This Earl is on Fire by Vivienne Lorette gives us sharp banter, humor, and so many swoons!
[For Mature Audiences; Some Spoilers]
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
As you can imagine, I read A LOT of historical romance, so please believe me when I say that Vivienne Lorret is a shining star in the genre!
She has been writing for several years now (with two other series under her belt, Wallflower Weddings and The Rakes of Fallow Hall), but its her latest series, Season’s Original, that has completely swooned me this summer.
Katie reviewed the first book The Debutante is Mine, which follows a sweet romance between Lilah Appleton (an English miss in her third season) and Jack Marlowe (a wealthy merchant/bastard son of an Earl).
If you’ll recall, in that book we meet Lady Juliet Granworth (Lilah’s cousin) and Maxwell Harwick, the Marquess of Thayne, who is Jack’s best friend and Juliet’s former lover. Juliet and Max’s relationship is incredibly contentious and when he buys her family home out from under her, she comes up with a bet to win the house back—Juliet is going to work with Lilah to have her named the Season’s Original, “the one person whose style and character shined above all others, the one person whom everyone wanted to imitate. If the anonymous committee names Lilah the Season’s Original, then Juliet wins the house. However, if Max is able to turn his friend Liam Cavanaugh, Earl of Wolford, into the Season’s Original, then Max keeps the house.
We know that things don’t work out for Juliet since Lilah marries Jack and is off the market. However, Max still has a chance with Liam, right?
Well, as we see in The Debutante is Mine and then in This Earl is on Fire, Liam is a rake of the highest order… womanizing, gambling, racing, excessive drinking, you name it and Liam has done it. Is it really possible to take this man who has thumbed his nose at polite society into a Season’s Original?
This Earl is on Fire begins with Liam in a very dire situation. After a night at a scandalous masquerade party, he is attacked, severely beaten, and left for dead in front of his London home. In fact, Liam is so injured that he temporarily loses his memory of the attack.
However, by chance (or fate) Liam is found by Baron and Baroness Boswick and their daughter, Adeline Pimm. Adeline and her parents are spending some time in London so she can enjoy society in the big city. Things are certainly off to an excitable start when she comes across a bloody, unconscious man on the doorstep of the townhouse her family is renting. But even more than that, in that moment Adeline is thunderstruck and inexplicably drawn to comfort this man. Love at first sight runs in her family (after all, her father instantly fell in love with her mother when they first met), but she can’t feel love for this man, can she? Besides, Adeline has sworn off marriage, and instead wants to live an independent life in London.
But over time, as Adeline helps Liam heal and they get to know one another, neither can deny the attraction. From the moment Liam hears Adeline’s voice, it comforts him. And Adeline finds that she can be totally honest with Liam, telling him about her quest for adventure. Even when she confides in him about the deformity she’s had since childhood, Liam doesn’t pity Adeline.
However, like Adeline, Liam has a severe aversion to marriage. When he was young, he was almost trapped in a marriage by a scheming girl and her family. From then on, Liam decides to blacken his reputation with so much scandal, no one will view him as a respectable option for marriage. Instead, he spends his time indulging in his secret passion of collecting historical relics and being a debauched rake. And when Liam is old and gray, he’ll find some society miss to marry and produce an heir, just like his father did.
Interestingly, at the beginning, Liam is worried that Adeline might be pursuing their friendship to trap him into marriage. But when she disabuses him of that notion, Liam finds that actually might not mind being trapped by Adeline.
I enjoyed this novel so much, and it’s primarily because of the strong characters.
Adeline is they type of leading lady we love—intelligent, kind, and even though she likes Liam, she won’t take any of his foolishness.
And I find Liam so interesting because, normally, he’d be the kind of self-centered, rakish hero we despise. Yet the fact that he’s secretly an intellectual who craves a stable family life makes him so compelling!
These two are so much alike, which you don’t expect at first and makes for awesome banter. It also heightens their attraction:
Suddenly, he found his hand at her nape, pulling her mouth to his… Every drop of blood in his body told him that this was right. Essential. And so he continued to kiss her. The innocent press of her lips to hold him that he should take his time, tutor her, ease her lips apart with the gentle sweep of his tongue. Instead, he schooled her quickly, thrusting, tasting, consuming her as if he’d been held captive by monks all his life, and she was the first woman he’d ever seen. But not just any woman. This woman. Adeline Pimm…As she kissed him back, he knew there was something different about it…
She was not like any other debutante. Scheming and manipulation were foreign to her, in fact, she was one of the few people he trusted… This was all new. He’d never felt this sort of certainty before, not even when he was seventeen. Back then his regard had been easily swayed He’d been too eager for affection. Now he was different—reluctant and even jaded. All the more reason for him to see where this would lead.
And it leads to the most steamy sexy times:
He nuzzled her again, murmuring something naughty about Boswickshire honey. The he set his mouth over her sex. She gasped again. But was it shock or pleasure. She has her answer soon enough when he began to lave her most sensitive flesh, suckling and flicking as he had done to her breasts. She couldn’t stop watching him. Indistinguishable sounds tore from her throat. The sheer bliss in his expression and in the guttural groans against her sex robbed her of words. But in her mind she was thinking, Please. Yes. Again. Her senses overwhelmed her with pleasure, even as her leg trembled. Her hips rocked forward, but he held her still, devouring her… It went only an don, shuddering through her and leaving her without any control, only a rush of pure euphoria.
Clinging to him, she pressed every part of her body to his. That low throbbing pulse she’d felt before returned, insistent—and yes, greedy—making her arch her hips, seeking something to rub against. And he had the perfect something. So hot. So hard. She practically purred…
It still remains that neither Liam nor Adeline are interested in marriage, or so they say. But when Liam’s attackers return and threaten Adeline, it might be the push they need to overcome their reservations.
This Earl is on Fire (which can be read as a standalone) is MUSTREAD for all historical romance fans! There’s sharp banter, humor, and so many swoons.
Even more exciting, in the next book in the series, When a Marquess Loves a Woman, Vivienne FINALLY tells us Juliet and Max’s story. I cannot wait because the angst is going to be too delicious!
Add both books to your TBR list Goodreads and make sure to download your copy of This Earl is on Fire today!
Many thanks to the publisher for an advanced review copy.