An Affair in Winter by Jess Michaels
Series: Seasons, 1
Released: July 12, 2016
The Passionate Pen
Reviewed by Sheena
Widow Rosalinde Wilde is on her way to her beloved sister’s wedding when an unexpected storm waylays her at an overcrowded inn. There she meets a tempting stranger who sweeps her into a night of unforgettable passion.
Grayson Danford never expected a night with the irresistible Mrs. Wilde, but she was a welcome distraction from the unpleasant duty of breaking up his brother’s impending nuptials. He’s shocked when he discovers his passionate lover is none other than the sister of his brother’s intended.
Now Rosalinde and Gray will butt heads, even as their simmering desire for each other threatens to boil over. Who will win? And who might lose it all?
“My sister’s happiness today is worth more than the vague promise of a man who does not give a damn about us.”
I am always concerned when I have a decided ambivalence toward the H/h…I thought they were busybodies and completely in the way. The hiccups in An Affair in Winter began when we learned too little, too late about Rosalinde. I never really got to connect or care about her aside from acknowledging her ethereal beauty and getting a kick at how wanton and sexy her connection was with Gray.
Grayson too, was as unremarkable as cardboard, his worth (literally) only found when he was feeling Rosalinde up or sneaking away to engage in one of their sexy romantic rendezvous.
She lifted to meet him, watching his face in fascination as he finally sought out the pleasure he had thus far denied himself. His neck strained, sweat formed on his brow and after a few long thrusts his face twisted. He withdrew from her clenching sex and came between them with a long, deep moan that seemed to shake the very room.
Then he collapsed on top of her, his mouth seeking hers, his arms dragging her closer.
She could feel his pounding heartbeat through his chest, its rhythm matching her own erratic one, and she held him close, pretending, just for a moment, that this was real.
To put it plainly sex saved this story. Sex – and a particularly dynamic and interesting secondary couple, found in Rosalinde’s sister, Celia and Grayson’s brother, Lucian. Celia and Lucian were betrothed, an engagement of convenience, neither feeling the slightest affection for the other. Spurned on by their families match-making, they both feel duty bound to improve the other’s circumstance. Celia has a hefty dowry and Lucien has low family coffers but it’s appropriately titled. Lucian’s father embarrassingly gambled off his family’s fortune, and though Grayson struck out on his own and became wealthy in his own right- Lucian wants to restore his own wealth and is resigned to settling for a loveless marriage to achieve his goal. Only a year out from his own heartache, his beloved apparently ran out on him and married another, more wealthy man but I swear there is something up there and I sorely wish more about his runaway bride would ave been disclosed…unless Lucian is to have his own story someday- in which case, I say BRING IT ON. Lucian was such a quiet gentleman whom I discovered such an affinity. Despite pledging to marry Celia out of convenience, my heart bled for him. Seriously well written hero in the making.
Though money was no object, Celia endured her own darkness, in the form of her disgustingly cruel grandfather. Orphaned when their mother perished, Grandfather raised the girls without love or kindness, perpetually holding the knowledge of their father’s true identify over their heads. His evil and heavy-handed ways, drove Rosalinde to run off and marry the first man to claim he loved her, only to find him too cruel and intolerable. Her distasteful husband dies early into her marriage and after being disowned has to beg her way back into her Grandfather’s graces, a feat that she barely accomplished as she is often punished and slighted by her grandfather for her impertinence.
Celia and Rosa have a loving and protective relationship. Rosa wants to protect her sister from and unhappy marriage and Celia wants to protect Rosa from being turned out or punished more by their cruel patriarch. This cycle of love and protection was precious and I thought the author did a wonderful job illustrating how they poured into one another in their own way.
Ultimately, Rosa and Grayson pretty much bump heads and hump in libraries, both determined to protect their sibling from the mistake of their pending nuptials. I mentioned previously that they came off as bumbling busybodies and I meant it. From one chapter to the other, and in between their smoking hot sex, I shouted “GET A LIFE ALREADY!!” Yes, yes…YES. I get it, you don’t want your brother to marry a social climbing cold fish, and you, you don’t want your sister to marry a man she feels nothing for and who feels nothing for her in return, but their incessant grandstanding was beyond my capacity for foolery! Too bad they didn’t have their own issues that did not center around trying to break up their sibling’s engagement. Instead they were relegated to underlings who were underfoot and came off very whiny and meddlesome.
Thank goodness for Celia and Lucien and their quiet take over of the story. They held my rapt attention and I simply could not get enough of both characters. Consequently, I am beyond pleased that Celia’s novel is next. And in the spirit of being grateful, Celia and Grayson’s smoldering physical connection was a definite highlight. Overall, I enjoyed the book. This was my first Jess Michael’s novel and am interested in her prior novels- more importantly, I am looking forward to the next book in the series, A Spring Deception, due September 2016.