The Determined Lord Hadleigh
Haunted by Penny Penhurst’s courage on the witness stand, meticulous barrister Lord Hadleigh offers her a housekeeper position at his estate. Despite trying to stay detached, Hadleigh is charmed by her small child and surprised by how much he yearns for this proud woman! Can this he break through his own – and Penny’s – barriers to prove he’s a man she can trust…and love?
Purchase Link – http://viewbook.at/kingselite4
This is an exceptionally fine ending for this well-written, well-plotted series. The characters are all wonderful and you get to spend time with all of the earlier heroes and heroines. To make it even better, at the end, we see all of them ten years into the future and learn what has happened in their lives during that time. It is one of the best endings (book or series) I’ve read in a long time!
The King’s Elite has been pursuing a traitorous band of smugglers throughout this series. They aren’t your ordinary smugglers; they are aristocrats from the highest echelons of the Beau Monde. All sorts of goods are brought into England – liquors, laces, whatever is wanted – and they are exchanged for guns and ammunition to aid Napoleon. In the first three books, the ring members were slowly and painstaking identified and rounded up and a member of the King’s Elite found his HEA in each. This book features the Crowns Prosecutor, Viscount Tristan Hadleigh and Lady Penelope (Penny) Penhurst, widow of the traitorous Viscount Penhurst who was murdered in prison so that he couldn’t provide States Evidence. This book is slower paced than the others. There are no exciting life and death situations, etc. It is just a romantic journey between two troubled souls while preparing for the Trial of the Century.
The Crown wanted to make an exception of Viscount Penhurst, so they impeached him, reverted his title and estate to the Crown and tried him, not in the House of Lords, but as a commoner in the regular judicial system. Every day of the trial, Hadleigh watched Lady Penhurst as she stoically attended the trial. He admired her courage and dignity. He appreciated that even more when, upon cross-examination of her testimony, she willingly testified against her husband – offering much more than he’d even asked.
Lady Penhurst is now penniless, homeless, and has a young son to care for. Hadleigh can’t stand the idea of a gently bred, lovely young woman trying to exist on her own in Cheapside, so he does his best to surreptitiously help her – until she finds out. Then she peels the skin from his hide. How dare he try to control her – no matter how well-meaning he is. She has just escaped an abusive and controlling man and she will absolutely never allow anybody to have control over her again. She will manage to support herself and her son – after all, she is the daughter of merchants and she can find a way to support herself.
Lord Hadleigh has secrets himself. Something about Lady Penhurst pulls him – maybe it is because she reminds Hadleigh of his mother who was also abused. He couldn’t help his mother, but maybe he can help Lady Penhurst.
When the Crown needs to bring Lady Jessamine (Book 2 – The Uncompromising Lord Flint) to London to prepare her as a witness in the final trials of the case, Hadleigh realizes he can kill two birds with one stone. He offers his closed and boarded-up family estate to the Crown for housing the witnesses and to act as a place for the King’s Elite to work out of while they are near London. Then, he persuades his superiors to hire Lady Penhurst as the housekeeper. It is only for the few weeks before the trial, but it is an opportunity for her and her son to be safe and maybe build up a bit of a nest egg while she decides what to do next.
I absolutely adored both Lady Penhurst and Lord Hadleigh. It isn’t often that I like both main characters equally, but I did this time. They both had so many hurts buried deep inside – and each was just what the other needed in order to heal. It took them a bit to get there – especially Lady Penhurst – but it was glorious when they finally made it.
I highly recommend this book and this series. There is enough detail that you could read this as a stand-alone book, but you would be missing so very much if you don’t read the first books in the series.
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When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace insomnia and start writing them down. Despite that, it still takes her forever to fall asleep.