The Earl Next Door

The Earl Next Door

by Amelia Grey

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Overview

What does a fiercely independent young widow really want? One determined suitor is about to find out. . .

When Adeline, Dowager Countess of Wake, learns of her husband’s sudden death, she realizes she’s free. At last, she can do, go, and be as she pleases. Finally, she can have the life she has always dreamed of. She doesn’t need, or want, to remarry. Especially not the supremely dashing future Marquis of Marksworth, who makes Adeline yearn for his desire. . .

Lord Lyonwood, son of a philandering marquis, will not be like his father. He wants to run his estates and watch them flourish—and find a wife who brings love to his life. When he meets spirited and self-reliant Adeline in a case of near-scandalous mistaken identity, Lyon feels he’s met his match. But Adeline isn’t interested in a marriage proposal. She will only accept becoming his lover—and Lyon finds it hard to refuse. Unless the fire of his passion can melt Adeline’s resolve. . .

“A master storyteller.”—Affaire de Coeur

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250214300
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 05/28/2019
Series: First Comes Love , #1
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 732,003
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author AMELIA GREY read her first romance book when she was thirteen and she’s been a devoted reader of love stories ever since. Her awards include the Booksellers Best, Aspen Gold, and the Golden Quill. Writing as Gloria Dale Skinner, she won the coveted Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter and the prestigious Maggie Award. Her books have sold to many countries in Europe, Indonesia, Turkey, Russia, and most recently to Japan. Several of her books have also been featured in Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs. Amelia is the author of over twenty-five books. She’s been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over thirty-five years and she lives on the beautiful gulf coast of Northwest Florida.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

As misunderstandings go, the one that led to the Dowager Countess of Wake being mistaken for a lady of the night would qualify as rather large, unfortunate, and beyond insulting. That it was made by a man who caused the very proper Adeline to imagine just the sort of things that might go on in a house of ill repute only served to make her even more furious than perhaps the misunderstanding warranted.

In her defense, she'd just had a somewhat startling shock after pulling a crimson corset from a stack of neatly folded fabrics when the forceful clank of the door knocker sounded throughout the house. She was working her way through the swatches in the drawing room, trying to make decisions on the gowns she would have made for her first Season since becoming a widow. That the modiste had included the under apparel must have been a mistake. The red was Adeline's favorite color, a flaming decadent shade that no lady would ever wear — even under her clothing.

Especially not a widow.

No doubt it was the "especially not a widow" thought that got to her. When Adeline realized she'd never have another opportunity to put on something so utterly unacceptable, she did, well, the unacceptable. Before she could think better of it, she loosened the front laces and slipped the corset over her head, letting the extraordinary garment settle over her dark widow's dress. The knock at the door was all but forgotten as she inhaled deeply and tightened the crimson ribbons under her breasts before tying the ends together.

It was magnificent. Naughty. But she didn't care. It made her feel, of all things, feminine.

She spied a length of luxurious fabric that surely confirmed this box had been delivered to the wrong address and was intended for someone else. Someone so very unlike her. Not that it stopped Adeline from pulling the gold swath of tulle from the stack and wrapping it twice around her waist. In no time at all she had fluffed the gossamer cloth and fashioned the sash into a big, perfect bow.

It was completely out of character for her to indulge in such unfitting behavior, but why stop now that she'd started? Feeling deliciously wicked to be so brazen, she pulled the sleeves of her dress low on her shoulders and twirled a couple of times. She admired the forbidden elegance enhancing her shape, which was always hidden behind the straight, waist-less fall of her skirt.

What would the ton think if she, a dowager countess, showed up for the first ball wearing such a brilliant shade of red? Or her stays outside her gown? She smiled just thinking about all the horrified expressions she'd see on the faces of Society's elite ladies of the ton. And then Adeline wondered what the handsome gentlemen would think of her. Widow or not, twenty-two was much too young not to ever look at or think about a man again. To want his eager kisses and the soft stroke of his masculine hand against her skin.

So caught up in the freedom of her improper thoughts, the richness of the fabrics, and the childlike innocence of spinning around as if she didn't have a care in the world, she didn't hear the footsteps down the corridor. Somewhat belatedly, she did hear her housekeeper's gasp.

But it wasn't Mrs. Lawton she noticed standing in the doorway when she stopped whirling.

Adeline took in the tall, black-cloaked figure whose gaze was staring straight at her as her skirts settled around her legs and she regained her balance. The housekeeper was trying her best to keep the stranger at bay, but her petite form was no match for the powerful-looking man whose brows suddenly knitted together in a frustrated frown of resolve.

Adeline's first thought was to hurriedly rip off the stays and restore her clothing to suitable order. Knowing that was impossible without making matters worse, she pulled her bare shoulders back and stood fast. After two years of marriage to Wake, she was good at handling embarrassing situations and concealing her true emotions. She would remain seemingly unruffled by the unexpected invasion and deprive the man the entertainment of seeing her flustered or trying to remove the corset.

"I tried to stop him, but he brushed right by me as if I wasn't there," her housekeeper informed her.

"Thank you, Mrs. Lawton," Adeline said. "There's no reason to fret. I'll take care of this."

The woman hesitated before nodding and disappearing into the corridor.

The stranger regarded Adeline so closely she wondered if he could see inside her and know exactly what she'd been thinking and feeling when she'd donned the stays and lowered the sleeves of her dress. She was looking him over, too, and realized there was something familiar about the man's thick, dark, sand-colored hair and how it waved naturally across his forehead and fell to the top of the collar at his nape. Faint curiosity wove through her. They had met, but she couldn't put a name to his face.

This was no surprise considering the fact her husband had never wanted her to look another man in the eyes on the few occasions he'd allowed her to attend parties with him. It wasn't long after their marriage that he'd started insisting she spend her days at his country estate whenever he visited London. There had been no convincing him otherwise, though she'd tried on many occasions. Wake had been gone two years now, and thinking of him and that time of her life had become less and less frequent.

Whether or not she'd ever met the gentleman before her now, this wasn't the way to start a new neighbor visit. Well, no matter now. The deed was done. Adeline expected him to realize his mistake, explain the reason for his action and apologize for barging into her house unannounced, and then hurry penitently away.

"Who are you, sir," she asked, "and what do you want?"

For a moment, she thought perhaps the man might have recognized her as the once-decorous Countess of Wake and make amends, but then, without reference to who she was, who he was, or even a well-mannered greeting, he stated boldly and with definite impatience, "I want to see the madam of the house."

His voice, deep and dark as the mantle he wore, washed through her like a warm sip of spiked apple-and-cinnamon cider. There was no demand in it — there didn't have to be. His determination showed in his countenance. Yet, his demand without benefit of reason or introduction didn't sit well with Adeline, no matter that he might very well be one of the finest-looking men she'd ever seen.

He strode farther into the drawing room, the tail of his cloak flowing majestically out behind him. His wide shoulders moved just enough to add to his roguish, compelling appeal. Adeline sensed a commanding strength within him that most ladies would find attractive.

But not her, she reminded herself.

One husband controlling her life had been more than enough for her.

She was a widow now and decidedly done with men of all varieties — except the ones in her imagination, of course. Those she could manage.

The man crossed his arms on his wide chest as if he'd done nothing wrong, and looked her over from head to toe. This time, however, his appraisal caused an unaccustomed catch in her breath. He took in every inch of her that was possible to see. An indecent and entirely inappropriate tingle traced a pathway across her breasts and then shivered down to her lower abdomen. That made her feel even more wretched at being caught daydreaming — until indignation struck.

It didn't matter that he looked so dashing he had her senses heightened when he'd stopped a mere step or two in front of her. He was a stranger with no manners and showing no remorse. Anger started to simmer inside her. This ogre was sorely in need of a lesson in manners.

Difficult as it would be, considering her flagrant abuse of respectable attire, she had every intention of handling this ill-mannered scoundrel and making short work of getting rid of him.

Since he appeared to be a determined man on a mission, Adeline asked again, "Who are you, sir?"

His head cocked back in irritation and his expression had a rakish hint of mystery about what he was really thinking. "It's not customary to ask a gentleman his name in a place such as this," he said, seeming to give no weight to answering her simple question.

A twinge of concern pricked her instinct at his comment. She had hoped there would be no problems with opening the small boarding school for unfortunate girls in the building behind the house. Now, he was giving her reason to doubt that. It was perhaps more than a little unusual to put such a charitable establishment in the middle of a valuable street of houses, but she and her two friends and partners, Julia and Brina, had agreed it was simply the perfect place.

They could have never found such an ideal property on their own. Their solicitor had been invaluable in all aspects of starting the school. It was agreed by all that Adeline would live in the main house. She would be completely separated from the school and the girls by the tall yew hedge with an arched trellis for a gate, thereby keeping her at a distance from anything unseemly. Though it had satisfied her wish to be close and available if, for whatever reason, she might be needed after the school commenced. And they'd been purposely quiet while furnishing the school so they wouldn't be disruptive to the neighborhood.

Moreover, this street was in St. James. Not the center of Society's crown jewel, the bustling, prestigious Mayfair — where most of the inhabitants had no inclination to know about, much less be near, the everyday people who made up the larger portion of London's growing population.

Adeline searched the man's broad brow, angular cheekbones, and square chin and jaw, hoping that his comment had nothing to do with the school, and said, "It's the polite question to ask. When a man doesn't offer it no matter where he is," she said tersely. "I'll show you out."

Not waiting for a response, Adeline strode past him without glancing his way. Seconds later she heard his determined footfalls in the corridor behind her, but thankfully not before she'd shimmied her sleeves back up to cover her shoulders, restoring some modicum of respectability to her clothing.

Salvaging her pride might take a little more time.

With his longer stride it took only seconds for him to catch up to her. There was no need to call for Mrs. Lawton to aid her in seeing him out. Adeline would take great pleasure in doing that all by herself. She started to open the front door, but he caught it with his hand and leaned his body forward, stopping her.

Instantly wary, she managed to stifle a flinch and huff, though her heartbeat thumped a little harder. No gentleman should be so blatant toward a lady. Her muscles coiled and tightened in response to his unforeseen action, but for some unfathomable reason she felt no fear for her physical safety.

This, she realized, was a battle of wills between them.

While he was clearly no ordinary gentleman, she no longer was an ordinary woman. Her husband's death had ensured that she would never be under any man's hand again. She had gained a level of freedom she'd never dreamed of before and she wasn't afraid to indulge in it.

"Sir, I bid you good evening."

Powerless to deny herself an attempt to best him, she threw her weight onto one foot and vigorously pulled on the door.

Her efforts didn't even rattle the hinges.

The strength of him wasn't going to be dislodged by her efforts. Nevertheless, she wouldn't relinquish her hold or be cowered by his uncivil display of superior strength. She was through taking orders from men who felt their title, wealth, or heritage permitted them to have — no, to demand — anything or any person they wanted.

Her chest heaving, she looked up at him and calmly asked, "Are you threatening me?"

From beneath thick lashes, his silvery-gray eyes stared into hers and seemed to darken to the color of thunderclouds. He slowly took his hand off the door and stepped away. At his movement, she caught the inviting scent of shaving soap, fine wool, and freshly pressed linen. Much to her consternation her body tingled with errant unladylike sensations once again.

"If you really thought I was threatening, you wouldn't have sent your housekeeper away."

That was perceptive of him, but she wasn't going to let the arrogant man know it. His brashness, innuendo, and vigor should have frightened her — and it did — but not in the way she would have presumed or wanted. It awakened a long-dormant sense of unfulfilled desire. That is what she most needed to fear.

She lifted her brows in doubt as an answer.

"I'm simply asking you to summon the owner of the house," he said in a quiet, but firm voice.

"You weren't simply asking," she said. "You were trying to force me to do so."

In a low voice, he all but whispered, "I would never force a woman to do anything. I only want to speak to the owner and find out what is going on here."

Adeline's spine remained rigid. So this was indeed about the school. That was a troublesome matter and would have to be dealt with gently. She and her friends had hoped to keep information about The Seafarer's School from the ton until the girls moved in, thinking it would be more difficult for the old guard of Society to object to her charitable project if the children were already settled into the residence. There would be a certain amount of gossip about the reasons she, Julia, and Brina were opening the school, but they were prepared for it. Their hope was that everyone would be accepting as long as the three of them kept their distance from the girls and, as all proper ladies should do, leave the business and management of it solely in their solicitor's hands.

The clock in the drawing room chimed and didn't stop until it had resounded five times. Her gaze remained locked together with his as if neither wanted to be the first to blink. Adeline had to make a choice. She could continue her battle of wills with him, call for Mrs. Lawton to help her toss the man out on his ear, or, less satisfying, relent to his cocksure resolve and find out exactly what he wanted.

The decision was suddenly easy. She only wanted to be rid of him and the desirous feelings of excitement that stole through her when he looked too closely at her. And she looked at him.

Adeline stiffened her back again with all the aplomb her title required and said, "I am one of the owners. You can talk with me."

"You're much younger than I assumed the proprietor of this establishment would be," he confessed. "And as beautiful as you are in your crimson and gold, and in any other circumstances, or any other location, I would be happy to pay whatever fee you charge to fulfill my needs. However, this is a respectable neighborhood and I cannot and will not sit by and allow a madam to move in and set up her business here."

A trio of thumps echoed in Adeline's chest, and then a few more. The pendulum on the clock must have ticked a half-dozen times. Adeline's brain seemed to freeze before the air swooshed out of her lungs. Shock roared through her. Her whole body stiffened before she felt her eyes narrow in outrage.

"Just where do you think you are, sir?"

"A house of pleasure."

Outrage quickly morphed to fury, which flowed hot and fast, consuming her. Oh yes, she knew about such disgraceful, secret places. She'd overheard her husband and his small group of gentlemen friends talk about visiting them.

Adeline was skilled at holding in her emotions, but this man had gone too far. With only one step she stood toe-to-toe with him. Lifting her face, she rose up on the balls of her feet and edged her nose closer to his. "You think this is one of the many private underground brothels hidden from all but Society's most elite gentlemen?"

"Isn't it?" he asked huskily.

There was no time to consider what her next move should be. Hardening her resolve and taking a step back, she proclaimed, "I am the Dowager Countess of Wake and you have trespassed too far. How dare you push your way into my house and speak to me the way you have. You, sir, are an abomination to the term gentleman."

She fought to regain every ounce of her normal calm, her abiding restraint, her guiding sense of decorum in any unpleasant circumstance. But then she accidentally looked at his mouth, felt that long-suppressed surge of yearning. Adeline didn't want this unusual mix of longing and angry dizziness to control her. She hated the truth of how womanly and desirable it made her feel to see hunger for her in his eyes. Hated the truth of how she was presented.

And then, in a moment of insanity, she thought of the very real possibility of those full lips on hers stirring with passion, and reason was gone.

Unable to do anything else before she lost herself completely, she drew back her hand and struck him soundly across the face. It was that, or kiss him.

Perhaps she chose the wrong one.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "The Earl Next Door"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Amelia Grey.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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.

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The Earl Next Door 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
with+decent+characters+but+sooo+boring.++I+had+to+skim+the+worst+of+it.++save+your+money%21
SardisYS More than 1 year ago
TGE EARL NEXT DOOR is a delightful change from the standard historical romance trope. With a female protagonist who speaks her mind and goes after what she wants and accepts no wishy-washy excuses. Both characters were quite relatable and enjoyable. 4.5 star read.
LibrarianSGP More than 1 year ago
Spoilers: Adeline, Dowager Countess of Wake, is out of mourning two years after a shipwreck claimed the life of her husband. With the help of two friends who were also widowed, she is opening a school for children and siblings of victims to give them the training they’ll need to survive in the world. Unfortunately for her, the next-door neighbor, Lyon Marksworth, Earl of Lyonwood, has other ideas. In the opening scene, he barges in on her with the misconception that she is opening a brothel and is the madame. The argument that ensues is the first of many for this fiery couple, and the path to love is anything but smooth. After a marriage where she was treated poorly, her only worth being to produce an heir (which she failed to do), she’s determined never to marry again. One of the many problems with this book is that an unexpected pregnancy is what finally compels her to marry because falling in love (which happened way too quickly given their animosity towards each other) wasn’t reason enough. In successful enemies-to-friends romances, there is generally a slow burn before passion ignites which gives the hero and heroine time to get to know each other and resolve their misunderstandings. In this book, it all happened way too quickly and improbably. The Earl had no baggage and Adeline’s was clearly spelled out in the beginning. There was little of the humorous banter and flirtation common to the genre, and this story desperately needed all of these elements. As a result, it was rather boring. Grey has done a good job of introducing Adeline’s two widowed friends who are presumably the heroines of the next books in the series. With hope, the subsequent books will have love stories that are more plausible and fun. I received a complimentary ARC of this book from St. Martin’s Paperbacks through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed are completely my own.
SW57 More than 1 year ago
This starts out with a case of mistaken identity, which is humorous on a couple of levels, and moves into a "hate" to love situation. Adeline fights her love for Lyon because of the abuse she went through in her first marriage. There are a few twists and some likeable side characters. Looking forward to the next 2 books, about Adeline's 2 friends, who are also widows.
MalkaShayna More than 1 year ago
The first book in a series usually sets the tone for those that will follow. This looks to be a very lively and entertaining series. Appealing characters and an interesting plot from the imagination of the author make this a compelling and amusing read. Three wealthy widows of men who went down in the sinking of the Salty Dove decide to aid the families of the sailors who died, by opening a boarding school, The Seafarer's School for Girls, for the daughters of the lost men. The goal is to teach them reading, writing and sewing skills so they can find jobs when they are older. Of the three women, only Adeline, the Dowager Countess of Wake, did not have a happy marriage, but none of the ladies are eager to remarry. Adeline bought a large property in a residential neighborhood to live in, with the school to be located in the rear garden. Her next door neighbor, Lyon Marksworth, the Earl of Lyonwood, had been out of town, but is confronted by his aunt when he returns, that a "house of pleasure" had moved next door- and that he had to do something about it. When he barges in, he mistakenly confuses Adeline for the Madam, which sets off their relationship to a fiery start, sparks an all. Lyon has refused to marry for anything but love, and after several confrontations, he realizes that Adeline is that woman. But her previous marriage had been so unhappy because of her inability to become pregnant and the things her husband had put her through to get pregnant. She knows that Lyon needs an heir, too, so refuses to admit that she loves him too. How will he be able to convince her that "love is all you need". (Sorry, couldn't resist that one.) I received a free, advanced copy of this book from NetGalley.com. this is my unbiased and voluntary review.
Hfowler More than 1 year ago
This one had its moments of great fun and passion. I did find the pacing a bit slow and I don’t like that it took her getting pregnant to realize  that Lyon wasn’t her dead husband and that he could make her happy. She kept saying she loved him, but it wasn’t enough until she was pregnant. Other than that, it was an enjoyable story and I am glad he stuck to his demands that they marry rather than continue an affair. The concept was good, I liked the aunt and the kids, they added to the enjoyment of the story. I wish that the story moved along at a faster pace, and there really wasn’t a villain and no dire conflicts in this one, which might have added in how slow I thought it was.
MLH438 More than 1 year ago
In The Earl Next Door, the first book in Amelia Grey's First Comes Loves series, a red corset and a case of mistaken identity bring Adeline, Dowager Countess of Wake and Lyon Marksworth, Earl of Lyonwood, together; and the neighborhood will never be the same! Lyon's gossipy aunt tells him a house of "ill repute" is being set up next door and finding a woman dancing around in a red corset seems to confirm his aunt's information. When he realizes his mistake, Lyon apologizes but is not sorry he met Adeline. Adeline has joined two other widows in establishing The Seafarer's School, a boarding school for girls who lost a father or brother when the Salty Dove sank. The widows lost their husbands, and the families of many of the crew members lost their only means of support. Finding out how courageous, impassioned and strong-willed Adeline is intrigues Lyon. Adeline has gained freedom after her controlling husband's death and isn't afraid to indulge the attraction she feels for Lyon and get what was missing in her life. "The Earl of Lyonwood had made her aware of what it was. What she had dreamed of having from her marriage but never received. Someone to hold her possessively. To touch her with passion. To love and desire her." Lyon is ready to give Adeline all that and build a future with her, but she is afraid to trust in that future after what she endured with her husband. Her offer to continue as lovers is not what Lyon wants. "A lover is not what I want and a lover is not what you deserve." Lyon is steadfast in what he wants from Adeline - marriage. Grey deftly establishes him as a solid presence in Adeline's life. This first installment was enjoyable and entertaining. Mrs. Feversham and her spyglass were a hoot! I'm looking forward to reading about the other widows of The Seafarer's School. I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
This is a fun historical romance. I really liked Adeline and Lyon. They were both interesting characters. I loved the idea of these widows starting a boarding school for girls that would not have a chance to get an education. I look forward to reading the next two books in the series. I want to learn more about each of the widows. I received a copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
KIJERO More than 1 year ago
She's opening a girl's boarding school with her two friends. Adeline, Lady Wake is a widow who doesn't want to remarry after her disastrous first marriage. The Earl of Lyonwood is looking for the perfect woman to fall in love with. Then a misunderstanding brings him barging into her home. Can they fight the immediate and strong attraction between them? Will her past marriage get in their way? Can Lyon change her mind about love and marriage? Adeline is day dreaming about sexy things while looking over fabrics and garments are accidentally was delivered to her house. When a man comes barging into the room making lewd and inappropriate comments and suggestions. She's outraged with his actions and yet can't deny the desire that instantly hits her. Lord Lyon was sent by his aunt and neighbor to get rid of the pleasure house they think is moving in next door to him. He's immediately attracted to the woman he meets. Both are apologetic and embarrassed finding out who each other are. They can't stop thinking about each other. They think that they've gotten past their first meeting until the have a heated discussion about the noise the girls at Lady Wake's boarding school are making. Lyon's card game club members have Adeline making a angry and possible ruin to her reputation. Leaving her gloves behind gives Lyon the incentive to make a late evening visit resulting in them coming together. Once Lyon finds out the real reason for the school he's embarrassed by his actions and sends a pianoforte as an apology. This brings the two closer together. Meanwhile, Adeline has told her partners/best friends about her feelings for Lyon. Lyon's father is pushing him to get married and produce an heir. High jinx from one of her students has Adeline wondering how to punish her and her friend for their misbehavior. Lyon must take his pursuit of Adeline patiently because of small pieces of information he's learned along with her reluctance. A second encounter between them leads to a marriage proposal. Adeline panics and refuses, putting space between them. They completely realize their feelings. At the first ball of the season Adeline meets his father and his soon to be 4th wife. She and her friends are touted by the society for their charitable efforts. They're also a hit with the gentlemen, which the three of the doesn't want. Another marriage proposal is made and turned town with an offer to continue as they have been. When Adeline gets a very unexpected new student to the school it brings out the whole events of her first marriage. Lyon understands but doesn't agree how she wants to handle the situation. Since they can't come to an agreement about their future they part ways. Adeline brings two of her students for an apology to Lyon and comes in to talk to him. She reveals her reason for coming to see him and that she loves him. A few months later their family and friends are gathered for a new arrival. This is the first book I've read of Amelia Grey's. I found the story engaging, entertaining and very enjoyable. The backstory of the how the three women were widow was plausible and unique. I didn't want to put it down. Can't wait to find out which of the other two widows is next to find the second love of their lives. Will it be Julia Kitson Fairbright or Brina Feld? I'll be back for more of the Love Comes First series.
NovelKnight More than 1 year ago
I'm at odds about The Earl Next Door. By the end, I liked the book as a whole and would recommend it, but there were certain aspects that didn't sit quite right as I was reading. First and foremost, if you're looking for a strong plot in a romance then you're not going to find that here. The Earl Next Door is primarily focused on the interactions between Adeline, a widow new to the neighborhood, and her neighbor, Lyon, son of an Earl and nephew to a nosy aunt and her friend across the street. Usually, I prefer more story in my romances but in this case it worked out and I didn't really mind the shift. With the exception of the last 30% or so, which lagged a bit for me. Adeline and Lyon had some serious insta-lust with plenty of sexual tension hiding under the real tension caused by Adeline's girl's school (run by her and 2 other widows) sitting almost in Lyon's backyard. I really enjoyed their back and forth over noise complaints, when the neighbor across the street thinks Adeline is running a brothel (and sends Lyon to investigate), and all the other mishaps in between. Parking issues? That was a thing. I absolutely laughed out loud at a few choice scenes. And then they started noticing that there were other feelings underneath the barbs flying back and forth. I liked Adeline well enough until the relationship started taking hold. She's a strong woman trying to make her way in the world, where being passionate about what you love wasn't always acceptable by society, and on top of that she underwent emotional and physical abuse because of her former husband that put her off marriage. This became an issue with her relationship with Lyon, but I felt like her aversion to marriage was really an aversion to trying to have a child and often her arguments that stirred up drama didn't ring quite true. Lyon had a tendency to overreact. . . a lot, and it came off as a means to keep the story going rather than in-character for him, especially compared to how he acts for the rest of the book. But beyond that, I liked that he could keep up with Adeline's sharp tongue but didn't let her steamroll him either. That he stood his ground and didn't just want to be her lover, but wanted to be in a respectable marriage with her because he valued her that much, really stood out to me for a male romance protagonist. He was a bit forceful with her to start out but quickly backed off and I felt like he truly cared about her and her feelings. Though the book had a few elements that weren't quite working for me, I ultimately enjoyed it and would definitely pick up the sequel. I have a feeling this is going to be a fun series, especially if it follows the other two widows.
Joana_Varela More than 1 year ago
I received an eARC at no cost from the author, and I am leaving a voluntary and honest review. Thank you. Maybe I wasn’t in the right state of mind to read this book. It just didn’t do it for me. Right from the beginning, I felt everything was a bit forced, a bit too much. That “I want to jump in your pants right away, even if you don’t treat the best” (the hero does improve later on, just to be clear). I didn’t connect with the characters. The only ones I liked were the girls from the school, and I have a very, very slight curiosity regarding the other ladies that opened the school with with the countess (the heroine of this book). It took me quite a bit of time to read it, simply because every time I went to pick it up I just dreaded it. It wasn’t poorly written, and the plot did have some interesting touches, but it just didn’t captivate me.
Crystal61 More than 1 year ago
This story kept me reading. Adeline was a delight with her determination to run her life her way, to stay independent. I also loved how she went against expectations. Lyon was so patient with her though he did have his designs on her. The attraction between them was strong and good for both. I enjoyed the other widows as well and look forward to their stories. I recommend this story. I received a copy of this through Netgalley, and this is my unsolicited review.
PalmaMama More than 1 year ago
2.5 stars. I appreciate the opportunity SMP and NetGalley gave me to review this book, however, it just didn’t live up to my expectations. Adeline is an anomaly in historical London society, while a widow, she has no desire to ever marry again. She wants to be in control of her own life and after a disastrous marriage, has earned the right to do so. She’s bold, outspoken and has no problem taken the gentlemen of the Ton to task when they’re behaving like selfish prigs. Banding together with two other widows, she opens a boarding school on her property for the daughters and sisters of sailors who died during a horrible accident at sea. I loved her! Lord Lyon’s first encounter with Lady Wake is ridiculous and I can’t believe that he’d accuse anyone of what he did without his own proof. He continued to make error after error, but eventually redeemed himself. So why the low rating? There was way to much internal dialogue and descriptions of every, single, thing. There was minimal interactions between the two characters, so I didn’t believe the fact that they fell in love. I wanted to experience more from the characters vs. being told about it. Hopefully the future books in this series takes this into consideration.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Adeline, the Dowager Countess of Wake, age 22, is having gowns made for her first Season now that she is coming out of two-years of mourning for her husband. Looking through the swatches of fabric from her modiste, she finds that someone put a red corset in with the fabric. Wickedly intrigued, she just has to try it on. Just then, a knock sounds on the door and in comes her housekeeper followed by an unknown man. Her housekeeper is apologizing that the man has followed her, but Adeline assures her that she will handle it. Adeline and her friends, Julia and Brina, are all widows having lost their husbands when a ship sank. Together, they have purchased a building behind Adeline’s home in Mayfair, that is being outfitted to be used as a small boarding school for unfortunate girls who also lost family members on the same ship that sank. Adeline’s visitor demands to know who owns the property behind her home and states that he assumes that she will be running a house of pleasure. Incensed at his insult, she slaps him. Lord Lyon, age 28, is the son of the Earl of Marksworth. Shocked at being slapped by Adeline, he explains that he is her neighbor and only came over because his aunt is certain it is to be a house of pleasure. Embarrassed by her reaction, she explains what the house will be used for. Even though Adeline and Lyon are often at odds with one another, they still cannot stop the attraction that draws them together. Will Adeline be able to overcome the damage her husband inflicted upon her to allow her to open her heart to another man? A clever story with strong characters. I think Adeline was too strict with the young girls in the school and hope she learns from that mistake. Amelia Grey always writes a very good book and I have enjoyed them all. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Michele-G More than 1 year ago
In a world where historical romances are sometimes redundant, Amelia Grey brings a breath of fresh air to the genre with The Earl Next Door, book one in her First Comes Love Series. The premise of the book focuses on three widows who have decided to start a boarding school to help daughters of men who were killed in the same shipwreck that killed their husbands. In doing so, they hope to fill a need by giving these girls the tools of a trade and thus the ability to care for themselves, and possibly their families, as they get older. The three widows are all adamant for varying reasons about not wanting to marry again. This book focuses primarily on Adeline who has no interest in marrying again and being under the control of a man. Her deceased husband had been very controlling about what she did at all times and often belittled her for not producing an heir. When she meets Lord Lyon, her opinion is challenged as she is unexplainably drawn to him. Even though she doesn't think she wants to marry again, does she really want for their relationship to be a "dirty secret" that struggle to keep hidden? Or does she want to take the chance that she can truly be happy this time around with Lyon? This book also introduces us to Adeline's friends, the other widows, Brina and Julia. I assume that the subsequent books in this series will be devoted to each of their stories. I look forward to reading these and continuing to follow this group of friends as they open their hearts to new beginnings. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Jolie More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars I am going to do this review in a different style today. I am going to list the pros and cons (with explanations). I have done reviews like this in the past. I have found that I can get my thoughts across better this way. It is up in the air if this review style will become a permanent thing. Pro’s of The Earl Next Door It is set in Regency England. I am a massive fan of historical romances set in that period. I love being able to imagine going to balls, eating by candlelight, and being courted. Adeline’s independence. What I liked is that the author chose to have her independence be true to the era. While she could do what she wanted, she still had to observe the tons’ social dictations. Lyon. While he was a typical Regency romance hero, he did stand out to me. He had a strong moral code (which was explained in the book). As weird as this sounds, he also didn’t have a mistress. Usually, in these books, the male main character is ending a relationship with a mistress, or he is considering one. Not Lyon. It was refreshing to read. Adeline and Lyon’s initial relationship. I loved it!!! From the minute he asked her if she was running a brothel, I knew this relationship was going to be a good one. She put Lyon in his place several times. My favorite one? Well, when she walked into his house, soaking wet, and proceeded to tell him and every other man there off. I slow clapped at the end of that scene. Con’s of The Earl Next Door Adeline’s backstory. While it wasn’t the most tragic one I have read, it struck a nerve with me. When everything was revealed, she put through a lot by her late husband. I could understand why she felt the way she felt later on in the book. Lyon’s father. He grated on my nerves. Every single scene he was in, I wanted to erase him, he annoyed me that bad. For someone who has been married three times and was engaged to be married again, he didn’t have the right to push marriage on anyone. Adeline and Lyon after they had sex. I did like that Adeline didn’t want to get married. I liked that she tried to keep it simple. I also liked that Lyon was the one pushing marriage. But, after the first few interchanges, I started to get annoyed. The end of the book. I was underwhelmed by it. It was predictable. Everything that took place after Nora arrived at Adeline’s house I predicted. Even the epilogue I didn’t like. Conclusion of The Earl Next Door I started off liking The Earl Next Door. It was in my favorite romance era, Regency England. I enjoyed that the author chose to make Adeline as independent as she could for that era. I loved Lyon and thought his character was a refreshing change. Adeline and Lyon’s relationship, for the first half of the book, was excellent. The book started going downhill for me after Lyon and Adeline had sex. Their relationship became a power struggle. He wanted to marry her, and she didn’t want too. I did wish that Adeline’s entire backstory was revealed earlier in the book. I could not stand Lyon’s father. The end of the book was disappointing to me. It became too predictable. Even the epilogue, which I enjoy, was “meh.” But, saying that, I do want to read book 2!!
nelriv More than 1 year ago
This is the second book that I have read from this author and I have enjoyed. These two meet under a false impression and Adeline lets it be known that she is not the type to back down. Adeline is a young widow and after the marriage that she has had she has finally found freedom and she is not about to give that up. She meet Lord Lyon and they are attracted to each but she lets him know that she is not getting married again however she does not mind taking him to her bed,(scandalous at that time) anyhoo as these two spend time together they do fall in love but is she willing to give up her freedom? Does he show her that he is not like her husband> Well read it and find out..enjoy! Rcvd an ARC at no cost to author..(netgalley) voluntarily reviewed with my own thoughts and opinions.
book_junkee More than 1 year ago
I loved this synopsis and was quite eager to jump into this story. Sadly, I struggled right from the start. Adeline and Lyon are okay. They’re both decent and loyal people...they’re just boring. It seemed like they just butted heads every time they met and nothing was ever accomplished. I couldn’t see the jump from irritation to lust to love. The other widows do have promise, but I’m not sure their stories will be for me Plot wise, it was fairly lackluster. The writing was filled with pages and pages of inner monologue and it got old. I wanted banter and dialogue and flirting and I got none of it. The best part was the first meeting of Adeline and Lyon. I did truly love that scene and was disappointed to see it fell so flat for me. Overall, this different {to me} premise and the promise of hate to love drew me in, yet it lacked a spark I was expecting. **Huge thanks to St. Martin’s Paperbacks for providing the arc free of charge**
PegC51 More than 1 year ago
Three widows who lost their husbands when their ship went down in a storm decide to start a boarding school for the daughters and sisters of the ship’s crew lost in the same tragedy. The girls will learn to read and write and gain the skills to find employment as seamstresses. When Lord Lyon, The Earl Next Door, returns to town he is led to believe the house next door (the school) is being set up as an exclusive ___brothel. Furious, he marches into the house to demand said brothel be closed, and encounters Adeline, Dowager Countess of Wake, who is not a madam, but the founder of the school. Sparks fly and fly… The Duke Next Door is book one in the First Comes Love Series. It is an entertaining story filled with humor. The characters are great. The hero and heroine spar beautifully from the beginning, both confident and snarky. Adeline is bold, strong, feisty, caring. Lyon starts angry and works his way to confused and provides laugh-out-loud moments along the way. He is in fact absolutely loveable - honorable, patient, and protective. There are no big villains, just a nosy neighbor with a spyglass. The story is straightforward and moves along quickly, an enjoyable read. I recommend this one and look forward to the rest of the series. I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. My review is voluntary.
Tlbran More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It is the first book in the First Came Love series and it did a great job pulling readers in and making them want to read the next books. The series is based on three widows who lost their husbands on the ship, Salty Dove. The book was entertaining, well written and caught my attention. I loved the characters. Lyon showed such patience with Adeline as she overcame her weariness of remarrying. The children’s antics made the book humorous and I was not expecting it. Overall I would say a great book to a wonderful series.
Lynne Ernst More than 1 year ago
Great start to a new series by Amelia Grey. Starts with 3 widows starting a school for girls that lost their father when a ship sinks. Love the boldness Adeline, The Earl next door is awesome. Very enjoyable read. Thank you for St Martin and NetGalley for the copy to read and review.
BoxerLover2 More than 1 year ago
Adeline, Dowager Countess of Wake is a childless widow at 22 because of a shipwreck. She and two other widows start a school to teach 9 young girls whose families were also affected by the accident. She buys a house with a separate building that can be turned into a boarding school. There are a few problems. One is an extremely nosy neighbor (she has has a spyglass to better see what is happening), the other is the very attractive (and single) Lyon Marksworth, the Earl of Lyonwood. Sparks fly, arguments ensure, and whoopee is made. Infertility is dealt with and the title is safe. I liked Lyon more than I liked Adeline. I am looking forward to Kit and Brina’s stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Adeline, the dowager Countess of Wake is mistaken for a fallen angel, a lady of the night in her own home by the assumptive (and idiotic) Earl of Lyonwood, Lyon Markswood. He treats her with absolutely no respect and assumes her home and school are a brothel. Their meeting is not auspicious. But, as they are neighbors, and he's an earl, and she's a countess, their paths cross frequently. And soon, she's tumbling into bed with the rake. Adeline believes she's barren and determined not to be under a man's thumb and refuses to get married again. Lyon does offer her marriage but when circumstances change for Adeline, will she surrender her independence?
Readnread More than 1 year ago
This is a lovely Regency romance focused no on the life of a young widow, finally free from an ugly first marriage. Adeline is a strong, fiery woman with a very kind but wounded heart. Her neighbor, the Earl, is a man of principle and order. They bring delightful chaos into each other’s lives, with one or two endearing schoolgirls and a nosy neighbor to help that chaos along!
KindleLady More than 1 year ago
I only have given this book 3 stars because I never really could get into the story. It felt stilted and, unfortunately, boring. I never connected to Lyon and Adelaide. I may have too high standards, but that is how I felt. I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest opinion. ,