Friday, April 6, 2012
Stuart Aysgarth, the new Viscount Mount Villiars, doesn't know he's playing with fire when he inadvertently runs afoul of Emma Hotchkiss. True, the exquisite Yorkshire lady is a mere sheep farmer, but she also guards a most colorful past that makes her only more appealing to the handsome, haunted lord. Emma has come to him seeking justice - and Stuart is determined that she will not leave until she has shared her secrets ... and his bed. Her clever revenge scheme "must" fail in the face of his soft words and tender caress - and then he turns the tables on his bewitching adversary, seducing her into a daring deception of his own.
I loved this romance! The entire build up, execution and plotline was fantastic!
Set during Victorian times, I was enthralled by this crazy but oh-so-entertaining story! Beautiful and widowed Yorkshire sheep farmer, Emma Hotchkiss's lamb is killed on the road by a coach going by that didn't even bother to stop! Said coach is owned by the new Viscount Mount Villiars, newly arrived to the village where he intends to set up residence in his crumbling castle that is in much need of repair. Emma is outraged and wants the fifty pounds owed her for the loss of her lamb. After a few unsuccessful attempts with his "man of business" she is convinced the new viscount is a complete jerk and decides to teach him a lesson.
She turns to forgery. Yes... forgery.
As it turns out, in a former life, Emma was somewhat of a con artist with her husband and they were quite adept at playing the game of swindling money out of unsuspecting rubes. She knows all about accounting and doctoring books and moving money from accounts, etc. and she figures she can do this with the viscount's accounts to get her fifty pounds and he'll never know! She cleverly cooks up a scheme, poses as a temporary secretary for a complicated loan the Viscount has arranged with a nearby bank and - voila! Easy - or so she thinks. Except, Emma didn't count on what it would be like to actually meet the Viscount in person. Oh. My. God.
The build up and anticipation when Stuart, the new Viscount and Emma meet for the first time at the bank is one of the best I've ever read. It had me on tenterhooks, I was blown away by this first introduction to our hero. Stuart's description while standing in the doorway of the bank with the swirling snow flurries behind him was mesmerizing. His height, his vicuna and chinchilla coat, his top hat. Sexy, slow, provocative, I was enraptured. The first scene at the bank - everything - Emma dropping her pen, bumping heads, then searching under the table, their eyes meeting - a sexual connection - be still my heart! Every moment between them was scintillating. I loved it!
And it gets better!
Stuart is mesmerized by Emma and had no idea who she really is. He thinks she's some curvy young secretary who'd love to have a fling with him. He has no idea she's the annoying widow Hotchkiss that keeps plaguing him with letters and law suits and what have you. Still, things do not turn out the way Emma's financial scheme is planned and once Stuart figures out the way of things, he turns the tables on Emma. Again, be still my heart. I was stunned - blown away by the surprise of what he does to her! Some readers may take umbrage over this, but I thought it was very sexy. *fans self*
I won't give away any more spoilers but the title of the book Untie My Heart becomes key to these two who have amazing chemistry together once they get past a few initial tie ups. The story of how they pair up to swindle Stuart's uncle (who is making life difficult for Stuart, financially) and get him to leave the country - to Wyoming, no less, is great. The whole scheme is entertaining and I kept thinking this would make a great movie!! Emma is terrific at the game and over the course of a few weeks while planning everything she and Stuart fall madly in love. Of course, neither one of them is willing to verbalize this just yet, but oh, this was a grand book!
I read this in one day, reading it in the middle of the night, I could barely put it down. This book had a few big surprises which were very much on the steamy side. I loved Stuart, her viscount - and his coat. A great story with snappy dialogue that sizzles, both outfoxing the other. Delightful and magical, but one scratch my head moment over Emma's decision at the end which kept me from giving it a 5/5 rating. Still, this is a keeper for me!