Love and Deceit by Cheri Champagne

Love and Deceit by Cheri Champagne
Publisher: Pandamoon Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (273 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Lady Katherine Mason is the average gentlewoman. Or is she? Since early girlhood, Lady Katherine has enjoyed creating fine clothing for her family. But she has a secret. A secret that takes her away from her family, and into the home of the Marquess of Withington. The mysterious and angry man engages Lady Katherine’s curiosity… and desire. But as much as she would like to, she is unable to reveal her true identity, for fear of total ruination.

Barrick Gray, the Marquess of Withington, despises the world for its morbid curiosity. He has no intention in encouraging the ton’s interest in his war wounds, but at the plea of his aunt, he has decided to briefly satisfy her request. Once he has proven to his aunt why he should not remain in the public eye, he will return to seclusion at his estate in Scotland. One thing, however, has suddenly captured his attention. A very intriguing sprite has somehow entered his safe haven… and begun to wreak havoc on his life… and his passions.

Neither expects the hunger that ignites between them. Will it lead to true love? Or will it tear both of their worlds apart?

In my opinion it takes a talented author to write a successful book series in which a reader actually loves all the books in the set. I’m excited to tell you that Cheri Champagne is one of those talented and successful authors. I loved book three, Love and Deceit, as much if not more than the other two previous book in the series, The Mason Siblings. Each book is truly unique on its own and could be read as a standalone, however I do think a reader would enjoy book three more if they do read the two previously books in the series.

There is a suspense/mystery story arc threaded through out all three books. It’s briefly re-capped in each book so that I wasn’t feeling lost. I also think there’s a benefit to reading the two previous books in the series because there are brief appearances from the characters mentioned from the other books, it develops a “at home” feeling as you are reading it and provided a bit of familiarity or nostalgia which I found to be comforting. But again, each character is re-introduced in case you forgot who was who or didn’t read the previous books. I love the entire Mason family, including those who have married into it.

The hero in this story, Barrick, was a bit beastly with justifiable reasons. Yet, the heroine, Katherine, was the perfect lady to tame Barrick’s beastly nature for she’s not your typical lady. Together they make for an interesting, entertaining and sensual romance. It took Barrick a while to accept he was in love with Katherine which made the moment when he realized he was in love with Katherine all the more enjoyable.

Katherine’s secret is a big one and how she meets Barrick makes for a creative and interesting plot. The plot thickens as the story goes on. The story has a steady pace with several twists and turns to keep me guessing. I couldn’t put the book down.

There is a side character named Camilla, and without her the story would have been totally impossible. There would have been no big secret for Katherine or the opportunity to meet Barrick or the ability to persuade her brother for permission for her endeavors. This side character had a significant part in the book on three separate occasions. The last occasion left me feeling worried for Camila. I can’t give more detail then that but I was sincerely worried since Katherine was. Camilla was a dear friend to Katherine for countless years. I bring this up because as the story ended, (without an epilogue I might add, and those who follow my reviews know how much I love those epilogues), I finished the book with a heavy, happy sigh and a bit of a book glow looking forward to book four. When all of a sudden it hit me…what about Camilla? Because of that untied thread I have to give four stars. I like all my threads tied and a happily ever after in romance stories. I have on good authority that we will know about Camila in the future, however, that didn’t help my happily ever after book glow feeling, now.

Yet, in no way does that make me at all hesitant to recommend this book. I highly encourage readers to check out this book and the other two in this series. I honestly did love how Love and Deceit ended, with Lane, Katherine’s brother, saying to Barrick “ welcome to the family!” because that is how I feel. I feel personally connected to the Mason family and I genuinely can’t wait for book four to read Lady Emaline Mason’s story.

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