A Wicked Way to Win an Earl (Sutherland Scandals, #1) By Anna Bradley

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A tantalizing new Regency romance filled with the most elegant society—and the most forbidden desires…

England, 1811. Delia Somerset despises the privileged ton, but her young sister, Lily, is desperate to escape their family’s scandalous past and join high society. Unwilling to upset her sister, Delia reluctantly agrees to attend a party at the Sutherland estate—and avoid the gossip at all costs.

Alec Sutherland is known as a hot-headed scoundrel, but nothing gets a rise out of him as much as the news that his brother desires Delia’s hand in marriage. She is, after all, the daughter of the London belle who soiled their family name. He’s determined to ruin her reputation as well, in the most delicious way possible. It’s only a matter of time before he can woo her with his irresistible advances.

As Delia devilishly plays along in Alec’s game, determined to prove the joke is on him, they inch ever closer to repeating history. And in this game of seductive glances, scandalous whispers, and old debts, the outcome might be much more than either of them anticipated…
A Wicked Way to Win an Earl (Sutherland Scandals, #1)

Thank you to PENGUIN and Netgalley for providing a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 stars

When I first read the blurb to A Wicked Way to Win an Earl, I thought I was in for a playful read. While there were some parts that were playful, there was also an intensity to this story I wasn’t expecting. Let’s start at the beginning where we’re given a front row seat to the scandal that plagues the Somerset girls. From the prologue, it’s clear Millicent was very much aware that her marriage to Lord Carlisle would be a miserable one. Instead of yielding, she bucks society, leaving everything behind for true love. I don’t think this portion was necessary to the rest of the story; a mere mention of the event would have sufficed. Having said that, now that I’ve read it, I think Millicent and Captain Somerset are worthy of a short story of their own.

It’s clear how rakish Alec Sutherland is from the opening scene of this book, and one of the things I loved was that he was rakish until the very end. He didn’t meet Delia and instantly change his ways; he simply redirected his rogue-ish attentions to her. It was a long time before I believed his infatuation for Delia became genuine affection and love. This hero is alpha to the very core; if you’re a fan of that, this book is right up your alley. There were some moments when Alec opened his mouth and I actually cringed, thinking there was absolutely no redemption for this man. In the end, of course there was. The author really took her time developing his character, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that. I loved Delia from the first page. She was able to hold her own with Alec, and that was no small feat. He was out for blood, and it was Delia’s he wanted. She tried to turn the tables on him, and she was definitely a worthy opponent in their battle. She knew exactly how to play the game, and her quiet strength really came to the surface when they were sparring. Family was very important to her, and like her mother, she wasn’t going to define herself by what society thought. I really like that for all her inexperience and having never been out on the ton, Delia knew Alec wanted her. I always find it eye-rolling when a heroine has no idea the hero is lusting after them, especially when they’ve made it clear. Sexual tension radiated from every scene Alec and Delia had together; they were helpless to stop it even when they weren’t alone. Being that the majority of this book took place at a house party, there were a lot of secondary characters. They were fleshed out well. It was easy to keep them straight, and they actually had places in the Sutherland’s lives that made sense. Alec’s mother was a surprise for me – it could have been so easy to fall into the trap of being a bitter woman because of her circumstances, but she wasn’t, and the story was better for it. I especially liked her dynamic with Delia and her sister, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of that.

I loved absolutely every moment of this story. Before A Wicked Way to Win an Earl, I can’t remember the last time I stayed up all night to read a book. The tension ratcheted up with every page, and I just could not put it down. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, particularly to see how Millicent’s mother will treat the Somerset girls now that they’ll be out among society. If you’re a fan of historical romance novels and alpha heroes, this book should be on the top of your to-be-read pile.

This review was originally posted at Badass Book Reviews. Romance, Historical Fiction, Romance

I am speechless right now. That was amazing. A new to me author and I couldn't put the book down, as far as I can tell it was the authors debut work! And it was incredible! You know when you're reading a really good book and you keep on having to stop reading for sec and just absorb the absolute genius your experiencing. As far as blurbs go I was intrigued, the hero and heroines parents would have been married had the heroines mother not jilted the heroes father. So obviously there would be loads of tension but the story becomes even more delicious when the two characters begin a sort of game all with the goal of exacting revenge for their parents mistakes.

I have to give a special mention to Alec the hero because it has been a while since I've read about a hero who felt so deeply for the heroine, he was driven to madness. Because that's what happened Alec's, love and lust for Delia drove him crazy. He wanted her but felt she was unsuitable but he loathed the idea of her being with anyone else! I love that about him, he was darkly seductive and just so damn persistent in his unconscious pursuit of Delia!

“He didn’t realize he’d stopped walking. He took hold of her upper arm and turned her to face him, but resisted the urge to tip her chin up with his finger so she couldn’t look away from him. “I’m nothing like my father, Miss Somerset. If I admire something, I know why I admire it. If I desire something, I know why I desire it, and I have it.”

Delia along with her sister Lily arrival in Alec's and his family's home, brings a wave of upheaval. Mainly because as soon as Alec sees Delia, he wants her, but there's also the matter of his brother Robyn being besotted with her. Delia's character was wild and nonconforming which was exactly what Alec needed because he was in danger of falling into the trap his late father had left him.

I've read a few books recently with characters who are tortured by their pasts which can overwhelm the story if the characters is constantly in a state of self hate and pity. Thankfully that didn't happen here. The story was sexually charged and drenched in angst but there were some truly entertaining moments I can't tell you how many times I was in fits of laughter especially with the dinner scene and Delia having to sit next to the deaf major.

I'm gonna stress my love for this book again, and tell you're if you're ever gonna take a recommendation from me it should be this one!

Romance, Historical Fiction, Romance

Oh yeah ! I liked this book so much, I wanted to do a happy dance !

This novel was captivating from the prologue to the very end. I grew to love these characters so much that I was a bit sad when the story ended. It was also only until I was about a quarter way through the novel that I realized that the heroine Delia is the older sister of the heroine from More or Less a Marchioness. Delia has become one of my all time favourite heroines and the manwhore H Alec, the Earl of Carlisle, will go down as one of the most infamously, wickedly sexy book boyfriends of mine:

I was caught up in not just the splendid unfolding romance storyline, but also the author's use of simple but effective imagery: the game of chess metaphor and the symbolism of the roses in the H's garden. The MC's interaction becomes compared to a game of chess from the very start of their dramatic encounter, when Delia spies the rogue H leaning up against a tree ( at night ) waiting for the village skank Maggie to polish his penis. Delia, with her innocent sweet mind, is disgusted with Alec's behaviour and she tells him that after Maggie runs away. Normally, I would be irritated or disgusted with a scene like this but it was portrayed in such a funny way that all I did was laugh. There was no penis polishing done by Maggie because she ran away as soon as she saw Delia walking towards them. In this opening nighttime scene, Delia's face is covered in mud and she's looking bedraggled because the coach she's travelling in has just had it's axle broken. Delia's left her sister Lily in the coach and is walking towards the nearest inn when she comes across Alec. She doesn't know that he's supposed to be her host for the next 2 weeks since she's only acquainted with his 2 sisters and his younger brother Robyn.

The heroine is not afraid to give him a piece of her mind and that was thoroughly enjoyable to read:

“Would you kindly stop interrupting me?” Delia nearly shouted the words. There was a pause, then,

“Why should I? You interrupted me.” For a moment she wasn’t sure what he meant, but then she felt her cheeks go hot and she knew they’d turned scarlet.

“I’m sorry to have interrupted your”—she gestured with her hands—“your fornication, but that’s no reason to—”

“Fornication?” He found this very funny indeed. “Did you just call it fornication?”

“Well, yes. What of it?”

“Oh, nothing. It’s just very, ah, biblical of you.”

Anna Bradley. A Wicked Way to Win an Earl (Kindle Locations 208-214). Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition.

Delia was full of wit without being shrewish and annoying. I also enjoyed the scene where he offers to help her and reassures her that's she safe with him:

When she didn’t immediately follow, he jerked around. He must have read her thoughts on her face because his arrogant gaze moved deliberately from the top of her bedraggled bonnet down over her muddy traveling dress, and came to rest at last on her ruined boots.

“Believe me, Miss Somerset, you are perfectly safe with me.” Delia gasped in outrage. He was insulting her? She didn’t need him to remind her she looked a perfect fright.

“Such a gallant thing to say.” She had to struggle to keep her temper. “But perhaps you’re not accustomed to the company of ladies who are fully dressed.”

Anna Bradley. A Wicked Way to Win an Earl (Kindle Locations 237-242). Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition.

Alec thinks Delia is plain or ugly since he can't see her face beneath the layers of mud, so he's not attracted to her at first. Some people will find this horribly inexcusable of him, but hey, I'm very shallow myself. I totally understand the ability of one individual to not ever be attracted to ugly people. However, Delia is not ugly; in fact, she's astonishingly beautiful and looks just like her late mother Lady Millicent. There's a romantic backstory about how Millicent had been engaged to marry Alec's cold father but had jilted the rich handsome Earl because she'd fallen in love with Captain Somerset ( Delia's dad ). Everyone in the Ton had been appalled that the most beautiful debutante of the Season had jilted the most eligible bachelor. The scandal is still talked about even though Millicent had left the Ton to marry her true love and live in rustic happiness in Surrey. The H is unhappy about Delia and Lily's attendance at his family's 2 week house party, because his younger brother Robyn is infatuated with Delia and Alec thinks she's unsuitable. Alec isn't too worried about the situation at first, because he thinks Delia isn't pretty ( he hasn't seen her properly ) and the discussion he shares with his best friend Archie is quite illuminating:

Archie grimaced. “Clever, sharp-tongued, and plain? Dreadful combination.”

“I never said she was plain.” That blush that had stained her cheeks right before she retired this evening … “I said I couldn’t see her well enough to tell.”

“Oh, she’s plain. Or at least she doesn’t have the legendary Chase beauty. You’d have noticed that. What color are her eyes? Does she have des yeux de feu bleu?”
Alec stared blankly at his friend. “What the devil are you on about?”

“Come, now, Carlisle. Surely you’ve heard of ‘the eyes of blue fire’?

“Right. That’s the one. Back when Millicent Chase was the toast of the ton, the gentlemen swore her eyes were such a beautiful, perfect blue, they could turn a man to stone.”

“Part of him, anyway,” Alec said dryly. Archie laughed.

“They used to take bets at White’s on who would be the next to fall under the spell of des yeux de feu bleu. I recall my father falling into raptures about Millicent Chase’s eyes. He was one of her suitors, you know.”

Anna Bradley. A Wicked Way to Win an Earl (Kindle Locations 698-702). Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition.

When Alec does see Delia in the morning, he's so stunned by her beauty that the cynical rake becomes tongue tied:

“I’m surprised to see you up this early, my lord. Not very fashionable, is it?”
Delia cringed a little when she heard the bite in her voice. She’d promised Lily she’d do her best to keep her tongue in check. But he didn’t answer. The uncomfortable silence continued to stretch between them until at last Delia peeked at him from the corner of her eye. He was staring at her. In fact, he was studying her with such furious intensity she felt a flush begin to rise from her chest into her cheeks. She jerked her gaze away. What in the world was he staring at?

Anna Bradley. A Wicked Way to Win an Earl (Kindle Locations 740-745). Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition.

Alec ( perhaps because he's just as shallow as yours truly ) is spellbound by Delia's physical appearance and I enjoyed that so much ! It's fun to see a H be the one who gets to marvel at the magnificent splendour of the heroine's beauty; far too often it is the heroine who goes into raptures over the H's manly charms. Alec is drawn to Delia against his will and needs to keep reminding himself that he is supposed to propose to a spoilt cold debutante called Lady Lisette. But the heroine has such an impact on him that he keeps doing what he's not supposed to do when he's around her. She's got him so wrapped up in knots that he even spouts poetry without even being aware of it ! Lol.

“Because your eyes are so unusual, and so extraordinarily beautiful.” Oh, my. Delia’s breath stopped in her chest. She opened her mouth to reply, but no words emerged. She hadn’t been expecting a compliment, especially not one so lovely.

“Speechless, Miss Somerset? It’s true, you know.” He laughed softly, but he didn’t appear to be amused anymore. “Your eyes could move the most jaded rogue to poetry. Eyes such a dark blue they’re nearly indigo. Eyes like glimmering sapphires. Eyes like pools of water, endlessly blue, and endlessly deep.” He drew in a sharp breath and continued almost angrily, as though the words were dragged out of the depths of his body against his will.

Anna Bradley. A Wicked Way to Win an Earl (Kindle Locations 1450-1455). Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition.

The MC's soon engage in a little game with each other where each is determined to outplay and outwit the other. The author uses the game of chess metaphor to explore this part of the storyline and both characters are in full battle, with each side experiencing minor victories before the conclusion of their little game. Alec is also extremely jealous of the attention that Robyn is giving to Delia and the H seems to forget that he is expected to propose to Lady Lisette. There's no relationship between Alec and Lady Lisette. He's never been intimate with her and her dragon faced mother is her chaperone at the house party. The jealousy trope plays a large role in this novel and I must admit to having a weakness for possessive, jealous and growly alpha H's like Alec. Alec spends a lot of time in this novel separating Delia from his brother Robyn and the funny thing is that the H is unaware that he's acting like a bratty little dog, pissing over what he thinks belongs to him:

The H actually keeps telling himself that he's only playing a game ( the game of chess metaphor ) with the wily chit Delia and he refuses to admit that he's jealous until it hits him in the face, when he sees Robyn's arms around the heroine. This situation actually happens quite innocently, because Robyn is merely teaching Delia about the art of archery but Alec flies into a jealous rage that he's forced to hide because they're all in public. The author's use of the rose symbolism was also very romantic and beautiful. There's a lovely scene between the MC's in the flower garden, where Delia tells Alec that she thinks his favourite rose is the mature red one that's in full bloom. She makes that guess because she's comparing roses to his preference in women and she believes that he likes the mature, experienced women like Maggie the village wench. However, Alec surprises her and in a poignant and understated erotic manner, he looks her right in the eye and says:

“Here.” He tightened his fingers around her wrist and drew her forward, close beside him. “This is my favorite.”

This rose hadn’t yet fully opened. The outermost petals were still gathered around the center of the bloom, but the barest hint of deep gold was visible inside, peeking shyly out from the protective embrace of the velvety cream-colored petals.

“So delicate,” Alec murmured. “Like honey in a bowl of cream.” He reached out and stroked a finger against one of the milky white petals. When he drew his hand away, a drop of dew clung to his fingertip. Still clasping her wrist, Alec turned her hand up and slowly drew his damp finger across the center of her palm. Miss Somerset gasped softly. Desire shot through Alec, so powerful it nearly sent him to his knees. If he ran his tongue over her soft palm, what would she do? Would she cry out? What would she taste like? Honey and cream. Alec looked into her face. Her lips had parted and her breathing was shallow and quick. His own breathing had gone ragged. But her eyes … they were enormous in her pale face, and though they were soft with desire, he also saw uncertainty there. It cleared his head just enough for him to be able to look closely at her. She seemed very young, standing in the moonlight, gazing at him with wide eyes. She was young, she’d recently lost both parents, and despite the dangerous game she was playing, she was an innocent. His jaw went tight and a surge of shame dampened the desire raging inside him.

Anna Bradley. A Wicked Way to Win an Earl (Kindle Locations 1620-1631). Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition.

There's a lot of angst and conflict between Delia and Alec which all climaxes in a rather hateful scene when the heroine overhears an argument between the H and his brother Robyn. Alec had become so threatened by the effect that Delia was having on him that he wanted her gone from the mansion and back to Surrey. He's also determined to ensure that Robyn stays away from Delia that he says a lot of horrible, cruel things about how unsuitable she will be as a prospective sister in law. Delia overhears this argument and is understandably hurt because Alec had also made some scathing comments about her parents. The game between the MC's is amped up after this scene because Delia is determined to flirt with Robyn just to annoy Alec. The H is almost driven mad with jealousy and lust and I have to say that Delia won this round of their little game:

“Indeed? How romantic.” That lazy smile started at the corner of his mouth again, but his dark eyes were hot with fury. He gazed at her for a moment, then slowly teased that long finger across her cheek.

“What other intimacies did you permit?” She couldn’t look away from him. Delia tried to gather her wits, but all of her attention was focused on that warm, seeking finger.
“What do you mean?” Her heart hammered as he moved his hand so his palm cupped her face. He brushed his fingertips lightly across the shell of her ear and the sensitive skin behind it, and leaned forward so his breath stirred the tendrils of hair at her temple. He pressed his lips softly against her ear.
“I think you know. Did he touch you?” Delia closed her eyes at the sensation of his hot breath teasing her skin. He smelled faintly of woodsmoke and fine whiskey.

“Yes.” She tried for a firm tone, but her voice emerged faint and breathless. “Of—of course he did. He took my arm.” Some strong emotion surged through his body. He was so close to her now Delia felt an echo of it low in her own belly. The tip of his tongue grazed her earlobe. Delia jumped in shock and then shuddered with pleasure. “Oh, don’t,” she pleaded in a sudden panic. He let out a ragged breath.
“Don’t what?” His voice had gone husky, but it still vibrated with anger. “Don’t touch you?” His hand drifted down until it reached the small of her back. He held her body tightly against his own as one hard thigh moved between her legs to press against her through her skirts. “Don’t put my mouth on you?” His lips roamed deliberately from her ear across her cheek and then down to her throat. “Or don’t ask any more questions?” His mouth stopped at the soft skin between her neck and her shoulder and nipped lightly.

“Did you let my brother kiss you?” Delia couldn’t speak. She was drowning. She cursed both him and herself even as she wrapped her arms around his neck, desperate to stay afloat. He groaned low in his chest. “Answer me, Delia.”

Anna Bradley. A Wicked Way to Win an Earl (Kindle Locations 2845-2852). Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition.

This was a fabulous story filled with conflict, lust, forbidden feelings and lots of delicious angst. Alec was a fantastic, flawed H that I loved. He developed from a cocky, arrogant and entitled asshole into a man who was fighting to become a better human being than his cold and haughty late father. The author portrayed a man who actually developed as time passed and it's this humanizing element that drew me the most. I am always magnetized by H's who start off as egotistical jerks but who evolve during the course of the story, especially when this evolution is due to the effect of the heroine. A perfect romance novel is all about the evolution and humanizing of the MC's. There's a funny scene at the ball where Alec destroys Lady Lisette's hopes for a marriage proposal because he realizes that Delia's the only woman he wants. The MC's eventually consummate their relationship towards the end of the story and Alec asks Delia to trust him right after they make love. Delia is unaware that he intends to propose to her the next day so she does what most heroines do: she runs away to her home in Surrey. Alec goes to London where he thinks she'll be awaiting him and he's angry when she's not there:

“Delia has returned to Surrey. Why?”
Eleanor shot to her feet at the mention of Delia’s name. Her hand fluttered nervously at her throat. “Alec—” But Alec’s eyes were fixed on Lily, who sat quietly in a chair in front of the fire, her hands clenched in her lap. “Why?” Lily paused before answering. “She was needed at home,” she said after a moment, but she didn’t meet his eyes.
Alec ran a shaking hand down his face. “She’s needed here, damn you. I need her.”

Anna Bradley. A Wicked Way to Win an Earl (Kindle Locations 3782-3786). Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition.

Alec then saddles his stallion and chases after Delia, like a true H. Their reunion scene is totally, OTT romantic:

He took a deep shuddering breath and clasped her hands in his own. His were shaking. “And why,” he asked urgently, pressing one of her hands hard against his chest, over his heart, “would I allow you to give everything to me? Why would I take such a gift from you?” Delia felt the strong beat of his heart under her palm. She searched the dark pools of his eyes, and what she saw in them thrilled her. “Because I love you, you maddening woman.” He brushed his lips tenderly against hers.

“Enough to chase me all the way to Surrey?” She gave him a tremulous smile.

“Much farther than that.” His dark eyes grew serious. “I would chase you to the ends of the earth, Delia.” Then his mouth was on hers in earnest, desperate and demanding, and Delia held him as tightly as she’d ever held anything in her life, her mouth melting under his. He finally released her lips to press his forehead against hers. “You’ll marry me, of course. You have to.” He laid a possessive hand on her belly. “I’ve compromised you, and since I plan to do it again and again, you’d better become the new Countess of Carlisle as soon as possible.”

Delia leaned back in the circle of his arms so she could see his face.

“What a scandalous thing to say, my lord. Why, the ton would be shocked. They’ll gossip for months about us, you know. They’ll claim the Somerset women have put a curse on the Sutherland men. They’ll say I bewitched you.” She wrapped her arms around his waist and laid her head against his chest. Alec tightened his arms around her.

“You have bewitched me. I’m utterly and completely in your thrall.” He pressed his face into her hair, closed his eyes, and drew in her honey scent. “It must be the eyes of blue fire.”

Anna Bradley. A Wicked Way to Win an Earl (Kindle Locations 3884-3902). Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition.

The epilogue is a sexy one, with a scene set a few weeks after their marriage and the H is still so in love ( and filled with lust ) for Delia that he undresses her and makes love to her even though they're supposed to be attending a musicale. Alec's so much in love with Delia that he is still waxing poetic about the effect she has on him. Romance, Historical Fiction, Romance It was an OK read by a new-to-me author. The banter was a bit too modern in feel for me. The book started off well, with an old scandal that presumably was going to affect the next generation. Then for me it stalled a bit.

Mostly took place at a country house party, with the classic 'everything could be sorted out in five minutes if you would just talk to each other' scenario between the two brothers, which is a bit tedious.

This was a December 2021 BOTM for HRBC, 'Scandal' theme. I like trying new authors, but I'm not in love with this one just yet. The next book in the series is about the brother. I may try it at some stage. Romance, Historical Fiction, Romance This is my second book from this author and it took me a while to realize that the first book I read was about this hero's sister. Anyway, my problem with this author is that her characters are very obstinate. Doesn't matter how many things happens, doesn't matter their tender feelings, nothing matters but what they think to be true and right. There's not a gradual change in perspective, a gradual understanding that there are many shades of gray, a gradual acceptance of each other or the situation. It's there throughout the book and suddenly it isn't. It is frustrating.

It took the hero about 70% of the book to start thinking that maybe he might be wrong. But it did NOT change his opinion one iota. And the heroine's attitude was the same.

I loved how they fell in love. There was a lot of sexual tension, verbal fights, innuendo, hurtful things, prejudices but I couldn't get over their obstinate attitude.

I remember disliking the same thing about the other book I read from this author. They were so focused on revange that nothing else mattered until the very end. Romance, Historical Fiction, Romance


Review of A Wicked Way to Win an Earl by Anna Bradley


Wow. I LOVED this book. I’m so sad it’s from the library. I’m contemplating just keeping it forever and dealing with the late fees. How else can I clutch it to my chest and sleep with it under my pillow forever?

This is the first book in the Sutherland Scandals series. Delia and Alec’s family have...a history. A generation ago, Delia’s mom created a scandal by breaking an engagement to Alec’s father. Choosing love, her family scorned the tons gossip and lived the country life happily.

Robyn, Charlotte, and Eleanor (Alec’s siblings) become friends with sisters Delia and Lily and invite them to a two week house party. Alec hears rumors of Robyn’s interest in Delia. He is determined to keep Robyn away from Delia, to protect his family from rehashing the scandal. He is drawn to Delia and cannot stop the challenge of ruining her reputation, almost as a type of revenge.

That is what he starts out as his goal anyway, before it transforms into something totally different.

I absolutely love Anna Bradley’s writing. All her characters seem to just come to life so easily. The relationship between Delia and Lily just captures that sister bond so well. None of her characters fall flat for me. I am curious about them all, and I come to love them all.

When Alec first meets Delia he compares his reaction as when he was 11 and fell off his horse and knocked the breath out of him. It’s not love at first sight. It’s something he doesn’t really understand. And it makes him angry. The attraction is undeniable, except maybe to him, which he fights tooth and nail. How can he be interested in the daughter of a walking scandal?

I actually loved both main characters so much. Usually I love one over the other (usually the hero). But, I want to be Delia’s friend. She’s fun and smart and witty and can be oh so sassy and genuine. And Alec. Mmm. I want him for other things 🤣

Alec can definitely be a jerk. I have heard all Anna Bradley’s heroes are horrible and mean but I don’t think Alec fits that description. There’s one scene where he could have. Oh he could have. I was like “Don’t do it. No! I’ll hate you. You’ll have to grovel! Much groveling!” And it twists around in away that I totally loved him then, if I didn’t already. He makes some bad choices, and says some horrible things. BUT. Then he is lost in anguish over it. He hates himself. And he can’t rest until he knows he’s forgiven.

He is overcome with possessiveness and jealousy the moment he meets her. Anger. Snarling. Growling. God I LOVE IT. Sorry, not sorry. He doesn’t want anyone looking at his woman, touching his woman. He’s fighting it so hard but all he wants to do is seek her out just to look and touch any moment he can. He’s a man possessed.

So yeah. I recommend this book. 😆 If you like that stuff like me.

I guess this books steam is debatable. But the tension! Oh the tension is what I LIVE for. Couldn’t have hacked through it with a machete. I think there’s 3 kisses until you get to almost the end of the book. I loved them. It’s the kind of tension and kisses that yes you can’t wait for culmination but at the same time you are loving every minute of waiting. Then you get 2 good scenes at the end. Plus on in the epilogue. This book is also a little shorter - it’s less than 300 pages but it didn’t feel lacking in anything. Romance, Historical Fiction, Romance Con l'uscita della seconda stagione di Bridgerton mi è tornata la voglia di leggere romanzi regency e, dando una rapida occhiata alla trama, la mia scelta è ricaduta su questo romanzo.
Il libro ha come trope il classico enemies to lovers, l'ambientazione è tipica del regency: una tenuta di campagna molto signorile, raffinata e imponente.
Il filo conduttore di tutta la storia che lega i due protagonisti è uno scandalo che ha legato, in modo indissolubile, le proprie famiglie nel passato e che si è ripercosso nel presente in cui si svolgono i fatti.
La protagonista, Delia, si troverà per la prima volta ad affrontare l'alta società inglese, che ha sbattuto la porta in faccia alla madre, e non è per niente entusiasta all'idea in quanto non nutre molte simpatie per il bel mondo e una persona in particolare sembra ricalcare queste sue convinzioni: Alec Sutherland, conte di Carlisle.
Dopo la morte di suo padre, Alec ha votato la sua vita alla protezione della famiglia, senza troppi scrupoli, e sarà suo il compito di impedire al giovane fratello Robyn di avvicinarsi troppo alla giovane Somerset e di riportare in vita il vecchio scandalo.
Delia e Alec daranno inizio a una serie interminabile di battibecchi, discussioni e flirt molto passionali. Entrambi vogliono vincere e nessuno dei due cederà all'altro.
La storia è intensa e coinvolgente, riesce a catturarti fin dalla prima pagina con una situazione imbarazzate e particolare.
Il ritmo è incalzante e sostenuto, non ci sono molti momenti morti e i continui flirt aggiungono note spicy al romanzo senza farlo sembrare forzato.
Devo dire che non mi aspettavo che potesse piacermi così tanto da leggerlo in meno di ventiquattr'ore ma devo ricredermi. Romance, Historical Fiction, Romance Even though there are a couple of things about the motivations of the two protagonists that bothered me, A Wicked Way to Win an Earl is a well-written and enjoyable début from Anna Bradley. The storyline isn’t an especially original one, but the writing is solid, the heroine is spirited without being overly outrageous, the hero is darkly brooding and there is plenty of heat between the couple, all of which contribute to its being an entertaining read overall.

As this is the first book in a series about the Sutherland family, the prologue sets the stage for the conflict between the Sutherlands and the Somersets, caused when Millicent Chase ran away from her arranged marriage to Hart Sutherland, the Earl of Carlisle, and eloped with the man she loved, Henry Somerset.

A massive scandal ensued, and the Somersets never returned to society, but they were happy living quietly, with each other and eventually their family of five daughters. But some months before this book opens, the Somersets were tragically killed in an accident, turning the lives of their children upside down. The eldest two daughters, Delia (short for Delphinium!) and Lily (and yes, they all have flowery names) have been befriended by Charlotte and Eleanor Sutherland, whose eldest brother, Alexander, came into the title following the death of their harsh autocratic father three years previously.

The Sutherland sisters have invited Delia and Lily to the house-party being held at Bellwood, the country seat of the Earls of Carlisle. On the way, their carriage axle breaks and the coachman is injured, leaving the ladies with no choice but for Delia to attempt to find help. Following the directions she has been given, she is making for the nearest inn when she comes across a man and a woman beneath the trees who are clearly about to do something completely improper with each other. Alerted to Delia’s presence, the woman quickly runs off, leaving the man – a large, imposing and angry specimen – to confront the unwelcome intruder. With dismay, Delia realises that the half-undressed, dishevelled and undeniably fascinating man is none other than her host, the Earl of Carlisle, who promptly takes charge of the situation, escorting her to the inn and making arrangements to retrieve her sister and the coachman and take them to Bellwood.

Alec Sutherland hasn’t found life to be terribly easy since the death of his father. The family finances had been badly mismanaged and he has had to work hard in order to turn things around. In doing so, he is worried he is becoming more and more like his father, a cold, stern man who had little time for his family. Alec acutely feels the distance that has sprung up between him and his younger brother in the past year and is at a loss as to what to do to heal the rift between them. Robyn Sutherland is rather wild; a young man on the town enjoying all its dissolute pleasures, much as Alec did before he was encumbered by title and responsibilities. To make matters worse, Alec learns that Robyn is smitten with Delia, and that it was at his behest that Charlotte and Eleanor extended the invitation to the house-party. Not only is he worried about Robyn’s intentions toward a gently bred young lady, but is also concerned that any close association between their two families will only dig up all the old scandal when he has worked hard to restore the family name along with its fortune.

[As an aside, I found the use of the name Robyn for a man to be a distraction. Robyn with a Y is a girl’s name – well, it is in the UK – so I had to keep reminding myself that this particular Robyn was a bloke, which was annoying and disrupted my reading.]

Back to the story. Alec decides that the best thing to do is to keep his brother and Miss Somerset apart, and comes up with a fool-proof – and underhand – way to send her packing back to Surrey. If he appears to be pursuing her and spending time alone with her, she will become the subject of gossip, which can only be amplified as people recall the old scandal. At the same time, Delia makes the assumption – and this is one of the quibbles I mentioned at the beginning of this review – that Alec is going to try to seduce her simply because he’s bored and because it will “put the Somerset family in their place once and for all.” While Alec has unquestionably been flirting with her and is – he tells himself – trying to be rid of her, Delia has no way of knowing anything for certain with the result that she appears to be jumping to conclusions with no real foundation for them. The author also makes use of the cliché of the rich-bitch fiancée who is so clearly wrong for Alec that she is never any real threat to the burgeoning romance between him and Delia.

Apart from that, however, the story is well-executed, and the central romance is well-developed. Alec and Delia strike sparks off each other from the outset and are obviously deeply attracted to each other, but Ms Bradley takes the time to allow them to talk to each other and get to know each other so that the reader is left in no doubt that they are in love and not simply in the grips of infatuation or lust. She has the knack for creating and building sexual and romantic tension by means of looks, touches and near-kisses that lead to some nicely heated moments between the couple, and the sex scenes are passionate and well-written. Both protagonists are attractive characters, although Alec does come across as rather harsh at times, and Delia, for all her sensible-ness does something a bit daft near the end.

In spite of the criticisms I have expressed, I enjoyed reading A Wicked Way to Win an Earl and will certainly be on the lookout for more by Anna Bradley. (The next book is about Lily and Robyn, I think, and as there are three more sisters, there is plenty of sequel fodder!) Her writing is deft and intelligent with a nice touch of humour, and she has taken a well-used plotline and made good use of it by peopling it with distinctive characters and strongly-written relationships. It’s a strong start and she’s definitely an author to watch for fans of historical romance. Romance, Historical Fiction, Romance I have to give 5 stars because after the first few chapters I couldn’t drop it. Now it is 5.15 a.m. and I’m going to sleep with a smile. :) Romance, Historical Fiction, Romance 4 Stars

I read this book as a part of the BOTM challenge for HRBC.

Quick Review
- This is my first Anna Bradley, and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.
- The writing is unusual, explicit and leaves no room for guesswork about what the characters are thinking. It's there, clear as day for you to read and know. I found it refreshing. It is also full of dry wit and an obvious kind of humour. This story pulled plenty of chuckles from me.
- This book is on the shorter side and just launches into the story without a lot of buildup about characters and their backgrounds. I did not mind it overmuch because you can figure out who is who and go from there. It stays true to the central characters of Alec & Delia.
- Let me get the irritants out of the way. The blurb was misrepresentational of the story. The plot is not as scandalous as it led us to believe, and neither is there ruination of reputation.
- The tale is as old as time, a rake, meets an unbiddable miss of a modest background, in a house party, mutual hatred, to longing glances and caresses, and that turns to love. Simple, right? But, for some reason, the author decided to add drama and ended up ruining it to a certain degree.
- The deliberate, unfounded hate reminded me of shitty Bollywood movie plots. They were playing some form of a game with each other, how do I know? It is mentioned, 56 times to be exact, yeah I counted.
- Alec & Delia wanted to humble each other. Why? Due to dented family pride by a scandal that happened at least 30 years ago? I found this reaction to be completely out of place with the story and the romance. That and also because of some petty nonsense about Alec's younger brother Robyn may like Delia.
- He thinks she is not good enough. She thinks he is arrogant and is also aware that he thinks she is not good enough. Maybe on some level, she thinks he is right, but she also wants to prove him wrong. I think I got the gist right. Sorry, I could not resist this confusing statement. As I wrote in my reading updates, it was incoherent and confused the crap out of me.
- So I decided to ignore the whole chess reference, game nonsense and voila. The story became sweet, cute, and endearing. A standard boilerplate romance of hate to love and opposites attract.
- There is nothing noteworthy about Alec and Delia, both of them were standard examples of typical HR heroes and heroines. I have been reading a lot of books with deeply angsty, broken characters, and hence, these two were a breath of fresh air in a lovely simplistic way.
- I enjoyed their chemistry, a slow burn giving way to deliciousness.

Interesting anecdote - I read The Duke's Perfect Wife before this one, in which the hero's name is Hart, and his son's name is Alec. In this book, the hero's name is Alec, and his late father's name was Hart. I found it to be a remarkably funny coincidence.

My Recommendation
A cute and enjoyable story. I may be inclined to pick up the sequel at a later date. Romance, Historical Fiction, Romance