Jul 8, 2014

Once Upon a Wager by Julie LeMense

Once Upon a Wager by Julie LeMense
Genre: Historical Romance
Bottom Line: A traditional historical romance with a bit of action and mystery in the plot.

Synopsis (Goodreads):

When Lord Alec Carstairs returns from the Peninsular Wars, hailed as a hero in the midst of the London Season, only Annabelle Layton knows the sort of man that he really is, that the honor everyone praises is illusory.

They’d been close friends once, before a passionate kiss changed everything. But if she’d secretly loved him, those feelings had died one bright summer morning, when a reckless wager left Annabelle with terrifying injuries. Alec had abandoned her without a backwards glance.

Hardly the actions of a hero. 

But Alec has never forgotten her, despite his vow to stay away. There is more to that long-ago day than Annabelle knows, and shocking lies have distorted the past. Can he uncover its painful truths, and still keep his distance from the stunning beauty? Can he deny his forbidden desire, even as it flares again between them, hotter than ever?

My Thoughts:

This was definitely a cute book, and a promising start for LeMense's first novel! This book had all the best parts of a historical romance: a strong heroine, and sexy but sweet hero, a nasty villain, and some good old fashion drama to tie it all together. Alec and Annabelle had started to move beyond their friendship as they grew up together, until a foolish wager and a horrible accident threw them apart. When they meet again four years later, they find that they are still drawn to each other, despite their determination to despise each other.

This book was full of sexual tension, but I was happy to see that the misunderstanding that drew them apart at the beginning didn't dominate the entire plot. We had plenty of time for the plot to develop beyond their frustration with each other. The romance was more on the sweet side than the super hot, but I was definitely able to feel the passion between the characters. I liked both Alec and Annabelle. There was an "opposites attract" feel to their relationship with Alec as the propriety-driven (slightly stuffy) gentleman, and Annabelle as the wild country girl.

My overall feeling with this book was that it was good, yet a little predictable. It followed the norm for a regency romance, and though there were a couple twists and turns, it wasn't difficult to tell who and what was behind the tragedy that separated Alec and Annabelle. I recommend this book if you enjoy the traditional historical romance plot.

Rating: 8

Find it on: Amazon | Goodreads | Julie LeMense    

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