Alex and Patience…sigh! What a delightful couple they were! Patience is promised by her parents to Cyrus, the Duke of Bedford’s heir apparent and older brother of Alex. But Patience falls in love with Alex during their first meeting and learns to loathe and fear his older brother Cyrus. When the betrothal is announced, Alex, as second son, takes off for military service. Four years later Alex comes home after the death of his father and his older brother and becomes the Duke of Bedford, only to find that Patience had never married Cyrus, that he had died before the marriage could take place. The rest of the story is about Alex wooing Patience despite her reluctance to be wooed because she doesn’t understand how he could have left her behind when he went to the military. Also, a fours years’ separation changed both of them. It was a run romp of a romance!
Four years ago the hopes and plans Alex and Patience had for a future together were shattered when they learned that their fathers announced that Patience was to be betrothed to Alex’s brother Cyrus, heir to the dukedom. Devastated, Alex convinced his grandfather to buy him a commission in the army. He spent three years on the continent in war. He spent the last year in America chasing and capturing a traitor (who managed to escape shortly after he was turned over to authorities). Just before his return to England, he received word that his father and brother had died, Cyrus recently in rather scandalous circumstances, and that he was now the duke.
Upon his arrival back home, Alex discovers that Cyrus and Patience never married. He is pleased, but doesn’t know what that means for him and Patience. Almost immediately the Earl of Wilton begins to push Alex to marry Patience. The couple still cares for each other, but both have changed and would like some time to get to know each other again. Alex would like to learn to handle his duties and responsibilities as Duke, before they take a permanent step. Patience wants to be free of her abusive tyrant of a father. She simply wants someone to love her for herself. Is it possible these two will find in each other what they need to be happy? It looks a little doubtful for a while.
Denying the Duke has an interesting, slightly complicated plot that unfolds as the hero and heroine take a long ride on an emotional roller coaster. There are secrets, plots, betrayal, mystery, kidnapping, a little bit of humor, and of course, romance. Alex is plagued by nightmares of the war and filled with uncertainty about his new life. Patience does come across as immature, but that can be contributed to the abusive life she has had. She has never had a chance to experience life and grow up. There is a lot for Alex and Patience to work out. Alex’s friends and Patience’s cousin are wonderful characters who are there to help them find their way. All in all, an entertaining read that holds your attention from beginning to end.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. I voluntarily reviewed it and the comments are my own.