Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Review & Tour: How to Woo a Wallflower by Christy Carlyle

Title: How to Woo a Wallflower
Author: Christy Carlyle
Genre/Age: Historical Romance/Adult
Series: Romancing the Rules (Book Three)
Publisher: Avon Books
Format: ebook via Pure Textuality
Rating: ✺✺✺
SynopsisAn Unconventional Wallflower…

Clarissa Ruthven was born to be a proper lady, but she’s never wanted to live up to the expectations her late father set. Determined to use her inheritance to help the less fortunate women of London, she’s devastated to learn that she won’t be inheriting anything until she marries, a fate she has no interest in. Unwilling to let go of her plans, Clary works at Ruthven Publishing for Gabriel Adamson, a man who’s always hated her. She’s always returned the feeling, but as she begins to turn her family’s publishing company upside down, she finds herself unable to forget her handsome boss.

Never Follows the Rules…

Gabriel Adamson believes in order. He certainly doesn’t believe Clary should be sticking her nose in the publishing company, and she definitely has no business invading his every thought. But Gabe soon finds he can’t resist Clary’s sense of freedom or her passionate kisses and he starts to crave everything she’s willing to give him.

Especially When It Comes to Love… 

When Gabe’s dark past comes back to haunt him, he’ll do anything to make sure that Clary isn’t hurt…even if it means giving up the only woman he’s ever loved.

At the precise moment such hopeful nonsense teased at his thoughts, a screech rent the air. A rowdy brothel had once thrived around the corner, but the sound echoing in the narrow lane wasn’t one of pleasure. More like agony. A man’s bleat emerged again, high-pitched and pained.

Gabe’s body responded like a soldier’s on the eve of battle—muscles taut, instincts sharp, pulse throbbing in his ears.

“You bloody bitch!” the man squeaked.

Gabe rolled his shoulders and tugged off his gloves. Whoever the man was, he’d chosen to menace the fairer sex, and Gabe never had been able to stomach a bully. Too many times as a child, he’d watched helplessly as his mother cowered on the losing side of a man’s fists.

Until he was old and strong enough to beat them off himself.

Rounding the corner, he expected to find a man overpowering a woman with his height and strength. A sight he’d seen a thousand times in these streets. Instead, he spotted a man bent at the waist, clutching his groin, glaring toward the entrance of the Fisk Academy for Girls, according to the sign above the door.

“I’ll smash that pretty face of yours,” the wounded blighter cried.

“I don’t think you will,” a feminine voice countered. “And don’t let me see you darken this doorstep ever again.”

A croquet mallet emerged through the doorway first, the cylinder of wood painted with jaunty blue stripes around the edges. Purple ruffles came next, the edge of a skirt kicking up as a diminutive woman stomped out to face the wounded man.

Gabe rushed forward to assist her and jerked to a dead stop.

Clarissa Ruthven.

Pert nose. Guinea-gold hair. Wavy strands glinting in a beam of afternoon sun that managed to break through the clouds.

He recognized her, yet he squinted, unwilling to believe the evidence of his eyes. Queen Victoria parading down the sodden streets of Whitechapel wouldn’t have shocked him more. What business could the young woman have in this soot-smeared place?

She was a country girl. Gently bred. And on the occasion of her twenty-first birthday, the little hellion would become his employer. Though when Leopold Ruthven entrusted Gabe with the running of his publishing enterprise, he never imagined answering to the man’s children one day.

Clarissa Ruthven couldn’t see him here. She wasn’t privy to his history, and if he had his way, she would never know he hailed from these grimy streets.

As surefooted as he’d been as child when he’d served as lookout to a notorious housebreaker, he retreated. One boot placed silently behind the other.

Then the bullying fool made an awful choice. Tucking his head, he hunched his shoulder forward and heaved toward Miss Ruthven. She lifted her mallet for a defensive swing, but the man moved quicker.

Gabe surged forward, one boot slamming down to break the man’s his stride. With a muffled yelp, the fool pitched forward, striking the wet pavement with a satisfying thud.

Clarissa’s mallet whisked through the air, and Gabe arched back just in time to keep the bloody thing from breaking his nose.

“Mr. Adamson?”

Fueled by Pacific Northwest coffee and inspired by multiple viewings of every British costume drama she can get her hands on, USA Today bestselling author Christy Carlyle writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era. She loves heroes who struggle against all odds and heroines who are ahead of their time. A former teacher with a degree in history, she finds there's nothing better than being able to combine her love of the past with a die-hard belief in happy endings. 

Author Links:

Buy Links:
Avon Romance
Barnes & Noble

**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

This book really impressed me!

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Clarissa may be an adult but she doesn't have the freedom she wants or the funds she needs to help her beloved charities. Taking a job at her family's press seems like the only way she can secure her future and help women in need. Falling for the business' manager is just a bonus.

Gabe hates the idea of having Clarissa in his work space, distracting him and everyone else. Sure, she's smart and beautiful and starting to grow on him, but he knows he could never be anything more than an employee to this woman. Yet, he's drawn to Clarissa and watching her put herself in danger is hard to endure. His feelings become something he may not be able to ignore either.

When the pair's unlikely relationship starts to grow into something bigger, so do the problems. Gabe has secrets about his past that he doesn't want to share and it leads to dangerous decisions which could change everything. Can Clarissa be the one to save Gabe from himself?

I had high hopes for this story going into it because I really enjoyed the first two of this series. I didn't know Clarissa's character very well but I did have an opinion of Gabe and I wasn't sure if I would like him very much. He came off in those books as stuffy and dry. Well, I was totally wrong. He was a great male lead and completely the right match for our feisty heroine.

The pacing was steady even though the plot didn't really move much for the first 2/3 of the book. It was more of a character-driven story and I didn't mind that at all. There is some action and even a nice dose of suspense toward the end of the book. Add in the hot sexual tension and there was never a dull moment.

As for the romance, I loved these two together. Their arguments were entertaining and they challenged each other in many ways. They had great chemistry and the love scenes had a lot of spice. Out of the three couples in this series, I think this pair might be my favorite. But I'm excited to see what comes next.

In closing... 
Two hot-headed people fall madly in love. Five suns!

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