James, the scandalously uncivilized Duke of Harland, requires a bride with a spotless reputation for a strictly business arrangement. Lust is prohibited and love is out of the question.
Four ladies. Three days. What could go wrong?
She is not like the others…
Charlene Beckett, the unacknowledged daughter of an earl and a courtesan, has just been offered a life-altering fortune to pose as her half-sister, Lady Dorothea, and win the duke’s proposal. All she must do is:
* Be the perfect English rose [Ha!]
* Breathe, smile, and curtsy in impossibly tight gowns [blast Lady Dorothea’s sylph-like figure]
* Charm and seduce a wild duke [without appearing to try]
* Keep said duke far, far from her heart [no matter how tempting]
When secrets are revealed and passion overwhelms, James must decide if the last lady he should want is really everything he needs. And Charlene must decide if the promise of a new life is worth risking everything . . . including her heart.
Source: Received book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review
How the reader was won?! That's what this book does. I adore this book and must find time to read more from this author and this series.
While some may judge romance books as scandalous or meaningless reading, they would simply never understand the power of this book. Romance books, and this historical one in particular, have a way of making right the wrongs and giving hope where there is none. This book hits the very reason I am a reader squarely on the head. When my own life doesn't feel like a place I want to be, I can hide in the pages of a book where even the impossible can be possible and the hopeless can find hope. I love reading books with that much power and this book has it.
The characters in this book are also powerful. Not comfortable doing what everyone else does, both James and Charlene belong in a different world than they occupy. James, the disgrace of a Duke, and Charlene, the unacknowledged daughter of an Earl raised to be a courtesan, are drawn to each other. And it makes no sense for either of them. And it can't possibly work. And they both have secrets. But the heart becomes involved and changes things.
The story is masterful. I adore the righteous that both James and Charlene have towards slaves and working girls. Those types had to exist at the time or things would have never changed. I love that aspect of the story. I love that this ends up being a pretending story that neither of them even understand. He doesn't want a love marriage. She's not looking for marriage at all, not for herself. Both are trying to do the right thing but breaking each other's hearts to do it. There was this feel of "the bachelor" and reality TV that skimmed the surface of this one. So much fun.
The writing is sinful. Kissing has never been so yummy. The bursting of bodices has never been so hysterical. The Duke on his arse has never been so deserving. I enjoyed every word, every page.
Combining the powerful characters, masterful story and sinful writing, this one needs to be consumed!
Haven't read historical in a while, let this one break that trend! You will definitely not regret it.
Val received extra copies in her Avon Addicts box of this one. One last copy to give away!