Kiss Me At Christmas by Valerie Bowman
Lady Regina is the beautiful, wealthy, virginal niece of a duke who has almost reached her thirtieth birthday without ever meeting a man she wants to marry. Finally running out of patience, her uncle gives her an ultimatum. Find an eligible suitor to marry before Christmas or enter a marriage of convenience.
Problem is, the only man who’s ever caught her eye is definitely not eligible. Daffin Oakleaf is a Bow Street Runner. Marriage is out of the question, but one night? That’s a definite possibility.
The story starts with Regina’s hilarious attempt to ask Daffin to relieve her of her virginity, a request he declines. It takes a rather serious turn when an attempt is made on Regina’s life, though, and Daffin winds up engaged to protect her from a mysterious enemy.
The romance is inextricably tied to the subplot of Regina’s enemy and the deadline she’s under to find a husband. I liked Regina a great deal and she and Daffin matched well together, bouncing off each other with humour and mutual concern. They both clearly cared about each other’s feelings and future and I very much believed in them as a couple.
Though this is the tenth book in this series and characters from previous books do appear, most notably Regina’s cousin Mark Grimaldi and his wife Lady Nicole, there is no need to have read the previous books in the series to thoroughly enjoy this one. With a well-written Regency romance combined with an excellent suspense plot, the only thing I can pick on about this one is that the major villain of the piece wasn’t actually dealt with at the end of the book. It’s possible they might be being saved for a future book, but considering how personal the attacks on Regina were, I felt rather let down justice was not served.
Four stars for an engaging read which just missed out on a satisfying ending.
Kiss Me At Christmas is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley and was invited to join the blog tour by St. Martin’s Press.