Title: Reason to Wed
Author: Heather Boyd
Series: Distinguished Rogues #7
Genre: Regency Romance
Length: Short novel
Richard Hill, the Earl of Windermere, might desperately require a wife and heir, but thoughts of duty fly from his mind when he rescues Esme, Lady Heathcote, from the embarrassment of a failed affair. They usually never agree about anything. He’s never even kissed the vexing widow. But when the opportunity arises to whisk her away for a no-strings-attached rendezvous, Richard can’t imagine a better way to spend a moonlit evening.
Esme has never lacked for admirers, but having Lord Windermere’s company goes a long way to ease the pain of losing her suddenly betrothed lover. And when Windermere suggests an affair, Esme is intrigued by the blazing-hot connection even while knowing their relationship has no future beyond his house party.
But as with any temptation, it’s a bargain they’ll soon regret.
Source: ARC from the author via email and NetGalley
This steamy historical read is refreshingly unusual in its use of older characters. Esme is thirty six (I think, though she does admit to lying about her age at one point) and has been widowed for a long time, during which she has taken many lovers, and though she is discreet she’s not the least bit prudish. Richard is in his early forties and, likewise, has taken many lovers. There’s nothing restrained or hidden between these two, though they do have an antagonistic past.
This is my first foray into this series (and indeed this author’s work), but although there are plenty of other characters hanging around who have clearly been seen before in these books, I didn’t feel lost. Esme and Richard’s history is neatly recapped, although for two people who aren’t supposed to like each other Esme did seem rather familiar with his house and staff.
But that doesn’t really matter. This book is about sex and the deepening relationship between these two. After a bit of conversational fencing, things get hot and steamy fairly quickly and everything develops from there. If I’m honest Richard’s escalation of feelings seems to have come out of nowhere, and that family ritual is
disturbing interesting. I did like how obviously reluctant Richard was to go through with it, and how he’d made sure Esme wouldn’t mind the whole thing before it all began.
Okay, so of course I could see which way everything was going and at the end Esme needed to sort herself out and treat Richard like an adult capable of making his own choices, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed this. If you’re looking for a historical romance that is all about steamy romance and doesn’t waste words on anything else, that is precisely what you’ll get here. It’s open and honest in its intentions (even if the two characters can’t quite say the same) and is pure entertainment. I look forward to exploring what else this series has to offer.
Reason to Wed is Out Now!
Visit Heather Boyd for more details.