LONDON’S GREATEST LOVER’S #2
Setting: England, 1855
As the black sheep second son of an Earl, Stephen Lyons has gained a reputation in the art of seduction, but when his wicked ways result in scandal, he joins the army to redeem himself. On the battlefield, he proves courageous . . . until he is seriously wounded. Returning home to recover, he discovers he can’t remember the angelic beauty who arrives at his doorstep, his babe nestled in her arms.
Mercy Dawson will risk everything to protect the son of the dashing soldier she once knew and admired. When Stephen offers to do the honorable thing, she is determined that London’s most notorious gentleman will desire her and no other. But Mercy fears that what began as an innocent deception could destroy her dreams and their blossoming love if Stephen ever learns the scandalous truth . . .
They are masters of seduction, London’s greatest lovers. Living for pleasure, they will give their hearts to no one . . . until love takes them by surprise
Lorraine Heath is one of my favourite authors because whenever I pick up one of her books, I am always assured of an outstanding historical romance. PLEASURES OF A NOTORIOUS GENTLEMAN, the 2nd book in her London’s Greatest Lovers series, is a passionate and moving story of two deeply wounded people who find happiness through the healing power of love.
One of Ms Heath’s greatest strengths is her ability to create in depth characters that appeal directly to the emotions. The torment Stephen endures because he can’t remember the events of the past two years is captured so well and gives him a vulnerability which is very touching.
But his eyes – his beautiful blue eyes – had changed the most. They held such an incredible bleakness when he looked at her that she almost wept. His wounds went much deeper than his flesh; they had penetrated his soul.
The war has changed him. Gone is the irresponsible, womanizing rogue from Passions of a Wicked Earl to be replaced by a man prepared to take his responsibilities seriously and marry Mercy. It takes him a little longer to bond with his son, John but, when he does, it’s a poignant moment.
She transferred the child to Stephen’s waiting arms. Not once did John release his firm grip on Stephen’s finger. His throat knotted, Stephen forced out the words. “Hello, John. You and I are going to have quite a time of it, aren’t we?”
The boy blinked up at him, a question in eyes of blue, a shade that mirrored Stephen’s. “Who the devil are you?”
“I’m your father.”
Mercy is gentle, courageous and loving and just perfect for Stephen. Her own experiences of war allow her to understand him in a way his family can’t. Her tenderness and compassion are exactly what he needs to heal his troubled soul. She’s not perfect and doesn’t always make the right decisions. I did not agree with her keeping the truth from Stephen but I understood that she was driven by her love for Stephen and John and her fear that she might lose everything she held dear.
Their journey to happiness is passionate, poignant and, at times, heart-rending as they struggle to overcome the obstacles that lie in their path. But the final affirmation of their love is well worth waiting for.
Before she could protest, he took her in his arms and kissed her deeply while the world looked on. With his reputation, no one even raised an eyebrow. But Mercy knew the kiss symbolized much more. It was a celebration of their life their love.
Ms Heath brought to vivid life the harsh realities of war and I was pleased that she chose not to take the easy option as regards Stephen’s amnesia.
I love the secondary characters; Stephen’s younger brother, the Duke of Ainsley who exudes power and authority and demonstrates a maturity well beyond his years; Stephen’s mother, the Duchess of Ainsley who loves her sons and wants their happiness and her young lover, Leo who obviously loves her to distraction. I was also pleased to see the rift between Stephen and his older brother, the Earl of Westcliffe healed.
I’m looking forward to reading Ainsley’s story in the final book in the series, Waking Up With the Duke
VERDICT: A GREAT READ!
SENSUALITY RATING: HOT
Read March 2012