Returning to Hadley Green after fifteen years, the young Lord Eberlin has but one goal in mind: to avenge the death of his father. But when he is reunited with the beautiful target of his smoldering wrath, his plans take an unexpected turn. . . .
Tobin Scott has not been back to Hadley Green since Lily Boudine’s childhood testimony helped send his father to the gallows for stealing the valuable Ashwood jewels. Now a wealthy man, he intends to exact his revenge by destroying Ashwood and its lady. He offers Lily a choice between her life and the livelihoods of the people who depend on the estate. She chooses the former, certain she can hold his dangerous plans at bay.
Lily and Tobin’s game of one-upmanship quickly becomes a delicate dance of seduction, and she realizes he is not the cold, heartless man he tries to seem. In fact, she is certain he is right—his father was innocent. Together, they set out to find the jewels that will restore his family’s honor, and soon their unbridled passion uncovers a shocking secret that will change their lives forever.
Having read the previous two books in this series, I was excited to return back to Hadley Glenn and the mystery of the missing necklace.
We pick shortly where the last book leaves off and our introduction to Lily Boudine. I was a bit disappointed in Lily. She’s a selfish creature whom steps into the mess she jointly made with her cousin, but unable to understand how her inability to take control over her own life led to this problem. She is a reactionary character who needs someone else to do something to react to, which is why she languishes in regards to her dilemma over Ashwood’s ruination. Lily is a fairly flat heroine who lacks that emotional spark that was present in the women of the first two books in this series. Despite that flaw, she still makes a good counter blanace to the hero.
Lord Eberlin, better known in Hadley Green as Tobin Scott, is the son of the infamous jewel thief hung in Hadley Green some 20 years ago. Due to his family’s dishonor, he is an extremely driven man. By pulling himself out of poverty and into the realm of the rich, he has devised a plan to destroy Ashwood and specifically the girl who’s testimony got his father hung. While Lily is a reactionary character, Tobin is proactive driver of this story. He moves, Lily reacts, which is why the two work well as a couple.
This story is really about the hero and heroine forgiving not only each other for old acts well beyond their control, but forgiving themselves for the parts they played in it. Tobin has a hard time accepting that his father was not the man he wanted him to be, while Lily has to confront the upsetting and confusing memories Ashwood provokes.
I would have liked to see Lily be a bit feistier to match Tobin’s blinded devotion to destroying her. But she comes through at the right moments with a spine of steel without the wilting you might expect of a conservative character.
And the romance is wobbly during the courtship, until Tobin is able to move past the anger driving him and embrace the fact that Lily did not do anything wrong. Once he makes that decision, you see all his passion for destroying her turn to loving her, including an amazing idea to show his love which I would just adore having myself! And no I won’t give it away, but I will say it is mystical, fun and something that will stand for their love for a long time.
My one big complaint is that the plot of the stolen jewels really gets lost in this series. While we do get another new twist at the end (which in my mind answers what happened to the jewels) I would have liked to see this twist developed sooner in the story to at least introduce the new characters for the next book.