Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The Brethren are on the hunt for a killer…
Adrian York, Duke of Sussex, is searching for the Brethren enemy Orpheus. His only lead is a handkerchief with the initials of Lucy Stonebrook. The unfortunate thing is that Adrian loves Lucy, desires to marry her, but upon presenting the evidence Lucy claims the article belongs to a previous lover. Adrian doesn’t know what this lover meant to Lucy, but he’s bound and determined to catch the man and ensnare Lucy’s heart and soul one way or another.
Lucy sees the Duke of Sussex as her enemy. The lover she believed to be dead is back, and Lucy feels he’s incapable of committing the murder that Adrian accuses him of. She refuses to marry Adrian based on that fact, and the belief that he is a stuck up prig filled with no passion. Yet passion simmers underneath the surface of Adrian’s control, and Lucy finds out quickly that small missteps only bring it forth. Can Lucy and Adrian overcome the issues of their present or is pride unable to be overcome by passion?
This is Featherstone’s second book in the Brethren Guardian series. It’s a delicious read chock full of mystery, intrigue, and a compelling hero that captivates from the start. I love duke stories. I love seemingly arrogant windbags who turn out to be more than what they seem. Featherstone delivers a duke that fits all those desperate desires of my heart in Adrian York. He’s a man that believes in keeping passion tethered, afraid that if it gets lose then he’s not worthy in the role of a duke. Unfortunately, Lucy sets him afire, dashing his labored attempts to keep his desires under control. Like in this one scene where Adrian has just ended Lucy’s hopes of meeting her previous lover:
“Does your father know what you’re about tonight?”
“Oh, certainly,” she replied mockingly. “I shook him awake and informed him I was going traipsing through Mayfair in the dead of night to meet with the man who took my innocence.”
It was as though an electric bolt lanced through him.
With a savage oath, he picked through the bag until he came across a folded piece of paper. Her eyes widened, but their expression taunted him, dared him to unfold this bit of private correspondence, which did nothing to ease his riled, and feral—not to mention sexually frustrated—mood.
“So this is the damning evidence, is it?”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“We’ll see soon enough, won’t we?”
Opening it, he read the contents, and saw red as every vessel in his head began to bleed, leeching blood from his brain, to his eyes, until his vision was swimming in crimson.
“What the devil do you mean by obeying this summons? Alone? In the dark? My God, when I think of what might have happened to you. You’re reckless… a danger to yourself,” he huffed quickly losing his control. “You ought to be tied up for your own good and safety and given to a man who will make it his life’s purpose to keep you out of mischief.”
He reached for the cravat that lay pooled on the table.
“What do you mean by this?” she snapped as he began to bind her hands.
“What does it look like?”
“Untie me at once. Oooh,” she stammered as she stamped her foot against the floor, trying to connect with his foot. The foot wouldn’t hurt half as much as his groin still did. “You cannot do this!”
“I assure you, my love, I can. And I am doing a fine job of it.”
Lucy’s character is a moderately likable, and seems to be filled with enough pride to cover the Eastern seaboard. She’s quick to judge and barely peeks beneath the surface of a person. Lucy is reminiscent of a person so absorbed with their desires and losses that they can’t be brought out of their internal dreams easily. In fact, it took half the book and a shocking revelation to get Lucy to see beyond herself. This made it a tad difficult to find something to like about Lucy, but eventually her pride abated. Once she climbed out of her self-absorbed shell it was easy to see how Adrian could love her.
Overall, the book is a delicious read for those in want of a strong, passion driven hero. I couldn’t put it down, even though Lucy is not the most ideal heroine. One other note, don’t expect full resolutions in this story, as Featherstone seeks to entice rather than satisfy.