The son of a duke and an infamous mother, Alistair Mabry, Marquess of Rexton, fought his way to respectability. Now, the most eligible bachelor in London, marriage-shy Rexton will take only a wife with an impeccable reputation, good breeding, and a penchant for staying out of the gossip sheets. But when he strikes a deal to be seen “courting” a sweet young debutante whose notorious older sister has blemished her chances for marriage, Rexton is unexpectedly drawn to the highly inappropriate, calamitous Tillie, Lady Landsdowne herself.
After a scandalous incident that sent shockwaves throughout society and disgraced her, Tillie refuses to cower in the face of the ton. Instead, she will hold her head high as she serves as chaperone for her younger sister, but Tillie is convinced Rexton’s courtship is shrouded with secrets—ones she vows to uncover. However, doing so requires getting dangerously close to the devilishly handsome and forbidden marquess…
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Affair with a Notorious Heiress, An
Alistair Mabry, the Marquess of Rexton, (“Rex”) was the victim of intense bullying when he was a young boy, due to his mother being a child of the streets. When Rex finally began to grow up, and could take care of himself, the bullies faded away, but he learned a valuable lesson. When the time comes for him to marry, it will be to someone noble with an impeccable reputation. No child of his will ever suffer or be a victim the way he was. Rex also tries to live his life in a manner above reproach, if perhaps a bit on the dull side. When Rex is approached by an American businessman with an offer he can’t refuse, he is forced to step out of his comfort zone. If Rex will pretend to court the man’s niece, in the hopes of piquing other gentlemen’s interest, Rex will win the stud services of a champion horse which he has been unable to buy.
Gina Hammersley is a beautiful, young American heiress, but her debut has been less than impressive because of her notorious older sister, Tillie. When Tillie was Gina’s age, she was married to the Earl of Lansdowne, who was happy to take her large dowry and then carry on as if he were still single. After three years of Lansdowne’s cheating and indifference, Tillie begged him to divorce her. He consistently refused, right up until the time he caught her in an affair with a footman – or, so rumor says. The public humiliation forced Lansdowne to file for the divorce, which was granted after three more years. Tillie is now free, but is a social disgrace. She lives away from society and is happy to do so, but she doesn’t want her younger sister, Gina, to suffer because of her actions. She is determined that Gina marry for love, and is understandably prickly and abrupt when Rex comes calling on Gina.
Rex begins his pretend courtship of Gina, only to find himself powerfully attracted to Tillie, possibly the most scandalous woman in London. As for Tillie, she is understandably gun-shy after her disastrous marital experience, but she finds herself liking and attracted to Rex. Tillie comes off as somewhat hard at first, though there’s no doubt that she loves and wants the best for her sister. She’s naturally wary and suspicious of men, especially titled men. As the story progresses, we begin to see each layer of her personality peeled back, and the details of her sad marriage are revealed. In truth, she’s a strong and determined woman, willing to accept all the consequences of her actions, and I have great admiration for her. As Rex begins to face the fact that what he feels for Tillie is love as well as desire, he has to search his soul, and re-examine all his decisions of what he said he would never do. If he chooses to pursue a future with Tillie, it’s no secret that their future will not be an easy one.
AN AFFAIR WITH A NOTORIOUS HEIRESS is very well written, with Lorraine Heath’s trademark emotion filled scenes and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Rex and Tillie are very different from each other, but they clearly belong together, and I loved their journey to arriving at the point where they are willing to risk scandal and censure in order to be together. Gina is another great character, as she is very wise beyond her young years, and does her part to ensure her sister’s happy ever after. In my opinion, no one writes an epilogue better than Lorraine Heath, and the one in AN AFFAIR WITH A NOTORIOUS COUNTESS is poignant and very satisfying. For those who are familiar with Lorraine Heath’s previous books, Rex is the child of Frannie and Sterling from SURRENDER TO THE DEVIL, and the brother of Grace from WHEN THE DUKE WAS WICKED (a magnificent book in its own right) though it’s not necessary to have read them to enjoy this passionate and romantic story.
I have this on my reading list for June. I love that Lorraine Heath has written the stories of the children of the heroes and heroines from The Scoundrels of St. James, which is among my all time favourite series.
Thanks for the great review! This will definitely go on my list!