When charming rake Tristan Barrett sweeps Lady Elizabeth off her feet, stealing both her heart and a kiss in a secluded garden, her brother challenges Tristan to a duel. The only way to save her brother and Tristan from harm—not to mention preserve her reputation—is to get married. But her father, the Duke of Pemberton, refuses to allow his daughter to marry anyone but a titled lord. The duke demands that Elizabeth marry Tristan’s older brother, Richard, the Earl of Averston. Now Elizabeth must give up Tristan to marry a man who despises her, a man who loves another, a man she’ll never love.
Richard fears Elizabeth is as untrustworthy as his mother, who ran off with another man. However, to protect his brother from a duel and their family name from further scandal, he agrees to the wedding, certain his new bride will betray him. Yet when Elizabeth turns his house upside down and worms her way into his reluctant heart, Richard suspects he can’t live without his new countess. Will she stay with him or is it too little, too late?
My Review: 4 Stars
Elizabeth has been abused and singled out her entire life. She is made to feel stupid, worthless and invisible. She craves love and attention. So when the infamous rake, Tristan, pays her some attention, she finds herself "in love"... and eventually in a compromising position. To save her from ruin, her brother demands a duel and her father demands that she be married. But he will not allow her to marry Tristan. He demands that she marry his older brother, Richard, the Earl of Averston.
Richard is none to happy with the circumstances his brother's actions have landed them in. He has worked for years to keep his family's name from being tarnished and keep it out of the mouths of gossips. But all it took was one wrong move by his brother and all his work could go up in smoke. Now he's forced to either watch his brother get hurt or killed or marry someone who he can never trust, let alone love. There really is no choice. He must save his brother and hope his wife doesn't turn out to be just like his mother.
Because of past hurts both Elizabeth and Richard have trust issues and don't know how to communicate. Is it any wonder their marriage gets off to a rocky start? They are brought together through various circumstances and slowly start growing closer together. But just as they start making progress, life throws them curve balls full of doubt. Will they ever learn to put their faith and trust into each other so they can have a life full of love and happiness? Or are they doomed to a loveless marriage full of hurt and deceit?
I have been a Donna Hatch fan from the first book of hers I picked up. Sadly, I read one too many historical romance books in a short period of time and just got burned out on them. It has been awhile since I have picked one up. But when I saw that Donna had released a new book and all my friends loved it, I knew I needed to pick it up and give it a try. I was NOT disappointed! I loved watching Elizabeth and Richard grow not only as individuals but as a couple as well. The feels were definitely real with this book! My only complaint is the book just ended! And we all know how much I hate that! An epilogue would have been perfect in my opinion. ;)
I am definitely glad I read this book. It was the perfect getaway. I wonder if Tristan and Selina will get their own books?! Hmmmm....
And of course we can't forget my casting! I have to admit I had a hard time narrowing it down to these two. A big thank you to one of my best book buddies for her help! ;)