Midnight Temptations with a Forbidden Lord by Tiffany Clare R
Lady Charlotte Lynsday, daughter of the Earl of Ponsley, is unhappily engaged to be married to Mr. Warren, a political allay of her father. Mr. Warren is rude, judgmental, unkind, and downright awful to Charlotte, telling her he plans to leave her in the country to rusticate and he wants her as nothing more than a broodmare. She and her friend come up with a list of rogues to help her get out of her engagement and tops on her list is Tristan, Lord Castlereigh. Tristan has his own reasons to want Charlotte's engagement ended as Mr. Warren is set to inherit the estate and money that should have rightly gone to his friend Jezebel, the widow of the previous Earl Fallon and he knows that Mr. Warren isn't fit for any young lady. Charlotte approaches him at a dance and she makes it clear she wants out of her engagement and Tristan agrees to help her although neither of them know precisely how they will go about doing this. Both are intrigued by the other for more reasons than just the possible broken engagement and wonder if their friendship will lead to something more.
Meanwhile Charlotte's chaperone has found herself in a scandal and it forces Lord Ponsley to insist on moving up the wedding date and he is deaf to Charlotte's pleas to cancel the wedding or give her more time. She once again goes to Tristan and he asks Charlotte to marry him having decided that the two of them could make something out of their friendship. Charlotte is determined never to marry and turns him down, but days later with her wedding approaching she goes to his house and asks him to ruin her, still thinking that she will avoid marriage with anyone. Tristan is not about to let that happen and insists upon their marriage and while she is upset at being cornered like this, she knows that she does not really have much of a choice even though she knows her father would never turn her out. Their marriage proves that Tristan was right and the two get along well right from the start and Charlotte fits right into his family. Not everyone is happy about their marriage and it takes a brush with death for both of them to admit that they have fallen in love.
Wow. Lady Charlotte is one of the worst characters I have ever read in a romance novel. She is, at best naive, but I would really tend to call her stupid and she had absolutely no common sense. She had no idea how to go about getting out of her marriage even while it was the only thing she ever thought about and after she finally did have sex with Tristan she refused to marry him thinking that everything would be all right. She didn't think that no one would find out- she wanted people to find out so the wedding would be called off- but she just didn't think there would be lasting consequences. And I was not exaggerating when I said that getting out of her engagement was the only thing she ever thought about. For the first 2/3 of the book she literally doesn't do anything, say anything, or think anything that does not directly relate back to getting out of the engagement and this does not make for a very interesting character at all. She also came across as very selfish in the previous book in the series and in this one as she completely disregarded her chaperones feelings or concerns.
Tristan wasn't as unlikable and at least I better understood his motives, but perhaps the most baffling thing about him were his feelings towards Charlotte. He admirably took care of his illegitimate children but I could not really admire the way he was so adamant that his new wife accept them as her own. He also had ulterior motives for wanting to ruin Mr. Warren, some familial, and some because of his friend Jez. While I understood the familial motives, the revenge for Jez's sake that carried over from the previous novel is beyond old and tired by now and wasn't even that interesting or believable to begin with. Their relationship started off as friendship apparently but I really did not get that feeling at all and I didn't feel like there was any basis for a romance at all. There was very little sex and by the time it occurred I was so tired of their story I found myself skimming it. The writing was plodding and very slow moving and there were many sections in the beginning that felt like boring information dumps.
Rating: A terrible novel with a horrible romance featuring the worst heroine I've ever encountered.