Release Date: Mar 27, 2018
Series: The London Underground
Heat Level: Hot
Imprint: Avon Books
Counting on a Countess is the second book in The London Underground series by Eva Leigh, however it is the first book by the author that I have read. So it can definitely be read as a stand-alone (although I will now be going back to the first book to get more insight into the start of the Greyland’s romance).
This current book follows the unconventional marriage of Christopher (aka Kit) Ellingsworth and Tamsyn Pearce. Kit is a war veteran who was awarded with the title of Earl of Blakemere for his service, he suffers from some PTSD which he deals with by drinking and chasing scandalous women. Due to these vices Kit has little to no money and has dreams of opening up a “pleasure garden” which sounds a bit scandalous but I learned is really just a public space with many different attractions – such as a carnival. The answer to Kit’s money problems seems to arrive with the passing of his mentor, he was named in his mentor’s will to inherit a vast sum of money – but the catch is that he needs to marry within the month. And so begins Kit’s month of celibacy and hunt for a suitable bride.
Tamsyn Pearce finds herself in London to find a buyer for her shipment of alcohol. She is in the smuggling business to help her village of Cornwall and wants to buy the house that her uncle is trying to sell as it is the base of her illegal operations. Tamsyn meets Kit at a ball and shares a dance with him and soon learns that he is desperate for a bride and is more than happy to leave her be after she gives birth to a child. An inattentive husband is exactly what Tamsyn is looking for and decides to encourage Kit’s perusal. It seems like a win-win for all parties involved – however plot twist! A proviso in the will states that Tamsyn must control the inheritance and so now Kit is in the position of convincing Tamsyn to make his dreams a reality.
I really enjoyed this book because the characters were both so well developed and had depth to them. Tamsyn especially was a women who knew what she wanted in life and was not afraid to go after it. I also enjoyed how not only did Kit need to convince his wife to fund his pleasure garden but she also needed to find a way to tell her law-abiding husband that she is in an illegal smuggling business and needs to money to purchase the house where her goods are stored. As both try to woo each other in their own way, their initial lust filled attraction turns into love.
I did not rate this book higher for a two main reasons. One, I was confused as to why Tamsyn continues to smuggle to support her village. What exactly are the rest of the villagers doing? Just waiting around under she gives them money? This seems like a very unsustainable process, and would it would probably be a better idea for her to actually sit and think of other ways to get the whole village involved in keeping themselves afloat. Second, and this is just a personal preference, but I am not a big fan of instant attraction. Of course I understand instant physical attract, but not the kind where you bump into the person for 30 seconds and all you can think about is them. That just seems very unrealistic, has anyone in real life felt this way?
Overall, I really did enjoy this book. The dialogues were funny and the story line kept me interested all the way to the end. I highly recommend and I personally will be going back and reading the first book in the series next.