A Scandalous Affair by Karen Erickson
Publication Date: Jul 30, 2012
Publisher: Carina Press
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Third in the Merry Widows series
From the moment Daphne, Lady Pomeroy, meets the mysterious Marquess of Hartwell at a masquerade ball, she’s determined to seduce him. The handsome, charming man cannot possibly be the cold, calculating lord who Society calls “Black Hart.” Risking everything, the lonely widow invites the elusive Hartwell to her dinner party . . . for two.
Hartwell’s arrogant reputation is built on a lie. For he has a shameful secret that keeps him in the shadows: a stutter—his downfall since childhood. He’d rather keep his mouth shut than look the fool. But he’s shocked to discover that in Daphne’s company—and in her bed—his stutter vanishes.
After one wanton evening together, Daphne is hurt when the lord lives up to his Black Hart name. Yet his reasons for leaving surprise even him. Now he must confess everything or risk losing Daphne forever… (SOURCE)
A Scandalous Affair was a bit of a novella. Occasionally it's hard to get into a shorter book but Affair pulled me right in from the start. It's rare to read such a strong female lead in a period piece, which was part of the reason why I loved this story.
Daphne doesn't hesitate to go after what she wants, even when it's possible the man she's after doesn't want her in return.
Hartwell is said to be arrogant and cold. Treating women like they are nothing once he's done with them.
But when Daphne and Hartwell dance at a masquerade ball, she realizes there may be more to this man. She's determined to find out if she's correct; whether it means taking some risks with her own reputation or not.
Hartwell is uncertain, afraid really, of what Daphne's reaction will be when she discovers his "affliction". It's something he's struggled with all of his life, the emotional scars from his childhood still haunting him. But she isn't shallow enough to let that stop her. She sets out to prove to him that he's been wrong to hide from everyone. That he shouldn't hide from her.
The chemistry between the two is off the charts, both behind their masks and when they are removed. When they sneak around and are more out in the open, it's delicious. Daphne sees to it that she shows Hartwell what it's like to be loved by someone unconditionally.
My tiny complaint is that though we know Hartwell has a stutter, we don't really 'see' it in the story since the stutter doesn't manifest when he is with Daphne. I think it would have made my heart soften even more toward him if I got that somewhere during Hartwell's journey in this book. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed it and sped through it rather quickly.
I've actually not read the first two books in this series since I received this from Netgalley. I'm incredibly curious about these books and want to pick up more.