Monday, 21 October 2013

Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas

Worth Any Price (2003) (Piatkus)
Lisa Kleypas
Grade: A
Genre: historical romance
Sex scenes: your fingers will be burning as you turn the pages!
Source: own 
Bow Street Runners: (1) Someone to Watch Over Me, (2) Lady Sophia's Lover

Bow Street Runner Nick Gentry is a rarer breed than the reformed rake: he’s a reformed criminal. Several years ago, he was London’s criminal mastermind, catching and bringing the country’s most wanted to justice faster than the famous Bow Street Runners; now he’s one of them. Forced by circumstances to turn his back on his people and become part of the system, Nick has quickly made a name for himself in being able to solve the most precarious of problems. His latest case goes by the name of Miss Charlotte Howard.

Two years ago, Lottie ran away from her exclusive and very expensive boarding school to escape the fate she was being groomed for. Her parents didn’t know the limits of their extravagance until it was too late and in return for paying off their debts, they have all but signed away their daughter to the eccentric and very powerful Lord Radnor. For years, Lord Radnor has dictated every element of Lottie’s life and in desperation, running away was the only answer. When Nick locates the innocent Lottie working as companion to the Dowager Duchess on Lord Westcliff’s Hampshire estate, she’s not at all the woman he’s expecting after his months of scouring the country for her. Entirely bewitched, Nick finds himself offering the one thing he has never offered to a woman before: marriage.

Nick might now have Lottie in his bed, but he has yet to win over her heart. Unbeknownst to him, Nick has been betrayed by those closest to him and he’s about to be plunged into a lifestyle that terrifies him: the aristocracy. With her schooling and training in all manner of domestic arts, Lottie is Nick’s best asset – if only he’ll accept his fate, overcome his demons and for the first time in a long time, get over his lone-wolf-mentality and open up his arms (and heart) to someone else.

This was a fantastic end to the series; as I stated in my review of Lady Sophia’s Lover, you must read that book two before book three. I love Nick. He was the handsome, devilish and sometimes bordering-on-immoral rogue who you couldn’t help but love, and his tamer life at Bow Street has done little to change his ways. That is, until he meets Lottie. He literally saves her from what could have been her precarious end and he’s instantly blown away. I just love it when the right heroine can render your usually hardened and stoic hero speechless!

Lottie was a really fantastic heroine. Her family isn’t rich and titled, but Lord Radnor’s patronage has prepared her for life as a member of the upper class. She was brave enough to run away before it was too late and has spent the last two years humbly working for a living. When she meets Nick, she’s similarly enraptured but pragmatically realises that his offer will offer her the protection she desperately needs. She then accepts everything that is thrown at her in stride with little more than a bat of her eyelashes. It’s her turn to be Nick’s rock when he needs her most and they prove to be the most complementary of couples.

This is one of hottest Lisa Kleypas’ books I’ve got my hands on; up in the same hotness ranks as Suddenly You and Dreaming of You). For three years, Nick was the protégée of Gemma Bradshaw, owner of one of London’s most exclusive brothels and he’s learnt Tantric and ritualistic sexual techniques that will (literally) blow a girl’s mind. It made for an interesting read! Consider yourself warned!

I mentioned in my review of Lady Sophia’s Lover that Ms Kleypas does genre-hopping very well; she’s also a seasoned professional at character-hopping. It’s always a pleasure to be able to spot characters from across series and especially when it’s a complete surprise like this was. Worth Any Price takes place before Lord Westcliff’s marriage to Lillian Bowman in It Happened One Autumn, book two of the Wallflowers series. It’s never been my favourite book, but it’s fantastic to see how different Marcus was before he met and fell in love with Lily. Like I saw with Nick in his brief appearances in Lady Sophia’s Lover, it just goes to show how the right match makes all the difference.

Another Lisa Kleypas keeper for the shelf. As I’ve said before, her historicals are priceless and worth reading if you’re looking for breadth across Lisa Kleypas’ work, or even across the historical romance genre. Worth Any Price just about has the edge over Lady Sophia’s Lover because I love a bad-boy and tortured hero and it’s just a timeless love story.

Image courtesy of Fantastic Fiction

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