Series: The Four Hundred, #2
Release Date: April 24, 2018
I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book!
Lady Eva Hyde, daughter of the famous architect E.M. Hyde, Lord Cassell and the holder of the unfortunately nickname Lady Unlucky (because of her 3 deceased fiancés) is on her way to New York to oversee the biggest project of her career. Too bad everyone believes it is her father’s design.
Eva meets Phillip on the ship, she literally runs into him she introduces herself as Evelyn and helps him with his sea sickness, days later during a storm, they meet again and after too much champagne, they share a passionate encounter. Phillip tries to find her the next morning, but she is gone.
Phillip Mansfield is the owner and developer of the hotel, the Mansfield Hotel will be his legacy, he has hired only the best for the project, including famed architect E.M. Hyde. He is back in New York and ready to start his hotel project, but he can’t stop thinking of Evelyn, so when she arrives on his job site, he is shocked and then angry when he learns who she is. Phillip cannot abide deceit, he has been burned by a woman before and has a real problem trusting any woman. He takes Eva back to his office and learns that her father is ill and sent her in his place. Eva doesn’t reveal the truth about her father’s illness or that she is in fact the true designer of the hotel. Phillip agrees to let her stay on as long as she promises to stay in constant contact with her father and that she doesn’t use her real name, she agrees, she needs this job, her father is no longer competent, his memory is gone and Eva has been designing projects under his name for two years. Added to that is the fact he needs constant care and due to poor financial decisions, they are practically penniless. She cannot lose this job! They also agree to keep their relationship professional and forget about what they shared on the ship. Phillip suggests they consider themselves friends.
Eva is staying with her dear friend Lady Nora (heroine from the first book) and confesses all to her, Nora tells her she should tell Phillip the truth, but Eva wants time to prove herself. But that is going to be difficult, it seems that everyone is against her running the project. Union reps threaten Phillip, the General Contractor causes problems with her and demands that Phillip keeps her off the site, which causes problem with his relationship with Eva.
Phillip has other problems besides Eva, his mother is pushing Miss. Rebecca Hall in his path, he has told his mother repeatedly that he doesn’t want to marry. Becca is a lovely woman, but he feels nothing for her besides friendship. He knows Becca doesn’t want him either, but when he learns why, he agrees to “court” her to keep their parents at bay.
When Eva meets with the city building inspector and irons out the problems that have shut down the project. Phillip invites her out to celebrate, he wants an affair, but the risk is too high for her. He asks her to consider it. He takes her to see the new Madison Square Garden building and she is awed. She is touched that Phillip knows her so well and decides to take the risk and they embark on a heated affair.
Things are moving along, both personally and professionally for them, but Eva feels guilty about her lies, she decides to tell Phillip everything, but before she can, everything falls apart.
With her life in shambles, Eva flees to Newport and gets advice and support from an unexpected source. She returns to New York, intent on righting her wrongs.
Phillip will have to face some hard truths and make some serious decisions, is he willing to swallow his pride and grovel? Will that be enough to save his hotel and win back the woman he loves?
This book was fantastic, I couldn’t put it down once I started reading, there is a lot going on, but it never feels busy and the story stays on track even with all the little side plots and twists and turns. It is well written, flows perfectly, has steamy love scenes, a little angst, betrayal, some heartache, lies, secrets, drama, witty banter, great secondary characters, a great epilogue and a very, very hard won HEA.
This is the second book in the series, but it can easily be read as a stand alone title. I cannot recommend this book enough, it is definitely going on my re-read list!
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC provided to me by Edelweiss and the publisher*