(An American Heiress in London, #2)
Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)
From USA Today bestselling author Laura Lee Guhrke comes the story of a bargain, a marriage of convenience…and the chance for love to last a lifetime.
They had a deal…
From the moment she met the devil-may-care Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he agreed to her outrageous proposal of a marriage of convenience, she was transformed from ruined American heiress to English duchess. Five years later, she’s delighted with their arrangement, especially since her husband is living on another continent.
But deals are made to be broken…
By marrying an heiress, Stuart was able to pay his family’s enormous debts, and Edie’s terms that he leave England forever, seemed a small price to pay. But when a brush with death impels him home, he decides it’s time for a real marriage with his luscious American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But is ten days enough to win her heart?
HOW TO LOSE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS is the second book in Laura Lee Guhrke’s American Heiress in London series but it can be read as a standalone.
Please don’t let the rather light-hearted title of this book deter you because this is a tender, poignant and romantic second chance story.
Going home to New York spells disaster for Edie because she will not only have to face the scandal she left behind but also the man responsible for her ruination. So, she approaches the impoverished Duke of Margrave and proposes a marriage of convenience with certain conditions; she will pay off all his ancestors’ debts, pay him a generous allowance, support his sponging relatives and look after his estates on condition that he goes back to Africa, the country he loves, and never returns.
“I don’t want a husband in any sense but the legal one.”
Following his father’s death, Stuart had returned from Africa to find huge debts awaiting him and the creditors knocking at his door. Although he is rather surprised by Edie’s strange bargain, he is desperate to return to Africa and so agrees. But the best-laid plans can sometimes go awry. Five years later, after suffering a severe leg injury when a lioness mauls him, Stuart is forced to re-evaluate his life and decides it is time to return home and make his marriage a real one but he knows it won’t be easy.
This was a new beginning, and a second chance. Not that the task ahead of him would be an easy one. He’d known then, and he knew now, that Edie had a wall around her it would not be easy to breach.
At first, Edie appears hard and inflexible towards Stuart. With his return, she is afraid of losing the freedom and independence she has enjoyed over the past 5 years but her fears run far deeper. She has never told anyone, even her parents, about the traumatic event which left her emotionally scarred and with a deep-seated fear of intimacy.
She was like a wounded animal, he thought, looking at her. Fear and pain were in every line of her— in the taut stillness of her form and in her watchful, wary stare.
Stuart is such a wonderful hero. His injury causes him a great deal of pain but he never wallows in self-pity. He treats Edie with such patience and sensitivity and his slow but determined campaign to win her trust and her heart is just delicious. I love the scenes where Edie is massaging Stuart’s leg; they are sensual and positively sizzle with sexual tension.
Everywhere his body touched hers, he felt scorching hot. Slowly, as the seconds ticked by, she became aware of other things: the slow, deep labor of his breathing, the hard muscle of his calf beneath her fingertips, the scent of sandalwood— his soap, perhaps? Inexplicably, her body began to tingle.
Stuart is not above using additional weapons in his campaign, especially Joanna, Edie’s younger sister, who is determined to see these two reunited. It helps to have a spy in the camp!
Watching Edie gradually responding to Stuart’s gentle, considerate lovemaking and slowly emerging as a warm and passionate woman is so emotionally satisfying.
“I need you to be just the man you are, Stuart. I need to be reminded every day that I am a pretty, passionate woman, with golden freckles and lovely legs. I need you to touch me and caress me and make it like bliss. I need you to make love to me, and give me that sweet, sweet pleasure.”
MY VERDICT: A beautiful and deeply emotional second chance love story. Highly recommended.
REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS
SENSUALITY RATING: WARM
Read September 2016
An American Heiress in London series (click on the book covers for more details):