Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: Wicked Earls’ Club, #24
Release Date: January 19, 2021
When Lady Sophia Stopford learns that her father means to marry her off to one of his friends, she knows that she will have to take matters into her own hands and save herself from an unwanted marriage. Aware that she will have to escape and establish herself somewhere else, she will have to figure out a way to support herself as her funds are limited. She is running out of time and still has no idea what she can do, but when she is overheard calling Lord Kendal boring, it leads to a very enlightening conversation and finally gives her an idea – she will go to Scotland and set up a whisky business!
Adolphus Merrick, the Earl of Kendal is being blackmailed by a man who has the power to destroy Kendal’s sister – the very man who once saved her. Kendal is the co-owner of Mercy’s Door – a gaming hell he runs with his sister, Marguerite. Years ago, Marguerite was ruined and a young Kendal was able to save her thanks to the help of Lord Gullsville – Lady Sophia’s father. Due to his help, Kendal has repeatedly forgiven the earl’s debts, but now he wants Kendal to save find Sophia and marry her – if he refuses, Gullsville will tell the ton of Marguerite’s ruin. The problem is Gullsville doesn’t know where Sophia has gone, just that she has taken her late aunt’s widow’s weeds and the jewelry she inherited. Gullsville might not know where his daughter is, but Kendal has a pretty good idea and has no one but himself to blame for glamorizing whisky smuggling. He is not happy, but to save his sister, he agrees to find Sophia and marry her.
His plan seems straightforward, find Sophia, marry her, and return to England with no one the wiser of her escapades – but the lady doesn’t like that plan and refuses to comply – leading Kendal on a wild chase through Scotland and making him burn to not only find her but to win her heart!
This was a well-written, fun romp with wonderful characters and steamy love scenes. If you like strong heroines, rejoice, because Sophia is certainly no simpering maiden looking for a man to save her! But even she is not immune to Kendal’s rakish good looks and his commanding personality. Together they will have to learn to trust and love, but it will not be a smooth journey, there will be lies, a heroine who refuses to stay put, steamy love scenes, a villain who gets what is coming to him, and a truly delightful HEA complete with a “Wicked Earl” reunion in the epilogue. This is part of the ongoing Wicked Earl’s Club series, but it can absolutely be read as a standalone title with no problems.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher.*