Sunday, May 1, 2011
My Irresistible Earl
Mara Bryce, the widowed Lady Pierson, has devoted the last years of her life to her toddler son, Thomas. She is not prepared when her childhood sweetheart, Jordan Lennox, the Earl of Falconridge, reappears in her life. Jordan is the only one who knows how horrid life with her family was and yet when he left to serve his country, he did not send her a single letter. Feeling she had no other choice, she married Lord Pierson, only to find out later that he was not the caring man he seemed, and his death was not something she mourned. Jordan is actually a member of the Inferno Club, a secret Order that works for the crown and is devoted to destroying the Promethean Council, a club of evil-doers who want to use black magic to gain control over Europe. He has never forgotten the beautiful young woman he fell in love with and had to abandon because of his duties to his fellow Inferno members, and upon first seeing her again he is determined not to let her back into his life. Mara remembers how it felt when Jordan abandoned her and she believes that he had been merely toying with her when she was younger and thus is equally determined to not let him back into her life.
Things never go precisely as planned and with the rest of the Inferno Club so happily married, Jordan wonders what he missed out on when he gave Mara up all those years ago. Seeing her with her son makes him yearn for what he never had and suddenly he decides that it would be a good idea for Mara to be back in his life, however he knows that he can never tell her about his secret life. Conveniently Mara is close with the Prince Regent, and his work with the Inferno Club, requires that he infiltrate himself with a member of the Regent's inner circle as he is believed to be working for the Prometheans. Like many in London, he worries that Mara 's closeness with the Regent means that she is his mistress, and it brings up all sorts of jealousy in him. Mara finds herself quickly falling back under Jordan's spell, he is courteous and charming and he is so kind to her son, but she feels like there is something he is hiding from her. Even when things begin to look to be going well for them the Prometheans come out in full force, using everything at their disposal to try to found out who the members of the Inferno Club are, and will stop at nothing to get their way. Jordan has to trust Mara with the truth and his heart, and she has to forgive him for the past before they can move on and love each other.
I have enjoyed the Inferno Club series so far because I like Foley's writing style and the way she blends serious intrigue and murder with some really great romance. She once again nails the characters with Jordan and Mara and I will admit I am a sucker for lost love and the angst that it brings. Mara is a passionate woman who cares deeply about her son and I really like the way that Thomas was the center of her life and yet she still came across as a well-rounded character. Jordan was also great as the hero torn between his duty and his love and who has lived his life trying to have no regrets, but is now realizing that he is due for a major change in life. Their relationship in the past was touched on briefly, enough for me to get a feel for how they got on and to recognize that they did have a deep attraction and set the stage for what was to come, but the main focus was on their current relationship and how it progressed. Their relationship felt very natural and they had so many qualities that complimented each other and they had to deal with so many fears that came in between them and deal with their past. The sex between them was pretty hot, but it wasn't as frequent as it could have been.
Former heroes and heroines from Foley's other books make infrequent appearances, but I never felt like their appearances hit me over the head of took over from the main characters, rather they just served as a back drop and were colleagues of Jordan's. The Promethean/ Inferno Club plot has been one of the very few intrigue/ spy/ mystery/ conspiracy plots that I have been able to stand in romances. Most of the time they are either overwhelming or they just seem to be there to fill up space and are boring and not at all important. This plot is an integral part of the plot because it influences their relationship as far as them breaking up to begin with and then him "using" her to get closer to the Prince Regent, and also because his involvement in the Inferno Club really made him the man that he is today. It was also interesting and I love that she tells some of the story from the point of view of the bad guys and the suspense is just right. I also like that the reader is "in the know" about what is going on so we don't feel lost or too on edge, but that there is still a little mystery there about what is going to happen.
Rating: A strong showing by Foley who presents another strong romance with a fun side plot, but I would probably give it only 3 1/2 stars because it dragged at points.