Type: Historical Romance
My Copy: Sent
When Lady Esme Byron happens upon a gorgeous naked man sleeping beside a secluded country lake, she can’t resist the impulse to sketch him. But when her highly improper drawing is mistakenly revealed at a party, she finds her once-pristine reputation in tatters.
Gabriel, Lord Northcote, may be a notorious rakehell, but he is still stunned to find himself accused of despoiling a duke’s sister—especially since he’s never set eyes on her. When Esme’s six irate brothers demand a hurried trip down the aisle, he has no choice but to comply. He thinks he can forget about his inconvenient bride but Esme Byron is no ordinary woman and Gabriel is about to learn just how unforgettable she can be.
What a delightful read this is, we start by witnessing a scandal and end with a heartfelt love story. The hero and heroine are intriguing and the author adds humor and playfulness onto the pages to create an entertaining romance.
Lady Esme Byron is from a large rambunctious family who dotes on her. She enjoys her life, she loves taking care of her animals, both given to her and those she rescues from various predicaments. She also loves to draw and paint, frequently filling up sketch books. Unfortunately her curiosity gets her into trouble when she finds a man swimming in a neighbor’s lake and sketches him naked, when the sketch book is discovered, she pays a hefty price, marriage to a stranger.
Gabriel, the Viscount Northcote is not a very happy man. He did not have a joyful childhood after his parents died, especially in the family home Ten Elms, where he lived with his older brother Matthew and his Uncle. When his brother died un-expectantly he became the Viscount, something his uncle despised and he makes his life miserable whenever possible. Gabriel enjoys a rakish lifestyle in London, hanging out with many others like him, and he is not yet ready to marry and settle down. While at a friend’s home in the country he takes an innocent swim in a lake only to find his whole world is suddenly turned upside-down.
Gabriel and Esme enter into this communion hesitantly but while honeymooning at one of his secluded homes they find bliss and enjoy several wonderful weeks together. It is only when a friend mentions the word “love” that things start to unravel and he gets scared, he sets her up at Ten Elms, a place that never felt like home and heads for London. After she gets over being hurt and angry, she realizes that he reminds her of one of her wounded animals and decides she has some work to do, to fight for him.
This is the second in the series about three men who lived near each other in London and how their lives are changed when they find that one true love.
Gabriel is a bit of a mystery but such an amazing hero. I love his attitude toward Esme, he is patient and thoughtful. Yes, he is frustrated when he realizes that his future has been decided by something he had no part in, but he actually handles it well and treats Esme wonderfully. The only time I see him being less than adoring to Esme is when he gets scared, but even then he is not mean, just disappears to London.
Esme is refreshing, everyone loves her, and she is protected by her brothers and lives an idyllic life. She is not thrilled with what happens to her but takes it well and with the help and patience of Gabriel she begins to fall in love. I also like her strength, she stands up to his uncle when confronted and to Gabriel when she finds him in London and again when she makes some decisions about their future.
I just loved the two together, they enjoy each other’s company and until the world interrupts them, they are adoring and happy. Their desire is fiery as he introduces her to a passionate love life that they both enjoy. I love how he does not think her animal menagerie or eating habits are strange (she does not eat meat). The pace of the story works well, starting with some excitement but settles into a wonderful love story. There is a bit of drama with his uncle and some trust issues between Gabriel and Esme, and I did think some of the scenes with his Uncle were not needed, but it does not take too much away from the story. There are a many secondary characters that enhance the story, I love her family, her brothers are very engaging and I enjoyed reading several humorous situations between her brothers and Gabriel. This is the second in the series but it can easily be read as a standalone, I am definitely looking forward to the next in this series.
I give Happily Bedded Bliss by Tracy Anne Warren 4.25 stars!