They say that now His Grace, Collin Talmage, Duke of Trenwyth has only one hand, he might finally be a mere mortal, but no one seems willing to test the theory. Rich as Midas, big as a Viking, beautiful as Adonis, and lethal as a feral wolf, he is the English Empire’s golden son. But now he’s lost everything. Most of his family died in a terrible accident, his protégé and closest friend betrayed him on the battlefield, and his left hand was cut off while he was a prisoner of war. The only thing that’s kept him going until now is the memory of a night spent in the arms of a mysterious raven-haired woman almost a year ago…
Imogen Pritchard is a nurse by day, but a fallen woman—and a spy—by night. Seduced on the job years ago by a Duke who mourned for the loss of his family, Imogen has never shaken the memory of the man’s despair—or the fathomless depths of pleasure he brought to her. But as the threat of betrayals, blackmail, and secrets abound, Imogen and Collin are thrown back together in a dizzying swirl of dangerous games and earthshattering desire. But can their love overcome the everything that threatens to tear them apart?
I found it difficult at times to empathise with Collin as he goes from being a creature of privilege to an almost sanctimonious and abrasive character. Yes, he has truly suffered and gone beyond what many could never hope to endure but he really needed to get down off his high horse and see a much bigger picture. Perhaps though that is Ms Byrne's intent? For readers to want the happy ending but question if it's truly deserved, as after all, right from the start Collin did use his wealth and privilege heinously to take control.
Imogen will go to the wall to protect her family. Her situation when first introduced is almost intolerable and yet, I never felt pity for her, only a fervent hope that somehow, she could rise up. Well rise up she certainly does but there's a huge fly in the ointment as her new neighbour is the huge blast from the past Collin, who doesn't recognise her and in point of fact, thoroughly disapproves of everything Imogen believes in!
I think I missed the action and verbal sparring with The Duke. Whilst the romance was one I cheered for, it just lacked something for me and I found it difficult to become excited by most of it. I'm still loving these outrageous rogues dreamed up by Ms Byrne and I'm so excited to see where she will take this series.
There is some suspense in play here with a villain to look out for but it’s all over very quickly which took something away from it for me. The romance is incendiary as this couple practically burst into flame around each other, but those scenes are never overdone.
What this author excels at is giving us vibrant, lively characters that we relish seeing confound each other and indeed the society they find themselves in. Whilst not my favourite by Ms Byrne, this whole series is a delight to read and I'm already clamouring for more!
I received an advance copy in exchange for a fair review.