Review: A Wanton Woman by Vanessa Vale

a wanton womanTitle: A Wanton Woman

Author: Vanessa Vale

Year of publication: 2016

The heroine: Nurse Celia Lawrence

The heroes: Mayor Luke Tate and Walker Tate

The blurb: Celia Lawrence can’t show her face in her conservative, small town. First, she discovered her husband in bed with another man’s wife, and then she witnessed both their murders. While she didn’t pull the trigger, small town gossip is not forgiving and everywhere she goes she is chastised for not being woman enough to keep her straying husband at home. Eager to flee her old life, Celia heads to Colorado as a mail-order bride.

As mayor of Slate Springs, Colorado, Luke Tate is expected to set the example. Their small town is hidden away in a remote mountainous region where few women have the courage or desire to tread. As mayor, it falls to him to test out their newly passed law and share a wife with his brother. The truth is, Luke has no interest in a woman of his own, and agrees to a mail-order bride out of duty, not anticipation.

His brother, Walker, is jaded and hard after the death of his first wife. For Walker, loving again is out of the question. But a man has needs, and he’ll eagerly take his pleasure from their new bride while expecting Luke to provide the tenderness and caring a woman expects.

A marriage based on everything but love should be doomed. But Celia, Luke and Walker discover one thing they have in common: desire. Will that be strong enough to survive the danger that follows Celia from Texas? Will desire be strong enough to teach three broken that sometimes you have to risk everything for love?

Standalone or series: Book one of the Mail Order Bride of Slate Springs series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: This book was one of the best menage books I’ve read! Set in the 1880s, twenty-five year old Celia Lawrence finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage with the town doctor. When she catches him in bed with another woman, she’s stunned by what she sees – sex with John has always been boring and only done to fruitlessly produce a child. She’s watching from the room next door, unseen. So when her husband and his mistress are caught by said mistress’s husband, Celia is shocked to find herself witness to their murders.

After testifying against Neil Norman, he is hung for his crime, but it is Celia who is blamed by everyone – especially Neil’s brother, Carl – for Neil’s demise. Perhaps if she’d satisfied her husband, he wouldn’t have strayed. She’s left with no money (after John willed everything to his nephew) and no job (she was John’s nurse) so she signs up to be a mail order bride.

When she is matched with Luke Tate from Colorado, she flees Texas. When she meets her new husband for the first time, she’s amazed at how attracted to him. But Luke is hiding a secret – as mayor of Slate Springs, he passed a law recently allowing a woman to be wed to two or more men. This is because Slate Springs is snowed in for up to five months a year and the males outnumber the females by ten to one. Since Luke has been such an avid supporter, he feels obliged to be one of the first to adhere to it.

Enter Walker, his brother. A widower, he’s not interested in finding another woman to love, but he’s happy enough to have one to share his bed and bear his child. But when he lays eyes on Celia, that all flies out the window. Still, it takes Walker longer to accept this is not just a marriage in name only.

Celia takes the news that she is wed to both men remarkably well, and since she can’t get the vision of her husband and his mistress out of her mind, she wants to know what passionate sex is like. So she’s an eager participant, ready to learn. But when the past comes back to haunt her, Celia may very well never truly find out what it’s like to be in a loving relationship.

The author did an excellent job of portraying characters true to that time. I adored the relationship between the three leads and the sex scenes were incredibly hot. If you love menage, you’re going to want to read this book.