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Stephen Clair, the notorious Earl of St. Joseph, has a lover he can’t afford, a social calendar that’s out of control and a libido that rules his life. If he can’t gain control of his finances, his social calendar and rid himself of his lover, he will fall into financial ruin. Could the youthful, handsome and dependable Jamie Riley be the solution to his problems?
Jamie Riley has a secret that keeps him from accepting the sexual advances of his employer, Stephen Clair, and a past he would like to leave behind. But Stephen Clair is a handsome man who knows how to awaken a passion that Jamie has been trying to suppress, and carries a price that Jamie would rather not pay. But it isn’t easy to ignore passion, especially when it’s so temptingly close.
Julian Jeffries, lover to Stephen Clair, has found a way of living the high life without lifting a finger. It isn’t until Julian notices that Stephen has been spending time with his latest employee, Jamie Riley, that he begins to worry about losing everything he’d schemed to have. Now Julian needs to find a way of getting rid of Jamie Riley without raising suspicion. And, as Julian knows, the best way to do that is to dig into Jamie’s past and find something to use against him.
I am having quite a difficult time rating this actually…
I give 2-stars for Stephen Clair, Earl of St. Joseph, that idiot earl that left me fuming throughout the book.
I give 3-stars for the whole story (it started rather strong, but then meandered in the middle, and picked up again, then ended!).
I give 3.5-stars for the darling Jamie Riley, the timid, shy, kind-hearted virgin (!) secretary who stole Stephen’s heart.
So where does that leave me?
Okay, let’s start with the story first, shall we? Lately, I have a fondness towards choosing historical/regency MM because it offers me something that I’ve been missing from contemporary MM romance. Namely “courting”. I’m not a seeker of the shy young virgin and dashing haughty duke/earl/lord situation story – because it reminds me too much of why I got bored with MF romance. However, I realize that in MM, it provides a progression in the relationship, a courting, and I don’t have to worry about instant attraction, instant love, or the wham-bam-thank-you-Sir sex fest in the gay club situation.
Oh, and NO “BABY” as an endearment! *lol*
That was why I decided to pick this one. It started quite strong, with Jamie Riley, a shy young man who arrived at Earl of St. Joseph’s house to take a position as a teacher for the Earl’s children. Only to find out that the Earl died along with his family and his brother has taken the title. Jamie ended up as Stephen’s secretary. I enjoyed the immersion of Jamie to the house, with its colorful staff who came to the household with their own ‘scandalous’ background.
But then the story became a bit too dramatic for me. Probably because of the STUPID Stephen Clair and his penchant for the extravagant life, and his idiotic perception of keeping a lover like Julian Jeffries (VERY EVIL actor!). Seriously, I thought Stephen was a character that dragged the whole thing!! I disliked him immensely. I never really believed that he was able to change his ways. I was hoping that Jamie could find a better lover than Stephen. I mean, during a very critical moment where Jamie left the house (we got a huge misunderstanding moment, dear readers), Stephen became all mopey and emo, and returned to the embrace of Julian. I mean, WTF Stephen?!? Stupid IDIOT Earl! I wanted to kick him to the curb!!
Anyway, I’m rambling … uhm, yes, so the story went back on track. I actually loved how the rest of the St. Clair’s staff was putting their heads together to save Jamie (it was kind of fun!). Including Stephen’s Aunt, whom I thought KICKED serious ass! Although the ending after the rescue was rushed and again, it didn’t make me believe in Stephen’s attempt to be a better man.
So it was quite enjoyable, despite the weak second half, and the stupid character that I had to endure.
PS: By the way, I changed the cover with the original one when I read this, because come on, the original one is like a dime romance novel!! It’s good for nostalgia!! LOOK!!
Tracy – 3.5 stars