Supremely sensible Emmaline Dove wishes to share her etiquette expertise with London’s readers, and as secretary to Viscount Marlowe, Emma knows she’s in the perfect position to make her dreams come true. Marlowe might be a rake with a preference for cancan dancers and an aversion to matrimony, but he is also the city’s leading publisher, and Emma is convinced he’s her best chance to see her work in print…until she discovers the lying scoundrel has been rejecting her manuscripts without ever reading a single page!So when I first read the blurb I thought "Oh no, it's going to be a redo of Guilty Pleasures", it may be one of my favorites, but I wasn't interested in rehashing it.
As a publisher, Harry finds reading etiquette books akin to slow, painful torture. Besides, he can’t believe his proper secretary has the passion to write anything worth reading. Then she has the nerve to call him a liar, and even resigns without notice, leaving his business in uproar and his honor in question. Harry decides it’s time to teach Miss Dove a few things that aren’t proper. But when he kisses her, he discovers that his former secretary has more passion and fire than he ever imagined, for one luscious taste of her lips only leaves him hungry for more…
Ah, but it's not a redo. The only thing resembling GP is the employer/employee theme. You can't tell by the cover art this book is set in 1893 London. Emma Dove is Lord Harry Marlowe's incredibly efficient secretary, keeping his publishing empire and his personal life on schedule. Emma wants to be the Martha Stewart of the Turn of the Century, without the bad temper and jail time. Harry can't imagine anyone being remotely interested in what Miss Dove has to offer. Until she quits and takes her ideas to the competition and all of London's talking about the amazing Mrs. Bartleby (Emma's alter ego).
At first their relationship is one of indifference, moves toward adversarial and then slowly grows into love. Ms. Guhrke does a nice job developing the characters, you watch as Emma outgrows her strict upbringing to become her own person. And you understand why Harry's past has created a man who hates societal structure and rules.
A character driven story--this one really worked for me.