Morgan Lyons, the 8th Earl of Westcliffe, has known since he was a child that his father had made a contract with Claire’s father concerning their marriage. Actually, the contract was made several years before Claire was even born but Morgan had no choice but to honor it. His father left him a crumbling estate and no means to fix it.
Morgan watched Claire grow up, running around with his younger brothers. He was much older than she and so did not join in their childish games. Still he enjoyed watching her laugh knowing that some day she would be his bride.
Claire knew she was to marry Morgan but did not expect to marry him just days after her 17th birthday. She didn’t know Morgan as he made no effort to court her. She had no season as her father saw no reason to waste the money on one. Claire was scared to death about her wedding night with a stranger so she turned to her good friend, Stephen, Morgan’s younger brother.
Stephen’s plan was to make Morgan so angry that he left Claire alone until she was ready. What happened though was much more than any of them could have imagined. Morgan left Claire at his estate while he went to London. There it became well known that he had mistresses while his wife lived in the country.
After three years, Claire came to London to ask permission to sponsor her younger sister, Beth for the season. Morgan has no reasonable way to refuse this request but has informed Claire that after the season he plans on filing for a divorce. He plans on marrying Lady Anne. So, why if he plans on marrying another does he feel so drawn to Claire? Claire dreams of Morgan and wonders why she had been so scared of her wedding night. This season should be very interesting, especially when Stephen makes an unexpected appearance!
This is the first book in a series about three brothers. While it is part of a series, it can also be enjoyed without ever reading any more books in the series.
Ms Heath has a fantastic knack of bring her characters to life. Claire realizes that she was wrong on her wedding night but unsure how to proceed. However, she has matured and is willing to stand up to Morgan which she would have never even thought about doing when she was 17. Morgan, better known as Westcliffe, learns a lot about himself and his actions towards Claire as he watches Beth enjoy her season. As these realizations happen, it begins to see Lady Anne in a whole new light. Beth, however, comes across as a self centered teenage sister which as any older sister will tell you, is normal.
Social change is part of this story. Morgan has invested in small railroads which are currently being bought up by larger ones. These small railways have helped modernize England but during this period are still a novel invention. Divorce is seen as something scandalous. It takes an act of parliament to obtain one. Women who are divorced usually leave England for a while to remove themselves from the scandal. It is also no unusual for men to have affairs but not as openly as Morgan does. Claire is expected to bring Morgan under control by other wives though she has no idea of how to do it!
I really enjoyed this book. I actually read it after I read the second book in this series because I was so curious about what had happened between Claire and Stephen that would have Morgan upset with both of them. I am so glad I took the time to read Claire and Morgan’s story as it was wonderful.
I really enjoy a well research, well-written historical romance and this book is both.
Known throughout the city for his prowess in the bedroom, Morgan Lyons, Eighth Earl of Westcliffe, cannot forgive an unpardonable affront to his honor. Discovering his young bride in the arms of his brother was a staggering blow -- so he banished the beautiful deceiver to the country and devoted himself entirely to the pursuit of carnal pleasure.
Claire Lyons was an innocent, frightened girl of 17 on her wedding day, seeking chaste comfort from a childhood friend. Now three years later, she has blossomed magnificently. Still innocent, she has returned to London with one goal in mind: the seduction of her notorious husband. Unskilled in the sensual arts, she burns nonetheless for the kisses too long denied her. And now she has but one Season to win back the heart of the rogue she betrayed.