Read with: Kindle for iPad
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Brothers Sinister, #1
Hero: Robert Alan Graydon Blaisdell
Heroine: Willhelmina Pursling
Date of Publication: December 6, 2012
Started On: February 10, 2013
Finished On: February 13, 2013
What an utterly beautifully captivating story. I finished this book in the wee hours of the morning and I was so overwhelmed by the emotions that raced through me all throughout the read, sometimes taking me unawares, other times caressing me with a gentleness and bittersweetness that made me want to weep; needless to say my very first Courtney Milan definitely impressed me beyond any level of expectation that I had when I first started reading.
The Duchess War begins with a glimpse into the very interesting and contrasting character of Willhelmina Pursling (Minnie), whose very entrance into the novel begins with her encounter with the ninth Duke of Clermont Robert Alan Graydon Blaisdell. Dressed rather severely and buttoned up to the extent that nobody would give her a passing glance, Minnie would rather she never be the focus of attention of anyone for long. But her days of hiding behind her the fortress that she has built around herself and perfected over the years are over when Robert enters her life and makes her yearn for the impossible.
Robert’s one mission in his life has always been to stay off the path his father had walked on as much as possible. Going as far as to atone for the bundles his father has made along the way, Robert is unlike any duke you would meet in any book. Well, I certainly haven’t come across any duke like Robert and that’s saying something since I have read my fair share of historical romances back in the day. Now, it is authors like Sherry Thomas and Jeannie Lin that makes me come back for more of a genre which I usually shy away from reading and with The Duchess War, Courtney Milan certainly has earned herself a spot in my list of authors to look out for when pursuing historical romances.
The Duchess War is certainly by no means your usual run of the mill variety historical romance. Contrary to that its comprised of complex characters which I had a hard time placing whether they belonged in the “good guys” category or not. Needless to say, Courtney continuously kept surprising me with the depth to her characters as she unraveled the story, one layer at a time and gives the reader an experience or rather a journey that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
There were times when I thought that I would hate Minnie for the choices that she seemed on the brink of making. But then I should have known better than that and trusted Courtney to do what fans of her books always rave about – that she delivers and hits all the spots and then some. And that was exactly what happened with each of her characters and the story that kept spinning its magic on me until I turned the very last page and heaved a sigh of contentment that would definitely have been heard from all corners of the Earth; if not for my need to quietly contemplate on what the story had done to me and my emotions.
Robert’s character is so so wonderful that it just begs some gushing on my part before I end the review. There were times I wanted to weep for the boy that had been the object of the tug of war contest between his parents, a boy who had grown up thinking himself to be unworthy of love of the lasting kind. A parliamentarian at the young age of 28, Robert is a champion of the underdog, someone who detests what the peerage system means. And above that all he is a man who has contained his passionate side for far too long and when he does start on the journey of discovery, boy does he make up for lost time and then some. The love scenes were so tastefully done and made me burn like a furnace that would never run out of wood anytime soon. Trust me on that.
I can’t say enough wonderful things about a book that wooed me in all the ways that counts. As a true lover of romance I definitely could not have asked for more.
“Look in a mirror sometime,” he suggested. “Look beyond this.” He touched his cheekbone, mirroring the spot on her face where her scar spread. “Look at yourself sometime the way you are now, all fire and anger, ready to do battle with me. If you’d ever once looked at yourself that way, you wouldn’t question whether I’d want a flirtation with you. You’d know I would.”
Her head remained stubbornly bowed before him. He wanted to grab her and shake her. He wanted to tilt her chin up and force her to gaze in his eyes. He wanted –
He wanted to do a great many things after that, none of which he was going to get from her by force.
“I’m not pretending to flirt with you,” he said instead. “There’s no pretense in it. I want you. God, I want you.”
She let out a little gasp and then – almost involuntarily – she looked up.
For just one moment, he saw something he thought was not pretense – a hopeless yearning in the way her face tilted toward his, a flutter in her ragged exhalation. Her lips parted, and she seemed suddenly, devastatingly beautiful.
“Indeed,” Violet said. Don’t mind us. We’re scarcely even here. And rest assured, if you’d like to talk of secrets, I’ll never repeat one. I’m known for my trustworthiness.”
“This is true,” Sebastian said. “The Countess of Cambury is like a deep, dark hole – secrets go in, but none of them ever come out.”
“Sebastian,” Violet replied calmly looping the yarn about one of her needles, “it is neither proper nor respectful to let a woman know that you think of her as nothing more than a hole.”
Her hips rose to his. Her hand continued its motion, an added stimulation at the base of his cock. He could feel her pleasure all around him, first ebbing, and then gathering again as he took her. And as if the dam had been broken to bits with her first orgasm, this time she came quickly – in scarcely a minute, her release a scalding hot wash of pure lust that had her clamping down on him.
He couldn’t have enough of her. He pounded into her again and again, each thrust better than the last, each one building, building to a crescendo that washed over him in fierce waves. It was almost painful, his second release. It was messy and slippery and wrong, and it felt so, so damned right.
“It’s a good thing you have hold of your urges,” she said, more quietly, “because I’m so wet now, and it would be dreadfully embarrassing if you were to – “
He lifted her against the wall, wrapped her legs around him, and slid inside her. She was wet, so wet, and hot. The pleasure of her body, clasped around him, was so intense that it almost hurt. The light rhythmic sway of the car rocked him into her.
He braced them against the wall, his muscles straining.
“That’s right, Robert.” Her arms cane around him. “That’s right. Just like that.”
She came around him, tightening in waves of pulsating heat around his cock. And he pounded into her, hard at first, and then even harder, until his own climax came. In the moment when he spilled his seed, he imagined them connected by far more than the scrape of his teeth against her jaw, the tangle of their hands, the clamp of her legs still wrapped around him. It was more than just the physical act of burying himself in her body.
In that moment, for the first time in his life, Robert believed that there was someone for him.
He stood. She couldn’t read his expression at all.
But then he put his hands on her shoulders, and, when she looked up at him, he kissed her. He kissed her with no finesse, no gentleness. He kissed her with all the emotion that he hadn’t shown since he’d walked in the door – fiercely, savagely, as if he’d returned from an absence of ten years and needed to remind her of everything that had happened. His arms came around her, wrapping her to him as tightly as chains. He was scorching heat against her.
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