Historical Romance Month continues this week on Nesie’s Place with the work of author Natasha Blackthorne in the spotlight! Natasha’s Fashionably Impure and Intimate Secrets series will be featured.
“The Delicate Matter of Lady Blayne (Intimate Secrets #1)”
Genre: Historical Romance/Gothic/Scottish
Release Date: June 12, 2015
Catriona, Lady Blayne is recovering from a most delicate situation. Driven to the brink of madness by love for her late husband, a young man too ill to meet the demands of the marriage bed, she teeters on the brink of scandal. Now she must face the carnal temptation personified by her husband’s cousin and heir, James, the new Lord Blayne. His sensual appeal, contrasted with his iron will and stern self-mastery fascinates her. She can’t help but ask: what if sensual indulgence is the only way out of her darkness? However, she is not free to explore the idea. There are those who seek to control the young widow, keeping her imprisoned through emotional manipulation and physical coercion. With her growing restlessness, the very people she loves and trusts the most are becoming an increasing danger to her sanity and safety.
James is determined to protect Catriona—but he will not soften to her again. She rejected him once and James can’t risk losing his heart a second time. As heir to the Blayne baronetcy, he must marry a woman socially and politically appropriate. Such a scandalously self-indulgent lady as Catriona won’t do. Yet the pretty girl he once knew has grown into a beautiful, curvaceous woman that is every man’s dream.
Erotic Romance; Regency Historical; Elements of Sensual Domination, Spanking and Light Bondage; Rubenesque Heroine; Character-Driven Story with Angst and Strong Internal Conflicts; Standalone Long Novel.
Reader Advisory: The characters discuss issues of abuse which took place in the heroine’s backstory. Frank sexual language & period appropriate sexual slang and general bedchamber naughtiness.
June 12, 2015
Touches ALL of your emotions!
I love it when I finish a story and I have a big grin on my face! This is an excellent read!
However, I wasn’t smiling for quite a bit of the story. My heart was breaking for Catriona “Sunny” Blayne. Abandoned by her strict, religious parents, the common born Sunny is “left in the care” of the wealthy Blayne family. Everyone feeds off her warm, sunny personality…hence the nickname, ‘Sunny.’ Two young Blayne men want Sunny. The manly James, who’s in love with her and the sickly Freddy. James makes a move first, but it’s Freddy that gets Sunny to the marriage altar. Heartbroken, James goes off to sea to fight for honor and glory, and determined to never fall in love again.
While James is away, Freddy succumbs to his illnesses; which leads James to return home to lead the family, and eventually become the Earl. However, to keep his distance from Sunny, James does not return to the family estate, but instead resides in London. Something he will come to regret.
Called to the estate by his aunt (Freddy’s mother) to discuss sending Sunny away to rest and heal, James is taken aback to find the once young, carefree, girl he fell in love with is now a full figured, beautiful woman…who’s going insane.
I have to admit, upon first meeting Sunny in the garden, her behavior had me teetering between laughter and concern. She goes from being calm and introspective around the roses, to near hysteria when she realizes James is there and they are…alone. My first thought? “This broad is crazy as hell.” But then you pick up on her desperation and frustration, and you realize you need to know what is wrong with this woman, how did she get this way, and is there hope for her sanity.
James has all these thoughts, and little else, especially after questioning his Aunt Frances. She insists that what ails Sunny is “a delicate matter” best left to the ladies…and Sunny’s doctor, Meeker. The doctor who didn’t bother to show up for the meeting with James and Aunt Frances. Knowing that he’s being purposely left in the dark, James vetoes any plans to take Sunny anywhere until he speaks with her doctor.
And the battle of wills begins.
Everyone seems to know what’s best for Sunny. Her mother-in-law wants her “well” and returned as her companion…the daughter she never had. The doctor wants to whisk her out of the country for rest and better access to the latest treatments and therapies. Or so he says. James doesn’t trust Meeker or his aunt, and feels he’s duty-bound to protect Sunny. She is, after all, his cousin’s widow and can never be anything more as he’s hardened his heart to her. Or so he says. What does Sunny want? If only she knew.
At times, we see glimpses of Catriona. We understand her pain. We want her to get better. But those moments are few, because the psychological undoing of Sunny has been brutal. The second class status of women and societal mores of the times, coupled with Sunny’s strict, joyless upbringing of sacrifice and denial, compounded by her own guilt and self-loathing adds up to a monumental case of psychosis that would probably drive anyone mad. But, do mad people know they’re mad? The only thing I feel Sunny is “guilty” of is WANTING…yet she constantly parrots the admonishments of Meeker (I just can’t bring myself to call him Dr.) that her wicked, wanton nature of self indulgence and personal perversions will be her undoing. She’s broken and unseemly. She must SUBMIT to his care in order to get better.(Personal perversions? Yeah, that’s the pot calling the kettle black!) However, Sunny does speak up enough for herself for James to understand that she wants to go away and be out of Meeker’s reach. James grants her requests and personally accompanies her. (The SCANDAL of it all!)
Sunny begins to heal slowly, but it seems the better she gets, the worse James gets. He is in total awe of her and bliss with her, even though he continues to insist (to himself) that he does not love her, and they have no future together. Sunny is unsuitable for an Earl’s wife…but how about as a mistress? Would he dare? Their sex scenes are super hot and super steamy, but it seems to be James who’s unable to maintain control. The anger that he has held towards those who kept her as a virtual prisoner now turns inwards on his own dark soul. Isn’t he manipulating Sunny? Controlling her for his benefit and pleasure? Does he not crave her submission and will do anything to hang on to it? Of course, by this time, Sunny does a 180 and changes the game! LOL!
Just as I think I have this one all figured out, I look down and find out I’m only at 54% completion! Curse you, Natasha Blackthorne! My nerves will never survive this! LOL!
There are twists and surprises to make you sit up and say, “Whaaaat?” There are tender moments you’ll never want to end. There are moments when you’ll want to stand up and applaud Sunny! And, there are moments so vile and vindictive, you will find yourself sneering as you read them.
As characters go, I liked both Sunny and James. The times in which they lived, the families into which they were born, and the manipulations of others shaped their lives…much like any of us. But, can removing the manipulations of others let them grow into who they were meant to be…or who they need to be?
There are plenty of other supporting players. Meeker, whom I loathe, and Aunt Frances, whom I still haven’t decided on. I don’t feel she was a party to the evil done to Sunny, but she did have her own agenda. Did she turn a blind eye to get her way in the end or was she truly that naive and taken in by Meeker? This is a book #1 – will we see Aunt Frances again? De we really want to? I tired early on of dealing with the “ghost of Freddy.” To be fair, it wasn’t entirely Sunny’s fault that she was “seeing” him, but still. The more I heard about him, the more I felt he was an ass. And, I was right – called it! LOL!
This read is about the healing of Sunny, but it’s also about the healing of James…and he didn’t even know he needed healing. This story will trigger all your emotions, good and bad…and it is SO very worth it!
Natasha is sponsoring a Rafflecopter where THREE lucky winners will score books! Enter today!
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About the Author
Escape into the past with intensely erotic, emotionally driven love stories. Natasha Blackthorne writes character-focused historical erotica romance featuring strong internal conflicts played out in non-traditional and unconventional situations. Her stories are most frequently about the intimate journey of the characters as they learn to open their hearts to love.
Her heroines are not perfect ladies. They are wildflowers and wallflowers who enjoy flirting with the forbidden. Whether they are bold or shy, her heroines’ strong desires and deep emotions drive the plot and drive their heroes to the point of no return.
“I haven’t been disappointed with a Natasha Blackthorne historical romance as of yet…the men, yes..they are strong and dominant, but they also support their women in everything. These men are written with strength and purpose… Thank you Natasha for helping me love historical romance once again.” ~ Salacious Reads
“Natasha Blackthorne has become one of my favorite authors, I love her wonderfully sweet, strong, terribly damaged characters.” ~ Kimberly, a reader.