A regency romp for the most part. A good read but not my fave by this author. I may not been in the mood for this one because at times parts of it just dragged for me.
This was a cute regency book - a young gentleman trying to save his family's fortunes finds income helping peers by escorting their daughters and wards. His "job" is exposed and things are not looking so good when he gets an invitation from a young lady and her aunt. She isn't trying to get launched in society - looking for her missing sister.
Barbara Metzger is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. Her books are often humorous, fast paced, and full of twists and unexpected turns. There's no explicit sex, which is refreshing. You can only take so much explicit sex before it gets boring. Metzger is never boring. Some of her earlier books are smaller than normal; I found those easy to read in a day. They're hard to put down. I'm now collecting copies of all her books.
This is a good book to curl up with, even though an escort service is a little unusual for Regency England it seems to work for this story. The sexual scenes are a slow tension bubbling up to a boil of romance.
Viscount Aubrey "Stony" Wellstone is at the end of his rope -- and at the end of his family's once-great fortune. Desperate, he tries his luck at the gaming tables, where an offer to exchange his debts for a gentlemanly favor leads to a profitable new profession....
Fiercly independent Ellianne Kane would normally have no ue for an upper-class attendant -- even one as striking as the viscount -- but she is in dire need. Here younger sister has vanished while in London, and the flame-tressed beauty aims to find her.
Viscount Aubrey Wellstone has a title and property ... but no money. While worrying about his dire straits, a career of professional escort falls into Stony's lap. He's hired by husbands and fathers to escort family members to entertainments that the men folk don't have time or inclination to attend. Instead of accepting cash, a rather crass idea for the aristocracy, Stony's debts are discretely paid.
Stony is a thoroughly admirable person; he does not dally with the women he escorts. Although his father frittered away the family fortune (before his death), Stony worries about providing for his stepmother, Gwen.
One day Stony receives a bank check for $100 from one Miss Ellianne Kane. She does not want to be escorted about town, she needs help finding her missing younger sister, Isabelle. Ellianne is an heiress used to handling her family's banking operations; she is not used to relying on an escort to handle a family concern. Stony is used to protecting women from the uglier aspects of life and is offended by Ellianne's aloof superiority. It takes some serious juggling for the couple to come to an accommodation.
Both young ladies are heiresses with significant funds; Ellianne is worried that some man has swept her sister off her feet, in order to get at her money. Alternately, she wonders if Isabelle was kidnapped for ransom. But if that was true, why hadn't a ransom demand arrived yet? Ellianne needs a way to insert herself into the Ton to find out what has happened to her sister. Stony, as an aristocrat of high standing, can pave the way for her with ease.
Ellianne decides to hire Stony even with her reservations. Stony is drop-dead gorgeous; however, she knows he has no interest in marriage. Her heart beats double-time around Stony, although she knows that she has no chance to capture his interest. Stony has sworn that he will never marry for money -- what else could she possibly use to tempt him?
This is a pleasant way to spend a few hours; Barbra Metzger understands the Regency period of English history. This is an engaging yarn about an independent miss meeting a man steeped in the tradition of protecting the gentler sex.