A mistress. A mountain of debt. A mysterious wreck of a building. Delilah Swanpool, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, "Dear Dull Derring," is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It's a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man. But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue's Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice. They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he's ever known?
I had so much fun with Lady Derring Takes A Lover by Julie Anne Long. I especially loved the surprising friendship between Delilah and Angelique (and I really loved Angelique in general) and the way these women forge something great together when they're left with practically nothing. All the scenes with them feel real--sometimes funny, sometimes sad--and the other women who work in their boarding house are wonderful.
But let's not get confused: Lady Derring Takes A Lover is about the sweet and (maybe-not-surprising) love that flourishes between Delilah and Tristan. The blurb makes it sound like Tristan is some skeeze who will seduce Delilah just to get the answers he wants, but there is never really any question (for the reader) about how he feels about her pretty much instantly. They both proclaim to want to stay away from love, but there is never any worry that they are not going to fall madly in love and absolutely ruin their plans for long, lonely lives far removed from love.
As sweet as their romance is (and, also, quite hot, once they get to it), this isn't a 5-star read for me because I didn't really care much about the smuggler story, to be honest. Tristan's hunt for this smuggler is the basic premise, but it was hard to care much about his hunt for these cigars. I did, however, absolutely love the cast of characters and will be eagerly awaiting Angelique's story.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Expected publication February 26, 2019 by Avon