Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: mass market paperback
Series: The Prince Series
THE ONE THING A LADY MUST NEVER DO
Wealthy Lady Georgina Maitland doesn't want a husband, though she could use a good steward to run her estates. One look at Harry Pye, and Georgina knows she's not just dealing with a servant, but a man.
IS FALL IN LOVE...
Harry has known many aristocrats—including one particular nobleman who is his sworn enemy. But Harry has never met a beautiful lady so independent, uninhibited, and eager to be in his arms.
WITH HER SERVANT.
Still, it's impossible to conduct a discreet liaison when poisoned sheep, murdered villagers, and an enraged magistrate have the county in an uproar. The locals blame Harry for everything. Soon it's all Georgina can do to keep her head above water and Harry's out of the noose...without missing another night of love.
From page one the attraction and tension between Harry and Georgina is intense. Intense is a great word to describe this book. The romance is intense. The sexual tension is intense. The intrigues and evil doings by the less than sane characters is very intense.
George grew up sheltered. There is much of the world of which she is not aware. Simple things like how to lay a fire or how to slice bread. Larger issues of country living such as the impact the death of livestock would have on the farmers and their families. She is not unintelligent, simply uninformed. She talks to Harry, learns from him. She also teases and deliberately pokes at his outward calm.
What sets George apart from the average HR heroine is the circumstances of her life. She is a 28 year old woman who has never been married. She quite nearly fears marriage due to the nature of the relationship between her parents. Not abusive, but in no way loving. Their cold marriage gave Georgina no reason to seek out such an arrangement for herself. Financially, she has no need to. A beloved aunt passed away leaving George a rather fantastic manor and grounds. She is a female land owner with no need for a husband to provide for her future.
Harry Pye is a rough man. Strong, solitary, salt of the earth. He has no aspirations for a higher status in society. He wants to be left alone to care for the lands of which he is the steward. He is powerfully attracted to Georgina, but knows that their differing backgrounds and standing in society would impede any sort of relationship. He feels that all he could be is a stud to service his noble lady. Harry's belief, however, is no match for the strength of the attraction between them.
Together the two begin to investigate the suspicious deaths of the local sheep. Neighbors begin to accuse Harry and danger begins to haunts the two lovers. Not only is their growing relationship battling class divisions, but the threat of danger hovering over Harry.
I loved this book. Despite Georgina's clueless moments, a few that teetered perilously close to being TSTL, I enjoyed her as a character. I think it was her willingness to admit when she was uninformed. The sexual tension between the characters was explosive. Relationships between the primary and secondary characters were well written. The suspense plot was dramatic, but not overly done. It helped to move the story forward and provided plausible reasons for the lady of the manor to spend extensive time with her land steward.
I am so glad that I own a paper copy of this book. It means I can pick it up again and again in the future. This just may become my go-to reread when I am jonesing for a great historical romance.