Monday, March 12, 2012

The Truth about Lord Stoneville (Hellions of Halstead Hall #1) by Sabrina Jeffries


They're the scandalous Sharpes, five hell-raising siblings tainted by a shocking family legacy. Now each faces a daunting ultimatum: marry by year's end -- or kiss their inheritance good-bye.

In the two decades since a tragic "accident" took the lives of his parents, Oliver Sharpe, the Marquess of Stoneville, has survived the scandal surrounding that fateful night by living as an unrepentant rakehell. And with his grandmother vowing to disinherit him if he doesn't settle down and wed, he plans to fulfill the bargain in true Sharpe style -- by bringing home a fake fiancée from a brothel! But his scheme is derailed when he rescues an American beauty in a dire predicament instead. Maria Butterfield came to London to track down her groom-to-be, who's gone missing, but her engagement won't stop Oliver from getting what he wants: her, in his bed. His rebellious masquerade may call his grandmother's bluff , but it's soon made all too real -- by a love that tempts him to be a hellion no more.

Type: Historical Romance
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 3 out of 5

This family. Lord love em and all of their meddling.The main theme for the series is that Gran has decided it's time for her grandchildren to grow up and find mates. She's had enough with the gambling, racing, spending time tupping in brothels, and writing horrid novels. And let me just throw it in here...the thing I'm NOT loving about historicals. The kinda slutty heroes who hang out in brothels. Ew. Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew. ::shudder:: ew. Okay. Got that out of my system. But really? In that day and age? I'm sorry but just icks. me. out.  Anyways...moving on...They've got a year to marry and if they don't they're going to be cut out of her will. No ifs ands or buts. And these 5 are determined to find a way out! Que some serious scheming! Gran trying to push them each along, Oliver trying to call her bluff bringing home a woman home to marry (and an American one at that!) that he let everyone think was a whore he picked up at the brothel, the siblings trying to make Oliver jealous and possessive over Maria once they all decided he really needed to marry her and that if he marries Gran will let the rest of them off the hook. Poor Oliver never had a chance. Throw in the search for Maria's real fiance in exchange for playing Oliver's fake fiance and you've got a lot of entertaining drama. 

I haven't read all that many historicals but I'm LOVING when the heroine is an American that ends up in England, etc. They add such a fun element with their vastly inappropriate, scandalous behavior, saucy attitudes, fierce determination and etiquette blunders. Those Americans! Just can't take us anywhere ;) Maria was no exception. The woman had guts and I loved that she didn't hold anything back. If something or someone ticked her off they were going to know it. Proper, ladylike behavior be damned!
To stop Maria before she ruined everything, he grabbed her about the waist, hauled her against him, and sealed his mouth to hers.  
At first she seemed too stunned to do anything. When after a moment, he felt her trying to draw back from him, he caught her behind the neck with an iron grip. 
"Oh," Gran said in a stiff voice. "Beg pardon." 
Dimly he heard the door close and footsteps retreating, but before he could let Maria go, a searing pain shot through his groin, making him see stars. Blast her, the woman had kneed him in the ballocks! 
As he doubled over, fighting to keep from passing out, she snapped, "That was for making me look like a whore, too!"
Oliver. He's a special one. Some moments I wanted to throttle him and others to wrap him in a tight hug. His parent's scandal really did a number on all of the kids and packed a wallop on Oliver and his emotional well being. It was awful to see how society treated him and how they gossiped about him and his parent's questionable deaths. It''s really no wonder he tried to drown away his hurt and pain by acting wild. Oliver could be a real bastard towards Maria, hence the wanting to give him a good throttle, even if it was just because he was scared of his emotions and lashing out because of them. He wouldn't be an easy one to love. When he would open up about his feelings, his parents and what happened to them, though, I couldn't help but soften a little towards him. And he does have his moments where you can't help but go "aw" with a dreamy little sigh. Wasn't anything fancy but he completely won me over with this one...
"What are you doing here?" she asked. 
"You forgot something when you left Halstead Hall," he said hoarsely. 
Her heart lept into her throat as he strode purposefully toward her. "Me."
The Truth About Lord Stoneville was my first time reading Jeffries. I only picked it up after a new friend suggested her books and I found out that Jeffries is actually a local author where I live now. Kinda neat! It turned out to be a fairly fun read and I'm glad I gave it a try. A hero and heroine who capture your heart, secondary characters that are interesting and get you curious about them, light hearted moments mixed in with an intriguing mystery about the parent's deaths and what really happened all those years back. It's a very nice mix and I can't wait to see what happens next with the siblings and how they try to escape their Gran and her plans!

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