Encounters with a Rogue (Half Moon House) by Deb Marlowe
Synopsis: An Unexpected Encounter
Tall, practical girls might not be worth much in man’s world, but Miss Lisbeth Moreton knows she’s worth more than the squire’s prized heifer.
To change her fate, she’s run off to a date with destiny at the British Museum. Her would-be swain never shows, but an unexpected encounter with Lord Cotwell and his lonely ward might lead to altogether new prospects . . . and perhaps to love.
A Waltz in the Park
James Vickers once believed honor and family duty to be his life’s work. Now he knows better–and he’s appointed himself as silent witness to his father’s sins. His greatest goal is to act as the continuously pricking thorn in his lordship’s side–and scandal is his greatest weapon. He has no use for an innocent young miss.
Propriety is Miss Adelaide Stockton’s most important asset. She must be all that is prim and proper if she’s to live down her parent’s misdeeds and have any hope of catching a husband. She must avoid scoundrels like Vickers at all costs.
Yet fate has thrown them together–and given each a key to the other’s ambition. A bargain is struck…but together they find that gaining what one desires most is far more difficult than a waltz in the park.
This is a two-part book. Part 1, An Unexpected Encounter, focuses on a strong independent woman who has taken her future into her own hands on a gamble and appears to have lost. He is a bit of a cantankerous older gentleman who hated society and has to chase his new ward to the museum too many times to count. On one fateful trip to the museum, he comes across Lisbeth and is surprised at her protectiveness of his ward who she just met. She ends up coming home to become the girl’s new governess and while there airs out more than his home and infuses new life into a bitter gentleman. Their story was sweet, there was one instance of budding passion but then it didn’t go far. I would have liked to have seen their passion unfold further. In the end, it was a sweet, almost innocent love story.
The second story, A Waltz in the Park, follows James Vickers, the friend who abandoned Lisbeth in her time of need. He is an infamous rake and at the point where the story picks up, he has evolved his quest for vengeance against his father into one where he is no longer drunk all of the time, but rather being more subtle and thought out in his schemes. Along the way, he meets the “Celestial”, an innocent that everyone is talking about as being a great beauty who is very innocent and angelic. She ends up striking a bargain with him; he will help her meet Hestia Wright, the famous courtesan, and she will help him speak with her cousin who he needs information from to use against his father. As they meet up in secret to exchange information passions flair. They have several stolen kisses, but he continues to keep his distance because he cannot be connected to an innocent, one his father would love to see him with. Tensions flare, harsh words are spoken, all seems lost, and then all ends well. The conclusion was sweet; I really liked how she set the scene in the park and won him in the end. Overall, it was an enjoyable story, but again no passion beyond several stolen kisses. Out of the two in the bundle, I did like this one a lot more. I do expect certain behaviors from a man known for his rakish ways and James did come across a bit too tame in that department, but in the grand scheme of the story, it didn’t hinder the enjoyment of reading it.