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Daughter of an infamous murderer, Ivy Wollard now wields knives instead of needlepoint to survive in a society where no one wants her. When the Marquess of Blackbourne comes along and ruins her chance at a better life, she decides she’d rather have her toes eaten by eels than agree to his proposed scheme. There’s no way her surrender has anything to do with the mesmerizing angle of his jawline or the wicked twinkle in his eyes.
But Asher Blackbourne has a secret. He knows it’s just a matter of time until he goes mad and loses his illustrious title, so when Ivy falls into his path, he realizes he could use her to keep his house of cards from falling down. If every illicit touch between them doesn’t drive him mad first, that is.
Yet Ivy cannot escape her grisly legacy and the dark desires of her father’s admirers. What if violence runs through her veins, and no one who gets close is safe? Mayhem will descend as this rake finally falls for the enigmatic woman who might be just his brand of poison…Er, cure, of course.
Read an Excerpt
Blackbourne came towards the clawfoot tub, running a finger along the porcelain edge.
Ivy shrank back instinctively into the steam.
He chuckled. “Don’t worry, love. I won’t bite,” he drawled, and then paused. “Yet.”
She inhaled as his eyes flashed promises of things she wasn’t sure she understood.
“Your bathwater is quite thoroughly unrevealing with all those suds. What a pity.” He sighed, pulling the nearby chair closer to the tub and lowering himself down into it. “Will you wash your hair for me?”
Ivy blinked “Right now?” she choked, reaching up to pat her hair, which she’d styled in a high chignon.
He nodded, his posture relaxed, although Ivy knew this to be deceptive. He was waiting to hear her answer with taut focus. When she didn’t move a muscle, Blackbourne interrupted her tumultuous thoughts with a soft suggestion. “Let me help you.”
The words reached out to her with tendrils that wrapped her consciousness in a sensual fog, causing the hair on her nape to rise. This was not done, she knew. A proper lady would never allow a gentleman to touch her hair, much less while she bathed. But what about any of their arrangement was proper in the first place? Who would even know?
So she reached up slowly so as not to disturb the water covering her chest and drew the stickpin from her hair, letting its length fall in a heavy coil down her back.
His sharp intake of breath echoed in the tiled chamber.
Was that a good thing? Ivy’s body trembled as she watched him rise and come towards her through the steam…
Romance. Intrigue. Spunky heroine. Dream worthy hero. Secondary characters that are fabulous and waiting to read their stories. A plot that makes sense. Humorous. Sensual. And dialogue that doesn’t make you reach for a dictionary. This is what we have folks. A historical romance that I will read again and wait on bated breath for the other stories to be written. Okay, so there is a second book that is already out. But I digress…
For me, historical novels can be a hit or a miss for me. I don’t want the details of the ton, the description of every.little.detail. about the clothing, manners, etc. I just want a story set in the time period. Ms. Hollows doesn’t disappoint in her setting. I felt like I was really there right alongside Asher and Ivy. Ms. Hollows has a way of bringing you into the story and keeping you there to the end. From the bathing chamber scenes, train station, and of course, the carriages. But again, she doesn’t hit you over the head. It is subtle, which I like.
Asher and Ivy’s romance is subtle, too. Asher is a savant when it comes to information. He’s almost like a computer and there is an actual name for what he has: Acquired Savant Syndrome. According to the author, the disease was not diagnosed until later so poor Asher had to deal with it the best he can. Ivy has a calming effect on him when he has an episode and of the episode factors into a very important plot point. Ms. Hollows does an excellent job with it and I really felt for Asher. Ivy is a breath of fresh air in the world of historical romance. She has gotten a bad rap for something her father did but once she meets Asher, she just deals with it and moves on. At times, she fears her past, and Asher couldn’t care less. Their romance is slow and deliberate and I loved it. Just their dialogue alone was like foreplay but Ms. Hollows writes with a sensual hand.
Dom, the Duke, is one of the secondary characters that I could.not. get enough of. OMG, the scene at the end when Dom hears a voice from the past…oh my. I can’t WAIT for that book. Every secondary character, big or small part, has a part to play into the romance of Asher and Ivy. For me, that’s what makes the book so much fun. Everyone had a part to play and Ms. Hollows does an excellent job with that. That and the plot itself. At times, I couldn’t help but chuckle a time or two. Or cringe a time or two. Again, that’s what makes the book perfect for me.
Overall, Ms. Hollows has a fan for life. I can’t wait to read the rest of this series and you should, too. Sensual, intelligent, and engaging characters are here in spades. Tell your friends. And then come thank me.
About the Author:
Win Hollows is a multi-award-winning romance fiction writer who still believes that love conquers all. She currently lives in Colorado with her own real-life hero and their three fur babies. Her passion is writing stories about love and intrigue and will continue to do so as long as characters keep having conversations in her head. Hollows’ other interests include traveling to places with delicious food and languages she can’t speak, having wilderness adventures, and, of course, reading! She loves connecting with readers and fans on Facebook, Instagram, and through her website.
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Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mayhem-and-the-marquess-win-hollows/1130949870