Series: The Outcasts, #2
Release Date: October 30,2018
If you read the previous book, Dangerous, then you already have met Hugh and Daphne – the story begins a short time before that book and seems to run concurrently.
Daphne Redvers, Lady Davenport is fending off an attack by her vile cousin Sir Malcolm when her late husband’s nephew, Hugh Redvers, Baron Ramsey returns from the dead. The man from whom she has stolen everything from.
Hugh has returned to England (and from the dead) for one reason, to protect Daphne and her sons. He was sent away by his uncle almost 20 years ago and when he was captured by corsairs and enslaved, he let everyone believe he had died. The stablemaster and Hugh’s childhood friend, Will is the only one who knew the truth – he contacted Hugh because he has been receiving anonymous letters saying Daphne and her boys are in danger. Hugh is surprised by his immediate attraction to Daphne, but tries to fight it – there can be nothing between them, not only because she is technically his aunt and forbidden by ecclesiastical law but because he has no plans on staying in England – he will leave once the threat to her is taken care of and continue on his quest for vengeance against the man that betrayed him – Emile Calitain. Calitain was a slave with Hugh and turned on him, costing Hugh his eye, freedom and the lives of his friends. Hugh escaped and became the privateer “One Eyed Standish”, and for the last 15 years he has been roaming the seas in search of Calitain.
Daphne is being blackmailed by Sir Malcolm, her marriage to Hugh’s uncle Thomas was in name only – she was raped by her cousin at 17 and Thomas married her to protect her. Sir Malcolm threatens to expose the truth of the boys birth if she doesn’t marry him. But now that Hugh is back, she knows that she must tell him the truth – her sons Lucien and Richard are not Thomas’, so Hugh is really the new Earl of Davenport – she is sure he will think that she duped his uncle and wishes she had proof that he was aware that the boys were not his. For this reason, she holds off telling him. She needs to make plans for herself and the twins before she confesses.
They grow closer after an attempt on Hugh’s life and she is on the verge of telling him the truth when an unexpected visitor arrives and Daphne catches Hugh with the woman in his arms. Unable to tell her the truth about Mia, he leaves her a vague note and takes Mia to London. Daphne believes the worst about Hugh and Mia, which motivates her to step up her plans to move to Yorkshire. She takes the boys and goes to London. They are reunited with Hugh and she gets the proof she needs to confess to Hugh. When Hugh saves her from an attack by Malcolm, she knows she has run out of time and confesses. Hugh assures her that he doesn’t want the earldom and that Thomas’ considered the boys his and Hugh will never challenge Lucien’s right to the title. He is in love with Daphne and asks her to marry him. She agrees and it seems like a HEA is within sight. But ghosts from both their pasts will return and threaten their newfound happiness.
I loved this story, it has a bit of everything, mystery, action, pirates, secrets, steamy love scenes, likable characters, betrayal, blackmail, laugh out loud moments, really nasty and demented villains and finally a very hard earned HEA. My only complaint would be that while this story seems to run concurrently with Mia’s story, major scenes involving Hugh from her story are not in this story, which I found a little odd – but not enough to diminish my enjoyment. This is the second book in the Outcast series and while there is a connection to the first book, this title can easily be read as a standalone. I would happily recommend this book and am eagerly awaiting the next book!!
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*