The Unsuitable Secretary (Ladies Unlaced, #4) by Maggie Robinson
Overview by Amazon:
Harriet Benson takes her work at the Evensong Agency seriously, but lately, between convalescing from an illness and tending to her father and two young brothers, she’s had to shorten her hours. So when a promising position opens up for part time work, she immediately accepts, despite the fact that her new boss is scandalously indecent—and dangerously appealing.
Though his reputation paints him as a scoundrel, Sir Thomas Featherstone is more proper than anyone would guess. But Harriet’s wit and luscious curves are driving him to distraction. She’s the perfect woman to fill his office requirements, and other desperate needs he’s been ignoring…
Harriet has always held firm to the rule that a secretary must never fall in love with her employer. Only Thomas is determined to win her affections—and he’s willing to risk any cost to make her his…
Harriet and Thomas are complete opposites. So when they say, opposites attract, this would be a very good example. Harriet is studious, serious, responsible and poor. Thomas is witty, gregarious, grandiose and wealthy. At the end of the novel, Harriet thinks Thomas reminds her of a Labrador dog. This is probably the most app description of him. He runs circles around people, yapping about all sorts of things (some of it nonsense) and wanting to be loved.
When I first started reading this book it reminded me of Lisa Kleypas’ book Suddenly You. The characters, the enterprises involved the main character’s virginity and figure. However, the similarities end there.
Harriet comes to Thomas in service as a secretary. He is immediately taken with her. In fact it is love and lust at first sight. Thomas has a reputation of being surrounded by loose ladies and it seems preposterous that he would be interested in serious Harriet. Thomas is a great patron of the arts. He has an artist sensibility of life – nudity, alcohol and creativity are all known to him. He’s the kind of guy that would be at every art opening, have his blackberry full of all major players in the art world and a beautiful model on his arm every night.
The plot gets interesting once we learn that Thomas has a certain problem. For all his worldliness he is a virgin. Nearing the age of thirty, he has never sought to solve this problem, until he meets Harriet. She of course is a virgin too. They strike a bargain for her to be his mistress for a week and they can educate one another.
The week they spend together involves the Kama Sutra, lingerie, lots of kisses. Not surprising they are a great fit for one another and the enjoy sex with each other immensely. The sex scenes are graphic as the two virgins figure things out together. Harriet is not a waif thin woman and Thomas revels in her glorious curves. The thing I liked most about their sexual encounters was how much they liked each other and were so happy with their secret.
The secondary plot points are interesting as well. Thomas is creating an artist colony and the details surrounding this are interesting to the reader. Harriet had surgery for an appendectomy months ago, yet is still recovering and has to care for her brothers and father in near poverty. The fish paste sandwiches she feeds her father almost had me retching.
This story takes place in 1905, a different historical period then I normally read. It was a little funny to hear about telephones, cars, buses and subways. There is some description of the clothing the two wear, but I had a harder time imagining it as most novels are set in Jane Austen’s time.
I enjoyed this book, but to be honest I found Thomas exhausting. Always on the go, always talking, dreaming, and scheming. I know he was wealthy, but it got excessive how much money he would be throwing around. My only issues with Harriet, was that they called her ‘Harry’. Harriet is a terrible name and Harry is even worse. It’s hard to get into the romance when he’s calling her Harry. I would even find a really hot guy named Harry hard to be attracted to because the name is such a turn off. I know that an author has to build a story, but WHY would Harriet turn down Thomas’s proposals? She lived in a flat with her horrible father; a sheet draped between her and her twin brothers and didn’t even have indoor plumbing. The food they ate would have made me camp out on Thomas’s doorstep alone. Maybe I’m mercenary, but if a hot, eligible and fun man wanted me forever and I’d be secure. Sign me up. It was the beginning of the suffragette movement, but lord almighty, the continued rejection of Thomas was getting on my nerves.
I will read more books in this series as I would like to get to know the author’s style and there were elements of this book I really enjoyed.