Grade: C-Watching a dam break in the circle of flesh, tipping into utter need, his grip tightening in her hair as an anchor, no breath or ease or quiet exploration. Only five years of apartness and ten thousand hours of regret.The happy couple....Third son Cristo Wellingham is the black sheep of the family, finally returning to England after a lengthy, mysterious absence. Eleanor Westbury is the young countess of a much older earl.The set-up....Five years before the main action, a disguised-as-a-prostitute Eleanor attempts to deliver an all-important letter to a disguised-as-a-degenerate-but-really-a-spy Christo in the Chateau of Ill Repute where he lives, but she wakes up drugged and naked in his bed.The conflicts....He fled England because of some youthful wildness, and when he returns, he has to earn the trust of his estranged family. She winds up pregnant from their one-night stand and is desperate to protect their daughter and her dying husband from scandal.The romance....The initial not-meet-cute is more than a bit squicky, but when they’re reunited in London five years later, their attraction is palpable and affecting because they’re both too honorable to betray her kindly, protective husband.The recommendation....I had to do a full re-read because I couldn’t recall anything beyond the titular encounter, and it wasn’t very satisfying. This story has some serious pacing problems, with a Total Drama Moment happening much too early and resolving much too quickly. Even worse, the all-important letter that Eleanor risks her life to deliver in the proloque — involving the death of her brother at Christo’s hands — is a huge, gaping plot hole that is never addressed again.