While I was reading this book I was a little afraid that my review would not do it justice. I love when a writer takes a character to another level.
Michael, the Duke of Hadlow is a very unusually memorable Hero for me. I only one I can think of to compare him to is Mr. Spock from the original Star Trek series. Micheal is a very logical Duke. He never shows emotion, he doesn't waste his time going out into Society, he has no use to idle chatter or gossip. All he does is try to make his Dukedom better for all the generations to come.
He has no friends and does not feel the loss. He sees his family once a year for the holidays at his country estate. He cannot find anyone who meets his exact standards, so he doesn't even try. When he feels the need for sexual release he will pay for it. He does not allow any emotion in his life. The only time he ever loved someone when he was a child. He idolized his older brother and followed him everywhere. When he was four years old, his brother died and he became the heir and everything changed. As he grew up he decided why love someone if they were going to leave you? So he doesn't.
Unfortunately his demeanor and personality is detrimental to finding a secretary that he can work with. He just lost another one and is frustrated that there is nobody that is intelligent enough and organized to satisfy his standards.
Then one day a woman shows up from a Employment Agency and applies for the position. His Butler Hawkins is bent out of shape that a woman would dare to apply for the position. Michael decides to interview her and to his amazement (that he doesn't show) she is exactly what he has been looking for.
He hires her.
Edwina Cheltam is a widow with a young daughter to support. Her husband left her destitute when he died and her brother in law has volunteered to take her daughter but not her. Edwina know that she must find a job to support them both. Her friend Carolyn owns an Employment Agency and finds her a position that she can interview for.
When Edwina arrives at the Duke's resident she assumes he is an older gentleman with a pot belly and a wife and grown children. To her surprise he is young, fit and breathtakingly handsome.
As for the Michael, he finds her competent and gloriously beautiful, not that it matters. He doesn't care if she is female only that she is capable of performing her duties to his satisfaction. He even agrees to let her daughter live here with her.
As the days and weeks pass Michael is finding that besides being an excellent Secretary he is attracted to her and wants to take her to bed. Edwina has the same feelings but is afraid that if she becomes his lover that it will ruin the security she has found for herself and her daughter.
They embark on an affair that is sexually satisfying to them both. Neither one of them have had such intensely emotional sex before and they are both enthralled. Edwina knows what she is feeling but Michael feels that he is losing control of his logical life, but he still doesn't want to stop.
There is a grasping, unprincipled brother in law who will force Edwina to choose between Michael and her daughter's safety.
I have loved Megan's books since I read her first one. As far as I am concerned this is the best of the Duke's Behaving Badly Series. The transition that Michael makes as the story progresses is like his waking up from a bad dream and Edwina is his salvation. Her is writing is intensely compelling and hard to put down. The sex scenes in this book are explicit and the language graphic but even these are essential to the transition that Michael and Edwina go through in this amazing love story.
I highly recommend this book to everybody whether you read Historical Romance or some other genre.
Received a complimentary copy for an honest review.