Sandy M’s review of Waking Up with the Duke (London’s Greatest Lovers, Book 3) by Lorraine Heath
Historical Romance published by Avon 28 Jun 11
I absolutely love Lorraine Heath’s books. There hasn’t been one book so far that hasn’t drawn me in completely, always from the first page. Every time I become enmeshed in her characters’ lives, I cheer for them, I get angry with them, I grieve with them, I cry with them and so much more. This trilogy of London’s Greatest Lovers has been a special treat. With each book, the stakes are higher, the emotion is riskier, and the love is simply beautiful.
The Duke of Ainsley is the youngest of these three brothers, but he’s always acted like the oldest. He’s responsible and generous. Like his older brothers, he’s also a ladies’ man. And sometimes he plays a little too hard and one time too many, tragedy results. Four years ago on a night of partying and drinking with his cousin and best friend, Lord Walfort, a carriage accident results in a paralyzed Walfort. The rest of his life will be spent in a wheelchair, and Ainsley is wracked with guilt. He was the carriage driver that fateful night.
For most of her marriage Lady Jayne has taken care of her husband, but not in the usual way. Caring for a man who cannot walk, nor do any of the activities he enjoyed before the accident, is difficult, not what she expected in her life, but Jayne does her duty for the man she loves. Her unimaginable hurt also stems from the fact she lost their child the night she found out about her husband’s accident. All of this she blames on Ainsley, the womanizer who is out for his pleasure only and feels nothing for the anguish he’s caused.
Then Jayne – and Ainsley – thinks her husband has truly lost his mind. He proposes that Ainsley father a child for them, something that Walfort cannot now give Jayne, the one thing she’s always wanted. Refusing such insanity is the only option Jayne has. Ainsley has a different view of the situation, even though he also refuses the proposal. At first anyway. He’s always been attracted to Jayne, lamented the fact Walfort asked for her first. He’d do anything to try to make up for his night of tragic revelry, anything but Walfort’s request, although Ainsley would dearly love to experience the heaven of having Jayne in his bed.
Walfort doesn’t give in and eventually talks Jayne into what she considers a betrayal of her wedding vows, despite the approval of her husband. But keeping the end result – a child – in the forefront, she prepares to spend the next month with Ainsley, hoping she can stomach the man touching her. She can only go forward knowing the whole interaction will be a business transaction and nothing more. What she doesn’t expect is learning about him, his love for his family, his regrets, his charm, his vulnerabilities, and his caring for those in his charge.
And Ainsley can’t resist this woman. He’s little by little gently seducing her, hoping to give her pleasure for her to remember in the years to come. The scenes between these two while at Ainsley’s cottage are wonderfully written. Full of emotion and sensation, fun and laughter, and long, lazy days and sensually pleasant nights, all of which they never thought they’d have together. Their lovemaking scenes are passionate and tender at times and at others they’re raw and furious, culminating in a love that neither can voice when it comes time for Jayne to return to her husband.
Again, after she’s gone, Ainsley tries to do the right thing. Stay as far away from Jayne as he can get – not thinking of the child they created together, nor of the times they spent enjoying every last minute. But when tragedy strikes again, when Jayne learns the truth about her marriage, Ainsley takes control as much as he can to save her from scandal and gossip. I love him even more when he finally shows Jayne every emotion he’s been holding back so she could have a good life, despite the secrets that later become known.
When I read Lorraine Heath, I just let every word flow over me and I have patience, trusting the emotion will follow, moving me from one end of the spectrum to the other, laughter to tears, all the while giving me substance of story and depth of character to make my reading experience simply lovely.
They are masters of seduction, London’s greatest lovers . . .
Renowned for his bedchamber prowess, Ransom Seymour, the Duke of Ainsley, owes a debt to a friend. But the payment expected is most shocking, even to an unrepentant rake—for he’s being asked to provide his friend’s exquisite wife with what she most dearly covets: a child.
Living for pleasure, they will give their hearts to no one . . .
Lady Jayne Seymour, Marchioness of Walfort, is furious that such a scandalous agreement would be made. If she acquiesces, there must be rules: no kissing . . . and, certainly, no pleasure.
Until love takes them by surprise.
But unexpected things occur with the surprisingly tender duke—especially once Lady Jayne discovers the rogue can make her dream again . . . and Ransom realizes he’s found the one woman he truly cannot live without.
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: