He had a perfectly orderly life…
William, the sixth Duke of Pelham, enjoys his punctual, securely structured life. Orderly and predictable—that’s the way he likes it. But he’s in the public eye, and the scandal sheets will make up anything to sell papers. When the gossip papers link him to Juliette, one of the most beautiful and celebrated courtesans in London, chaos doesn’t begin to describe what happens next…
Until she came along…
Juliette is nicknamed the Duchess of Dalliance and has the cream of the nobility at her beck and call. It’s disruptive to have the duke who is the biggest catch on the Marriage Mart scaring her other suitors away. Then she discovers William’s darkest secret and decides what he needs in his life is the kind of excitement only she can provide…
Will, the Duke of Pelham, learned at a very young age the importance of having a structured, rigid schedule and to maintain that schedule…no matter what. His world is turned upside when he meets Juliette, the Duchess of Dalliance. He thinks she’s beneath him, but she has an uncanny ability to stir emotions in Will that he’s thought were long buried by his father.
Juliette is not at all what she appears to the ton and she longs for a husband and family who loves her. While she loved having herself tied to the Duke of Pelham in the scandal sheets, she finds herself quite drawn to the man when they meet in person and hurt by his opinion of her. Despite that, she’s the first person she runs to when she needs help because he’s the only one that makes her feel safe.
Juliette and Will are a perfect display of why I love historical romances. We have the stiff, holier than thou Duke who’s brought to his knees by a woman he previous thought wasn’t good enough to grace the bottom of his shoe. They have the equivalent of emotional fireworks each time they are together, but manage to get to a place where they understand each other to their very souls.
Will has had it ingrained into him that he’s a Duke and better than everyone else. Regardless of his personal feelings, he must always keep the Dukedom and his affect on it’s legacy at the forefront of all decisions. Those lessons have made Will closed off, unapproachable, cold and an insufferable ass (so well put, Countess of Sinclair). But Juliette sees something in Will that no one else sees. She sees the man who has never known love or how to have fun. Despite their rocky start, Will starts to realize that with Juliette he’s actually living rather than just going through the motions. It’s wonderful to see him break out of his shell (no matter how uncomfortable) and be the man Juliette knew he could be.
Juliette, despite having a larger than life personality, was really a woman who was searching for a place to call home. She longed for a family and a husband who loved her. She may be known to the ton as a courtesan, but she did what she needed to do to escape the hell she lived in and an ex-husband who was not as he seemed. With Will, she find her safe haven. Even when he was putting her down, she felt a connection to him and couldn’t leave him. Will gave her the room to be who she was and made her a true partner in their adventure together. He made her feel worthy and cherished, even if his words sometime said something different.
This is my first Shana Galen book, but I will say it will not be my last. She crafted characters that were wonderfully flawed in a way that made you love them instantly (insufferable ass or not). The storyline was well paced and the mystery behind the missing “diamonds” kept you guessing right up to the epilogue (which sets up book 2 quite nicely). I can’t wait for the next in the series and in the meantime will definitely be picking up some backlist Shana Galen.
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