Leah George has had a difficult few years beginning with discovering her husband, whom she thought loved her and she was in love with, sleeping with his best friends wife. Leah is shattered and builds up quite a wall around her heart but continues on with her life as best as she can...all behind a fake front of happiness. When tragedy strikes one night and her husband and his lover die in a carriage accident, she can't help but finally feel free. Then comes all the requirements of widowhood where she must still continue on living her life behind a lie, pretending to be saddened by his death. After a few months of this behavior, she realizes she can not continue on in this fashion and decides to do something a bit scandalous....she throws a house party.
Sebastian, Earl of Wriothesly, thought he had the perfect wife and is shocked by the depth of his late wifes betrayal especially as if any whiff of this scandal hits the ton, it could affect his son. When he learns that the widowed Leah is having a house party, he is floored and knows he must attend to keep Leah in check and not allow their shared secret to become public knowledge. Sebastian has a hard time understanding why Leah acts so casual in her supposed grief but he finds himself attracted to her and he slowly sets out to break down her walls and in turn stars to learn how much Leah has known and how deeply it has affected her.
I had a lot of high hopes for this book based on previous reviews from friends and fellow bloggers and I am really happy to say that I really enjoyed it! It took me a bit to warm up to Leah but I think that had more to do with her late husband and his treatment of her and their relationship. He was never physically abusive but he defiantly scarred her deep. Sebastian came off very stiff and proper like but underneath that layer he was a caring, loving man who also was scarred but loved his son enough to want to protect him at any cost. As Leah and Sebastians relationship grows, so does all the sexual tension! As much as Leah wants to be with Sebastian, she has serious hesitations and it takes a bit of work on both their parts to move past that. Naturally, she thinks Sebastian is still deeply in love with his perfect wife and her own failures as a wife also factor in.
A few of my favorite things about this book is one, the cover is just spot on for a big turning point of the story (the dress is beyond scandalous!) and it leads to a moment that turned the story in a direction I didn't see coming and I love when that happens :) I love when a cover matches a book perfectly. I also liked how, even though they wanted each other quickly, there was a lot of time built up to the final ending and I admired Sebastians restraint and thoughtfulness in the matter. Also, his son is a part of the love story and not just thrown in once in awhile and well done (probably helped by the fact Ms March has two little ones of her own so it seemed realistic). As much as I looked forward to this book, I was also hesitant about the storyline working out well. I mean, the spouses of two hidden lovers finding their own happiness together...could work, could not work. In this case, it totally worked and now I am just really impatient for more, more, more from Ms March! If you are looking for a slightly different romance with humor, sexual tension, love, and a good old happy ever after, grab the newest from Ashley March! 5 stars
I won an arc from the publisher but I have since already purchased my own copy for my keeper shelf :)