STORY: Playing with Fire — Young widow Roxanna Drew was fair game in the sport of cads. Her suddenly impoverished state made her as vulnerable as her beauty made her tempting to men with more money than morals. Lord Marshall Whitcomb, who held her purse strings in his pawing hands, was intent on luring her into his bed. But even more dangerous was Lord Winn, who owned the dwelling where she sought refuge. The dashing lord reminded the widow that the lure of sharing a warm bed on a winter’s night might indeed be worth the risks.
Lord Winn had trusted one woman and been betrayed. That disastrous marriage had endowed him with a wariness of females in general, and prospective wives in particular. But when the door to the dower house on one of his estates was opened by a woman with a cautious smile and memorable brown eyes, he knew here was danger to avoid at all costs — if he really wanted to…
REVIEW: I loved the start of the story in which our heroine Roxanna Drew, a widow with two little ones, is faced with a problem of where to live after she vacates her vicar husbands living. We are in her point of view as she takes her daily constitutional while she mulls over this problem, and I just kept chuckling. This story is one of those classical regency tales that will touch your heart and make your eyes mist.
She comes upon Lord Winn’s run down dower house and immediately decides to confront a care taker about renting it. The caretaker, after talking with the young widow and understanding her dilemma, is more than glad to help her out, figuring that Lord Winn wouldn’t mind if someone occupied the cottage and took care of the repairs and brought it to its former beauty.
We find our hero, Fletcher Rand, Lord Winn, as he’s trying very hard to tune out his three loving and at times overbearing sisters who would love nothing more than to see him married. This is the reason Winn is more than ready and willing to abandon London and head out to inspect many of his holdings.
One of those properties is Morland and Winn arrives in the middle of the night during the snowstorm, seeking shelter in Roxy’s home.
Carla Kelly never disappoints as she breaths life, real problems and issues, and just pure humanity into every character she introduces me to.
She makes Roxy flesh and blood, and not some over the top heroine, and the hero comes off as someone who is a mix of Beta and Alpha, and just an overall male that has many questions and doubts about love and life while contemplating a second marriage.
Carla Kelly’s writing style will pull you in her regency world so deep that you’ll never want to leave it! She has a special way of creating such vivid characters that are not just three-dimensional, but so real that you can almost touch them. And that goes for every one of them, not only the main ones.
In this story, you’ll meet Mr. Tibbi Winslow, the steward of the Morland estate who will make you wish there were more men like him to stand up to the bullies; Marshall Drew, Lord Whitcomb, the brother-in-law to our heroine, who was such a selfish and slimy character that I could have had him neutered given the chance; Amabel, Lettice and Clarice, the three sisters of our hero and as you get to know them through their brothers knowledge of them, you’ll be brought to bursts of laughter as he predicts their behavior toward him; Helen and Felicity, the two daughters of Roxy that will break your heart as you watch them burrowing into Winn’s, one small bit at the time, and you’ll even get a peek into deceased husband of Mrs. Drew, Anthony, whose love for his family never wavered and whose life was filled with love of his wife and daughters.
I really loved this story and I didn’t miss the lack of sensuality one bit. If you’re into the traditional, sweet and pure regency, you’ll not want to miss this one. On the other hand, if you’re into the erotica and sensuality filled stories, this won’t be your cup of tea.
For me, I can go both ways and at times I go out of my way to find stories such as this one. Variety is the spice of life, after all!
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