Nancy Warren is featured in Brava’s latest installment in the Bad Boys series: British Bad Boys, a trio of connected stories set in the English countryside.
In the first novella, George and the Dragon Lady, George Hartley has just inherited a castle and the title of earl following his father’s unexpected death. He has left his life in London and returned home to set about running the earldom.
Maxine Larraby is an American television producer who has arrived at Hartley house with the intention of featuring the house, as well as the lord of the manor, in a documentary about England’s castles. Expecting a “distinguished general whose hobbies include playing with his grandchildren,” she instead ends up with Earl Tall-Dark-and-Handsome the Nineteenth, who appears to be very interested in her. Although Maxine is too busy to date, she’s not too busy for a fling. But what happens when Maxine realizes her innocent fling has turned into a hardcore romance?
Nights Round Arthur’s Table features Arthur Denby, a friend of George who runs the local pub. While he claims he’s been in love a time or two, both George and Maxine know that he’s never experienced the real thing. When Seattle author Meg Stanton walks into the pub looking for the cottage she’s rented for the season, Arthur finds himself intrigued by her.
Meg has come to the English countryside with the intention of locking herself in an isolated cottage and working long hours on her latest book. She hopes the solitude of being in a foreign country with no one to distract her will mean she’ll finally be able to make some headway on the book that’s been causing her so much trouble. What she doesn’t expect, however, is having to fight the attraction she finds to the roguish Arthur.
In the last story, Union Jack, Maxine’s sister, Rachel, is mourning the loss of not only her marriage but her career as a chef in one of L.A.’s hottest (now defunct) restaurants. Hoping to get Rachel’s mind off of her problems, Maxine asks Rachel to England to cater a wedding. While there, Rachel meets Jack Flynt, confirmed bachelor, hottie extraordinare.
Jack first encounters Rachel while she’s in the midst of cooking, and let’s just say he’ll remember not to interrupt her while cooking again. Despite fearing bodily harm from flying spuds, Jack is instantly taken by Rachel, who feels the same. Unwilling to get involved in a serious relationship, Rachel believes that Jack is the perfect person to help her forget her ex-husband, since everyone knows Jack isn’t the commitment type and those leopards can’t change their spots. Unfortunately for her, Jack’s not as much of a leopard as she first thought...
British Bad Boys is a good effort from Nancy Warren that unfortunately falls short. While each story is well put together, there’s something missing that keeps each from being great. George and the Dragon Lady could have been better if Maxine has actually lived up to her moniker. There is a reference to “dragon lady” in the last chapter, and I have no idea to whom Warren was referring. The remaining two novellas suffer from a lack of conflict. The ready-made conflict – woman must give up life in America to move to England – is barely an issue. While the romances are believable, they waere also a little on the boring side. Hardcore fans of Nancy Warren’s work might enjoy her latest offering, but those who are new to her might want to either wait for her next one or check out her backlist.