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Hot Under the Collar (Lords of Lancashire)

Hot Under the Collar - Jackie Barbosa And by one means or another, he meant to have her. In the most unholy ways imaginable.The happy couple....Artemisia Finch is a former courtesan who has returned home to care for her ailing father. Walter Langston is a third son who finds himself ministering to a small parish after his military career ends in injury.The setting....An English village. I kept picturing everything set in Dibley, with a young Richard Armitage as Walter, but without the guy who loves his sheep too much.The storytelling....Sexy and witty, with just enough backstory and angst and villagers and villainy to set up a believable conflict. I LOVED Walter’s common-sense approach to ministry – and I think all the preachers and theologians in my family would agree.“Often the greatest sins are committed by those who believe they are the most righteous.”The only thing that bothered me was that Walter seemed to say all the right things at the right time to the right people. His “everything will work out just fine” shrugging gave a lingering impression that the HEA come about too easily – even though it really didn’t. I usually whine about authors not being subtle enough, but I felt Walter’s self-discovery needed a bit more external drama to emphasize his transformation from charming rake to leader of a community.The romance....Did I mention that Walter is quite swoon-worthy? When he first started to seduce the reluctant heroine, I was afraid he was going to be a sleaze, but he redeemed himself pretty quickly when he commenced the wife-wooing. Artemisia was a good flawed heroine; despite her ruination, she had her own moral code that gave her the dignity and empathy to resist aiding in Walter’s potential scandal.And yes, one or two of *those* scenes happened inside the church [*fans self*].The recommendation....Holy (heh) crap, this one had me written all over it before I even read it, and I wasn’t disappointed. This is one that I keep thinking about days and weeks later.And no, I did not ask any of my Reverend Relatives if a vestry or apse or nave featured in any of their romances [*shudder*].NOTE: I read a digital ARC provided by the author in exchange for my honest review.