Monday, May 2, 2011
For two years, Catherine Marks has been a paid companion to the Hathaway sisters—a pleasant position, with one caveat. Her charges’ older brother, Leo Hathaway, is thoroughly exasperating. Cat can hardly believe that their constant arguing could mask a mutual attraction. But when one quarrel ends in a sudden kiss, Cat is shocked at her powerful response—and even more so when Leo proposes a dangerous liaison.
Leo must marry and produce an heir within a year to save his family home. Catherine’s respectable demeanor hides a secret that would utterly destroy her. But to Leo, Cat is intriguing and infernally tempting, even to a man resolved never to love again. The danger Cat tried to outrun is about to separate them forever—unless two wary lovers can find a way to banish the shadows and give in to their desires…
Fourth in the Hathaway's Series, I really enjoyed Cat and Leo's story - I knew I would! The Hathaway's governess has a secret past and Leo, Lord Ramsey, intends to find out what it is while wooing her at the same time. I’ve been looking forward to this one ever since I read the second book in the series, Seduce Me at Sunrise. It was clear then that Leo and Catherine were destined for one another, yet each of them had some pretty heavy baggage to unload before they could be happy. Leo needed to reform and drop his profligate ways and Catherine needed to live her life without worrying about the secret and damaging past she can’t live down.
Leo’s come a long way since the first book in the series, Mine Till Midnight. A tortured hero, he watched his fiancée die in his arms from fever and then went over the deep end, nearly losing his mind in grief. He came close to dying himself. After that, with his new title, he became a ne’er do well rake hell, determined to dull his grief with gambling, drugs, whoring and being about as bad as you can get, while still remaining a gentleman.
Enter Catherine Marx, the governess with a past. A past she wants to remain a secret for it’s about as different from her uptight, dowdy and prim exterior as you can get. Working for the Hathaways has been a joy to her compared to her former life growing up with her mercenary grandmother who ran a brothel. Catherine tried her best to remain apart from the goings on there until her grandmother sold her off to the highest bidder. No matter that the man who “bought” her is a degenerate pervert who will pay anything to deflower and have his way with her - repeatedly. Fortunately, Catherine is rescued just in time by her half brother, Harry Rutledge (from book 3, Tempt Me at Twilight), a man unknown to her until that day.
To make a long story short, Harry helps Cat so she can put her former life behind her and forget it forever. Dying her hair brown and making herself nearly invisible, she disguise herself and becomes the plain Miss Marks, governess and companion to the two youngest in the Hathaway family. She’s happy and life is good until Leo Hathaway returns from Paris after an extended period of time. From that moment on, she and Leo are at loggerheads with one another. Their constant dueling and crossing of swords makes it apparent they can’t resist one another, except neither one knows it… yet.
An ‘opposites attract’ story, Leo’s rakish behavior is a foil for Cat’s implacable respectability. Once Leo impulsively kisses Catherine, their constant arguing takes a turn to passion. He can’t ignore his feelings for her and grows to love her. Predictably, both are wary at first of these strong romantic feelings. They've been fighting with each other so long, it's hard to believe! In addition, as much as Catherine is drawn to Leo, she has trouble dealing with the passionate feelings she’s developing for him – afraid of her sexuality, afraid she’s inherently like the women in her family who became prostitutes. Plus, she doesn’t feel like she’s good enough for him, due to her background.
To further complicate matters, due to a peculiar clause in the will when he inherited the title and estate, Leo has to marry so that they don’t lose their family home. Will he propose to Cat because he really loves her or because he has to marry somebody?
Lisa Kleypas is a favorite of mine, and this was such a good story. I’m leaving tons out, but I loved the way Leo wouldn’t take no for an answer from Cat. Once he learns of her past, he doesn’t hold it against her. He wants her and he goes after her, over and over again, despite her protestations. Still, it wasn't always easy, sometimes he'd be aloof and she wasn't sure of the way he felt about her or not. In fact, sometimes she was amazingly dense - her insecurities had a way of blinding her to what was so obvious to us! The give and take between them only heightened their sexual tension. What a relief when finally she gives in but even then, all is not perfect in their world. She still has to fight off the advances of the creepy pervert who has turned up again that tried to buy her years before and her degenerate aunt, who is now running the old brothel, is helping him get to her! There is plenty of excitement in the last third of the book, but of course we get our happy ending. Now onto book 4 and the last of the series!
All in all, this was a fun book to read. Romantic, sexy and daring. Their love scenes sizzled! Lisa Kleypas’ writing is always wonderful, she’s one of the best romance authors out there and Married by Morning is a welcome addition to the Hathaway series! I recommend it.