Widow Rosalinde Wilde is on her way to her beloved sister’s wedding when an unexpected storm waylays her at an overcrowded inn. There she meets a tempting stranger who sweeps her into a night of unforgettable passion.
Grayson Danford never expected a night with the irresistible Mrs. Wilde, but she was a welcome distraction from the unpleasant duty of breaking up his brother’s impending nuptials. He’s shocked when he discovers his passionate lover is none other than the sister of his brother’s intended.
Now Rosalinde and Gray will butt heads, even as their simmering desire for each other threatens to boil over. Who will win? And who might lose it all?
Publisher and Release Date: The Passionate Pen, July 2016
Time and Setting: England, 1810
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by Sara
Jess Michaels has been on my radar for quite a while but I’ve never had the opportunity to read one of her books. Her writing style favors a more sensual and steamy Historical Romance but it also conveys real emotional connections for the main characters. The first release of her new Seasons series – An Affair in Winter – was the perfect chance to jump into her books and discover what I’d been missing.
The rough roads and the terrible weather are playing havoc on Rosalinde Wilde’s journey to Caraway Court, the estate of her sister’s fiancé and location of their upcoming wedding. When the storm picks up there is nothing for her driver to do but stop at the first inn available. Rosalinde’s fine appearance and coin buy her the last available room at the inn but as a woman traveling alone she has already gained the attention of several of the men seeking their own shelter for the night. One of those men who notices Rosalinde’s entrance is Grayson Danford, younger brother to the Earl of Stenfax and also traveling to Caraway Court. Acting against his better judgement Grayson invites Rosalinde to dine with him and their shared meal leads to a few hours of intimate conversation. The flirtation and attraction between them ramps up quickly, moving them from the taproom to his bedroom for a single night of passion before they part in the morning.
Arrivals at Caraway Court bring the surprise that Rosalinde is the elder sister of the bride and she is intent on supporting her sister’s arranged marriage to Earl of Stenfax. Grayson has sworn to break up the betrothal to protect his brother from a woman only interested in the title. He accuses Rosalinde of trying to manipulate his family while she is furious that he’s jeopardizing her sister’s future. At cross purposes the two of them try to find ways to protect or subvert the betrothal, with each believing that they are doing what is right for their sibling within the circumstances. Unfortunately their deep attraction to each other and memories of their night together keep getting in the way of their plans.
When a shocking secret about Rosalinde’s family comes to light, the emotions she and Grayson have been suppressing are forced into the open and change their thoughts about supporting the wedding. Greyson finds himself reluctant to use this new knowledge as it would help his cause but devastate the woman he’s come to care for. For Rosalinde all the years of protecting her sister from their manipulative Grandfather would be sacrificed if the Earl broke the betrothal, yet the truth could set her free to follow her own heart.
An Affair in Winter has fun with the usual enemies-to-lovers trope by adding the complication of the one night stand between Rosalinde and Grayson. They already know they are very compatible in bed together but it takes a lot longer for their minds and hearts to catch up with what their bodies already know. Neither one sets out the hurt the other as they fight to protect their siblings. It’s made perfectly clear how each disagreement or cruel shot hurts them more than it would if they really disliked each other. I enjoyed how the relationship evolved from just a passionate encounter to a love affair as Rosalinde and Grayson learned more about the other’s backgrounds and what drives them to fight so hard for their sibling’s happiness. In those moments there is a real connection and an intimacy that’s just as important as the physical kind.
I’m glad I had a chance to finally read Jess Michael’s work and believe I’ve found another great author to follow. An Affair in Winter does a wonderful job of keeping the reader engaged and creating a good foundation for the series to follow. I know I’ll be keeping my eyes open for the next book.