His Captive Lady by Anne Gracie (2008) is another re-read from last year that I don't seem to have blogged about before. This is the second in the three-book, at least so far, Regency period Devil Riders series, and the only book from the series that I've read.
In a gorgeously written opening scene, told from both perspectives, two people pass on the road. One appears to be a fine gentleman on a horse of the highest quality; the other appears to be some sort of servant girl catching a ride on the back of a cart. With the cold and the rain, the man gives his fine hat and gloves to the woman as he passes.
But appearances can be deceiving, and fate often brings people who are meant to be together back into contact.
Harry Morant is actually the illegitimate son of an Earl and a servant. After a difficult childhood and eight years at war, he's ready to start a horse breeding business and a family.
Nell (Lady Eleanor) is actually the penniless daughter of an Earl, and their second meeting is when Harry arrives to buy her home, from her mother's family, that her father gambled away before killing himself.
How perfect. He needs a respectable wife, and she's older ("on the shelf") and has being a companion as her only option to support herself.
Only Nell needs to get to London desperately. I can't say why she needs to get to London without ruining the book, but it's important. She keeps turning down Harry's marriage proposals because of what's calling to her from London. But Harry isn't really the sort to take "no" for an answer.
This read is pretty light on sex and very heavy on emotion. I love the way the instant attraction between Harry and Nell slowly turns into love. They make a fantastic couple with a relationship based on acceptance and being there for each other.
Now I just need to read the first book, about Harry's half-brother Gabe, To Steal a Princess, and the third book, about Harry's friend Rafe, To Catch a Bride.
Gracie has a page of links to some wonderful articles about writing by her. Her site home page is here.
My overall personal rating of His Captive Lady is a B.