Friday 4 October 2013

Hunting the Hero by Heather Boyd - Book Review

From the Blurb:

She can lose her birthright, but not her heart!

Meredith Clark wants no part of her long-ago identity as Rosemary Randall. She's created a more exciting life as the courtesan, Calista, and her newest lover is both intriguing and rugged enough to capture her fancy. But the widowed Earl of Grayling craves more than this woman's dazzling intelligence and fiery passion. He wants her as his mistress, and if she won't agree to that, he'll settle for taking her home as his daughters' governess.

Determined never to be tied down to one person or place, Meredith prepares to run again. Yet something deep inside her yearns to stay -- until she discovers Constantine’s real identity. Now she's faced with the hardest choice of her life. Should she trust the man she's coming to love with the secrets of her past, or flee to save them both from an even greater heartbreak?

The Review:

Meredith is a woman of many names, but none that she accepts with any pleasure. Working as a courtesan named Calista, she meets Constantine, the Earl of Grayling. Despite her experience as a courtesan, she finds the allure of Constantine impossible to deny after only one night. Neither of them desire to spend time apart from each other, but a courtesan must have more than one client to make a living. So Constantine offers her a new position, living as this governess to his children. Unfortunately this means Meredith and Constantine must keep their hands off each other if Meredith wants to maintain the respect of the other servants, but that is harder than she imagined. Even harder than that is keeping the secrets of her past securely behind her as she grows to love Constantine's children and falls deeper in love with Constantine himself.

I was not convinced of Meredith and Constantine's rapid fall into love over mere nights in a brothel. There doesn't seem to be any special connection more than a courtesan might expect with any client, so it took me a little while to get into the story. I was also a little frustrated by the disdain for the use of a condom in this story. Once Meredith has been hired as a governess and has moved in with Constantine to look after his children, however, their relationship really takes off in a believable, lovely and sexy way. The development of Meredith's relationship with Constantine's daughters, the discovery of their background and the flourishing of Constantine's own relationship with his children thanks to the help of Meredith, is really beautiful.

At this point we also get a delicious escalation of desire as our characters lust for each other while trying to remain well behaved. Meredith's struggle with her sexual appetite is amusing, and though I sort of wish it had been directed more specifically towards Constantine, rather than just a desire for sex early on, hers and Constantine's growing desire for each other makes for a fiery buildup. Hands lightly brushing each other can be so much hotter than a romp in a brothel sometimes and Heather Boyd covers both bases in this sexy romance.

I LOVED the character Lady Arabella Farnsworth. Arabella is friends with Constantine and is determined to encourage his happiness with Meredith. Arabella also has her own desires, not for Constantine, but for another man who Meredith knows is something of a rogue. We also learn that she is keen to discover more about the ways of the courtesan and the secrets of the bedroom. I loved the idea of this character. She is bold and brave, and yet somewhat na├»ve. She doesn't sit back and wait for things to happen but goes out of her way to help her friends. Sadly she only has a few brief appearances, but I would love to know more about her and want a story from her perspective! A little stalking of Heather Boyd led me to this post in which we get a little snippet mentioning Arabella, so I have high hopes for hearing more of her story. Pretty please!

Despite a slow start, it is really worth holding out in this story as Meredith and Constantine's tale soon becomes a romance of intrigue, heated desire and familial devotion.

Hunting the Hero was published in 2013 and is available from Amazon and Smashwords.

This book was given to Love Reading Romance in exchange for an honest review.