Author Website: http://www.maggiandersenauthor.com
Publisher: Eternal Press
Everything seems very proper on the surface but murder, intrigue and lust embroil Harriett in a very different scene…Lady Harriett Edgerton and her family visit a relative in his country mansion in Kent, England, in the early nineteenth century. Harriett finds herself not only caught up in a murder investigation, but falling in love with the wrong man. Determined not to become an old maid with no romantic dalliances, she plans a night of passion to ensure a scandalous past.
What I liked: This was a great story to read. It reminds me of some of the first romance novels I began reading that were Historical Novels. Anderson does entertain with murder and intrigue in this one. I really liked Lady Harriet's character and love how the book follows her and her life especially when Gerard is near. He brings out the blushes and a new side to Harriet that the reader is privy to. I also liked how Anderson describes the two sisters and two different people, one wanting the bustle of the city and the other not wanting anything to do with it. Anderson's An Improper Lover is a great read, one that a reader can enjoy over and over again.
When the tea arrived, Harriett left her parents to their attempts at a civil conversation and wandered out into the grounds. She had played here as a child when Aunt Elizabeth was alive. It had been a very lively place then. She wandered along a path through the trees dressed in their summer green, recalling how she’d made up stories and narrated them to an audience of birds. A stately old oak tree she used to climb as a child caught her attention. She paused, remembering that Pendleton lay on a rise above a wide, green valley, and the tree offered a wonderful view all the way to the Channel from its topmost branches. She might see the French coast on such a fine day. She looked around. Finding no one in sight, she untied her bonnet and pulled off her taupe kid half-boots. She removed her stockings and tucked them into her shoes, then gathered her cream percale gown up around her knees. Placing a foot on a low branch, she began to climb. She had climbed a good way up and stopped to consider her way forward when a figure rose from the shrubbery below her. He stood examining something in his hand. He looked up and caught sight of her, then shoved it into his pocket. Whipping off his hat he stared up at her in surprise.
“Can that be you, Harry? It must be. Taller, but as skinny as ever.”
From her lofty perch, Harriett took a deep breath. “Gerard.”
“’Tis I.” He came to stand below her. “So, you can still climb that tree.”
“Why ever not?” She put a foot on a lower branch in an attempt to climb down without affording him a scandalous view up her dress but soon found it impossible. “Turn your back, will you?”
He gave a sly look at her bare legs before he turned away. “Are you sure you don’t require my assistance?
“I’ll ask if I do,” she said waspishly. She reached the bottom branch and stood considering whether to jump and possibly fall in a heap at his feet. In the end she swallowed her pride. “You might help me,” she suggested.
Gerard turned around and put up his arms. She leaned over and rested her hands on his broad shoulders. He gripped her waist and lifted her down. For a moment, he held her close against his chest. “Not so scrawny after all,” he said with a grin.
“But you are just as outrageous.” Harriett blushed as his hard male body pressed against hers, his mouth close enough to kiss.
He set her on her feet and stood with legs spread and arms folded, studying her. “You always were tall for a girl.”
In her bare feet, Harriett’s head reached his shoulder and Gerard stood well over six feet. “Too tall for beauty, or so I’m told,” she said pragmatically.
His dark brows rose. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
Beholding Gerard, Harriett quite agreed. With his well-shaped mouth and the cleft in his chin, he was quite the handsomest man she had ever set eyes on. She bent to pick up one of her boots.
Her cheeks burned. “No. I have to put on my stockings. Would you turn your back again, please?”
“What gentleman would refuse?” He turned his back.
Harriett was securing her garter around her stocking when he turned. She hastily pulled down her dress. “You agreed not to look.”
He grinned. “I didn’t say I was a gentleman. May I assist with your shoes?”
He kneeled at her feet and took hold of her ankle. Harriett’s senses swam at the gentle touch of his fingers as he eased her foot into the shoe and fastened the lace. She almost lost her balance and had to resort to holding on to his shoulder. It felt broad and strong under her fingers, and she quickly let go.