Tracy’s rating: 3.5/4 of 5 stars
Series: originally published in the Anthology “A Gentleman for All Seasons”
Release Date: June 29, 2016
Peregrine Lochley, the youngest son of Viscount Lochley meets Miss Caroline “Caro” Martin when she helps him free his carriage from the mud. Lochley feels awful for letting her do the work and impulsively invites her and her family to dinner. She asks if his hosts will mind and he assures her it will not be a problem, she is not so sure…
Caro has secrets, there is much speculation about the village about what happened to her 4 years ago after the town’s fair, most people think she was sent away to give birth to a child, but the truth of her time away is much more heartbreaking. She is ruined and her family is avoided and have not been invited to any events since she returned. She knows that once Lochley learns of her scandal, the invitation to dinner will be recalled. But to her complete shock, it isn’t! They go to dinner and she learns that Lochley is known for his ability to pick wine, in fact, he will be judging the wine tasting at the upcoming fair. An event that her family’s vineyard will be entered in. When talk turns wine, Lochley goes to his room to retrieve a bottle and is shocked to find Caro wandering the halls, turns out the host’s sister is a bit of a matchmaker and set them up, but Caro believes the worst of Lochley and thinks he is trying to seduce her and gives him an earful.
Days later their paths meet again and this time she helps him find his way back to his friend’s estate, when they arrive, he kisses her and to her surprise, she likes it – too much. But this begins a friendship of sorts and he meets her again and again. Lochley is falling for her, but when a chance meeting in Tunbridge Wells has him learning the truth of her scandal, he is taken aback and is not sure he can accept the truth. It will take some wise words from his friend Gage and some soul searching, before he comes to a decision, but is it too late? Did his initial reaction hurt Caro too deeply for her to believe his feelings are sincere?
I thought this was a well written, fast paced novella about overcoming the past and learning to forgive yourself. It is filled with a lot of emotion, forgiveness, heartache, acceptance and sweet kisses. I liked Lochley and Caro, but I am not a big fan of the story’s ending, if felt incomplete and a bit unfinished. Overall this was a good story and completely different than your typical Regency but be warned, there are some trigger issues (attempted rape, survivor shame) that might upset some readers.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eBook that was provided to me.*