Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Reluctant Duchess by: Sharon Cullen


Lady Sara Emerson was jolted out of her dull provincial life by her cousin's murder. Now that the killer seems to be targeting her, Sara seeks help from the man who was once her cousin's fiancĂ©, Gabriel Ferguson, Duke of Rossmoyne. With his towering frame and fiery personality, Ross cuts an intimidating figure. Living under his protection, however, has its own hazards—like the sudden urge Sara feels to take their relationship in new, exquisitely inappropriate directions.

Dazzled by the social graces of his betrothed, Ross never noticed her shy, blushing cousin. Looking at Sara now, though, he's drawn to her lovely eyes and calm disposition. Funny how a year away from the hustle and bustle of the ton changes a man. But Ross has no intention of allowing a woman to interfere with his plan to return overseas. He will simply capture the murderer and set sail once again. The problem is, with her beguiling lips and heavenly touch, Sara makes him never want to leave home—or his bed—again.

My Review

Right off, this novel had me going. The pace was right and the fire between Sara and Gabriel was apparent from the beginning. This is a historical romance so it encaptures certain "rules" of the times while maintaining a level of "steamy-ness" pleasing to us as readers. I enjoyed Sara's character because she reminded me of myself - a shy bookworm who has a feisty and sassy spirit underneath. With that comes just the appropriate amount of tease that Sara apparently only feels comfortable showing to Ross. Ross quickly becomes enamored with Sara and sets his sights on having her to himself. Ross is definitely an alpha male who likes to boss people around and is used to getting his way - Sara is definitely not letting that happen without a little bit of a fight. Ross finds that he is turned on in ways with Sarah that he has never been turned on before. What is really nice about this novel is the subtle way in which Cullen has Sara and Ross engaging romantically. Cullen just barely has Sara and Ross actually engaging in certain scenes, but what's most intriguing and adds sizzle is the possibility of something more happening between the two characters - a look here, a stolen kiss there, the physical signs of arousal, etc. Aside from that Cullen crafted a wonderful back story that is well articulated, believable and has some of the richest secondary characters I've read in romance novel in a while. Very nice indeed. I would definitely recommend this novel.

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