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About the Book:
Infamous for his pedigree of madness and murder, the reclusive Duke of Ashbey believes he cannot feel until a mysterious woman unlocks a world of sensation in a single, shattering moment of connection. He casts a desperate bid for more.
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Read an Excerpt:
Lady Stone stirred, releasing him from his thoughts. He planted a kiss on her shoulder. Even her skin was sweet.
“Mmmm,” she responded.
Carefully, he brushed the hair from her face. “Good morning, Lady Stone.”
Dream’s mist cleared from her eyes. “Alicia,” she whispered. And then, she smiled.
An unfamiliar feeling entered his heart—light and heady, as if he were galloping free.
“Alicia.” He tested the name. The consonants spilled over tongue like water. Alicia.
Now he understood why she had, at first, refused to call him Ash. The gift of her name was more intimate a gesture than anything they’d yet shared.
He’d pleasured Lady Stone. He could remain thankful, even devoted to Lady Stone from afar. But Alicia? Alicia was someone he must gather up close and protect.
A discordant note clanged in his soul.
The best way he could protect Alicia was to let her go.
“Good morning, Ash.”
He gathered her into his arms and held tight.
“Ah, Ash,” she sighed.
How could a single sigh transport him from despair to—what was that word? Was there a word for feeling all would be right with the world?
She pulled away. Her lids swept down as her cheeks pinked. “I require a bit of privacy.”
He set her free. Reluctantly.
She glanced back half way across the room, her shy, sweet smile more dangerous than a primed pistol. Then, she disappeared into the adjoining chamber, but not before nervously adjusting her shift.
Why was she nervous? She was utterly perfect. She’d always be utterly perfect. At least, to him. He settled back into the pillows, propping his head on his arm.
The child of a madman, even a madman with a ducal title, was bound to be lonely. His father had never harmed him, but he thought it wise to act as everyone else in the household and keep out of his father’s way.
Alone in his chambers, he’d taken comfort in sounds of human activity—cleaning, brushing, polishing…the clank of dishes, the swish of a gardener’s scythe. But this was the sound he had longed for—the sound of someone for whom he cared, going about a trivial occupation. Life, shared.
His chest pierced—the price he’d have to pay for the return of his feeling. But his three stolen days were not over.
She emerged with another, private smile.
Not in the least.
Alicia Stone’s husband, Octavius, a celebrated naval hero, has died. In recent years, Alicia had to endure the humiliation of her husband having a mistress and fathering a child with her. His love for the other woman was so intense that he actually brought them into his home. While this shoddy behavior should have shocked the nation, the Admiral was so revered, that he and his mistress were embraced and portrayed as tragic romantic figures while Alicia was reviled. On his deathbed, Octavius declared his intention to leave his entire fortune to his mistress and illegitimate daughter, leaving Alicia out in the cold. As the navy and the solicitors attempt to sort out the legalities, the nation plans a hero’s funeral for Octavius. Alicia is not expected to attend, but she dons a veil, and ventures out among the throngs of mourners who filled the streets to pay their respects to the fallen hero.
The Duke of Ashley (Ash) has a family history which has affected him in such a way that he has not felt any emotions for a long time. He has felt desire, and has had mistresses, but no one has touched his heart. He had been married, and his wife despised him. She set fire to his home, and ended up perishing in the blaze, along with his mad father. As Ash is in the crowd of people who are attending Octavius’s funeral, he sees a woman recognize the veiled Alicia. To his surprise, the pain and panic on Alicia’s face touches Ash, and he quickly moves in to rescue her. Their brief encounter, however, has roused long dead feelings in Ash, and he has hope that Alicia may be the one to restore his humanity.
Ash soon contacts Alicia with a shocking proposal. He requests they share a three day affair with no other strings. He feels unworthy of a genuine relationship, but feels that this contact may bring him back to life. Alicia initially refuses, but the duke is handsome and tempting, and her husband’s rejection stings, so she agrees. What ensues during those three days is pure magic. Alicia and Ash have an immediate chemistry which is hot and steamy. She experiences excitement and fulfillment that she never even dreamed were possible. But aside from the physical connection, they share an emotional one, as well. Ash is, indeed, beginning to feel again. In three short days, Ash and Alicia have fallen in love, though neither admits it as such. Each wants to continue the relationship, but they part, as agreed, thinking that’s what the other wants.
I love both of these characters so much! Of course, I felt sympathy for both – Alicia was the wronged party, yet had to bear the disdain of most of the population, along with her own feelings of rejection, hurt, and grief. I love Ash’s logical way of speaking, and how he interacted with his friends. Even when he was convinced he had no feelings, he harbored what I would call a hidden romantic nature, as evidenced by the speeches he made to Alicia. There is another obstacle or two for this couple to overcome, along with a surprise, as they work toward their future happiness together. As I was reading, I couldn’t help but think that this story somewhat paralleled Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton, and the author included in her notes that was indeed her inspiration. HER DUKE AT DAYBREAK is my first read by Wendy LaCapra, and I’m sure to be reading her future work. I thoroughly enjoyed this book which had characters I loved, an unusual plot, plenty of steam and lots of romance and emotion.
A Wendy LaCapra Prize Pack featuring the following:
- A “Live the Life you Love” Make Up Bag
- A $15 Barnes and Noble Gift Card
- A Pair of Blackthorn Earrings made by Mythospheria at Etsy
- Signed Copies of Lady Vice, Lady Scandal and Duchess Decadence