by Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Sinful Suitors #2
Pub. Date: March 22, 2016
Publisher: Pocket Books
The hotly anticipated second novel in New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries’s addictive Sinful Suitors series!
When Edwin Barlow, the Earl of Blakeborough, agrees to help his best friend’s impetuous ward, Lady Clarissa Lindsey, in her time of need, he knows he’s in for trouble. He’s been hunting for someone to wed, and she’ll just get in the way. Although captivated by the whip-smart, free-spirited beauty, he fears she’d be all wrong as a wife ... if she would even take such a gruff cynic for her husband. Too bad he wants nothing more than to have her for his own.
Clarissa has no intention of marrying anyone—not Edwin, whom she’s sure would be an overbearing husband, and certainly not the powerful French diplomat stalking her. But when matters escalate with the diplomat, she chooses Edwin’s gallant offer of a marriage between friends in hopes that it will deter her stalker. She expects nothing more than an amiable union, but their increasingly tempestuous kisses prove more than she bargained for. When her stalker’s vow to expose the lovers’ deepest secrets threatens to destroy their blossoming attraction, will their tenuous bond withstand public ruin, or will Edwin lose all that’s important to him to protect his bride?
I was so excited to read this installment of the Sinful Suitors because I just loved the way that Clarissa and Edwin sniped at each other in the earlier books. You just knew that all that delicious tension was going to explode one day!
I am going to start with Edwin because he is one of my favorite kinds of heroes - the stoic sort that goes all grumbly and takes everything just way too seriously. A good lookin' gent that just needs the right woman to come along and ruffle his feathers. Edwin Barlow, Earl of Blakeborough grew up seeing his mother's misery and has vowed that his marriage will not follow those footsteps. Now that he wants an heir, he is looking for a very specific sort of wife. Someone who is not sassy and outspoken like our heroine. So squiring Clarissa around town to protect her from a crazed suitor was sure to be interesting. Edwin was somewhat awkward, gruff and blunt, which I found totally -endearing. He found his confidence when he was playing at seduction... but he also had no problem sitting back and letting Clarissa control the pace when he discovered her issues.
Clarissa is a tortured heroine, but you would never know it from outward appearances. She uses wit and sarcasm to cover her torment and fear, and her status as a flirty social butterfly is all a ruse. The attraction between Clarissa and Edwin was always there, but neither admitted their feelings to each other or themselves. So the romance was a slow burn that built a little at a time as they tried to deal with Clarissa's stalker. I was amused by her mother encouraging her slightly scandalous behavior and pushing her toward Edwin at every turn. But I felt bad for Edwin with Clarissa's hot and cold behavior. I understood the cause, but I hated that he internalized her actions and thought there was something wrong with him. I just wish she would have come clean with him a little sooner because I knew he would help build her back up.
I liked the bit of mystery in this story. Clarissa has attracted an aggressive and creepy suitor, who is also the French charge d'affaires, and can't be prosecuted for crimes b/c he has diplomatic immunity for all but murder. Discovering just why this man was so obsessed with our heroine provided a nice side plot to the romance and was a good reason for our H/h to be thrown together at every turn.
I received an advanced copy of this book from Pocket Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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