Like a vengeful Norse God, Captain John Nylander has come from the sea to steal the only home that Callie has ever known. And that might not be all he’s after.
Can a Viking . . .
Orphaned as a child, Nylander has never known a real home. Now he is ready to leave the dangers of his past behind and put down the roots he has always longed for. The only thing standing in his way is a lanky aristocratic lady who is more at home on the farm than in the ballroom. And she has secrets . . .
And a Viscountess . . .
Callie, the Dowager Viscountess St. Alban, has poured all her energy into making Wyldcombe Grange her home. Managing an estate is not what she dreamed of, but her late husband’s rejection made it clear that love and a family would never be hers. Now she may lose even that to the sinfully handsome Captain. But Nylander is making her dream again . . .
Turn passion into love?
Nylander inspires a recklessness in Callie that she can’t control. Soon she finds herself conspiring with pirates and contemplating midnight trysts with the very Viking who has turned her life upside down. For Nylander, being with Callie embodies everything he’s always wanted–home. As midnight strikes, will all their secret, sinful dreams come true?
His voice was deep enough to shake the foundations of this mansion loose. Certainly deep enough to rattle Callie, her breath shallow and her mouth dry. She rose to a stand by slow increments and stood so silent and so still that she imagined she might be forgotten. Then the captain’s gaze met hers over St. Alban’s shoulder, and all hope was lost. His eyes narrowed in question, and she lifted a single, imperious eyebrow in response. The Grange knew that eyebrow well, and she sensed it was her best defense against this man in this moment.
Before her stood the man who would never be her friend. He was her rival . . . her enemy. Soft gaslight caught the golden strands of his unfashionably long, slightly unkempt hair and the glint of clear blue sky in his eye. For all his modern English attire, the man could have been a Viking, a Norse god even, from the tales of yore come to life. All he lacked was a shield in one hand and a hammer in the other.
Callie’s breath had no choice but to catch in her chest. Her enemy was imposing, yes, but did he also have to be so blasted, devastatingly . . . god-like?
My first read from Ms. Darling, but definitely not my last!
It’s apparently my weekend to read about unconventional heroines–I absolutely adored Callie. Though she grew up in a family that never went without and supposedly married “well” her history did everything it could to mess the poor woman up. She had every right to be proud of what she’d accomplished out at Wyldcombe Grange (and she was!) pretty much everything that had come before–especially her father and her husband–had done all they could to make her doubt herself and her worth. At the Grange, though, she could be her own woman–wearing trousers more often than gowns and running late at night to clear her head, she came close to having it all…except that the Grange wasn’t hers, her relationship with the townspeople and her servants wasn’t quite what it should be, and the children she’d been promised would come with her marriage didn’t.
So, everything except for those tiny details.
And then there’s John–his mental flogging might be even more robust than Callie’s; and that’s really saying something. He’s sure he’s less-than, unworthy of love–furthermore, he’s a man of the sea who has always longed for life on the shore. The Grange could offer him everything he’s ever wanted…or could it?
Oh, the conflicts in this story! Even as I watched Callie dig herself deeper into trouble, it was hard to blame her, because we knew exactly what she wanted and how she thought she could get it (though even she knew her plan was doomed to failure–hope and denial working together are a dangerous duo). John’s misconception of Callie’s attitude toward him was heartbreaking, even as you understood why he’d think the way he did and why she was acting the way she was and it seemed as if they couldn’t possibly fix everything between them. Ms. Darling did a decent job of pulling them together in the end, though, giving us an HEA that was both believable and heartwarming.
(Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be adding books 1 and 2 to my TBR…)
Rating: 4 stars / B+
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About the author:
Sofie Darling is an award-winning author of historical romance. Her debut novel, THREE LESSONS IN SEDUCTION, won the Writers’ League of Texas’ Manuscript Contest in the Romance Category in 2016.
She spent much of her twenties raising two boys and reading every book she could get her hands on. Once she realized she simply had to write the books she loved, she finished her English degree and embarked on her writing career. Mr. Darling and the boys gave her their wholehearted blessing.
When she’s not writing heroes who make her swoon, she runs a marathon in a different state every year, visits crumbling medieval castles whenever she gets a chance, and enjoys a slightly codependent relationship with her beagle, Bosco.a Rafflecopter giveaway