Publisher: Spice, Imprint of Harlequin
From the Cover: In Victoria England vice of every kind can be purchased, and Matthew, the Earl of Wallingford, makes certain he avails himself of every possible pleasure. Bored and jaded, he is as well-known for his coldness as for his licentious affairs with beautiful women.
While these numerous dalliances fulfill Matthew's every physical need, they secretly leave him numb and emotionally void. Until one night when he finds himself beaten, eyes bandaged and in the care of a nurse with the voice of an angel - and a gentle touch that soothes the darkness in him and makes him yearn for more.
Yet Jane Rankin is a lowly nurse, considered shy and plain by most. There is no place for her amongst the lords and ladies of the aristocracy - despite Matthew's growing craving for the fire that burns behind her earnest facade. And then there is Matthew's secret. A secret so humiliating and scandalous is could destroy everyone he loves. A sin, he fears, not even the love of a good woman can take away...
***May Contain Spoilers (though I try to avoid all spoilers, beware)***
Lord Matthew Wallingford wants nothing to do with proper society. He's a lost soul, abused and used, and he can only endure when he uses as well, to chase away the demon. He's dirty, sinful, outrageous to society, and that's the way he likes it. No attachments, no strings. If he wants a body, there are plenty available willing to abide his rules. No touching, no bed, and certainly, no words of love. What is love but the confinement that he can't bring himself to endure. He has only seen love once, between Lord Raeburn and Anais, childhood friends turned lovers waiting for the bonds of marriage to claim them. Wallingford has no illusions of marriage for him, he can't begin to imagine himself tied down in the restraining noose of marriage. Especially with the sins he has committed, he is unfit.
Miss Jane Rankin, lady's companion to one Lady Blackwood who has been shunned herself by society in disgrace for having divorced her vicious husband. Jane has little time for the foolish desires that some call love. She's always been a plain Jane, she has no illusions about herself as well as the knowledge that she rarely draws the attention of a roving male eye. But, she's determined to make the best of her world and of her worth. Working as a nurse at the London College Hospital has given her a purpose as well as a skill to allow her independence when Lady Blackwood is no longer with her. And with Anais as her best friend, she'll get to watch true love from afar. She realized long ago that no one in improper society would ever greet her as an equal or truly see the person that she is.
Jane's life abruptly changes when a Lord is brought to her hospital after a mad attack. Matthew is injured and ravaged by fever, and only one voice can penetrate his fevered ramblings and desires, only Jane can bring calm to his body. She's like nothing he has ever heard or felt. As he heals, he realizes that he will never fully recovery without the voice of his angel, Jane. But, can the rake that Wallingford is take plain Jane for what she is? Can he become what his angel of mercy needs? Can they accept each for the other, damaged goods and all?
Sinful by Charlotte Featherstone is the telling of Wallingford's story who we met and loved for his disdain in Addicted. Wallingford is a tortured soul with a secret history. He has never felt love, safety, and peace in his life, making him into the maladjusted man that society finds before them. He hides behind the slick veneer of a wasted life, pleasure bound. Jane is the daughter of an aristocrat thrown from his house when he tires of her mistress mother. Forced to live on the street, and with the death of her mother, sold as if a possession. This she cannot live with and this is what brings her into the employment of Lady Blackwood. She hides behind her plain appearance, unable to let the world see her beauty. When Matthew and Jane discover each other, they bloom together into what could become love. But, Matthew is used to the finer things in life and plain Jane is nothing like what he's had before. Jane has grand expectations for her handsome Lord and she's crushed when Wallingford can't see her true self when it is before his eyes.
Sinful was a very quick read, one that I found impossible to put down. Ms. Featherstone's voice sings from the pages that turn without your knowledge. I was very much looking forward to Wallingford's story with the completion of Addicted, and I was not disappointed. Thank you Ms. Featherstone for the Sinful breadcrumbs. It was not at all what I expected it to be, and my heart broke for Wallingford. He is very much the tortured soul, but with a good heart if only the pieces can be put together and healed. It is fear and disdain that drives Wallingford's destructive behavior. He finds himself in impossible situations throughout his life that are not of his own making, making the reader love him all the more. This is a beautifully told story and I've found once again another book to add to my keeper's shelf. This book is the continuing story from Addicted, but easily read as a stand alone. If you'd like background information and an introduction to Wallingford as well as a glimpse of Jane, I would read Addicted first. I highly recommend Sinful to lovers of romance, historical or not, in need of well spun story. Warning: Burning hot romance, sensually told, and tugs at your heart strings.
I received this book for review from the publisher, Spice, Harlequin and Net Galley. All opinions stated are my own.