A young military widow, Eliza Pierce is enjoying both freedom and financial success as part of Elegant Occasions. When her late husband’s best friend, Nathaniel Stanton, the Earl of Foxstead, hires Elegant Occasions to help another young widow of an officer become part of high society, Eliza wonders why. Is the woman a relative? Or is she the earl’s mistress and her adorable toddler his child? If so, why does he take Eliza in his arms every chance he gets . . .
Foxstead’s family situation makes it difficult for him to marry, so his visceral attraction to his best friend’s widow is an unwelcome complication. Burdened by family secrets and those of his commanding officer, he’s determined to do his duty even when it means being around Eliza every day. But how can he resist when the fetching Eliza keeps tempting him to break his own rules? For if he dares to expose the truth, will she ever forgive him? Or will she banish him from her life forever . . .
This is an adult 18+ story that may contain language, possible violence, and/or sexual situations geared to an adult audience.
Title: What Happens in the Ballroom
Series: Designing Debutantes #2
Author: Sabrina Jeffries
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency Romance
Published: March 28, 2023
Publisher: Kensington Books
My Rating: 4.5
What Happens in the Ballroom is the second title in the Designing Debutantes series, and brings us a delightfully complicated relationship between Eliza and Nathaniel. Although Eliza is a widow and a working woman in the Elegant Occasions event-planning venture with her sisters, she’s certainly not grieving the demise of her rather nasty husband. But she is intrigued by her (now deceased) husband’s best friend’s decision to employ the sisters to help launch the society debut of another officer’s widow who also is a mother to a young child. Eliza has questions and the answers aren’t quickly answered since Nathaniel has secrets and a hidden agenda in this decision. There is also that forbidden (until now) spark of attraction between them to be dealt with. Yet what a tangled web their romance becomes.
I enjoyed Nathaniel and Eliza’s story. It’s filled with secrets and banter, laughter and tears, and a definite connection coming to life between two people who seem to fight that attraction every step of the way. It doesn’t help that Eliza is so suspicious of the relationship between the man she’s coming to care about and the mysterious woman she’s helping. Or that Nathaniel is not forthcoming with information that would explain so much. Watching them make missteps and work their way toward a happy ending was an entertaining journey. I had fun back in this world, and that is the entire point of reading romance.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*
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