Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: A Scandal in Mayfair, #1
Release Date: June 30, 2021
Stella Faulkner thinks she is saving her cousin Lady Imogen Ridley from making a huge mistake when she goes looking for her during a ball, but she soon realizes her cousin set her up. For the rake she thought had enticed Imogen to court ruin, Grayson “Gray” Maddox, the Earl of Halston was lured to the gazebo just as surely as she was. A happenstance that Grayson couldn’t be happier about because Stella caught his attention as soon as he first saw her and he will stop at nothing to claim her.
Stella is attracted to Gray but as a “poor relation” who lives with her uncle and is basically an unpaid governess/companion to her cousin, she can’t afford to act on that attraction. For ten years, since fleeing Italy after Napoleon’s invasion and the death of her family and fiancé, she has tried to bury her passionate nature. And has been successful, until she met Gray.
After Gray does some cajoling and promises to keep her reputation safe, Stella agrees to an affair – but makes it clear that this is a temporary arrangement. Something Gray has no problem agreeing to as he is sure once he has had her in his bed, the unprecedented desire he feels for her will be sated and he will quickly grow bored. But what is a rake to do when he realizes he was wrong? How can he convince Stella that they belong together and that he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks?
What a great start to a new series! This book, in particular, reminds me of Ms. Campbell’s older work, which was more emotional and much steamier – YES!!! This book is a well-written story of two people that belong together, yet don’t really believe in HEA. The book is filled with witty banter, steamy love scenes, wonderful secondary characters, and a truly beautiful soulmate-type love, complete with a HEA and an epilogue.