THE ONE THING A LADY MUST NEVER DO...
Wealthy Lady Georgina Maitland doesn't want a husband, though she could use a good steward to run her estates. One look at Harry Pye, and Georgina knows she's not just dealing with a servant, but a man.
IS FALL IN LOVE...
Harry has known many aristocrats - including one particular nobleman who is his sworn enemy. But Harry has never met a beautiful lady so independent, uninhibited, and eager to be in his arms.
WITH HER SERVANT.
Still, it's impossible to conduct a discreet liaison when poisoned sheep, murdered villagers, and an enraged magistrate have the county in an uproar. The locals blame Harry for everything. Soon it's all Georgina can do to keep her head above water and Harry's out of the noose...without missing another night of love.
About the Author
Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing "mesmerizing." She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.
The winters in Minnesota have been known to be long and cold and Elizabeth is always thrilled to receive reader mail. You can write to her at: P.O. Box 19495, Minneapolis, MN 55419 or email her at: Elizabeth@ElizabethHoyt.com.
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Read an Excerpt
The Leopard Prince
By Elizabeth Hoyt
Warner ForeverCopyright © 2007 Nancy M. Finney
All right reserved.
Chapter OneYORKSHIRE, ENGLAND SEPTEMBER 1760
After the carriage wreck and a bit before the horses ran away, Lady Georgina Maitland noticed that her land steward was a man. Well, that is to say, naturally she knew Harry Pye was a man. She wasn't under the delusion that he was a lion or an elephant or a whale, or indeed any other member of the animal kingdom-if one could call a whale an animal and not just a very big fish. What she meant was that his maleness had suddenly become very evident.
George knit her brow as she stood in the desolate high road leading to East Riding in Yorkshire. Around them, the gorse-covered hills rolled away into the gray horizon. Dark was rapidly falling, brought on early by the rainstorm. They could've been standing at the ends of the earth.
"Do you consider a whale to be an animal or a very big fish, Mr. Pye?" she shouted into the wind.
Harry Pye's shoulders bunched. They were covered only by a wet lawn shirt that clung to him in an aesthetically pleasing way. He'd previously discarded his coat and waistcoat to help John Coachman unhitch the horses from the overturned carriage.
"An animal, my lady." Mr. Pye's voice was, as always, even and deep with a sort of gravelly tone toward the bottom.
George had never heard him raise his voice or show passion in any way. Not when she'd insisted on accompanying him to her Yorkshire estate; not when the rain had started, slowing their travel to a crawl; not when the carriage had overturned twenty minutes ago.
How very irritating. "Do you think you will be able to right the carriage?" She pulled her soaked cloak up over her chin as she contemplated the remains of her vehicle. The door hung from one hinge, banging in the wind, two wheels were smashed, and the back axle had settled at an odd angle. It was a thoroughly idiotic question.
Mr. Pye didn't indicate by action or word that he was aware of the silliness of her query. "No, my lady."
Really, it was something of a miracle that they and the coachman hadn't been hurt or killed. The rain had made the roads slippery with mud, and as they had rounded the last curve, the carriage had started to slide. From inside, she and Mr. Pye had heard the coachman shouting as he tried to steady the vehicle. Harry Pye had leapt from his seat to hers, rather like a large cat. He'd braced himself against her before she could even utter a word. His warmth had surrounded her, and her nose, buried intimately in his shirt, had inhaled the scent of clean linen and male skin. By that time, the carriage had tilted, and it was obvious they were falling into the ditch.
Slowly, awfully, the contraption had tipped over with a grinding crash. The horses had whinnied from the front, and the carriage had moaned as if protesting its fate. She'd clutched Mr. Pye's coat as her world upended, and Mr. Pye grunted in pain. Then they were still again. The vehicle had rested on its side, and Mr. Pye rested on her like a great warm blanket. Except Harry Pye was much firmer than any blanket she'd ever felt before.
He'd apologized most correctly, disentangled himself from her, and climbed up the seat to wrest open the door above them. He'd crawled through and then bodily pulled her out. George rubbed the wrist he'd gripped. He was disconcertingly strong-one would never know it to look at him. At one point, almost her entire weight had hung from his arm and she wasn't a petite woman.
The coachman gave a shout, which was snatched away by the wind, but it was enough to bring her back to the present. The mare he'd been unhitching was free.
"Ride her to the next town, Mr. Coachman, if you will," Harry Pye directed. "See if there is another carriage to send back. I'll remain here with her ladyship."
The coachman mounted the horse and waved before disappearing into the downpour.
"How far is the next town?" George asked.
"Ten or fifteen miles." He pulled a strap loose on one of the horses.
She studied him as he worked. Aside from the wet, Harry Pye didn't look any different than he had when they'd started out this morning from an inn in Lincoln. He was still a man of average height. Rather lean. His hair was brown-neither chestnut nor auburn, merely brown. He tied it back in a simple queue, not bothering to dress it with pomades or powder. And he wore brown: breeches, waistcoat, and coat, as if to camouflage himself. Only his eyes, a dark emerald green that sometimes flickered with what might be emotion, gave him any color.
"It's just that I'm rather cold," George muttered.
Mr. Pye looked up swiftly. His gaze darted to her hands, trembling at her throat, and then shifted to the hills behind her.
"I'm sorry, my lady. I should have noticed your chill earlier." He turned back to the frightened gelding he was trying to liberate. His hands must have been as numb as her own, but he labored steadily. "There's a shepherd's cottage not far from here. We can ride this horse and that one." He nodded at the horse next to the gelding. "The other is lame."
"Really? How can you tell?" She hadn't noticed the animal was hurt. All three of the remaining carriage horses shivered and rolled their eyes at the whistling of the wind. The horse he had indicated didn't look any more ragged than the rest.
"She's favoring her right foreleg." Mr. Pye grunted, and suddenly all three horses were free of the carriage, although they were still hitched together. "Whoa, there, sweetheart." He caught the lead horse and stroked it, his tanned right hand moving tenderly over the animal's neck. The two joints on his ring finger were missing.
She turned her head away to look at the hills. Servants- and really a land steward was just a superior sort of servant- should have no gender. Of course, one knew they were people with their own lives and all that, but it made things so much easier if one saw them as sexless. Like a chair. One wanted a chair to sit in when one was tired. No one ever thought about chairs much otherwise, and that was how it should be. How uncomfortable to go about wondering if the chair had noticed that one's nose was running, wishing to know what it was thinking, or seeing that the chair had rather beautiful eyes. Not that chairs had eyes, beautiful or otherwise, but men did.
And Harry Pye did.
George faced him again. "What will we do with the third horse?"
"We'll have to leave her here."
"In the rain?"
"That can't be good for her."
"No, my lady." Harry Pye's shoulders bunched again, a reaction that George found oddly fascinating. She wished she could make him do it more often.
"Perhaps we should take her with us?"
"Impossible, my lady."
"Are you sure?"
The shoulders tensed and Mr. Pye slowly turned his head. In the flash of lightning that lit up the road in that instant, she saw his green eyes gleam and a thrill ran up her spine. Then the following thunder crashed like the heralding of the apocalypse.
Harry Pye straightened.
And the horses bolted.
"OH, DEAR," SAID LADY GEORGINA, rain dripping from her narrow nose. "We seem to be in something of a fix."
Something of a fix indeed. More like well and truly buggered. Harry squinted up the road where the horses had disappeared, running as if the Devil himself were chasing them. There was no sign of the daft beasts. At the rate they'd been galloping, they wouldn't stop for half a mile or more. No use going after them in this downpour. He switched his gaze to his employer of less than six months. Lady Georgina's aristocratic lips were blue, and the fur trimming the hood of her cloak had turned into a sopping mess. She looked more like an urchin in tattered finery than the daughter of an earl.
What was she doing here?
If not for Lady Georgina, he would've ridden a horse from London to her estates in Yorkshire. He would've arrived a day ago at Woldsly Manor. Right now he would be enjoying a hot meal in front of the fire in his own cottage. Not freezing his baubles off, standing in the middle of the high road in the rain with the light fading fast. But on his last trip to London to report on her holdings, Lady Georgina had decided to travel with him back to Woldsly Manor. Which had meant taking the carriage, now lying in a heap of broken wood in the ditch.
Harry swallowed a sigh. "Can you walk, my lady?"
Lady Georgina widened eyes that were as blue as a thrush's egg. "Oh, yes. I've been doing it since I was eleven months old."
"Good." Harry shrugged on his waistcoat and coat, not bothering to button either. They were soaked through like the rest of him. He scrambled down the bank to retrieve the rugs from inside the carriage. Thankfully they were still dry. He rolled them together and snagged the still-lit carriage lantern; then he gripped Lady Georgina's elbow, just in case she was wrong and fell on her aristocratic little arse, and started trudging up the gorse-covered hill.
At first, he'd thought her urge to travel to Yorkshire a childish fancy. The lark of a woman who never worried where the meat on her table or the jewels at her throat came from. To his mind, those who didn't labor to make their living often had flighty ideas. But the more time he spent in her company, the more he began to doubt that she was such a woman. She said gormless things, true, but he'd seen almost at once that she did it for her own amusement. She was smarter than most society ladies. He had a feeling that Lady Georgina had a good reason for traveling with him to Yorkshire.
"Is it much farther?" The lady was panting, and her normally pale face sported two spots of red.
Harry scanned the sodden hills, looking for a landmark in the gloom. Was that twisted oak growing against an outcropping familiar? "Not far."
At least he hoped not. It had been years since he'd last ridden these hills, and he might've mistaken where the cottage lay. Or it might have tumbled down since he last saw it.
"I trust you are skilled at starting fires, Mr. P-pye." His name chattered on her lips.
She needed to get warm. If they didn't find the cottage soon, he'd have to make a shelter from the carriage robes. "Oh, yes. I've been doing it since I was four, my lady."
That earned him a cheeky grin. Their eyes met, and he wished-A sudden bolt of lightning interrupted his half-formed thought, and he saw a stone wall in the flash.
"There it is." Thank God.
The tiny cottage still stood at least. Four stone walls with a thatched roof black from age and the rain. He put his shoulder to the slick door, and after one or two shoves, it gave. Harry stumbled in and held the lantern high to illuminate the interior. Small shapes scurried into the shadows. He checked a shudder.
"Gah! It does smell." Lady Georgina walked in and waved her hand in front of her pink nose as if to shoo the stink of mildew.
He banged the door closed behind her. "I'm sorry, my lady."
"Why don't you just tell me to shut my mouth and be glad I'm out of the rain?" She smiled and pulled back her hood.
"I think not." Harry walked to the fireplace and found some half-burned logs. They were covered with cobwebs.
"Oh, come, Mr. Pye. You know you wish t-t-to." Her teeth still chattered.
Four rickety wooden chairs stood around a lopsided table. Harry placed the lantern on the table and picked up a chair. He swung it hard against the stone fireplace. It shattered, the back coming off and the seat splintering.
Behind him, Lady Georgina squeaked.
"No, I don't, my lady," he said.
"Yes." He knelt and began placing small splinters of the chair against the charred logs.
"Very well. I suppose I must be nice, then." Harry heard her draw up a chair. "That looks very efficient, what you're doing there."
He touched the lantern flame to the slivers of wood. They lit and he added larger pieces of the chair, careful not to smother the flame.
"Mmm. It feels good." Her voice was throaty behind him.
For a moment Harry froze, thinking of what her words and tone might imply in a different context. Then he banished the thoughts and turned.
Lady Georgina held out her hands to the blaze. Her ginger hair was drying into fine curls around her forehead, and her white skin glowed in the firelight. She was still shivering.
Harry cleared his throat. "I believe you should remove your wet gown and wrap the rugs about yourself." He strode over to the door where he'd dumped the carriage robes.
From behind him, he heard a breathless laugh. "I don't believe I have ever heard such an improper suggestion made so properly."
"I didn't mean to be improper, my lady." He handed her the robes. "I'm sorry if I offended." Briefly his eyes met hers, so blue and laughing; then he turned his back.
Behind him was a rustling. He tried to discipline his thoughts. He would not imagine her pale, naked shoulders above-
"You aren't improper, as well you know, Mr. Pye. Indeed, I'm beginning to think it would be impossible for you to be so."
If she only knew. He cleared his throat but made no comment. He forced himself to gaze around the little cottage. There was no kitchen dresser, only the table and chairs. A pity. His belly was empty.
The rustling by the fire ceased. "You may turn around now."
He braced himself before looking, but Lady Georgina was covered in furs. He was glad to see her lips were pinker.
She freed a naked arm from the bundle to point at a robe on the other side of the fireplace. "I've left one for you. I'm too comfortable to move, but I'll close my eyes and promise not to peek if you wish to disrobe as well."
Harry dragged his gaze away from the arm and met her clever blue eyes. "Thank you."
The arm disappeared. Lady Georgina smiled, and her eyelids fell.
For a moment Harry simply watched her. The reddish arcs of her eyelashes fluttered against her pale skin, and a smile hovered on her crooked mouth. Her nose was thin and overlong, the angles of her face a bit too sharp. When she stood, she almost equaled his own height. She wasn't a beautiful woman, but he found himself having to control his gaze when he was around her. Something about the twitching of her lips when she was about to taunt him. Or the way her eyebrows winged up her forehead when she smiled. His eyes were drawn to her face like iron filings near a lodestone.
He shucked his upper garments and drew the last robe around himself.
"You may open your eyes now, my lady."
Her eyes popped open. "Good. And now we both look like Russians swathed for the Siberian winter. A pity we don't have a sleigh with bells as well." She smoothed the fur on her lap.
He nodded. The fire crackled in the silence as he tried to think of how else he could look after her. There was no food in the cottage; nothing to do but wait for dawn. How did the upper crust behave when they were in their palatial sitting rooms all alone?
Lady Georgina was plucking at her robe, but she suddenly clasped her hands together as if to still them. "Do you know any stories, Mr. Pye?"
"Stories, my lady?"
"Mmm. Stories. Fairy tales, actually. I collect them."
"Indeed." Harry was at a loss. The aristocracy's way of thinking was truly amazing sometimes. "How, may I ask, do you go about collecting them?"
"By inquiring." Was she having fun with him? "You'd be amazed at the stories people remember from their youth. Of course, old nursemaids and the like are the best sources. I believe I've asked every one of my acquaintances to introduce me to their old nurse. Is yours still alive?"
"I didn't have a nursemaid, my lady."
"Oh." Her cheeks reddened. "But someone-your mother?-must've told you fairy tales growing up."
He shifted to put another piece of the broken chair on the fire. "The only fairy tale I can remember is Jack and the Beanstalk."
Lady Georgina gave him a pitying look. "Can't you do better than that?"
"I'm afraid not." The other tales he knew weren't exactly fit for a lady's ears.
"Well, I heard a rather interesting one recently. From my cook's aunt when she came to visit Cook in London. Would you like me to tell it to you?"
No. The last thing he needed was to become any more intimate with his employer than the situation had already forced him to be. "Yes, my lady."
"Once upon a time, there was a great king and he had an enchanted leopard to serve him." She wiggled her rump on the chair. "I know what you're thinking, but that's not how it goes."
Harry blinked. "My lady?"
"No. The king dies right away, so he's not the hero." She looked expectantly at him.
"Ah." He couldn't think of anything else to say.
It seemed to do.
Lady Georgina nodded. "The leopard wore a sort of gold chain around its neck. It was enslaved, you see, but I don't know how that came about. Cook's aunt didn't say. Anyway, when the king was dying, he made the leopard promise to serve the next king, his son." She frowned. "Which doesn't seem very fair, somehow, does it? I mean, usually they free the faithful servant at that point." She shifted again on the wooden chair.
Harry cleared his throat. "Perhaps you would be more comfortable on the floor. Your cloak is drier. I could make a pallet."
She smiled blindingly at him. "What a good idea."
He spread out the cloak and rolled his own clothes to form a pillow.
Excerpted from The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt Copyright © 2007 by Nancy M. Finney. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Lady Georgina Maitland is an independent, 28-year-old woman of means; she owns her own property and manages a large estate with the help of her land steward, Mr. Harry Pye. George has no desire to marry--as she is quite happy with the relative freedom of her life--but when her neighbor's livestock is poisoned and the blame is placed upon Harry, George is drawn closer to her taciturn steward as she defends his innocence and helps him search for the true culprit. Harry and George's relationship is complicated by the class disparity between them, and Elizabeth Hoyt doesn't dismiss the complications that could arise from such a relationship. Harry must face ridicule for being a "kept man" and a fortune hunter, and George must risk her reputation and social standing to make Harry a part of her life. _The Leopard Prince_ was an enjoyable read and a strong second entry to the Princes Series (and cameos from a few _Raven Prince_ characters solidify the connections between the two books). Unlike _The Raven Prince_, this book is a bit slow going initially, but once the narrative picks up, the novel is difficult to put down.
Liked the role reversal from the usual high-ranking hero and lowborn heroine. Makes for a nice change.
If you liked The Raven Prince, be sure to buy this outstanding sequel! The romance is great and the characters are engaging! Don't miss it!
Elizabeth Hoyt captivated romance fans with her previous story The Raven Prince. In The Leopard Prince she mesmerizes fans with a sexy and passionate story about a bastard land steward and an aristocrat lady who fall in love. Harry Pye has led a tragic and rough life. As the bastard son of Lord Granville he has lost his father, a part of his hand, his home, and good name in an attempt to save his father's life and mother's honor from the evil Lord Granville who uses and discards not just women, but anything around him. In a strange twist Harry became one of his discards, while Lord Granville kept Harry's brother Bennett as his heir. The handsome Harry is exiled for years, but then recently returns to the land of his birth and becomes the land steward to Lady Georgina Maitland. The beautiful, charming and independent Georgina has inherited the lands next to Lord Granville from her grandmother. Already gossips are focused on her because it is shocking for a lady of the ton to own and operate her own lands. The rumor mill is really brewing now that it is rumored she is infatuated with her handsome steward. Georgina is more than infatuated with Harry. The moment they meet desire sparks and passion grows. She is captivated with his looks, strength and talent for working her lands, as well as his talent for animal wood carvings. As they meet for many moments of passion, Georgina begins to tell Harry the story of a Leopard Prince. The story and Georgina captivate Harry and he gifts her with a carving of a Leopard in a cage. Soon their idyll is interrupted as Harry is accused of poisoning the sheep of local farmers and in a further shocking incident where he is accused of poisoning a local woman. And to make matters worse, Georgina's family become involved with trying to drive a wedge between them and lure her away from Harry. As Georgina and those close to Harry work at proving his innocence, Georgina and Harry's love grows. But then Georgina begins to feel that maybe her love may hurt more than help Harry. She makes a difficult decision to free the Leopard from his cage, obey her family, and marry within the nobility. As the many truths in Harry's past are revealed and numerous accusations are overcome, can Harry prove to Georgina that he truly loves her before she makes a mistake and marries the wrong man for her? Will Georgina come to realize that true love is what can set the Leopard free? The Leopard Prince is a touching and moving story with characters and a storyline so interesting that the reader does not want the story to end. A series destined for romance collectors, fans are looking forward to the next book in the Prince Series, The Serpent Prince.
In 1760 twenty-eight years old Georgina Maitland is wealthy so she can enjoy being single she has no plans for a spouse as that means giving up her independence. When her sister pleads with her to return to the family estate in Yorkshire, she flees London with her land manager Harry Pye.-------------------- At her home she learns that their neighbor Magistrate Silas Granville blames Harry for poisoning his sheep and demands she fire him before he arrests him. George refuses and directs Silas to leave her home. As tension mounts because Silas and Harry have a history involving his father, George and her estate manager fall in love. However, he will do nothing to jeopardize her position while she fears losing her autonomy if she boldly goes after the man she loves.-------------------------- This is an interesting Georgian romance between an aristocrat and her commoner employee that showcases what happens when a person in authority abuses their public trust. The story line is at its best when it concentrates on the lead pair including incidents fostered on them by their odious neighbor. Silas is so nasty he is more a caricature of an abusive person though his actions serve as a warning not to allow one person so much authority even in a localized setting. He affirms Lord Acton¿s admonition on power and another of his cautionary commentaries that ¿Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity¿. Elizbath Hoyt provides an exhilarating historical romance that will have waiting for the next prince to appear.---------------- Harriet Klausner
I finished it in 3 days!!! It was so good and intense!
Really 3.5 but I bumped it up. I could not stand the heroine majority of the time. Harry was just too good for her.
Lady Georgina 'George' Maitland is an unusual woman. She's still single at 28, placing her decidedly in the old maid category, but she is in sole possession of her own estate in Yorkshire. Following a rash of sheep poisonings on her neighbour's property, she travels to her estate with her land steward, Harry Pye. But Harry has a history in the area and he's being accused of being the sheep poisoner. As the bodies of sheep begin to pile up and Harry is accused of another, more nefarious crime, George and Harry's illicit relationship becomes an increasing source of conflict between them.The Leopard Prince is exactly what I want from my historical romance. Strong female characters and an interesting male lead mixed together for some decent suspense and steaminess. This particular novel is interesting for the class issues that surround George and Harry's relationship, as a member of the aristocracy should not be socializing with a high-level servant, nevermind all the hijinks George and Harry get up to. While the villain was painted with rather broad strokes, the rest of the novel was relatively believable. I also enjoyed all of George's many siblings who popped in and out of the narrative and her interest in collecting fairy tales. And I really appreciated that at no point in the novel was there damsel-in-distress syndrome, which was a nice change. A delightful piece of genre fiction.
With The Leopard Prince, Elizabeth Hoyt has authored another solid story in the Princes Trilogy, and has once again, shown her talent for creating unusual characters in a unique situation, as well as an ability to write a good mystery. Ms. Hoyt continues her ¿beauty is in the eye of the beholder¿ theme with two rather ordinary characters. Georgina is described as a plain woman who is certainly no beauty. She is a bit too tall for a woman, has untamable curly red hair, and is a firmly on the shelf spinster, although she has the good fortune of being not only a titled lady but also a land-owning, independent woman of means thanks to an inheritance from a feminist-type aunt. Harry seems to be fairly unexceptional too. He has striking green eyes, but aside from that, he is never characterized as being gorgeous or fawned over by the ladies. He's missing a finger, and he's not even particularly tall. He's just plain Harry, and a common land steward to boot, so not someone that most people, especially an aristocrat, would even take notice of. Yet George does and thinks that he's quite handsome, and Harry can't seem to help but think she is beautiful as well. I loved the ¿opposite sides of the track¿ theme too, except in this case, it was a sort of reverse Cinderella story, a real rarity in romance, and one that I appreciated even more because the author never did anything to make Harry a more palatable match. Harry and George just were what they were, and had to work things out in spite of their class differences. The mystery of the sheep poisonings was very well done too, with lots of twists and turns. I went back and forth between several different potential culprits, and as the field narrowed, I finally did guess correctly, but not until very close to the reveal. Overall, The Leopard Prince was a very well-rounded story that sucked me in right from the first few pages, and kept me engrossed throughout, making it very difficult to put down at times.Regardless of their differing social stations, I thought that Harry and George were perfect for each other. Harry is a very reserved man, but George has a pretty good knack for reading him in spite of his quietness and frequently guarded expressions. ¿Still waters run deep¿ is a phrase that seems to fit Harry well. He may be good at hiding his true feelings, but when he lets them be known, he is an incredibly passionate man. George is a woman with a fun sense of humor. She sometimes acts like a ninny, because it wasn't fashionable for a woman to be intelligent. When she's playing dumb though, she often says some funny and endearing things. George also talks a lot, which is in stark contrast to Harry's reticent nature, but she manages to draw him out enough for them to get to know each other on far more than just a superficial level. I thoroughly enjoyed the ¿dance¿ that Harry and George perform with him asking her what she wants and her at first, not quite knowing, and them when she figures it out, being a bit coy. These interactions as a whole built an absolutely exquisite sexual tension between them. George learned very quickly though that she needed to just be brave and tell Harry what she wanted, and once she did, the fireworks went off in a big way. Ms. Hoyt definitely knows how to write beautifully sensual love scenes in which the characters give of themselves in equal measure, creating some breathtaking love play. I was particularly impressed with the intimacy of one scene where Harry and George simply lie there after making love and share their thoughts and feelings. Sometimes it's the little things that really count. To sum it up, I just loved how George saw Harry as not merely a servant or a poor man, but a man worthy of her love, and I loved how Harry saw George as beautiful even though she's plain.The Leopard Prince has a pretty large cast of secondary characters. George has three brothers and one sister. At first it seemed that her sister, Violet,
i really enjoyed reading this book and pretty much tore through it in one sitting, which would seem to testify to how much i liked it... but now that it's over i'm left feeling a little dissatisfied. i guess i was so intrigued by this story because it's the first one i've read in which the hero (harry) and heroine (georgina) are on an unequal footing socially, with the heroine outranking the hero. such an unconventional premise should call for a unique and exciting story, but i would have to say that this book didn't deliver in this respect. the whole thing degenerated into a 'i love you but must leave you' tug of war on both their parts, each arbitrarily running from then chasing after the other. i really liked harry ¿ very steamy - but georgina was just kind of bland - and kind of strange in a way that i think the author intended to pass off as humorously quirky. there is a mystery propelling this tale - one involving poisoned sheep - but it seemed more of a distraction than an integral part of the book's progression. in the end, i realize the book's flaws only in retrospect, and had a fun time while i was in the midst of it.
though i love harry pye's character, i just felt it was weak in comparison to the other stories.
I picked this one up because I loved The Raven Prince and I'm glad I did. Lady Georgina Maitland is a wealthy woman. She inherited a fortune and a large amount of land from an aunt and now she needs someone to manage her property. She hires Harry Pye as her land steward. As Harry and Georgina work together their attraction develops and results in some very steamy love scenes. I love stories where there is a big difference in social standing and this one was handled realistically. When Harry is accused of poisoning a neighbor's sheep, Georgina immediately believes in Harry's innocence. Both characters were very likable and were realistically portrayed.
But if you're offended by earthy writing,this may not be the book for you. The characterization is perfect and the story has many twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat. Elizabeth Hoyt is a very good writer... I am a teacher with an English degree.
I enjoyed this book, however I admit, I had it wasn’t the easiest to stay focused on. There were some glitches that really bothered me. George is a delightful character. She is strong and independent, and yet she is clearly an innocent. She doesn’t have the lives her life in honesty, not really understanding the blacker side of life until it has forced its way into her vision. I wasn’t a fan of the nickname, I could see the author’s point in emphasizing Georgina’s practical ways. However, it also brings to mind the image of a tomboy and while she may have been as a child, she is certainly all woman at the time of the story. Harry is the strong, silent type, which can be very sexy. He’s certainly been handed the short end of the stick. His sense of propriety when concerning Georgina is admirable in the beginning. However, he fights it a little too hard at the end. He fails to see that Georgina would be just as ridiculed as he, and instead takes the coward’s way out in seeing only how people would look at him. That is a smaller flaw though. He is honest and an incredibly hard worker. He doesn’t appear to have much ambition, however it is implied that he does in the way he worked his way up to steward. Georgina’s brothers were my favorite characters. Who wouldn’t fall in love with Oscar? And, Tony is the older brother that guides and protects you, showering you with love, while at the same time commanding your respect. I commend the author for taking a different route with the brothers. So many times authors will cast the brothers and the “tough love” type. Putting propriety above all else and refusing to see another solution. However, Georgina’s brothers are so understanding and supportive, despite their wish that she would keep to the rules of society. I’ve always been a fan of historical romance. However, at times, it can be difficult to get into a story if the author has used a writing style that is old fashioned, or written in a way as to make it fit the time period. The Leopard Prince straddles that line. The writing made it a little more difficult to lose myself in the storyline. Not because it was hard to understand, but because it wasn’t as smooth. It also contradicted it’s self from time to time. The author’s voice is a little more stiff and upper crust (fitting for English Aristocracy), but then at times, she used a more crude language that threw the cadence off. When it came from someone low born, I could see the connection, but it still broke the stream of my concentration on the story. I’m not sure exactly what the author was aiming for with Violet as a character. I don’t think the intention was for the reader to dislike her, but rather to see a spoiled, younger sister, still stuck in the selfish ways of a teenager. But, finding sympathy for her. Unfortunately, I came away really disliking her. She never redeemed herself in my eyes. The story itself is a good one. I was thrown for a loop when it was discovered who the culprit was. The ending was very cute and left me with the satisfaction of a good HEA. As I said, I enjoyed the read for the most part, however it wasn’t one that pulled me in and it isn’t a book that will truly stick with me.
Great series. Easy read and great for those lazy days at the pool or beach.
I love all her books and look forward to the fairy tales she writes. Yes, I have my favorites in the various series, but they all are five star reads to me.