Since Lee has been floating around the paranormal waters lately, I think this book might have slipped under a lot of reader radars. Yes, it's a historical. Yes, it's a straight-up historical with no woo-woo in it. Honest.
One thing of note about this book, that did give me pause, was that Leisure slapped the tagline "A new stand-alone novel from the USA Today Bestselling Author of Dragonborn and Seduced by Crimson" right on the front cover. OK, color me crazy, but I took this to mean that we had a stand alone book here. And it very well could be - although the ending gives me pause. So much pause that I actually e-mailed the author and said, "Hey, is there another book in the works cuz there's some dangly bits floating around." (This was a late night e-mail and I haven't heard back from the author yet) Which I'll admit (especially in light of my last post) annoys the ever-lovin' crap out of me....but....sigh....I really enjoyed reading this book. I mean, how much of that annoyance do I want to hang on to?
A Chinese monk striding down the aisle was the first shock at countess-to-be Evelyn Stanton’s wedding. To watch him dispatch three groomsmen, unarmed, and to learn that he was white and the long-lost heir to the Earldom of Warhaven, was the second. He would be her husband?
After the slaughter of his family in far-off China, Jacob Cato found sanctuary. In a Xi Lin temple he learned to be strong, but now he had a grander goal: to reclaim his English heritage and the woman he’d left behind.
Revenge. It poisoned everything he’d learned, everything he’d done, and yet every fiber of Jacob burned for it—just as he burned for the beautiful but very English Evelyn. Long ago, the conspiracy to kill his family had stranded him, lost Jacob in the exotic East and made him unrecognizable to his countrymen…and women. He had not forgotten that past. It was to make peace that he had returned. The manner was yet to be decided.
The answer? Not a whole lot. So as a teaser, here's an excerpt of one of my favorite exchanges in the book. Enjoy!
"I cannot tell if you are making a joke at my expense or if you truly believe that." She leaned forward. "Do you even know what monks do?"
"You are back to thinking I am a liar." The idea depressed him much more than it should.
"I merely wish to understand."
"Why?" The word was startled out of him. He could hardly credit that any woman wanted to understand his religion. It was unusual enough in China, where monks were revered. He couldn't imagine it in a Christian English-woman.
"If you really are Jacob, then you will know why." She frowned. "Or perhaps not. Jacob was such a thoughtless boy."
Was I? "I am not Jacob. I am Jie Ke, and I...I don't remember a great deal from our first meeting. I was a boy and you were...." He looked at his hands trying to sort through his thoughts. "You were a girl who was too proper to be fun."
She laughed, but the sound had no humor. "Jacob called me stupid - too stupid to be a countess."
He stared, the memory not settling well in his spirit. "I do not recall that."
She looked at him for a long moment, then finally sighed as she pushed away from the harpsichord. "You are right. You are definitely not Jacob." And with that, she turned and walked away.