Review – The Love of a Libertine by Jess Michaels

About the Book:

When Morgan Banfield wakes up in Newgate after a night of debauchery, the last thing he wants to see is his estranged brother. But in exchange for his help, Morgan must agree to take on responsibility and try to get his life together by taking on the job of Man of Affairs for a friend.

The last thing Lizzie Margolis wants is some rogue coming onto her brother’s staff. She’s had enough of rakes after being ruined by one years before. But the more she gets to know Morgan, the more drawn to him she becomes. The more she begins to question what is in her own heart and how to manage her growing desire.

But as the two begin to navigate a future, Morgan’s past rears its ugly head. If they fight for what they could have, will they win? Or will all that stands between them become an insurmountable wall?

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                                     The Love of a Libertine (The Duke’s Bastards Book 1)

My Review:

Morgan Banfield has woken up in prison, with an aching head and no clear recollection of everything that happened to land him here. There are flashes of drinking, gambling, and a woman – a typical day for Morgan.  His half brother, Robert, the Duke of Roseford, has arrived to bail him out, and Morgan knows he’s in for a lecture.  Robert used to be quite the wild child himself, but he still believes that Morgan’s life seems to be spinning out of control.  He financially supports Morgan, and is trying to form a closer relationship between them.  Robert offers Morgan the opportunity to have a real vocation by becoming the business manager for his friend, the Duke of Brighthollow.  Surprisingly, something deep inside Morgan finds this appealing, and he agrees to give it a try.

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Margolis believed herself to be in love at the young age of sixteen.  Her suitor encouraged her to meet him in secret, and eventually to elope, convincing her that her brother and guardian, the Duke of Brighthollow would never allow them to be together.  When her brother catches up with them en route to Gretna Green, her suitor reveals his true colors.  He is a fortune hunter, preying on a young, gullible heiress.  Lizzie is shamed, and accompanies her brother home, vowing to never love or feel passion again.  In the intervening four years, she has lived quietly, and avoided society as much as her brother will allow.

Morgan and Lizzie have an immediate and strong reaction to meeting each other. While Morgan’s response is his usual charming flirtatiousness, Lizzie is horrified and withdraws even further.  She can’t believe that she can feel attraction after the harsh lesson she learned, so she tries rudeness, avoidance, and giving Morgan the cold shoulder.  Still, she can’t resist when he offers his assistance on her pet project, restoring her deceased mother’s garden.

There are hidden depths to Morgan.  Beneath his cynical, rakish persona, he deeply feels the sting of being illegitimate.  He denies that he wants love, either from his brother, or with a woman, but he will come to see that this is truly what he desires.  He has a good mind, and solid instincts about people.  He can see that Lizzie is so skittish because she’s been hurt.  He observes her kindness and care of others, and wonders what it is in her past that caused her to build those walls around herself.

Lizzie and Morgan long for each other, but he feels he’s not good enough for a duke’s sister, while she feels that she is truly ruined.  Eventually their strong affinity for each other will bring them together in passion, showing Lizzie that her brief and painful experience is not the normal way between a man and a woman.  I loved watching them grow and learn to understand themselves even more.  I especially liked seeing Morgan lose the chip on his shoulder, while Lizzie gained confidence in herself as a woman.   They share their pasts as well as their bodies, but any future together seems doubtful, especially when danger arrives, putting Morgan, and possibly the household in peril.  THE LOVE OF A LIBERTINE is a steamy, yet sweet romance, with characters who are definitely flawed, but find redemption, peace, self worth, and a genuine love.    ~Rose

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