Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Mistress for Major Bartlett - Annie Burrows (HH #1237 - June 2015)

Series: Brides of Waterloo (Book 2)

His virgin mistress!

Major Tom Bartlett is shocked to discover the angel who nursed his battle wounds is darling of the ton Lady Sarah Latymor. One taste of her threatens both her impeccable reputation and his career!

An honorable man would ask for her hand, but Bartlett is considered an unrepentant rake by polite society; sweet Sarah would be spurned as his mistress and even as his wife. He demands she leave, but Sarah is just as determined to stay by his side -- and in his bed!

Very good book. The book begins with Sarah desperately trying to find out what happened to two of her brothers. Her twin brother has been reported as dead, but she doesn't want to believe it, and the other one is missing. Sarah is a society miss who has the reputation of being pretty but useless, but she has the determination to escape from her protective family and head for the battlefield to search for them.

Along with her older brother's ex-fiancee, Sarah searches the battlefield for her brothers. They find the older one, who is taken by his ex. Sarah doesn't find her twin, but does find another man who, by his uniform, is one of the men in her older brother's unit. Unwilling to leave him there to die, Sarah takes charge of him, hoping to find care for him. After discovering that a hospital is no guarantee that he would be cared for, Sarah takes him to her own lodgings.

Sarah has never felt any kind of confidence in herself or her abilities. She has never really had to take care of herself, much less someone else. Her family has always treated her as though she isn't too bright. Her twin was the only member of the family who seemed to understand her. She has surprised herself with the way she got to Brussels and now that she's insisted on caring for Tom. She's determined to succeed in saving him and throws herself into the process.

Tom is a man with the reputation of being a rake. It is bad enough that Sarah's brothers wouldn't introduce her to him, even though he's one of Justin's officers. He has come by his reputation fairly honestly, as he has never really cared what people think of him. His grandfather lost the family title when he supported the Jacobites and his father was a drunk who committed suicide. Tom was raised by an aunt and uncle who treated him badly, so he acted up in response. As an adult, he is notorious for his womanizing. He considers himself to be pretty worthless.

I liked Sarah. At the beginning of the book she had almost no self confidence, though she was much smarter than she gave herself credit for. I loved seeing the way that she made things happen. Her rescue of Tom was great, as was her determination to care for him. I liked seeing her step up to the expectations of those who didn't know her, such as the two soldiers who helped her with Tom. Thanks to their belief in her, she was able to do some things that amazed her. I really enjoyed seeing her work out what she needed to do and how to do it. 

Tom's fevered view of her was as an angel who had come to save him. Once he recognized her he knew he should send her away to protect her from his reputation, but he couldn't let her go. I loved seeing how easily he understood her and her needs. For a man with such a terrible reputation, I thought he was amazingly honorable. 

I loved the development of their relationship. Both of them shared things about themselves that they had never told anyone else. There were many ways that they were alike, and the things they shared brought them closer together. Sarah spends a fair amount of time trying to show Tom that he really isn't as bad as he thinks he is. Tom's ability to sense what Sarah is feeling and give her the comfort or encouragement that she needs shows that his feelings are much stronger than he realizes. 

The attraction between them is really strong. Tom fights it hard, being the honorable man that he is. Sarah feels it also, but she wants to give in to it. She has no intention of ever marrying, thanks to the example of her father, but she still wants to be able to be with Tom. Besides their own issues, there are other obstacles to overcome, not the least of which is her older brother. There are two great scenes at the end involving him. The first is between him and Sarah, as she tells him exactly what she wants and intends, making it clear she's no longer the same airhead she had been before. I loved seeing her new confidence in herself and her feelings. The second is between him and Tom, as Tom faces the commanding officer who is also the brother of the woman he loves. Another great example of standing up for your love against those who would prevent it. I loved that conversation and how it turned out.

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