Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Never Desire A Duke (One Scandalous Season #1) by Lily Dalton

Lady Sophia has long been estranged from her husband, Lord Vane Barwick, the Marquess of Claxton, whose rumored list of amorous conquests includes almost every beautiful woman of the ton. Yet a shocking encounter with him in a crowded ballroom—and a single touch—are all it takes to reawaken her furious passion for him. But how can she trust the man who crushed her dreams and took away the one thing she wanted most?

Lord Claxton has never forgiven himself for the youthful mistake that ruined his marriage to Lady Sophia. Now, after nearly a year abroad, the reformed rogue vows to win back the only woman he's ever truly loved. He'll do whatever it takes to prove he can be the honorable husband she deserves—and the passionate lover she desires. As the snowdrifts deepen outside their ancestral home, can they rekindle the flame that burned so bright and find a new path to forever?

Type: Historical Romance
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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My first Christmas story of the season! Gah I love Christmas stories. Never Desire A Duke was a wonderfully written story of rekindled romance and full snowy winter wonderlands, quaint little villages and Christmas wonder.

Vane was a wonderful hero with a lot of baggage. His childhood was hard after the death of his mother and the demons his father created. A terrible loss and misunderstandings have dealt a terrible blog to his marriage and he's trying desperately to win back the love of his wife and deal with his past. He's strong and can be silly and is trying so hard to do everything right. I really loved his character and seeing how much he wanted his life to change.

But then... there was Sophia. And I'm gonna rant here for a second because Lord save me from heroines like Lady Sophia. Eragh. She drove me bat shit crazy and made me feel like such a bitch because seriously out of the 375 pages I spent about 318 of them wanting her to cry. What Vane saw in her is beyond me. I even have in my notes 'she must be an incredible lay because damn.' She overreacts to things, believes rumors and the worst of the husband she'd been so happy with and does all the stupid nonsense that drives me crazy about women--like strong arming their men into doing something and then when they finally relent holding it against them because omg how could they! Every once in a while I saw someone peeking out that I could maybe like but really overall I just wanted her to cry.

So, the basic gist is that the two have wound up snowbound in a tiny village he grew up in and are having to deal with each other and their broken marriage. It can be awkward and painful and sometimes--when Sophia forgets her grudge--really kinda sweet (and funny) as they work together to solve a childhood mystery--with all kinds of fun quests-- his mother has left behind for him before she passed away years before.
Sophia glanced at Claxton and back to Mrs. Kettle. Her arms dropped to her sides. "I believe we have decided to work together to complete the subsequent quests."

Mrs. Kettle looked up with a smile. Her gaze, however veered in another direction. Downward to the front of Sophia's dress.

"Yes, your Grace, I can see that you have," she replied tartly. She burst out with a delighted laugh.

Looking down, Sophia saw the reason for Mrs. Kettle's mirth. Each of her breasts bore a white, powery imprint in the distinct shape of Claxton's hand. 
I really liked the little town they were snowbound in. All of the people from his childhood, the memories of his mother and his time growing up there. They didn't have much, this town, but they're good people making the best of what they have and there was just something special about this town.

Putting Sophia aside--because, whew--I actually did enjoy Never Desire A Duke which really attests to Dalton's writing abilities. She created a hero I adored, got me interested in many of the secondary characters and painted a little town that I just loved. I'm really looking forward to reading the next book in the series and have my fingers crossed I'll like the heroine enough to not wish big ugly make your face splotchy and red tears on her.

Have you read Lily Dalton? What did you think?
What's your favorite Christmas tale? 

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