The Governess by Christi Caldwell
There were several moments early on in this book where I badly wanted to smack Broderick Killoran upside the head for being an arrogant, judgemental idiot. I’m glad I stuck with it, though, because he actually listened to his sisters and the heroine telling him he was wrong and tried to do better.
If you haven’t read The Vixen and The Hellion, the previous two books in the Wicked Wallflowers series, you’re going to come into this one seriously confused as to who everyone is. I have read those two books, and I still occasionally got muddled as to who was who.
One important character recurs a lot, though, and that’s the boy Stephen, the adopted younger brother of the Killoran siblings who turns out to be the kidnapped son of a marquis. The Governess is where that years-old crime comes home to roost, with Stephen’s father looking to exact vengeance and Broderick being the only available target. Broderick spends most of the book pretty sure he’s going to hang for past sins and desperately trying to protect those he cares about from the fallout.
Regina, the heroine, has her own past troubles which come back to haunt her, in the shape of a (different) nobleman who once used her ill and cast her aside. He tries a bit of blackmail to get Reggie to fall in with his nefarious plans, and for a dreadful moment I thought she was going to be TSTL and not tell anyone about it, but to my relief Reggie promptly blabbed to all and sundry, leading to her nemesis getting a highly satisfying comeuppance and Broderick confronting his feelings for her at the same time.
There’s a very satisfying conclusion to this romance when Reggie discovers a family connection which can help get her in through the door to see the vengeful nobleman, and a lovely gesture by Broderick which demonstrates just how far he’s come from the arrogant a** he was at the start of the book. Stick with this one even though you may want to strangle him in the beginning, I promise, the payoff really is worth it. Five stars.
Disclaimer; I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.