Well, this book grabbed my attention from the very first page and never let go!
Sebastian Easton, Duke of Keswick, has had a very hard life. Nearly killed alongwith his two brothers as a young lad, he escapes unharmed to only have to split up from his brothers to protect them. Sebastian takes off to the war and in the process, he becomes quite scarred inside and out but the one thing that keeps him going is that he must seek revenge against his vile uncle. Life finally allows the three brothers to gather together in London and they find a quite dramatic way to announce their arrival back in society and Sebastian's proper place as the duke. And no one is more shocked by their arrival than Lady Mary Wynne-Jones....the young girl who freed the brothers and has been waiting twelve long years for any word of them.
Mary is overjoyed to see her best friend from childhood is back but is a bit shaken by her grown up attraction to Sebastian. After all, she is engaged to another, perfectly acceptable man. But that quiet, proper man is not quite the right fit for Mary who is strong, bold and cares deeply for those she cares about. And it is that deep, abiding caring that keeps her coming back to Sebastian and helping him try to find his new place in society. This causes a few burned bridges for Mary but allows this destined-to-be couple to find happiness together.
I adored this book! It is a wonderful, heart pleasing romance of childhood friends to lovers but mixed with enough danger that you will breeze through it and end with a happy smile on your face. I was not expecting the slight 'Beauty and the Beast' theme but it played out very well. Mary never saw Sebastians scars as anything to pity and her way of expressing this to Sebastian was a key turning point in their relationship. I also was very happy with the fact there is no cheating on Mary's fiance, besides one kiss. I'm always nervous about cheating while engaged to another but that is not the case here. In fact, it takes almost three quarters of the book for the major heat factor to kick in and I'm not really complaining. The storyline just moved along so well that when it finally happened, it was right. There is a strong sense of family between the brothers despite being apart for so long but with that comes many doubts on Sebastian's end but Mary is the perfect balm to help him heal. I am so eager for the next two books as there is so much history of the brothers to discover! Overall, this is a perfect romance that blends true love and danger in a way that will keep you up late finishing the book! 4 very solid stars
I received this eARC from Avon via netgalley.com
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