Winona Thornbury is an old-fashioned girl who is running her own old-fashioned and very successful restaurant. There is a persistent man in that restaurant, though. He’s much too handsome and modern and bold. Winona wonders why Connor Monahan keeps inviting her to come eat with him. Winona has worked hard to earn the fine reputation her restaurant has gained. She really doesn’t have time to flirt with the clientele even if one particular member of that clientele makes her heart skip a beat. When she discovers Connor in her own private quarters above the restaurant she knows that isn’t right but something about him is very compelling. All in all the man bothers her!
Winona bothers Connor, too. He is part of an undercover investigation of a call girl ring that is busy in Winona’s restaurant. The police are planning to raid the place as soon as they know who to arrest. Even though the police haven’t figured out who is running the ring or just how, Connor is sure Winona has to be a madam. After all, no one wears Victorian clothing for real. Besides, she’s just so lusciously sexy.
As they continue to meet of course Connor’s secret life becomes a bother, too. Connor has a dilemma. Either Winona is a madam and he has to arrest her or (as he comes to understand) she really is the virtuous and rather Victorian lady she seems. He knows an innocent lady won’t appreciate his reasons for originally hanging around or that he has spent a long time lying about who he is. Then he discovers his brother’s fiancée is related to Winona and he knows his goose is cooked.
Elizabeth Bevarly has written another comedic romance about two characters who muddle their way through romance. Befuddled love and passion is something the author does well - like when Connor decides Winona must be a madam because she has to have some secret sex mojo to get him as excited as she does. As time goes on, Connor lusts after Winona but finds he likes to talk to her as well. It’s about then that Connor figures out - and is stunned to realize -- there can be more to a relationship than hot sex.
That’s a big part of this book’s charm: the hero and heroine sizzle for each other but they have to figure each other out, too. Letting the reader discover how this hero and heroine’s brains work is the real treat in The Secret Life of Connor Monahan.