In New York Times bestselling author Karen Ranney's second novel in her breathtaking series, an unconventional woman and a former scoundrel embark on a daring mission of desire
Once the ton's most notorious rake, Dalton MacIain has returned from his expedition to America during the Civil War— wounded and a changed man. Instead of returning to his old haunts, he now spends his time at home. But Dalton's peace is disturbed when Minerva Todd barges into his London townhouse, insisting he help search for her missing brother Neville. Though Dalton would love to spend more time with the bewitching beauty, he has no interest in finding Neville, whom he blames for his injury.
Minerva has never met a more infuriating man than the Earl of Rathsmere, yet she is intrigued by the torrid rumors she has heard about him . . . and the fierce attraction pulling her toward him.
Dalton does not count on Minerva's persistence, or the desire she awakens in him, compelling him to discover her brother's fate. But when danger surrounds them, Dalton fears he will lose the tantalizing, thoroughly unpredictable woman he has come to love.
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Slow growing, this romance started with banter and butting heads
I’m loving this mix up of the American Civil War brought to English shores: in this installment, Dalton has returned from his participation in the war, wounded and changed, only to discover he has inherited the title after his elder brother’s demise. Before the war, Dalton was a rake, at loose ends and bored. The war seemed a wonderful ‘adventure’ and his boredom was quickly erased at Manassas. Now he wants little more than to adjust to a new quiet life, even as his new responsibilities pull at him.
Minerva’s brother Neville was one who followed Dalton to America, and now she wants to know where her brother is. Dalton could care less about Neville, although he does find the rather strident young woman intriguing. He believes that his injuries (a missing eye and hearing loss) were at the business end of Neville’s gun, and he’s got no interest in his well-being.
A bit of a slow start, this story gives us both Minerva and Dalton in retrospective: we learn about each person, discover their characters, secrets and motivations early on, giving a solidity to their characters and the slowly developing romance between them. Minerva was very much a forward thinking, take charge woman who often substituted logic for pure emotion, so it was wonderful to see her softer side emerge. Dalton was a fairly typical second son of the aristocracy, and he availed himself of all the possible distractions, looking for purpose. From rather offhandedly dismissive of the assistance granted one in his position to actually needing help from others to exist and survive, his growth is bone deep and visceral, and the break in the ‘stiff upper lip’ approach to life just add to his humanity.
Slow growing, this romance started with banter and butting heads as the two learn one another, react to differences, argue, snipe and eventually learn to compromise and agree. Yes, there is a subplot with murder and mystery, but the characters and the development of their relationship from two fiercely independent, I will live my life alone people to two who have learned to open doors and let another person in. And their relationship is stronger and more palpable for the growth and development both characters displayed.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.