He's a reclusive Earl with a painful secret that's kept him from knowing a lover's touch. She's a sheltered debutante tired of living by society's rules. But when she's forced from the ballroom to the brothel, Lily discovers the dark thrill of falling from grace...and into the arms of a man who could destroy her as easily as he saved her.
Lily Chadwick has spent her life playing the respectable debutante. But when an unscrupulous moneylender snatches her off the street and puts her up for auction at a pleasure house, she finds herself in the possession of a man who fills her with breathless terror and impossible yearning.
Though the Earl of Harte claimed Lily with the highest bid, he hides a painful secret―one that has kept him from knowing the pleasure of a lover's touch. Even the barest brush of skin brings him physical pain, and he's spent his life keeping the world at arm's length. But there's something about Lily that maddens him, bewitches him, compels him...and drives him toward the one woman brave and kind enough to heal his troubled heart.
This is the second book in the Fallen Ladies series and it did not disappoint. Luck is No Lady, the first book in the series, impressed me so much that I knew I had to read Lily's book the first chance I got.
Lily was his as his soul was his. Just as he was hers.
Lord Harte has what today would be called a heightened sensitivity to touch which causes him pain. And because of this affliction he rarely goes out into society. But when he sees Lily he experiences desire for another human being, something he has never felt before. But the pain is still there and while he can endure it, he can't bare the pity or disgust that Lily might feel.
You'll remember Lily from Luck is no Lady, she was the even tempered sister, the one who was always the voice of reason. She was the only one of the three sisters who actually wanted to marry, until she meets Lord Harte and he tells her he can never marry her. When she hears this she knows she can never enter another relationship, no man has ever made her feel like Lord Harte.
This book was so frustrating, but in a good way. The desire that Lord Harte felt for Lily was palpable but his hangups about his sensitivity to touch were a huge block, even when it was obvious that Lily didn't see it like he did. But where would we be without angst? I loved the fact that Lord Harte was a virgin, and while Lily was also a virgin she wasn't a timid and fearful heroine.
I gave this 4.5 stars because I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the fantastic writing. If you're a fan of historical romance and smutty goodness then I would strongly recommend this series!
"You exist in everything. You have become a part of me," he murmured thickly. "I cannot breathe without you."