Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Reckless Rockwoods: Reluctant Rogues, #2
Release Date: February 12, 2021
A case of mistaken identity results in a passionate interlude between Phoebe, Viscountess Helstone, and Gideon, the Earl of Chelmsford, an encounter that is beyond anything either of them has ever experienced and something that can lead nowhere, especially since Phoebe is married and refuses to tell Gideon her name. They part, but Gideon can’t let her walk away – that is until he learns she is an American heiress who married a title, knowledge that kills any feelings he may have had – or does it?
Five years later they meet again when Constance, the Countess of Lyndham meets Phoebe in a dress shop and has a vision. Phoebe’s miserable marriage ended when her husband was killed, but that was just the beginning of Phoebe’s nightmare, she learns her father never made any provisions for Phoebe and her husband’s heir kicks her out without a penny to her name. She takes work as a bookkeeper and secretly authors the satirical serial story in the Times – a story that pokes fun at the Marlborough Set and Gideon especially. Constance sets out to help Phoebe and by doing so puts her directly in Gideon’s path by introducing her to his mother and suggesting Phoebe would be the perfect secretary for the dowager Marchioness. Phoebe is blindsided when she learns that Gideon is the Marchioness’ son, had no idea who Gideon was, he was just her mystery lover and the man that she has thought of many times over the years – a man she never expected to see again and certainly never expected him to hold her in such contempt!
Gideon is sure that Phoebe is using his mother to land another title, he makes his disgust known and is angry that he is still attracted to her. Sparks fly and Gideon soon realizes he misjudged Phoebe. When they are caught in a compromising position, Gideon proposes and she initially rejects his offer, but after a heart to heart with his mother, she agrees to marry him. It is clear that the passion between them is strong, but trust isn’t as easy to come by, and just when it seems that HEA is within their grasp, they make some major missteps and misunderstandings, mistrust and secrets threaten to ruin their chance for happiness.
This was a very well-written, nicely paced story with strong lead characters and cameos from the Rockwoods – including an interwoven side story featuring Constance and Lucien and their ongoing road to HEA. This book has a lot of emotion, misunderstandings (that at times felt like they dragged on a bit too long), very steamy love scenes, secrets, wonderful secondary characters, disappointment, a little heartache, true love, and finally their HEA. I really enjoyed the side-story and was grateful that the author included a “primer” of Constance and Lucien’s love story at the beginning of the book to bring readers who might not recall their rocky road to HEA up to speed – it was well done and very helpful! I did end the story with a little bit of doubt about Phoebe and Gideon’s future – since the mistrust and doubts they had seemed to linger even after they declared their love, and there is a title issue that I am still trying to sort out how it can be – but in the grand scheme of things, unless that sort of thing bothers you, it is nothing that takes away from the story. I enjoyed this book and would happily recommend it. This book is part of a series, but it can definitely 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. All opinions are my own *