What a Lady Demands: The Eton Boys Trilogy # 2 by Ashlyn Macnamara

What a Lady Demands: The Eton Boys Trilogy # 2 by Ashlyn Macnamara

Welcome to my stop for What a Lady Craves by Ashlyn Macnamara. Please be sure to read the excerpt and check out my review of the first book in this series, here. Don’t forget to check out the other tour stops, and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could win a $25 eGift Card of Winner’s Choice Bookseller and Loveswept Mug & Tote

Book Review

The second in her Eton Boys Trilogy, Ashlynn Macnamara again brings heart and heat to a story of redemption and reconnection all involving three estranged friends from Eton and their assorted connections of friends and family that bring them together.

Cecilia is the sister of Alexander, from the first book, and is in a bit of her own crisis. She and her brother had a falling out, and she isn’t comfortable staying with him. She also is dealing with a bit of a crisis of her own: a man took her virtue and is now hunting her down fearing she has information that will ruin him. When she takes a position as a governess at Lindenhurst’s estate, she thinks it will keep her safe.

Lindenhurst has returned wounded from the Napoleonic wars:  gruff, brash and wholly ‘upper crust’ his mannerisms and behaviors are cold and calculated, hiding deep wounds and a bitterness that consumes him: the loss of his wife is spurring him to dark and dangerous places.  He also is alternately frustrated and guilty about his son Jeremy’s disabilities: yet another element that brings his ‘stiff upper lip’ into play.

These two have a TON of obstacles to overcome, and Macnamara uses her skill in nuanced characterization to slowly develop a connection between them, allowing them to grow. From their own softening toward one another, first just recognizing the chemistry that pulses between them, to unguarded moments where both Lind and Cecilia find themselves longing for more, the deliberate and quiet forward motion as the two start to deal with their own issues alone and with the support and encouragement of the other is a lovely trajectory for this story.

Macnamara has a wonderful way of pairing the most unlikely and initially unlikable characters together: I had little hope for Lind early on, and Cecilia seemed a bit too laissez faire about the threats. I think there were times I was more worried for her: this is 19th century England where women were little more than chattel and judged entirely on behavior and reputation, and hers was mud.  But her strength became the overriding factor: the unwillingness to cower to threats, admirable if somewhat foolhardy.  Fortunately, Lind’s own honor and sense of right and wrong gave her a champion for that moment, and for evermore.

What a Lady Demands: The Eton Boys Trilogy # 2 by Ashlyn Macnamara

Title: What a Lady Demands
Author: Ashlyn Macnamara
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: Loveswept
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rated: five-stars
Heat: One FlameOne FlameOne Flame

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Readers of Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Sabrina Jeffries will love Ashlyn Macnamara’s novel about a smoldering new love that is threatened by past betrayals. 

Viscount Lindenhurst cannot seem to find a governess who meets his impossible standards—until Cecelia Sanford becomes the first woman to interrupt the widower’s brooding in years. Lind had returned home from the Napoleonic wars, broken in body and soul and longing for his wife’s embrace, only to find her changed. Before they could reconcile, an accident struck their son and claimed her life. Now enter Cecelia, with her soft curves and sharp tongue—a tempting distraction, it is true, but not a welcome one.

Past the usual marrying age and haunted by a scandal of her own, Cecelia soon finds herself caring for both the child and the man. The viscount is brittle and even abrupt at times, yet she cannot deny the attraction that stirs her body in his presence. Moved by the deep sense of abandonment that tortures his soul, Cecelia aches to fully awaken Lind’s heart from its rancorous slumber—if she can just keep their pasts from destroying a second chance at love.

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A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Tasty Excerpt

“And what are you doing here?” The crack of Lindenhurst’s voice shattered the oppressive silence. “Do you not have duties? You may give your report at the usual time. Did Mrs. Carstairs not tell you? I seem to recall hiring you for a specific purpose that had nothing to do with rifling through my personal papers.”

She hadn’t even heard the door swing open, but there Lindenhurst loomed on the threshold. His eyes snapped green fire, an unnatural light. One she ought to fear.

A wave of heat ran up the back of her neck. Caught, but she ought to be used to being caught by now, and she was well practiced at handling herself in such a situation. The trick was to brazen it out, to attack. She had every right to be here. She had to believe that, and she had to make Lindenhurst believe it.

“Perhaps I was looking for a clue as to why you’ve shut your son up in his chamber.” Despite the glare he turned on her, she dropped the page in her hand and came around the corner of his desk. Advancing like Jeremy’s soldiers. “It isn’t right. A child his age. He needs air and light. He needs to run.”

Lindenhurst advanced as well, dragging his left leg in a slow shuffle of a gait. It could have been comical. It was anything but when he held such coiled tension in check. “Nothing in here is any of your affair.”

She would not let him cow her. Perhaps the other governesses had made that mistake, but she would not. “And what of your son? You have made his welfare my business.”

Something indefinable flashed across his expression, the merest hint of emotion gone in the next instant. “My reasons do not concern you. I hired you to do a particular job, and I expect you to do it. The boy will learn. If you cannot accomplish that, I will find someone who can.”

“Then you will allow me to use what means I see fit.” A proper governess might have asked permission, but she was hardly a proper governess. She was going to lay out her terms for him to accept.

“You will keep the boy out of my way.” He shambled forward another step, and his hampered gait called forth memories of a time when he was hale and strong. When he could run and sit a horse, fence and box. How he must resent no longer being able to engage in any of those activities.

But that was no reason to punish a child, especially when the punishment involved the placement of similar restrictions. “I can do that, but I require the use of your grounds if I’m to give him proper lessons.”

Another shuffling step, but she remained in place. “And why should you need that when none of the others did? They used the nursery. As it should be.”

Never in her life had she had occasion to stand so close to him. His presence enveloped her in an overwhelming heat. Her breath quickened, and each desperate puff drew in his scent, keen and crisp like pine on a cold winter day. But the notion did nothing to cool her; there was earth to him, too, deep and heavy and arousing. That note called to something within her as nothing about any other man ever had.

Drat, and wasn’t that dangerous?

Yet, she could not bring herself to retreat. Her entire being willed her into closer proximity. Closer and closer and closer. But the last thing she could afford was this distraction. “All your other governesses failed, did they not? Besides, if he is to learn to run the estate, he ought to be familiar with it.”

He reared back, considering her from the top of his nose. If the man had any talent, it lay in his ability to project utter disdain when he wished. He turned its full force on her now, but rather than quail, a buoyant feeling swelled inside her. It rather felt like victory.

“I have a stipulation. You may take the boy out as long as you keep him out of my sight. And don’t take him anywhere near the pond.”


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About Ashlyn Macnamara

USA Today bestselling author ASHLYN MACNAMARA writes Regency romance with a dash of wit and a hint of wicked. She considers writing her mid-life crisis but reckons it’s safer than hang-gliding or rock-climbing. She lives in the wilds of suburbia outside Montreal with her husband, two teenage daughters, and one loudmouth cat. Although she writes about the past, you can find her in such newfangled places as her website Facebook, and Twitter.

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