C2’s review of Passions of a Wicked Earl (London’s Greatest Lovers, Book 1) by Lorraine Heath
Historical Romance published by Avon 26 Oct 10
I usually enjoy Lorraine Heath’s British historicals (although I did lose track of her most recent series), so I was glad to see Passions of a Wicked Earl pop up in my mailbox. It is set in the same world as her Scoundrels of St. James series and there are a couple of cameos from those characters, but it is not necessary at all to read that series before reading this one.
An unusual thing about PoaWE is that the hero and heroine are married but estranged. They have been estranged since their wedding day, as a matter of fact. Due to a combination of drunken plotting and misunderstanding, our hero, Morgan Lyons, Earl of Westcliffe, exiled his new bride to his country estate while he lives his life in London. You see, faithful reader, Morgan found his new bride in a compromising position with his brother on their wedding night. His brother!
Claire Lyons, Countess of Westcliffe, was betrothed to Morgan as a child. He was around during her childhood, since their fathers were friends, but because he was several years older, they never became friends. She and his brother Stephen were very good friends so, when she admitted she was very nervous about her wedding night, Stephen came up with a scheme to buy her some time to get to know the man she just married before they became intimate. Yeah. That didn’t work out so well.
Fast forward several years – Claire and Morgan only interact via letters and through intermediaries and only about his country estate. Until she arrives at his house in London. Claire’s father wants her younger sister to marry a much older, very icky man but has agreed to let her have a Season in London to try to find a more acceptable husband. Claire knows she will need Morgan’s support for the ton to accept her and her sister. Morgan is involved with a widow and has decided to divorce Claire. Still, he agrees to give her sister a Season. Then, he says, their relationship is finished.
Naturally, over the course of the Season, Morgan and Claire are forced to spend time together. We see them gradually get to know each other and realize no one is completely to blame for the awkward situation they find themselves in. And fall in love, of course.
I enjoyed watching Morgan’s emotional development throughout the book. I could have done without the crazy mistress and the younger sister is sometimes annoying. I am intrigued by both brothers. All in all, a most satisfying read. Angsty but not too much.
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Known throughout London for his prowess in the bedroom, Morgan Lyons, the 8th Earl of Westcliffe, cannot forgive an unpardonable affront to his honor. Discovering his young bride in the arms of his brother was a staggering blow–so he banished the beautiful deceiver to the country and devoted himself to the pursuit of carnal pleasure.
Claire Lyons was an innocent, frightened girl on her wedding day, seeking chaste comfort from a childhood friend. Now, years later, she has blossomed magnificently and has returned to London with one goal in mind: the seduction of her notorious husband. Unskilled in the sensual arts, she burns nonetheless for the kisses too long denied her. And she has but one Season to win back the heart of the rogue she betrayed.