Nick Gentry is reputed to be the most skillful lover in all England. Known for solving delicate situations, he is hired to seek out Miss Charlotte Howard. He believes his mission will be easily accomplished – but that was before he met the lady in question. For instead of a willful female, he discovers one in desperate circumstances, hiding from a man who could destroy her very soul.
So Nick shockingly offers her a very different kind of proposition – one he has never offered before. He asks her to be his bride. And he knows that this will be much more than a union in name only. For he senses what Charlotte does not yet know – that her appetite for sensuality matches his own. But what Nick learns surprises him. For while London’s most notorious lover might claim Charlotte’s body, he quickly discovers it will take much more than passion to win her love.
Worth Any Price is the 1st book I ever read by Lisa Kleypas (I think..it’s the first I remember reading by her so that counts, right?) and it’s still my favorite out of all of them. Despite my love for Sebastian St. Vincent, it’s Nick who has my heart. Since I know Lori loves him almost as much as I do, I asked her to share her thoughts with us. I was going to add mine as well, but Lori really said everything I wanted to – and better than I ever could have. Really, I just can’t express how much I love this book!
The opening to Worth Any Price is so heartrending, so emotional, that I can’t help but fall in love with Nick every time I reread it (which is at a minimum once or twice a year). Here is a young man in his early 20s who can’t stand to be touched, still a virgin, and is so desperate for some sexual release that he begs the local madam to take him under her wing. You can feel his discomfort with human touch – so much so that you know that something horrific has happened to him – and you feel so badly for him that you just want to make it all better for him. Kleypas writes the scene so wonderfully that you feel the palpable relief and embarrassment when the act is finally completed.
Moving on to his introduction to Lottie, Nick poses as a bored viscount in order to bring her home to her fiancé, Lord Radnor, from whom she ran 2 years earlier. Radnor is a cruel old man, portrayed as cold, skeletal, and creepy. Lottie is serving as a companion to the dowager Countess of Westcliff. She has managed to make a life for herself and is independent. Nick is struck like a ton of bricks. He insinuates himself into her life under the guise of relieving his aristocratic ennui, but in reality simply falls for her. The scene where Lottie goes to the May Day fair and they walk home together following the maypole is beautiful. I loved watching her once she realized she was found out – she lost it, attacking him and yelling at him. Nick was also spellbound. It’s then that he realizes that he could marry her instead of her disgusting fiancé.
Watching Nick deal with the emotions of falling in love with Lottie while still trying to deal with the physical aspect of not being able to be touched is so heart-wrenching. He’s a very physical lover, as long as he’s doing the touching, but refuses to fall asleep with her. This tears her apart. You can see their love for each other grow daily. And as Nick comes to realize that he doesn’t need his old life – all he needs is Lottie – it’s just wonderful. The two really begin not only to be friends and lovers, but to truly depend upon one another, to grow as a couple, and to learn how to be in a relationship together.
Eventually, Lottie wins him over by showing him complete acceptance, and when he spends the night in her arms – finally – it just makes your heart clench. Still, even after 10s of rereads, I get the warm fuzzies when he lets himself go enough to tell her his truths and to fall asleep with Lottie.
Lottie, in turn, is a fantastic heroine. She is strong in her own right and strong for Nick as well. She helps him through the toughest revelations of his life and supports him through thick and thin while enduring some horrific stuff on her own as well. Lord Radnor is after her for payback for putting her through school, for supporting her family, all with the expectation of Lottie as the prize at the end. She has to learn to let others do for her and to let go and trust in someone other than herself.
This book is very dynamic – the characters learn and grow. Lottie was seemingly strong as an individual, but really was the strong one in the relationship, supporting Nick in every way he needed. As the book went on, she became stronger in her own right, able to control both herself and her environment as well as her man.
Nick was seemingly the strong one in the relationship, but truly couldn’t be open and free in the marriage until he released his innermost fears. Loving and trusting Lottie allowed him to do that. He was a much stronger individual at the beginning of the book, and as it moved forward, he found he needed her support as well in order to come to terms with his identity and his place in life.
Lottie is just one of those great heroines – there for her guy in every way. Supporting him through thick and thin, helping him through the hardest times, giving unconditional love, but by no means a doormat – strong for those who need her, with a wonderful sense of humor and a great sense of self and self-worth. When Nick’s life is literally hanging by his fingertips, and his last thoughts are of Lottie, that is romance at its finest. Until he walks into the Bow Street offices to see her alive and can’t contain himself and simply kisses the living daylights out of her, losing all sense of time and place, until she can calm him down enough to come back to reality. That’s romance at its finest.
So why is Nick a better hero than Derek? He loves his woman unconditionally. He never tries to stifle her. He recognizes her strengths, and wants her to see them as well. He learns to trust her with his biggest pain. He never, ever would have slept with someone else simply because she looked like Lottie. He took great pains to show her how special she was. It’s no secret that Craven means cowardly, gutless, spineless, weak, “so lacking in courage as to be worthy of contempt”. Nick’s profession, while it may not be one he chose for himself, and yes – it was one he was forced into to avoid death – is at least one that is admirable. He is a Bow Street Runner, essentially a police officer (or what would become the police). He cannot hide his true self – that of one who protects people. Someone with a good heart.
How can you not want to rush right out and read this now?
5 out of 5 (Lori didn’t give me a grade for this, but she didn’t need to. It’s definitely a 5)
Although this book is the third in a series, I don’t think it needs to be read in order.