Looking for an irresistible historical romance with an unusual twist? You should try Passions of a Wicked Earl. It features an arranged marriage, unrequited turned requited love, enemies to lovers, seduction of a rakehell, and an evil other woman.
Exiled to the country less than twenty-four hours after marrying her husband, Claire Westcliffe knew she deserved it. It didn’t matter that she was unaware of exactly what Westcliffe’s brother and her best friend, Stephen meant to do when he said he’d save her from her wedding night, because she wanted the reprieve. That all changes when her sister comes to her and begs to be given a season in order to avoid marrying the man their father picked for her. For her sister, Claire will brave her husband—his wrath and his bed—because somebody deserved romance.
After the disastrous wedding night, Westcliffe took himself off to London where he cut a swathe through the women (never a married woman or an innocent). It was his way of showing he didn’t care and a way to reaffirm his manliness which was striped away so completely upon the sight of his brother in his wife’s bed. It’s been years and he doesn’t believe there will ever be a reconciliation between them and he’s not sure he even wants one. If he divorces her and marries his current mistress, he knows what he’s getting into – a loveless marriage based on lust.
What he doesn’t count on is Claire. The more she learns about her husband’s true nature, the more she likes him and the more she wants to keep him. His actions were in reaction her own and while those actions were equally wrong, she knew they both had things to be sorry for, and that they could start fresh. But with Westcliffe avoiding her at every turn how was she to get her rakehell of a husband into bed? By seducing him of course!
Spoilers: Now I know what you’re thinking. Claire getting into bed with Stephen is completely inexcusable. How does the reader/hero get past something as morally challenging as that? Would you be able to get past your spouse cheating on you with a sibling? Probably not, but appearances can be deceiving as Westcliffe will find out when he finally consummates his marriage to Claire.
Westcliffe’s confirmed adultery is another morally challenging bit. Can a man like that be sympathetic? Of course he can when Lorraine Heath writes him. Westcliffe hid a broken heart in a string of very public affairs. Claire’s deception was the straw that broke this camel’s back. Westcliffe has always felt unloved. His mother obviously loved his younger brothers, and Stephen was notably the preferred child, but she never warmed up to Westcliffe because of who his father was.
Personally, I liked both the hero and heroine. Their flaws, backgrounds (morally challenging bits and all), and personalities just worked for me and I really enjoyed their romance. It was sexy, passionate, and sweet.