THE HARLOT COUNTESS – Joanna Shupe
Wicked Deceptions , Book 2
London, December 1819
Ten years ago during her debut to Society, Margaret Neeley was lured outside by a man with evil intent. Maggie rebuffed him, actually fought him off, but it showed. The next day, she learned he didn't just lie to get her outside, he lied to everyone that it was her idea. She was shunned by all, even by the man she thought liked her…and should have trusted her. But he gave her no chance. She became known as the Half-Irish Harlot. The family moved back home to the village of Walsingham where Maggie married the elderly Baron Hawkins to repair the family name somewhat, and to give her younger sister a chance to find happiness.
Over the years Maggie has worked and studied to perfect her art, even with a stint in Paris. Now she is a widow and has returned to London. Maggie helped a friend from home establish an art shop in London where she can sell her wares. Her political cartoons have gained some notoriety. She spoofs the foibles of society, and especially the youthful follies of a parliamentary rising star, Simon Barrett, the Earl of Winchester, the very man who broke her heart those years ago. However, no one knows the real identity of the artist Lemarc, nor that he is a she.
With all that has been between them, when Maggie and Simon meet, there is still a mutual attraction, but can they overcome the mistrusts and betrayals? If you have read book one in the series, THE COURTESAN DUCHESS, you will recognize Simon as a friend of the duke and duchess, who also appear in this episode.
THE HARLOT COUNTESS contains a lot of lustful thoughts and sexy love scenes, but there are also characters to like—and dislike—and a good story well told. The suspense is not only of the will he-will she variety, for an enemy lurks in the background. This is a fun series, and I look forward to June's THE LADY HELLION.