Unbuttoning Miss Hardwick ePUB î Unbuttoning Miss

Unbuttoning Miss Hardwick Adopting the guise of a buttoned up spinster is nothing new for Chloe Hardwick But under the watchful eye of her unnervingly handsome employer the Maruess of Marland for the first time Chloe yearns to be unbuttoned Yet he sees her only as his assistant the efficient Hardwick not as Chloe the womanDetermined to escape Braedon's cold detachment Chloe leaves And when he pursues her to London determined to entice her back Braedon is utterly unprepared for what he finds there the real Chloe Hardwick

10 thoughts on “Unbuttoning Miss Hardwick

  1. says:

    This book called to me because I love unreuited love stories I also like the idea of the heroine working for the hero and having a buttoned upno nonsense demeanor but still getting under his skin I have to say I was very satisfied by this book Deb Marlowe is going on my reading list now for sure Her sense of time and place is excellent but so much life and feeling in her writing her charactersChloe found her way into my heart I liked everything about her I can see a little of myself in her that determination to fix herself so that she could handle anything that comes her way Her situation in this book called to me deeply Her fear and loneliness Her loving heart and her keen mind to match Her struggle to face and defeat her fears and climb out of that box she had created for safety but had grown too big for so that it was just constricting her overall growth as a person I really loved her cheering her strengths and feeling for her vulnerabilities I wanted her to get her man and I love that her strategy did exactly that Not only did she get her man she let him realize for himself that she was the right woman for him What a savvy lovable heroineI found Braedon absolutely lickable warts and all Big vital strong minded wounded afraid to love What a complex mix that made for a hero I fell head over heels for Even when he frustrated me with his stubborn determination to cling to old thought patterns that no longer would keep him safe and certainly didn't bring happiness I felt for him and understood why His family would make anyone afraid to love and open one's heart Deep down though he was a man truly worthy of loving Even if he didn't think so Like us all he faced some real challenges that he had to overcome in his relationships with others including a young boy who enters his life and raises some old demons But like a well made sword he comes out of the fire even stronger as the impurities are burned awayAs I said earlier I loved the main storylines but also the plot threads about Braedon being a collecter of ancient weaponry It made sense on a deep symbolic level that a man with his emotional wounds would build himself a citadel of safety full of sharp protective weapons In the process he realizes that when a man walls himself in he builds a prison as well as a fortress Whereas if he allows himself to trust and to love those who prove worthy he is much safe in the long run even if that reuires a step of faith and going out into the danger zone of the unknown frontiers of emotion What a beautiful meaning filled message I am trying to be strict about five star reviews but when a book touches me this way I have to give it the highest rating People regularly put down Harleuin books To each their own For myself some of the best and most meaningful books I have read have been written by authors in the Harleuin imprints They might not be long or have the dubious honor of freedom from the Harleuin title stigma but they are hidden treasures all the same This is one of those books Definitely recommend it

  2. says:

    It's been a long time since I became so fascinated by characters in a novella Deb Marlowe created two heartbreaking characters with their pasts that haunt them and weight heavy on their present Living behind masks that protect them from the world It's until them meet one another does the ice that encases their hearts slowly start to melt Chloe Hardwick hides behind her clothing and being helpful to those around her as those who has cared for her has sadly abandoned her without showing her about love On the other hand Braedon Maruess of Marland has emotional scars from his childhood that has case a dark cloud over his life that causes him to be cold to those with his only passion of being a collector of swords He finds Hardwick nothing then someone who has helps him with his collection a efficient assistant and obtaining the cursed Skanda's Spear As time passes Chole slowly starts to fall in love with Braedon and the glimpses she sees behind the his icy mask Chole wants Bradeon to see Chole and not Hardwick so she starts on her on journey of trying to discover who she is Braedon is floored with the change in Chole but still wants her help to find the spear but with Chole's change also starts Braedon's I loved Chole she was a woman on a mission finding her true self and her discovery of herself is a wonderful journey to be on with her It's her new inner strength that helps not only herself but Braedon come to terms with the things that has happen in their lives Chole I felt grew the most in the book setting the path for her and Braedon but accepting the gift of understanding from another battered soul in Braedon Braedon is a man scarred emotionally by the actions of his Brother and his Father The few pieces given to us are enough to see what kind of bad environment he and his sister grew up with With his sister she acts out while he hides behind his icy mask that protects him from all harm a numbness that cloaked him when he was younger Breadon has a great heart and it's shown countless of times in the small things he does and shows It takes alot of time for him to come to terms with everything which for me was realistically as some scars never truly heal but we survive and move on and let go of the pain Seeing these two characters be changed by one another actions and their own actions and feelings just had me at awed to know what would happen next between them The growing tension was truly passion filled but was at the same time a tug of war between trust and old hurts These old hurts at times did come to get on my nerves mostly with Braedon with his one step forward two step back dance with Chole a the sudden focus on the cursed Spear did halter the story but it's that finally leap of faith for our couple that makes it all that worth while This was a truly beautifully done character driven novella that capture and held my attention but earned it's place on my keeper shelf and heart

  3. says:

    A must read from Deb Marlowe She is a new author to me but her style of writing drew me right in I couldn't help but fall in love with this bookAn enjoyable read from beginning to end ♥♥♥

  4. says:

    My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the bookHonestly Unbuttoning Miss Hardwick was up at Netgalley for ARC review but I wasn’t remotely interested in reuesting it One because I don’t usually reuest from authors I haven’t tried before Two I thought it was another of those rakes unbuttoning some spinster theme Not that I don’t like that theme but not every author can morph such a common theme into something amazing But the reason I’m blabbering on is that I was SO GIGANTICALLY wrong about everything This book had a slow burn uality; on the outside you’ll think it’s too slow and Braedon’s activities might annoy you at some point But Unbuttoning Miss Hardwick also had some really beautiful and soul searching moments for both the main characters which makes us the readers also aware of our inner selves Have you ever been hurt by a loved one I mean really hurt? After years do you still think about it? Does it sometimes make you feel vulnerable to the other intense emotions? Have you even ever asked yourself about it that why you feel this way? I can say ‘yes’ to almost all the uestions I’ve posed here So I think I did understand even if a little as to why Braedon was so sensitive about being ‘hurt’ by someone Men like him can be exasperating but honestly it’s a reward a woman can reap if she can get underneath his skin Oh but Chloe was perfect for that role It was also the fact that I loved DM’s writing a lotChloe had a different childhood than most girls of her age; she spent it mostly alone After her father died her mother married her father’s best friend Mr Hardwick Chloe observed an unreuited love from her stepfather’s side as her mother never really loved him back Sadly we don’t have a lot of exploration on Chloe’s childhood but whatever we get from her musings or talks with Braedon Fortunately Chloe had a very good and close relationship with her stepfather who gave her his name Even at that young age after knowing poverty for a short time just after her father’s death Chloe knew she has to keep her stepfather happy in order to have a good life It wasn’t a tough task for her as her stepfather was a loving man But he didn’t really understand the ‘real’ Chloe and what she wanted As the story progresses we also see that even Chloe doesn’t understand what she really wants in her life since it’s was mostly spent by making others happy In order to do that she molded herself into a person as per necessity and none of them are her ‘real’ self Chloe’s experiences in the school weren’t happy ones since no one came to visit or take her away in the holidays Mr Hardwick being a collector of antiuities would be often out of the country Chloe’s mother has already died just a few years after the marriage leaving him devastated So as I said Chloe was alone and learned to fend for herself It started in the school when she was teaching and the headmistress was being a btch to her she molded herself to someone that the woman would approve of In return she gets to be safe and can go unnoticed Then when she was back she worked closely with her stepfather who also returned from abroad to work for the ‘Marauding Maruess’ or the Maruess of Marland Braedon to take care of his collection of antiue war weapons It’s a task no one better than Mr Hardwick could do and so Chloe learned from the best Chloe also has some marvelous skills She’s not only smart and intelligent she can do amazing sketches She’s also very industrious and focused on whatever she is doing In short no one can get a better assistant than Chloe Hardwick and she proved it over and over again when her stepfather passed away and she started working for Braedon who had no idea about it since he was abroad at that time But the uestion remained who is the ‘real’ Chloe Harwick?The day Braedon returns is the day Chloe begins finding some answers Initially she was scared that the maruess would fire her for being an imposter of sort And she startles Braedon without a doubt a scene I totally loved Braedon was looking for ‘his Hardwick’ when he finds this young woman working where Mr Hardwick should’ve Then when the young woman confessed to be Mr Hardwick’s stepdaughter he had no idea what to think I mean a woman? Working with his invaluable weapons the treasures of his life? Managing the works of his newly built weaponry wing? A woman who wears that weird box like dress with a row of buttons in front of her as if it works like a shield? A dress that basically gives nothing away about her not even her glasses and tight bun? OMG the horror But soon very very soon Braedon begins to notice Chloe’s industriousness and tries hard not to dwell on what’s inside that dress They work together on various weapons Chloe or Hardwick as Braedon calls her surprising him at every turn She never fails him in anything always very good in whatever it is she’s doing for him Braedon can’t possibly find a better assistant than his Hardwick The irony In between some of Braedon’s past comes clear; about his abusive and cruel elder brother or his ignorant father who spoiled his eldest son to the core Some of the imageries that DM portrays of Connor’s cruelty were very disturbing starting from his childhood and cruelties towards small animals And it grew to a monstrous proportion by the time he was a young man Bummer but I love the name Connor pouts Anyway this Connor was horrible in every way He was mean and vicious to his younger brother and sister as well Both Braedon and Mairi have been the victims of emotional abuse from Connor in a various way I don’t clearly know about Mairi since her experience with Connor wasn’t explored But she was a bit anxiety riddled all the time which tells me she also witnessed some things that surely affected her But Braedon knew what his brother was capable of from his childhood when Connor killed his favorite puppy for no reason at all Then there were some other examples of Connor’s cruelties that came out in a letter by his father written on his deathbed That letter explains why he had to kill his favorite son with his own hands My reactions towards Braedon’s childhood traumas and hurt were sympathetic I can see why a little boy would be frightened to love someone or something too much and fear of the risk of losing it Sometimes even when you grow up it doesn’t go away An older Braedon made sure he’s nothing like his father or Connor; no unrelenting wenching gambling and other idle sports to prove their ‘manliness’ Braedon’s love for antiuities was entirely accidental but a savior nonetheless His father even mocked his little ‘hobby’ Braedon fought in the war; something proved to be a diversion to him and did a fine job Afterwards he began exploring his long loving interest and pursed in full force Can’t tell you how much I loved Braedon’s focus on his work and the fact that he wasn’t a womanizer If all the indications are true he was celibate Even after he returned to London met Chloe and worked with her for about a year afterwards The rumors of his ‘vast conuests’ in Europe to me were just what they were rumors Braedon was in love with his work and devoted himself to it And he would avoid being emotionally entangled with anyone by any means because he was scared of being hurtBut where does that leave Chloe who was already falling a little for this man each day? Why I said that Chloe begins finding some answers to her soul searching is that the moment she saw Braedon things changed She saw a purpose that she couldn’t deny And it developed into something meaningful in a very short time Of course she was totally devastated by his manly good looks But she also loved his devotion to his work his brilliance I LOVED the way she would at Braedon and think of how it’d feel like to touch him and his manly muscles just once Unreuited longing can I ask for anything ? Chloe loves to see him in motion be it walking working on his weapons or practicing swordfight with his friend Sir Thomas But the object of her obsession it seems like doesn’t know she’s a woman And why would he? Chloe knows how to hide herself and apparently so far she’s been doing a splendid job again In the meantime Mairi comes to visit Braedon It’s very evident the love these siblings share and also a dislike for their elder brother Mairi sees what Chloe and Braedon have been trying so hard to hide A shared passion for the same work they understand each other like no other On her inuiry Braedon is shocked Hardwick? OMG the horror Yah I know he was a bit obtuse but I also knew why Braedon knew how dependent he really is on his Hardwick What if he becomes emotionally involved? It’d just devastate him again But Mairi doesn’t give up Even though she had her own troubled marriage to deal with Mairi plans to bring out the ‘real’ Chloe At least somewhat real Now Chloe is also horrified and very uncomfortable Would it be a good thing to make herself vulnerable? But she also knew that the maruess needs to see her without her usual dress up and so she accedes The ‘new’ Chloe does have a devastating effect on Braedon He knew there was something underneath all those buttons but he didn’t foresee the kind of effect she’ll have on him Along with her efficiency and her hard work his Hardwick is also a beautiful woman Oh the horror God it was as funny as it was exasperating to see Braedon in a tizzy about the whole thing And he was a bit of a jerk towards Chloe because of his own reactions I know it sounds ludicrous but Braedon was trying so hard to maintain that thin line and now it’d be so hard But Chloe interprets his attitude as her own defeat She decides maybe she’ll have to go away for a while to let him stew a bit I gladly approved Sometimes it’s reuired isn’t it? Mairi was already a bit nervous about her own marriage and wanted to save it in any way possible Braedon also gave her some admonitions asking her to think hard about what she wants from it It seems like Lord Ashton actually loves his wife and the whole thing between them was a gross misunderstanding As Mairi and Chloe talk there is a plan of surprising Ashton for his birthday Mairi would love to have an assistant like Chloe to help her for the tremendous work that it’d take So when Braedon hurts her with that indifference Chloe decides to resign She leaves for London with MairiIn a few weeks Braedon begins to feel what it is to miss his Hardwick I know he tried telling himself it was all for his weaponry collection that the work of the new wing is being delayed because the workers are suabbling over small things but he missed her presence too Then there was the talk of an ancient spear called Skanda’s Spear which Braedon wanted to acuire no matter what Chloe was supposed to have helped him with her spidery network of informants among other things In a nutshell Braedon decides he needs his Hardwick back at Denning Hall and soon In London Chloe was stealthily trying to find herself Since leaving Denning Hall she’s been afloat not knowing what really to do with her life Should she live as a chameleon molding herself as per someone’s need forever or should she decide on something that makes her happy or at least gives her the self assurance she needs? She was still working of that surprise for Lord Ashton and visits this baker’s shop She sees that Madame Baker is very happy about what she does Chloe wanted to see if this is her calling and this is how Braedon finds Chloe as she was laughing and helping the baker Another scene I loved because this bright and laughing Chloe is something Braedon has never witnessed and it strikes him again hardBraedon tries his best to convince Chloe that she’s needed back in Denning Hall but Chloe refuses And she was right to refuse Chloe knew she can’t go back to that life again In this process of convincing there are a few kisses as well first of which happens kinda accidentally as a ruse but it was an insane kiss nonetheless Even though Chloe decided not to return to Denning Hall she agreed to help Braedon out in his search for Skanda’s Spear They meet this very old Italian antiuarian Senor Pisano who was I believe Chloe’s stepfather’s acuaintance The Senor is very affectionate towards Chloe As they talk another competitor for Skanda’s Spear barges into the shop when Chloe and Braedon is forced to take the ruse of a newly married couple This the little push they needed The kiss was full of passion because neither Chloe nor Braedon held back This ensue kisses and arguments later on that only proves that they can’t really go back into their ‘old’ existence There’s just too much awareness between them now It’s so passionate and intense that Braedon finds himself in a fix And he again begins to act like a jerk so that he can get hold of his sanity I was exasperated TBH but I applauded Chloe that she held on even when Braedon’s words hurt her Then again she knew that any kind of future between them was not foreseeable But her foolish heart won’t listen to reasons One day after returning to his townhouse Braedon finds a big surprise waiting for him something not wholly unexpected but hits him just the same Braedon finds Connor’s illegitimate son waiting for him with his foster mother He doesn’t know what to do with the boy when the woman demands he take Rob in He begins planning on sending Rob to one of his tenants In the midst of this there are some problems in Mairi’s own townhouse and they needed to move the ball somewhere else Braedon was not really happy about it but on Mairi’s insistent he gives in Now the ball would take place in his Later Braedon remembers Rob and is concerned about Mairi’s reaction towards him since Rob is the spitting image of Connor I don’t know why he needed to hide Rob away but I got his brotherly concern It was heartbreaking nonetheless from both sides Rob was hurt because cruel as it was he understood why his uncle didn’t want him anywhere near other people And Braedon felt like a worm to have made such dealings with a little boy I felt his helplessness and sympathized as I felt much for Rob The boy tries his best to stay hidden but his acuisition a puppy given by Braedon in exchange for his hidden state would make cute troubles Chloe who was working in Braedon’s house for the ball begins noticing the boy and the puppy but had no idea who they were Braedon lies to her later that it’s a tenant orphan boy he’s taken in for a short whileIn the meantime the mysteries surrounding Skanda’s Spear become a tense one They were close but not enough With the help of the Senor Chloe and Braedon meet Lord Conover another antiuarian the only person who has seen the spear himself I won’t go into the whole mystery of Skanda’s Spear but Chole’s acuaintance to Conover incites jealousy into Braedon Already Braedon knew what Chloe wanted something he wants himself as well And so one night Chloe convinces him to give into this ‘thing’ they have Good God I wish there were love scenes because it was hot and sweet altogether The scenes afterwards between them were very heart tugging I them especially the one very next day after Chloe spied on Braedon in his sword practice again something she found utterly delicious Those scenes proved how much they both belonged to one another and made me than once But I wish Braedon wasn’t being a doucebag to Chloe again on the day of the ball Chloe understood even wanted to soothe away his fears Braedon has so far bared a lot of the things that hung heavy on his soul as Chloe did of hers But somehow he just couldn’t yet take that big step You know what that should’ve made me wanna throw a hissy fit but as I said I sort of understood his standing The last misunderstanding was bittersweet but the subseuent grovelling was just Braedon finally realized that that big step he was denying himself would lead him to something he could cherish for the rest of his life He might get hurt or not but without taking that step he’d never find out He also grasped at the need to share his life and so he chose Chloe Honestly when a man so awkwardly talks about his feelings and begs forgiveness I can’t just not feel anything for him And the best thing was Chloe understood Braedon like no other and never stopped loving him The only thing I thought was missing from the book was an epilogue which I would’ve appreciated So would Rob grow up and be the hero of his own book? Even Sir Thomas; somehow I need to know about him and why he did what he did I don’t know the answers but I’ll keep my eyes open for of DM’s works 5 sighing stars from me Wonderful book

  5. says:

    I really wanted to love this book How many time do you come across a HR with an independent working heroine? Not only was she working a real job and highly competent at that but she's trying to figure out her place in the world like any modern woman It was refreshing to see a heroine who isn't running away from crazy relatives or something eually unrealisticChloe Hardwick works as the highly efficient assistant to the Maruess of Marland Braedon After meeting him she's slowly fallen in love with him who only see her as 'Hardwick' Determined to find her place in the world and possibly have a future other than longing for her employer Chloe leaves her job to plan a party for his sister Of course Braedon misses her efficiency and tries to get her to return to her position but her transformation into social world leaves him wanting Chloe than he wants Hardwick Of course being an emotionally broken man it takes Chloe a little while to convince him to believe in love but in the end they both learn to love and liveObviously I have a soft spot of Chloe She's just kinda a badass Braedon I think I was a little underwhelmed by his hero role He just didn't do much for me so that alone may have decreased my enjoyment in this bookThe side characters were acceptable normal I liked the Braedon's sister and the little kidThe other problem with this book was the premise of an artifact called Skanda's spear It's cool that there was an Indian artifact mentioned but considering that it's a religious relic I was a bit disgruntled that Braedon and the other men like him wanted it for their collection just to have in their collection I do give Ms Marlowe kudos for trying to give us a short anecdote about Skanda There's so many to versions of the same story so I can't be excessively picky about it but it was wrong at least the reason for the competitionOverall it's really not a bad book I think I'm just not feeling Ms Marlowe's writing style but otherwise it was a pretty good book

  6. says:

    Originally posted at off the buttons was never this exciting or sexyI'm still new to historical romance and wasn't much of a fan I've since changed my stance on historicals Why? Because I read Unbuttoning Miss Hardwick Ms Marlowe's words flow from the page I felt like I was right there rushing down the road in the phaeton feeling the wind whipping my hair I could see the characters well and am looking for my own Braedon Goodness he is yummyThere are many layers to this novel Peeling them back was a lot of fun Chloe is very complicated Once her back story comes to the forefront I was able to fully respect her I loved the line about her buttons and what happens to them I'll leave it at that because it's a great little surprise Braedon as sexy as he was drove me berserk than a few times I understood his motivations well Ms Marlowe does a great job of layering him But what irritated me about him was how he held back Like I said I understood it and liked how his back story was unfolded Getting irritated with him was a good thing because it got me thinking about him long after the book closed That doesn't happen often so I chalk it up to Ms Marlowe's excellent story tellingMy favorite character was the boy I won't go into much detail about him but I liked the way he was worked into the story and how he played a part in the ending Very niceThe sensuality was the right amount Enough was left to the imagination that I could picture what happened and fill in the blanks the way I wanted Loved itIf you want a romance that's heavy on suspense emotion and filled with characters you won't forget then this book is for you

  7. says:

    35 starsWhile falling into a lot of tired old romance cliches sudden makeover awakening sudden feelings so MUCH emotional drama and idiocy the damsel distressed the good at everything counts for characterization points hero this book manages to salvage itself but trying to identify childhood trauma reasons for the characters neuroses and gains bonus points for them trying to work their way through it by talking and emotional re connection I have to admit however that the relationships between the main characters and other people Braedon and his sister Braedon and Rob Chloe and that cranky old weapons collector interested me far than the relationship between them While there were definitely moments of oh i like this the needless influx of romance cliches kinda took away most of my interest in their story It was strange to see paragraphs of actual self determination and emotional connection followed with the usual I AM PANTING AT THE KNEES YOUR BEAUTY MAKES ME WEAK and I KNOW I SHOULD NOT BUT YOUR MANLY ARMS MAKE ME SHIVER WITHJOY The latter was sometimes entertaining as Hardwick actually has agency than many female characters but eh It grows old fastOn an added note I'm not sure if the author realizes that having an artifact that's said to be the actual spear of SubramaniaSkanda become part of the family inheritance of an English lord would be a bit like the Holy Grail being part of a Hindu family's ancestral possessions It's perfectly in line with the attitudes of colonial Britan so I didn't factor it into the grading but it was somewhat bemusing nevertheless

  8. says:

    Loved enjoyed and looking forward to of her books Strangly it seemed that I was in the world of contemporary because it felt common that I would see Chloe being Brandon's assistant Also to for her to hide herself in uncommon clothing was truly an eye opener It certainly fit the regency period that there were to the dinner parties I was even surprised of the magnitute to food delicacies that were created to become vehicles of life The Spear's background history was another fascinating thing that I loved about the novel Also I had so much compassion for Rob who was Connor's son He was a very interesting child who seemed to heal some of Brandon's wounds The rest of his wounds were opened by Chole which seemed to be a complete success at the end But it seems she and Brandon had to go through a lot to finally love each other I can agree with the author when she mentioned that couple's relationship is of a journey I truly loved the book and I'm glad I bought it

  9. says:

    I very much enjoyed this Miss Chloe Hardwick took over for her stepfather in overseeing the absent Lord Braedon Marland's construction and restoration project when her stepfather fell ill The Maruess returned after his military service and overcame his shock to appreciate her competence and skillWhile they have a solid working relationship Chloe comes to realize that she really wants for herself than to be an invisibly perfect right hand She wants to be seen and appreciated for herself as a woman and wants everything not only respect and the satisfaction of a job well done but love and family She also realizes that Braedon doesn't see her that way if at all and makes the wrenching decision to leaveMs Marlowe portrays these two beautifully from their personalities to their heartfelt journey to loveWill definitely look forward to reading of Ms Marlowe's work

  10. says:

    Not the height of memorability but pleasant characters and a nice storyline

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