THE DUKE’S DESIRE
Simon Hawkins, duke of Trent, is no stranger to scandal. Rumors and innuendo have darkened the House of Trent for decades, and it has fallen to Simon to restore his tattered family name. He lives by a strict code of honor, but when he is called home to investigate his mother’s disappearance, the distinguished duke will tangle with temptation. For there waits the only woman he has ever loved-and the last woman he should desire . . .
Sarah Osborne has spent her life dreaming of Simon’s touch. But dukes do not long for lady’s maids-or so Sarah believes, until a stolen kiss sparks a passion that could be her ultimate undoing. As the couple begins a forbidden romance, a cunning enemy plots to destroy the duke and everything he loves. Now, caught in a blackmailer’s web, Simon faces an agonizing choice: sacrifice his family’s future or break Sarah’s heart.
You can find Jennifer Haymore in Southern California trying to talk her husband into yet another trip to England, helping her three children with homework while brainstorming a new five-minute dinner menu, or crouched in a corner of the local bookstore writing her next novel.
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Sarah, the gardener’s daughter finds herself being educated along with Simon, the Earl of Trent after he rescues her from an attacking blackberry bush. With her mother recently deceased, the Dowager Duchess takes a shine to her and polishes her intelligence to train as a lady’s maid and companion to her daughter, Esme. As Simon and Sarah grow older, there is a real connection between the pair, although Sarah realizes that he can never marry her since she is of a lower class and he needs to marry someone more suitable. As Simon begins his hunt for a wife, Sarah is a constant in his mind.
Of course, nothing is simple in Simon’s life and his mother disappears, leaving the family to wonder what had happened to her since there is no sign of foul play. As his hunt continues, Lady Stanley has her eye on him for her daughter, Georgina and nothing will get in her way to see them married. When all her manipulations fail, she resorts to blackmail, claiming she knows several secrets about his family and his brothers’ lineage. Through the story, Sarah and Simon meet in secret and the unthinkable happens when Sarah finds herself in a delicate position.
This is such a sweet story that balances perfect descriptions with well thought out dialogue. I really like Sarah and her relationships with everyone. She has spunk but not a mean bone in her body. The end of this didn’t come quick enough for me since I really wanted to see this pair together. Since this is the start of a new series, I can only image that each of Simon’s four brothers and his sister will be given their due. There is also just enough intrigue to keep you guessing!
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