I received this book for free from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Nortorious Flynns #1
Published by Jess Michaels on January 13, 2015
Genres: Historical Erotica, Historical Romance
Source: the Author
For years Serafina McPhee has been engaged to marry the heir to the Duke of Hartholm and for almost as long, she has been struggling to find a way out of that engagement. When he suddenly dies, she does not mourn but thrills at the idea that she will be free. Unfortunately, best laid plans go awry when the next in line for the title, her intended’s cousin, Raphael “Rafe” Flynn is forced to take over the engagement. But Serafina knows Rafe’s reputation as a libertine and wants nothing to do with him, either, even if he is devastatingly handsome.
She proposes an arrangement: she will agree to the marriage and provide Rafe with his heir and spare. Once she has done her duty, he will let her go. Rafe is intrigued both by her beauty and by her utter disgust with the idea of being his bride. Women normally fall at his feet, not cringe away from him. However, since their arranged marriage is not something he can escape, he agrees to her terms.
But when he finds out on their wedding night the truth about her torture at the hands of his predecessor, he finds himself driven not just to fulfill his bargain with his new bride, but to introduce her to desire. While they move closer together, surrendering to wicked pleasures, dangerous emotions may violate every agreement they’ve made.
Instructed from childhood on how she will dress, how she will act, and even whom she would marry, Serafina McPhee has not been allowed to make a single decision in her entire life. When her abusive fiance dies days before the wedding, Serafina thinks she will finally be free. But a pesky marriage contract with airtight language insists that she shall marry the Duke of Hartholm. Enter Raphael Flynn, estranged cousin to Serafina’s former fiance and now her new fiance! Trapped into a marriage neither wanted, Serafina and Rafe learn to make the best of a bad situation and along the way Rafe shows Serafina that not all men are the callous, heartless beasts she has had the misfortune of knowing all her life.
Serafina is a guarded, but intelligent young woman. She has suffered tremendously at the hands of a cruel, degenerate fiance and a father who couldn’t care less what she wanted. And yet despite this background, Serafina remains a caring, astute woman able to analyze others and identify their needs of the moment. When presented with Rafe, she quickly assesses both her own and Rafe’s positions in the contract and takes control of marriage negotiations with the aplomb of a skilled solicitor.
Rafe is teasing, playful, and charming, but when he is informed of Serafina’s past, he is protective and very understanding. Despite having a reputation as a scoundrel, his honorable side is quite prevalent and he exhibits a great deal of compassion and patience as Serafina works her way through overcoming her inner demons.
In true Jess Michaels style, the sex scenes are sensual, inventive, and – while numerous – come as a natural progression of the plot and character development. Rafe and Serafina compliment each other so well and Rafe’s process of teaching Serafina about intimacy is both hot and heart-breaking as it gives her things she never had – passion, love, and control.
Now, I will warn readers – as I always do – that rape does play a minor part of this plot. While I would normally knock an entire star off for the use of this as a plot device, I would like to point out that the way Ms. Michaels handled this sensitive subject was very well done; so much so that she earned that star back. There are no overly detailed descriptions of what happened – barely enough to convey the idea even. And rather than harping on it time and again, the focus is instead on Rafe’s determination to make Serafina feel safe and loved, never worthless or less of a person for it. Rafe places the blame squarely on Serafina’s former fiance and makes it his personal quest to replace all of Serafina’s bad memories of intimacy and love with new, happy ones.
It’s no surprise why I love Jess Michaels’ books – compelling characters, a well-paced plot, witty dialogue, humor, and spicy romance. THE OTHER DUKE has all of these things. I loved watching Serafina and Rafe fall in love with each other AFTER their marriage and can’t wait to see what is in store for the other books in this series.
HIGHLY recommend picking this one up! I read this all in one sitting because I simply could NOT put it down. 🙂