The Earl Takes All by Lorraine Heath
Series: Hellions of Havisham #2
Also in this series: Falling into Bed with a Duke, The Earl Takes All, The Viscount and the Vixen, When the Marquess Falls
Publication Date: April 26th 2016
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One summer night, Edward Alcott gives in to temptation and kisses Lady Julia Kenney in a dark garden. However, the passion she stirs within him is best left in the shadows as she weds his twin, the Earl of Greyling. But when tragedy strikes, to honor the vow he makes to his dying brother, Edward must pretend to be Greyling until the countess delivers her babe.
After her husband returns from a two-month sojourn, Julia finds him changed. Bolder, more daring, and more wicked—even if he does limit their encounters to kisses. With each passing day, she falls more deeply in love.
For Edward the embers of desire sparked on that long-ago night are quickly rekindled. He yearns to be her husband in truth. But if she discovers his ruse, she will despise him—and English law prevents him from marrying his brother’s widow. Yet he must dare to risk everything and reveal his secrets if he is to truly take all.
The Earl Takes All is the second book in the Hellions of Havisham series and it packed an emotional punch because everything that I was afraid was going to happen in the last book…happened and I was so scared to read this one because I didn’t know how to feel about what I knew was going to happen. If that doesn’t make any sense, sorry but that’s what I got for you.
Albert and Edward Alcott are twins that lost their parents when they were young boys. They were shipped off to live with the Marquess of Marsden at Havisham Hall, a friend of their fathers who was going to raise them along with the Duke of Ashebury and his own son, Locke. The Marquess of Marsden is known in the ton as the Mad Marquess because he’s gone mad ever since the love of his life died. He didn’t pay much attention to the boys when they were younger so they had free reign to run wild all over Havisham. They earned their reputations as the hellions of Havisham but they’re all grown up now. Ashe has married and taken his rightful place as the Duke of Ashebury. Albert has married and taken his rightful place as Earl of Greyling.
Edward and Locke are the lone bachelors in their group and the two of them have different reputations. Locke is the quiet one, the one everyone thinks is going to follow in his father’s footsteps and turn mad just like him. Before I get into the rest of my review, I am so looking forward to getting more Locke in his book. I’m so anxious to see where Heath takes his character because I love the hell out of him and we’ve gotten little information about him so far. Edward, on the other hand is the group weasel. He’s a dick to his sister in law, he lives his life with abandon not caring one whit about anything real or lasting. He lives for adventure and is known as the group scoundrel. The worst of the lot.
Edward invites Albert to go on one last safari with him before Albert’s baby is born and won’t have time for adventures anymore. It was to be Albert’s last hurrah before settling down for good into the family life. When tragedy strikes on the safari, Edward comes home with a promise to Albert to fulfill and a whole lot of regret.
Lorraine Heath hit me in the feels at every turn in this book. First there was Albert’s death and then Edward’s promise and then as the story unfolds and you see Edward and Julia getting closer and closer and your heart pounds because it’s such an impossible situation for Edward but what other course was there for him? What else could he have done to protect his brother’s child and wife?
Oh man, this book was good. Lorraine Heath really shines with these complex characters and stories. I tried to prepare myself for the angst that I knew was waiting for me within the pages of this book but like Edward, the romance that blossomed between him and Julia knocked me on my ass. I didn’t think I could love any of the hellions more than I loved Ashe but holy cow, Edward. I wasn’t prepared for the wealth of love I would develop for him. I think I loved him more than Julia did.
I thought Heath did a wonderful job of balancing the new romance between Edward and Julia without taking away from Julia’s love for Albert. There were little moments where I was unsure how things would work out for the both of them but I never once doubted the love between both Albert and Julia and then Edward and Julia. I really loved that she didn’t sacrifice one character to further another character’s story. This book was handled with a sensitivity that I think would be hard to write without making the reader hate one, if not all of the characters involved so I was impressed with Heath’s efforts. There wasn’t a thing that was taken lightly, nothing was brushed over and I liked that.
This was a good book and even with the complicated romance, I highly recommend.
4.5 out of 5