Catriona, Lady Blayne is recovering from a most delicate situation. Driven to the brink of madness by love for her late husband, a young man too ill to meet the demands of the marriage bed, she teeters on the brink of scandal. Now she must face the carnal temptation personified by her husband’s cousin and heir, James, the new Lord Blayne. His sensual appeal, contrasted with his iron will and stern self-mastery fascinates her. She can’t help but ask: what if sensual indulgence is the only way out of her darkness? However, she is not free to explore the idea. There are those who seek to control the young widow, keeping her imprisoned through emotional manipulation and physical coercion. With her growing restlessness, the very people she loves and trusts the most are becoming an increasing danger to her sanity and safety.
James is determined to protect Catriona—but he will not soften to her again. She rejected him once and James can’t risk losing his heart a second time. As heir to the Blayne baronetcy, he must marry a woman socially and politically appropriate. Such a scandalously self-indulgent lady as Catriona won’t do. Yet the pretty girl he once knew has grown into a beautiful, curvaceous woman that is every man’s dream.
Since the death of her husband, Catriona Blayne has descended deeper and deeper into a melancholic state. Prior to her marriage, Catriona was bright and cheerful, always the light of any room she walked into, her disposition was such that many forgot her common-born status and adored being in her very presences. James, the new Lord Blayne was no exception to this rule. Unfortunately, James was not the man Catriona was destined to marry but he is the man destined to save her.
Catriona’s marriage was a sham if there ever was one. Her husband, Freddy was ill and unable to perform physically as a husband should. Bound to convention, social custom, and the mores of the period, Catriona was loath to stay from her husband but she was young and beautiful and her sexual desire was certainly at a peak. Caught in a most compromising position, Catriona has spent the last three years thinking her husband’s death was her fault and a direct result of her inability to control her sexual desire. Three long years later, Catriona’s desires are at an all-time high and her “doctor”, Dr. Meeker has convinced her she is shameful, wrong, and broken because of her desires. Convinced she can only be cured with the treatments, opiates, and punishments doled out by the good doctor, Catriona has become a shadow of the woman she once was.
James, now Lord Blayne has come home to take his place among the peers. He has served his country, he has taken his title, and is firmly set on a path that includes further government service, a proper wife, and heir to the Blayne title. Lady Blayne was not at all in his plans but once he sees the sorry state she is in, simply can’t turn his back on the woman he once thought he loved. James is a fearsome man and when he begins to ask questions about Catriona’s condition and treatment, he is horrified by what he discovers. Convinced Catriona is not broken and will heal if she is taken from the family home, James her packs her up and whisks her away to secluded location. What James doesn’t count on is the resurgence of his feelings for Catriona, her intense sexuality, and his desire to make right all that has been done to wrong her.
Over the weeks, Catriona not only begins to heal but she also begins to believe, truly believe she isn’t to blame for her desires, the abuse she has suffered, or Freddy’s death. In fact, the weeks spent with James are some of the most liberating of her life. With James, Catriona has a true sexual awakening and under his ministrations, she discovers a side of herself she never thought possible let alone considered unleashing. Though James thoroughly enjoys his time with Catriona and wants to keep her as his mistress, he knows that is all she can ever be as she is not suitable as a proper wife of the peerage. As it happens, so many times in life, James is on the brink of losing everything he didn’t even truly know he held dear until it is damn near too late. Catriona has a knack for finding trouble and almost as soon as she is set up in the city as James’s mistress, she finds herself right back in the clutches of Dr. Meeker. This time, however, Catriona is stronger and more determined to have her life and protect those she loves.
The Bottom Line: Yet again, I find myself somewhat confused by the overall star rating of this read on Goodreads. I won’t say this is a happy, easy read but it is a good read. There are a lot of uncomfortable themes touched on in this read including, the mistreatment of women, sexual and mental abuse, light BDSM and, affairs of the heart. In the beginning, Catriona is an extremely vulnerable woman who has relied far too heavily on others for her safety and well-being. Once she is out from under the “care” of those who abused her and safe with James, Catriona becomes a far stronger and more determined woman. James starts out a hero, quickly devolves into an asshat who is so consumed what everyone will think of him, and finally pulls his head out of his ass and makes Catriona his. In addition to James and Catriona, The Delicate Matter of Lady Blayne is filled with secondary characters who play a pivotal role in the plot. There are good characters and bad and each brings something unique to the table. The sex is good and varied (not for those who dislike BDSM) and the emotional roller coaster is just that, a wild ride through the gamut of emotions. In all, a fine start to a new series.
Natasha Blackthorne writes hot & sensual Erotic Historical Romance where deeply flawed characters find love & trust. Her stories are most frequently about the intimate journey of the characters as they learn to open their hearts to love. Natasha’s heroines are not perfect ladies. They are wildflowers and wallflowers who flirt with the forbidden. Whether they are bold or shy, these heroines’ strong desires and deep emotions drive the plot and drive their heroes to the point of no return. Natasha’s heroes are strong and dominant and live their lives with strength and purpose. They support their women in everything. Natasha holds a B.A. in History, loves reading, cats and music. Readers are welcomed to Friend her on Facebook where she is most socially active online.