Lisette Lavigne is desperate to save her younger brother from being sent to an asylum for being a bit different once she marries her fiance...a man who has two sides apparently. The one that swept her off her feet while in mourning for her father and the real one, the one that is cruel and unfeeling. With the aid of her late fathers dearest friend, she is able to find a captain bound for England, where she hopes to find Rafe's, her brother, guardian- who seems to be missing. However, once Lisette talks to Captain Daniel Hillary, she finds herself denied passage on his ship. Daniel refuses to travel with women aboard his ship following an ill fated trip with another woman close to him. Lisette pleads her case and it touches a spot within Daniel for he allows Lisette, Rafe and her cousin, Serafina, passage. It may have been Lisette's plead or it may have been her unique beauty that struck a cord with him and he intends to follow through with his desires at the first chance he can. After all, he believes Lisette is a widow since she was wearing widow weeds. . . Slowly bits and pieces of the truth reveal themselves and before long Lisette and Daniel find themselves deeply attracted to each other, physically and mentally. When Lisette's past finally catches up with her, Daniel makes a drastic offer to spare her life and Rafe's. But at what price does it come to himself and Lisette's heart?
This was a fun romantic tale that starts with a shipboard attraction that grows to so much more. Daniel is a determined, sometimes cold captain who can be overbearing and arrogant yet he quickly sees that Rafe is an intelligent lad and shows him yards of kindness. When Lisette bustles in with her courageous, stubborn nature bound and determined to save her family, he can not help but find that attractive and she finds his caring for Rafe very attractive. Seeing her a bit skittish around his romance interlude attempts, he sets about a slow seduction and takes his time to win her over never expecting to be the one won over by her. I was a bit surprised that Daniel didn't get more upset as the truth about Lisette's situation was unraveled but I guess that was because he was already developing strong feelings for Lisette. I enjoyed that we enjoy life on the sea for a bit but we also get life back on dry land. I liked watching Lisette discover that underneath Daniels hard exterior he has a kind heart and generous nature for those he loves. As a good portion of this story does take place on his ship, we do not see as much of his family as I would have liked. Even though his brother is on board I missed some of that fun family interactions of the previous novels. The secondary characters added a warm blend and there is also a side story for Serafina that adds a bit of drama near the end. Also, I was a bit surprised with the villain reveal near the end and I always appreciate not being able to figure out the mystery beforehand! Overall, a delightful, witty romance with a dashing sea captain and a stubborn woman bent on protecting her family against all odds that will leave you cheering and sighing with delight. 4 stars
eARC provided by Sourcebooks via netgalley
Beau Monde series
Can be read as stand alones but family members are recurring
Lady Vivian Defies a Duke May 1st 2013