In Bed With The Earl by Christi Caldwell
Kidnapped as a child and left to himself on the mean streets of London, Malcom North grew up to be king of those streets - or at least, the sewers that run beneath them. Leader of the ‘toshers’, the sewer scavengers, he’s utterly unprepared when a detective tracks him down and tells him he’s the lost heir to an earldom.
Reporter Verity is fighting for her place in a man's world - one which barely allows for her existence and certainly won’t permit her to thrive. Finding and writing the true story of the lost earl might be her one chance to keep her job and a roof over her head - and that of her younger sister, who she’s desperate to protect. As the illegitimate children of a deceased peer, there’s certainly nobody else to look out for them.
Malcom and Verity butt heads from the very beginning, from their meeting in the sewers she’s ventured into in search of him with no idea of the dangers that await. He doesn’t want to care, but he can’t just leave her in the scrape she’s landed herself in, and with everything he learns about her, it gets harder and harder to walk away, whereas she literally can’t, not without risking everything she cares about.
I have to admit I burst out laughing when Verity found herself deep in a pickle as everyone assumed she and Malcom were married. She kept finding herself backed up against a wall with only one way to turn, though, and to his credit Malcom recognised that, looking at the situation logically. But then, unlike a lot of historical romance heroes, he knows what it’s like to be desperately looking for a way out of an untenable situation.
The pair of them made a really good couple with a deeply satisfying romance arc between them as slowly they revealed their secrets to each other. There are some wonderful themes of found family here and I definitely hope Malcom’s friend Giles gets his own book in the series (maybe with Verity’s sister?) This was a seriously enjoyable read and I’m delighted to give it five stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.