Athena McAllister is infatuated. Since she is past her marrying years Athena knows she may need a little help in getting an offer from the gentleman. The Duchess of Twillingham offers to sponsor Athena as long as she agrees to learn how to behave in society. The Duchess gives Athena a book outlining the acceptable conduct of a proper lady. At first, Athena resists, but she truly wishes to marry Calvin Bretherton so she swallows her pride and starts reading. When Athena becomes engaged to Bretherton she is ecstatic. Her joy, however, soon evaporates at the sight of her beloved in the arms of another woman. That is when she realizes that playing Miss Proper just wasn’t cutting it. It was time to change her tactics.
The Pleasure Emporium sits empty, a mere shell of its days of grandeur. Until a disillusioned Athena sees its potential. With help from a good friend, Athena opens a school for brides-to-be. Since most men prefer the company of their mistresses to their wives, Athena will learn and teach women to be more like a mistress. Under the guise of a finishing school, of course.
Due to the death of his father, Marshall Hawkesworth is on a leave of absence from the Royal Navy. At home Marshall learns his sister’s fiancé has thrown her over claiming she is demonstrative. When he finds out about the school his sister attended Marshall decides to investigate. Whatever he was expecting it sure wasn’t to be hired on as a nude model!
The strong lead characters for which Michelle Marcos is becoming known for are also present in this newest of the Pleasure Emporium novels. Marshall and Athena are mostly likable. Marshall starts out with a chauvinistic attitude, but with help from our heroine that changes. Athena has her moments, too. She is opinionated and acts without considering the consequences. Athena may think she knows everything she needs to know about men. But Marshall teaches Athena that while physical attraction is wonderful, a true soul mate can bring complete satisfaction.
Wickedly Ever After is a sensual treat for historical romance readers everywhere.