There were women Colin counted as friends, and then there were women he bedded. Anytime he’d allowed the two groups to overlap, it meant trouble. Minerva Highwood had meant nothing but trouble to him, since the very first.
But by God, he’d return the favor.
Do you remember Colin from my Tempting Teaser of A Night to Surrender? No? Well, let me refresh your memory. Colin is an unrepentant rake. He enjoys women and they enjoy him. He is arrogant and can come across as quite an ass. But what does he care? The women love him just as he loves them. He might have a tendency to make a mess of things but he always manages to put on a charming smile and turn the situation to his advantage.
”You have no compunction ruining your reputation, nor those of your sisters. But have you given a moment’s thought to mine?”
“To your what? Your reputation?” She laughed. “But your reputation is terrible.”
He colored, slightly. “I don’t know that it’s terrible.”
She put her left forefinger to her right thumb. “Point the first. You’re a shameless rake.”
“Yes.” He drew out the word.
She touched her index finger. “Point the second. Your name is synonymous with destruction. Bar fights, scandals…literal explosions. Wherever you go, mayhem follows.”
“I don’t really try at that part. It just…happens.”
That is Colin, the lovable ass.
Minerva is content to fade into the background and concentrate on her study of rocks. She’s attracted to Colin–what female wouldn’t be?–but he flusters her and they don’t really have any common interests, so she doesn’t have to suffer his presence often. We got a hint of a spark on Colin’s end in A Night to Surrender, but nothing really concrete until now. When Minerva hears a rumor about Colin’s intention to end his financial problems by proposing to her sister, she knows she has to do something to prevent it. Her sister means a lot to her and Minerva is adamant that Colin is not for her. So what’s a girl to do but convince the man there’s another way to fix his financial woes?
“That is brave of you, pet. Offering yourself to wed me in your sister’s stead. But truly, I–”
“My name is Minerva. I’m not your pet. And you’re deranged if you think I’d ever marry you.”
“But I though you just said–”
“Run away with you, yes. Marry you?” She made an incredulous noise in her throat. “Please.”
I completely fell in love with Minerva and Colin together. This is an “on the road” sort of romance, so we were able to pluck the characters from their usual habitat, shake them up a bit, and watch them try to adapt. Their journey was an adventure at its finest, with obstacles and amusing shenanigans cropping up, usually at the behest of Colin. He loves to invent stories and make Minerva go along with them. She is so delightful to tease and he loves nothing more than forcing her to break out of her shell. Their relationship was not without its bumps as Colin stayed true to form and couldn’t help being the ass that he is, especially in the beginning.
”You’re ruining this journey,” she all but shouted. “You ruin everything.”
“Well, I beg your pardon, but I believe you signed on to be ruined!”
Slowly we saw a genuine friendship build between them. It was lovely to see how completely won over Colin was, however unintentionally it was achieved. Colin and Minerva fit together so well. She had her insecurities and hesitations, but Colin could be a force to be reckoned with. He knew, always he knew, that she was something special. He fell like a tree and I absolutely love when romances show the protagonists so slain by love.
This was a fabulous read. I felt like the setup for the next book was a tad heavy handed, but I did enjoy getting a peek at everyone’s reactions to Colin and Minerva’s disappearance. Everything I saw from them validated Minerva’s worries about the believability of a future with Colin and made her insecurities feel more real and sad. But really, the sequel bait was a small complaint in an overwhelmingly wonderful read. I cannot wait for the next book.
“Don’t worry,” he said. “This is ideal, you’ll see. We do everything backward. It’s just how we are. We began with an elopement. After that, we made love. Next, we’ll progress to courting. When we’re old and silver-haired, perhaps we’ll finally get around to flirtation. We’ll make fond eyes at each other over our mugs of gruel. We’ll be the envy of couples half our age.”