Caroline Deleval has a problem. A big one. She needs and wants a child. While she and her husband adore each other, their marriage bed has turned cold. Not because of animosity but because of incompatibility. Specifically sexual incompatibility. In order to get the child she so desperately desires, Caroline must think outside of the box.
Enter Piers Benson, disgraced son of a gentleman turned courtesan. He knows his way around both men and women’s bodies and can bridge the gap between Caroline and her husband, Horatio. But he ends up doing more than that, and when Horatio’s past threatens and his dangerous secret is threatened it’s going to take more than sexual attraction to win the day. It’s going to take the three of them.
Okay, I need to level with you. I love The Baroness Affair by Jean Wilde. Love it! LOVE IT!!!
It features the creation of an equal triad. It doesn’t demonize homosexuality. Using the language of the time it acknowledges that sexuality and romantic attraction are on a spectrum. It takes into consideration the challenges of the time. The sex is hot. The characters complex but likable. And it’s got a wonderfully kind and kick ass heroine who isn’t cut from the standard kick ass heroine mold.
The book also features one of the most unusual plots I’ve seen in Regency romance. In order to help her husband perform in the bedroom, Caroline hires courtesan Piers to assist them. She expected to get a child. She never expected to have feelings for the cavalier man…
Horatio loves his wife. Platonically. Romantically. But he’s just not attracted to her, and she knows it, accepts it, and loves him anyway. When Piers enters their life, Horatio and Caroline realize just how much richer it is with the courtesan in it.
As for Piers, he’s long guarded his heart. Never got involved with a client. Never had feelings for one. But there’s something about Horatio and Caroline that worms their way into his heart. He cares for them both… which is why it will never work. Even though all three wish it could be.
Seriously, though. This is an equal triad set in the Regency that isn’t just an excuse for sex. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but sometimes I want a little plot and angst to go with my smut… ^_^) Oh, there is sex. Well-written sexy sex. But it’s very much part of the story and integral to it. The characters are fabulous. I adored Caroline with all of my soul. Piers – who has appeared in earlier books by this author – was his wonderful cocky self, and it was great to read his story. Horatio grew on me. He’s prickly, but aren’t we all sometimes?
The side characters are also well done and enjoyable. And I also loved that the story primarily took place outside of London. (So many stories set in the Regency are either All-London-All-The-Time or Jane Austen wannabes.) This wasn’t.
This is an equal triad with all that entails. All three are equal when it comes to their needs both in and out of the bed. This is the way that polyamory should be done.
So yeah. I love this book. It’s super good. It gives me a happy.
Which means it definitely gets:
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