Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: Scoundrels of Mayfair, #1
Release Date: May 31, 2022
If you read “Two Secret Sins” in the Scandal in Mayfair series, then like me, you might have been wondering about the mysterious woman who joined Lord Shelburn in the race – Well, wonder no more! And if you didn’t read that book, don’t worry, you can read this one without reading that one – but be warned, this book will have spoilers for “Two Secret Sins”
When Kate Starr was only 16 years old she fell in love forever. The object of her undying affection didn’t even speak to her that night, but he danced with her sister and by doing so, won Kate’s heart. Now 14 years later, Kate is the owner of Starr Cotton Mills, she is independent, successful, rich, and very much alone. She has agreed to enter a marriage of convenience with another factory owner that was set up by her cousin’s husband and they travel to London to sign the settlements. She and her cousins have just arrived at The Angel coaching inn to find the place in an uproar. Then she sees the love of her life atop a racing carriage, looking at her and when he asks her to join him, she doesn’t think twice and takes off with him!
Leighton Anstey, the Earl of Shelburn is intrigued by the lovely woman who impulsively agrees to be his partner in the race and wonders if he can lure her into a tryst. Leighton is a rake through and through with no intentions of settling down anytime soon and Kate is too tempting to pass up. He suggests a brief affair and to his surprise, she agrees! But once he learns of their past connection and her girlish crush, he warns her that he is not the man she believes and tells her to guard her heart. Kate assures him that she is not looking for forever and the two embark on not only a steamy affair but begin a true friendship.
Things are going well, but Kate knows her heart is already lost and decides to leave before she makes a fool of herself, besides that, she knows that her cousins must be frantic and she still needs to work things out with her almost betrothed. She sneaks out and never expects to see Leighton again. But when Leighton wakes to find her gone – will he let her go without a fight or will he be grateful that she understood the terms of their tryst and move on to the next affair?
This was a well-written, nicely paced story with wonderful characters and more emotion than I was expecting! The book is steamy and satisfying, with great secondary characters, a sinister plot twist, a hero who claims he is not a knight in shining armor (but who really is), and finally a very sweet HEA. This book is the first book in a new series and is loosely connected to the previous series, I loved this story and happily recommend this title to fans of historical romances.