Title: Once Upon a Lady
Respectable Lady Katherine Baxton, striving to meet the requirements of her station, has become the ultimate dutiful daughter. And now, the Duke of Blackthorn's betrothed. Far from a love match, Kate is nevertheless determined to do as expected and marry. That all changes the night she panics at her impending future and runs, stumbling upon a private grove, a mysterious tree. . . and a half-naked man.
The youngest son of a viscount widely thought to have purchased his title, Jackson Cooper demonstrates his disdain for the aristocracy by affording himself every luxury available-drinking, wenching, and gambling-while eschewing anything representing the ton. Jackson has little care for his reputation and no desire to marry. His escape from London is all but complete.
Until fate-in the form of a beautiful, mysterious lady-interrupts his plans, enticing him with the very thing he never wanted.
Author: Addie Jo Ryleigh
Published by SoulMate Publishing Source: Publisher
Published: August 16, 2017
Genres: Erotic Historical Romance
Pages: 176 pages
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Once Upon a Lady is one of those books that just sucks you in and you can’t stop reading! I was hooked from the first chapter and loved how this story developed. For not being an overly long book, Addie Jo Ryleigh does a great job of giving us well thought out characters. I felt I knew them and that is just plain great writing.
Lady Katherine, Kate, is next in line to wed and her father is making sure she is marrying appropriately for their station. She’s been betrothed to the Duke of Blackthorn out of obligation. Yes she wants to please her father, but she doesn’t love Blackthorn. She accepts that although he is a good man and a friend, her existence with him will be rather boring. At a ton function, her impending doom overwhelms her and she flees to the gardens for some fresh air. There she finds a mysterious tree that seems to call to her. Thinking she’s just being foolish, she turns to head back to the party and happens upon a scandalous tryst. Not being able to turn her gaze away, she makes eye contact with the man. The feeling she gets from his stare is akin to what she felt at the tree.
Once Jackson’s tryst is interrupted by Kate, he can’t turn his eyes away from the beauty before him. He feels a genuine pull to be near her. When a situation presents itself and he can see Kate again, he takes it! It may be a little shady, but he can’t help himself. He must see her again. Kate feels it too and allows herself to be pulled into Jackson’s web knowing it could cost her everything she holds dear. There’s just something about Jackson and she can’t say no.
I loved this historical romance! The oppressiveness of titles is real and I felt so bad for Kate that she felt she had to marry just to please her father. Blackthorn was clearly a nice guy and Kate would want for nothing. I loved that he wanted her to be happy not trapped. Her chemistry with Jackson was off the charts!! He wasn’t looking for love. He had prior plans in place and this threw a wrench into all of it. It quickly becomes apparent these two can’t live without each other, but how can they undo prior commitments and give this a go? They positively would be miserable without the other. I wanted that HEA and they needed to figure it out somehow. I wasn’t disappointed!!
Once Upon A Lady is the first book I have read by Addie Jo Ryleigh but it will not be the last! She has a writing style that grabs you from the start! This was a wonderful read! I liked the premise of the soul mate tree so I definitely will be looking at her other books in the series!
Addie Jo Ryleigh writes historical regency romances that feature rakish heroes and strong feisty heroines.
Addie Jo has lived in the same cold-winter-hot-summer area of Minnesota her entire life. Sharing in the raising of her three extremely rambunctious boys is her very understanding husband who endured being dubbed “The Duke” by his co-workers. Keeping Addie Jo company while she writes (besides her wonderfully loud children) is her yorkipoo, Bella, who is never far from her side. And recently the newest addition to their family, a black lab named Max.
Addie Jo has always had a love and passion for romance books and became engrossed in historical romance (particularly Regency) soon after graduating from Lurlene McDaniel’s young adult books. Currently, she reads any genre that has a great emotional story that keeps her reading into the early hours of the morning.
Addie Jo has a bachelor degree in accounting and is a financial coordinator when not playing chauffeur for her hockey-playing boys, cuddled up with a good book, or writing her next story.
Kate felt his approach before she saw him. Which wasn’t all that surprising since her body had remained mindful of his presence. Fighting the impulse proved fruitless.
When his tall frame blocked the sun and cast her in shadow, she knew besides giving him a direct cut, she had no escape. If only she hadn’t ventured from her sister’s side. At the time, abandoning Helena had been her singular option since their slow stroll through the gathering had traveled too close to the very man standing beside her. She’d been delaying the inevitable.
Kate was now alone, as she tried to keep her attention on the lawn activities before her, hoping no one would witness what was about to happen.
“Aren’t sprites confined to the trees?” His deep voice washed over her.
She didn’t turn to acknowledge him. “How nice to see you properly dressed for once.”
His chuckle warmed her. “Are you following me?”
An unladylike snort refused to be repressed. “Hardly. You are rather difficult to overlook, being the only unknown face here.”
“That’s not true. You’ve seen my face . . . as well as other, more interesting parts.”
Kate wished she’d listened to her sister and worn a bonnet. Anything to mask the heat flaring in her cheeks.
Thankfully he remained at her side and hadn’t a clear view of her face. “We have not been introduced. I can’t be seen speaking to you.”
“Then let us go where we can’t be seen.”
Her heart raced at his boldness. Why was this man so tempting? She was spoken for, though still unofficially. Proper ladies didn’t follow strange men to private locations, regardless of their marital status. “Absolutely not.”
“Even if I have something of yours?”
Blast! Her ring. Given her luck lately, she would have lost it in the grove of all places. Her aunt would toss in her grave knowing Kate had misplaced her gift.
“A true gentleman would return it.”
His deep laugh caused her pulse to flutter. “I’m no gentleman. Or haven’t you heard?”