Desperately Seeking Suzanna by Elizabeth Michels
Series: Tricks of the Ton #2
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Genres: Historical Romance
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Sue Green just wanted one night to be the pretty one. But a few glasses of champagne and one wild disguise later, she’s in some serious trouble. Who knew the devastatingly handsome face of Lord Holden Ellis would get in the way of her foot? And how exactly did all that high-kick dancing start in the first place? At least she blamed it all on her new persona—Suzanna. So Society’s most eligible bachelor will never find out the truth.
All Holden wants is the truth. Who was that vixen who seduced him so thoroughly, then disappeared? The only one who seems to have any answers about Suzanna is Miss Sue Green. She’s promised to help him find his mystery woman, but in truth she’s not being all that helpful. And in truth, the more time Holden spends with Sue—witty, pretty, and disarmingly honest—the more he realizes he may have found exactly what he’s been looking for all along…
Sue and her gorgeous sister, along with their two cousins, sneak into a masquerade ball one night. The cousins and Sue’s sister, Evangeline, primp Sue up until she doesn’t even recognize herself in the mirror. She’s so excited that she starts to call herself Suzanna and does a bit of a dance down the staircase. Unfortunately Sue ends up can-canning her foot right into Holden Ellis’s nose. She’s very apologetic and yes, he takes advantage of that, as any good rake would do. They go up to his room so that he can change out of his bloody clothes (he had a bloody nose) and as Sue has had champagne and then a glass full of liquor while waiting for Holden she’s quite sloshed. She stretches out on his bed to wait and next thing you know Holden and Sue are being quite intimate with each other. They eventually make it down to the ball and have a great time together…until Sue’s mother finds her and takes her from beautiful Suzanna back to plain ole Sue. When Sue heads back into the ball Holden sees her but doesn’t recognize her – which rips her heart out a bit.
Holden is not happy when he returns from getting drinks for Suzanna and himself and finds her gone. She had told him that she was staying with the Fairlyn’s (his aunt and uncles new neighbors) so he heads over the next day and asks after her. Sue’s cousins let him know that Suzanna is unavailable but that she’ll be in London for the Season and they’ll be happy to keep him informed of where she’ll be. Holden is a bit perplexed at himself as he’s never chased a woman before but there was something about Suzanna and he just can’t get her out of his mind.
Meanwhile Sue’s mother, who is a beastly, nasty, condescending woman, is telling Sue that this Sue’s last Season. If she doesn’t find a match then she’ll be sent to the wilds of Scotland to become a companion to her great-aunt. Sue is devastated and becomes determined to find a husband. Of course her mother thinks this is absolutely impossible. In the mother’s words…
“I had long hoped we could find you a match this year. An old gentleman more in need of a caretaker than a wife or a gentleman with some abnormality… perhaps even someone’s destitute fourth son by the season’s end.”
OMG I wanted to beat the mother upside the head and neck. She was SO mean to Sue when Sue was by no means ugly. She was short and she wasn’t necessarily a diamond of the first water. So what? She deserves a man with abnormalities. Ug. That was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to the mom. My heart ached for Sue as she had to put up with this badgering constantly.
Ok, enough about the mom. Anyway, Holden goes off for the season and finds himself attending balls he never planned on attending just so he could find Suzanna. He actually meets Sue and asks her about Suzanna as he believes them to be staying in the same home. Sue’s angry that he doesn’t recognize her and because of this doesn’t fall for Holden’s supposed charms. This gets Holden’s attention and he finally starts to see Sue for her lovely self and recognizes her as Suzanna. Now that he’s made a bumble of things, however, he’s not sure Sue will have him.
I have to say this book really started off with a bang. I was thoroughly engaged from the first page and read the whole story quite quickly. I loved Sue and everything about her. She was just a nice person and I admired the strength she had to possess just to handler her immediate family.
Holden wasn’t exactly who we thought he was in the beginning. We learn some things about him, and so does Sue, that show him in a completely different light. He had some family issues that were actually a secondary story line that eventually mingled with the first. I wasn’t sure that I cared all that much about the second story line but eventually saw that it was an integral part of who Holden was and how he lived his life. I did find him to be quite oblivious when it came to Sue. I mean, really? You see a short blond woman standing exactly where you left Suzanna and you don’t take a second look? I did think it too him too long to clue in but he made up for it in the end, imho.
This was a sweet & sexy romance and I’m glad I took a chance on this new-to-me author.
Rating: 3.5/3.75 out of 5