A story that highlights the conflict between desire and duty, and just how emotional decisions can sway your destiny. Will Masterson, heir to a title was grieving at the loss of his wife and daughter. Turning his back on England and his responsibilities, he purchased a commission to fight Napoleon. Seeing the surrender, a later skirmish had him facing a hanging with four other men, a somehow fitting end to his journey. But, destiny, fate and a bottle intervened and the five men escaped, vowing to stay in contact through letters to a pre-determined location. However, Will has been tasked with accompanying a small group of men back to their homeland of San Gabriel, to shore up the tiny municipality after the French army’s destruction.
Athena Markham has been serving as Princess Sophia’s aid and confidante. With the regent aging out, the next in line nowhere to be found and Sophia as next in line, safety and security for the princess is tantamount. Not to mention that Athena’s cool confidence, independent streak and desire to be ‘useful’ works to everyone’s advantage. Illegitimate daughter of a lord and his courtesan, Athena’s childhood was tumultuous and full of bullying and behind the hand comments. She’s fled to find her place and leave the past behind, and her ability to think logically and see what needs to be done are hugely advantageous.
Together Will and Athena are a unique couple, their attraction is instant. Will has never met such a tall and hard to intimidate woman before, nor one that is so interested in what he has to say. Not in a flirtatious way, but with helpful and insightful comments, and a calmness that surrounds her decisions to help Sophia. Although Will intrigues Athena, and she won’t deny their chemistry, she won’t risk his name or her heart with a short term affair, preferring friendship and a camaraderie that is tinged with sexual tension. She finds that she can trust Will with her big secret past, yet it matters not to Will. He wants to marry this woman and take her home.
A wonderful story full of heart, tension, duty and the sort of ‘all for you’ dedication from the hero that just makes him irresistible. I can’t wait for the next in the series.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.