Oh, boy, I love me a story where the governess ends up with the nobleman, in which true love (and a dash of healthy lust) conquers the class differences of the Regency era. Yep, one of the all-time great themes.
And Cheryl Holt does a serviceable job with it in her latest, Dreams of Desire. The story opens as Miss Lily Lambert has applied to be the governess to Melissa and Melinda, the twin wards of the Earl of Penworth. While the Earl is not convinced that Lily is the woman for the job, he has been unable to hire a governess who will stay the course, and, in desperation, he gives Lily the job. When the Earl and his household relocate to Scotland, we learn why no one wants the position; although beautiful, the twins are practically the spawn of Satan.
I always enjoy a truly evil character (think Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves or Darth Vader), and these chicas are just as bad as I could hope for. They get up to some pretty hot hijinx with the Earl’s younger brother, giving Ms. Holt ample opportunity to demonstrate her talent with a steamy scene. In light of their penchant for naughty games, we quickly understand why they have run off every governess the Earl has hired. They immediately set out to make Miss Lambert’s life a living Hell so that she too will flee her position.
But Miss Lambert is made of sterner stuff than that. Besides, she has taken a love potion called “The Spinster’s Cure,” which featured prominently in the previous books in the series, and both she and the Earl are under its influence. The story just oozes sexual tension as these two try to handle the attraction between them, a visit from the Earl’s scandalous mother, and those two horrible, horrible wards.
If you read the two previous books in the series, you know what to expect; you will find no unexpected plot twists or other surprises here. But I like Ms. Holt’s turn of a phrase, not to mention her love scenes. Her fans will not be disappointed with the interaction between Lily and her Earl.
Overall, there was nothing earth-shattering here, but I can think of many worse ways to spend an evening than enjoying the company of Ms. Holt’s characters. If you like good, solid Regency romance with just a touch of spice, give Dreams of Desire a read.