Destined to be a duke, Charles de Lacey has led a life of decadent pleasure, free of any care for propriety or responsibility. It comes as a terrible shock to learn that he might be stripped of everything, thanks to his father's scandalous past. He has no choice but to find the blackmailer who would ruin him—and his only link to the villain is a woman who may be part of the plot… To save his fortune and title, he vows he'll stop at nothing—in fact, he's all too eager to unravel the beautiful, tart-tongued Tessa Neville. She intrigues him and tempts him like no other lady ever has. With only his heart to guide him, and keenly aware that his entire future is at stake, Charles must decide: is she the woman of his dreams, or an enemy in disguise?
Charles de Lacey isn't thrilled with how things are going in his life at the moment. His father has died, and even though they had had a falling out Charles is sad at the fact that he was so stubborn and can now never reunite with him. Then there's the fact that their father was being blackmailed and though he's the heir that will or will not become a Duke, depending on the information that is found, he really doesn't want to do any of the grunt work himself. His two brother's have done a lot of the investigating but now their each married and want to spend time with their wives, which Charlie understands.
He heads to Bath to see one of his brothers and get the information that has been found out so far. When he's there he hears that the man he is searching for has contacted one of his fellow hotel mates. He's not sure if he's found a connection to his blackmailer he decides to befriend and the ladies and then follow them to a rural country town. In befriending the ladies though he gets closer and closer to Tessa and she's not at all as he expected. She's forthright, yes, but she's also funny and kind, generous and smart and he falls directly in love with her. He starts to rethink his life, what he's doing with it and how he lives it. Self-inspection is much harder than he thought it would be.
This is the third book in the Truth About the Duke series and it was a really great finale. We got a great romance as well as finally figuring out who the blackmailer was and what the motive was behind it all.
First we got to know a bit about Tessa who is a single woman (widow) and she's traveling to get info for her brother, a marquess, about a canal project that he's thinking of investing in. Tessa has a great head on her shoulders and has run her brothers estate for years. She was hurt in the past by a man and had decided that she would never again trust a man. When she meets Charlie the first thing she thinks, and says out loud is that he's indolent. When she realized that he's heard her she's mortified and this tinges her view of him for days after. Now I really didn't care for Tessa at first because of this because of standoffishness. It seemed rude and pretty uncalled for just because she was completely embarrassed but luckily she snapped out of it eventually.
Charlie was charming and Tessa couldn't resist him for long. Though Charlie was, at first, trying to get info from Tessa he soon realized that he just wanted to be with her. When Tessa comes to him he's thrilled and accepts her with open arms. Though Tessa isn't sure that she wants more Charlie knows that Tessa is the one for him, forever. I loved that Charlie was so sure about his feelings for Tessa. He knew he had to take it slow because Tessa was a bit skiddish but when he let loose he was a force to be reckoned with and I loved it.
Now as I said we do get to finally find out who the blackmailer is and exactly what their motive is and that was quite satisfactory. I liked how it all wrapped up in the end and brought a great finish to the series. So far the books that I have read by Linden have been great and she hasn't disappointed me at all. Linden has definitely become an auto-buy for me.