I think Random Number generator thinks it is Friends' Recommendation month because it picked another one! Thanks to Nia for the enjoyable recommendation :)
This collection of short regency stories seemed to be connected by having a little bit steamier tone and jealous women. With no stories rated below 3 stars, I quite enjoyed this anthology.
A Proper Gentleman by Eloisa James
It was good for a man to know straight off that there were times when he might---be obeyed, and there were others when he should understand his place.
My favorite of the collection and the hottest (funny how that worked out, huh ;). A long standing betrothal, hero who gains a reputation for liking French women a bit too much (really spent a couple months in Paris drowning his sorrows because his brother died), fervent gossip, and a forgotten fiancée who decides to take charge.
The heroine decides to go to a masque ball and pretend to be French and entice the hero. The reasoning involving a Shakespeare quote the hero supposedly said mixed with some gossip is all a bit forced but I'll let it go because the heroine taking the reins was fun. There's some hot flirting, sexual tension, and disrobing. The hero and heroine both give as good as they get and I was there for it.
The Vicar's Widow by Julia London
"Nefarious?" She laughed. "Lord Montgomery, how you tease me! I'd wager you've not a wicked bone in you body!"
He gave her a look that suggested she knew better than that, leaned slightly toward her, and said low, "You'd be quite wrong, madam, were you to wager. I've more than one wicked bone in this body."
Probably my least favorite with us getting a decent amount of pov from the villain of the piece; a jealous girl who spreads reputation hurting gossip. Heroine and hero have a forbidden kiss but then heroine's vicar husband dies a year later and hero hasn't forgotten her.
Hero was a bit drab with his overly calm ignoring, not caring about the gossip circulating about him having serious intentions about the jealous girl and how heroine's reputation was getting dragged through the mud as jealous girl started rumors.
Hero and heroine were sweet together but too much town gossip focus for such a short story.
Clearly a Couple (Free Fellows League #4.5) by Rebecca Hagan Lee
"You belong to yourself now, Lady India, you're not obliged to service any man in order to survive."
The most intriguing with our heroine being captured by pirates and forced to live in a harem for five years (we only get told, not shown this). Hints of steamy naughtiness because heroine knows every which way Sunday to pleasure a man and has a jewel in her belly button that hero can't look away from. Hero somewhat stumbles upon her and must escort her to London but the majority of story is their one night in cabin.
I was completely interested in this one but it was hurt by the short restrictions and our hero and heroine fall in love within a night and are married within a head spinning time. The hero seemed calm, cool, and sexy and our heroine would have given him a great run for his money (she sort of does anyway) if given a full length novel.
Miss Jenny Alt's First Kiss by Jacqueline Navin
"Why, I get the distinct impression that you do not approve of me."
Back to the jealously, our heroine is the poor relation cousin who has spent her life making sure her cousin shines, making cousin turn out to be a spoiled little bi…umm, miss. Recluse earl cousin comes to stay in London to find a wife, jealous girl wants him but he is intrigued by shy cousin.
Look, I eat shy miss, only guy to see the hidden gem trope up with a spoon. I liked hero and heroine back and forth with their challenging each other's comfort zones and their blossoming sexual tension. Hater girl hates but gets a little comeuppance in end and our bluestocking gets her happily ever after.
Satisfying quick regency stories if in a time crunch or looking for a quick fix.