She’s on the hunt for a hero…
Luke Trenton, Viscount Merritt, returned from war a changed man. Battle stripped away his civility and brought out his inner beast. There is no charm or tenderness in him now; only dark passions and a hardened soul. He has nothing to offer the starry-eyed, innocent girl who pledged her heart to him four years ago.
But Cecily Hale isn’t a girl any longer. She’s grown into a woman—one who won’t be pushed away. She and Luke are guests at a house party when a local legend captures their friends’ imaginations. While the others plunge into the forest on a wild goose…er, stag chase, Cecily’s on the hunt for a man. She has only a few moonlit nights to reach the real Luke…the wounded heart she knows still beats inside the war-ravaged body…or she could lose him to the darkness forever.
This novella was previously published as The Legend of the Werestag
I’ve heard of Tessa Dare previously but How to Catch a Wild Viscount is the first book I’ve read by Ms Dare. Strangely enough, reading Lauren Dane’s The Best Kind of Trouble spurred me to read this short. The heroine, Natalie, in The Best Kind of Trouble is a librarian and Natalie recommended Tessa Dare to another character as a great historical romance read. I decided to read How to Catch a Wild Viscount next. So glad I did! It was a good read!
Tessa Dare’s author note for How to Catch a Wild Viscount states that this was her first published work. I don’t know if it was reworked any but this was a rather cute story – and if her first published work is this polished…I need to grab more! There are some parts that give a “dated” impression but on the whole this story is a very solid and very enjoyable read.
One of the things I enjoyed the most was the imagery. I really felt it helped to set the atmosphere – both emotionally and location-wise. The atmosphere of the location contrasted sharply with the emotional: the house party is held at a warm and comforting home that is bright and cheery – while Cecily and Luke’s relationship is fraught with pitfalls and angst. I loved the section where Luke
talks gloats about Cecily’s (physical) reaction to him:
“Yes, yes. Now we come to the truth. Shall I give you an honest answer, then? That I kissed you that night for no other reason than that you looked uncommonly pretty and fresh, and though I doubted my ability to vanquish Napoleon, it was some balm to my pride to conquer you, to feel you tremble under my touch? And that now I return from war, to find everything changed, myself most of all. I scarcely recognize my surroundings, except…” He cupped her chin in his hand and lightly framed her jaw between his thumb and forefinger. “Except Cecily Hale still looks at me with stars in her eyes, the same as she ever did. And when I touch her, she still trembles.”
– page 15
I wish that the reader had a better understanding of Luke’s…issues(?). I know he felt adrift and traumatized after returning from war but that really doesn’t explain why he was so determined to dismiss someone who clearly loved him and wanted to (emotionally) support him. I assume it’s because Luke assumes that Cecily is weak and needs to be coddled. I guess he initially saw Cecily as someone to protect instead of someone to partner. Of course, we all know that women are much stronger than men like to think. Physical strength is not the only kind of strength.
How to Catch a Wild Viscount is pretty short but very enjoyable. I will definitely read more Tessa Dare in the future.