Release Date: Jan 30, 2017
Series: The Infamous Lords
Heat Level: Hot
Imprint: Zebra Shout
Never Dare a Wicked Earl is the first book in the Infamous Lords series by Renee Ann Miller. It is the story of Hayden Milton, Earl of Westfield and Sophia Camden, a female medical attendant. Hayden has a reputation as a philanderer following his wife giving birth to a baby less than nine months after the wedding. He eventually learns the truth of the circumstances around the birth and experiences regret for his behaviour, especially since his wife passed away, but his reputation still remains intact. Hayden’s last mistress was a beautiful but mentally unstable woman who did not take kindly to the breakup and shot his leg in retaliation. It is at this point we meet Sophia, a nurse or medical attendant, hired by Hayden’s sister after he ran off a string of previous male attendants, the idea was that he may be kinder to a female. We soon find out that Hayden has no problem being rude to a female, especially one that he is attracted to and does not want to be. He tries his best to frighten her off but Sophia wants to prove to herself and to her profession that a female can handle the medical field and difficult patients, and so dares Hayden to give her a trial.
The story started off a bit slow for my liking and I found some descriptions of the characters to be a bit forced. For example Hayden was complaining that Sophia volunteers her time to help the poor and, once Sophia was gone, Hayden’s sister asks him why he was pretending that he does not also help the poor. This interaction, and a few more like it, just did not seem genuine. There was more explanation than needed, if you are Hayden’s sister then you obviously do not need to outline (to your brother himself) every charitable organization he donates to and his status in those organization – I would assume that he would already know this. It would have been more believable if she has just scolded him for lying and then explained everything he does to someone, like Sophia, who does not know him. These awkward descriptions seemed more for the sake of the reader, since Hayden came across as an ogre in the beginning, and it was almost like Miller was trying to convince us that he is not. Sophia’s desire to have more females in the medical profession seemed genuine, however, it would have been better if she did not ogle Hayden’s naked body every chance she could. It makes me question if she becomes a female doctor is she going to be flustered around every attractive male she treats? I am not even sure why a medical attendant was necessary for Hayden, since everything Sophia did seemed like it could have been done effectively by a valet.
These issues aside, after a few chapters the story picked up the pace and I really enjoyed it. Sophia and Hayden have very fun conversations and it kept me engaged in their dialogues and made the love story more realistic because we got to see how it developed over time. While this was a story with immediate mutual attraction, there was more depth and development to each character and to them falling in love – both have past secrets and pain that they had to work through. This made their story more realistic for me, and made me enjoy reading it. Add in the secondary characters, who were also very well developed and really rounded out the story, and I couldn’t stop turning the pages. I look forward to more books in this series.