Among the Heather by Jennifer Mueller
of Cairnmuir, has just returned home to Scotland when he is
informed that his mother is hosting a ball. She wants to see
Edward’s younger brother, Bran, married, and orders Edward to
attend as well. Edward is exhausted and still feeling the
loss of some of his comrades, but he does attend the ball.
There he meets Rose Beaufort, to whom he is instantly
attracted. Can Rose help heal him?
Among the Heather featured a kilt-wearing Scottish
hero as well as an interesting subplot with Edward’s brother.
While this story didn’t stray very far from traditional
Regency plots, it was enjoyable and the characters were
Laudanum by Nikki Watson
Barrington, born a bastard, now occupies a position of some
prominence. People want him for what he can provide them
with—laudanum. One night, on a visit to Madam Moon’s
Establishment for Respectable Ladies, he meets a new girl of
the Madam’s, “Selina.” Displeased with the new girl, he
orders the Madam Moon to make sure Selina is prepared for him
when he returns. He doesn’t realize that Selina is really
named Juliana and is on the run from something. Will both
Selina and Frederick find the escape they crave?
Laudanum was my least favorite story in this
anthology. There were a lot of good ideas in the story, such
as Selina/Juliana’s flight from an evil would-be suitor, a
sort of threesome dynamic with a man in Frederick’s employ,
and Frederick’s past as a bastard, but none of them were
fleshed out well enough to go anywhere. I admired Selina/Juliana’s
willingness to do whatever it took to get away from her
unwanted suitor, and Frederick’s servant, Isaac, was a kind
and good man. The reason I didn’t like this story, however,
was Frederick himself. Throughout the course of the story, he
bought Selina/Juliana’s time and then proceeded to hurt her,
force her and Isaac to be intimate, give Selina/Juliana
drugs to make her more compliant, and mistreat pretty much
everyone in the story! At the end, he was claiming Juliana
meant something to him, but I didn’t buy it for one second
after all he’d done to her (and Isaac, who was the only person
in the story I really liked). I don’t mind a bit of BDSM but
there has to be a feeling of real caring between the
characters to make the pleasure/pain dynamic hot. I think
Nikki Watson could have made Frederick more sympathetic, and
his desire to cause pain less unpleasant, if she’d fleshed out
why he was that way and not had him giving the heroine drugs
to keep her willing.
Licorice and Decadence by Katrina Strauss
Klauss Von Alstyne is worried that his career is over
prematurely at the age of twenty-four. He hasn’t been able to
write or play any music for a while now, and he fears his muse
has deserted him. One night, he’s in the process of getting
drunk on absinthe at his best friend’s party when his friend
introduces him to actress Nicolette Neville. Klauss is
intrigued and attracted. What will happen when they decide to
explore the maze?
Licorice and Decadence certainly lives up to its
name. The wild party that serves as the setting for the party
certainly provides the decadence. The hero, while an
unrepentant rake and heavy drinker, is intriguing. Nicolette
is unashamed of her desires, and as an actress she has
freedoms other Regency women wouldn’t. The two characters’
coming together isn’t all that romantic, since it’s fueled by
absinthe and lust, but it is certainly hot.
Unspeakable by Kayleigh Jamison
Caulfield, younger brother of an earl, is bored at a ball when
he meets a beautiful and mysterious young woman. To his
surprise, he discovers that the young woman is Emma Hatton,
the mute, secret older daughter of the Duke of Wellington.
Despite his status as a confirmed bachelor, Emma intrigues
Trevor. No one even knows Emma exists, though, and the Duke
is determined to keep her hidden…
Unspeakable is a truly sweet story of an unexpected
love. I liked the way Trevor’s innate goodness came through
his world-weary rake exterior after he met Emma. His
protectiveness and caring for her were obvious. Mute Emma had
been through a lot, but I liked the way she continued to live
her life and reach for happiness despite her mistreatment.
Even though the speed of their courtship and falling in love
strained credibility a bit, this story was so sweet and
romantic I was able to suspend disbelief.
Lady’s Discretion by Emma Wildes
the widow of a cruel, controlling husband, is involved in a
very satisfying affair with William, the Duke of Hartley.
Because of her terrible marriage, she’s determined to always
be in control of her affair. What will happen when lust
begins to turn to love?
enjoyed At the Lady’s Discretion. It was easy
to sympathize with Louisa’s desire to be in control, and her
reaction to it. William was a perfect match for her, willing
to allow her the control she needed and slowly coming to care
for her. The heat between Louisa and William was explosive,
and their sex life very inventive. Luckily, Emma Wildes did a
good job of showing their emotions as well, making this story
multi-faceted and a lot of fun to read.
Romp is probably not the most realistic Regency
anthology out there, but it has an interesting selection of
stories. If you like your Regencies spicy, then you’ll
probably enjoy this book.