PUBLISHER: Brava, 3/2011
GENRE: Historical Romance
SETTING: England, 1808

FROM PUBLISHER: The only thing Miss Melissa Goodly has ever wanted out of a marriage is love. But any hope of that dissolves one wild night, when she loses herself in the arms of the most irresistible -- and unobtainable -- man in all of England. For when they are discovered in a position as compromising as it is pleasurable, she has no choice but to accept his proposal.

Avowed bachelor Anthony Craven, Earl of Wickham, never meant to seduce an innocent like Melissa. Yet now that the damage is done, it does seem like she'd make a very convenient wife. After all, she is so naive he won't have to worry about ever being tempted. Or so he thinks, until the vows are spoken and they are left alone -- and his new bride reveals a streak just as brazen and unrestrained as his own...

MY THOUGHTS: The story spans about six months. The hero is thirty-three year old Anthony. He's got black hair and silver-gray eyes. The heroine is twenty-one year old Melissa. She's got black hair.

I didn't care for this book at all. The incident at the beginning was contrived and too unbelievable/unrealistic. I find it hard to believe it would really have been planned out by someone so close to Melissa. It was just silly. We got no backstory on the heroine at all and I'm not sure why that was.

The hero has a very dark past. His father was very abusive toward him but not to his identical twin brother, Richard. The hero is hard and unwilling, at first, to open up his heart to the heroine. He does end up falling in love with the heroine, and she, him, after a few months. I never felt their love was true. We got a tiny bit of backstory about the hero but I'd have liked more.

Right from the start, after the 'incident', the heroine seemed a bit obsessed with wanting the hero to love her. She didn't even love him at this point so I don't understand why she wanted to be loved by a stranger so much.

I don't like that something as serious as slavery was thrown into this story. I felt it was unnecessary and a bit strange. It was more of a small subplot that took a backseat to the unbelievable love story between hero and heroine. There were several plots; the hero trying to bring down a slaver and the main plot seemed to be the unbelievable relationship between the hero and heroine. Then another plot involving a female villain, assisted by a man, who's trying to bring down the heroine for a really stupid reason- jealousy.

This was a dark, unromantic novel. Typically I like that type but the author just didn't pull off a true love story. This novel just didn't work for me.

Were I grading this novel on everything except the love story, I'd grade it an A. I liked the male/female villain duo and the explicit, dark sex. Because the love story was lacking and just plain lame, and this is a romance, I have to grade this novel a C/3 stars.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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