The sheltered daughter of a country baron, Miss Adeline Pimm comes to London looking for adventure… and finds it in the form of a bloody, unconscious man slumped in the doorway of her family’s rented townhouse. Though his identity is a mystery, Adeline is inexplicably drawn to the handsome, injured man and vows to nurse him back to health.
Liam Cavanaugh, the scandalous Earl of Wolford, is startled when he awakens in an unfamiliar bed, wrapped in bandages that hinder his eyesight, with no memory of why he was beaten half to death. Although he can’t see the witty young woman who tends to his wounds, her alluring voice—and a single stolen kiss from her soft lips—helps soothe his pain. But when he is fully healed, Liam is not ready to let go of the one woman who stirs his deepest longings.
Liam will do whatever it takes to see Adeline again, even if it means giving up his rakish ways. But his disreputable past is not so easily forgotten and his secrets are far more dangerous than he—or Adeline—ever imagined.
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Adeline Pimm came into this world feet first, and unfortunately suffered a broken leg during the birthing process. Even more unfortunately, it went unnoticed, and caused Adeline to grow up with one leg shorter than the other, along with a decided limp. Adeline’s parents spent years coddling and trying to shelter her, but that’s not how this plucky young lady wants to be treated. She’s determined to have a season in London, and to experience all the sights and sounds while convincing her parents that she’s fine and does not have to be treated like glass. She knows that she will never marry, as she couldn’t endure someone pitying her, or, even worse, coddling her the way her parents do. She gets her wish to experience some excitement on her very first day in town, as her family arrives home to find a badly wounded gentlemen lying in their doorway. The kindhearted family brings the unconscious man in, puts him to bed, tends to his injuries as best they can, and takes turns sitting with him.
When Liam Cananaugh, Earl of Wolford, regains consciousness, he has no memory of what caused his drastic injuries. Due to his rakish lifestyle, his first thought is that a jealous husband or lover had him badly beaten. His next thought, as he hears a young woman’s voice, is that someone has put him in a compromising position, hoping he’ll be forced into marriage. Liam’s eyes are bandaged, and feeling helpless, he snarls at Adeline that he has no intention of marrying. Adeline, who had been taking care of Liam, stomps out of the room at his insult. When Liam meets Adeline’s parents, he eventually comes to realize that they truly are just good people who were doing him a service by caring for him. He mends fences with Adeline, and the two develop a friendship.
As Liam slowly recovers, he and Adeline share details about their lives. Much to Adeline’s surprise, he doesn’t seem to care about her “handicap,” and, in fact, he seems to forget she even has the injured leg. Liam finds that Adeline’s presence soothes him, and his pain even seems to lessen. Soon he finds himself desiring her, and battling with himself to behave honorably toward the family who has been so good to him. When society hears that Liam, who does have a black reputation, has been staying in the same house as Adeline, rumors begin to circulate, and she and her family are teetering on the edge of social ruin before she even makes her debut.
I love reading a book where I’m equally fond of the hero and heroine, and that’s the case here. Though both Liam and Adeline were stubborn in their resolve not to marry, I was rooting for them all the way. Liam let an incident from when he was a naive young man color the next decade of his life, even though it injured his pride more than his heart. He developed his rakish persona and reveled in it. Still, when the chips were down, his honor came to the forefront, and he showed what he was truly made of, and I adored him. Right from the start, Adeline appeared strong and determined despite her supposed flaw, and she wanted to live life to the fullest. THIS EARL IS ON FIRE, in addition to being a sexy and satisfying romance with wonderful protagonists, contained a mystery, prejudice, bullying, and family love. This journey to happy ever after was a joy to read. Recommended.