Lady Grace Mabry’s ample inheritance has made it impossible for her to tell whether a suitor is in love with her—or enamored of her riches. Who better to distinguish beau from blackguard than her notorious childhood friend, the Duke of Lovingdon?
With no interest in marriage, Lovingdon has long lived only for pleasure. He sees little harm in helping Grace find a proper match. After all, he’s familiar with all the ploys a scoundrel uses to gain a woman’s favor. He simply has to teach the lovely innocent how to distinguish honest emotions from false ones. How better than by demonstrating his wicked ways. But as lessons lead to torrid passion and Grace becomes ensnared in another man’s marriage plot, Lovingdon must wage a desperate gamble: Open his heart fully—or risk losing the woman he adores…
Grace is just 19 years old and the daughter of a duke. She has all she needs in life but she wants love. She has many suitors but she also has a large dowry so she doesn't know how to separate the men who are after her dowry from those that are truly interested in her as a person. She knows exactly who to go to to find the answers – the Duke of Lovingdon.
Lovingdon met and married his wife at a young age. He was madly in love with her but unfortunately due to typhus both his wife and young daughter died. He swore he would never love again. He took up with his friend Avendale and in the two years since his wife's death he's become a rake extraordinaire. He drinks, he gambles, he carouses with women – he's got a bad reputation. Because of this and his past with his wife Grace knows that he's the man she needs to talk to. She implores him to help her and he refuses but really ends up doing it anyway. He's shocked by how grown up Grace has gotten and tells himself he's helping so she doesn't get hurt. They've been friends since she was 8 and he 16. Grace had a crush/puppy love when it came to Lovingdon but she's since grown out of that and now just needs his help. Well, at least she thinks she's outgrown it.
Oh Lorraine Heath strikes again! This author has become an auto-buy for me and I just love reading the stories she writes – this one being no different.
The story of Grace and Lovingdon was so very sweet, sexy, hot-as-hell and honest I just had to adore it. I felt the way that Heath portrayed Lovingdon as the ne'er-do-well was quite perfect. I thought the fact that he didn't immediately stop his carousing once he “noticed” Grace was definitely more true to life than some romances. It was done in a way that it wasn't in her face and frankly Lovingdon at that point didn't realize his feelings so it was more realistic.
Grace was a sweet woman. She had her reasons for seeking love and they weren't all just so she'd be a happy camper. Yes, she wanted that but she also had a secret and she felt that only a man who loved her would still love her after her secret was revealed. It was a big one (and one I'm not telling) so I understood her concerns and desires.
Lovingdon was mouth-wateringly wonderful. The man was definitely tortured and doing his best to forget his grief. I adored the way that Heath had him realize his love for Grace. Yes, he held out longer than I expected but the revelation that he could love someone just as much as his dead wife, but yet differently was amazing and done so well.
This is a book I highly recommend and I can't wait to see what rake next gets his woman in the next book of the series.
Rating: 4.25 out of 5
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