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Series: Rules for The Reckless #6
Also in this series: A Lady's Code of Misconduct
Published by Pocket Books on February 27, 2018
Genres: Romance, Historical
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Steamy romance sizzles between a resurrected earl and his repentant bride in USA TODAY bestselling author Meredith Duran's latest historical romance.
BACK FROM THE DEAD, AN EARL SEEKS VENGEANCE...
Liam Devaliant, Lord Lockwood, was born into a charmed life. Charismatic, powerful, and wild, he had the world at his feet—and one woman as his aim. His wedding to Anna was meant to be his greatest triumph. Instead, in a single moment, a wicked conspiracy robbed him of his future and freedom.
...BUT WILL HIS LONG-LOST COUNTESS PAY THE PRICE?
Four years later, Liam has returned from death with plans for revenge. Standing in his way, though, is his long-absent bride. Once, he adored Anna's courage. Now it seems like a curse, for Anna refuses to fear or forget him. If she can't win back Liam's love, then she means at least to save his soul...no matter the cost.
I was provided a review copy by Pocket Books, Publisher; this did not influence my opinion of the book.
❝I saw worlds in you. I saw my future.❞
This second chance romance held angst and despair that squeezed my heart. But there was beauty in its tragedy.
William “Liam” Alexander Knollys Devaliant was the 5th Earl of Lockwood. He was an eligible bachelor and a bit of a playboy who had a bright future ahead of him. A number of women wanted to be on the arm of this charming, handsome man. But William had his sights set on Anna.
A Scotlander by birth, Anna Winterslow Wallace was the Countess of Fourth. She though Liam was a scoundrel when she first met him. She was very smart, loved and wrote about science and was a no-nonsense person. During their time together, they enjoyed each others company. He liked her wit and she liked his charm. She was set to inherit a great deal, but because she was a woman, she had to marry to receive her inheritance. She wanted a no-strings marriage, one where she could stay in Scottland and run her island without interference from her husband. Liam loved to travel and needed money to settle some family debt.
They were the answer to each other’s needs, a “perfect marriage”. A contract was drawn, no strings were attached and a wedding ensued. Neither expected to develop feelings for the other. When her husband disappeared, Anna tamped those feelings down. As far as she knew he had abandoned her.
Except, he hadn’t abandoned her. He was falsely arrested and abducted and thrown on to a prison hulk. He was brutally tortured for years, kept in solitary confinement, degraded and made to feel lowly. He was certain his new bride thought he had left her on their wedding night to gallivant around the world. Moreover, he wanted her to believe that because he didn’t feel she deserved him for what he’d to do to survive while away.
Four years after his disappearance, Anna hears her husband is back in England. She travels there to take care of business and find her husband so he can give her an heir. She covers her hurt with anger when she sees him. He uses rudeness and vile words to hide his embarrassment for “what he’s become”. Yet, when they have sex, all their issues melt away.
❝He collapsed atop her. Powerless, emptied. Oblivion: what no drug had ever given him. Breathing her, his hand planted in her hair, he felt … at rest.❞
Duran made it clear that Liam was experiencing PTSD, although in those days there was not a label for this disorder. This made his scenes when he was suffering all the more powerful because there was no name back then for what he was experiencing. He was a tortured soul. And reading about his pain left me with a lump in my throat the size of a bolder!
Anna had been used to being left behind by her family so she didn’t expect anything different from her husband. Yet, once Anna found out the truth, she refused to let him suffer alone. She refused to let him feel alone. She refused to let him be alone. I loved her determination!
❝I think you are a survivor,❞ she said fiercely. ❝And I think you mine. And I will not let you throw yourself away on that bastard. You are mine and I am keeping you.❞
Historical romance is inherently romantic by the nature of its language. But it takes a true craftsman to convey real emotion. Meredith Duran does a phenomenal job with this. As well, she brilliantly crafts multi-dimensional characters. Her heroes are a little alpha, a little vulnerable and always romantic.
His mouth came against hers again. ❝Truly, Anna,❞ he said very softly into her lips. ❝You carry the light with you.❞ He slid his hand delicately through her hair, his mouth moving to her ear as he murmured, ❝Of course, the sun would continue to burn if the planets fell away. But without the sun, the planets would be lost. And I would be a fool to abandon that orbit.❞
Another winner from Duran, The Sins of Lord Lockwood is darker than the other books from her I have read, and it is brilliantly executed!
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