He is a hunter at heart… but her heart is no easy prey.
Hannah Walpole suspected the etiquette lessons her parents insisted upon were a wasted effort. Now, looking around at the ton at her debut, she’s sure of it. Her home is the African continent. She simply does not fit in English Society. Nothing will convince her otherwise, especially not a devilishly handsome lord with black hair, vivid green eyes and a wicked reputation for debauching innocent young women.
Lord Miles Whitely admires Hannah’s adventurous spirit and cool composure in the face of adversity. It doesn’t hurt that their first encounter provides him with the delightful opportunity to get his hands beneath her skirts.
When the lady declares she cannot be seduced, he cheerfully takes up the gauntlet she has unwittingly thrown down. But Hannah has no intention of succumbing to his striking gaze or honeyed flattery. Until a crisis leads her to suspect he’s not truly the cad everyone warned her about…
Publisher and Release Date: Samhain Publishing, Ltd., August 2015
Time and Setting: England, 1815
Genre: Historical romance novella
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by Maria Almaguer
Miss Hannah Walpole is hopelessly different. She’s the daughter of African explorers navigating the cold waters of her first London Season, sponsored by her uncle. But after two years of proper “training” in deportment and etiquette, she’s still an original, not at all like the simpering misses of the ton. Fortunately, she has a backbone, but she suffers in silence, bullied by her jealous cousin Beatrice and Beatrice’s snobbish friends.
Hannah and Miles’ first meeting is amusing and cute. Hannah is cool and calm, even when the handsome Lord Miles Whitely helps extract her from a painful garter mishap during a ball. With no other options, she reluctantly accepts his assistance without succumbing to hysteria as most other young women.
Hannah is also intelligent, wise, and completely genuine. In short, she knows herself. She has no airs or affectations and this draws Miles to her like a moth to a flame. Miles likes that she doesn’t scheme to be alone with him like most of the women he meets even as he notes her attraction to him. But Hannah refuses to be just one of his conquests.
“I think too much of myself to become another one of Lord Whitely’s ruined castoffs.”
Miles has a reputation as a ladies’ man and seducer of women – Hannah’s own cousin Jacqueline claims he ruined her a few years ago – but Miles has been content to enjoy this questionable reputation even though he admits it isn’t true. He likes to joke and have fun and ignores society’s opinions. Until Hannah believes the rumors about him and it affects his chances with her.
For the first time, Miles realizes the downside to years of false rumors and implied indiscretions.
The setting of this novella is a country house party, which is always a fun and relaxed way for letting one’s guard down and for getting to know members of the opposite sex in a more casual atmosphere. Miles wants to seduce Hannah but he is thrown for a loop (and aroused and impressed as hell) when she challenges him that she can probably get him to marry her before he can ever seduce her. Delighted, he accepts her challenge, confident that he will have no trouble eventually leading her to his bed.
Ms. Sandas writes a sparkling and flirtatious story that is infectious and downright jubilant and fun to read. The energy is high and Hannah and Miles’ mutual attraction crackles on the pages but it’s also a very smart romance. However, the big love scene seems a little too convenient, especially coming so soon on the heels of the denouement. I expected more of a fuss at first so the scene seems a bit surprising even as it’s beautifully passionate. But this does not detract from my thorough enjoyment in the least.
Both Hannah and Miles are likeable characters. She is strong, beautiful, and clever and accepts that she doesn’t fit in society. But she is taken aback when she learns that Miles loves all these qualities, especially the last. Miles is a little frivolous but he’s also very dashing and gallant. He is taken by surprise by his own intense attraction to Hannah but their love story seems to move along at an unhurried pace, despite the fact that this is only nine chapters.
This book is reminiscent of Tessa Dare’s The Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good Mr. Wright in which a hero with a bad reputation wins the girl who sees right through him. Heartfelt, funny, and charming, this is a delightful read and I very much look forward to reading more by this author.