She Tempts the Duke Mass Market Paperback – Jan 31 2012
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From the Back Cover
Three young heirs, imprisoned by an unscrupulous uncle, escaped—to the sea, to the streets, to faraway battle—awaiting the day when they would return to reclaim their birthright.
Sebastian Easton always vowed he would avenge his stolen youth and title. Now back in London, the rightful Duke of Keswick—returning from battle a wounded, hardened, changed man—cannot forget the brave girl who once rescued him and his brothers from certain death.
Lady Mary Wynne-Jones paid dearly for helping the imprisoned young Lords of Pembrook, and she remembers well the promise she made to Sebastian all those years ago: to meet him once more in the abbey ruins where they shared a bold, forbidden kiss. While Mary is now betrothed to another, a friendship forged with dark secrets cannot be ignored. Unexpected passion soon burns dangerously between them, tempting Sebastian to abandon his quest for retribution and fight for a love that could once again set him free.
About the Author
Lorraine Heath always dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of Texas, she wrote training manuals, press releases, articles, and computer code, but something was always missing. When she read a romance novel, she not only became hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She's been writing about them ever since. Her work has been recognized with numerous industry awards, including RWA's prestigious RITA®. Her novels have appeared on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists.
Top Customer Reviews
It is the year 1856. Sebastian Easton, the rightful Duke of Keswick, returns from Battle to reclaim his title and heritage. He is now a hardened, changed man. He tries to keep the scarred side of his face in the shadows and wears a patch over the socket that is missing an eye. Lord David wed only a few months prior and has recently petitioned the court for the title. The three brothers make a grand, unified appearance at the ball hosted by Lord David and his new wife. All three men know that Lord David would eventually try again to kill them. But their uncle would find the task to be much harder now.
Lady Mary Wynne-Jones paid dearly for helping the imprisoned Lords of Pembrook. The young girl had told her father of Lord David's execution order, believing he would do something to help her friends. Instead, the Earl of Winslow had sent her off to a nunnery. Now, at the age of twenty-four, Mary has been allowed to return to London and is having her first Season. Mary is already betrothed to handsome Viscount Fitzwilliam when Sebastian finally reappears for retribution.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Sebastian Easton, Duke of Keswick, has had a very hard life. Nearly killed alongwith his two brothers as a young lad, he escapes unharmed to only have to split up from his brothers to protect them. Sebastian takes off to the war and in the process, he becomes quite scarred inside and out but the one thing that keeps him going is that he must seek revenge against his vile uncle. Life finally allows the three brothers to gather together in London and they find a quite dramatic way to announce their arrival back in society and Sebastian's proper place as the duke. And no one is more shocked by their arrival than Lady Mary Wynne-Jones....the young girl who freed the brothers and has been waiting twelve long years for any word of them.
Mary is overjoyed to see her best friend from childhood is back but is a bit shaken by her grown up attraction to Sebastian. After all, she is engaged to another, perfectly acceptable man. But that quiet, proper man is not quite the right fit for Mary who is strong, bold and cares deeply for those she cares about. And it is that deep, abiding caring that keeps her coming back to Sebastian and helping him try to find his new place in society. This causes a few burned bridges for Mary but allows this destined-to-be couple to find happiness together.
I adored this book! It is a wonderful, heart pleasing romance of childhood friends to lovers but mixed with enough danger that you will breeze through it and end with a happy smile on your face. I was not expecting the slight 'Beauty and the Beast' theme but it played out very well. Mary never saw Sebastians scars as anything to pity and her way of expressing this to Sebastian was a key turning point in their relationship. I also was very happy with the fact there is no cheating on Mary's fiance, besides one kiss. I'm always nervous about cheating while engaged to another but that is not the case here. In fact, it takes almost three quarters of the book for the major heat factor to kick in and I'm not really complaining. The storyline just moved along so well that when it finally happened, it was right. There is a strong sense of family between the brothers despite being apart for so long but with that comes many doubts on Sebastian's end but Mary is the perfect balm to help him heal. I am so eager for the next two books as there is so much history of the brothers to discover! Overall, this is a perfect romance that blends true love and danger in a way that will keep you up late finishing the book! 4 very solid stars
Ms. Heath's prologue to this story sets up the premise of this book beautifully while hooking her readers in right of way. We are introduced to the three lords of Pembrook during their escape for their lives, with the help of courageous twelve-year-old Mary Wynne-Jones, their neighbor. Skip ahead a dozen years and the boys are now grown up and have returned to reclaim their birthright -- more specifically, Sebastian and the title of Duke of Keswick -- and to get retribution from the uncle who wanted them dead so he could claim the title.
Sebastian Easton has returned to London to claim his birthright as the Duke of Keswick, however he has not returned as a civilized gentleman. He has been to war and has the scars both physically and emotionally to show for it. Sebastian has lost his left eye and the left side of his face is scarred and mutilated. Sebastian believes that no woman could love him, but he must find a wife and produce an heir. He did not anticipate his feelings of lust for his childhood friend Mary who is engaged to another man. Mary has grown up and become a very beautiful woman and a temptation Sebastian is finding harder and harder to resist.
Lady Mary Wynne-Jones is a character with courage, strength and grace. We are first introduced to Mary as a brave girl of twelve who rescues the Easton brothers from the tower where they are being kept. She manages to free the lords of Pembrook and they escort her home and then flee into the night. Mary has not forgotten the three boys she rescued that fateful night and fears they have died after not receiving word from any of them in the years since that fateful night.
While attending the ball being given by the treacherous uncle of the boys she saved, everything changes; the Lords of Pembrook crash the party. Mary is shocked by their return, and hurt that they did send her word of their survival. Mary is engaged to be married; however, with the return of Sebastian into her life she begins to question her choice of husband and what her feelings toward Sebastian mean.
Lorraine Heath has created a beautiful, romantic tale of two people who have survived years of being apart physically but were always in each other's hearts as childhood friends. After being reunited, Mary and Sebastian discover that their friendship has changed into something so much greater. The two fated lovers each take a journey of self discovery in this scintillating story to learn what they want from one another and what that means to their budding relationship.
She Tempts the Duke is very well written, using the point of view of both the hero and the heroine. The story flowed well and kept me interested and anticipating the next event.
I was very impressed with how Ms. Heath created a regency novel that isn't bogged down with constant references to the "Ton", but uses its existence to bring her characters together with its infernal societal rules. The dialogue was well written and realistic giving each character a distinctive voice in the story. The main characters were well rounded individuals that made me sense their emotions and struggles throughout the unfolding events. Ms. Heath also gave her readers insight into the secondary characters, specifically Sebastian's brothers, Tristan and Rafe, giving her readers a little foreshadowing into their stories. Overall this was a great Regency romance complete with treachery, intrigue and a climactic ending.
I am a discriminating regency romance reader, depending on the story and the author's writing style; I either hate or love them and I loved this one and intend to go looking for more by Ms. Heath. I also eagerly await Rafe's and Tristan's stories.
If you enjoy regency romances that are well written and have characters that will pull at your heartstrings, run out and get She Tempts the Duke, you will fall in love with the Lords of Pembrook and their struggles to return to "Polite Society".
originally posted at LAS Romance Reviews
This book has many faults which is why I have been unable to finish it properly. The faults that really did it for me were the terrible historical inaccuracies which had events such as the imprisonment of the boys in the tower, and Mary being sent to a convent for years more in line with medieval times than the Victorian era. Personally, I think Lorraine has taken off on a very long holiday...maybe off to mediate with some Tibetan monks in Outer Mongolia, and she's left a list for her intern to sort out...feed the cat....water the plants...and write a ridiculous historical romance to keep the publisher happy while I am away. There was absolutely no thought put into the under-lying plot. Why did a 14 year old boy think his uncle killed his father? What happened up to then that made him think that? There is no way an uncle could have got away with his treatment of three boys in that era...the heirs of a Duke would have had a whole panel of people looking after them. And the father of Mary...one minute he banishes her to a convent for years on end, and the next minute he is worrying about her future when he is dead. There's talk of wolves, when they have been extinct for about 400 years, and the way Sebastian disperses his brothers and then buys into the army make absolutely no sense. Wouldn't he keep them all together? Why on earth would he put his little brother in a poor house where people used to dread going because like as not, they'd never come out. And why...oh why...did they make a ridiculous pact to meet again in 10 years?! There's Sebastian feeling all guilty because he sold his twin brother into the navy and totally abandoned his baby brother into a poor house...being all upset because terrible things had happened to them..come on...what did he think was going to happen??!!
Anyway...as you can clearly see...I didn't like this book at all and as much as it saddens me to say so, I am about to cross Heath of my "to read" list. What I will do is go back to her older books (most of which I have on my keepers shelf) and reminisce about the good old days when authors actually put some thought into their writing.
The children all make a pact to return to an old abbey in a decade or so.. which ends up being more like 12 years from then. Reunited, the now-adult men are together again to reclaim their home and birthright and take down their evil uncle.
When Sebastian returns home, Mary is engaged to a nice-enough young man who is intrigued by her dowry. But of course, chemistry still tingles between Sebastian and herself. He, however, is determined NOT to have her. Most of the center of the novel circles around these two resisting each other, despite their history, chemistry and mutual respect.
I loved the first quarter of the novel despite it's silliness. Meaning, some of the plot points are anachronous or ridiculous.. I, too, was turned off that Mary ended up in a CONVENT of all places. This being late century Victorian England ... why didn't her father just send her to a boarding school?! They obviously have money as he's given her a healthy dowry. And the very idea that he left her in the convent until she was 23 years old seemed a little absurd in addition.
I also found it hard to believe that the boys separated as children. Sebastian gives the explanation that they had to be apart in case they didn't survive so that at least one of them could claim the title... which I didn't see as realistic coming from a fourteen year old. Sebastian is riddled with guilt because he sold one brother to a ship and the other he left in a poorhouse. Despite the incredible odds of ANYone becoming wealthy from poverty in a class-based, non-capitalist society... ALL three boys grow into wealthy successful men without the aid of title or inheritance.
But overlooking all of that silliness, I still liked the novel and the concept. However, about half through it was beginning to lag. I remembered checking my percentage read and was shocked that I was at only 39%. With the bulk of the plot being centered around Sebastian and Mary resisting their very obvious love for each other, I started to get a little bored.
Sebastian would verbally say aloud and then think to himself that he needs a wife fairly soon so he can make an heir, but somehow the idea of marrying Mary is a silly notion to him. It's all very exasperating. They use the excuse of Mary being engaged as a huge obstacle, but it's really just not an obstacle. Further, Sebastian has a disfigurement from war (scarred face, missing an eye) and he uses THAT as a means to push her away.. but it's very clear she's not turned off by it. (I kept thinking... ok if you're afraid even SHE can't handle it... how will you ever find a wife period?) The two go round and round this issue of not being in love and resisting each other and it is pretty much the whole center of the novel... and it felt like beating a dead horse.
Overall the book was good and I will absolutely will read the next two. I really liked the brothers and I'm especially intrigued by Rafe, the youngest and the owner of a gaming hall.
"She Tempts the Duke" wasn't bad... but it also wasn't stellar. I doubt I would reread it as there isn't much of a plot to it. But it was a great read for a chilly, autumn Sunday night, curled up with a blanket.
Ten years went by, Tristan and Rafe went to the abbey ruins to meet up with Sebastian. He didn't show up. Rafe hired a man to live near the abbey ruins to watch for his brother. Sebastian was a captain in Her Majesty's army. He was in the battle of Balaclava in the Crimea when cannon fire brought him down. Meanwhile, Sebastian is in the hospital suffering with so much pain. He lost an eye and wears an eye patch. One side of his face is disfigured, and there is scarring on his body.
Twelve-years later, Duke of Keswick, Lord Tristan, and Lord Rafe made a grand entrance to his uncle's and Lady Lucretia Easton's ball standing on the balcony. Lady Lucretia demanded these men to be remove from the premises. Sebastian gave his uncle one day to pack up his things and leave. Mary was shocked to see Sebastian. She thought he was dead. Mary reached the stairs, and said that "He is telling the truth, and he is Duke of Keswick." Lady Mary is betrothed to Viscount Fitzwilliam. He forbade Mary from seeing Sebastian in any capacity. However, when she saw Sebastian, and he saw her, there was instant chemistry.
I liked Lady Mary from the beginning; she was only twelve when she rescued Sebastian, Duke of Keswick, Lord Tristan, and Lord Rafe. Mary and Sebastian bonded when they lived in the country. They were best friends. Mary could tell the difference between the twins, Sebastian and Tristan, by their own personalities. Mary is independent, she speaks her mind, and doesn't allow the ton to interfere with her way of thinking. Mary does what she thinks is best for her friends, Sebastian, Tristan and Rafe, whom she grew up with in the country. She has the need to protect them and get them involved in aristocratic society.
I am looking forward to the second book in the series. Although, I am not certain who will have their story told first, Tristan or Rafe, from the bits and pieces, I've read about them. It will no doubt be an exciting read.