Picked this one up at the recommendation of my reading buddies on my yahoo group. They kept refering to the hero as the horniest hero they had read so I just had to see what all the hoopla was all about.
The Duke of Cynnsyr carries a reputation for his womanizing ways and proves himself up to his rep when he encounters a woman in his bed while at a weekend party in his friend Aldreth's house.
The woman in question was Anne Sinclair who has captured the heart of Cyn's friend Devon. She had slipped on the stairs earlier in the evening and hurt her ankle. Having been drugged with laudanum she had no idea that Ruan (Cyn's real name) had ruined her. She thought it all a dream until she was brought to her brother in law, Aldreth's study and informed of her lack of virginity. Ruan could either marry her or lose his ambitions for a political future, since he was caught in the throws of a climax while Anne was passed out... quite disturbing actually.
The book held me but I had a love hate relationship with the hero. Ruan falls for his wife early on but it seems that his reaction to his feelings kept getting in the way of our liking him. When he is jealous he becomes hurtful, when Anne is hurt he fails to comfort her, when he has a chance to explain himself he lets it slip by. When a hero says to the woman he loves "I might have done a good deal worse than you. Left to my own devices, I would have."; you know he is just TSTL (too stupid to love).
Anne on the other hand has grown up in the shadows of her sisters (all younger and more beautiful than her) and she fails to give herself the credit and respect she deserves. And yet, she knows what is expected of her as a duchess and tries to fill the position as best she can without giving her heart to a man she can not trust. Her self doubt gets a bit tiresome but Ruan's complete idiocy overshadows her failings.
The secondary characters are very well done and at the very end we get teased with a possible romance between Emily (Anne's youngest sister and the woman who was intended for Cynnsyr) and Devon (Cynnsyr's best friend and the man who was to marry Anne). There was more spice and action in the last few pages between these two characters than in the whole book between Ruan and Anne. A well written sequel with these two characters would bring me back to reading Jewel. Overall the book was entertaining but I think Jewel needed to make Ruan more sensitive. I think that if Ruan was a stern character his mistreatment of Anne would have been more acceptable, but he was just clueless which made him unworthy of Anne.