Lilian and the Irresistible Duke
A reunion in Rome…Sparks an affair to remember!
Responsible widow Lilian Fairclough is persuaded to travel to Rome for a hard-earned break and to let down her hair! She’s surprised to be reunited with passionate, cynical Italian duke, Pietro Venturi. He reawakens her sensual side and intrigues her with glimpses of pain beneath his rakish surface. Enticed into a secret and temporary affair – what will happen once she returns home?
When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Despite that, it still takes her forever to fall asleep.
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Series: Secrets of a Victorian Household, #4
Release Date: January 31, 2020 (ebook)
Lilian Fairclough is a loose ends in her life, widowed for many years, she has devoted her life to her children and keeping the Fairclough Foundation’s doors open. But now her children are grown and married, her daughter and her husband have taken over running the foundation and while they are happy for Lilian’s help, they don’t really need her. So when the opportunity to visit Italy arose, Lilian was eager to have an adventure. She is traveling with her late husband’s cousin Alexandra – who warns Lilian that Italy is not like England and the Italians are nothing like the prim and proper English. This is something Lilian is very aware of since meeting Pietro Venturi, Duca della Torizia last Christmas and sharing a kiss with him that still haunts her all these months later.
When they finally arrive in Italy, Lilian is horrified to learn that they are staying with Pietro! Lilian had no idea his sister Carlotta moved back to his home when she was widowed. So after an awkward and embarrassing reunion – in which Pietro misunderstands Lilian’s arrival in his home and is unbelievably rude and crass to her, it becomes clear that this will not be a smooth journey to HEA. Lilian is hurt and angry, but her desire to experience Rome and to see art that she has only seen in pictures, outweighs her anger, she will ignore Pietro and enjoy the sights.
Pietro almost immediately realizes his error and apologizes at the first opportunity. He and Lilian share a love of art and agree to “forget” about the kiss and be friends. He shows her the fresco in his home and she is awed – but unlike others who have seen it, she is more interested in the story behind it – just like Pietro. Intrigued by her, he offers to show her the Sistine Chapel and tells her places to visit. They form a true friendship and try to ignore the attraction that is simmering between them.
When Pietro takes her to his gallery and shares his most treasured possession with her – sketches of the design of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo – the passion between them ignites and neither can deny it any longer. They begin an affair, but set rules and make it clear that the affair is temporary, goodbye will be goodbye. In addition, Pietro, who is quite the ladies’ man, has rules of his own that he doesn’t share with her. They embark on a very passionate affair, but soon they both realize they are in over their heads. And when Lilian learns of his past, she is hurt and decides to end their affair before she does the unthinkable and falls in love with him. But is it already too late? And can Pietro let go of the past and seize a chance at true love or will he let it condemn him to a lonely future?
I loved this book, it is well written, flows nicely and is almost impossible to put down. I love that Lilian and Pietro are older and shared more than just passion. The author did a wonderful job with imagery for this book, I was fascinated by the vivid descriptions of the art and the landmarks used in the story and had no problem visualizing based on her writing. The story itself was a lovely “second love” story, filled with emotion, steamy love scenes, heartache, guilt, learning to move on from the past and healing. It is definitely one of the better “second love” stories that I have read and I highly recommend this book. It is the final novel in an author collaboration series, but it can easily be read as a stand-alone title with no problems.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me*