Complete with the signature charm, “delectably witty dialogue…and scorching sexual chemistry” (Booklist) she is known for, New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries is back with the fourth romance in the Sinful Suitors series!
When Niall Lindsey, the Earl of Margrave, is forced to flee after killing a man in a duel, he expects his secret love, Brilliana Trevor, to go with him, or at the very least wait for him. To his shock, she does neither and sends him off with no promise for the future. Seven years and one pardon later, Niall returns to England disillusioned and cynical. And being blackmailed by the government into working with his former love to help catch a counterfeiter connected to her father doesn’t improve his mood any. But as his role as Brilliana’s fake fiancé brings his long-buried feelings to the surface once again, he wonders who is more dangerous—the counterfeiter or the woman rapidly stealing his heart.
Forced to marry another man after Niall was exiled, the now widowed Brilliana wants nothing to do with the reckless rogue who she believes abandoned her to a dreary, loveless life. So having to rely on him to save her father is the last thing she wants, much less trusts him with....But as their scheme strips away the lies and secrets of their shared past, can she let go of the old hurt and put her pride aside? Or will the pleasures of their renewed passion finally enable them both to rediscover love?
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Second Chance at Love
"'Perhaps I don't want to be reminded,' she said desperately."
FINAL DECISION: A lovely second chance at love story between two people who were torn apart by circumstances, fears, misunderstandings and deception. Niall and Brilliana are good people who must work through the past while maintaining a deception. There was less angst than I thought but that was countered by a genuine desire to recover what they have lost.
THE STORY: Seven years ago, Niall Lindsey, Earl of Margrave was forced to flee England when he killed a man in a duel. Niall was shocked when the woman he wanted to marry, Brilliana, refused to come with him. Niall comes to realize that Brilliana must never have loved him because she married another a mere year later. When a pardon allows Niall to return to England, he finds himself meeting Brilliana, who is now a widow with a young son, again. He intends to avoid the woman who broke his heart, but the man who orchestrated his pardon needs him and Brilliana to fake an engagement in order to ferret out a counterfeiter. Niall and Brilliana discover that the passion between them is still strong and there is much more to the story of the past than either alone knows.
OPINION: This is a second chance at love story. These two were torn apart mostly by circumstances but also by inexperience and their own ability to talk. Yes, this book's central conflict is two people who haven't sat down and had a conversation that might clear up misconceptions that both have over what happened in the past. But, of course, in the real world misconceptions are common between people and we are not likely to just sit down and have chats with people that we believe have broken our trust and our hearts. Because while this story might seem to be one about lack of communication, it is really about lack of trust and a willingness to do anything for the one we love.
And the truth is that seven years ago, Niall and Bree did not know how to love one another enough. This is shows deftly in this book as they unconsciously reverse all the things they did wrong the first time. Putting one another first. Believing in one another. Asking questions rather than accepting accusations.
This is not so much the story of the two uncovering what facts kept them apart before, but rather a demonstration of the maturity and growth of two people who missed their chance before.
Niall is a man of honor who fought a duel whose purpose he cannot tell Bree about. Readers of the series know that Niall killed the man who raped his sister. While exiled, he has been involved in political intrigued which has hurt his soul. His return to England has reunited him with his now happily married sister (THE STUDY OF SEDUCTION) but also brought him in contact with the woman he has never forgotten. Niall is now a more sober, more mature version of himself.
Brilliana, who Niall nicknames Bree, is a woman who has managed to cope with the disappointments life has brought her. Nothing horrible happened to her, but life did not have the joy and pleasure that looked to be promised when she was seventeen. She has, however, managed to find compensation and joy in other things, especially her art and her young son. And while she has never loved anyone but Niall, she doesn't know if she can risk herself again.
This book has wonderful characters and an intensity between these characters. Love or hate there is -- as the other characters in the book observe -- something hot and powerful between Niall and Bree. Something charged remains between them even if they don't know if they can move beyond the past.
I enjoyed this book very much with the caveat that I knew who the true villain was almost immediately and so the plotline of who is the mastermind behind the counterfeiting was obvious to me and thus less enjoyable.
WORTH MENTIONING: Baron Fulkham, spymaster, makes a significant appearance here in preparation for his own story coming up in the next book. There is also the setup of the characters that are in the next novella.
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE PLEASURES OF PASSION is the fourth book in the Sinful Suitors series. This book can be read as a standalone because everything you need to know is revealed here, but I think the book is much better if you know the background of these characters including the secrets that Niall is keeping and the journey to return him to England.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.
I love the second chance at love troupe and Sabrina Jeffries did a fabulous job with this book. Tragedy, secrets and mistrust kept them apart for seven years, now a possible criminal act has brought them together. Niall Lindsey, the Earl of Margrave left Brilliana "Bree" Trevor behind after a duel went bad. He wanted her to leave with him but she could not leave her sick mother behind. After lies and a forced marriage Bree had to move on with no hope of Niall returning. Blackmailed by the government to act as a betrothed couple to find a counterfeiter that could be Bree's father. Being forced together they have to deal with the past and present and their ever growing feelings that seem not to have ended with their years of separation. Doubts and mistruths of the past may keep them from trusting each other enough to see a possible future. I loved Niall's he was so sexy and Bree was witty and strong willed and feisty that they made a great believable couple. This is a great series and should be read in order.
If you have not read Sabrina Jeffries and you love historical romance then you can not go wrong with her books.
I received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review. The love story of Brillana and Niall endured a 7 year separation during which time he escaped to the Continent after killing a man in a duel after the man raped his sister. He was pardoned and returned to England to claim his father's title. Because of his father's twisting the truth, each thought the other no longer cared. They were thrown together when they were recruited to spy on a counterfeiting ring and this was when they learned of his father's deceit. The story is well written and enjoyable. In the end they have a HEA. I would recommend this book.