Labels: LLGuhrke, Pub08, Triple8Challenge08
There's groveling and then there is groveling and I think there needed more groveling in this story.
The Duke of St. Cyres (pronounced like Sincere) has been saddled with a title and a truckload of debts he could have done without. He had always been a rake and a never do good, and he liked it! Now all of a sudden has responsibilities he cannot afford. His only recourse is to marry an heiress.
Prudence Bonsworth is an heiress. Well... she was a seamstress but a fortune falls into her lap when the father she never knew leaves her an immense inheritance. Fortune hunters crawl out of the wood work but her innocence blinds her to the motive behind all her new admirers.
I must say that there has been very few heroes that I found complete slime buckets until St. Cyres. The first sign of vile behavior was when he rescues a maid from the unwanted attentions of another peer (in the presence of Prudence) and then later we find he has taken said girl to bed himself! It was a "Holy Crap" moment. Then we see him deny knowledge of Prudence's fortune while he woos her so she will not dump him into the role of a fortune hunter. He manipulates her into an engagement like a Pro! If I was not so disgusted with his actions I would admire his gall!
Okay, there is some strong reasons why St. Cyres has become the man he is, but still...
I really like the way Guhrke shows us how raw the Duke's wounds are and even though there is not many of those moments of complete happiness, Prudence brings him the sense of peace he needs and he falls in love with her. I love that even though Pru was completely blinded by Rhys deception, when she did discover it, she didn't lay down and fall apart, she took hold of her life and moved on.
I wish there had been more groveling at the end, as I mentioned earlier in my post, but I found the book on a whole a very good read and Rhys did redeem himself there at the end.