The Untouchable Earl by Amy Sandas
Series: Fallen Ladies #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: November 1st 2016
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Lily Chadwick has spent her life playing by society's rules. But when an unscrupulous moneylender snatches her off the street and puts her up for auction at a pleasure house, she finds herself in the possession of a man who makes her breathless with terror and impossible yearning...
Though the reclusive Earl of Harte claimed Lily with the highest bid, he hides a painful secret-one that has kept him from knowing the pleasure of a lover's touch. Even the barest brush of skin brings him physical pain, and he's spent his life keeping the world at arms' length. But there's something about Lily that maddens him, bewitches him, compels him...and drives him toward the one woman brave and kind enough to seek to heal his troubled heart.
After a meeting eyes with the Earl of Harte across a ballroom and staring at him for an extended period Lily knows that she wants to get to know him better. Unfortunately he seems to be made of steel and ice and when he’s introduced to the ladies in her group he snubs her. Weird, since he’d been staring at her as well – seeming to be just as interested. Despite his snub the Earl saves her from ruin in the garden soon after their stare down.
Not long after that Lily is abducted by a man her family owes money to. He had given them until the next day to get the money but a change in his circumstances pushed things forward. He takes her to his sister’s brothel and she auctions her off to the highest bidder – of course that bidder is the Earl of Harte. He wins the bidding only so that he can get her back home and save her reputation. The woman does something to him emotionally and he lusts for her desperately, but he literally can’t be touched as it’s painful for him and he’s sure she would never understand. When she offers herself up as his mistress, so that she can experience passion before she enters a dull and boring marriage, the earl accepts.
The two begin an erotic adventure that takes them both places they’d never been before but Lily finds herself falling in love with the earl despite all of his quirks. The earl says he’ll never marry but when he realizes that he can be more than the emotionless man he’s always been he thinks he might be able to open himself up enough to let Lily in for good.
This was an interesting story. I liked Lily and her desire for passion. Her older sister is pushing her to marry so that they can pay off their father’s debts so she feels as if she can’t wait for The One. The minute she lays eyes on the earl she knows that he’s the man she’s been looking for but he’s determined to never marry. When she offers to play the part of his mistress she’s pretty happy he accepts. I was surprised that she went so far as to do this but yet I kind of liked her more because of it. Yes, she was a bit reckless with her family’s reputation but I liked that she went for what she wanted and damn the consequences.
The earl was obviously hard to know as he held himself back so much. The author waited way too long, imho, to tell us why he had this painful reaction to touch. It wasn’t truly a big revelation and I was frustrated with that fact after having waited so long. Besides his father’s disdain for him and the fact that he grew up in a harsh household we never truly got to know him. Because of this it was hard for me to get too far into the relationship between him and Lily.
The sex and erotic aspects of this novel were well done. They were very sensuous and sexy and I thought that Sandas did a great job not rushing into it the final de-virginizing of the H/h. I was slightly disappointed in the end when the author had us thinking that love would cure the earl – or at least enough that he’d be able to accept Lily’s touch. It was a bit of a cop-out and one I didn’t care for.
In the end I found it to be an enjoyable book even though I had a few issues with it. If you like erotic historical romances I think this would be one to read.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5