It Only Takes a Kiss by Wilma Counts
Series: Once Upon a Bride #2
Also in this series: My Fair Lord (Once Upon a Bride #1)
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: October 16, 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
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Best friends since their schooldays, Henrietta, Harriet, and Hero are wise and witty young ladies, embarking on the sometimes bumpy road to happily-ever-after, each in her own brilliant way...
Hero Whitby has harbored long-buried fears since a devastating attack by two young men of the privileged class. Now, while her peers aspire to husband-hunting, Hero pursues her passion to be a doctor, working alongside her father, a respected Devonshire physician. But when a badly beaten stranger is carried in to his practice, Hero is stunned by her reaction. Over three days of tending to the man, along with her instinct to heal, she finds herself intensely drawn to him.
Robbed and left for dead for highwaymen, Alexander Sterne has no memory of his past as a soldier in Wellington's army—or as a carousing playboy. But as he becomes aware of his surroundings and the plight of the locals, Alex realizes only he can break the corrupt hold of an evil land steward. And when Hero's tender kiss awakens him from sleep—and restores his identity—he knows that he must regain not only his strength but a newfound compassion...which can only be ignited by Hero and a meeting of hearts that may heal them both.
Hero is considered on the shelf and as such is living with her doctor father in his place in Cornwall. She wants to be a doctor herself and has learned almost everything she needs to know from her father. She’s woken up one night by locals who found a beaten man by the side of the road. He is completely built, and Hero can’t help from noticing how beautiful his body is (how unprofessional, Hero!).
The man eventually wakes up and doesn’t remember his past. When he returned from the war he had pretty bad PTSD so that might be a good thing. He eventually remembers and figures out that he is the third son of a duke and was arriving in Cornwall incognito. He was to check the books of the land steward of his very own holdings. Because the land steward isn’t on the up and up, they attacked the “bookkeeper” and left him for dead.
The land steward turned out to be a very bad guy and was threatening to evict people from the land if they didn’t help him with his smuggling ring – this included part of Hero’s family.
I liked this story. I found the whole smuggling/land steward/amnesia story really worked for me. I thought that Counts did a great job with all of that. She wrote a story that kept my attention and I wanted to keep reading.
Unfortunately I didn’t feel as strongly about the romance in the story. While I liked both Hero and Alex, I wasn’t feeling it between them. Hero knew Alex by reputation, since he’d never actually been to that particular holding since he’d inherited it. She knew the owner was a drunkard and a rake, and thought him the lowest of lows. When she found out that Alex was the owner, she was pissed. Of course, Alex had lied to her, but still, she should have listened when he’d said he’d changed.
In the end I found the book to be satisfying, but not as satisfying as I thought it would be at the beginning. I was disappointed that the second half of the book wasn’t as good as the first half. I still think it’s worth reading if you like smuggling stories.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5