Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I ache. I want. I remember every touch, every kiss, and want more.”
Lady Olympia Wherlocke has never made a promise she couldn’t…wouldn’t keep, so when a young girl comes to her in desperation, Olympia promises to do anything and everything to help her. Lady Agatha Mallam’s mother is trying to sell her into marriage to a much older man who is rumored to have sadistic tendencies and an unfortunate incurable ailment. Only her brother, the Earl, has the power to stop their mother but he has buried himself in the country and refuses to answer her letters.
Lord Brant Mallam has spent the last few years drowning his grief in sex and spirits over his beloved fiancée’s death. When Lady Olympia comes sweeping into his home, relaying his mother’s nefarious plans, Brant knows the time has finally come to put an end to his mother’s schemes once and for all.
As Olympia and Brant work towards repairing Brant’s reputation and helping Agatha, they ferret out more of his mother’s schemes and soon discover the true nature of her plans. Plans that spell disaster and possible death for them all.
If He’s Tempted is the fifth installment of Ms. Howell’s Wherlocke series. A dark and gritty historical romance that mixes a batch of love, humor, revenge, and redemption into a volatile potent. Action and suspense go hand in hand as two damaged yet repairable people come together to stop a mad women from further ruining their lives and the lives of those they love. I would like to point out this can be read as a stand alone and you do not have to read the others in order to appreciate this story.
I found myself instantly smitten by our hero and heroine. Heavily character driven, our protagonists were a joy to get to know. Brandt is a delightful and sexy beta hero with a heart of gold and a commanding nature. Though tragic circumstances have caused him to flaunt his excesses in society’s face, I found his need to protect Olympia from the taunt of his association to be commendable and yes, quite adorable. When he is abruptly awakened from his self imposed alcohol and sex fueled exile, he becomes Olympia’s knight in somewhat tarnished armor.
Olympia is the alpha of this relationship and her need to right the wrongs that her brethren chooses to turn a blind eye to is cheer worthy. A widowed baroness with her own tragic secrets, Olympia is not one to back down from any challenge. Aided by her family, whose extraordinary gifts cause them to exist in a class all their own, Olympia is a secure well loved woman whose own capacity for love exceeds all boundaries. While her loyalty and intelligence is engaging; it’s her strong nature that pulls you into her orbit. She is a pit bull for the underdog and woe to all who stand in her way.
Olympia and Brandt’s romance begins slowly, neither of them were looking for love and Olympia’s gifts are daunting in that arena. Her gift of foresight gives her an uncomfortable and often too personal look into Brant’s past escapades. Their chemistry is a physical presence and you feel it from the start. I like that no games are played between our hero and heroine nor are we inundated with overly dramatic misconstrued events. Both are of the social standing that they can enter a relationship as equals without too much censure which makes the entering of an affair less constricting. There is a playfulness to their affair and lovemaking that was fun to read. Their passions are evenly matched and you will swoon as Brandt teaches Olympia everything there is to know about the pleasures of the flesh.
A far darker plot than I originally thought is the building block of this story and I found myself outraged for all the suffering brought on by the villainess. We know who it is from the beginning (it’s told in the back excerpt) but bringing her down proves not as easy as you would think. A well crafted persona of pure evil, this villainess exceeds all boundaries yet she never crosses the line into unbelievable. Her comeuppance is both dramatic and fitting.
Personable vibrant secondary characters are bursting from the seams of the book yet you never feel overwhelmed. We see various characters from previous books and meet a few new ones whom I would love to see more of. The inclusion of the supernatural into the storyline is done well and unobtrusively. Small scenes dot the storyline lest we forget the Wherlocke legacy yet our characters aren’t prone to never ending feats of supernatural prowess that repeatedly saves them and everyone else around them.
If He’s Tempted is well rounded historical romance that is sure to be a keeper on any readers shelf who loves a dash of everything in their love stories.
Overall Rating: B+