"Anne Barton is a delightful new voice in historical romance! Once She Was Tempted is a charming read, with characters who are easy to love--a wounded earl and a determined heroine whose heart won't be denied."
Once She Was Temptedby Anne Barton
--Tessa Dare, New York Times bestselling author
A PORTRAIT OF A LADY
. . . or is it? The risqué painting owned by Benjamin Elliot, the earl of Foxburn, features a stunning beauty with sapphire eyes, golden hair, and creamy skin. Ben recognizes this particular/strong>/em>
"Anne Barton is a delightful new voice in historical romance!"
--Tessa Dare, New York Times bestselling author
A PORTRAIT OF A LADY
. . . or is it? The risqué painting owned by Benjamin Elliot, the earl of Foxburn, features a stunning beauty with sapphire eyes, golden hair, and creamy skin. Ben recognizes this particular English rose the instant he meets her-though she's wearing considerably more clothing. In person, the demure debutante is even more irresistible . . .
In desperate need of money for her sick mother, Daphne Honeycote had posed for two scandalous portraits. Now she must hide her secret to save the Honeycote family name. Ben's possession of one painting makes him an insufferable thorn in her side-and yet he may be her best chance at finding the canvas's companion. As she becomes drawn to the dark-tempered earl, can Daphne risk laying bare the secrets of her heart?
"Anne Barton is a delightful new voice in historical romance! Once She Was Tempted is a charming read, with characters who are easy to love--a wounded earl and a determined heroine whose heart won't be denied."Tessa Dare, New York Times bestselling author
"Fans of historical romance, especially books by Tessa Dare and Grace Burrowes, will enjoy Barton, who is proving to be an enticing new voice."
"Barton follows up When She Was Wicked with a delightful tale filled with sexual sizzle and banter. ...Barton's strong prose and wit will have readers clamoring for more."
-RT Book Reviews
WHEN SHE WAS WICKED:
"Sensual and solid, this debut is a story demanding to be read. The characters are believable and relatable, and Barton smartly blends issues of morality and Regency era social class with passion and excitement."Publisher's Weekly (Starred Review) on When She Was Wicked
"Stunning and heart melting...When She Was Wicked is a beautifully written regency Romance that I fell deeply in love with! Anne Barton has succeeded in writing the perfect debut. This is a must read that you do not want to miss!"harlequinjunkie.com on When She Was Wicked
"4 stars! Delightfully smart, fun, fast-paced and just different enough for readers to take note of Barton's charming voice, this novel is filled with wry humor and compassion intrigues readers. The intrepid heroine, arrogant hero, memorable secondary characters and the colorful depiction of the era add to the reading enjoyment"RT Book Reviews on When She Was Wicked
"When She Was Wicked is a delightful debut! Anne Barton's cast of characters is charming and witty. Owen is the type of hero that readers fall in love with from the very first introduction, and Anabelle is ingenious and resourcefully cunning--a girl after my own heart."Tiffany Clare on When She Was Wicked
"Break out the bubbly for Anne Barton's delightful debut!"Vicky Dreiling, award-winning author on When She Was Wicked
Read an Excerpt
Once She Was Tempted
By Anne Barton
Grand Central PublishingCopyright © 2013 Anne Barton
All rights reserved.
Bristle: (1) A coarse animal hair used in making paintbrushes. (2) To become agitated or irritated, as in The young lady's innocent inquiries caused the brooding earl to bristle.
Upon meeting Miss Daphne Honeycote for the first time, Benjamin Elliot, Earl of Foxburn, had two distinct thoughts.
The first was that she appeared to be a suitable match for his upstanding young protégé, Hugh. Her golden hair was smoothed into a demure twist at her nape, and the collar of her gown was prim enough to pass muster in a convent. Her entire person radiated light, goodness, and purity.
The earl's second thought regarding Miss Honeycote was that he should probably take down the nude portrait of her that was hanging in his study.
To be fair—and to his everlasting regret—Miss Honeycote wasn't entirely nude in the painting. She reclined on a chaise of sapphire blue, her gown unlaced all the way to the small of her back, exposing slim shoulders and the long indent of her spine. The look she cast over her shoulder was serene and wise.
And utterly captivating.
His butler had once nervously suggested that a less titillating painting—of the English countryside or a foxhunt, perhaps—might be more befitting an earl's study. Ben had explained to the butler—with uncharacteristic patience—that since he had no intention of hosting the next meeting of the ladies' Scripture study, he'd hang any picture he damn well pleased.
But now, as he watched poor Hugh fumbling over himself to impress Miss Honeycote at the Duchess of Huntford's dinner party, he realized he'd have to take down the painting. It would never do for Hugh to see the scandalous portrait and discover that the woman he was courting was not the paragon of virtue he imagined her to be.
Ben wasn't one to cast stones, but at least he didn't pretend to be anything other than what he was—a bitter, cynical bastard. Everyone knew what he was, and yet invitations were never in short supply. It was truly amazing what character defects people would tolerate if one had a title, a fortune, and a few interesting scars.
He preferred to eat alone but couldn't refuse an invitation from Huntford. Especially when he suspected the duchess had arranged the dinner party in order to further Miss Honeycote's acquaintance with Hugh. This dinner was the social equivalent of advancing a column of infantry and probably involved more strategy. It was the kind of maneuver that Robert—Hugh's older brother and Ben's best friend—would have skillfully countered. Ben tucked an index finger between his neck and cravat, which suddenly felt tight.
Robert was gone, killed in the line of duty, leaving his younger brother with no one to look out for him but Ben—a poor substitute if ever there was one. The least he could do was protect Hugh from the mercenary and morally suspect Miss Honeycotes of the world.
Ben kept a wary eye on the stunning blonde throughout the evening. If he didn't know better, he'd swear she'd stepped out of the portrait in his study and raided the armoire of a prudish vicar's wife before coming to dinner. The contradiction between the oil-painted and in-the-flesh versions of Miss Honeycote kept his mind pleasantly—if wickedly—occupied during the meal, which was otherwise predictably tedious. Huntford sat at one end of the table, looking more medieval king than sophisticated duke; his pretty wife sat at the other. The duke's two sisters—Olivia and Rose—and Miss Honeycote were interspersed among the remaining men—Hugh, himself, and his solicitor and boxing partner, James Averill.
It was the sort of social affair Ben had avoided since returning from Waterloo. Cheerful gatherings, replete with inane conversation about the condition of the roads and the prospects for rain made him feel like the worst kind of hypocrite. He sat in one of London's most elegant dining rooms enjoying savory roast beef while members of his regiment lay buried in the cold ground.
It seemed almost traitorous.
Ben's leg twitched, signaling its agreement.
Damn. That twitch was like a warning shot before cannon fire. Sweat broke out on his forehead, and he clutched his fork so hard the fine silver handle bent.
Beneath the polished mahogany dining room table, he gripped the arm of his chair while the twisted muscles in his right thigh spasmed and contracted like a vise. He gritted his teeth, keeping his breathing even. The dinner conversation became muffled, as though he listened through a door. Objects in front of him blurred, and he could no longer tell where the tablecloth ended and his plate began. Silently, he counted. One, two, three ... The episode could last ten seconds or ten thousand, but he gleaned a shred of comfort from knowing it would end. Eventually.
He reached eighty-six before the pain subsided and the room slowly came back into focus. After a glance up and down the table, he relaxed slightly. No one seemed concerned or alarmed, so he must have gotten through the spell without grunting. As inconspicuously as possible, he swiped his dinner napkin across his damp forehead. Miss Honeycote cast him a curious look, but he ignored it, took a large gulp of wine, and tried to pick up some thread of the conversation around him.
Hugh was grinning at Miss Honeycote like an idiot. He seemed to fall further under her spell with each bloody course. At this rate, they'd be betrothed by dessert. "I understand you volunteer at the orphanage on Thursdays," Hugh said.
"Yes, I enjoy being around the children." She lowered her eyes, as though uncomfortable discussing her charity work. Little wonder. She probably wouldn't know an orphan if one bit her on her lovely ankle.
"The children adore Daphne," the young duchess said proudly. "With a smile, my sister can brighten the darkest of rooms."
"I do not doubt it," exclaimed Hugh.
Miss Honeycote blushed prettily, while Ben just barely refrained from snorting. He had to admit, she did a fair job of brightening his study.
She probably wouldn't deign to bat her lashes at Hugh if a viscount's title hadn't been tragically plopped onto his lap. Hugh was so smitten he'd already sunk to composing bad poetry in her honor, which meant Ben would have to confront her about the painting—in private, and soon. With any luck, he'd spare Hugh the humiliation of learning that the woman he fancied himself in love with was, for all intents and purposes, a doxy.
"Lord Biltmore tells us you're something of a hero." Lady Olivia Sherbourne, the more animated of the duke's sisters, leaned forward, gazing expectantly at Ben.
He shot Hugh a scathing glance before responding to Lady Olivia. "Hardly. I had the misfortune of finding myself in the path of a bullet. Let me assure you—there was nothing vaguely heroic or romantic about it."
"Nonsense." Hugh sat up straighter. "The colonel himself came to visit Lord Foxburn, and he said—"
"Enough." It was a bark, harsher than Ben had intended. The duchess fumbled her fork and it clattered onto her plate. Accusatory silence followed. The women stared at him with owlish eyes and, at the head of the table, Huntford glowered.
Ben set his napkin next to his plate and leaned back in his chair. If they were waiting for an apology, they were going to wait a long time. In fact, his flavored ice, which had been cleverly molded into the shape of a pineapple, was already starting to melt. Instead, he said, "I'm certain there are more appropriate topics of conversation for a dinner party."
The duke arched a dark brow.
Ben responded with a grin but didn't let it reach his eyes. "Better to stick with less distressing subjects when conversing with the gentler sex." He sounded like an insincere ass, and no wonder.
"Must we limit our conversation to weather and roads, then?" Lady Olivia looked like a chit who'd discovered her diamond earrings were paste jewelry.
"Of course not." Ben scooped the spike of the ice pineapple into his spoon. "There are plenty of interesting, appropriate topics for young ladies."
He froze, his spoon halfway to his mouth. "I don't know ... the color of Lady Bonneville's newest turban?"
Every head at the table swiveled toward him, and no one looked particularly pleased.
Miss Honeycote cleared her throat, drawing the attention away from him like a matador unfurling a scarlet cape. She smiled, instantly raising the temperature in the room several degrees. "Lord Foxburn, I cannot speak for my entire sex, but let me assure you that my sister, Olivia, Rose, and I are not nearly as fragile as you might think. If you knew us better, you wouldn't worry about offending our sensibilities. You'd be worried that we'd offend yours."
The ladies giggled, murmuring their agreement, and even Huntford chuckled reluctantly. Miss Honeycote pursed her pink lips and tilted her head as she met Ben's gaze. Her knowing smile and heavy-lidded eyes were an exact match to those of the woman in the portrait.
And, coincidentally, to the woman who invaded his dreams.
Daphne took a sip of wine and, over the rim of her glass, marveled at the luxury surrounding her. A fire crackled in the marble fireplace of the duke's dining room, gilt-framed pictures graced the sea-green walls, and a chandelier glittered over the mahogany table.
Her sister, Anabelle, blushed prettily under her husband's appreciative gaze. If the new fullness in her cheeks and sparkle in her eyes were any indications, being a duchess suited her quite nicely.
Her sister, the Duchess of Huntford. The thought still made Daphne giddy.
A year ago she and Belle were living in a tiny rented apartment wondering how on earth they were going to be able to feed themselves, much less purchase the medicine Mama needed. Daphne had spent night after night in Mama's room, watching over her, as if that would keep Death from skulking in and snatching her away. Some mornings, when the air was thick with the pungent smells of strong tea and bitter medicine, she was afraid to approach Mama's bed. Afraid that she'd take her hand and find it cold and stiff.
Daphne shivered in spite of herself. She wasn't the sort to dwell on dark times, but remembering was useful on occasion—if only to make one appreciate one's blessings.
And she had many.
Mama was now the picture of health. She and Daphne lived in a town house twenty times the size of their old apartment and a hundred times more beautiful. They had a butler and a cook and ladies' maids, for heaven's sake. If a gypsy had foretold it, Daphne would have fallen off her chair from laughing. And yet here she sat, in a ducal dining room of all places.
Enjoying her first season.
Even she, the eternal optimist, never dared to dream of such a thing. Because of her sister's marriage—a love match to rival any fairy tale—Daphne would gain admittance to lavish balls and perhaps receive her vouchers to Almack's. She might even be presented at Court. The very thought of which made her pulse race.
Yes, it was that thought that made her pulse race. Not Lord Foxburn, or his bottomless blue eyes, or his irreverent grin. He seemed a jaded, bitter sort, but Lord Biltmore held the earl in such high esteem that he must have some redeeming qualities. Something beyond the broad shoulders and the dimple in his left cheek. She endeavored not to stare, but he was sitting directly across from her, and a girl could hardly gaze at the ceiling all evening.
If she was nervous tonight, it was only because her recent good fortune seemed almost too perfect, too fragile. Like a tower of precariously balanced crystal glasses that would come crashing down from the slightest vibration. She pushed the image away, inhaled deeply, and savored her last bite of pineapple ice, which was surely a spoonful of heaven.
Shortly after the dessert course, Daphne and the other ladies filed into the drawing room for tea. The moment the doors closed behind them, Belle drew her aside and, as only a sister could, began interrogating her without preamble. "What did you think of him?"
"He is a bit boorish, but I think that, under the circumstances, we must make allowances."
Belle squinted through the spectacles perched on her nose, perplexed. "Lord Biltmore?"
Oh, drat. Of course her sister was asking about Lord Biltmore—the kind, young viscount who'd sent flowers once and called twice. "I thought you were asking about Lord Foxburn." Daphne's cheeks heated. "Lord Biltmore is a true gentleman. Amiable, gracious, and—"
"Did you notice his shoulders? They're quite broad."
Daphne frowned, wishing her sister would use pronouns with a bit more moderation. "Whose shoulders?"
"Lord Biltmore's!" Belle made the pinched face again, then let out a long breath. "No matter. If he doesn't strike your fancy, there are plenty more eligible men I can introduce to you. I just thought he'd be—"
Daphne reached out and clasped the hand Belle waved about. "Lord Biltmore is the finest of gentlemen. Thank you for hosting this dinner. You arranged it all for me, didn't you?"
A mysterious smile curled at the corner of Belle's mouth and a gleam lit her eyes. "It's only the beginning."
Oh no. Belle didn't undertake any task halfway. Daphne had once asked her to replace the ribbon sash on a plain morning gown. Within a few hours, Belle had transformed the gown into a shimmering confection of silk and delicate lace. If matchmaking became her sister's mission, Daphne would not have a moment's peace. "You are newly married and a duchess to boot. Surely you have more pressing matters to attend to than filling my social calendar."
"Not a one. This is your chance, Daph. No one deserves happiness more than you."
"I am happy." But she wasn't happy like Belle was with Owen. That was a rare thing.
"You know what I mean."
Daphne bit her lip. "Yes." If her sister was determined, why not let her do her best? There was no one in the world Daphne trusted more. She gave Belle a fierce hug and extricated herself before she turned completely maudlin.
Needing a moment, Daphne poured herself some tea, wandered to the rear of the drawing room, and sank into a plush armchair near an open window. A warm breeze tickled the wisps on her neck, and the simple pleasure of it made her eyes drift shut.
This season was her chance, presented to her on a silver salver. She, a poor girl from St. Giles, would mingle with nobility. With just a smidgen more luck, she might marry a respectable gentleman. Someone kind and good. Greedy as she was, she even dared to hope she'd fall in love. With a man who viewed life the same way she did—as a chance to bring happiness to others.
Lord Biltmore seemed the perfect candidate. His manners were impeccable, and he treated her like a rare treasure, or a fragile egg that might break if jostled. His boyish smile held not a trace of cynicism, and the way his russet-colored hair spiked up at the crown—much like a tuft of grass—was utterly endearing. Although he'd lost his parents and two older brothers in recent years, he managed to see goodness in the world around him and reflect it back tenfold.
The viscount could have his pick of the season's debutantes, yet he appeared to be taken with her—a newcomer with few connections and no fortune to speak of. The advantage of being an unknown was that she had no reputation—so far, it was unblemished.
She could hardly believe how nicely the pieces of her life were falling into place.
A shadow slanted across the teacup in her lap, and she looked up. A torso clad in a finely tailored dark blue waistcoat appeared, precisely at eye level.
"Miss Honeycote, might I have a word?"
Daphne blinked, tilted her head back, and directed her gaze to the face above the snowy white neckcloth. What Lord Foxburn lacked in manners he certainly made up for in good looks. His tanned skin set off his startlingly blue eyes. The fine lines at their corners seemed to have resulted not from smiling, but rather from glaring, if his current expression was any indication. Although his mouth curved down at the corners, his lips were full. She was quite sure that his genuine smile—should she ever see it—would be dangerously charming.
Excerpted from Once She Was Tempted by Anne Barton. Copyright © 2013 Anne Barton. Excerpted by permission of Grand Central Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Anne Barton began swiping romance novels off her mom's bookshelf as a teenager, so when she had the chance to spend a semester in London-home to her favorite heroes-she packed her bags and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.
Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anne found her way back to writing the stories she loves and in 2011 won the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart® for Regency Historical Romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband (who, sadly, is not a peer of the realm-but a great guy nonetheless) and her three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Her weaknesses include reality TV, cute-but-impractical shoes, and caffeinated beverages of all kinds.
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First – I’m totally digging the dress that’s on the cover. It’s gorgeous and perfectly suits the book since the entire thing is about a portrait and the cover bears some resemblance to the portrait (well, at least the colors) described in the book. Apparently this is the second book in the series, since I’m guessing the first book tells the tale of Daphne’s sister meeting and falling for the duke. Daphne has had her circumstances vastly improved thanks to that marriage and is trying to be a model of propriety and everything a proper young miss should be. Unfortunately, due to desperation, she’d done something a proper young lady never should: posed for a couple of very (for the period) scandalous portraits for a friend of hers who’s just starting out in the world. Ben has come into possession of one of the two portraits and because of it initially believes Daphne is a rather base woman who’s trying to ensnare a wealthy and titled husband. He’s looking out for his best friend’s younger brother (his best friend was killed during the war) who’s inherited the title, which has brought him out of his normal seclusion, which he’s imposed upon himself because of a rather nasty war-wound to his leg. He meets Daphne, recognizes her from the portrait and promptly tries to steer her away from his young protege. Of course this suspicion of her gradually fades and he agrees to help her locate the second portrait in exchange for her avoiding his protege. This leads to a house party and the second portrait (which is owned by a recluse with a very nasty son). The two of course fall in love and I have to say the revelation of the portrait upon society was marvelously handled. I love Ben so much for what he did for Daphne. Absolutely adored this book, and Ben is a large part of the reason for that adoration. He’s strong and given the ongoing fascination of society for “perfect” looks, it’s not surprising he’s secluded himself. He’s given up on getting any help, even rebuffing Daphne’s initial offer to help him maybe ease some of his agony. But he at one point doesn’t have a polite way of saying no, and kudos to Daphne for not letting him drive her away with his attitude about a non-physician solution/suggestion. Daphne is a strong woman, as proved by the lengths she went to back when she was dirt poor and looking for a solution to help provide money (the artist split his commission with her in exchange for her posing) for her family. I though she was a bit wispy and fluff-brained at times, given how martyrish she was at a couple of points when it looked like the scandalous portrait might be revealed (hoping she might one day get to see her niece/nephew, removing entirely from town/her family so she doesn’t “taint” them, etc.). But that balanced out and she got a wonderful man in the end. I’m glad to have gotten the opportunity to read this book and look forward to reading others by Ms. Barton. Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Guest Reviewer/Kimberly & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog There was a time when Daphne Honeycote didn’t know where the funds would come from to pay for her mother’s medication. Those were difficult times. Times for desperate measures. While her sister Anabelle worked her fingers to the bone as a seamstress and sometime blackmailer to help out, Daphne’s solution was to pose scantily clad for her artist friend, who needed a model for paintings that were commissioned by a gentleman of the ton. Now, some time later, Anabelle since married to a Duke and the family’s situation much improved, along with their mother’s health, Daphne’s solution comes back to bite her in that one time scantily clad arse. When Benjamin Elliot, the earl of Foxburn approaches Daphne and tells her to discourage a would-be suitor who has designs on her, she is shocked and dismayed to find that Lord Foxburn is in possession of one of the two paintings that she sat for. Denial does nothing to detain the cynical and ailing earl from his task, until he finds there is a second painting out there somewhere and tells Daphne. Daphne Honeycote is now frantic. While she was never ashamed of the paintings, should they become public and it known that the sister of a duchess posed semi-nude for a painter, her family would be ostracized by the ton. Daphne would not be able to take that, for she adores her family. Against her better judgement, Daphne elicits the help of Benjamin Elliot to locate the second portrait and in the process the two seemingly unsuited pair fight to keep their budding attraction to themselves. Although it is unlikely that anyone close to the beautiful lady and the brooding war hero would even think they had anything going on, or would they? When the second painting shows up in the hands of the spoiled rake son of the man who commissioned the portrait, Ben and Daphne toil to recover it before it can be displayed for all of London to see and auctioned off to the highest bidder therefore ruining Daphne and her family’s name. Once She Was Tempted by Anne Barton is a great follow-up to When She Was Wicked and the novella, To All the Rakes I’ve Loved Before. A family overcoming such adversity and still coming out ahead of the game after such mishaps, but ultimately learning from these mishaps. I love the fish out of water stories and the gentlemen who know exactly how to treat these non-conformist women. Anne Barton has a unique way of setting up her heroes and heroines so that their feelings just jump out at them and shock them into submission. I look forward to more Honeycote novels and anything else that Miss Barton writes for that matter. *ARC provided by publisher
I love Regency romances for the fairy tale-like qualities and this story was such a winning combination of enchanted make-believe and genuine reality. From fancy ballrooms, to drawing rooms and an entertaining house party, the locations are everywhere I want to be. The Earl of Foxburn is so unlike the usual charming, amiable leading men of this time period and I found his sharp comments and repellent attitude actually make him more authentic, more endearing. Ben definitely needs some compassion and empathy but he doesn’t need pity and Daphne is just the woman to give him the loving attention he needs and have the backbone to stand up to his disparaging attitude. Daphne is such a kind-hearted yet headstrong woman. She will do anything for those she cares for and I believe I could not have asked for a more splendid ending to such a charming book. I have not read Belle’s story but I will definitely be picking it up and any other novel I can find written by this author. I loved the style, the setting the scenario and I especially enjoyed the characters and would love to see them all make reappearances in many more books to come.
A proper lady, a scandalous painting, and an unapologetic rake. Put those together, add some sweet and steamy romance, and we have this lovely book. Once She Was Tempted was a fantastic historical romance! I really enjoyed reading it. I thought it was a wonderful read. Daphne was a strong heroine. For one, she risked her reputation in order to help her family. Considering how a girl's reputation meant everything, that was a marker of how loyal she was to her loved ones. And, when the threat of her paintings being found became a huge problem, she dealt with it all and refused to back down, even to a nasty bully of a "gentleman." She had some serious guts, especially with what happened at the end. She was a force to be reckoned with. I really liked her. I thought she was a great character. Ben was also wonderful, though he doesn't start off that way. When he first meet him, he's kind of an ass. But, an ass with good intentions, which made all the difference. And, over the course of the book, we see him softening as he fell in love. He was very sweet and devoted to those he cared about. And he was very clever, particularly in how he solved the issue at hand. I adored him. I thought he was a perfectly flawed hero. The romance was lovely. Daphne and Ben were sweet together. Their feelings for each other were obvious and they didn't waste time in denying them. And, the chemistry between then was hot. There were some steamy moments over the course of this book. These two were a perfect couple. The plot was fast paced. I was hooked the entire way through. The issue of how Daphne and Ben would keep the paintings hidden had me on the edge of my seat. I couldn't guess how that would work out so it was a surprise for me. I really enjoyed the story and I thought the ending was lovely. Once She Was Tempted was a fantastic historical romance. I loved this book! It was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Lovers of romance, you need to read this book. *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
ONCE SHE WAS TEMPTED by Anne Barton is an exciting and interesting Regency Historical Romance set in 1816 England. #2 in "A Honeycote Novel", but can be read as a stand alone. See, "To All the Rakes I Loved". We have all done something we regret in the past, so is the way did young Daphne Honeycote.... Daphne Honeycote posed for not one but two scandalous portraits, so save her family, now she must get them back in order to save her reputation. Enter the dark-tempered Earl of Foxburn, Benjamin Elliot... Join Daphne and Benjamin as their try to navigate passion, secrets, and their hearts. Benjamin is determined to save Daphne and find the second portrait and get it back, you see he has one portrait. Drawn to each other like flies in a trap, Daphne and Benjamin must bare the secrets of their hearts. Fast paced sweet romance. Kinda reminds you of "Beauty and the Beast" except the hero is no beast,but a dark-tempered,handsome,sexy Earl. Well done, Anne! I enjoyed Daphne and Benjamin's story and can hardly wait for the next installment. Well written with a bit of humor, passion, secrets and a sweet romance. A heartwarming story with engaging, and charismatic characters. The storyline is interesting a well as endearing. A must for anyone who enjoys the works of a talented new author on the historical romance scene. Received for an honest review from the publisher. RATING: 4 HEAT RATING: MILD REVIEWED BY: AprilR, Courtesy of My Book Addiction and More