After an earl’s death, his wife and his best friend must give themselves permission to love each other.
Conall Ritchie Durham, the Earl of Whelan, was not much of a catch as either a friend or a husband. But when he died in a riding accident, his best friend, Evan Rhys, couldn’t bear to stick around to comfort Con’s widow. That’s because Evan had been in love with her since the first time they met. For her part, Kate Durham, the Countess of Whelan, was shocked and saddened by her husband’s death but not heartbroken. She was tired of his infidelities and his overspending. But she was heartbroken at being abandoned by her dear friend Evan. It was two full years after Con’s death before Kate tracked Evan down on a visit to England from the Whelan estate in Ireland. Evan, who had resolved to stay away from Kate, was easily pulled away from his research into antiquities and back into her orbit, staying at her father’s home before traveling with her back to Ireland. Kate knows she's attracted to Evan, but she doesn’t realize that he’s in love with her. Indeed, Kate and Evan and the naturalness of their dialogue are the best parts of the novel and the thing that will carry readers all the way through the last page. The plot is a bit wooden, and Romain (Passion Favors the Bold, 2017, etc.) could have spared readers the addition of a paper-thin villain. But the second full-length book in her Romance of the Turf series is worth reading anyway, because Romain writes the romantic parts of the tale so well and because there is just enough horse talk to please equestrians and not enough to put off people who don’t ride.
A solid effort from an up-and-coming writer.