I first discovered Emma Jensen with her book Entwined and am happy to see her revisiting one of the more intriguing characters from that story, Trevor Robard, Viscount St. Wulfstan.
Trevor, with his scarred face and rude manners, is virtually an outcast from polite society and prefers it that way. He normally ignores what intrigues everyone else, and is therefore shocked to find himself attracted to the most popular courtesan in London, Mrs. Nolan. Despite the fact he’s secretly broke and can’t afford to keep her in the style of her previous patron, he pursues her. Unfortunately, a few things interfere, like problems with his family estate in Ireland, and the fact that someone is trying to murder him.
Nell Nolan really isn’t looking for a protector. All she wants, for private reasons of her own, is someone to get her into Lord Routland’s Golden Ball. After that, she plans to take her inheritance from her last protector and return to her native Ireland. But Trevor is always nearby, whether she wants him to be or not, and Nell soon finds herself falling love. First, though, she must break down the walls that Trevor has put up around his heart to keep everyone out.
If I had been Nell, I would’ve slapped Trevor the first time he clammed up. As a reader I knew the reasons for Trevor’s reticence. Nevertheless, his secret-keeping about his work for the government, his relationship to his parents, and his poverty gets old quickly, especially when he uses his secrets as an excuse to be cold and cruel to Nell.
Nell takes it, though. She doesn’t want to love Trevor, but she does. She won’t obey a word he says, but stubbornly she loves him and his hard-headedness. Of course, Nell isn’t all she appears to be either, and her own secrets are part of the reason she doesn’t push too hard at first. She shows real backbone in her confrontation of Lord Routland, and bit of ingenuity as well.
Despite a strong urge to shake both leads, and the distracting attempted murder sub-plot, I enjoyed the story. It moves quickly and Jensen has an easy-to-read style. After much anguish and frustration there is an emotional payoff when Trevor finally reveals his past to Nell and the reason for his self-imposed exile from Ireland. Jensen also revisits the leads from Entwined, Lord and Lady Oriel.
Moonlit isn’t Jensen at her best, but still a touching story of finding love when all hope is lost.