Her Duke at Daybreak
by Wendy LaCapra
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Reviewed by PJ
Infamous for his pedigree of madness and murder, the reclusive Duke of Ashbey believes he cannot feel until a mysterious woman unlocks a world of sensation in a single, shattering moment of connection. He casts a desperate bid for more.
Recent widow Alicia Stone has long been reviled as the chief impediment to a love affair that captured the nation’s imagination. Publicly, she settled for respectability’s cold comfort, but, secretly, she longs to experience what she never found with her famous husband—uninhibited passion.
When a devilish duke proposes a discreet three-night assignation, Alicia shocks herself by accepting. But will their explosive union cost them both far more than they bargained?
I've been waiting two years for a new book from Wendy LaCapra. After being captivated by her debut trilogy, I admit both my anticipation and expectations for her new novel, Her Duke at Daybreak were pretty high. The fact that I've already read the book twice, fallen in love with these characters and their story the first go-around then even more deeply the second time clearly illustrates that I shouldn't have worried about having those expectations met.
One of the things I most enjoy about LaCapra's writing is the depth she gives her characters. Ashbey and Alicia are vividly brought to life as complete, complex characters dealing with a multitude of emotions. These two are like opposite poles of a magnet drawn together. Ash has fully embraced the darkness of his life, feeling neither joy nor despair, simply...not feeling. He shoulders the blame for acts that were not his own, convinced that he will only bring death and destruction to those unfortunate enough to be close to him. Yet, even knowing that, he cannot bring himself to stay away from the goodness, the light, the sheer rightness that Alicia brings into his life for three days. Their first meeting jolts him into awareness for the first time in years. Suddenly, he's feeling everything but with each encounter, the feelings grow, becoming too wonderful...too much. He yearns to keep her with him always but his past has taught him it will not last and that when it ends, Alicia will be the one to suffer.
The yearning these two have for one another! It was impossible for me not to have a deep emotional response to it and pull for them to find a way out of their predicament and into a loving, lasting relationship with one another.
The pace of this story flows beautifully. The love scenes (and there are many during the three days) are sensual and hot in some places while achingly tender in others but the sex never feels gratuitous. I really liked both Ash and Alicia, though by the time Ash's friends have their "let us tell you how it really is" moment with him I was ready to impart a little knowledge upon him myself...most likely with a good whack upside the head.
I loved watching Alicia blossom into the sensual woman she had always dreamed of becoming but I especially appreciated the woman she already was. I liked her strength, her kindness, her straight-forward approach to life. She easily could have been portrayed as the bitter, abandoned wife with her late husband and his mistress cast as the villains in this scenario. LaCapra took a different path and it made the story all the better for it.
I'm intrigued with Ash's two childhood friends who have key roles in this book. I'm hoping they will be the heroes of the next two books in the series.
If you enjoy complex, character driven stories with deep emotion, plenty of sizzle, and well-earned happy endings, I highly recommend Her Duke at Daybreak by Wendy LaCapra.
He concentrated on the pressure of her lips. Hers was a perfect mouth. Soft. Inviting. Tasting of sweetness, and promise, and light. Her lips traced a path to his chest. There she paused, pressing her ear against his heart.
A small gesture. Artless and honest and painfully poignant. It was all he could do not to clasp her there.
“What do you hear?” he asked.
He did not deserve this angel. If he’d been a better man, he never would have coaxed her to come. If were a good man now, he would set her free.
“I’m not good,” he said aloud.
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Wendy LaCapra has been reading romance since she sneaked into the adult section at the library and discovered Victoria Holt & Jane Aiken Hodge. From that point on, she dreamed of creating fictional worlds with richness, intrigue and passion. Her stories have placed in several contests, including the 2012 Golden Heart® and her debut series, a trilogy about three Ladies who refuse to play by society’s rules, was released by Entangled Scandalous. She lives in NYC with her husband and loves to hear from readers. For new release and sale alerts, sign up at http://bit.ly/GetWendyNews
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