Forbidden love is always a scandalous choice.... She raced across the pasture, vaulted a fence, and landed, stunned and breathless, on top of the most handsome man she had ever seen. The bemused stranger stayed to capture the fancy of the brood of orphaned children in her charge, then stole Lauren Hill's heart with a searing kiss as he left. Lauren couldn't tell him she was a widowed countess fallen on hard times. She tried to forget him - until she saw him again at a London ball. The man who haunted her dreams was a duke, out of her class...and he was pledged to another woman. The ton is ablaze with talk of the ravishing Bavarian countess. Stunned, Alexander Christian, Duke of Sutherland, recognizes Lauren as the country girl who's captured his heart. Duty has forced him to pledge himself to another, to take his proper place in society and in Parliament. He wants one night with his blue-eyed enchantress, but will he be able to walk away from her again? Or will he risk it all to be with the woman who fires his blood and makes him think of a...wicked angel.
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I LOVED this book. It truly expressed how many pulls in different directions one may feel inside when making an important decision. Other reviewers criticized this book because of it but this is exactly what can happen in real life. You may feel tormented when making a decision and that does not make a story bad. I highly recommend this book. Wonderful romance and of course a handsome hero and beautiful heroine. Who can ask for more? :)
One of the Amazon reviewers wrote this condensed version about the book which I enjoyed reading, so here it is: "Alex Christian, the Duke of Sutherland, carries a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. He is, of course, known in all of England because he is a duke, terribly handsome, very rich, single, young, and extremely influential politically. As he believes it is time for him to marry and produce an heir, he has requested the hand of an important political ally's daughter in marriage two years previously. They will be married within six months. He doesn't love the girl but is fond of her and knows she will make a great duchess. He is yet another one of those heroes that think love for a spouse is neither realistic nor desirable. Then his well-ordered life takes a sudden shift. He is hunting at his country lodge when he stumbles upon a country lady having a disagreement with a belligerent hog. He is so taken with her that he extends his hunting trip just to be around her. He knows it is all nonsense because of all his duke duties but cannot resist her for a little while. During this two-week period, their relationship is innocent and sweet. But his responsibilities require him to return to London and Alex never expects to see the lovely country lady again although it makes him very sad. Lauren Hill is that lovely country lady. Although her speech, education, and mannerisms proclaim her a lady, she first encounters Alex as she is singing to a hog in a cornfield right before the animal charges her and she leaps over the fence and into Alex's arms. For the next two weeks, he observes her perform all sorts of manual chores and even sees her wearing her brother's old pants and shirt. He is shocked but pleasantly surprised to find that she has five wards, orphans, who she cares for and loves deeply. Lauren is totally taken with Alex and finds herself in love with him. She has no idea that he is a duke. Lauren lives on a run down country estate with her uncle, brother, housekeeper, a mentally challenged boarder, and the five orphans. She is desperately attempting to make a living from the old estate. Her uncle wants to her to marry and better their situation but Lauren has no desire to marry again. Lauren's uncle, some years previous, had bartered her in marriage to a very old Count from Germany. She was married to the old Count for two years prior to his death. Since she had not provided him with an heir - a portion of the marriage agreement - she returned her inheritance, as his Countess, to the next Count and returns home to England penniless, much to her uncle's chagrin. Now fast-forward four months to London. Lauren's uncle has forced her back into society so that she may marry well once again. She is introduced everywhere in London by her married title of Countess. Imagine both Alex and Lauren's great surprise when they encounter each other at a party and find that each bears a title. Neither one of them is very happy with the other because of the little secrets they have both withheld. However, Lauren is ecstatic to see Alex and then heartbroken when she is informed that he is engaged and will be married in two months. Now the real story begins and it is a roller coaster. Lauren's uncle is blackmailing her to remarry well. She cannot waste time with Alex but he won't leave her alone. He seems to be everywhere she goes and although he believes he can never marry Lauren, he is obsessed with her. Of course, several very eligible men are pursuing Lauren and are very serious in marrying her. This makes Alex crazy with jealousy".
The story would have been much better if it did not jump around so much. You are one place then it jumps forward 4 months and starts talking about something you have not read yet and then jumps backwards. If it was a movie you would be dizzy. I lost patience with the book a few times and just stopped reading it for a while. It is OK to do that once or twice in a story but it was almost every other chapter. Then it was who hated who this chapter. not one that i would ever buy again.