Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wicked (Reluctant Bride, #1) by Cheryl Holt

Source:  Received from author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

About Wicked...

Rose Ralston has spent her life at Miss Peabody’s School for Girls—first as a student, then as a teacher. But with Miss Peabody’s passing, the school has been closed, the students sent away, and Rose is facing an uncertain future. As Miss Peabody’s will is read, Rose had been told to expect a small bequest, but she’s stunned to discover that her inheritance is a dowry that’s already been paid to an elderly widower. The man is in quick need of an heir, and Rose can agree to wed or she’ll get nothing and will have no money and nowhere to go. She’s never lived on her own, and without family or friends to assist her, she’s out of options. Reluctantly, she agrees to the marriage and heads off to the man’s Summerfield estate.

James Talbot grew up at Summerfield. But as an orphan, his position was never exactly clear. The owner, Stanley Oswald, constantly tormented James with the secrets of his parentage. Rumors abound that he’s Stanley’s natural-born son, but the truth has been impossible to unravel. Needing to escape Stanley’s manipulations, James has spent the past decade in the army. But Stanley has lured him home, and when James learns of Stanley’s pending marriage, he can’t help but be intrigued. He’s eager to engage in a little mischief, and nothing would give him greater pleasure than to ruin the match before it begins.

Rose is fascinated by handsome, virile James, but bound to wed elderly, decrepit Stanley. As Stanley woos her and James interferes, any wild ending seems possible. For Rose—who only ever wanted a home of her own—she just might end up with more than she ever dreamed.

My Thoughts

3 1/2 stars - Steamy and full of scandal, the pages flew by!

First Impressions...

I don't read a lot of historical romance anymore but it was my first love in the romance genre.  What captured my attention with this one was the reluctance.  I love pretending stories.  When two people are put in a situation where they are pretending but their attraction gets the better of them.  This had that feel so I wanted to read it.

The Characters...

I love James.  His life has kinda sucked in a rich kinda way.  He's been raised on Stanley Oswald's estate but he's an orphan and has no family.  He doesn't fit with the rich people around him but he doesn't fit with the poor either.  His one true friend is Lucas Drake - who befriended him despite their different standings.  When he meets Rose, he's only interested in finding a way to support himself.  But his heart has other ideas.  The more time they spend together, the harder he falls.  It's adorable, really.

As for Lucas Drake, I truly love the cad.  He is the subject of the next book and I can't wait to spend more time with his smooth talking ways.

Rose is a typical women for this century.  She needs to wed or find another teaching post.  But she has a spirit and a fire that takes her beyond the culture of the time.  I love how she puts both James and Lucas in their place. 

The Story...

This is the first book that I've read by this author and it was a surprise.  It's written in third person, which is so not a favorite of mine.  And the point of view was ever changing.  While it's not my favorite style, it served this story well.  Some things could only have been discovered using this approach.  

I did figure out where it was going but I enjoyed seeing how the details would fall together.  I am excited to read the next one since I already love Lucas.

Could I Put It Down...

I did put it down.  I read more in one night than I expected to, though, and I had a hard time getting it off my mind.  While it wasn't on the agenda for the next day, I had to find time to finish it anyway.

In The End...

If you love historical then I think you'll enjoy this one.  It has some nice steam and is a fun read.  

About the author:

Cheryl Holt is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirty-nine novels. She's also an Amazon "Top 100" author.

She's also a lawyer and mom, and at age 40, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer. She'd hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn't sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance, where she was stunned to discover that she has an incredible knack for writing some of the world's greatest love stories.
Her books have been released to wide acclaim, and she has won or been nominated for many national awards. She is particularly proud to have been named "Best Storyteller of the Year," by the trade magazine, Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.

Her hot, sexy, dramatic stories of passion and illicit love have captivated fans around the world, and she's celebrated as the Queen of Erotic Romance, which is currently the fastest selling subgenre of women's fiction. Due to the ferociousness of some of her characters, she's also known as the International Queen of Villains.

She received degrees in music, languages, and education, from South Dakota State University, and her juris doctorate was obtained at the University of Wyoming. Her colorful and chaotic employment history includes such variety as public school teacher, cook, bartender, lobbyist, and political activist. She also did brief stints in metro-Denver as a deputy district attorney and administrative law judge.
Cheryl lives and writes in Hollywood, California.


  1. Historical romance was my first love in romance, too. You have me it itching to pick this up! Thanks for the review!

  2. I dont' read a lot of historical romance, though I do enjoy it occasionally. This one sounds great. Nice review!!