HQN books Jan 2011
384 pages By Courtney Milan
BLURB ON BACK OF BOOK:
He was her bitterest enemy….
sh Turner has waited a lifetime to seek revenge on the man who ruined his family, and at last the time for justice has arrived. At Parford Manor, he intends to take his place as the rightful heir to the dukedom, and settle an old score with the current duke once and for all. But when he arrives, he finds himself drawn to a tempting beauty who has the power to undo all his dreams of vengeance
And her dearest love
ady Margaret knows she should despise the man who’s stolen her fortune and her father’s legacy—the man she—s been ordered to spy on in the guise of a nurse. Yet the more she learns about the new duke, the less she can resist his smoldering appeal. Soon Margaret and Ash find themselves torn between old loyalties—and the tantalizing promise of passion….
I have read Courtney Milan's debut book and her short story in a Christmas Anthology, and I was suitably impressed. Perhaps not as enamored as some, but impressed, nonetheless.
I enjoyed this book as well as her other titles I have read. I adore her writing style. Courtney has an innate knack for creating astounding characters, her heroes, in particular.
Ash Turner is another wonderfully complicated, sexy hero. Revenge fuels his life, his emotions. And as he strides into Parford Manor, the dukedom he will soon inherit, his penetrating gaze scans down the long line of servants, and rests on a 'tempting beauty'.
Margaret Lowell, the current duke's long-suffering nurse, is actually the ailing duke's daughter. Thanks to Ash's revenge, he revealed the current duke to be a bigamist, so the 3 children from his first marriage were rendered 'bastards' in the eyes of the law. Of which Margaret is one. Ash does not know this, of course.
Ash, for all his outward swagger, and ravishing masculine presence, is actually quite vulnerable inside. And very kind and loving. His sacrifice for his younger brothers in the past and even in the present, is heart breaking and gut wrenching at the same time. But his attraction to the nurse, Margaret is real and immediate. They make a connection, so much so, he reveals his darkest, deepest secret to her, a secret no one knows about, not even his brothers.
He also reveals his upbringing, the reason for his name, from his religious zealot of a mother. Ash has not had it easy. As they grow closer, Margaret is torn, should she tell Ash she really is the Duke's daughter, not his servant?
I found Margaret's two brothers, Edmund and Richard, loathsome and selfish. They don't deserve her. It is them who left Margaret behind with the apoplectic snarly Duke, and told her to spy on Ash. Will she write her brothers and tell them of Ash's dark secret?
Ash's two brothers, who I assume will get their own stories, are a little off-putting as well. Mark is some chastity nut, (even penning a book about it) no doubt a hold over from the religious zealot mother. And Smite is a strange, standoffish sort. But, they piqued my interest. I can see where their stories would be very interesting indeed.
There are a lot of twist and turns, and court fights, and arguments and such before we get to the end of the book. The resolution to the whole "dukedom" issue was resolved adequately.
But what made this a fascinating read was the relationship between Ash and Margaret. Not only sexy and passionate, (that encounter in the tight closet, yow) but nurturing and sweet and loving. They made a great hero and heroine. Both vulnerable, but also strong, and both needing so much, that only the other can give.
3 1/2 stars out of 4 for the book
KOVER KUDOS: Lush blue colors, and the male model looks as Ash is described. Margaret as well. Lovely
3 1/2 stars our of 4 for the cover