Hot Earl Summer

Forever: Grand Central. (Wild Wynchesters, Bk. 5). Aug. 2024. 368p. ISBN 9781538726150. pap. $17.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Ridley continues her adventure Regency series, following My Rogue to Ruin, with Elizabeth’s story—the skilled swordswoman who would rather meet a threat with a rapier than an elaborate disguise. She has a vast collection of blades, including her trusty—and sometimes doubly necessary—sword cane. When her family needs her to lead a case with inquiry rather than force, she is not happy but becomes intrigued when she arrives at the mission site, a castle, only to find it protected by clever traps. Inventor Stephen Lenox made them to protect the building from a dangerous braggart who believes he has a claim to ownership. With their missions aligned, the pair join forces and soon start to tumble into love, as they learn about each other’s characters, skills, and desires. In particular, Elizabeth’s need for bodily autonomy and Stephen’s for space. The story unfolds with plenty of charm (Stephen invents a kitten dispensing machine) and action (there are multiple battles). Eventually the entire Wynchester clan shows up, adding to the wit and loving interactions.
VERDICT Ridley once again showcases her skills crafting interesting characters and fun-reading plots, which stress accepting and supporting people in the ways they want.
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