Snowflakes and Wallflowers by Lauren Smith
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: Christmas Wallflowers, #2
Release Date: December 20, 2022
Just weeks before Christmas, Matilda Matthews and her aunt Florence get a letter from the new Earl of Castleton telling them they have five days to vacate Meadow Cross cottage. The cottage has been Matilda’s home for her entire life, her father was the late earl’s steward and friend, when he died, the late earl promised Matilda she could have the cottage for life, rent-free and even gave her a small annuity, which is her only income. Now the new earl wants them out or to pay an outrageous amount in rent – there is no way Matilda is going to pay the rent or move out. She sets out in the snow to give the earl an earful! But things don’t go as planned…
Arthur Brynnwood is an unrepentant rake, he didn’t expect to inherit the Castleton earldom so soon and is a bit overwhelmed. He just wants to set the estate in order and return to London and his hedonistic life. But what he gets is a snowball to the face after a disagreement with his tenant – Miss Matthews. So he does the unexpected, grabs her, and locks her in a room until he decides what to do. His solution is simple, he is lacking female companionship, so if Matilda is willing to be his mistress for the next two weeks, he will let them stay rent-free in the cottage for 5 months. But once he goes to get her aunt and sees the state of the cottage, he is shocked and a bit ashamed. Renegotiations are in order and Matilda surprises him at every turn. Soon two weeks won’t be enough and he begins to think of ways to extend their time together. But when unexpected guests arrive, will the obvious differences between them tear them apart, or will love keep them together?
This was a very well-written, nicely-paced, fun story. I thought Arthur was a bit of a jerk at first, but he grew on me and by the end, I was smitten. I loved Arthur and Matilda together, their connection started as lust but developed into a true friendship, filled with admiration, respect, and love. The book has witty banter, laugh-out-loud moments, smokin’ hot love scenes, wonderful secondary characters, a bit of heartache, and finally a HEA complete with a feel-good epilogue. This is part of an author collaboration series, but it is a standalone title and quick read that I loved, and hope you will give it a try!
*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.*