Emily’s fingers were poised lightly on the banister. Her lips curved in a smile so sweet it made him feel he was the only man in the room – or the universe. Her smile never wavered as she hooked one leg over the banister, giving the entire foyer a healthy peek at the starched layers of her petticoats…cries of alarm rang out as she threw both arms in the air and shot down the polished banister like a ruffled cannonball.
Ah, Teresa Mederios. You really can’t go wrong with her. I picked this book up at a library book sale, solely because it was Teresa Medeiros. I’m so glad I found it because I absolutely adored this book. I’m adding it to my favorites list because this book was an gem. I love books that span across a period of time. We get to watch as characters truly develop, and in this case, that’s the best part of this book.
Emily Claire Scarborough is orphaned at a young age when her father is killed in New Zealand, leaving her in the hands of a greedy and cruel school mistress. Meanwhile in New Zealand, Justin Connor vows to a dying Scarborough to look after his child.
Fast forward many years, and no one has come to claim Ms. Scarborough. Angry and rebellious, Emily is forcefully dragged halfway across the world and tossed overboard into the coast off New Zealand after the goons holding her are unable to track down her benefactor. Emily is a strong swimmer and manages to make her way to shore.
And that’s where Justin Connor finds her. Nude and passed out along the moonlit shoreline, he takes her in and reluctantly offers her shelter. Constantly butting heads, Emily makes his life a living hell, especially when she figures out who her rescuer is. Justin is clueless to Emily’s identity, and it remains that way the entire time they’re on New Zealand, struggling to become accustomed to each other, all the while being inexplicably drawn together.
When a ship shows up for Justin begging him to return to London to inherit his title, Justin reluctantly returns, leaving Emily behind. Or at least that’s what he thinks. She follows him against his knowledge, and she’s enraged when time passes and it seems he has made no effort to make the connection between the woman he knew in New Zealand and the idealized little girl he had vowed to take under his wing. When Justin finally figures it out, his world falls to pieces, and Emily herself is forced to admit her selfish and immature schemes of retribution for his neglect have harsh consequences.
Sultry, hysterical, passionate, and heart wrenching, Once an Angel is guaranteed to take you on a complex journey of discovered love and love lost.
Once an Angel by Teresa Medeiros, 432 pgs, pub 1993
Romance: 3/5 Raunch: 4/5