#4 – An Heiress in Disguise

 

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Hell will freeze over before Miss Philomena Aubrey willingly marries the insufferable Honorable Luther Whyte. Her mother had angled Mina’s quite hefty dowry in front of the vicar and secured him, but Mina still resisted. When Mrs. Aubrey threatens to force her into the marriage, Mina’s father hides his daughter with a friend of his as he leaves for an extended business trip.
A wounded war hero, burdened by guilt after inadvertently sending his French fiancée to death, Lord James Darling keeps his family as far away from his tormented heart as possible. But as he keeps bumping into his mother’s new lady’s maid, he grows suspicious—is she a spy?—and sets out to expose her, only to find himself mesmerized by her feistiness and her warm heart.

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The Wild Rose Press

“We both know you are anything but a maid, so please stop the knee bending.”
“Yes, my lord.”
“And stop calling me that.”
“Yes, my lord.”
“I said stop it.”
She kept quiet for a second more before lowering her gaze so he couldn’t see the twinkle in her eyes. “Of course, my lord.”
He surprised her by being quite resourceful, grabbing her chin with his strong fingers and forcing her to look him in the eye. “I said stop it.”
“Yes, my lord.”
“I mean it.”
“Of course, my lord.”
“Stop it before I do something we both will regret,” he said, lowering his head until their noses almost met.
Feeling his breath against her lips stirred something inside her, and she couldn’t hold back a shiver of delight. Mesmerized, she stared into his eyes, watching them as they turned warmer, burning into her. “Whatever you say, my lord.”
His gaze turned darker, hotter, and before she could think one straight thought he lowered his head until their lips almost touched. “What would you say if I do the unthinkable and kiss you?”
“Thank you?”
He stared at her for a second, as if in shock over her honest and direct approach. His normal coldness disappeared as he reluctantly smiled down at her. Slowly, he lifted one hand and put it around her neck, stroking the sensitive skin of her neck with his thumb.
“Remember that you asked for it,” he whispered.

Liz from Romcon.com gave it 5 stars
I loved this story! I enjoyed learning about the relationship between Mina and her parents and how it grew throughout the story line. I really liked Jamie, getting to know his background and what had happened to him. I thought it was interesting that Jamie didn’t trust Mina, esp considering his back story with Aurelie. There wasn’t any mention of Jamie’s wounds from the prologue. How did he recover? Was he avenged? Was he left for dead? So many characters were introduced when she arrived at the duchess’ house, I got lost a couple times. But I really enjoyed them and would love to hear some of their stories. There were 2 times I felt this story just dropped off and picked up later in time with no explanation, but it was still really easy to follow. And I loved the surprise ending! I cheered for Jamie & Mina. I also always really appreciate a good epilogue where we get to see the characters working out their happily ever after. I definitely would read more by this author, and I would read this book again.

Charlotte from Romance Reviews Magazine said:
Mina, short for Philonena, steps to the stage as the archetypical young heiress of the Nuevo riche in the Regency era. Presumably her father became extremely wealthy from timely investments and good business dealings. It must be said as history tells us, a great many of the Nuevo riche were so wealthy their daughters were sought by aristocrats as a timely means to bolster ailing funds for sons who were wastrels. Many a rich heiress gained a title from brokered deals cut and dealt across tables at Gentlemen’s clubs in real life as they do with regularity in Regency romance novels. 
Funnily Mina’s mother has set her marital scheming eye at humble bait, the local vicar no less, and oh lord, shades of Jane Austen’s Mr Collins leapt to mind straight off. And thank serendipity Mina is an only child and has a father who dotes on her. Mina can do little wrong in his eyes, and her mother sees only a wilful minded daughter who refuses to marry the man of her mother’s choice, ha ha.
While this is a common mother daughter conflict for Regency novels, the story for me becomes a little contrived with a father who looks to the help of a childhood playmate, a duchess (ha) who conveniently has bachelor sons in need of wives. It was all a little twee perfect and unrealistic but it’s a bunny out of the hat magical fairy tale and what’s wrong with that.
And then there’s the tortured James Darling. He’s a secretive man and with Miss Curiosity Mina kitten on his patch in the guise of a lady’s maid he doesn’t stand an earthly in resisting the vivacious young madam who seeks to inveigle her way under his skin. Throughout a theme of will he or won’t he fall in love with Mina makes this romance a fun read with little touches of haunting sadness from James’s past. For all her silly childish antics I liked Mina a lot. James was more a muddle of conflicting caricatures and didn’t materialise as a solid character, not for me at any rate. An Heiress in Disguise is what it is, a well written fun romance with a few raunchy pulse driven scenes.

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