An Affair with a Notorious Heiress
Lorraine Heath     

Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Scandalous Gentleman of St. James
Book: 11

The son of a duke and an infamous mother, Alistair Mabry, Marquess of Rexton, fought his way to respectability. Now, the most eligible bachelor in London, marriage-shy Rexton will take only a wife with an impeccable reputation, good breeding, and a penchant for staying out of the gossip sheets. But when he strikes a deal to be seen “courting” a sweet young debutante whose notorious older sister has blemished her chances for marriage, Rexton is unexpectedly drawn to the highly inappropriate, calamitous Tillie, Lady Landsdowne herself.

After a scandalous incident that sent shockwaves throughout society and disgraced her, Tillie refuses to cower in the face of the ton. Instead, she will hold her head high as she serves as chaperone for her younger sister, but Tillie is convinced Rexton’s courtship is shrouded with secrets—ones she vows to uncover. However, doing so requires getting dangerously close to the devilishly handsome and forbidden marquess…

After sobbing through the end of Ms. Heath’s novella When the Marquess Falls, I was more that ready to throw myself into Rexton and Tillie’s romance in An Affair With a Notorious Heiress.

Rexton is my favorite kind of hero: uptight, disapproving, brooding but possessing passions and a sensuality that runs deep. Oh and the part where he’s also handsome and wealthy doesn’t hurt. Well he makes a deal with Tillie’s uncle to be seen courting his niece (Tillie’s younger sister) to encourage interest in her by the young bucks of the peerage. In exchange he’ll get to mate one of his horses with Hammersley’s prized stallion. Or so he believes the stallion belongs to the uncle. Alistair agrees. I mean how hard can this be?

Divorced, Tillie is a pariah in London society. Worse yet, her husband divorced her when she was caught quite brazenly kissing her footman. Yes, that’s how terrible her marriage was that she would stoop to such means to obtain a divorce. Tillie’s goal is to get her sister married before she returns to America and away from the exile in which she lives in Britain. However, Alistair, the Marquess of Rexton may not be the one. She’s not convinced he’s coming to court her sister Gina with his heart in hand. Actually, she herself is a little too aware of him and he seems equally aware of her. Not good.

Yes good! That’s what makes for an excellent romance. Their attraction to each other is instant and only grows more intense over the course of their acquaintance. The below passage is from the first outing Tillie, Rexton and Gina took together and gives you a lay of the land.

He hold out his arms as though surrendering. “When it comes to the ladies, I have no reason to pretend. I have always found honesty in relationships to serve me well.”

“Then you should have no fear of being found lacking while courting Gina.”

He chuckled low, provocatively. “Being found lacking has never been a fear.”

Before she could stop it, her gaze dipped to his lap, lower. She jerked her attention back to the passing scenery but not before she saw the satisfied smirk. No, he wouldn’t do at all for Gina. Tillie would always see innuendo in his eyes, read it in his face, hear it in his voice.

I started the book thinking Gina was ridiculously young and naïve. I’m happy to say she’s only one of those things. She may be young but she’s not blind to what’s going on around her. I loved discovering she’s rather mischievous and can hold her cards close to the chest.

But getting Tillie and Rexton together is far from an easy feat. As it should be. I love a difficult conflict-ridden romance. He wants a bride who is scandal free. Despite his parents’ happy marriage, life for him growing up as the product of a mother not fully accepted by Society was hard. He doesn’t want that for his children.

Tillie is the farthest thing from scandal free, a fact she’s well aware of. She has Rexton’s peers and her ex-husband to remind her of that every day she sticks her neck out. It’s only for the sake of her sister (so she tells herself in the beginning) that she’s putting herself out there. That Rexton is very much a part of her sojourn back out into Society is immaterial. But of course it’s not immaterial at all and she suffers the guilt of lusting after the man courting her sister.

Inevitably, Tillie and Rexton get to know each other and their passions flare. Truly good stuff. There’s nothing better than for their building attraction to each other to payoff wonderfully. Ms. Heath does pen sizzling-hot love scenes. So much more than the entangling of body parts. So much emotion and feeling. And that’s when I truly fell in love with Rexton. Such a beautiful man inside and out. What he’s willing to sacrifice to be with Tillie made my heart clench. And boy did my heart ache for Tillie because her sacrifice is just as noble.

All in all, another home run for Ms. Heath and I’m eagerly looking forward to whatever she puts out next.

~ Beverley