Driven to uncover the truth about the mysterious death of his ladylove, the Duke of Hawkscliffe will go to any lengths to unmask a murderer. Even if it means jeopardizing his reputation by engaging in a scandalous affair with London's most provocative courtesan - the desirable but aloof Belinda Hamilton.
Bel has used her intelligence and wit to charm the city's titled gentlemen, while struggling to put the pieces of her life back together. She needs a protector, so she accepts Hawk's invitation to become his mistress in name only. He asks nothing of her body, but seeks her help in snaring the same man who shattered her virtue. Together they tempt the unforgiving wrath of society - until their risky charade turns into a dangerous attraction, and Bel must make a devastating decision that could ruin her last chance at love...
Hawkscliffe was a fantastic hero. While in the book he was teased as a prude, he was far from it. He was respectable. He didn't do things to just please himself. Bel was a great heroine who stuck to her plans without compromising herself despite her dire circumstances. She dug herself out of trouble many times. She was very resourceful and a survivor.
The action in the story was what made it one of my favorites. They were intense and you felt like you were there.
She ran from a brute...
Fleeing the harsh guardianship of her grandfather, Prudence Merridew escapes with her beautiful younger sisters to London. One of them must marry—and fast. To act as her sisters' chaperone, Prudence invents a secret engagement to a reclusive duke... But when the duke arrives unexpectedly in London, she needs his help to avert disaster.
...into the arms of a rake
Aristocratic Gideon, handsome, rakish and with a strong frivolous streak, casually hijacks Prudence's game, awarding himself a stolen kiss or three along the way. Used to managing sisters and elderly men, Prudence is completely out of her depth with a charming, devious and utterly irresistible rake. And her plot goes terribly—if deliciously—awry...
The story of Prudence and her sisters was heartbreaking. The abuse they suffered under their grandfather was just horrid. Prudence selflessness to help her sister gave her great character. She wanted them to have a happy future and makes plans to get away from their grandfather.
This book played host to a slews of memorable side characters. Prudence's younger sister Grace, their Great Uncle Oswald and Gideon's Aunt Gussie were my favorites. There was so much witty dialogue in the book and each character's personality were painted perfectly - from the sweetest character to the most dastardly one. And Gideon was a good hero, not one of my favorites, but I loved how much he wanted to protect Prudence.
Both books were a first in their series: The Duke was book one in The Knight Miscellany series and The Perfect Rake was book one in The Merridew Sisters series.