The second book in Emma Wildes' "Notorious Bachelors" series features three second-chance-at-love plots with the same couple. Madeline and Luke were both in love with their spouses before becoming widowed and now have a chance to rekindle an attraction that has lain dormant for some time.
The Wicked Mistake Madeline and Luke made was to have a wild night of passion that was so much more than just sex. It so terrified Luke, who never wants to go through the pain of loving and losing again, that he has avoided Madeline like the plague ever since. Madeline was, of course, deeply hurt by Luke's rejection, but when, a year later, she kills a man, she immediately sends for Luke, knowing that he will help her.
Turns out that Madeline didn't quite kill Lord Fitch with the fireplace poker when he attacked her and that Luke does indeed know what to do with the body. The reason for the attack still needs to be resolved, though. Madeline's husband kept a journal which Fitch has somehow gotten his hands on. Among the journal's entries are many intimate details of their marriage and Fitch is threatening to publish said details as blackmail to get Madeline into his bed. Luke springs into action, both with the journal mystery and with Madeline, and the two are soon having Wicked Mistakes all over London.
Luke and Madeline resolved their differences fairly quickly, mostly due to Madeline's honesty in confronting Luke about his actions and the hurt he caused. I liked Madeline quite a bit; Luke, not as much, though he is still likeable. I did find it refreshing that both were previously in love with others; usually former spouses in romance novels are simply evil caricatures.
Wildes always includes a secondary romance in her novels. I'm a fan of secondary romances, but they can be tricky. Finding the balance between giving these characters enough page space to tell their story and having them take over the story is a fine line. It didn't quite work here for me. I liked Elizabeth (Luke's sister) and Miles and their story of childhood friends falling in love, but they had almost the same page space as Luke and Madeline, so what I felt I was left with was two half-stories. They're pleasant enough stories; they just didn't feel like they had the legs to stand on their own as full-length romances.
In the end though, I do recommend Our Wicked Mistake. While the plotline was thin, Wildes excels at writing interesting, likeable characters with which it is a pleasure to spend time.
Reviewed by Cheryl Sneed, September 20, 2020