Llynmore Castle is the only place Annabel Lockhart has ever considered home. For years, she's been able to live as she wished, freely roaming the wild moors. Now there's a new earl, as arrogant as he is handsome, and he wants her out. But if he thinks she'll go quietly, he's in for a surprise.
Theo Townsend returned from war a changed man. After unexpectedly inheriting an earldom and a secluded castle in the Scottish Highlands to go with it, he thinks he's found the perfect place to hide from the world
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Enchanting the Earl
A Townsend Novel
By Lily Maxton, Alycia Tornetta
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2017 Lily Maxton
All rights reserved.
Theo Townsend blinked as though his inheritance were a mirage that might disappear at any second — but no, when he opened his eyes, the castle was still there on the gray horizon, looming like a specter.
When his solicitor had told him there was a castle on the Highland property, he'd been skeptical, but the medieval stone structure — which came complete with a curtain wall and a tower house for enemies who'd long since vanished — couldn't be called anything but. It didn't look like there'd been any renovations to it in, oh, three hundred years or so. He felt like he'd somehow been dropped into another time during the last leg of the journey, into another life entirely.
"It's wonderful," his sister Georgina said.
"It needs work," he muttered, eyeing a turret in the back that was crumbling. "It will be expensive."
His other sister, Eleanor, smiled softly as she stared over Georgina's head.
He sank back in the cart seat, but not before catching a glimpse of his brother on horseback.
He was surrounded.
He'd imagined doing this on his own. He'd imagined being alone — blissful, peaceful loneliness, the kind where no one asked you anything you didn't want to answer, and no one expected anything from you, either. But his meddlesome siblings had had other ideas, and he'd barely heard the news from the solicitor before they were making plans to accompany him.
His refusals had been met with defiance — a quieter stubbornness from Eleanor and a more outspoken one from Georgina and Robert.
And in the end, he couldn't deny that his siblings deserved their own home, and it was his duty to provide it for them.
He just wished he'd had more time to ... he didn't know what, exactly. He just wished he'd had more time.
At least their new home was big enough that he could keep to himself.
The cart bumped over a dirt road that was in desperate need of repair — they'd been told to drive a vehicle that could take bumps and bruises in this part of the Highlands — before coming to a halt as close to the castle as it could get.
Theo was forced to navigate a rocky pathway, leaning heavily on his cane so he didn't lose his balance. In front of him, the castle both sprawled outward and jabbed upward, dominating the landscape with a face of gray stone, high turrets, and deep crenellations. It was, in spite of a few derelict spots, a structure that was made both to house and fortify. A place that would scoff at the frilly "castles" modern day aristocrats designed for themselves.
It was a place built to last. A place built to keep others out.
He felt a surge of something almost like fondness for the ancient pile of rocks.
Yes, this would do.
This would do nicely.
As the others looked at the outside of the castle, he moved into an interior courtyard through an open gate. A tree stood at the center, a gnarled, twisted form that shot up from the ground and cast shadows over the grass.
And attached to the tree was ... a woman?
He blinked, trying to clear his vision. But there she was, stretched up on her tiptoes, her arms raised high overhead. She was muttering something under her breath, but Theo couldn't make out the words.
She was tall, and a little gangly, and she had one of the most unique faces he'd ever seen — a long nose, a stubborn chin, wide eyes, and a high forehead. She would've looked sharp to the point of severity, but her blond hair was tumbling out of its pins and feathering her face with loving tendrils. The hem of her dress was muddy, and underneath it, stockinged feet peeked out, just as mud-soaked as her dress. She looked like she'd been caught in a storm.
Or maybe she was the storm.
He must have made a noise, because her head jerked toward him suddenly, and he was caught. Caught in a depth of green that surrounded him like the lushest, quietest forest, that cradled him like the softest meadow grass.
"Good God," he breathed. "What are you?"
But she was not, as his weary, confused mind supplied in that instant, a witch of some sort — he blamed this incredibly stupid thought on his fatigue from the long, arduous journey, and the ancient superstitions of an ancient land, and all he'd seen so far of this wild, sea-swept place.
The look she shot him, which shifted with mercurial speed from shock to affront, was incredibly, painfully human.
She brushed her hair from her face impatiently and then lowered her arms. "Who are you?" she asked shrilly. Her Scottish accent wasn't as thick as the Highlanders'; it was a subtler, softer thing, which made him think she'd been raised closer to the border. "What makes you assume you have the right to come in here? You, sir, are trespassing."
Trespassing? A sliver of annoyance worked its way into his chest. She was the one who was trespassing. He opened his mouth to tell her so, but Robert chose that moment to step into the courtyard. At the sight of the woman, a delighted smile curved his mouth — Robert loved meeting new people; he loved plying his never-lacking charm. He was about as different from Theo as a man could be.
Theo sometimes wondered if one of them had been switched at birth.
"I thought I heard voices," he said. "Introduce us, Theo."
"I don't know who she is," Theo responded flatly.
The woman took the matter into her own hands and gave Robert a curtsy — which looked more awkward than elegant in her muddy dress and stockinged feet. "Annabel Lockhart."
"Good lady," Robert said. "Dost thou appear by magic? No earthly mortal could present such a vision of loveliness."
Miss Lockhart blushed a little at that. Even though she looked skeptical, her mouth twitched, and to Theo's increasing annoyance, she played along. "You didn't give me a name, good sir. Dost thou be a warrior? A knight, perhaps?"
"Robert Townsend. Sometimes I fancy myself a knight," he said with a friendly grin.
"Hmmm ..." Miss Lockhart tapped her finger to her chin — gloveless, Theo noted with another twinge of irritation. Her fingers were slender and long and pale. "Do knights ever rescue cats?"
"Is there a cat that needs saving?" Robert asked.
Miss Lockhart pointed, and sure enough, a black cat stared down at them through the tree branches. Robert, without further ado, heaved himself onto the lowest, sturdiest branch and began climbing the tree with wily grace.
Theo realized he was alone with Miss Lockhart once more. His brother might exasperate him sometimes, but at least his affability acted as a buffer in situations like these, when Theo felt the strain of his failure to perform the normal social niceties.
He glanced at the woman next to him. A little shock went through him when he met her eyes again. He'd never seen such a deep green. It was almost unearthly. And she did own a black cat — he didn't think he could really be blamed for his assumption, ludicrous though it was. She looked away from him without saying a word, tilting her chin in a pointed snub.
Which was perfectly fine ... did he truly want to converse with a trespassing woman who dashed about shoeless in the mud? She obviously had no respect for propriety.
A few moments of tense silence passed before Robert dropped to the ground with the cat in his arms.
"Oh, thank you," she said, a wide smile breaking across her face as she took the overweight beast from him.
"Your wish is my command," Robert answered.
Theo barely refrained from rolling his eyes.
Georgina and Eleanor strolled into the courtyard, arm in arm, stopping at the sight of Annabel Lockhart. And then Georgina pulled forward eagerly to meet the woman. Eleanor, who was more reserved than her sister, followed behind cautiously.
Introductions were made, and before long, Georgina was asking Miss Lockhart about the cat — what its name was (Willoughby, from a character in a book — ridiculous), how old it was (unknown) — and Eleanor even took part in the conversation, smiling tentatively.
Theo felt the situation spiraling out of his control. This woman was a stranger, not a family friend, and no one was supposed to be here in the first place.
"What exactly is going on?" he asked, bringing their happy chatter to a halt. "I thought Llynmore Castle was currently uninhabited. Are you a servant?"
Miss Lockhart quickly shuttered the friendliness she exuded toward the others as she faced him. "I live here."
"That's not possible," he said. He didn't want it to be possible. He felt the first thread of the future he'd envisioned for himself starting to unravel — he couldn't very well isolate himself in a deserted castle if the castle wasn't actually deserted.
"I assure you, it is," she responded, with all the haughtiness of a duchess. "My aunt and I reside at Llynmore Castle, thanks to the charity of the Earl of Arden. I'd like to know why you think you have a right to arrive unannounced."
Theo found himself straightening under the weight of her condescension, pushing up from his walking stick, simply so he'd be taller than her. And then it was by a mere inch or so. An annoyance, that.
"I'm the Earl of Arden."CHAPTER 2
Annabel had never seen the Earl of Arden herself, but she knew he was a contemporary of her aunt, who was almost seventy. This dour man couldn't be past thirty. He wasn't handsome in the typical sense — his features were too blunt for that — but there was something about his dark, intense eyes and commanding presence that drew her gaze to him more than once.
"The earl died?" She tried to keep her face calm, even though turmoil roiled inside.
The new Lord Arden nodded curtly. "Three months ago. I'm surprised you didn't know, if you were close enough to him to receive the charity of an entire castle. It's also odd that he didn't think to include you in his will, if he was so concerned for your wellbeing."
"I didn't know the old earl had an heir," she said. She must have been squeezing Willoughby too tightly, for he wriggled out of her grasp, landed on his feet, and darted into the castle through the cracked front door.
"I didn't know, either, until his solicitor contacted me. Apparently, he was my grandfather on my mother's side ... something that isn't done with English titles. They were estranged, though, and none of us had ever met him. I notice you didn't answer my question," he said, as tenacious and frustrating as a bulldog.
"Did you ask a question?" she returned. "It sounded more like a statement to me."
The man needed to work on his social skills. His initial words to her still stung — what are you? — as though she was so backward and unusual she might not even be human. She was well aware that she was a little eccentric, but that didn't mean he had the right to show up unannounced and ridicule her for it.
And yet, she found herself taking note of the hard angle of a jaw that was tensed in irritation, the lines of a body that contained a wiry strength. It was a pity that such an unpleasant man could have an almost magnetic physicality. Not that she was in danger of succumbing to it. She might be eccentric, but she was no fool.
"Why didn't you know of the earl's death?"
"We were not close."
"Even though he let you live here?" Lord Arden asked skeptically.
She laughed humorlessly. "The earl had no use for this property. My aunt was married to the earl's brother. After her husband died, she fell on hard times and the earl let her live here, since he never visited. It was familial duty, nothing more."
Annabel had also suspected the earl was ashamed of the woman his brother had married — an actress — and preferred to keep her out of sight. She didn't speak this thought out loud.
"Well, I have use for it," he said.
She stared at him blankly. A growing unease filled her chest. "Pardon me?"
"My siblings and I will be residing here for some time. We'll have to find another place for you."
No. This was her home. She couldn't imagine not feeling the mist against her face and tasting the sea on her tongue. She couldn't imagine not being able to roam the wild moors.
And more important than anything, she couldn't think of a better place to hide Fiona. There were no neighbors for miles. No pesky calls or intrusions, except for the occasional touring Englishmen and women who wanted a taste of the rugged beauty of the Highlands. And Fiona had been positive that no one else knew Annabel lived here, with an aunt who'd been shunned by their family years ago for her choice of profession.
Robert, whom she was starting to call the pleasant one, stepped in.
"Surely all of this can wait. We just arrived. Perhaps Miss Lockhart would like to give us a tour of the castle?"
Georgina practically jumped in excitement. "That sounds splendid. Are there any spy holes?" she asked.
Annabel nodded, charmed by the girl's enthusiasm. "There's one that overlooks the great hall," she said. "It played a part in a tale of passion and betrayal about two hundred years ago, or so I'm told." She lifted her eyebrows dramatically.
The look Lord Arden shot her could have cut glass. "She's only sixteen. I don't think she needs to hear tales about passion and betrayal."
"Some girls are married at sixteen," Annabel pointed out. "And it's only a story."
Lord Arden scowled. "She's delicate."
Annabel glanced at Georgina. Her brown eyes glowed with interest, and her cheeks flushed a healthy rose. She bore pockmark scars on her face — the sign of a smallpox survivor — but the disease didn't seem to have affected her in any other way. She didn't look delicate in the slightest.
When the earl wasn't looking, Annabel cupped her hand over her mouth and whispered, "Later," to the girl.
"Why don't we meet in an hour for the tour?" Annabel suggested. "I'm sure you'll want to unpack your things and rest for a while?"
"That sounds splendid," Robert said.
"I'll have our maid show you to the spare rooms," she said. "I need to check on Willoughby and tell my aunt we have guests."
The earl opened his mouth — probably to protest her choice of phrasing — but Annabel spun quickly toward the door before he could make a sound.
After she'd told Catriona to start making up the extra bedrooms, she sprinted toward the kitchens, where she'd last seen Fiona and her niece. She sagged in relief when she saw that they were still there. Mary was sitting on a stool, kicking her small legs back and forth. Her mouth was lined with milk from the mug in front of her. In the background, a fire blazed in the hearth. Fiona, who'd been staring into the flame, looked up when Annabel rushed in, her brows knitting together.
"What is it?"
"Lord Arden is dead," she said without preamble. "The new earl just arrived to take residence."
Fiona blanched. "Here? Why would he want to?"
Annabel tried not to be insulted. She loved this castle with every piece of her heart, but she knew what her sister meant — it was about two hundred years out of style, and if one grew bored without the pleasures of society ... well, they'd be bored almost all of the time.
"Why do aristocratic men do anything? Ennui?"
But then, was Lord Arden a jaded aristocrat? He'd only just inherited the title. For all Annabel knew, he might have been a humble gentleman farmer before his inheritance. Except humble wasn't a word she'd ever use to describe him.
Unpleasant, yes. Dour, maybe. Condescending, certainly.
"Do we —" Fiona licked her lips as her voice went hoarse. "Do we have to leave?"
When Fiona had shown up at Llynmore Castle a week before, she'd been frightened and shaking and barely able to speak. She was slowly getting better, but she still jumped whenever Annabel approached too quickly or too quietly. She still looked lost when she stared out the window, as if she couldn't remember where she was.
Even if Annabel had somewhere safe to take her, which she didn't, Fiona needed more time to heal from ... from whatever it was that had happened. Fiona hadn't told her the specifics yet, only that it was imperative they weren't found, and Annabel didn't want to push. But she had the horrible suspicion that her brother-in-law had abused Fiona. She wouldn't even speak her husband's name. She'd visibly flinched when Annabel had said it.
Seeing that reaction in her sister, who'd once been so vital and so innocent, had brought a rush of guilt that nearly forced her to her knees.
Annabel was older. Annabel should have protected her. Annabel hadn't even had any inkling that something was wrong.
She'd been a fool.
But she'd do everything in her power to protect her now.
She impulsively dropped a kiss to Mary's head and the little girl looked up. "Aunt Bel!" she said in a tone that was a cross between a protest and a giggle. But she had a short attention span where food or drink were involved. The next second she was back to sipping from the mug, clasping it between her hands in a selfish grasp.
Excerpted from Enchanting the Earl by Lily Maxton, Alycia Tornetta. Copyright © 2017 Lily Maxton. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This story was charming and heartwarming. Two people in desperate need of each other if only their ghosts weren't in the way.
This one is a keeper.
I love Lily Maxton, and Enchanting the Earl was just a delightful read. Theo and Annabel relationship was so fiery, but sweet and passionate. I really enjoy them together, and I was fully invested in their journey to falling in love. I think what I love so much is just how different and unexpected they were to me, and also to each other. It was also wonderfully written and paced just right. Eagerly waiting for book 2
Theo Townsend has returned from war a broken man. He’s happy to find out that he’s inherited a secluded castle in the wilds of Scotland. He loves the idea of being far away from people while being able to provide a home for his siblings. When they arrive, they find Annabel Lockhart, who’s been living there with her aunt. Now Theo must figure out how to get rid of her as quick as possible. This was a pretty straight-forward story. I liked both main characters immensely. I liked the way the author explored PTSD in a time period where it would’ve been unheard of. I also liked the supporting characters in the book and look forward to reading about each of them. I recommend. **I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
I LOVED this story! We have Annabel who is a little broken inside because of how her family has treated her, able to see the beyond the exterior that Theo shows the rest of the world. She is able to see the hurt that he carries from the war and is able to get him to release some of the burden of it. I just loved the emotional connection that Annabel and Theo had and thought that Maxton did a superb job with this story! I can't wait to read more about the Townsend siblings!
Such a good story! I really liked both Theo and Annabel--he was more than a little prickly, but it was easy to see why once you knew more about him. Annabel was just delightful from start to finish; I loved how she was always so aware of Theo and his reactions to things even before they became involved. It also broke my heart just a little that she'd been such a throwaway child for much of her life--shuffled off from family member to family member until she came to live with her aunt. That Theo became determined that she'd never feel that way again (eventually--he was a bit on the slow side)? Definitely added to the sigh-worthiness of the story :) I was a bit bummed that we didn't witness Theo as he finally wrestled his demons into something like submission--we find out about it after with Annabel--but knowing that he did and that she inspired him to makes up for the lack. Mostly. Theo's brother and sisters were just delightful--I can't wait to get to their stories! Rating: 4 stars /A- I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
I absolutely adored this story! It had a very Beauty and the Beast feel to it, which is my favorite fairy tale of all time. Annabel will do or try just about anything to keep from being put out of the security of the only real home she has ever had. Theo is a man who can't fathom anyone seeing beyond his injury and his "war demons" to the man inside who wants and needs love despite what he thinks. This was a classic tale of two wounded souls finding their everlasting solace in each other. It is beautifully-written with vivid descriptions of the characters and scenery. I loved "spending time" in this old castle and getting to know the people within. *I received a complimentary ARC of this newly revised and reedited book from NetGalley & Entangled Publishing, LLC in order to read and provide a voluntary, unbiased and honest review, should I choose to do so.
This was a fascinating story with beautiful descriptive writing that whisked me back to the 1800's in the Scottish Highlands. This captivating, sweet historical romance was well written, with great complex, characters that are damaged due to their past and who have been living their life without the prospect of ever finding someone to love and care for them. Theo Townsend has returned from the war a changed man, physically as well as mentally. When he inherits an Earldom with a secluded castle in the Scottish Highlands he is looking forward to the peace and quiet as well as a place to isolate himself and hide from society. It will be like a beacon of light in his dark existence. But when his siblings force him to let them come along he hopes that the size of the castle will afford him some space away from them. Annabel Lockhart is a free spirited, passionate, woman who doesn't follow the rules of polite society. For years she and her Aunt have considered the Llynmore castle home thanks to the charity of the previous Earl of Arden. She thrives on doing whatever she wants with no one to answer to and enjoying the solitude in the moors. And she is not about to give up her home without a fight. Theo finds himself unwillingly fascinated by her passion, how alive she is, and by her wicked and triumphant mouth. But he also has thoughts about touching and tasting her as well as some strong unwelcome lust he has for Annabel beyond all reason and good sense. Annabel is having thoughts of her own in regard to the too handsome Earl. But with the push and pull between them as well as their witty and facetious banter their sizzling attraction ignites into a sizzling Kiss. When danger darkens their door will the Earl protect Annabel's secret or will he send her away as he wanted in the beginning? Will these two overcome their past to find a future together? You will need to read this to find out! I received a copy through the publisher via NetGalley and I voluntarily wrote an honest review.
when theo townsend unexpectedly inherits a castle in the scottish highlands, it occurs to him that it might be the perfect place to hide from society while he gets used to the fact that he is an earl and that his life has been permanently altered by his time at war on the continent. he doesn't expect to find annabel lockhart. but llynmore castle has been her home for as long as she can remember, and even though she has no rights to it, she's determined to keep it. enchanting the earl, introduces us to the townsend family. theo is the oldest and in some ways, the person around whom all things revolve. but not in a selfish way. he loves his siblings and supports them. but they know that his heart isn't whole. as much as he denies it, the war has changed him. he isn't the same brother who left to make a place for himself in the world. and there are obvious reasons why he isn't the same person. and then there are the emotional scars that result from the trauma of war. and as much as annabel wants to push theo away, the more time she spends with him she realizes that he is as wounded as she is, if not more. and the thing of it is, that it's possible that they might heal each other. as much as they fight their attraction. as infuriating as their confrontations can be. the reality is that being with one another reminds them that their hearts are capable of feeling. that they aren't alone in this world. that it is possible to find another soul who understands. watching these two work out their problems is actually enjoyable. the chemistry and the spark of humor and the hints of sweet emotion make theo and annabel's relationship one to root for. **enchanting the earl will publish on april 17, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (scandalous) in exchange for my honest review.
'Enchanting the Earl' by Lily Maxton is book One in the "The Townsends" series. This is the story of Theo Townsend and Annabel Lockhart. Theo is damaged from the war physically and mentally and when he hears he has inherited a of Earl and a castle in the highlands. Theo is happy about the castle thinking it would be a perfect place for him to be alone. But his brother and sisters have a different plan....they insist on coming with him to see the the Castle. Once they arrive there they find Annabel and her Aunt staying there. It appears that the old former Earl had allowed them to stay and they feel like it is their home. Annabel is determined to not leave the castle not just because it has been her and her Aunt's home for a long time. But because she is hiding a secret there which is protecting someone. Leaving the castle could cause that person to be found and possible hurt again. Theo and Annabel start butting heads from the start both set in their ways about what they want. This was a joy to read and watch how Theo and Annabel came together. I also fell in love with the brother and sisters and hope to see more of their stories in the future. "My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."
I received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review. This is a love story, that had a rocky start between a war scarred ex-soldier, Theo and a young woman, Annabel. He wants to be near her so bad but at the same time does not feel like he has anything to offer because of his disability. He finally comes to understand that Annabel does not see his disability as a problem. She simply loves the man that he is. This is a well written love story.
Great start to this series Enchanting the Earl is the first novel in this Historical Fiction Romance. It portrays the post war trauma and its effects. Theo is a casualty of the physical and psychological scars which linger, long after the traumatic events of a war. Annabel lives with her aunt in a remote castle in the Highlands. She loves the outdoors and the freedom that goes with living away from it all. Theo has just inherited the castle and this is when he meets Annabel for the first time. The realisation of what this inheritance means for Annabel and her aunt hits her like a ton of bricks. She is not easily dissuaded, though. Leo carries a lot of baggage and he prefers his own company but even then, his siblings have accompanied him to his new residence. He cares about them. He doesn't intend to throw Annabel out on the streets but he doesn't want her to stay either. They are both stubborn and give the impression of this intense dislike for each other. As they get to know one another, they start to rethink their first impressions. Annabel's life is complicated further by something that threatens her freedom but her loyalty to those she loves cannot be surpassed. She has been through her fair share of hardship before she came to live with her aunt and this has only made her stronger and better. When it comes to the crunch, will Theo assist her or take advantage of the situation? This story is very well developed. The settings are vividly described as are the characters. There is love, passion, list and surprises. I like Theo's siblings who all make valuable contributions to this story. Annabel is a very strong character but very understanding and compassionate. My heart goes out to Theo for what he goes through. His reluctance to accept help is a little unnerving at times but then again who wouldn't be in his position? It's an emotional story with some heartbreaking moments. There is an infusion of humour amongst all the uncertainties. It's a great start to this series and the Towsends are all interesting individuals. It will be interesting to see whose story comes next. I was kindly issued with an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley and the views expressed are my personal opinion.
What a wonderful read for a promising new series. This is Book 1 of the Townsends Series and is a sweet historical romance that captures your attention and holds you tight all the way through to the end of the story. Enchanting the Earl by Lily Maxton is a story of overcoming one’s past, taking risks and finding your future. A lovely and recommended read. Please note that an ARC was generously provided in exchange for an honest review of which this is both honest and completely voluntary.
It's a wonderful story with great characters. I loved bot Annabelle Lockhart and Theo Townsend. Anabelle is a free spirited woman, she can't adhere to the rules of polite society so when she got a chance to live with her Aunt at Llynmore Castle, it felt perfect. This old and dark castle is now her home. Away from people, she can finally be free and live a life she has always wanted. She can ride as much as she likes, come and go as she pleases. There is no one to observe and criticize her behavior. When Lord of Llynmore Castle arrives to take residence, she is less than happy. Clearly new lord will send her aunt and her away, not only that now she also has to protect her sister. So simple solution is to "enchant" Theo Townsend. Then he might let them live there. Theo finds Anabelle quite irritating. He can see that she will be a bad influence for his sisters. Besides he wants to live with quite and peace. Clearly, as long as Anabelle is around that's not going to happen. But should he send an old, sick aunt and her niece away? As he gets to know Anabelle her personality starts to grow on him. She is wild, and just perfect for him. I loved this book. Story is amazing and there are enough surprises that it won't bore readers at all. Ending is perfect. I'm glad I got the chance to read this book. It was most definitely a delicious treat.
An Earl's PTSD A story about people whose souls have been wounded and coping with that pain. Theo carries the physical wounds of war and the psychological ones too. When he inherits a title from his maternal grandfather, his inheritance includes a remote Scottish castle. When he travels there hoping to find a bolthole he can hide in, accompanied by his younger siblings, he finds that it comes with sitting tenants, Annabel Lockhart and her aunt, Frances Blair. Annabel has had a painful past but has found peace living at the castle and is determined she won't be the one to leave. The stage is set for a battle of wills, that turns into something more but nothing can come of it whilst Theo feels he is unworthy of love. I enjoyed this story which while it deals with dark matter, is still at it's essence a light hearted Regency romance. I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own.