As an Earl Desires

As an Earl Desires - Lorraine Heath Quite a book... The Hero and Heroine each have their unique flaws. And I identified with the Heroine, Camilla, in ways I'd never have imagined before. Camilla has to keep tight control over herself and her environment -- the perfect hostess, the perfect widow, the perfect everything. Because if she lets her guard down, she fears the ton will learn her secrets.Arch was a schoolteacher before finding himself the 7th Earl. He'd never even met the 6th Earl, an old man who, by all accounts, was a monster. Arch has a curiosity for life. By nature, Arch looks for the good and the fun... he believes in true love. Arch is everything that the ton tries to stifle. And now that he's an earl, Arch feels he's in-between worlds: in his hometown, everyone treats as an earl, not as the man they grew up with and knew; yet Arch doesn't quite fit the confines and formality of the ton.Camilla is trying to teach Arch everything he needs to know to succeed. And she's trying to find him a wife - to his specifications. Camilla has determined that she's after a duke. The 6th earl simply didn't provide anything for her at his death (so like the awful man), and she doesn't want to count on Arch's good will forever.The beauty and fascination of this book is reading how Arch pursues and unfolds Camilla -- how he lightens her up, makes her laugh, helps her to see that life is about more than titles and position.What I wasn't so sure about was the way that the two stumbled and then ran into a head-long affair that lasted quite awhile. I can see that Camilla wanted to experience love and desire and satisfying intimacy with a man, unsure that she'd be able to have that again. But even she knew that there was heartbreak in store. Could she just not say no? And Arch knew better, too. I guess the heart wants what the heart wants.My only other nit was that I literally had to read ahead a few times, because the "drama" of Camilla's secrets was almost overplayed... almost. I had to read ahead to be certain that I would still care when the secret was revealed.Intriguing story with interesting characters. And an unexpected twist or two in the mix. A lovely romance about what we all dream of: unconditional love that sees beyond our past, our scars, our fears, our secrets... and loves us anyway. Loves us fiercer and more. Seeks justice for our pains and hurts. Believes in us, willingly provides support and more for us. And asks only that we offer our own love in return. Beautiful!