Series: Malloren & Friends #3
Published by Signet on January 4th 2005
FINAL DECISION: Loved how Beverly made this enemies to lovers story feel real. The issues involved are paced out so well. I loved the connection between Elf and Fort even as I initially thought the premise was going to be ridiculous.
THE STORY: Lady Elf Malloren is on the shelf at the age of 25, the youngest of the Malloren sibling, Elf has a wild side that she feels pulling at her as her twin brother has married. With her friend, Elf attends a masquerade at Vauxhall. The night ends with her being kidnapped by her family’s enemy Fort Ware, Earl of Walgrave.
OPINION: I loved how this story came together. Fort hates the Mallorens for something that happened in the past. Fort is coming apart and doesn’t know how to handle it. He struggles with his guilt and anger. When he comes across a young masked woman that he ends up kidnapping, he doesn’t realize that he has captured Elf. The attraction between Fort and Elf is palpable.
I questioned the premise of this book. I found it improbable that Elf could hide her identity from Fort. I still found it somewhat incredible, but ultimately, it only diminished my enjoyment in a minor fashion.
I especially liked the story after Fort learned Elf’s true identity. There was no quick resolution to the conflict. These “enemies” still had a ways to travel for them to have a happy ending. Fort is a hero who evolves through the book in surprising ways. His conflict is not what I would have expected. Without using the words, he is clearly suffering from depression combined with guilt and self-loathing. I have a great fondness for wounded heroes and I liked Fort as this incarnation of wounded hero because he is clearly a funny and gentle man who is tormented. He was my favorite part of the book.
Elf is an intriguing heroine. A conventional life does not satisfy her. Her intelligence and determination are central to her character — along with her wickedness. The dialogue and situations are snappy and fresh.
This was a very enjoyable read and I look forward to reading more of this series.
WORTH MENTIONING: After reading this book, I want to read the others in the series. That is the best testament to this book.
CONNECTED BOOKS: SOMETHING WICKED is the third book in the Malloren & Friends series. It is not necessary to have read the other books in the series. I haven’t read them and easily figured out everything I needed to know.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.