The Naked Earl by Sally MacKenzie

Redonk Nutshell: Two close friends reluctantly realize their attraction to each other amid schemes to be trapped into unwanted marriages

I purchased The Naked Nobility bundle at B&N.com for $9.99!  Five books!  Yes!  Then I read the first…and I was like, “….aw, damn. Is this how the rest are going to be because I think I may regret spending that $10.”

The Naked Earl is the story of Robert Hamilton, Earl of Westbrooke, and his frenzy to avoid being trapped into marriage by a desperate debutante.  When he’s woken from sleeping, in the nude mind you, by an unwelcome and uninvited naked female, he manages to escape her planned entrapment by fleeing out his window and climbing into another room.  Luckily for him, it’s the room of his good friend, Lady Elizabeth Runyon.  Unbeknownst to him, however, Lizzie has been head over heels in love with Robbie for years.

Let the list of cliches begin.

When Robbie flings himself into Lizzie’s room, he just *happens* to interrupt her  having an intimate “getting to know myself” session standing stark naked in front of a mirror.  But it’s okay because she had been drinking and wasn’t in her right mind. Thus begins Robbie’s initial discovery of his affection for Lizzie.

*snort*

The debacle is overlooked the next morning when the guests at the manor find other things to gossip about.  After speaking with her chaperone (where the hell was she when Robbie fell into her naked lap?) and her maid, Lizzie is convinced that Robbie will offer for her hand to save her reputation.  Not that anyone cares at this point, but never mind that.  When Lizzie confronts Robbie in the garden (surrounded by scandalously shaped bushes), he not only DOESN’T offer for her, but mauls her with near uncontrollable lust.  Of which she’s fine with until he admits he doesn’t want marriage.

Wha-WHA?

Why doesn’t Robbie want to marry?  Because, my friends he has…get ready…erectile dysfunction.  *cricket cricket*  After a horrific prank from his adolescence involving a group of friends and a prostitute, Robbie has never been able to…er…rise to the occasion.   He has no problem around Lizzie, mind you (facepalm).

Meanwhile, our evil desperate debutante, who desperately wants to marry Robbie for his title and money, partners up with her former flame to drive Robbie & Lizzie away from each other.  Oh, and have a little anal sex while they talk about their evil plans to marry other people.

If it’s anal it doesn’t count.  GEEZE.

Anyway, Lizzie narrowly escapes with her innocence when the evil former flame practically rapes her, at which point Robbie finally offers to marry her.  Since he walked in on the two of them in dishabille.  They marry quickly, but their marriage is far from happy.  Robbie refuses to consummate the union, leaving Lizzie thinking horrible things about herself.  Which leads to weird and awkward sex-talk between each of our leads with various supporting characters about why sex will save their marriage.

Are you rolling your eyes yet?

I was really bummed by this book.  It’s one predictable cliche after another, with very little investment to plot that isn’t driven by lust.  How do the characters resolve their conflict?  By finally having sex.  At the very end of the book.  It’s incredibly anticlimactic.

It’s the 4th in the series, so I’m hoping the first few are better.  Because, folks, I have four more to read.  *le sigh*

The Naked Earl by Sally MacKenzie, 352 pgs, pub 2007

Rating: D-

Romance: 0/5           Raunch: 2/5

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