It was to be a simple transaction.
"I'll consider your debt paid in full if you get my wife with child."
The Marquess of Walfort felt unmanned by the loss of his legs after an unfortunate accident claimed use of them. The resulting loss of his child leaves him without an heir and further diminishes his manhood in the eyes of Society. After years of being a burden to his wife, Walfort is convinced that something drastic must be done to save his well-meaning wife from herself and beget an heir. In his mind, there is only one person in which to turn to and who owes him for all that was lost. At first the notion is struck as ridiculous, but Walfort's arguments are unquestionably convincing and well thought. The problem now lies in convincing his wife to break the one thing she swore to God never to break - her vows.
Lady Jayne Seymour, Marchioness of Walfort is affection-starved, but furious. The affection she seeks is from her husband, but her infuriated state is a result of machinations and manipulations by her husband and his cousin the Duke. Ever since Walfort's accident, Jayne has always been attentive in putting his needs above her own and yet forever conscious of his shortcomings, which have now become her own as well. Regardless of her shattered dreams of a happy marital life with children, Jayne stands by Walfort and would do anything to make him happy. However, this latest request comes as a shock beyond all imagination. The ever sensible Jayne finds the courage to do what must be done, but not without a few rules of her own.
No one is more surprised than Ransom Seymour, the Duke of Ainsley, to hear that Lady Jayne has agreed to her husband's idea of a tryst. Hesitant for his own reasons, Ainsley thoroughly believed that nothing would come of it, but guilt is a heavy motivator. In order to maintain sanity he must keep his distance, but in order to get Jayne with child, a physical closeness and seduction is required. His experienced prowess and confidence in the bedchamber is superior to none, but with one dance and one kiss, Jayne unmans him in ways he hadn't thought possible. The once sure Duke begins regretting his agreement almost immediately, but he can deny Jayne nothing even if it means losing his heart and soul in the process.
"Yes, they'd all made promises, but they could not have foreseen that everything would unravel..."
With all the eloquence of a seasoned regency writer, Ms. Heath captivates to the very end with this incredible story. Rich in emotion and ripe with love and scandal, the reader is taken on quite the journey during a time when titles, Society engagements, and propriety were most important. I was completely astonished and thrilled that my preconceived notions on some of the characters were obliterated by the end. Each came with their own unique voice and easily imagined. Jayne and Ainsley's realized compatibility and chemistry is wonderfully developed. I daresay, Ainsley has me completely seduced, so be prepared for a most romantic and erotic awakening by a Duke. I simply couldn't have asked for a better or more scintillating storyline.
Waking Up With the Duke is the third installment to Ms. Heath's, London's Greatest Lovers series, but can easily be read as a standalone. This is my first read by Ms. Heath and I would have to name it the best regency romance I've read thus far. Turmoil, passion, loss, and love are in great abundance within its pages. I found such profound depth in the story's characters with a mounting suspense filled storyline that is akin to a murder mystery (minus the murder of course). The entire story including the ending is brilliantly played out without an ounce of predictability other than what is foretold in the synopsis. A smashing success that has me contemplating which of Ms. Heath's stories to read next.
They are masters of seduction, London's greatest lovers . . .
Renowned for his bedchamber prowess, Ransom Seymour, the Duke of Ainsley, owes a debt to a friend. But the payment expected is most shocking, even to an unrepentant rake—for he's being asked to provide his friend's exquisite wife with what she most dearly covets: a child.
Living for pleasure, they will give their hearts to no one . . .
Lady Jayne Seymour, Marchioness of Walfort, is furious that such a scandalous agreement would be made. If she acquiesces, there must be rules: no kissing . . . and, certainly, no pleasure.
Until love takes them by surprise.
But unexpected things occur with the surprisingly tender duke—especially once Lady Jayne discovers the rogue can make her dream again . . . and Ransom realizes he's found the one woman he truly cannot live without.