Never Entice an Earl by Lily Dalton
Series: One Scandalous Season #2
Publication Date: April 29th 2014
Format: Print ARC
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A Deception Most Reckless
Lady Daphne Bevington would do anything for her maid Kate-including masquerading as Kate and sneaking around the wrong side of London to settle the poor girl's debt. Yet her innocent ruse takes a scandalous turn when "Kate" runs into a handsome gentleman on a secret quest of his own. A moment of passion could cost Daphne her reputation, but how can she ignore the stranger's searing kiss?
An Arrangement Most Wicked
Lord Cormack Northmore is determined to find the immoral peer who ruined his sister. So when he learns that the irresistible woman he knows as "Kate" is the Season's most sought-after debutante, Cormack plans to use her connections to help him set a trap. Now, the closer Cormack gets to uncovering the villain who haunts the ton's ballrooms, the more he realizes that the lovely lady is in danger herself. Will he abandon his quest for revenge-or risk losing his one chance at love?
One of Daphne’s dear friends is her ladies maid, Kate. It may seem strange but they are incredibly close. Kate’s family gets themselves in a bit of a spot with a money lender (because the man is a complete ass) and he not only wants repayment, he wants Kate to dance at his brothel. Kate has agreed because she wants to save her parents business, but when part of the Daphne’s household falls sick Kate just can’t fulfill that promise as she’s just too ill. Daphne takes it upon herself to help her friend and goes to the brothel in Kate’s stead. She figures it won’t be so bad – she figured wrong. Not only is it horrible, the place is invaded by the police and Daphne is almost raped in an alleyway while trying to not get arrested. She is saved by a man who eventually introduces himself as Cormack, a merchant. Daphne introduces herself as Kate, a ladies maid. The attraction between the two is powerful and they succumb to their desire and they kiss.
Cormack is in London to search for the man who disgraced his now deceased sister. He knows that the man is part of a secret club but finding that club and getting himself into the inner workings of it is a proving difficult. When he meets Kate he’s almost immediately smitten. When he finds out that she’s actually Daphne, granddaughter of an Earl, he feels like he’s been played for a fool. He decides that he will blackmail her with the information of the night in the brothel in exchange for her help introducing him to society.
While Daphne’s not thrilled with the Cormack (he’s not a merchant, he’s an Earl!) she can’t help but have feelings for the man. Despite the fact that she knows she should stay away from him she finds it impossible and they soon fall in love. But there is someone who wants her for their own and they’re not willing to take a chance that she may say no.
NEaE was a pretty darned cute book. I really liked both Cormack and Daphne and liked them together as a couple.
Cormack was the type of man I’d want for a brother. He wanted nothing more than to avenge his sister and I loved him for that. He was on board with Daphne not wanting to get married (a self imposed punishment for what she believed was her part in her father’s death) because he didn’t want anyone to have her but him. He wasn’t available as he had an understanding with a neighbor (to marry his daughter) so that he could get back the family lands that had been sold. Now that he had money he had tried to buy the lands back but was unsuccessful. The daughter was only 12 at the moment so he was prepared to wait until she came of age. He very much wanted those lands so when he falls in love with Daphne he’s torn. He wants to do what is right for his family but he wants Daphne and happiness as well.
Now things with Daphne and Cormack, as well as Cormack’s sister and her illegitimate son, turned out a little too perfectly for my liking in the end. It was a nice twist but almost too much of a coincidence. It didn’t ruin the story for me but it was a tad too tidy of an ending. This was my first read by Dalton and I look forward to reading more in the future.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place.