We started out talking about The Cad by Edith Leighton. And that's my sole note on the subject.
Robin read Veil of Night by Lydia Joyce (new author). The guy is diseased and must stay in the shadows. She is visiting him so the brother doesn't have to pay a debt. She's older and independent and she doesn't actually care about her family name, so she can't be leveraged against. They are equals and butt heads often, and they like each other. She goes out, and he goes after her and misfortune ensues.
Tonia brought first book of a Celeste Bradley series which is The Pretender although the description doesn't seem to fit the author's description. Here are my notes anyway.
Her village thinks there's something wrong with her because every man who plays court to her ends up damaged. She goes out to trip a trap with her slingshot and ends up hitting a man on a horse. He is a spy for the liar's club. Her relatives (she's an orphan) believes that since he survives spending the night in a barn with her, they marry her off to him (not realizing he's a titled man, with lands and estates, and is on the run.) The marriage is illegal because nobleman can't marry without benefit of banns etc. They fall in love, but he feels like he can't be married, so he had to choose between his career and her. She's trying to hold on to him.
Janice brought Jill Shalvis "In Name Only" which is one of the short stories in a two story set. This is the first of the two stories. Her story is about woman running a cleaning business who has a crush on the rich man whose house she cleans. His family is pressuring him to marry, so proposes a pretend engagement, just until his mother and his interfering aunts leave. The guy was very unique and amusing. The other story, was less interesting, a woman pretends to be married because he boss is hitting on her. The boss's family thinks she's a gold digger who's trying to get him to marry her. The guy is the oldest stepbrother of the boss. He finds out that she pretends to married and they fall in love. I just finished reading this book, and if I may add my comments, I actually liked the second story better. The girl goes to a Cinderella ball, where singles pay and are vetted (although security sucks), and look for a partner. They perform legal marriages as part of the price of admission. I like the idea so much, I'd love to see a string of them profiling the different people who were there, and why they wanted to get married and what they got out of it. It appeals to my romantic nature. Anyway, the step-brother crashes the party and sees her, and thinks she's going to meet and marry his brother, and then decides that the only way to set things right is to marry her himself.
Bunny brought Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase. Fun book. This isn't racy, just a lovely romance set in Egypt in 1800s, Rosetta Stone time; French and British are competing for how many artifacts they can remove from the country. This heroine is a language expert. She lives with her brother who pretends to the expert. Our hero (scapegrace 4th son) is sent to be a bodyguard for her, after her brother is kidnapped. He hates violence, but loves to fight. He can't stand people who hurt other people. He got in trouble as soon as he got to Egypt, because the Egyptian police were beating up this guy for resisting arrest and he jumps in. They end up searching together for her brother. Mischief ensues.
Miss Wonderful is another book in the series.
Lynn Kerand Dreams of Stardust is a good story, but you have to read her other books in order to appreciate this one. The heroine particularly is flat, relying on previous experience to fill out it.
I brought Abiding Love by Melody Morgan, about which I can remember not a whit. That will teach me to wait two months before posting.
Jane Feather's Almost a Bride is the first one in her new Georgian romance series. There is no external conflict in this story, it's about two characters where the conflict is their attitudes that they bring. In this case, the assumptions that people make about men and women and their relationships complicate the matter, by giving them notions to jump towards. They're in a marriage of convenience and she doesn't ask questions because they've agreed she won't. He is a professional gambler who drives another man to suicide. The heroine is the dead guy's sister. The hero asks her to marry him so he doesn't have to throw her out. He has a mistress, but he needs a legit son and heir. The thing she doesn't know is that her brother betrayed the gambler's sister to the guillotine to save his skin. The brother had also ruined a young woman. The gambler is determined to take everything including his life, titles, everything.
She thinks that he betrayed her brother to death. She is trying to spend all his money so he won't realize any benefit from his ill gotten gains. And she never asks him what happened, and what's going on with the mistress because she's not supposed to object to things. He is too hurt to share himself with her and doesn't totally trust her.
Bunny brought Paid Companion by Amanda Quick, Victorian times. The heroine is older and stronger. 28ish, knows her own mind, etc and doesn't get carried away by things around her.
Lots of fun. Hero is an eccentric recluse who when was abandoned by his fiancee, made a joke about next time he went about looking for a wife, he would get himself a paid companion who would be grateful. He returns to town and they think he's looking for a wife, but he's actually looking for his uncle's killer, so he hires himself a paid companion to pose as his fiancée. She was left destitute by her brother's wastrel ways.
Wait until Midnight is another Victorian AQ post the Slightly series.
Established feisty woman etc.
Janice brought Houston We Have a Problem Erin McCarthy. Sexy book. Houston is the hero's name. Heroine is an orthopedic surgeon, who was born to it, and she's good at it, but she doesn't love it. Dr. Houston came to the hospital where she's doing her residency and she falls for him which makes her very clumsy around him.
She ends up picking up so much stuff around him, he falls for her behind. They have obstacles. He gets injured.
The thing Janice didn't like was the excessive unnecessary language. His language was laden with swears.
Bunny read an erotica book that was well done. Diane Whiteside, Irish Devil. It's Victorian erotica. 1880s. Old West. Her husband is killed by the major landowner; She ends up offering to be mistress to the guy who ships stuff. He's always admired her, so he warns her he has erotic tastes, and she agrees to do anything he wants. I'm reading it now, and so far, I'm liking it very much.
Bunny also recommended Robin Carr's The Runaway Mistress which is a sweet, but not too sweet story, about a young woman (30) who is a professional mistress. she grew up poor in a dysfunctional situation. She was nice, but not educated, nor particularly attractive. An old guy asked her out and she accepted, and paid her in goods like a breast job, and dentistry, and gradually she worked herself into a professional. She was accommodating and beautiful and does not aspire to wifehood, so she's a perfect mistress. Most of her job is to be ornamental. She is in Las Vegas with Nick the mafia dude, her current bf, and when she's returned from shopping, he's having a fight with his wife and she returns and the wife is dead. And Nick orders his goons to do something with her too. She changes her appearance and runs away.
Because she's hiding, she can be herself, and eat normally instead of being a (skinny-as-a) rail thing, and lets her hair grow in its natural color and she discovers she's happier. She starts to fall for the guy next door, but she knows Nick's people are hunting her and it's just a matter of time before they find her.
I brought The Emperor's New Clothes by Victoria Alexander, which is a great story, but not a great reworking of the fairy tale. It's in the Lovespell Faerie Tale collection and features Ophelia, the daughter of a Shakespearean actor, who visits a town on the cusp of changes. The hero is the newly appointed mayor of the town, and he falls for Ophelia, even though he sees through the lies and cons and she's attempting to perpetrate.
Next meeting is June 21st.