I am in love with Winter Makepeace. He is my newest dream man. He is everything I ever wanted in a Historical Romance hero and more. He is utterly swoonworthy.
This is my favorite book of the series so far. And not just because of Winter (who still holds my heart in his hands) but also because of Isabel who gets to be a strong woman of the time and not a virgin since she is widowed and has had a few lovers since in fact. This is something I’ve been asking for in an HR book for forever and finally it has come together beautifully.
Winter is a HR superhero. He reminds me a little of spiderman without the radioactive superpowers. Winter has dedicated his life to helping the people of St. Giles by dressing up and parading around as the Ghost of St. Giles. He might be the mild mannored buttoned down manager of an orphanage by day but by night he is on the trail of the lassie snatchers the group kidnapping little girls off the street. He has spent so much time with the orphanage and his nighttime extracurricular activities that he hasn’t had much time for women…well any time actually and is a virgin. *gasps*
Finally a hero in an HR romance that isn’t a man-whore prior to meeting the heroine. Oh and you might not think that he is going to be hot because he is inexperienced but I promise you what he makes up in expertise initially he more than makes up for in enthusiasm, fantastic words and inventiveness.
*** “But you must be awash in a sea of compliments, my lady. Every gentleman you meet must voice his admiration, his wish to make love to you. And those are only the ones who may voice such thoughts. All about you are men who cannot speak their admiration, who must remain mute from lack of social standing or fear of offending you. Only their thoughts light the air about you, following you like a trail of perfume, heady but invisible. ***
Isabel is her own woman and is afforded more leeway since she is no longer a maiden. When she discovers that the very contained Mr. Makepeace is in fact that Quixotic character the Ghost of St. Giles she decides that she must have him.
*** ”She was tired of waiting for him to acknowledge who he was. Tired of donning a false mask of gaiety when she was so much more—felt so much more—beneath. No one had ever noticed her mask. No one but him. If he couldn’t or wouldn’t make the first move, then damn it, she would.” ***
I loved their romance. How she got to take the reins in the beginning and be dominant in her seduction of Winter. She is slightly older and definitely more experienced but that doesn’t mean that Winter didn’t figure out how to please her in EVERY way and learn to take the reins back from her in their seduction.
*** “She threw one leg over his and straddled his lap, then reached under herself and found him again.
He tore his mouth from hers. “Wait.”
“No.” She looked him frankly in the eyes. “I don’t care if you spill at once. I need you inside me now.”
His beautiful eyes widened and then narrowed. “You’ll not always hold the reins, my lady.”
She smiled sweetly. “Naturally not, but I do now.” ***
I even really enjoyed the side story apart from the romance of the orphanage and the little boy Christopher who was living with Isabel and what he was to her. The story of the Lassie Snatchers and Winter’s fight to keep the orphanage under his management was really engaging as well. This was a win on all levels, romance, plotline, characters just everything was fantastic.
If you want something out of the standard cookie cutter HR box I think this is it.