HE PUT HER ON A PEDESTAL When Celeste Gray arrives in the sleepy village of Brixcombe-on-the-Bay, she thinks she’s one step closer to leaving her notorious past behind. She even suspects the deliciously handsome–if somewhat stuffy–viscount next door is developing a tendre for her. That is, until the day Ashlin Lancester learns she’s not the unassuming spinster she’s pretending to be.
NOW SHE HAS FARTHER TO FALL After a decade of proving he is nothing like his profligate father, Ash is horrified to have given his heart to a Cyprian. He launches a campaign to prove his attraction is nothing more than a sordid reaction he can’t control. But he soon learns that unlike his father, he can’t find comfort in the arms of just any woman. He needs Celeste. When he takes her as his mistress, he’s still not satisfied, and the many late nights in her arms only make him want more..
From Netgalley in exchange for a review.
The book starts with Celeste retiring to the country with her friend Elizabeth, having retired from being a courtesan (associated with the “Cypriots”) The local landed gentry – Ash – sells her her new cottage. It is not long before she realises that he is the son of an aristocrat with a reputation for sleeping around and who was shot dead by his wife after one too many affairs. As a result Ash doesn’t want the same reputation as his father so has remained celibate and trying to protect his sisters’ reputations whilst rebuilding the dowries that his father had squandered away. However, when confronted with Celeste, all his planning and resistance is for naught, and he enters into a relationship with her when back in London, even knowing her sordid past.
The relationship is short, but reality soon breaks through, especially when his two sisters take matters, and their own lives, into their own hands. I agree with other reviewers that say it was slow to get started. I’m not entirely convinced of the Elizabeth character beyond being a bit of a mcguffin at the beginning – Celeste is willing to give up her London life for her at the beginning, but their relationship soon dropped after Elizabeth goes back to London, only briefly reappearing later in the book when she needs Celeste’s help.