An ambitious, smart, and outspoken earl’s daughter faces off in business and pleasure against a gruff, protective, and sexy king of the London underworld who will stop at nothing to protect what is his.
Lady Henrietta “Hattie” Sedley wants to inherit the shipping business her father, an earl who won his title with bravery on the high seas, built into an empire. Instead, she is told to marry and have children while her foolish brother takes over. On the night of her 29th birthday, Hattie decides to render herself unmarriageable—while satisfying her keen sexual curiosity—by visiting a brothel, but the handsome brute of a man she finds tied up and unconscious in her carriage has other plans. Saviour Whittington is known as Beast in the slums where he and his siblings are feared and adored in equal measure. Benevolent protectors who rule with an iron fist, they run a smuggling operation to support their business enterprises in Covent Garden, “where darkness came like a promise, and brought with it all manner of malice.” Hattie attempts to make a deal with Beast when she discovers that her brother has done him wrong, but he has less chaste ideas. Hattie is a tall, curvy woman whose shape does not fit Regency-era beauty standards. Beast is all too happy to show her just how desirable she is in several very explicit sex scenes: “She was brilliant and bold and strong and beautiful, and when she came, she moved against a man like sin.” Beast’s own self-worth was diminished by an abusive father and a violent past he fears he will never overcome. Hattie and Beast come to see their own value through each other’s eyes, regardless of what society says about it. Strong female protagonists are the rule in genre romance, but Hattie stands out for the clarity of her goals and the intelligence with which she goes about achieving them.
Classic MacLean: smoking hot, emotionally rich, thrilling, and unforgettable.