Wayward One by Lorelie Brown

bookAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N 

Type: Historical Romance

Publisher: Samhain

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Michelle

He’ll protect her with every vicious bone in his body.

During her ten years at the prestigious Waywroth Academy, Sera Miller clung to a strict code of propriety to shield herself from rumors that she isn’t an orphan at all. She’s a bastard. Now she wishes she had never allowed her friends to talk her into snooping into the mysterious source of her tuition.

Her benefactor isn’t the unknown father she dreamed of one day meeting, but Fletcher Thomas—underworld tycoon, gambling den owner, and a man so dangerously mesmerizing that he could spark the scandal Sera has worked so hard to avoid.

Fletcher is only two steps away from leaving the life of crime he inherited from his father. First he plans to join an aboveboard railroad consortium, then claim the one thing his ill-gotten gains have kept safe all these years—Sera.

With every wicked caress, Sera fights harder to remember society’s rules and reject the painful memories his touch resurrects. Accepting Fletcher’s love means accepting her past—a risk too great for a woman who has always lived in the shadows. No matter how safe she feels in his arms.

“Of both of them, he was by far the better person.”

I don’t usually include quotes when writing a review, but that describes exactly how I felt about this book.

Sera was a proper, compassionate, friendly student at Waywroth Academy where she learned all about society’s rules. She had never known her father, and had been at the Academy ever since her mother died leaving her an orphan. Waywroth Academy was a blessing for her – a chance to enter society as a respectable lady instead of spending her life in the underbelly of her past. Sera was a very likable heroine… until Fletcher came back into her life.

It was in that underbelly of society that she first met Fletcher as a child. Sera’s mother and his father had an “association”, until both died in a fire during one of their liaisons. Fletcher was six years older than Sera and knew the ways of the world. He realized that her life would amount to nothing if she became an orphan of their community. He also knew that taking over his father’s shady business interests was his one shot at making a life for himself. From that day forward, every decision he made for himself and for Sera was for their future – together. He needed Sera safe until she was old enough to join him, and until he could carry out his plans to turn the business around to the right side of the law. Placing her at Waywroth also provided her with the education she’d need to enforce their life of propriety. Lord knows he didn’t have a respectable bone in his body.

Fletcher was one of the most honest heroes I’ve read about. He was who he was: a poor man with no title made rich by his father’s criminal dealings. He wanted a better life for himself and for Sera and he would do anything to get it. Protecting her and providing her with what she needs was all that he lived for. Once he reinstated himself into her life, it didn’t take him long to realize that she was more than just an ideal for him. He fell in love with her and would lay the world at her feet if she’d only ask. He so easily could have come across as a weak pushover of a man, but the author does a wonderful job of creating a strong, protective, sexy and caring hero in Fletcher.

Sera was more difficult for me to like. She seemed way more down to earth with her friends at the Academy. Once she immersed herself into Fletcher’s life and home, she became so uptight. She was completely unwilling to explore any of her feelings for him, deeming them improper. She was uncomfortable with her desire for him and had a lot of trouble reconciling the proper young lady she wanted to be (and she thought he wanted her to be) with the wanton woman who gave herself to him in the dark of night. Their marriage was sadly so one-sided for most of the book. All Fletcher wanted was Sera and it took her forever to come to terms with the fact that she truly reciprocated his love.

I thought the author tidied up the mess of their marriage a little too conveniently, and it was really no surprise who the minor “villain” in the book was. Also, being a Samhain title, I would have liked a little bit more steam. However (mostly thanks to Fletcher) this book is a very satisfying read full of angst and emotion.

I give Wayward One by Lorelie Brown 4 stars!

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