19 July 2016
Once Upon a Moonlit Night by Elizabeth Hoyt (Maiden Lane #10.5)
From New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Hoyt comes a delightful Maiden Lane novella that begins once upon a moonlit night—and ends wickedly, wonderfully ever after...
Hippolyta Royle is running for her life. Pursued by hounds on a cold rainy night, the heiress flags down a passing carriage and throws herself at the mercy of the coach's occupant. Whoever this handsome traveler may be, he is her only hope to escape a terrible fate. But should he agree to escort her to safety, he's in for much more than he bargained for.
At first Matthew Mortimer doesn't believe Hippolyta's story, that she's a fabulously wealthy heiress who's been kidnapped. He assumes she's a beggar, an actress, or worse. But once his new travel companion washes the mud from her surprisingly lovely face, and they share a breathtaking kiss, there is no turning back.
Once Upon a Moonlit Night picks up immediately after Hippolyta Royce leaves the narrative of Duke of Sin on horseback, in the dark, barefoot, and in her shift.
(Let me explain...no there is too much, let me sum up: in Duke of Sin, the sociopathic Duke of Montgomery, his plan to blackmail Hippolyta into marriage having been foiled by his housekeeper Bridget, has kidnapped Hippolyta to "ruin" her in Society's eyes (and to annoy Bridget, who he wants to shag senseless) so Bridget craftily, but hastily, set Hippolyta free in the middle of the Yorkshire countryside before laying a false trail and continuing the narrative of that book. It's a good book, go read it.)
Hippolyta intends to catch the post back to London from the local village but is instead picked up by a passing carriage containing one Matthew Mortimer, a world traveler who has recently inherited an earldom, and an animal (no spoilers). After much bickering, some humor, and travelling the two of them make it back to London.
This isn't a perfect novella - Matthew is kind of a jackass when he appears and there's a secondary mystery that isn't necessary. But this is a sweet story. If you'd thought there was a bit of wrap-up missing from Duke of Sin (as I did) this will take care of it. I do wish this was a full novel since I think there's more to flesh out in Hippolyta's story. She's a biracial heroine in a historical romance (her mother is Indian) and I feel like she got short-changed.
Also, petition to have D'Arque's granny in more books.
Dear FTC: I bought my copy of this novella.