Before he died, Luke’s father entered into secret marriage negotiations with Vivian’s brother. Wait. That came across a bit more risque than I intended. The negotiations were to betroth Luke and Vivian. For Vivian, the marriage would provide an escape from her lonely life. Due to a scandal, her only other option would be the convent. Luke wants no part of his new role as a duke and marrying would just add more responsibilities. He plans on releasing her from the contract. Once he meets Vivian, he decides he can’t send such a vibrant person to waste away in a convent. Still not willing to marry her, the only noble thing left to do is facilitate a marriage between Vivian and another suitable gentleman. But Vivian has set her sights on Luke and Luke is finding it impossible to picture her with anyone else.
The book seemed to naturally divide into two parts for me The first half centers around Luke and Vivian accepting that they want each other. The second half covers all the obstacles that stand in their way. Vivian’s quasi-scandal. A blackguard out for revenge. A cousin enamored with Luke.
Vivian was an entertaining heroine who marched to her own beat whenever she thought no one was looking. Luke, a rare soul who saw the inner beauty of Vivian, was strong and caring and well…heroic. Despite the weaker second half, I liked the story a lot. It could have used a bit more sex, but what book couldn’t? I find myself hoping to hear more about Luke’s cousin Johanna in a future book.