Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: The Beautiful Barringtons, #3
Release Date: July 20, 2021
Desperate to win the affections of the Earl of Blythe, Lady Theodosia “Theo” Barrington, sister to the Duke of Averell, paints a very risque miniature of herself as a gift to the earl – but has second thoughts about giving it to him and tries to retrieve it before he can find it, but when she enters his study – it is nowhere to be found, but she is not alone, the Marquess of Haven, the last man Theo wants to see is there. A man she despises and the man she shared a passionate kiss with months ago, thinking he was Blythe.
Ambrose Collingwood, the Marquess of Haven is impoverished, thanks to his reckless, grieving late father, who gambled away his family’s fortune, which included his sister’s dowry. But Haven doesn’t place all the blame on his father, he also blames Leo Murphy (Theo’s illegitimate brother) the owner of the pleasure club Elysium for not cutting off his father, even after Haven met with him and asked him to turn his father away. Murphy was unapologetic and even told Haven to find an heiress to marry. So he did – Murphy’s own sister! But much to his surprise, he actually likes Theo and while he has had plenty of opportunities to ruin her, he has held back. However, fate seems to have deemed it time, because he was in the study waiting for Blythe when Theo stormed in and threw herself at him trying to find the box he had taken from the chair – she had her hands under his jacket when Lady Blythe, the earl’s mother walked in.
To avoid another scandal, Theo knows she must marry Haven, but fights it tooth and nail – even though she finds him attractive and amusing – not that she would EVER admit that to another living soul. But by the time they marry, she has resigned herself to a life with him, and after an amazing wedding night, she is feeling optimistic, that is until he says something incredibly insulting and causes a rift that he will have to do some spectacular groveling to win her back. In the meantime, Theo is a bit overwhelmed by the magnitude of the work that needs doing at his estate but is willing to give it her best. She immediately makes friends with his sister but is a bit wary of his uncle – who is a drunk, but who Haven feels obligated to. Haven admits he has fallen hard for Theo and will do whatever is necessary to win her back, he knows he has to tell her the truth, but will she understand and forgive him or will she be lost to him forever?
This was a well-written, well-paced, amazing story that held my attention from the first page until the very last word and left me wanting more! The book has likable characters, witty banter, steamyish love scenes, secrets, lies, a twist or two that keep things interesting, surprising revelations, and finally a sigh-worthy HEA. I did find Theo a little annoying at the beginning, but she won me over long before the end of the book and I ended up loving her, and Haven had me in his corner from the first scene. This is the 3rd book in the series, but it can easily be read as a standalone title. I am happy to recommend this title, I have not read the two previous books, but I am hooked and will definitely be checking them out ASAP!
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*