Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas | Review + Excerpt

Publisher: Avon
Release Date: February 27, 2018 (already out!)
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: The Ravenels #4/standalone
My Rating:

A woman who defies her time

Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man—why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.

A man who breaks every rule

As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett's skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he's ever known.

I haven't read a Lisa Kleypas historical romance in years, and reading Hello Stranger was such a revelation in how much I missed her books. Hello Stranger is a perfect example why Lisa Kleypas is one of the longest reigning queens of historical romances. Hello Stranger hits all the marks!

Hello Stranger is the fourth book in The Ravenels series, but if you're like me and haven't read the previous books, you'll still enjoy it. However, I did buy the other books in the series because having been reintroduced to Lisa Kleypas's writing and characters just from the first couple of chapters of Hello Stranger, I knew I needed to read more of her books.

We meet our heroine Dr. Garrett Gibson in the first chapter (although if you've read the other books in the series, she was introduced previously). She's the only female physician in England and she's walking home from work in an unsavory part of town, when she was accosted by three drunks. She has some skills to defend herself, but would've been in much bigger trouble if our hero Ethan Ransom wasn't there to give her a hand. Ethan, who had met Garrett previously, was instantly intrigued by her and had been keeping an eye on her to make sure she's safe in the rougher neighborhood. While he's impressed with her skills, he insisted on teaching Garrett better self-defense moves, Garrett reluctantly agrees, and the story pretty much takes off from there.

I love both Ethan and Garrett. Ethan comes off quite mysterious, definitely dangerous, but also sexy and sensual, with an adorable dash of awkward. I melted when he said some of the most swoon-worthiest lines I've read in a while. But, most of all, I love how Ethan respects Garrett's skills and intellect, and he's there to support her and stand by her, not take over a situation. As for Garrett, she was smart, clever, and independent, but she doesn't fall into the stereotypical I'm-strong-independent-woman-and-don't-need-a-husband-because-I'm-strong-and-independent type of female character. She wants sex, she wants a relationship, and she's not opposed to marriage with the right man, and the man that she wanted wass Ethan with his sexy Irish brogue and unconventional ways. I love the sexual chemistry between the two of them, I love their conversations and interactions, and the smexy times were quite steamy. I enjoyed the "mystery" part of the book too--it was an interesting side plot. Learning a little bit about being a doctor in the 1800s was fascinating as well.

Hello Stranger is a must-read for fans of Lisa Kleypas, and, really, any historical romance lover. I can't wait to dive into the earlier books in the series, and pick up the next one after Hello Stranger (which will be West Ravenel's book who I quite liked in this book). Highly recommended!

He heard her muffled chuckle. She continued to lean against him while the trio of constables expressed sympathy for the unfortunate patient. Eventually the men departed with a chorus of hearty farewells. Ethan discovered that his other arm had stolen around Garrett. Making himself let go of her was like trying to uncoil a steel spring.

“You should go up to your father now,” he said with difficulty.

“Eliza will look after him while I take a few minutes to show you some slides. I have insect wings . . . pollen grains . . . flower petals . . . What would you like to see?”

“The inside of a hansom cab,” he said softly. “I can’t be alone with you, darlin’.”

Garrett touched the edges of his vest, fingers clamping on the thin leather. “Ethan.” A blush rose in her face, like light glowing through pink frosted glass. “I don’t want to end this. We . . . we could meet in secret, now and then. No one would have to know. We would make no claims on each other. We’ll just . . . do as we please.”

The way she fumbled with the words, so unlike her usual precise way of speaking, devastated Ethan. He could only guess what it cost her to lay open her pride like this. He wasn’t certain what she was offering, or even if she knew. Not that it mattered. He wanted, craved, needed anything she was willing to give. But he had to make her understand that it was impossible. And even if it were, the idea was beneath her.

“Have you had that kind of arrangement with a man before?” he brought himself to ask.

Her eyes were the green of deep summer and lush growing things. “I’m a woman who makes her own decisions and handles the consequences.”

“That means no,” Ethan said softly. At her silence, he continued, “You’d be risking your reputation. Your career.”

“Believe me, I understand that better than you.”

“Have you ever shared a bed with a man? Even once?”

“Why is that relevant?”

Her evasive response sent a pleasure-pang down to the pit of his stomach. “That means no,” he said again, his voice even softer than before. He took a slow breath, trying to steady himself, while his blood sang with the knowledge that she’d been waiting for him. She was meant to be his. God, he wanted her beyond any reckoning of earth or heaven. But her well-being mattered a thousand times more than his own desires.

“Garrett . . . I’m a man full o’ trouble. When I vowed to let nothing harm you, I included myself on that list.”

A frown crimped her forehead. She closed her grip on his vest until her fists were tight as pine knots. “I’m not afraid of you, or your trouble.” Her green eyes were narrowed and intent as she tugged him closer. “Kiss me,” she urged in a whisper.

“I have to go,” he said shortly, and pulled back while he was still able.

But Garrett moved with him, her hands reaching up to grip his head on either side, the way he’d taught her at Baujart’s. The strength of her fingers electrified him.

“Kiss me,” she commanded, “or I’ll break your nose.”

The threat startled a ragged laugh from him. He shook his head as he looked at her, this fearsomely capable woman who loved geese and was afraid of spaghetti, and could either wield a scalpel in a complex surgical procedure or use it as a throwing-knife.

There had always been a cold streak in him, but he couldn’t seem to find it now, when he needed it most. He was breaking apart inside. He would never be the same after this.

“Christ, you’ve ruined me,” he whispered.

His arms went around her, one hand gripping the heavy silken mass of her braided chignon. She guided his head down, and he lost the battle, all his will vanquished as he began to kiss her as if the world were about to end.

For him, it was.

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas graduated from Wellesley College with a political science degree. She is a RITA award winning author of both historical romance and contemporary women’s fiction. Her novels are published in fourteen different languages and are bestsellers all over the world. She lives in Washington State with her husband Gregory and their two children.

Facebook: @LisaKleypas
Twitter: @LisaKleypas
Instagram: @lisakleypas

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