by Elyse Huntington
Since his notorious wife died in mysterious circumstances, rumours about James, the handsome Duke of Trent, have scandalized society. Now, he must marry again – but finding an eligible woman willing to overlook his past won’t be easy.
Defiantly single, Lady Alethea Sinclair has already turned down six offers of marriage. She prefers living on her own terms and refuses to answer to any man. Yet when Alethea meets the seductive and enigmatic Duke she finds herself strangely drawn to him.
Intrigued by Alethea’s defiance of society’s expectations, James is instantly taken with the willful beauty and soon they are enjoying a playful flirtation. And when circumstances force them into a comprising situation, he does the honourable thing and marries her.
But adjusting to the constraints of marriage doesn’t come easily to the rebellious Alethea and, despite their growing feelings for each other, the Duke’s troubled past keeps getting in the way. Can they learn to trust each other and give love a chance before it’s too late?
A steamy Georgian romance about desire, the importance of staying true to yourself and the power of the past to cast a shadow on the present.
I’ve got to say I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I mean, I was expecting (and got) an enjoyable historical romance but I also expected some kind of gothic flair with the dead wife. You know the kind – with the unrequited love, a jealous rival, a crazy aunt … someone somewhere who does an evil deed and the hero ends up taking the blame. Not this time, although there are many other things at play here – love, attraction, trust, independence, expectations, and past hurts.
Alethea has lead a certain life up to this point – she’s been allowed a lot of liberty and independence by her father. However, she’s never met a man who intrigues her quite the same way that James does. But when she’s forced to give up her previous life to live one as the Dark Duke’s duchess though, the transition is going to be hard for her to take. James, too, comes to the relationship needing to make some adjustments. He’s still carrying around scars from his first marriage and as much as he may care for Alethea he has fears that are going to take a lot to get past.
There a good number of misunderstandings between these two. They don’t do that good a job of communicating all the time, but when they do – when they finally start using their brains and hearts, instead of the hurts and insecurities – things definitely get better. It’s a rollercoaster ride, full of humor and hurt, but I gladly held on with both hands, anxiously waiting for them to get to their HEA moment. Oh, and make sure you check out the epilogue on the author’s website – perfect end cap to their love story!