Title: The Lady Meets Her Match
Locating Her Is Only Half The Battle...
Cyrus Ryland didn't become England's wealthiest bachelor by being a pushover, but the mysterious beauty he discovers sneaking around at his grand ball enflames his curiosity. When the clock chimes midnight, and she's nowhere to be found, Cyrus vows to scour all of London to uncover who she is. Little does he know that not only does Claire Mayhew not want to be found, but she wants nothing to do with him at all...
Author: Gina Conkle
Series: Midnight Meetings #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca Source: Publisher
Published: April 7, 2015
Genres: Historical Romace
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Amazon
Visit the Author's Website
For lovers of Historical romance in the Regency type era, be warned. This is a bit different. There is a touch of the pomp and grandeur of a grand ball. The story begins with the heroine crashing a masked ball. But otherwise, this story is about *gasp* commoners.
The hero – Cyrus Ryland – is a former shareholder farmer who has managed to make himself into the “King of Commerce” and become extremely rich. Therefore, the aristocratic elite have found a tolerance for him. He is even being courted to wed the daughter of a Duke. How very enterprising for him. What I find most interesting about this character is that in spite of his lack of title or antecedents, he is just as arrogantly confident that he is right and entitled as any titled member of the aristocracy. Maybe it is more a guy thing. *grin*
Seriously, Cyrus owns many properties in London to include warehouses on the shores of the Thames and shops in the center of bustling London. He literally rules an empire. He is strong and focused on his goals – provide a good life for his mother and sisters. After all it is a man’s job to look after his women folk. Then he meets Claire.
Claire is a young woman who actually did grow up on an estate. All be it, she was the steward’s daughter, but she did have some advantages. The least of which was hanging with the Lord’s sons. But that didn’t work out well, so now she is in London making her own way as an independent woman. Easier said than done when the archaic idea that a woman must have a man to sponsor her still exists. But she is determined. She will have her coffee shop and she will succeed.
I liked these characters. They were both strong minded. They had each lead hard lives that brought them to this place and time. The attraction they felt for each other had the potential of destroying everything they had each built. They had much to learn about each other and about love.
All of the elements were here for a good story. Strong characters. Interesting premise. Conflict. Scandal. Should have kept me clued to the page. But, I found myself nodding off. The pacing was slow. It was a struggle to continue reading to the satisfying ending. But, I did make it to the happy ever after, so all was not lost.
This is the type story to appeal to those who enjoy a slow amble. Although there is some tense moments, I would not call them heart stopping or gasp worthy. Just a bit tense. The romance of this story was nice, sweet even. Some of the action was fairly predictable so not surprising. This would be a good read for that snowed in day.
Oh yes, this does read very well as a stand-alone novel. I have not read the first book of this series and do not feel I missed anything. It would appear that it is the “meeting at midnight” that binds this series, not the characters. So jump in, the water is fine.
Gina Conkle, a history nerd to the core, loves castles and museums. Her motto is “the older and moldier, the better.” When not enjoying relics, she lives in the present, dabbling in organic gardening at her home in San Diego, California. She lives with Brian, her husband and favorite alpha male, and their two boys. Visit her at www.ginaconkle.com.
Today we’re sitting down with historical romance author Gina Conkle! Gina’s latest book, The Lady Meets Her Match, comes out this April. To celebrate we’re participating in the “Ask Gina Spotlight Tour”, take it away Gina!
- If you were stranded on a desert island and could bring only three items, what would you bring?
- A water purifier, a book, and my comfy pillow
Cyrus removed his fine blue coat, the slide of cloth on cloth an inviting sound to her benumbed senses.
“You’re not warming up sufficiently.” He leaned in and wrapped his coat over her shoulders, his deep voice like an intimate connection. “Someone needs to take care of you.”
She shuddered when his breath tickled her ear. His warmth and nearness was just as heavenly as what he draped around her. She could tell he found her refusal more amusing than deterring. Cyrus closed the coat in front of her, his body heat palpable inside. The collar’s woven broadcloth brushed her rain-misted cheeks, his pleasant scent on the cloth. The coat was part of an expensive, well-tailored ditto suit: identical blue fabric with spare gold trim on the coat, waistcoat, and breeches.
“I’ll ruin part of a perfectly good suit.” But she pulled the coat tighter, greedy for the snug feel.
He added more coal to the blaze. The inferno’s orange light danced across white cotton stretched over his shoulders. Muscles moved under the fabric, mesmerizing her while he built a hotter fire. And then there was his offer to waive her rent and give her a loan, an offer apparently free of unique requirements. His act of generosity pinched her conscience.
How dare he be so…nice.
“About the rent, the loan, I cannot accept your kind offer.” She cleared her throat, trying to sound competent. “I’ll find a way.”
Ryland glanced at her but said nothing to counter her refusal. Instead, he dropped to the floor, kneeling before her. Without asking her leave, he removed one shoe and then the other, and set the soaked footwear against the hearth’s ash pan.
“What are you doing?” Her words, like her body, went slack, all of her too worn down.
His head bent close to her knee. One hand, large and warm, curled around her ankle, rubbing life back into her foot. A big, masculine palm moved under the arch, creating delightful friction. She pressed her lips together, holding back a moan of pleasure.
“I would think a land steward’s daughter would know wet clothes are hazardous for one’s health.” He flashed a devilish grin. “You ought to remove your wet clothes, cover yourself with something warm and dry.”
Such as covering myself with you.