BOOK BLURB: Devastated by the disappearance of his sister, the Earl of Stranraer has gone to extraordinary lengths to find the notorious rake responsible, and enters his household incognito to wreak his vengeance. But his enemy has an unexpected protector—the innocent but headstrong Miss Cassandra Blythe.
Cassie is determined to learn the art of seduction. But she is blindsided by her body’s thrilling response to the wrong man—a mysterious servant who shows up at the most inauspicious moments to spoil her lessons in love with warnings of her imminent ruin. When she learns the handsome servant’s identity and the reason for his deception, she resolves to help Stranraer, but only if he abandons his vow to destroy his enemy.
The earl is sorely tempted to give the meddlesome beauty a lesson in seduction she’ll never forget. But she turns the tables, and he gets his own lesson in forgiveness…and love.
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Beyond the curved walls and dome of his jail, village life continued. He had heard a coach arrive, empty, fill, and leave again. There’d been the heavy hooves of horses pulling wagons, the screeching of jackdaws, and the clack clack clack of pigeon wings. Now he could hear soft feminine voices, growing louder as they approached.
“I understand some poor wretch was cast into the Blind House last night,” one woman said.
Ned ground his teeth. Yes. That would be him. He didn’t care for being called a poor wretch.
“Does that happen often?” the other woman enquired.
“Not too often. They are usually let go the following day. It’s assumed they’ve learned their lesson…or sobered up. There’s the pillory for repeat offenders, of course,” answered the first voice.
“How dreadful,” exclaimed the second.
Ned’s ears pricked up. That voice. Had he heard it before?
“Achilles Marsh, our constable, is meticulous in carrying out his duties. He owns a full set of Parish Law and can quote you chapter and verse.”
Ned scowled, distracted by the name of his persecutor. Achilles Marsh. He would remember that name.
“If you stand on this stone here, you can peep in,” the first woman informed her companion.
“Heavens, no. I don’t wish to revel in some stranger’s misfortune.”
Ned felt as if he had been struck by lightning. He did know that voice. All too well.
He leaped up and went as close to the bars as his chains would allow.
“Miss Blythe? I am quite certain I ordered you to go home and stay out of trouble,” he called.
There was a strangled noise from outside, then, after a bout of scrabbling, a bonneted head appeared silhouetted against the sky.
“My l— er, Ned? Is that really you?”
He ground out, “Miss Blythe. What are you doing here?”
As if he didn’t know.
After a guilt-laden pause, she said, “I’m here to visit my friend, Mrs. Fiennes. I believe I mentioned she lives in Aston.”
He was proud of how he kept his temper. Quod erat demonstrandum. He could control it. “You travelled alone?”
“I came with my maid, Ella. Not Wycherley, if that’s what you’re asking,” she said, with obvious affront.
He heard the first voice ask, “Is this one of the people you were asking about?” A second shadow obscured the opening. “Good afternoon!”
Ned groaned inwardly. As if it wasn’t bad enough for Cassie to see him in this mortifying situation.
Both heads disappeared amid a muffled discussion. Ned’s chains clanked dismally as he scrubbed his face with his hands. Could this day get any worse?
REVIEW: This is the second story in Wayward in Wessex series and not reading the first story, I can safely say that I had no trouble following this one. I don’t think it’s necessary for you to read the first one either in order to understand the goings on in here.
If you love lighthearted and romp romances, this one will fit the bill to a tee! There’s a lot going on here with lots and lots of characters that are fun and funny. I enjoyed the characterization of both leads and their interaction was fun. I also found the setting of the countryside appealing and refreshing.
This is a perfect story to lighten the rainy day afternoon.
Melanie for b2b
Gift copy provided by the publisher for an honest review
AUTHOR BIO: Elizabeth first started writing fiction when she was eight, encouraged to do so by her Head Teacher father, who needed something to keep her quiet during school holidays. Her favorite topics were mermaids, ghosts, Norman knights and quests, and she illustrated and decorated her own books. She emerged from the world of her imagination to read History at the University of London, after which she spent many years working as an archaeologist and artifact illustrator. She then became a primary school teacher, after which she moved to museum education work, and display and collections management.
Elizabeth has been involved in Medieval, Tudor, and English Civil War re-enactment and has enjoyed sword-play and traditional archery, excelling in neither. She lived for seven years on a Knights Templar estate in Essex where she pursued her interest in historical textiles, cookery and medicine. She loves anything to do with the past, and still looks down holes in the ground to see if there’s anything archaeological in them. There generally isn’t.
She has written fifteen historical romances since moving to the West of England in 1997, the landscape and history of which have inspired the “Wayward in Wessex” series. Book #1 in the series, “Distracting the Duke”, has recently been published by Entangled Publishing.