I enjoyed this third installment in the Hellions of Havisham series where we finally go inside the home of the Mad Marquess of Marsden. This is his son, Locke’s story, but Marsden plays a pivotal part. The old Marquess arranged a marriage for himself with a total stranger. The only way his son can get him out of it is to take his place.
Portia is a woman with a secret. We know that from the very beginning, but the particulars take time to unfold. She answered the Marquess’s ad because it was the only way to protect herself from her past. She didn’t reveal everything about herself, but she tried to be honest when she could, and she really did plan to be a good wife to the old man. At least he wouldn’t beat her like her father did, or repeat the experience she had with the last man in her life. He couldn’t break her heart if she never fell in love with him.
Locke destroyed her plan, but she still needed marriage to a titled gentleman, so she had little choice but to accept. And that’s where the magic begins.
There’s an attraction between Portia and Locke from the very beginning. One of the things I loved about this book is that neither of them ever denied that or fought it. So even before they really knew each other –or began to like each other– there was a connection and a heat that flared night after night. Locke watched his father lose his mind over the death of his mother, so he swore he’d never fall in love. Of course, heroes who try to build a wall around their hearts give me the most satisfaction because it’s so awesome to watch those walls come tumbling down.
Portia is determined to protect her heart as well. But with both her and with Locke, the old Marquess is the key. Locke has loved him from the start, and Portia quickly grows to care for broken man. It gives them common ground. Between that and their scorching sex lives, they have a foundation to build something more.
Portia’s secret is actually quite a big one. (Sometimes in historical romance, the big reveal is not all that devastating, but this one kind of is.) But it’s easy to understand why she did what she did. I liked her. I liked that she refused to roll over and give up on her situation. I liked that she could be at home with the nobility and the servants. And more than anything, I liked how she brought the Havisham house back to life.
Locke is a solid hero. He does stumble a bit during the big reveal, but I have sympathy for him in that. He’s a good man and the sexy-times with him definitely satisfy.
There’s a bittersweet thread here that’s unavoidable with the Marquess, but there is a great Epilogue. And I was very happy with how it all worked out.
This is part of a series, but can work as a standalone. Would recommend this one.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Viscount and the Vixen
by Lorraine Heath
Release Date: November 29, 2016