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.
Sebastian spent much of his time away as a soldier and is now horribly scarred. But when they meet again, Mary sees past that. Unfortunately, she is now betrothed to another man, which becomes problematic as she and Sebastian become drawn to each other. It's not the only problem, though. Sebastian's issues extend beyond physical scars. He believes himself a monster and has a hard time letting anyone in. Beyond that, he is so single-mindedly focused on reclaiming his estate, that he is blinded to the other things in life that could give him happiness.
I always enjoy a scarred/ tortured hero. Sebastian's physical and emotional damage makes him so vulnerable, while he presents such a detached and powerful exterior. Mary is loyal and true, fiery and brave. She is a worthy heroine to help him heal and to find joy again. I really enjoyed the love scenes and the way the author dealt with the scars. But I wish that it had not taken Sebastian quite so long to see his own feelings for Mary... feelings obvious to the reader from the very beginning of the story.
It was a little predictable. But between the love story and the danger brought on by the threat of Sebastian's displaced uncle... I still enjoyed the ride. Lorraine Heath also does a great job teasing us with the backstories on Sebastian's brothers, who will have books of their own as she continues the trilogy. Mmmm. More tortured heroes to come. 4 stars.
I bought Lorraine Heath's first book in the "Lost Lords of Pembroke" series because I found no errors in the sample read and the writing flowed. When I got deeper into the book I did find a few sentences with a disconnect and they didn't make sense, but mistakes happen, especially when converting books to Kindle. I was pleased to see the author took the trouble to ensure the book was properly edited.
The story started with promise and was original, then it became predictable, but still fairly enjoyable. It's your classic tormented hero and strong, flawless heroine. I think the only real irritation for me was that he goes from an impulsive and passionate kiss that "ruined" everything to a man who appeared disinterested--that was contrived to suite the story--too contrived. I was, however, please to see that the book wasn't held together with sex scenes and that the sex scenes that were there rang true and weren't overly purple.
So in conclusion, I would recommend this book as a light, enjoyable read that doesn't require much concentration.