Once She Was Tempted is the story of a debutante with a secret past. What could be more enticing for a romance reader? Anne Barton introduces us to Daphne Honeycote, a beautiful blue eyed blonde who is guarding a youthful folly that could overturn her new found life. What will she do to protect her good name and that of the people she loves?
There was a time when the Honeycotes could barely scrape by. But now they have a daughter who is a duchess, and Daphne, the younger sister has a chance at a London season. Their mother is no longer suffering from consumption and has been brought back from the clutches of a painful death. Life is pleasant in the Duke’s household, with his two unwed sisters who look up to Daphne. Benjamin Elliott is grieving over the loss of his childhood friend. He has promised to look after his friend’s ward, his younger brother. Dragged to a formal dinner, he is astounded when he comes across a girl he finds very familiar. It is Daphne, and she is none other than the woman portrayed in a risqué painting he owns. Benjamin is determined to discourage Daphne from growing close to his ward.
Daphne feels her world crashing around her when she realizes that Benjamin has seen her painting. She has modeled for a friend when she desperately needed money for her ailing mother, and told no one about it. But the secret threatens to be revealed. Benjamin is floored when Daphne lets it slip that there is not one but two such risqué paintings. Daphne and Benjamin decide to join forces to track down the other piece. This quest leads them to the country house of Benjamin’s ward, and the reclusive country squire who commissioned the paintings. Will they be able to persuade the old man to let go of the painting? Will Daphne be able to save face before the Ton finds out about her secret?
Romance lovers and lovers of historical fiction will love this slightly different romance. There is chemistry between Benjamin and Daphne, however much they try to ignore it. The supporting cast of caring sister, mother and friends have strong characters that add to the plot and keep things moving along. I waited with bated breath to find out if Daphne would be exposed before the judgmental ton. In the end, love triumphs and the Earl Benjamin delivers a shocking surprise that solves everyone’s problems.
Delightful is one way to describe Once She Was Tempted. This book is a must read romance and one that can be revisited for some smiles and feel good reading.
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