About the Book:
After growing up in an orphanage, Rose Smith enjoys using her imagination to escape her reality.
Yet while she’d readily claim that she’d made the best decisions in life, her only mistake is when she falls for the one man in the world she can never have.
The Earl of Obenshire.
They’re just friends, however.
Albeit, very close friends.
But that will never change the fact that he is an earl and the heir to a dukedom.
Could her life get any more complicated?
Gerard de Gray has never allowed people get close to him.
But … for some reason, Rose’s company has become as necessary to him as air.
Not only is Rose his best friend but Gerard’s feelings for Rose are beginning to change.
For a man who’s used to getting what he wants, he knows that for Rose’s sake, he can never cross that line.
No matter what…
Both Rose and Gerard are sure their friendship will stand the test of time.
Because after all, they are great friends.
Closer than most friends, but only friends nonetheless.
Just friends. Nothing more. Aren’t they?
Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link: The Games the Earl Plays (Heirs of High Society) (A Regency Romance Book)
Rose Smith is an orphan who formed her own family with four other abandoned children. When one of those children, her sister, Alexandra, got married a year ago, Rose became acquainted with Gerard de Gray, the best friend of Alexandra’s husband. Over the course of the last year, that acquaintance has developed into a deep friendship, which the two have kept mostly hidden, since Gerard is also the Earl of Obenshire and heir to a ducal title. It would be scandalous for a noble to have a friendship with an illegitimate woman, it may even be dangerous, as Gerard’s powerful father would surely cause harm to Rose if he ever learned of it. But what Gerard doesn’t know is that Rose has fallen in love with him, though she knows anything but their secret friendship is impossible.
The season is about to end, and Gerard is realizing how bleak his life will be as he heads off to his country home, and won’t see Rose for months. He decides to hold a month long house party, in which Rose will be able to attend by coming as a guest of her friend, Alexandra. Rose is thrilled to be able to spend that much time with Gerard, and arranges to take leave from her job at the lending library.
I absolutely love the friendship and chemistry between Rose and Gerard. They share secret smiles, and have even developed little signals to send non verbal messages. Their relationship gets complicated when Gerard begins to realize that his feelings for Rose are much deeper, yet his position won’t allow him to have her for his own. Things really get tangled when someone finds out who Rose’s birth parents are and releases that information to the press. Then Gerard’s evil and dangerous father arrives on the scene, determined to see his son wed another. Gerard is forced to betray and hurt Rose in a seemingly unforgivable way, in order to keep her safe.
I loved Gerard’s character, but I really hated the way he felt he had to hurt Rose. She was so strong and able to take the barbs about her illegitimacy from others, but was crushed when Gerard appeared to turn on her. As with the first book in this series, there are many unanswered questions. Rose develops a serious illness which is never fully explained, and the villains responsible are never shown as suffering any consequences for their actions. I hope this is addressed in upcoming installments of the HEIRS OF HIGH SOCIETY series, as Rose’s adopted brothers are all intriguing characters, and I’m looking forward to their stories. THE GAMES THE EARL PLAYS is an engaging, sweet, romantic, and sometimes heart breaking story which I enjoyed greatly. ~Rose