Edgar Armstrong, Earl of Callander, had not given much thought to marrying and producing an heir...until he meets Emily Sinclair. When their easy companionship grows into love, they learn that Edgar's progressively debilitating disease could be passed on to his children. As their joy turns to despair Edgar finds a solution. If he can't get her with child he knows just the man who can. But will Emily agree to his plan?
Angus MacNeill, Lord Callander's groom, thinks Emily married Edgar for his title, his money and the security he can give her. And when Edgar approaches him with a very unusual request Angus questions his master's motives. Still, it doesn't stop him from accepting Callander's terms -- it's the only way he can be with Emily, even if only until she conceives.
Deeply in love with Edgar, Emily will do anything he asks of her. But she never suspected he'd ask something like this! Despite Edgar's reassurances she worries that his plan could destroy their marriage rather than strengthen it. And when she makes her choice, Emily wonders if there's room enough for two men in her heart -- and in her bed.
Genre: Erotic Historical Romance
Cover Thoughts: The cover is striking and very erotic. The only thing I dislike or would have changed is the placement of the rings. It would have been more interesting if they were on the appropriate ring finger.
Single Title/Series: This is a stand alone, single title novel.
Why I Read It: ANCHOR AND STORM is one of Barbara's all time favorite historical reads so naturally I felt compelled to discover what all the hoopla was about. ;)
Emily Sinclair, once the daughter of a powerful laird, is now a governess for a wretched family in the English countryside. On the brink of being turned out on the streets, Emily is saved by Edgar Armstrong, Earl of Callander. Born of a suspicious lot, Emily is at first appalled by Edgar's proposal to travel the Continent with him as his companion. Having nearly been raped by her employer, Emily is initially disgusted by his suggestion but she soon changes her mind after learning all the facts.
After suffering a riding accident long ago, Edgar's health has continually depleted to the point that he can only walk with the help of a cane for short distances. His life was close to the end until he met Emily at his nephew's home. Having slowly gotten to know Emily during his stay, he finds in her a remarkable woman. One who looks past his useless body to the strong heart of his soul. Disgusted by his nephew's foul treatment of her, he knows that Emily is out of options and he hopes to take her away with him. In his youth, Edgar always believed he would have time to marry and sire an heir, but that dream has scattered to the winds and he can only hope for solace and perhaps love and his heart is set on Emily.
After agreeing to accompany Edgar as his companion, Emily finds herself yearning deeply for the man that has given her so much. Her feelings are far more than just gratitude and when Edgar makes his advances, Emily is more than happy to comply to sooth the ache that has built inside her. And when Edgar offers her marriage, her heart soars. But as love grows strongly between the newly weds, so does the hope for a child and despite the odds, Edgar and Emily make a concerted effort to conceive. Where once Edgar wanted an heir to ensure Emily's future after his inevitable death, he now longs to see her swell with his life, to see her happy because truly, that's all he desires for his wonderful bride.
Returning to England after their travels, Edgar and Emily continue their increasingly desperate attempts to have a child when a possibility arises that neither can overlook. It's becoming painfully obvious that their attempts are not working and that they must look to another source. Enter the smoldering alpha, Angus MacNeill, Edgar's virile groom.
Angus is a man deeply scorned and his initial reaction to Emily is angry disgust. Unbeknownst to Emily, she's was once Angus's betrothed. He's known all along that she was his intended but he never thought her to be a conniving woman willing to do anything for the riches she's now gained by the side of his invalid employer. But as time goes by, he soon recognizes the deep love that Emily holds for Edgar and Angus is both shamed and jealous.
Knowing his resigned acceptance of Emily's love for Edgar, Angus never would he have thought that the two would approach him to help in their conception of a child. At first appalled by their suggestion, Angus is soon lured by his one promised night to own Emily, to drink her up to his body's content. But when the sun arises after their night of passion, both Angus and Emily recognize their wrongful love for one another in light of Emily's and Edgar's marriage.
Unfortunately, as if the inconvenience of Angus's and Emily's love wasn't enough, Edgar's nephew and Emily's former employer make haste for the Callander seat with disastrous and potentially deadly intentions.
ANCHOR AND STORM was a nice read with the love making between Angus and Emily as stimulating as it was beautiful. Unfortunately, it came late in the book. I felt that the build up was a bit tedious for an Ellora's Cave novel. With a publisher known for its ability to deliver highly erotic stories, I was disappointed that the fun didn't start until near the end. The hussy in me wanted her fix!
Also, in comparison to the highly complex plots of my recent reads, A&S read as more elementary when I was in the rhythm of high intensity combined with sweeping epics. This wasn't the book's fault by any means but it did effect my overall enjoyment of what it had to offer.
For historical romance lovers that have been pining for more manege plots in their genre of choice, ANCHOR AND STORM is the novel for you.