Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Duke’s Den #3
Publication Date: 5/26/20
Number of Pages: 368
Rhys Forester and Arabella Prescott have a history – both a joyous one and a heartbreaking one. They were best friends from the time they were children running their family estates together – getting covered in mud, riding their horses – you name it – they were inseparable. Arabella was the person who knew Rhys better than anyone – knew all of his fears and secrets. Then, Arabella begins to see Rhys in a different light and he thoroughly breaks her heart. He just threw it down and stomped on it. Let’s just say that Arabella hasn’t been particularly forgiving – and I don’t blame her.
Rhys has lead a debauched hedonistic lifestyle for the last five years. He throws wild parties, acts recklessly, and womanizes every night while sleeping his days away. However, he has made his own fortune by investments of many kinds, but particularly as part-owner of the Duke’s Den. Then, his father dies and Rhys becomes the fifth Duke of Claremont – only to learn that the dukedom isn’t as solvent as Rhys had assumed it was. It is devouring all of his funds and he has to figure out what has happened. His father couldn’t have been that much of a profligate – or could he? Rhys heads back to his estate to investigate – but balancing ledgers is not his strong suit and he’s having a very hard time of it.
Arabella has had several very successful seasons and has declined a number of marriage proposals. She has ambitions of her own and they include publishing her own book – and remaining single. She thinks her parents have accepted her wish to become a spinster – until – she discovers that the house party they are planning is strictly to introduce her to several very marriage-minded men. Once she learns the reason for their insistence, she starts looking for ways around them. Who could be better to help her than Rhys? After all, he owes her – big time.
Each has a skill and ability the other needs, so they strike a bargain – they’ll have a fake betrothal to satisfy her parents and she’ll help Rhys with the ledgers and his sister’s debut season. Everybody wins! But, as they spend more and more time together, Rhys begins to realize what a horrible mistake he made years ago. Can he convince Arabella to trust him again? To love him again? Can Arabella learn to forgive Rhys and trust him again?
I really enjoyed this book and truly came to like the main characters. I do have to admit that I didn’t really understand Rhys’s descent into debauchery – I understand that his father wasn’t the best example and they didn’t get along, but I think I just didn’t really get enough information on that to understand it.
I hope you will give this well-written book a try and that you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. Happy Reading
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.