Gift for a Night (Stud to the Stars Book 4)
It's the mysterious murder of Lily's brother Leo. Julian was particularly close to Leo and found in his friendships to Leo and Lily a certain belonging that he had not experienced ever since the tragic death of his mother. Not much is known of Julian.
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He's a bastard, the father is unknown but he's a driven character. Someone who from an early age on wants to do much, much better than society has in store for him. He creates a double life. The rakish Julian Bellamy at night with his his sophisticated group of friends, a member of the Ton, a trendsetter whose style is being copied. In this group of people he's assumed the bastard son of an aristocrat. At day, however, he's Jamie Bell, supposedly a clerk in an investment company that he secretly owns though and which provides the clothes and accessories needed for Julian Bellamy's trendsetting fashion.
This contains a second subplot that becomes important towards the end of the book. Julian has been in love with his best friend's sister Lily from the first time he met her, and Lily is just as much in love with him. However, Julian hides some dark secrets and has made questionable choices in his life. Nonetheless, the unconventional affection that Leo and Lily have shown him, leads to Julian becoming obsessed with finding Leo's murderer and making him a fierce protector of Lily.
Lily lost her hearing, but was able to live a social life with her brothers support. With him gone, Julian feels responsible to see her wed off to a man of her station who will show her all the love and devotion and respect that he wants for her. We know that this is never going to happen but it's heartbreaking to see Julian's inner struggle. Let go of the love his life or make her a part of his double life that he's grown so tired of.
Add to that the fact that he blames himself for Leo's murder because he chose to spend the night of the murder with another woman and not with Leo, and we have a tortured, guilt ridden hero. All this, minus the feelings between Julian and Lily, happens in the first book of the series.
He can be over-protective where Lily is concerned but I never felt that he was patronising. Lily is, despite her deafness, a strong woman. The loss of her brother reminds her to pursue the things that are important in life. And pursue she does. Her love for Julian is unconditional and she won't shy away to defy social convention. Julian pushes her away, feeling unworthy due to his background and the double life he leads. Her strength shines through when Julian reminds her what it means to flout social convention.
She asks him if he's talking about the same social conventions that left the young Julian in the gutter to fend for himself. These two remarkable people admit their love to each other very early into the book and I found it refreshing. The question is never if they love each other, but whether their lives are compatible. For Julian, who has lived in the darkness for too long, it is impossible and it is Lily's unconditional love, her strength, her wisdom and her positivism that drags Julian slowly into the light.
Julian, one of the most swoonworthy heroes I've come across, slowly coaxes Lily out of her shell that she created after becoming deaf.
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He shows her ways to experience sounds in different ways. He fills the silence of her life with sounds she can feel. Julian is a hero to die for. Another aspect that I liked very much is how Tessa Dare managed the love scenes. They aren't randomly thrown in because they're part of the genre as it sadly happens with so many other authors.
They're beautifully written and very steamy, but most importantly, they convey the deepening relationship between Julian and Lily. They leave a sense of "Yep, these two are truly mad about each other!
One was the fact that Julian's mother had been a deaf mute. Talk about convenience when pairing him with a deaf woman. Secondly, the slightly excessive self-flagellation that Julian shows when he thinks he's unworthy of Lily's love.
But taking everything into consideration, I really didn't care enough to take a star off. They didn't bother me in the slightest.
The character and plot development, the prose, the romance were perfect. View all 29 comments. Please bear with me as I ramble my way through this review.
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I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Leo created this club for the very reasons he claimed he did — so that everyone could belong, not just those who are wealthy and accepted by society, but also for those who are not, and with the circumstances of his death being revealed, I admire him all the more for it. He came across as quite the unlikeable guy in the previous two books because of the way he put on airs, as he seemingly considered himself better than those around him. I also loved Lily, her quiet nature, unobtrusive — yet so very smart, such an amazing lady.
She was underestimated by everyone around her, even those who knew her best, thinking that her deafness meant she was somehow less able to manage things or to take care of herself. So this opportunity we had to get to know the real Lily was such a treat! In addition to her wisdom, she was so full of love, so giving and understanding that not only was she able to function on her own, she was able to look out for and take care of everyone around her.
The real challenge they face is learning to go on, living their lives in a way that would have made Leo proud.
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He was a male most worthy of his own story and a happily ever after. With whomever he chose. View all 58 comments. I've given this an A for narration and an A- for content at AudioGals. The mystery that has run through all three books surrounding the death of Lord Leo Chatwick is satisfactorily concluded, the central romance is truly touching and the two protagonists make an exceptionally well-drawn and engaging couple.
You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals. View all 3 comments. Jul 02, Princess under cover rated it really liked it Shelves: historical-romance. You know, I'm starting to really appreciate the "rawness" of TD's earlier works. The love scenes are pretty intense and passionate which really works for me. So why isn't this a 5? It's actually more like 3. A little experience, fine. Hard for me to really like a man when he's really a man-whore. And typically, if you are a man-whore, you should have a very good reason - you do it to give the bird literally to the upper class cuz you hate them is not a very good reason in my opinion.
And even then, from earlier books, I just didn't like the hero all that much. I especially didn't like the fact that he was pretty much in love with the heroine from day one but then STILL spent the next few years banging anything that moved.
Cuz he decided she was too good for him and therefore out of reach. I don't think a guy is all that heroic if he can't go after what he wants, AND does everything possible to make himself unpalatable in the process. Really liked the heroine tho, so that sort of balanced things out a bit. Not my fav in the series. Not sure if I want to read 1. And esp.
View 2 comments. I was rooting for Julian and Lily all the way. Come on, be together, please. Oh my poor heart cried a few tears for Julian and Lily when they slowly admitted their feelings to each other. I was so happy for them, that they did not fight, no silly arguments. They spent time together, showed true affections toward each other and eventually Julian admitted his feelings.
Julian was quite a dream come true. The second half of the story made me feel a little bored. Many sex scenes, all well-written but the frequency made me wonder, are we just reading about sex because there is no plot in this part of the story?
The mystery was the focal point of the 2nd half. And I had to say it made Julian look a little stupid and kind of like a virgin on the wedding night.
He was jumpy because of the unresolved mystery and the conclusion made all his jitters look really silly. The sweetness also went a little overboard in the second half. I am not much for excessive fluffiness in the story. And since Julian and Lily were soooo obviously in love when they got married, everything about their relationship after they got married was just heaping sugar on honey kind of sweet. The sex scenes have completely lost their allures to me at this point.
No conflict, no fear of loss, no tension, no fun. For the first half of the story I was thinking oh oh oh it is so sweet but I don't care, my dreamy heart tells me to give the story 5 stars. Then the second half happened, I ended the book with a 3 stars feeling.