When Nicholas Buchanan, the Duke of Dorchester, accepts an invitation to visit a country stud farm, he counters his boredom by striking a wager with his henchman that he’ll bed the poor relation, Alicia Woodley, before the end of his stay. But he reckons without Alicia’s disdain. She’s disgusted by Nick’s cavalier attitude, unimpressed by his grandeur and wants as little as possible to do with him.
Between her newfound role as family charity case and fending off the attentions of both her clueless cousin and the arrogant Nicholas, Alicia Woodley has quite enough to contend with…but when her life is endangered, quite possibly from those closest to her, surprisingly it is Nicholas who seems determined to ensure her safety. As they conspire to uncover secrets that the family wants hidden at all costs, they discover a passion that surpasses all obstacles.
It’s been awhile since I’ve read much historical romance, though it was my first entrée into romantic fiction back when I was about 11 or 12 years old. This book was thoroughly enjoyable from the first page right through to the last. Both Nicholas and Alicia are full and believable characters, quickly becoming people I wanted to root for. Alicia had the feistyness typical of a romantic heroine, but it was tempered with a calm acceptance of her situation – her uncle inheriting her home, running her father’s stud farm that she had a hand in, and leaving her only her mother’s small bequest. Many romantic heroines are dead set against their current situations, and Alicia was a refreshing change.
Of course, her acceptance became less so once she and Nicholas became confidantes. Yet she has no plan to jump into marriage with him. And it takes a significant portion of the book for her resolve to start to even waver. The tension from the wait would have kept me turning pages even if the plot itself hadn’t kept my interest. And yes, the plot did keep my interest. Fully. It kept me off the internet and glued to my e-reader until I could finish. I’m a voracious reader, but I often end up taking a quick break every once in a while to check my email. Not this time.
After I finished her novel, I visited Wendy Soliman’s website and I think I may have to pick up some of her previous works. (She’s been published on Samhain, as well as in paperback.) She also has an upcoming release from Carina Press that sounds quite promising, entitled ‘Scandalous Propositions’. I can’t wait to read it.