Publishing: November 9, 2021
Come to me. I need you. It’s a matter of life-and-death.
Infamous poet Sherborne Clarke is a scholar, a lover—but not a father. When he finds a baby abandoned on the steps of his crumbling castle, he knows he must get her to London and an orphanage. It’s the perfect excuse to contact the one person he trusts…the man whose love he stills yearns for, and whose heart he broke years before.
Richard Ashbrook was groomed from birth to become the Earl of Portland, until Sherborne betrayed him, exposing his sexuality to the papers and forcing him into exile. But as much as he hates Sherborne, Richard has never managed to break their link or let his confusing sentiments concerning him subside. When he receives a missive implying that Sherborne’s life is at risk, he knows it is time to return home.
Richard undergoes the perilous journey from Sicily only to find the other man untouched. Furious, he agrees to transport the baby to London—whatever gets him out of Sherborne’s life once and for all. But when a snowstorm leaves them stranded, they’re forced to confront the past—and deal with the love between them that’s all too present.
I did not expect to like this as much as I did. I was swept up into the story from the very beginning and it never let me go. I felt very strongly for Richard and Sherborne and was kept enthralled as their love story drama unfolded. My favorite part is the way they rekindled their old romance in a way that let them grow and move beyond the angry, jealous passion of their youth and into a warmer, steadier love, as well as the way each new event only deepened their connection.
The writing was beautiful, too. The prose was easy to flow along with, with no awkward stumbling blocks, and the emotion was beautifully rendered. The sex scenes were necessary to the story and each furthered Richard and Sherborne’s emotional connection. The did not bother me as the more gratuitous scenes do in most romance.
The minor characters were endearing – though not as much as Richard and Sherborne, except perhaps for Parsley. I enjoyed reading about all of them and I thought the ending especially beautiful.
The plot was admittedly rather thin and some events a bit contrived (and it was hard sometimes to figure out who was speaking during dialogue — I can’t believe I’m going to say it, but it could have used a few more dialogue tags), but overall it was a lovely Christmas story that I can definitely see myself reading again.
I will definitely be seeking out more of Annabelle Greene’s books.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin – Carina Press for providing an e-arc for review.