ONCE UPON A MOONLIT NIGHT by Elizabeth Hoyt (July 5, 2016; Forever Yours Ebook; A Maiden Lane Series Novella)
From New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Hoyt comes a delightful Maiden Lane novella that begins once upon a moonlit night—and ends wickedly, wonderfully ever after . . .
Hippolyta Royle is running for her life. Pursued by hounds on a cold rainy night, the heiress flags down a passing carriage and throws herself at the mercy of the coach’s occupant. Whoever this handsome traveler may be, he is her only hope to escape a terrible fate. But should he agree to escort her to safety, he’s in for much more than he bargained for . . .
At first Matthew Mortimer doesn’t believe Hippolyta’s story, that she’s a fabulously wealthy heiress who’s been kidnapped. He assumes she’s a beggar, an actress, or worse. But once his new travel companion washes the mud from her surprisingly lovely face, and they share a breathtaking kiss, there is no turning back . . .
Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.
Social Media Links: www.ElizabethHoyt.com Twitter @elizabethhoyt Facebook.com/ElizabethHoytBooks
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If you follow the wonderful Maiden Lane series, you may wonder, as I did, just what happened to that heiress that Val kidnapped and Bridget freed in Duke of Sin. Hippolyta Royle was on her way back to London and safety, when she was thrown from her horse. Now she has no sense of what direction she’s travelling, and hears men and dogs in pursuit. Numerous mishaps have caused her to be covered in mud and filth. She sees a coach approaching, and in desperation, flags it down. The gentleman in the coach reluctantly allows her to ride along, but only laughs when Hippolyta tries to tell him that she’s a wealthy heiress, and that her father will reward him handsomely for her safe return.
Matthew Mortimer is a cartographer, and has recently returned to England upon learning that he’s inherited an earldom, one that’s in poor financial shape. While he feels compelled to offer the ragtag woman a ride, he assumes she’s an actress or adventuress, so he feels it best that he keep the fact that he’s titled to himself. Wanting to be rid of her as soon as possible, he drops her off at the first town they come to that is a coach stop on the way to London. Yet, after just a few miles, his conscience compels him to return and pick her back up to continue her journey with him safely in his carriage.
After they stop for the night, and Hippolyta is finally able to clean up, Matthew is stunned at her beauty. As they travel, more and more of Hippolyta’s comments about her life begin to convince Matthew that she is telling the truth. When a moment’s indulgence in a kiss is spotted, and Hippolyta is recognized, Matthew’s chivalry kicks in, and he offers marriage.
Hippolyta quickly became very attracted to and fond of her rescuer, and he is quite in lust with her. His new position requires that he marry a wealthy heiress, and Hippolyta’s father wants her to marry a title. Marriage seems like an ideal proposition, yet Hippolyta is hiding a secret, one that is large enough for her to be blackmailed. There is trouble in paradise immediately after the vows are spoken.
I like both Hippolyta and Matthew a lot. She is mostly straight forward and honest in her desire for Matthew, and eventually shows her courage and love. Matthew is loyal, a gentleman, protective, practical, and, oh so hot! ONCE UPON A MOONLIT NIGHT is a short novella, but it zips along at a fast pace, and is entertaining, romantic, sexy, and, oh, so satisfying! Highly recommended.
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