Anyway, I’m glad I picked up The Hazards of Hunting a Duke, the first of the Desperate Debutante trilogy. Ms London had me hanging on the pages by the time I finished chapter two where the hero and heroine finally met and had an unforgettable tantalizing first kiss.
Let me backtrack a little … in this series, three aristocratic young ladies, Ava, Greer and Phoebe Fairchild, discover that they are destitute when their stepfather absconded to France after their mother (and Aunt in Greer’s case) passed away quite suddenly. While struggling desperately to keep up appearances for after all this is the year 1819, the girls realized that the only way to get themselves out of dire straits is for one of them to land a wealthy husband.
Thus Ava hatched a scheme to hunt down the highly eligible and notoriously wealthy rake Jared Broderick, the Marquis of Middleton who is estranged from his father, the Duke of Redford, over his choice of mistress and past misdeeds.
To her surprise and utter delight, Lord Jared whisked her into a whirlwind romance that set the gossips’ tongues wagging and proposed marriage. However, after their passionate wedding night, Ava was given to understand that Jared’s ulterior motive in marrying her was to spite his father and provide the family with an heir while he continued his affair with his mistress.
To Jared’s dismay, however, he found that he has no desire for another after the tender intimacy he shared with Ava. But he was so shaken and fearful that he is unable to love, and doubtful of his feelings that he tried to drive Ava away with abrupt trips that make her suspect him of carrying on his old affair, what with the love letters that continued to arrive for him, and his alternately hot and cold behaviour towards her.
Ava had initially agreed to the marriage thinking that they would grow to love each other, but she soon realized that a loveless bond won’t do for her. She devised a bold plan to confront Jared that will force him to choose: giver her his heart and hand because he truly loves and desires her and none other. Does she succeed?
You bet. And it was such a joy to see the reconciliation. The author has a talent for creating powerful emotions and dressing up dialogues with witty repartees that entertain and titillate. Some parts of the story brought lumps to my throat, while other parts had me bemused and sometimes smiling. Overall, the book has the right amount of poignancy, teasing and tenderness which made it such an enjoyable read for me.
There were hints of Greer’s adventure in the wild untamed Welsh countryside in this book that had me curious about her quest in The Perils of Pursuing a Prince. I’m definitely going to follow this series. Even the titles of the books – Phoebe’s story will be out in October and it tells of The Dangers of Deceiving a Viscount … ooh –carry a slightly dangerous and thrilling hint to the kind of madcap and maybe improbably funny situations that the girls are going to get into.