Also by this author: Only a Promise, Only a Kiss, Only Beloved, Someone to Wed
Series: Westcott #4
Also in this series: Someone to Wed
Published by Berkley Publishing Group on May 1, 2018
Genres: Historical, Romance
Once the Countess of Riverdale, Viola Kingsley throws all caution to the wind when adventure calls in the form of a handsome aristocrat. . . .
Two years after the death of the Earl of Riverdale, his family has overcome the shame of being stripped of their titles and fortune--except for his onetime countess, Viola. With her children grown and herself no longer part of the social whirl of the ton, she is uncertain where to look for happiness--until quite by accident her path crosses once again with that of the Marquess of Dorchester, Marcel Lamarr.
Marcel Lamarr has been a notorious womanizer since the death of his wife nearly twenty years earlier. Viola caught his eye when she herself was a young mother, but she evaded his seduction at the time. A prize that eluded him before, she is all the more irresistible to him now although he is surprised to discover that she is as eager now for the excitement he offers as he is himself.
When the two defy convention and run away together, they discover that the ties of respectability are not so easily severed, and pleasure can ensnare you when you least expect it.
The Marquess of Dorchester, Marcel Lamarr, lost his young wife to a horrible accident years before when his children were still infants. Since then he has left the raising of his children to their aunt and uncle and stayed away, visiting only a few times a year. He has also built up quite a reputation as a scoundrel and womanizer without shame.
Marcell Lamarr, Marques of Dorchester, was tall, well formed, impeccable elegant and austerely handsome. His dark hair was silvering at the temples. His face narrow, with high cheekbones and a somewhat hawkish nose and thin lips. His eyes were dark and hooded. He looked upon the world with cynical disdain, and the worked back upon him—when it dared look at all—with someone bonding upon fear.
Miss Viola Kingsley, former Countess of Riverdale, was the center of a great scandal that resulted in her title as well as her children’s titles being stripped and their fortune taken away. It was not their fault and her children have moved on to a better life than she could have ever dreamed, but she still feels ashamed and unworthy of the love and acceptance her late husband’s family have given her.
Who was she? The question, which popped so unexpectedly into her head, was a little frightening because it had no obvious answer. For many years she had thought she was the Countess of Riverdale and had identified herself with that title and everything that went with it—the social position, the obligations, the respect. She had become, in effect, not a person but…but what? A mere table? A mere title? She had become something that had no basis in fact. She had never been the Countess of Riverdale. Was she really nothing at all, then? Nobody? Like a ghost?
Fourteen years ago Marcel wanted Viola but she was married and would not entertain his advances. He respected her wishes and left her alone. They both fell in love the moment they met but pushed those feelings aside as they could not be together. Years later they met again and decided to go away together with no restrictions, both of an age to do as they wished and both widowed with seemingly nothing to lose.
Seemingly, indeed, since for a woman of that time it didn’t matter what her status or age were, she could still lose it all. It was not an easy decision for Viola to go away with Marcel.
She raised her eyes to his. “It is not in my nature,” she said, “to reach out for what I want.”
“Then we are quite incompatible,” he told her. “It is not in my nature to do anything else. What do you see in your future, Viola? What will your life be like?”
“Safe,” she said. “Respectable.”
In the name of respectability she was going to live a very lonely rest of her life, then? But it probably always had been like that. Lonely and dreary. It often seemed to be a woman’s lot in life to endure. Simply that. He as very glad he was not a woman.
When their affair goes on longer than they planned, both of their families become worried and go looking for them only to find them in a most curious position. Both Marcel and Viola underestimated their worth and the consequences of what they thought would be a harmless enjoyment.
All of the Westcotts are present and the author, Mary Balogh, knows how to keep the reader entertained. If you love a well-written story with true romance and familial humor, then you will not be disappointed.