A wonderful, uplifting Regency-set historical romance. Well crafted, richly textured.
Bel Hamilton becomes a high-priced courtesan when she loses her innocence in a brutal rape. The wealthy and powerful Duke of Hawkscliffe becomes her 'protector', intent on using her as the bait to snare his enemy, Sir Dolph Breckinridge. Straitlaced Hawkscliffe is a paragon of honor totally unaccustomed to dealing with a lady of the night. Cool-nerved, secretive Bel is terrified of the prospect of giving herself to him, but it's her only way to make a living and get her father out of debtor's prison. Slowly they form an alliance; Hawkscliffe gradually earns her trust and avenges her honor, but by restoring her sense of self, he frees her from the wound that forced her into prostitution in the first place. No longer willing to be his paid mistress, Bel makes him choose either to marry her or let her go. She can no longer respect herself if she goes on as his whore. Hawk must then face a crisis decision of either losing her or causing a huge scandal by making his mistress his wife. Great, engrossing read!
This report prepared by Cheska