Type: Historical Romance
My Copy: Sent
A Portrait of a Lady
…or is it? The risqué painting owned by Benjamin Elliot, the earl of Foxburn, features a stunning beauty with sapphire eyes, golden hair, and creamy skin. Ben recognizes this particular English rose the instant he meets her—though she’s wearing considerably more clothing. In person, the demure debutante is even more irresistible…
In desperate need of money for her sick mother, Daphne Honeycote had posed for two scandalous portraits. Now she must hide her secret to save the Honeycote family name. Ben’s possession of one painting makes him an insufferable thorn in her side—and yet he may be her best chance at finding the canvas’s companion. As she becomes drawn to the dark-tempered earl, can Daphne risk laying bare the secrets of her heart?
Once She was Tempted is an enjoyable historical romance that continues the Honeycote series. We get to know Daphne, the sister that sacrificed so much, unbeknownst to her family to help when they were in dire straits. Unfortunately her secret is about to be revealed.
Until a year ago, Daphne and her family were living in a tiny apartment, her mother was very sick and they could not afford the care she needed. When her friend Thomas talked her into posing for several portraits for a reclusive gentleman she jumped at the chance and split the profit with him. Since those dark times, her sister has married a Duke, her mother has recovered and Daphne is about to start her first season in London, how ill-timed that the Earl of Foxburn recognizes her in the portrait as the lovely young woman hanging in his study.
Benjamin Elliot watched his best friend Robert die on the battlefield and made a promise to him that he would look after his brother Hugh, and because Hugh has found Lady Daphne so intriguing, Benjamin is making it his business to know everything about her, including why he has a painting that looks exactly like her in his study. The more he gets to know her, the more she is a contradiction and when she asks him to help find the other painting he is only too willing.
I thoroughly enjoyed this historical romance. This is the second in the series and starts soon after her sister has married the Duke and their lives have dramatically changed. Daphne is delightful and ready to start her new life; you can feel the excitement in her as she talks about her first season. I did find it interesting that Daphne never thought she could or should marry Benjamin, but she is forever thinking of others and did not want scandal to affect them.
Benjamin is quite the grump at first, believing the worse in Daphne and keeping her far away from Hugh, only to realize how wrong he is. He is also in so much pain because of a war injury to his leg that he uses it to keep others away, preferring to suffer alone. This is something that Daphne calls him out on, forcing him to realize what he is doing. They are very cute together as they search for the painting, get to know each other and flirt. The scene where she helps him with the pain, wrapping his leg is very sexy and steamy.
The plot progression is nice and steady, not a lot of drama or adventure, just two people healing each other as they fall in love. The secondary characters were engaging and added to the story, I liked seeing Belle and her Duke as they continue their lives together and of course Rose and Olivia, sisters of the Duke who are featured frequently, and I hope we get to see more of them. Daphne’s mother is also in several scenes and they talk about when she was sick, but I was a bit confused about her recovery and Daphne’s role in it, I felt this was something of a loose end. However such a small issue, as Once She was Tempted is a wonderful historical that pushes all the right buttons of a romance.
I give Once She was Tempted by Anne Barton 4 stars!