New York Times best-selling author Liz Carlyle creates her darkest, most sensuous story yet, as a delectable but desperate governess runs headlong into the path of a notorious rake. Women rarely refuse the wicked Earl of Hepplewood, whose daring exploits are only whispered about. But when his new governess answers his proposition with a slap, then stalks out, references in hand, Hepplewood finds more than his face is burning. Isabella Aldridge has brains, bravado, and beauty - but the latter is no use to a servant. Her circumstances are desperate, and with Hepplewood's words ringing in her ears, Isabella realizes she must barter her most marketable asset - her body. But when fate sends Isabella back into Hepplewood's arms, the earl must make an impossible choice - draw Isabella down into his sensual darkness, or behave with honor for the first time in his life.
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I really love HR erotica. Unfortunately, it can be very hard (no pun intended) to find well written books in this sub-genre, that are also true historical romances. Ding ding ding -- I FOUND ONE!
The Earl's Mistress is listed as the 10th book in a long series that isn't currently available on Audible, but it's definitely a stand-alone HR, so don't let that put you off. It also has that special romantic something that elevates it above the usual HR fair: a hero and heroine to fall in love with -- AND respect!
A gorgeous, and caring dominant hero -- who enjoys BDSM! -- finds a woman who fits his proclivities like a studded leather glove. He's not the typical tortured dominant hero: He doesn't think what he wants is twisted or wrong, it's just who he is. But he also understands it may not be for everyone. When he finds himself attracted to the new nanny he's interviewing, he realizes that what he wants from her would not be appropriate for an employee. After a steamy kiss between them shows that the attraction is mutual, he suggests another arrangement, one that she would find much more financially rewarding.
But Isabel is a lady, and his suggestion that she become his mistress is met with shock and then outrage. But after all, her situation is dire, and her responsibilities great -- and besides, she can't forget that kiss.
I loved the way that Tony was written. He asked for her feedback every time he elevated their play, making certain she was okay with what was happening between them, and giving her all the control. This only added to the intimacy, and gave the scenes a slow and deliberate tone that gradually increased the sensuality between them. Very nice nuance on Ms. Carlyle's part, and this respectful regard would be refreshing in any erotica book. This is a mature romance, in a really beautifully written HR, and should be savoured.
I also loved that Isobel was not a coward. Despite her upbringing, she's no fool. She loves his dominance -- and not because she's broken in some way, -- but because the BDSM dynamic turns her on, too. (A female submissive with a brain in her head? Jackpot!)
With great MCs (that don't fall to weak tropes and over-used cliche's), worthy villeins and a fully fleshed-out cast of side characters, this one is a keeper. It also has the perfect amount of tension, without over-powering the romance. Best of all, there are some beautifully written, (and very hot) sex scenes between two healthy and intelligent adults, and a deeply felt romance that positively swept me away. (Did I mention that I LOVE this book?)
All I can add, beyond what the description provides, is that when I reached the very end, I clicked my iPod off with a satisfied sigh, and exhaled the word "Wow!"
Healthy BDSM in a historical romance? Look no farther! (Or yes, go ahead and look -- but try not to be disappointed. Sadly, a well written erotica book of this kind is as rare as hen's teeth.)
VERY Highly Recommended!
(Note: I previously reviewed another book by Liz Carlyle, In Love with a Wicked Man, which I found to be disappointing because the promised romance was side-lined by a secondary story. Fortunately, I already had this book in my playlist, or I may not have taken a chance on it. I'm so glad to be able to give THIS book the glowing review it so richly deserves! And -- it firmly belongs in my top 10 HR Erotica Romances!)
Where to begin. Well it's not my favorite Liz Carlyle book. There was mostly sex in this book, it definitely need more story in it as 80% was sex with toys and whips. I still don't know if I liked the hero, Hepplewood he was sort of at jerk at times, and very cold. The heroine, Isabella was just a bit wishy washy, sometimes strong and sometimes just plain weak, and didn't know what she wanted. There was lot's of dialogue throughout the book. The story line had so much promise but seemed lacking, probably due all the sex which some of could have been eliminated and replaced with story then it would have been a much better book. The main focus seemed to be about the sex which is unfortunate because the underlying story would have been good but was smothered.
As far as the amazon reviews on pedophilia, that was not described at all it was just talked about as one of the characters was a total creep. But there was no descriptions or scenes written about that at all.
I do hope Liz Carlyle goes back to the way she normally writes, a good story with some sex instead of a sex book with some story. Her previous book In Love with a Wicked Man was fantastic. This one not so much.
As for the narrator, she was, as always fantastic! Love Carolyn Morris narrations, she does the men's voices well and gives everyone their own distinct voice, absolutely fantastic narrator!