Passion Wears Pearls by Renee Bernard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Reviewed for TwoLips Reviews
5 Kisses, 1 1/2 Peppers (M/F, oral sex, wax play)
Eleanor Beckett's parents are dead and she's barely making ends meet as a seamstress at Madame Claremont's dress shop. Her treatment there is deplorable, but she has little choice. She has nowhere else to go, and her survival depends on making a respectable living.
Josiah Hastings is an artist and a member of a group of men known as the Jaded. They were imprisoned and barely managed to escape with their lives and a handful of jewels that are worth a small fortune. Now their lives are in danger again as they're hunted and in danger from the jewels' owners. But Josiah has another lasting physical consequence of his imprisonment; he's losing his eyesight.
Josiah rescues Eleanor from being kidnapped and raped, and then champions her when her ruthless pimp of an employer and landlady kick her out in the street. When he sees her, he doesn't ever want to stop looking. To his failing eyes, Eleanor is beauty and vivid color in a world that is becoming increasingly gray due to his failing eyesight. He knows he has finally found his elusive muse, but doesn't want to scare her right after her assault. But he can’t let the opportunity slip by, and he asks her to model for him. In exchange, he’ll pay her an exorbitant fee, and he promises he won’t do anything inappropriate. Normally, Eleanor would never have considered posing for an artist. It isn’t a proper thing for a respectable young lady to do. But while she’s wary of Josiah’s proposition, he does seem like a nice man—especially after saving her from certain ruin—and his promise of compensation would allow her to live her life independently and without financial stress.
One of the things I really like about Renee Bernard is her intelligent dialogue. Her characters are smart, her plots are smart, and her books are just really good all around. Passion Wears Pearls is a book for readers who want a brilliantly well-written historical romance with passion, action, intrigue, and a fast pace that will keep you glued to every page. The mystery facing the Jaded continues in the next book in the series, and I can hardly wait.
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