Determined to stop her wayward brother from squandering their dwindling fortune, Lady Eliza Brentford decides to follow him to his favorite den of depravity. There, among the candlelight and raucous revelry, she encounters her brother's role model in debauchery, the notorious Marquess of Haddan, Gryffin Dwight. Staring into his smoldering green eyes, Eliza can't help but find the rakehell nobleman seductively charming-and sinfully attractive.
In a Lover's Paradise . . .
When Gryffin appears on Eliza's estate as a guest of her brother, a stolen kiss among the garden's blooms leads to a night of unbridled passion. Suddenly the lovely widow feels herself opening up, like the petals of a rose. Could this master of seduction possibly feel true emotion for Eliza? Or is he leading her down the garden path to an Eden of delights no woman can resist-and a fall no woman can escape?
Eliza Brentford is living with her wastrel of a brother and hating every minute of it. She has been putting away money on the sly from sales that she’s made from the paintings she creates. Harry has no clue or he would be taking that money from her as well. She almost has enough saved to buy a cottage so that she can get away from Harry but unfortunately that’s just not happening fast enough for her liking.
Eliza meets Lord Haddan in a roundabout way – in a tree actually – and the pair hit it off. Though Eliza knows it’s wrong she lets the passions that she didn’t realize she even had to break free. Though she chastises herself afterward she can’t help but remember their time together fondly…and try not to want more.
Gryff and Eliza end up together several more times throughout the book until a possible criminal act on Eliza’s part comes to light. You see Eliza had painted a picture in the fashion of a famous artist. That painting was stolen and passed off as an original. Eliza had no idea but now the man who stole the painting wants Eliza to create more forgeries for profit – and she has to marry him to boot. She would never entertain the idea because the man is repulsive but her brother owns Lord Brighton a great deal of money. Unfortunately Gryff finds out some of this info and believes Eliza to be up to no good. But does he really believe that? Or does he believe his heart that’s telling him that the woman he loves couldn’t possibly do something that bad?
This was a sweet romance that had a bit of angst in it. Eliza and Gryff are almost perfect together from the start. Even though they aren’t truthful to each other about their professions – Gryff thinks Eliza is simply a country widow and Eliza believes that Gryff is simply a rake when in fact she is an artist and he is a poet. They have a great time together sharing witty banter, enjoying nature together and of course having their stolen moments of passion. Though the writing was a bit flowery because the topic so often went to the language of flowers I still enjoyed the story for the most part.
The part about Lord Brighton and Eliza’s brother Harry was almost predictable from the start – as well as the outcome - but it still kept me interested from the first page. Not a riveting read but definitely a nice way to pass an afternoon.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5