Tracy’s rating: 3 of 5 stars
Series: Union of Rakes, #2
Release Date: July 28, 2020
When fire destroys part of her family’s farm and prevents them from manufacturing their honey soap, Jessica “Jess” McGale takes a position as a companion to Lady Catherton to help her brother and sister financially. But as luck would have it, Lady Catherton wants to travel abroad and has Jessica go ahead to London to make sure everything is ready for her. Jessica decides to visit some shops on Bond Street and convince them to sell her family’s soap and she is returning to the townhouse, defeated, no one is willing to sell her soaps without an endorsement from someone notable in society, when she sees Noel Edwards, the Duke of Rotherby surrounded by men asking his opinion on investments. She catches his attention when she joins the conversation and adds her opinion. He is impressed with her, but before she can talk to him again, he is swept away with his admirers. She continues on her way and again fate seems to favor Jess. There is a letter waiting for her, it seems her employer hurts her ankle and is unable to travel for a fortnight, but tells Jess to stay in London. Jess immediately forms a new plan – she will attend the “Bazaar”, which is an annual gathering to pair investors with companies in need of capital. The next day, dressed in one of Lady Catherton’s gowns, Jess sets out and is unsuccessfully trying to talk her way into the Bazaar, when Noel appears and invites her in as his guest.
Noel hasn’t stopped thinking of the bold woman who he met on Bond Street and vows to find her as soon as the Bazaar is over. He is overjoyed when he hears her voice and immediately intervenes. She is introduced to him as Lady Whitfield, widow of Sir Brantley Whitfield. He takes her under his wing and introduces her to the others. She fits right in to the group and soon the others are asking her opinion on investing. Noel is attracted to her and loves that she doesn’t seem to be impressed with his title and treats him like he is nothing special. He is determined to get her into bed and sets out to win her.
Jess knows that she is walking a fine line and that her lies could be exposed at any minute, so she tries to keep Noel at arm’s length and as much as she wants him, she can’t risk getting attached. But he is charming and kind and oh so handsome – she finds herself unable to resist, especially when it seems he is not only willing to let her be dominant in sexual matters, but actually desires it. And so, begins a very heated affair, but all too soon her lies will come crashing down and whatever feelings Noel might have had for her will be crushed. Has she lost everything or will love find a way?
This was a well written book, where a Breakfast Club hero meets a Working Girl heroine (with a nod to The Secret of My Success) at regency era Shark Tank. I didn’t dislike the premise and I even chuckled at man seeking investors for his Sparrow messaging system, but overall, I was disappointed – this book was supposed to be a regency – but it was a contemporary romance complete with “woke” characters that had no prejudices, 21st century morals and standards, dressed in period clothing. The story itself is fun, Noel is likable, but I never really felt like I got to know him and I had a hard time liking Jessica, who was lying to everyone, but didn’t have a problem telling Noel he was too arrogant and presumptuous. There are cameos with his “Union” brothers, steaming HOT love scenes, interesting secondary characters and a touching ending complete with an epilogue. This is the second book in the series, but it can be read as a standalone with no problems. Personally, I didn’t really care for this book and I don’t think that I will be continuing with the series, but that is based on my own preferences for Historical Romance and not the author’s ability to write an engaging story.
*I am volunarily leaving a reivew for an eARC that was provided to me.*