Series: The Wicked Earls, #21
Release Date: November 26, 2019
Ansley Twistleton, the Earl of Scarborough, is at the Wicked Earls Club pondering his dilemma, his mother wants him to host a Christmastide House Party and he finds the idea completely appalling. Ansley suffers from OCD and the thought of strangers in his home violating his rigid schedule is beyond upsetting, especially since his housekeeper wants to retire. As he is leaving he accepts an invitation to join a few of the men on a trip to Tattersall’s – because besides a housekeeper, he needs a horse! He leaves the club and decides to walk home, but he is held up – he fights his attackers and is saved from being blindsided by a woman yelling out a warning and trying to help him. Together they send the attackers fleeing and Ansley offers to walk the woman home.
Willow Harwood is an American living in London, she desperately wants to return to Connecticut and teach. She moved to England eight years ago when her father died and lived with her grandfather, but when he passed, she didn’t have enough money to return and moved to London hoping to find work. She was on her way to the lodging house when she happens upon Ansley being attacked. She helps him without thought and when she finally gets a look at him, she finds he is gorgeous! He walks her to the boardinghouse and where she is treated rudely by the owner after he leaves because she thinks Willow is Ansley’s lover. The next day she goes to an employment registry and is rejected for a position as a governess because of her American accent. She is leaving when Ansley intervenes and offers her the position of housekeeper. She declines, but he convinces her to take tea with him so they can discuss it, while at the tea shop, her land lady sees them together and tells Willow she is not to come back to the house. With nowhere to go and no income, Willow accepts Ansley’s offer and the outrageous salary.
As she settles into her new role, she comes to admire Ansley more and more, she doesn’t find him odd and accepts his need to adhere to a routine, but as time passes, he begins to relax a little. They are both attracted to the other, so much so that when he tells her his mother is coming to host a house party, she considers leaving early so she doesn’t have to see him choosing a bride. She will stay for the house party, but decides to leave right after it ends. She is finishing last minute details for the party when she hears music and finds Ansley playing – they share a kiss and he asks her to be his, she assumes that means mistress and she is going to leave when his mother finds them and Willow runs out of the room. She tries to leave immediately, but Ansley isn’t the only one who is not willing to let her go…
This was a very sweet story with delightful characters and a rather unique storyline. I loved the slow build in Ansley and Willow’s relationship and her complete acceptance of his nature. The love scenes are warm and appropriate to the story, the secondary characters are charming and the HEA is wonderful. The story is short, but it is well written, paced perfectly and very easy to read. This is part of the Wicked Earl’s Club series, but it can easily be read out of order or as a standalone title.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me.*