Eleanor Hawke loves a good scandal. And readers of her successful gossip rag live for the exploits of her favorite subject: Daniel Balfour, the notorious Earl of Ashford. So when the earl himself marches into her office one day and invites her to experience his illicit pursuits firsthand, Eleanor is stunned. Gambling hells, phaeton races, masquerades…What more could a scandal writer want than a secret look into the life of this devilishly handsome rake?
Daniel has secrets and if The Hawk’s Eye gets wind of them, a man’s life could be at stake. And what better way to distract a gossip than by feeding her the scandal she desperately craves? But Daniel never expected the sharp mind and biting wit of the beautiful writer, and their desire for each other threatens even his best laid plans.
But when Eleanor learns the truth of his deception, Daniel will do anything to prove a romance between a commoner and an earl could really last forever.
When it was announced at last year’s RWA that Zoe Archer was going to be turning her hand to writing Regency romances under the pseudonym of Eva Leigh, I was undoubtedly one of many immediately asking “when? WHEN?!” (and “who do I have to kill to get a copy?”) I have enjoyed other books of hers, most notably her Victorian-set Nemesis Unlimited series, which featured tightly-plotted, action-packed storylines, strong, independently-minded heroines, wickedly sexy heroes and great dialogue. I started reading Forever Your Earl hoping for more of the same – and wasn’t disappointed.
Eleanor Hawke, editor and proprietor of The Hawk’s Eye, a modestly successful periodical devoted to exposing the foibles of the rich and infamous, is surprised when completely out of the blue, one of her most recent targets, the rakish – and, she has to admit, gorgeous – Earl of Ashford storms into her office. He angrily insists that she stop printing lies about him, even going so far as to suggest that her readers might like to read actual news rather than “spurious gossip about a figure as inconsequential as myself.”
But Daniel Balfour has more at stake than simply putting a stop to gossip. For weeks, he has been trying to discover the whereabouts of his oldest friend, Jonathan Lawson, who disappeared into London’s underbelly before learning that the death of his brother had elevated him to a dukedom. Lawson, unlike Daniel, had been able to serve in the army during the recent war, but returned from it a changed man. All Daniel has to go on is that shortly before his disappearance, Jonathan had been seen in the worst sort of company in the less salubrious areas of London – and knows that should news of it ever leak out, it will ruin him, his family and his sister’s chance of making a good marriage. As Jonathan’s closest friend, Daniel can’t allow that to happen and besides, he feels partially responsible for the situation, having noticed something wasn’t right with his friend and not having taken any steps to help him.
Realising that having his every move scrutinised so closely could jepoardise his search and increase the risk to the Lawson family, Daniel decides to turn the gaze of The Hawk’s Eye elsewhere, by offering to open up his life to public scrutiny within its pages. He offers Eleanor the chance to write the truth about him; where he goes, what he does and who he sees, the life of one of the ton’s most infamous rakes setout in black and while for all the world to see.
You can read the rest of this review at All About Romance.