Series: The Outcasts, #1
Release Date: June 26, 2018
WOW – This book was amazing and the blurb does not do it justice.
Lady Euphemia “Mia” Marlington spent 17 years as a concubine in Sultan Baba Hassan’s palace. She was captured as a young girl by barbary pirates while enroute to a convent school. But with the death of the sultan, she was able to escape and has returned to England. At the age of 32, she is no simpering debutante, but her father is determined to marry her off. Mia goes along with his plan, because she has secrets and plans of her own, which necessitate a husband.
Adam de Courtney, Marquess of Exley, is not in the market for another wife. After the mysterious death of his first two wives, he has been labeled the Murderous Marquess by the ton and is basically a pariah. He has 3 young daughters and does need an heir, but what family would marry their daughter off to a man who may have killed his first two wives? The Duke of Carlisle! Mia’s father invites Adam to a dinner to meet his daughter. Adam is at first not interested, but his curiosity is peaked. When he meets Mia, he is shocked, she is definitely not the ugly crone he was expecting and the brief conversation he shared with her has only increased his interest.
He calls on her two days later and proposes, she accepts. They marry and Adam totally botches their wedding night. Mia needs to get things going between them, she promised him an heir and she intends to keep that promise, but she also plans to leave him. When Adam asks her to attend the theater, she gladly accepts and is delighted by his friends. She also has a confrontation with his former mistress and I loved not only Mia’s reaction, but Adam’s as well. Too often, authors have the hero treat the heroine badly and defend the “other woman” even if he is no longer with her and that annoys the heck out of me but thankfully that is not the case in this book! As they ride home, he is expecting her to confront him about the mistress, but she doesn’t say a word. He is relieved and asks her to join him for a drink. They play cards and eventually make their way to the bedroom.
They spend the next few days getting to know one another and delight in each other’s company. It is clear that they are falling in love, but they are both keeping secrets and Mia still plans to leave. They finally retire to his estate and she meets his daughters. Adam is happy for the first time in years, Mia is everything he could ever want. When they discover that she is pregnant, he is over the moon. Mia realizes she cannot leave, she is in love with Adam, but she can’t desert her son. She decides that she will send him money and recruits a handsome footman to help her. But Adam walks in and misunderstands the scene. He is heartbroken and angry, he has been duped again. Mia tries to bluff her way out of the awkward scene, but only makes things worse. Adam shuts her out completely. She doesn’t know how to make things right and then learns distressing news about her son. She believes she has no choice and leaves Adam.
When Adam learns she left, he immediately follows and when he learns the truth is hurt all over again that she didn’t trust him. With so many secrets and so much distrust is there anyway these two can find their way back to each other?
This was an incredible story, with likable leads, steamy love scenes, secrets, lies, wonderful secondary characters, some action and adventure and finally an emotional and beautiful ending AND an epilogue set years later. There are a couple of little title/address errors, but I assume those will be corrected before publication and really didn’t distract me from the story. I loved this story and cannot wait for the next book featuring Hugh! Highly Recommended!
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*