Doing it at: 48%
Catnip: Historicals, Your First and Your Last, Shower Sex, Rescue Me, Fake it Till You Make It
Shame Scale: Kleypas is the creme de la creme of modern historical romance, low shame.
Fantasy Cast: Aidan Turner, Mia Wasikowska
Nick Gentry, the most seductive and dangerous man in England, has been sent to find Charlotte Howard, a runaway bride who has disappeared without a trace. But when he finds her, Nick is stunned by the intensity of his attraction to the elusive young woman whose adventurous spirit matches his own.
Determined to escape a forced marriage to a man who will destroy her, Charlotte agrees to an audacious bargain . . . she will become Nick Gentry’s bride. But soon she discovers that Nick has secrets of his own, and it will take all her wits and stubborn will to tame his tormented soul.
In the desperate quest to protect Charlotte from the diabolical aristocrat who threatens her, one thing becomes clear:
To save the woman he loves, Nick will take any risk . . . and pay any price.
I’ve been buried neck deep in contemporary romance and realized that its been months since I dove into a historical. Having received an avalanche of Amazon gift cards for my birthday I got myself Worth Any Price, which has been on my wishlist for months. Lisa Kleypas is my favorite historical romance author. I consider her Wallflower series required reading for any romance fan, and credit the girls over at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books with turning me on to her.
Worth Any Price is book three in the Bow Street Runner series, I haven’t read the other two (I Know I Know), but was able to follow the story just fine without it. Kleypas’ series books can usually be read as stand-alones that are enhanced by having read the previous books but it isn’t a do or die.
Nick Gentry is a Bow Street Runner, which wiki explains was a police force in England in the 1700’s and 1800’s. They were like detectives who worked for local magistrates and were kind of like Sherlock Holmes combined with Dog the Bounty Hunter. Nick wasn’t always on the right side of the law and he was essentially blackmailed into cleaning up his act by his brother-in-law, one of the boss-man magistrates in question. When he isn’t working on official Bow Street business he takes on lucrative private commissions. Like finding rich Lord’s runaway fiances. Which is how he finds himself on a country estate pretending to be someone he isn’t (but is) and looking for Lottie.
Lottie has been hiding for two years. Her fiance is a very rich, older lord who picked Lottie to be his wife while she was still a child. He paid for her schooling and controlled every aspect of her life; diet, wardrobe, and manners. He was creating his own perfect little woman, and her parents happily gave her up in exchange for a lump of money (good parenting guys!). After years of bending to his whims like a good little lamb, despite some very disturbing behavior, Lottie finally realized she couldn’t just meekly give up any chance of a happy life and ran away. She thought she was scott-free. But Nick can find anyone.
The plan is for Nick to return Lottie to Lord Radnor (the Baddie) and collect the reward. But he finds himself captivated by her. He’s never been romantic, never been in love — his only relationship thus far has been three years learning tantric sex with a madame — but he can’t seem to resist Lottie. He wants her for his own. To keep.
Marriages of “convenience” are one of my favorite romance tropes, we all know that the couple will end up deeply in love, but with the right author the getting there can be very fun.
“It’s a pity that you’re a virgin. That will limit the number of things I can do with you…for a while, at least.”
Lottie scowled, “I’m so sorry for the inconvenience.”
Gentry grinned at her annoyance. “That’s all right. We’ll do the best we can, in light of the circumstances. Perhaps it will be less of a hindrance than I expect. Never having a virgin before, I won’t know until I try one.”
Kleypas is one of my favorite historical writers because her stories never seem dated, and the characters are three dimensional with sharp dialog and very active sex lives. She unfurls the character’s backstories in bits and pieces. I always feel like Kleypas respects her readers, she assumes we’re smart enough to not need every nuance spelled out for us by the end of the first chapter. I also always learn something, like rules of succession and how law enforcement developed in London. Historicals leave me a smarter girl, with a more varied vocabulary: tell me fox-faced isn’t a wonderful way of saying drunk. You can’t.
If you’re in the mood for petticoats, carriages, and a sweet happily-ever-after you should definitely check out Worth Any Price. And probably the two preceding books in the series. Just because I’m a rebel with book order doesn’t mean I have to lead you astray.
Check it out: