The gentleman she is with makes cruel remarks and Nathan leaves, angry that Phoebe is not the woman he believed her to be. But when he returns later and she is still there, she apologizes for the man and strikes up a conversation with Ben. Nathan knows he judged her too harshly and they reconcile.

Nathan is planning on asking for her hand and is excited for a future with her. But when his friend shows him her journal and the gossip pages are almost an exact match, Nathan believes he has been played. He heads to the newspaper to find out if his suspicions are true but gets no answers. As he is returning, he runs in to Phoebe, she is heading towards the paper and he assumes the worst and without letting her speak, ends things with her.

Phoebe is heartbroken, she has no idea what happened to turn Nathan away from her and can’t figure out a way to make things right. Nathan is equally unhappy and hopes in time his heart will heal enough for him to try and find love again.

It seems like all hope for a happy ending is lost, until one very determined Duchess gets involved and sets Nathan straight. But is it too late? And will the secrets he has been keeping prevent them from having their hearts desire?

This was a very well written, fast moving novella. There are no love scenes, save a kiss at the end, but there is quite a bit of angst and heartache, a fair number of misunderstandings, a hero who needs a smack up side the head and finally a HEA.

** This review is for the UPDATED edition of the novella released on 2/6/18

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