He is everything she wants to avoid...
For two years, Catherine Marks has been a paid companion to the Hathaway sisters—a pleasant position, with one caveat. Her charges' older brother, Leo Hathaway, is thoroughly exasperating. Cat can hardly believe that their constant arguing could mask a mutual attraction. But when one quarrel ends in a sudden kiss, Cat is shocked at her powerful response—and even more so when Leo proposes a dangerous liaison.
She is not at all what she seems...
Leo must marry and produce an heir within a year to save his family home. Catherine's respectable demeanor hides a secret that would utterly destroy her. But to Leo, Cat is intriguing and infernally tempting, even to a man resolved never to love again. The danger Cat tried to outrun is about to separate them forever—unless two wary lovers can find a way to banish the shadows and give in to their desires...
I actually enjoyed a lot about the first 60% of the story. I just love the way Lisa Kleypas has built this family, and I enjoy getting to see all my favourites again - Merripen, Harry, Cam...
All the banter and humour of the Hathaway household, and the gypsies.
"There are peacock feathers on her gown," Cam remarked, in the same tone he might have said there are poisonous flesh-eating spiders on her gown.
Leo had amazing depth, loyalty, and such a great sense of humour. I've come to really love him over the course of this series, and even more so in his own book. Also, y'know, he was super hot.
"I can't ever go through that again. I love like a madman."
And, of course, the animals and Beatrix. And little runaway Dodger!
I have been looking forward to this story for so so long. I won't get into the disappointment, all book lovers know that feeling I'm talking about. What it came down to was: Catherine.
She had a secret - I get that. She was in hiding - I get that, too. She was in disguise - also fine. But this constant push/pull with Leo just drove me insane. One minute she's making out with him, the next minute she's pushing him away and insulting him. Then she gets down and dirty in a tavern with him, then says she can't, then gets offended because he stops, and then to top it off, she starts whining.
Catherine watched him incredulously. "You're not going to finish?"
He let out an unsteady sigh. "As I said, all or nothing."
She wrapped her arms around herself, trembling with desire until her teeth chattered. "Why are you trying to torture me?"
I don't know what they called it in the 1800s, but round hurr we call that beeyotch a pricktease.
And despite how open and romantic Leo works to be for her, I don't think she even expresses love for him until the epilogue. Ms Kleypas tells us that post-wedding, they are kind to each other, but we don't actually hear any of those conversations. It's all just... so one sided.
4 stars for Leo and all the Hathaways and the animals - but this is a romance, and the romance part of the story was a massive let-down for me. I did love this, though...
"I know I'm a bad bargain. But I'm begging you to have me anyway. Because I want the chance to make you as happy as you make me. I want to build a life with you." He fought to steady his voice. "Please come to me, Cat, because there's no surviving you. You don't have to love me back. You don't have to be mine. Just let me be yours."