Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WAKING UP WITH THE DUKE by Lorraine Heath

WAKING UP WITH THE DUKE – Lorraine Heath
London’s Greatest Lovers, Book 3
Avon Books
ISBN: 978-0-06-202245-5
July 2011
Historical Romance

England, 1860

Three years ago, after a night of dissipation that ended in a curricle accident, the Marquess of Walfort lost all feeling and function from the waist down. With all the distress, his wife lost the baby they had barely started. Though she is all that a devoted wife should be, Walfort knows Jayne longs for a child. He comes up with a scheme that would give Jayne what she wants, that could give him an heir of his blood, and at the same time show the world he’s still a man. And there is one person who owes him…his cousin and best friend, the Duke of Ainsley. By playing on the guilt Ainsley suffers for driving that night, Walfort attempts to overcome Ainsley’s scruples. Walfort uses Jayne’s devotion to him and her strong desire for a baby to get her cooperation. Ainsley must secretly impregnate her.

Ransom Seymour became the Duke of Ainsley at a very young age; he can barely remember his father. As a product of his mother’s second marriage, he’s the youngest of three brothers, all of whom grew up to become known as great lovers. Ainsley may be the youngest, but he’s always been the serious and responsible one. He has never bedded a married woman. Ainsley always envied his cousin and wished he’d seen Lady Jayne first, but he’s shocked at Walfort’s request that he bed her.

Lady Jayne Seymour, Marchioness of Walfort, detests the Duke of Ainsley. It’s his fault her husband is crippled. It’s his fault that she miscarried her baby. It’s his fault she will never have another. And it’s his fault she is lonely for the husband of their early marriage. Put aside all her vows and commit adultery with him? Never!

The stage is set. Will the play end up a tragedy? Or will the last act bring about a happy ending? It takes a talented author to work the impossible. Luckily for us, Ms. Heath’s record is 100% so far.

Be prepared to put aside the distaste infidelity elicits, for the motives of all three involved in this plot are good and based on love for the most part. Also prepare for some very affecting—and sensual—scenes in this emotional, character-driven story. Ainsley and Jayne are moral individuals who are ready to suffer pain and sacrifice for the sake of others.

While external conflicts exist in the plot, the internal conflicts are at the heart of WAKING UP WITH THE DUKE. Both Jayne and Ainsley face extremely difficult choices with seemingly little but hurt ahead. Can the satisfaction of his desire for her and hers for a child make up for the anguish?

WAKING UP WITH THE DUKE concludes the tales of the sons of the scandalous, yet ever-popular Duchess of Ainsley while providing a happy end for her as well. Enjoy this moving story and revisit this fascinating family. Or, if you are new to the series, be sure to check out the earlier titles (PASSIONS OF A WICKED EARL and PLEASURES OF A NOTORIOUS GENTLEMAN) and watch London’s Greatest Lovers lose their hearts one by one to the dismay of Victorian womanhood. It’s a terrific trio of historical romances.

Jane Bowers

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