April 2, 2015
Another manly men series begins!
Get ready everyone! Here comes a three part series involving some high maintenance dark
alpha brothers. There is Lance, the eldest brother who has recently inherited a dukedom from his dead e-v-i-l brother Percy. Lance has dark hair and dark eyes, which means that he's probably going to look at someone with his dark soulless eyes sometime in the future. He also seems to be the most troubled of the brothers, maybe it's the name Lance. I know I'd be upset if I was named after a long pointy thing. At least it's not Steele or Rod or Pierce or Saber. Lance is arrogant, bored, reckless and for most of this book he has a drink in is hand. All I know is Lance will be needing a really strong woman who can put up with his shenanigans.
The Second brother is Ives aka Ywain, he's a lawyer, he's thirty and has golden streaks in his dark brown hair. That means that at some future time the sun will glitter off of those golden threads while he's admiring the view. Throughout most of this story, he seemed to be the most responsible of the brothers, the wisest and the most controlling. His story is next.
But, let's not forget who this story is really about: Gareth Fitzallen, the youngest of the brothers. He also happens to be illegitimate - he is some kind of art expert and he has devilish eyes. He also seems to have quite a reputation amongst the ladies - his skills as a lover are legendary. Because of his knowledge of art, his brother Ives as asked him to investigate some missing paintings close to the property Gareth hopes to own. While in route to that property he almost runs down our heroine, Eva Russell. After running her into a mud puddle, he tries to apologize by helping her carry the bundle tucked neatly under her arm. She refuses his offer and becomes exceedingly nervous. Guess what she has under her arm? A painting. It seems that she and all of the village people have been "borrowing" items from what they assume is an abandoned property. Turns out it isn't abandoned, it's Gareth's house. (There is some rather humorous writing involved when Gareth's missing "stuff" starts showing up at his house. This all happens after Eva talks to the town people about the things they've borrowed.)
Now, about the painting under the arm. Spoiler ahead. Eva in her innocence, has been borrowing works of art that are in the attic, painting them and innocently selling the copies for a few pittance. One has to eat after all. She supports herself and her sister Rebecca this way. Of course, the works of art that are in the attic are the ones Gareth is looking for; however, he doesn't know they are there and Eva doesn't know they are missing. There is a mystery surrounding the art work which eventually gets solved, but the main attraction in this books is the wonderful relationship that develops between Gareth and Eva.
They develop a friendship first, then become lovers. However, their friendship continues to develop while they are lovers. Neither one of them believes all that much in love; oh they both know love is out there in the big wide world, they just don't have too much use for it. Gareth has seen what harm it did to his mother and he doesn't want anything to do with it. Eva wants security more than love, but she isn't adverse to the steamier side of relationships between a man and a woman. With their eyes wide open Gareth and Eva embark on an affair, all the while knowing that someday it will end. They establish pretty much at the beginning that they will remain friends when their affair is over. They have it all planned out pretty logically, but this is Romanceland and we know that their plans are not to be.
This is a wonderfully developed romance. The whankee-roo escapades are hot; however, the first time Eva partakes, Gareth flipped her so many times I thought she might be trying out for the Olympics. Authors, please. Our couple does not have to assume every position ever created the first time out. Back, front, side, upside down, a leg here, a mouth there, an arm up down all around - flip - stop - start - flip. It was all very tiring. We also had some womb touching - which always makes me cringe, especially when it is written by a female author. Sometime I wonder if authors forget about those yearly examinations and certain other exams that walk hand in hand with those yearly things. Maybe some authors have never had their womb touched. Maybe they have never felt the pain or as my doctor says "pressure." Sometime I just might show my doctor what "pressure" feels like with my foot. Anyway, womb touching isn't something I'm very fond of, especially by something which is in all likelihood just hammering away.
Onward. There are also some pretty fascinating secondary characters, which of course included the manly brothers. There is also the wonderful character of Rebecca, Eva's sister. I hope Ms. Hunter is going to explore her character a little more, because she was charming. Regardless of the bed gyrations, and womb touching, His Wicked Reputation is a good beginning to what appears to be a great series (I hope.) The characters are intelligent and appealing. It was nice to read about two lovers who were also friends and that makes for a great couple. This is one time that I was sure in the end that these two would have a HEA. I do recommend this.
Time/Place: Regency England