Too Wicked To Wed (Lords Of Midnight #1)
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
Lady Alexa Bingham hasn’t been raised in quite the same way as other ladies of noble birth. She enjoys independence and plain-speaking. She has also seen to much of the family’s country estate and is practical and knowledgeable, having received an education that would be similar to the one a boy would. Needing to find the whereabouts of her brother, Lady Alexa ventures into a brothel and gaming house, owned by the notorious Earl of Killingworth, aka The Irish Wolfhound.
An unreformed rake, the Wolfhound agrees to help her locate her brother in return for a kiss and Lady Alexa is surprised that the only man who has ever interested her is a man such as he. In Town for a season, she finds the young men boring and insipid and isn’t surprised when they aren’t interested in her either. After all, she’s not one to quietly sit and simper and hold her tongue. But the Wolfhound is different – although titled he’s also impoverished and has turned to replenishing the family fortune by way of peddling debauchery. When the Earl of Killingworth is taken for a ride and a large amount of his cash is stolen he is forced to take a loan from a friend. A proud man, he stakes half his business on the loan, which his friend promptly then loses in a card came….to Lady Alexa Bingham.
Now business partners, Lady Alexa and the Wolfhound are together when someone makes an attempt on his life. They know Lady Alexa’s identity too and it is decided that for the safety of them both, they will retreat to the Earl of Killingworth’s entailed estate for him to recuperate and while his close friends investigate in Town. This of course, places Lady Alexa in a very dangerous position. If anyone were to know that she had been secluded away with him, she would be ruined.
However, being ruined is starting to look like a very attractive option…
So recently my eldest son was struck down with a terrible form of the flu. It took the rest of us down brutally, especially my youngest son and for a while, sleep was scarce and life was a never-ending cycle of taking temperatures, distributing medicine (my eldest will take anything but the oral steroids the doctor prescribed made him nauseous so I had to hide them, my youngest views most medicine as evil being sent to destroy him and I basically have to ram it down his throat) and feeling like utter crap. Because of that, I couldn’t really concentrate much on reading so I tried to pick lighter books, ones that didn’t require a huge amount of my attention and that I could put down if I need to attend to one of the kids (which was often). I found this one on my kindle – I probably requested it a couple of years ago, if the publication date is anything to go by, and never got around to reading it. I was in the mood for a historical romance and decided to give it a go and for the most part it delivered exactly what I wanted it to.
Both Lady Alexa and Connor, the Earl of Killingworth, aka the Irish Wolfhound are quite different to others in the Ton in that Lady Alexa has had a less than conventional upbringing and Connor has needed to secretly resort to trade in order to replenish the family fortune that his father gambled away. He had a deeply miserable childhood (don’t they all?) and hasn’t returned to his country estate which is entailed and could not, therefore, be gambled away, in many years and in fact never intended to return to it ever again. However circumstances beyond his control lead to him being taken there by Lady Alexa after consultation with one of the Earl’s friends after he is shot. It’s very remote and no one will know where they are, which will allow him to recuperate in safety and also keep Alexa safe too, as they know her identity. Although the Earl is very unhappy to be back in his childhood home, he slowly comes to be very impressed by the ideas and enthusiasm Lady Alexa has for it. It need not be shut up and crumbling into a ruin, with a bit of care and attention it could become a thriving estate and a way for him to earn back some of the money he needs. And if he’s willing to let it, it could also become a home for him, with Lady Alexa.
I quite enjoyed the developing attraction between the Earl and Lady Alexa from their first encounter up until they’re bascially living as a married couple at his estate. Because they’re both quite different from their social group, with Lady Alexa being outspoken and educated to run an estate and oversee all of its capacities, and the Earl having to engage in trade, which is a big no-no among the titled, they are both looking for someone to accept them as they are. Although the Earl has not had exposure to many positive marriages and seems uninterested in entering one himself….until he realises just what damage he will cause Alexa by having her with him. It’s secluded but there’s always the possibility of word escaping. The sexual attraction between the two of them is off the charts for both of them and he begins to feel as though he might be able to make it work, given the right amount of effort.
However despite enjoying their relationship and their sparring with each other, there’s no denying that the story lags in the middle and goes no where for a while. What should be interesting as they’re cooped up in the Earl’s family home isn’t anywhere near as much as it could and should be. Also, the ending is really weak and didn’t really seem motivation enough for the crimes that were being committed and the culprit was kind of funny but not really all that believable. It kind of took away from the mystery element of the story which dragged down the overall experience a bit. However the two characters that make up books 2 and 3 of this series were really interesting in their little snippets and I’d be interested in following it on and seeing what happens to them and maybe getting a glimpse or two of Connor and Alexa in the future.
Book #85 of 2014