A duke confronting his demons. A beauty resisting love.
Almost seven years ago the young Duke of Calderbrook left England for the self-imposed exile that seemed the only way to save his life. Now Cal is back, a grown man bent on taking back his birthright and discovering who so nearly killed him – even if they prove to be someone he loves.
The truth, revenge, then a suitable marriage are Cal’s aims, but his determined quest is stopped in its tracks by Society beauty Sophie Wilmott. He wants Sophie and Sophie, armoured against love by her own secrets, wants Cal. He needs to keep her safe, she needs to guard her heart – but death is waiting at the heart of the Duke’s great house and only courage and love is going to give them the strength to overcome it.
Click on the title below for direct Amazon buy link: Loving The Lost Duke (Dangerous Deceptions Book 1)
Sophie Wilmott is in her seventh season, and is attending yet another ball. She’s in a private location, discussing marriage with her dear friend, Toby. After a disastrous run-in with love in her debut year, Sophie has decided to approach marriage with a list of requirements her potential spouse must meet. Love is not on the list. When Toby leaves to find his dance partner, Sophie discovers that another man is nearby, and heard their whole conversation. Amazingly enough, this man is the mysterious Duke of Calderbrook, who left England almost seven years ago, and whose whereabouts have been a mystery.
Calderbrook (“Cal”) was orphaned and raised by his uncle. While a child, Cal suffered many bouts of a painful illness which left him weak and deathly ill. He also was a victim of numerous accidents, some of which caused broken bones, others which narrowly missed taking his life. After another attack of the mysterious malady, Cal overhears the doctor talking to someone who feels he may be being poisoned. Cal loves his uncle and cousin, and the thought that one of them may want him dead breaks his heart. Yet, they are the heirs who would benefit from his death. Cal knows that he is now too weak to fight, so he devises a plan to flee and wait. As soon as he turns twenty-one and gains full control of his dukedom, he arranges for his properties to be managed by a trusted friend, and takes off for parts unknown. He is careful to correspond with his family regularly, so that he can’t be declared dead. As soon as he left the estate, he began to regain his health. Travelling around the world has made him strong and determined. Now he’s back, ready to reclaim his life, find a wife, sire an heir, and find out exactly who the would-be murderer is.
Cal’s experiences in life and while travelling have left him wanting no part of love. So when he hears Sophie’s requirements, rather than being appalled, he applauds her methodology. She is beautiful and intelligent and entertaining, so perhaps she is the ideal candidate to be his duchess. He begins to call on Sophie, and their physical attraction soon leads Cal to court her in earnest. When he is about to propose, Sophie know that she has to confess the incident that happened during her first season. Cal is disappointed in her lack of innocence, but he admires her honesty, which he greatly values, and decides he still wants to marry her. The wedding plans begin, and Cal decides to hold a houseparty, inviting his relatives. His plan is to flush out the murderer, and put an end to the game. Unfortunately, the mistake from Sophie’s past also shows up at the party, intent on ruining her happiness.
LOVING THE LOST DUKE is one of the rare books where I adore the heroine as much as the hero. Both characters are extremely admirable and likable. Cal is honest, brave, determined, fair, and has a wonderful sense of humor. He’s also caring and generous, yet wary. Sophie is forthright and honest, and my admiration for her is off the charts for having the courage to confess her past to Cal. This couple has so much to overcome and they are determined that love won’t enter the picture, but of course, it does. I read this book in one sitting because it had an exciting mystery, wonderful protagonists, a warm and steamy romance, and a satisfying and surprising resolution. LOVING THE LOST DUKE is a wonderful read that I’m happy to give my highest recommendation.