Lucy Ashton has basically brought herself up after her mildly selfish parents only paid her some attention when it was beneficial to them. Now with her mother gone and having been all but ignored by her father, she is loathe to accept his decision that she marry Adrian, the stuffy Duke of Sussex. Lucy has been brought up to know her duty but she just can not bear it to be to Sussex. After basically telling her he would curb her impulsive, bold nature she dislikes him even more. But the final straw comes when Sussex hands Lucy a handkerchief, a handkerchief that came from the man Lucy loves and is part of her shameful secret, a man that killed another in front of Sussex and is an enemy of the Brethren Guardians. Lucy refuses to believe that Thomas would kill anyone and be an enemy to Sussex and his two friends, who are the Brethren Guardians and trusted with keeping an evil from surfacing.
Adrian is at a bit of a crossroads. He knows and believes what he saw but convincing Lucy of that is proving to be difficult and dangerous. Plus his past comes back to haunt and devastate him as well. Adrian has quite a secret that he is uncertain that he wants anyone, especially Lucy, to find out. But when circumstances force Lucy and Adrian to spend time together, feelings explode and secrets slowly tumble out.
Overall, this is another beautifully written book by the obviously very talented Charlotte Featherstone!. She has quite a way of writing a beautiful, haunting story that will grab you from the start and keep you enthralled until the end. Adrian is portrayed as a stuffy Duke but he is a very passionate, even a bit sensitive, man that loves with his whole heart and will stop at nothing to guard what he loves the most. Lucy took a bit of warming up too for me. She comes off a bit childish and spoiled because of her childhood but once the walls around her are broken down, she becomes a fascinating woman who holds on to her sharp, smart tongue while giving with her whole heart. The secondary characters are excellent as well. We get to see a bit more of Lord and Lady Black (from Seduction & Scandal) but the ones that almost stole this book was Adrians blind sister, Elizabeth and the third member of the Brethren Guardian, the rakish Marquis of Alynwick. Fair warning, this book ends with a cliffhanger that will leave you clamoring for their story, Temptation & Twilight, right now! The only thing that sort of bothered me about this book was the ending. I know it is to lead you up to the next book but it seemed a little much for this book, but I still enjoyed it. If you are looking for a mysterious, sexy hero who wants what he wants and won't bend until her gets it paired with a feisty but scared heroine with some heart-pounding action, this one will fill that request! 4 stars
The Brethren Guardians series
Out now Out July 2012