The pampered daughter of a duke . . .
Lady Arabella Tremont has spent her entire life protected and overshadowed by her restrictive father. But she is a Tremont, after all, and the morning after she is nearly ruined at a ball by a handsome stranger, Arabella’s father demands she make an arranged match with an heir to a dukedom. In desperation, Arabella takes matters into her own hands.
Takes a London holiday with the most unsuitable of chaperones . . .
Major Kingsley is in London to avoid to his parents’ dreadful house party. To his surprise he runs into the enticing – and unforgettable — minx he met at a ball the previous night. Arabella, or Birdie, as he knows her, insists he owes her three favors-for he’s put her in a terrible pinch; Kingsley agrees, if only to delay his trip home and because the notion of spending the day with this enchanting bit of muslin is too tempting to resist. But all too quickly he discovers Arabella’s requests are hardly what he expected..
Well, there was one thing to be said for this rogue—he was very good at it. Because as her glove slid from her hand, she had the outlandish irritation that he was taking much too long to remove it.
“I have heard your praises sung daily since I returned to London,” he was saying.
“You have?” she replied, looking around for her father. This was exactly the sort of thing he was always railing on about—and she couldn’t make up her mind if she wanted his intervention or for the duke to be well out of the way.
“Certainly,” he told her, a slow grin lighting up his smooth, hard lips, while behind his mask, his eyes twinkled with mischief. “And none of the tributes were exaggerated. For even from across the room, your lips drew me closer.
And now there is nothing I would love more, my dear milkmaid, than for you to wrap them around my cock tonight, and when you are finished, I promise I shall return the favor and devour the rest of your delicious and notable delights until you can’t even remember your name.”
Arabella’s mouth fell open.
Had he just said what she thought he’d said?
He wanted her to do what?
Worse, he took her gaping as some sort of acquiescence on her part, or perhaps just an early offer, for he steered her out the open garden doors before she could manage a protest.
She stole a glance up at him and there behind his mask was a smoky light of sensuality—after four Seasons she wasn’t so innocent that she didn’t know what that meant.
Worse yet, it sent a tremor of desire, a rare curiosity down her limbs. His cock aside, whatever had he meant, that he’d devour her in return?
Just considering the notion sent a delicious shiver down her spine. Especially when she looked at his full, strong lips. Which, she guessed, would be only the beginning of what was strong and firm about him.
Oh, good heavens, she shouldn’t even be thinking such things. Considering such notions. Then again, no man, no one, had ever spoken to her thusly.
And Arabella, for the first time in her life, was at a loss as to what to say in return.
While she knew what she should do—protest loudly and send him off with a sharp, stinging retort—at that moment, he pulled her close, and the desire in his eyes, a mesmerizing light, left her once again wavering as her world took an unfamiliar tilt.
Not even the realization that she was far deeper in the gardens than she ought to be, or that she was up against him, his arm wound intimately around her waist, gave her the wherewithal to panic properly. For there was one undeniable truth that held her in place.
He was indeed strong. And very firm.
Yet this time when he spoke, it had the opposite effect, his words breaking the passionate spell he’d cast. “My lovely Mrs. Spenser—”
Then the name came to her. Mrs. Spenser. “You cannot think—”
“Oh, dear Vestal, I can think a lot of things. Like how I’ve discovered you first. Which I understand has earned me a perfect night.”
“A perfect wha-a-at?”
“A perfect night in your bed, isn’t that so?” He grinned again, this time wickedly, and much to Arabella’s horror, it only made him that much more distracting.
Then, to make matters worse, he began nibbling on her earlobe, whispering a litany of ways he was going to make her night memorable.
“I … I … I hardly think—” she stammered to protest. But all too quickly it became clear she wasn’t going to be able to think for much longer. Suddenly she was drowning in wave after wave of the most distracting suggestions … and sensations.
Oh, heaven help her! Whatever was he doing with his tongue?
Truly, he should cease such improprieties immediately.
Or very soon.
“No, no, you needn’t protest,” he whispered, his breath hot and warm in delicious contrast to the cool breeze in the garden. “Perhaps you need references. A hint of what is to come?” His hand slid up from her waist and cupped her breast, his fingers quickly finding her nipple and teasing it into a hard point
“I don’t think … Oh, my!” she gasped. His touch left her spiraling, falling even as she rose up on her tiptoes. She couldn’t help herself. His touch, his lips were heaven, guiding her, pulling her toward something she’d only imagined.
“I promise, I will surprise you,” he whispered in a deep, husky voice.
Publisher and Release Date: Avon Impulse, 2 June 2015
Time and Setting: London 1818
Heat Level: 2
Genre: Historical Romance
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by Wendy
Two young people meet, both being forced into arranged marriages…
Lady Arabella Tremont and Major Kingsley meet under less than auspicious circumstances at a Masquerade ball. As a result of a silly prank and a wager by his drunken friend, Kingsley makes a sexual overture and some rather risqué and lascivious comments to the young woman dressed as a milkmaid, whom he believes to be a famous courtesan. In actual fact, she is the pretty daughter of the Duke of Parkerton, and is saved by the intervention of her father, who blacks the Major’s eye – and that would appear to be the end of it. However, despite her shock at the comments made to her, Arabella (or Birdie as she is known by her family), is secretly intrigued and not a little excited by the inappropriate suggestions made to her about what the handsome, dashing young officer would like to do to her body.
Arabella has been cosseted and spoiled by her overprotective, autocratic but loving father and after her near ruination he has decided that enough is enough, and that as four seasons have not produced a betrothal, she must marry a man of his choosing. Kingsley faces a similar situation; having managed to avoid the inevitable for four years by joining the army and with no more wars to fight, he must now do his duty and marry a young lady of his father’s choosing.
On the way to meet ‘her doom’ Arabella escapes the restrictive confines of her family and bumps into the Major whilst making her bid for freedom. He is gloomily on his way to his parents’ ‘marriage mart’ house party and is easily persuaded by the impetuous and beautiful Arabella to abscond with her for the day, and by way of reparation to make three wishes – of her choosing – come true.
Obviously it doesn’t take a mastermind to work out the direction this story will take and how it will end! Two of Arabella’s wishes are ridiculous; one of them I could just about understand but the other two – well this is Romancelandia so anything goes.
The writing is sound, although I take exception to the number of Americanisms dotted throughout. This is a real bug-bear of mine – if you’re writing about an American setting then of course, using words like sidewalk, block and gotten is fine. In Regency England, however, one would find pavements, streets and got is the past tense of get. I fail to understand how authors and editors allow this sort of thing to happen when a huge amount of research has gone into the rest of the writing. Why not go the whole hog and get it ALL right?
That’s obviously down to personal preference, but because it did affect my overall impression of the book, it’s something that needs to be said. Overall, then, Mad About the Major is a pleasant and even sweet romance, that is well written (apart from my niggles). The hero and heroine are engaging characters, although ultimately unmemorable, there is no villain, no real conflict and not much of a plot, so overall the book is too lacking in substance for my taste. It’s a light, fluffy love story and if that’s what you are looking for, then it might well appeal.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth Boyle was an antipiracy paralegal for Microsoft before settling down to write full-time. Her first novel, Brazen Angel, which won Dell’s Diamond Debut Award in 1996, also won the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award for Best First Book, and was a finalist for Best Long Historical Romance. She lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington. She is also the author of Brazen Heiress.