A perpetual wallflower destined for spinsterhood, Lady Elaine Warren is resigned to her position in society. So when Evan Carlton, the powerful, popular Earl of Westfeld, singles her out upon his return to England, she knows what it means. Her former tormenter is up to his old tricks, and she’s his intended victim. This time, though, the earl is going to discover that wallflowers can fight back.
Evan has come to regret his cruel, callow past. At first, he only wants to make up for past wrongs. But when Elaine throws his initial apology in his face, he finds himself wanting more. And this time, what torments him might be love…
A very special thank you to Mandi from Smexybooks for posting on her Goodreads that she was reading this novella. I'm a late-comer to Ms. Milan's work, meaning that although I heard great things about her first two books, I fell in love with her writing in Unveiled. Unlocked continues the tradition because I loved it too.
Bullying is a common word in today's society. To see it on the page in Victorian England, well, that was quite a shock. Evan Carlton has a secret love for Elaine Warren. How he makes this love known (or perhaps how he comes to terms with it) is by making jokes at her expense. It began in Elaine's first Season, when Evan attempts to pinpoint what animal she most sounds like when she laughs. Ten years later, Evan's friends, particularly his cousin, Diana, have continued the tradition of poking fun at Lady Equine.
When Evan sees her at the weekend house party, he wants to apologize, but Elaine will not accept. He finds her in tears and dishabille the following evening, which only serves to bring his attraction to her to light. By the end of the weekend, and after two passionate kisses, Evan vows to be Elaine's friend.
What I loved about Unlocked is that it pushes so many real emotions into a work of 100 pages. It is easy to relate to Elaine and to Evan. As Elaine finally discovers the true depths of Evan's love nine months after their friendship began, she is able to open her heart to him fully. A wonderful novella, all the way around.