The Duke's Temptation (Men of Circumstance #1)
Author: Addie Jo Ryleigh
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Release Date: 7 October 2015
A Duke. A Runner. An Earl.
Three men, each born into different circumstances.
Each fighting to overcome their own adversity.
All striving to change their past.
Gabriel St. James, Duke of Wesbrook, desires any birthright other than being the son of a hideous man. Unfortunately, Gabe knows the exact moment he became like his father—a night that has haunted him for seven years. Resigned to his future, he is unprepared when his illegitimate—and more importantly unbeknown—young daughter appears on his London doorstep. With no one to care for her but him.
Lady Elizabeth Blakely has loved only one man—her brother’s longtime friend, Gabe St. James. Not even his rakish and, oftentimes, wicked behavior dissuades her. Yet it all seems hopeless as he continues to overlook the woman she has become.
When Elizabeth learns Gabe is in need of assistance with his daughter, she seizes the opportunity. Gabe, less than thrilled with the situation—mostly due to his fierce desire for his best friend’s sister—has no option but to concede. Besides, a more sinister threat lurks; someone is blackmailing Gabe with his darkest secret. Through it all, Gabe vows to resist Elizabeth, no matter how tempting.
Sometimes it's better to surrender . . .
He’d already been subjected to a sleepless night battling the possibility she could be carrying his babe. Part of him leapt with joy thinking of her slender frame, rounded from increasing.
Mostly, he felt worry. And fear, that his future son would, despite Gabe’s best efforts, grow to be like him and all the previous Wesbrook scoundrels.
Afraid or not, if it came to pass, he would do the right thing and marry her. In no way would he leave her vulnerable to the vicious ton. Besides, if things were different—if he were different—he would whisk her to Gretna Green right now and attach her to him for the rest of their lives.
Instead, he would love her the only way he was capable of—from afar. And someday hope he found the strength to break from the person his past had made him.
If only he knew how to inform Elizabeth they could no longer be together intimately. She would fight him on it. Of that he was damned sure.
Thinking of how her face brightened, and her eyes flashed with light when she became so determined, sent shivers of enjoyment through him.
Absorbed with all the wicked ways he’d like to turn the light in Elizabeth’s eyes to burning embers, he didn’t notice the door opening until it clicked shut.
When he realized who’d entered, uncharacteristic heat rose in his cheeks. His only excuse for the boyish flush was that being caught in the middle of erotic thoughts by his three-year-old daughter wasn’t an everyday occurrence. Thank God.
A bit unclear as to how to interact with the half-sized person before him, Gabe chose to remain silent and let her make the first move. It might not be very manly, but it was by far the wisest decision he knew of.
He remained seated as her blue eyes scanned the room before she finally spotted him sitting at the desk. It was so bloody adorable the way she set her tiny chin in a determined angle and headed straight toward him—a small doll clasped in each arm—that he almost circled his desk to greet her.
I enjoy a romance where the overlooked little sister is in love with brother's friend. It usually means that there's a level of comfortable familiarity between the characters that allows for a sweet starting point, and brings with it a host of obstacles I love to see them overcome. This story sees Elizabeth cast as the little sister. She's been desperately in love with brother's best friend, Gabe, for years but he doesn't see her as a woman...or so she thinks. When Gabe's illegitimate daughter unexpectedly appears in his life he's at a loss as to what to do with her, until Elizabeth offers her help with the child. This also brings Elizabeth and Gabe together, with the proximity eventually forcing them both to confront their feelings for each other.
Elizabeth is a really admirable heroine. She's loyal and determined, with a sweet spirit. I liked that she pursues Gabe and her unconditional love for him is so sweet. I would have liked if her character had had a chance to develop more as the story developed, which we do see with Gabe.
Gabe has a rather sordid past and believes that he's no good for any woman. He keeps Elizabeth at a distance so he won't be tempted by her, which doesn't always work that well. I did feel really bad for Gabe at times and wished he could see that he's not doomed to the fate he thinks he has. I loved that through his daughter and Elizabeth, Gabe learns to face up to his responsibilities and seize the happiness in front of him.
This is a very sweet romance, and I liked the interactions between Phoebe (Gabe's daughter) and Gabe as he learned to become a father. The heat between Elizabeth and Gabe was great, and you just want to give Gabe a good shake at time to make him realise he should be with Elizabeth. There's a good bit of intrigue as we unravel the mystery of the blackmailer and the person following Elizabeth and Phoebe.
Overall this a sweet and passionate romance, with an interesting puzzle to resolve. I'll be looking forward to the rest of the books in the series and more from this author.
*I received a review copy for my honest opinion. Thank you!
About the Author
Addie Jo Ryleigh writes historical regency romances that feature rakish heroes and strong feisty heroines.
Addie Jo lives in the same cold winter and hot summer area of Minnesota where she was born and raised. And frankly, wouldn’t live anywhere else. Sharing in the raising of her three extremely rambunctious boys is her very understanding husband that so graciously enabled her to fulfill her dream of writing. Keeping Addie Jo company while she writes (besides her wonderfully loud children) is her yorkipoo, Bella, who is never far from Addie Jo’s side.
Addie Jo has always had a love and passion for romance books and became engrossed in historical romance (particularly Regency) soon after graduating from Lurlene McDaniel’s young adult books. Currently, Addie Jo reads any genre that has a great emotional story that keeps her reading into the early hours of the morning.
Addie Jo has a bachelor degree in accounting and is a financial coordinator when not driving her children around central Minnesota, cuddled up with a good book, or writing her next story.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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