The Mad Earl’s Bride by Loretta Chase

BRIDE
The Mad Earl’s Bride by Loretta Chase
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (143 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Gwendolyn Adams is about to propose to an earl. On his deathbed.

Gwendolyn Adams isn’t shocked at being asked to save a handsome earl’s dying line, even when she learns the prospective bridegroom is seriously ill and possibly insane. She’s quite a good nurse, after all, and her family is famous for producing healthy male children. Those stories about his riding the moors half-naked on a pale white horse? Extremely intriguing—especially after she gets her first look at the gorgeous lunatic.

The Earl of Rawnsley wants only to lose what’s left of his mind in peace and privacy. But his busybody relatives have saddled him with a surprise bride and orders to sire an heir forthwith. (And they say he’s mad?) But with Gwendolyn, his health is returning, and his resistance … crumbling. Is it possible that love is the finest madness of all?

Don’t let the short number of pages deceive. This is a pithy, chock-full-of-action, sizzling love story that keeps one’s attention big time.

Gwendolyn Adams feels like she was made for the purpose of handling Dorian, Earl of Rawsley, with his neurological disease and aberrant behavior. She also sees her opportunity to have the hospital that she wants so very much—a hospital where she can use her own methods to treat people with mental health problems. As the Countess of Rawsley, she would have money and power to make her dream come true.

Gwen had me in her corner early on when she ignored Dorian’s raging and threats and told him that a witch would be drummed out of the coven in disgrace to go away on mortal’s orders. Moreover, she declared that she would never get anything accomplished if she did what she was told as she continues to drag him out of the quicksand whether he wants to be dragged out or not.

Dorian became the Earl of Rawsley pretty much by default. He feels he is irreparably flawed. He suffers miserably with his malady. But he is physically fit—a gorgeous man with yellow, predator eyes that gleam brightly at the unsinkable Gwen. He is amazed when he cannot browbeat or frighten her. Instead of showing fear, she says he is handsome beyond any man she’s ever seen and looks at him in a “bone melting way”.

The secondary characters are no match for the dynamic Dorian and Gwen once they join forces. How she manages his malady and how they manage the would-be-controllers of his life make riveting and often humorous reading.

The tried and true friends Hoskins, Bertie, Dain, and Dr. Evershaw add a new dimension to the story while relatives and even Dr. Kneebones, Dorian’s longtime doctor, raise red flags with their mindsets.

The back story of Dorian’s family, the unusual love scenes mesmerize; plus how Gwen takes care of Dorian and how he takes care of her sweep the reader along apace with no side trips to distract.

Loretta Chase does a phenomenal job of revealing the complexities of the characters and the situation as she grabs the reader’s emotions, assails the senses, and races long with the reader in tow toward a splendid happy-ever-after. Her concise, focused writing style keeps one in the action with the primaries.

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