by Cathy Maxwell.
Avon paperback, 356 pages. 2015.
The early 19th Century, England.
“She leaned closer to him. ‘I was waiting for you. I kept hoping I would see you again. I waited, Ben. I put them off as long as I could. And now, I want you to make love to me. Years ago, we tried, and I don’t believe we made a good job of it. I panicked – ‘
‘I didn’t know what I was doing.’
He looked so earnest, she couldn’t help but smile. ‘I’ve heard some women whisper it is terrible the first time. But around Heartwood, the lasses like their lads, so there must be something to it.’
‘There is.’ Ben tossed his stick into the fire. ‘I think of my brother, Elin.
‘I thought you were angry with him.’
‘No, jealous. He had you.’
‘That wasn’t the argument the night of the ball.’
‘It was the undercurrent. Gavin can be clueless. He doesn’t see the nuances. He had no idea of what he has taken from me.’
‘I’m not going to let him take you from me.’
He twisted toward her. ‘Are you certain, Elin?’”
Elin has been promised to the Duke since a child and, finally, the time has come to announce their engagement. Years before, when she was very young, Elin had lost her virginity to the Duke’s brother, Ben. They had been in love, but forced to part. Now they meet again. Still, they are forced apart. When some time later her carriage is stopped and everyone killed, Elin escapes thru the nearby forest and, nearly at the end of her rope, finds a run-down inn and inside is Ben and some friends.
Ben and friends help her escape and the two of them run thru the forest when the murderers come to the inn searching for her. After a harrowing time there, they finally admit their love and plan a future together. Then, the Duke and his men find them and she is taken to her home, Ben delayed behind.
What a really good romance novel! Maxwell really knows how to write them. This has lots of action going on thruout the entire story. And there is great passion as well. Resolutions and answers are not found until the very end. Ah, Ben was quite the man. I’m sure when the next story comes in this new series, we will find the Duke’s happy ending and perhaps even a lost twin as well.