Thomas Jennings arrives, unnoticed, at his new estate to find a bully of a stablemaster threatening to put down the horse of Loris Tanner, the woman who has been managing his property for the last two years. It seems that the official steward, Loris’ father, disappeared without a trace amidst a scandal, and Loris took over, and has been successful. Thomas steps in and puts a halt to any further harm being done to the horse, and invites Loris to join him to give him the lowdown on what is happening. Loris is initially certain that her employment will end with the new owner, as female stewards are unheard of. Thomas, however, can see that she has done an excellent job, and decides to let her keep the job as long as she continues successfully.
Loris’ father was a capable steward when he stayed sober and out of trouble. When he faltered, Loris would take over his duties, so she’s well versed in the running of an estate. When her father disappeared, Loris had no choice but to stay on. She had no other home or relatives, and for two years she had no inkling whether her father was even still alive. She’s very leery of Thomas at first, but soon comes to see how fairly he treats her. And as much as she’d like to deny it, she finds him very attractive. Soon, the somewhat prickly Loris becomes smitten with her employer.
Thomas and Loris’ relationship (both professional and personal) progresses, and they become lovers, as well as a team. Thomas is a bright man, and he sees how Loris has been hurt in the past, and his care with her is lovely. Soon enough, Thomas is considering that Loris would make a wonderful wife, but Loris brushes the suggestion aside.
Amidst their burgeoning love affair, there are other things happening. Some unknown person or persons is sabotaging the estate. Clearly the other stablehands are not just workers – who are they? What happened to Loris’ father? And how can Thomas convince Loris she should marry him?
Thomas can be read as a standalone, but if you’ve followed Grace Burrowes’ Lonely Lords series, you’ll get to visit with old friends David, Nicholas, and Beckman. Thomas is a delightful read, with a bit of a mystery included with the smoldering romance. If you like well developed characters, and a story with plenty of heart and warmth, not to mention a hero who’s intelligent, persistent, and sexy, THOMAS fits the bill.