I received this book for free from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: The Wicked Woodleys #1
Published by Jess Michaels on August 25, 2015
Genres: Historical Erotica, Historical Romance
Source: the Author
Jude Samson has worked for the Woodley family for such a long time that he is seen as a brother. But he has very unbrotherly feelings toward the youngest of the clan, Lady Audrey. When they find themselves off at the family’s country estate, long simmering desires will come to the forefront and Jude won’t be able to stop himself from taking that one, oh-so-forbidden taste.
After seeing what it has done to her family, Audrey is afraid of passion. But the moment Jude touches her, fear is washed away by intense and powerful lust. Only Jude has a secret that could destroy everything that is beginning to develop between them. And when it comes out, it will change everything.
Audrey Woodley is still reeling from the kidnap and loss of her beloved sister. She hasn’t been the same since Claire left and Audrey knows for certain that her mother has yet to recover, though she hides it well. The only person that seems to draw Audrey from her shell is Jude Sampson, longtime friend of the family and estate manager to Audrey’s eldest brother. Audrey and Jude have been friends for years, but Audrey has always longed for something more between them. When Audrey and Jude accompanying Audrey’s mother to one of their other estates, Audrey quickly learns that the long-held attraction is mutual.
Right away, readers need to understand this is NOT a historical romance novel. This novel and many of Ms. Michaels’ other books (go check those out!) are a sub-genre I would classify as historical erotica. Love scenes are plentiful, emotional, and very, very steamy. The plot, while holding to many of the traditional conflict requirements of a historical romance novel, also carries with it a strong plotline influenced by the sexual exploits of the hero and heroine. In a nutshell, this is a well-written historical romance novel that features a lot of sex between the main characters. Enjoy!
Jude was a complex character and I sincerely hope his backstory will be explored some more in future books. He straddles the world between not-quite-a-peer and not-quite-a-servant. Though he has aristocratic lineage, he and his mother were disowned upon the death of his father and they have survived through sheer force of will and tenacity. And through the generosity and friendship with the Woodleys. But Jude carries a dark secret that could jeopardize both his job and friendship with the Woodleys and destroy any future he has with Audrey.
Audrey, on the other hand, was a little flat at first. But that appears to stem from her fear of passion and constant struggle to present a perfect and unflappable demeanor to everyone around her. She has had to stay strong and be the glue holding her family together for so long that it has zapped both her energy and personality. Thankfully, the real Audrey shines through once she and her mother escape the confines of London and she is shown to be an enterprising, hard-working woman who will do anything for those she loves.
Jude and Audrey’s relationship builds quickly, but stands firm on the foundation of their pre-existing friendship. I loved reading about how these two characters overcame class divides to find love and happiness. What a wonderful kick-off to a new series!