He saw her coming. If he’d known her effect he’d have walked away.
When it comes to doing it all, hard coated ‘wild child’ writer, Brittany Carter ticks every box. Having it all is a different thing though, what with her need to thwart an ex fiancé, and herself transported from the present to Georgian times. But then, so long as she can find her way back to her world of fame, and promised fortune, what’s there to worry about?
Georgian bad boy Mitchell Killgower is at the center of an inheritance dispute and he needs Brittany as his obedient, country mouse wife. Or rather he needs her like a hole in the head. In and out of his bed he’s never known a woman like her. A woman who can disappear and reappear like her either.
And when his coolly contained anarchist, who is anything but, learns how to return to her world and stay there, will And when his coolly contained anarchist, who is anything but, learns how to return to her world and remain, will having it all be enough, or does she underestimate him, and herself?
I’ve been a fan of Shehanne Moore’s work since The Viking and the Courtesan. Now she brings us the Writer and the Rake, which is even better! I absolutely loved the concept. For certain people who happen to be Time Mutants, a kiss can take them backwards or forwards in time to a completely different century. This is what happens to struggling romance writer Brittany Carter, who is frustratingly whisked away into the past just as she is about to make her ex-boyfriend’s life a living hell.
I think I mentioned before how I hate romance heroines who are the paragon of all virtues. Well, Brittany is definitely not. This heroine is a vindictive, manipulative, chain-smoking alcoholic, and I love her. If romance heroes can be rakes, why shouldn’t the heroine be a ‘rakette’?
Brittany arrives in 1765 dressed in nothing but a bathrobe, landing in Mitchell Kilgower’s teenage son’s bed. Mitchell, a long-suffering, brooding gentleman thinks his son has finally stopped being such a milksop and become a man, or rather the kind of man his father wants him to be. Brittany is just confused. She thinks her ex-boyfriend has murdered her and she is now in some sort of strange afterlife. Mitchell thinks she’s insane.
Of course, one can’t blame him as for all he knows, a woman has appeared out of nowhere and keeps babbling on about him being good fodder for her next romance novel. Mitchell’s uncle and slightly incestuous aunt (or former sister-in-law) show up, and the only way Brittany’s presence can be explained is in a lie hastily concocted by Fleming, Mitchell’s son, that she is Mitchell’s new God-fearing wife.
Hilariously unsuited to the role, Brit goes along with is because she needs to figure out a way to get back to the 21st century. She may be a romantic novelist, but unlike her naive heroines, she’s not going to swoon and fall into Mitchell’s arms just because he has a gorgeous body and amazing cheekbones. All the same, there is an attraction simmering beneath the surface of her pretense.
As for Mitchell, he starts out wanting to get rid of her, but he is by turns enraged and captivated by a woman the likes of which he’d never seen. A modern heroine unleashed on an unsuspecting 18th century world is a force to be reckoned with.
Brittany wreaks havoc everywhere she goes. She is a truly comedic heroine, though Ms. Moore deftly alerts the reader to how easily things could turn tragic if these characters don’t find love very soon.
Mitchell treats Brittany terribly, though she’s no picnic herself. However, she shows real resiliency and even keeps writing while in her 17th century imprisonment. One of the most beautiful lines of the book is, “A writer could write without paper, without ink, without hope.”
Time is working against them as Brittany can’t control her travels between centuries, but love might just bring them together in the end.
Here’s an excerpt from one of my favourite scenes:
She hesitated. If Mitchell Killgower walked in now it would solve this. She hadn’t really come in here to ruin Fleming though. She’d come in to find that portal and failed miserably too, meaning she’d now have to come back here. Unless . . .
“Actually Fleming, I could do with your help and not just out of this bath either.”
“My help?” His flush deepened. “No-one’s ever wanted my help.”
She grasped his hand. “Well, there’s a first time for everything. Even for me being nice like this. So here it is. I’m not really from here. And that’s what I need your help with. To get home to where I come from.”
“Leave here you mean?”
“In one, Fleming. In one.”
It was risky taking him into her confidence like this, but she’d be long gone by the time they incarcerated her in a lunatic asylum, paraded her as a witch. Relief pumped into her veins, revitalized her heartbeat. It took every ounce of restraint not to dance about the room.
“But Aunt Christian and Uncle Clarence think you’re . . . Well, Father will be furious if you disappear. I’m not going to willingly help you with that.”
He let go of her hand as if he wasn’t going to help her out the bath either.
“But you just said to me to scream blue murder and I didn’t. As for making him furious? I hope you think me being here like this was my idea?”
“Nothing would surprise me.”
“Look, help me out of the bath will you?”
“Not when I’ve already withstood everything Father has tried to make me do. The drink, the visits to the Swan, you—”
“Fine.” She grasped the copper rim of the tub. “I’ll get myself out then. I wouldn’t like to die of pneumonia.”
“The Hellfire Club.”
His voice rose. Did he see how far her jaw had dropped open?
“That’s how low he’s stooped, Miss Carter.”
“So you’re saying he took you there? How old are you?”
“I don’t see what where he took me—”
“So he didn’t?”
“Obviously he didn’t, but what’s it to you?”
Mustering her calm she tweaked a damp strand of hair behind her ear. She’d heard of the Hellfire Club. She wrote historical romance. Why wasn’t she surprised Mitchell Killgower went there? In the name of research she wouldn’t mind going herself. She hoped that wasn’t why she said,
“I can’t be wife to a man who goes to such places. My God, it’s imperative you help get me out of here. Just think when I go how it will clear the way for you. You can go to your aunt Christian and tell her—very well, not that you lied, but that she was right about your father. I just couldn’t live with him.” Although he was staring in the opposite direction from her and his brow was knitted, she fixed on her best look of honeyed desperation. Surely enough to seal this deal? “All I need is your help for five minutes.”
He frowned harder. “What have you done to my bed?”
“Oh that? Nothing.”
“It’s not nothing. Look at it.”
The bone-jarring thud as he strode towards it, said that was an understatement. Realization slapped her that she needed to make her move now, not stand with the hem of her dressing gown in a soapy bath, equally bone-jarring chills spreading up her legs, her teeth chattering, stomach churning. Where was the portal? In the wardrobe? Because that same realization drove her over the rim and across the floor, leaving wet footprints behind her.
She pulled the door open. The smell of mothballs was so overpowering, she could barely stick her head inside, but stick it in she did, despite being jabbed with an empty coat hanger dancing above her head. No joy. How could there be no joy?
“You’ve broken it. My bed.” Fleming’s voice was a thread of sound. Anyone would think she’d broken his heart, his arm, his neck. Was he really so frightened of his father?
“Yes, I know.” She strode towards him. The portal wasn’t just above the bed. It was high above it. “It’s because I was jumping on it.”
“Yes. Like this. Watch and learn.”
When not cuddling inn signs in her beloved Scottish mountains alongside Mr Shey, Shehanne Moore writes dark and smexy historical romance, featuring bad boys who need a bad girl to sort them out. She firmly believes everyone deserves a little love, forgiveness and a second chance in life.
Shehanne caused general apoplexy when she penned her first story, The Hore House Mystery—aged seven. What didn’t she work at while pursuing her dream of becoming a published author?
If you enjoyed this review and excerpt, check out The Writer and the Rake on Amazon.