Author: Suzanne EnochGenre: Historical-Regency Romance.
Book 2 of 3 in the Adventurers' Club.
Synopsis from Goodreads.com:
A lady should always make polite conversation . . .
Theresa Weller understands the rules of decorum, and is appalled when Colonel Bartholomew James disrupts a perfectly civilized dinner. This rude, insensitive man is the complete opposite of everything a gentleman should be—but with one searing kiss, Tess can think of no one else.
A lady should never lose her temper . . .
Aggravated beyond bearing by a man who speaks his mind, Tess wishes there was a guide to men like Bartholomew. Surely, with such an assortment of handsome, polite suitors to choose from, Tess should not ache for him.
And a lady should never pursue a gentleman.
She invites him on carriage rides and dares him to dance, and almost makes him want to return to Society. Bartholomew knows Tess wants to be seen as a proper miss, but deep down, he knows she is precisely the sort to spark his desire . . . A most improper lady.
Rarely do I read a series/trilogy so closely together, but I just couldn't wait to read the next book here. I loved the hero and heroine so much in the first book, I had to get to know the next two right away. There was one unexpected aspect about the hero that the synopsis does not mention: our dear hero is injured. He uses a cane. And he's becoming somewhat reclusive to society. Enter our sweet and caring heroine, and you have one endearing love story. But it's not like one of those ones that make you want to gag. It was also humorous and there was more going on than the synopsis leads on.
For some reason I just want to describe Tolly (Bartholomew) like a stray injured puppy. He's cute, he makes you feel sympathetic and you just want to take care of him, and he also may snap because of all the pain he's feeling. Theresa (Tess) of course, is the care-taker. And a more suitable lady for this man I don't think there is. While she was offended along with everyone else by Tolly's behavior, she didn't let him get away with it. She took a different approach to him than the rest of the world did, and I am so glad she did. She certainly had reason to ignore this very outspoken man. But she soon realized, that there was something going on behind the rude facade. Much to my, and Tolly's delight, she scaled the wall he built up and made him do things he thought he never would.
Not only did she make him realize he deserved to have more than he let himself pursue, she gave him the possibility of a completely different future than the one he was slowly resigning to. Tolly also manages to give Tess a new outlook on her undecided future. With several (boring) suitors wanting her attention, and an answer to a proposal, she basically throws them all to the wind and she pursues Tolly. I very much liked that about her.
As for the pace of this story, it moved along rather well. There were also other likable characters who make appearances and re-appearances such as the Duke of Sommerset - a character I would very much like to get to know better, even though he seems a bit snarky at times. & Not to forget Tolly's very loveable family, who just want their brother back the way he was, before he came home and they realized just how inwardly damaged he was as well as outside. As far as not so lovable characters, there are some despicable ones lurking in this book who did get under my skin. But I don't want to give away all of the mystery about this book, and there is one aspect of the plot I did not discuss because I don't want to spoil it completely.
So if you find yourself partial to wounded puppy-dogs with an edge who really need to be loved, you may want to give this book a try. It is part of a trilogy, but I think it would do fine as a stand-alone as well. In fact, in this whole trilogy, the only common thing in it is the Duke of Sommerset's private "Adventrurer's Club" - which is explained in all three books. So you don't have to be too precise about your reading order either. Unless you're like me and you absolutely have to read the books in order.