Falling for a duke in disguise!
Never welcomed into society circles, Rosalind Allen gave up her marriage prospects long ago―life has taught her she’ll only get hurt. So she’s shocked when an encounter with a mysterious stranger makes her long to reconsider…
Little does Rosalind know that her mystery man is Leo Beauchamp, Duke of Cheriton, travelling in disguise to evade the ladies of the ton! Impoverished Rosalind is the first woman to captivate Leo―but can he persuade this wary Cinderella to trust him with her heart?
Leo Beauchamp, after being widowed isn’t interested in marrying again or for that matter anything to do with the opposite sex. He has more pressing matters with three children and a ramshackle of an extended family, which includes a rakish morally deficient libertine of a cousin, who has is own views on how and more importantly who should be running the family. And quite frankly he is a right pain in Leo’s, ducal rear end.
So he has more important things on his mind, that is until he comes across a mysterious widow in a lane, she intrigues him more than any woman has done for a very long time. So he decides to take his brothers advise and finally have some fun, he introduces himself as plain old Leo Boynton and soon he finds himself falling under this alluring woman’s spell.
Rosalind Allen and her brother are out casts from the tonish society because of her parents, they eloped and married for love sending the gossips into over drive and bring so-called shame to both families and since then no one in society want to even acknowledge that they exist. But behind the scenes was very different as her Parents soon grew bored and this is what Rosalind thinks all marriages end in. She like Leo finds it difficult to trust even on meeting a handsome and provoking gentleman man, she can’t seem to let herself be happy.
I really like this, even though the title is “Cinderella and the Duke” the fairy-tale isn’t pushed into you face, it is very subtle. You get the Cinderella undertones with a young woman having to do all the chores while the step parent does what he wants, and yes she does meet her own prince charming, but there is just so much more to this.
“silvery eyes narrowed, boring into hers with such intensity her insides performed a somersault. She felt a blush creep up her neck to her cheeks. Despite her aversion to his kind, she could not deny his magnetism. Try as she might, she could not tear her gaze from his, even though the slow curve of his lips in a knowing smile made her blood simmer.”
Leo finds it very difficult to trust people, his marriage wasn’t a love match and it wasn’t a happy match either, it was a more of a duty ticked off this list kind of thing for him. His late wife Margaret; by all account was a real light weight, she was actually a bit of a floozy (I love that word, and I don’t get to use it enough) but she really didn’t deserve what eventually happened to her.
After going through years of what he did with his wife and then when she was murdered he did lose a lot of himself, he shut himself away. He retreated back into his safe, little shell and in some way he has just shut himself down, away from society and family. It’s a way to protect himself but it is such a shame because Leo is a tender, loving and kind man who loves absolutely he is fiercely protective and he is a wonderful father who tries his best for his children, even though all three are legally adults he worries about them like any parent would, and after their shared trauma he is worried how and when I they will get on with their lives.
He is such a catch but not because he is a Duke but the man he is, his character and patience and steel determination makes him the prize. Rosalind is such a very lucky woman to have that silvery gaze locked on her.
“She stamped her foot back to the ground, dropped her skirts and whirled to face Leo, narrowed eyes shooting sparks. ‘Now look what has happened. That…’ she waved towards the hat, floating off downstream ‘…was my favourite hat.’ She was all womanly wrath, full breasts heaving. She is magnificent.”
Leo’s three children are all grieving and tormented by their mothers passing and the way she was brutally taken from them, the eldest Dominic is far too serious for his young years. Then we have the second son, Alex who has been deeply affected by his mothers tragic death; and once you have read it and found out the details you will understand completely why he is so sullen and reclusive. It is actually very heart-breaking once the whole tragic story get unveiled.
I particularly like Leo’s youngest and only daughter Olivia, who after growing up in a predominantly male environment and she has well and truly turned in to a tomboy. But she is definitely a bit of a feminist, she doesn’t like how the men of the world get to basically do what they wish. She is a little spitfire she is cunning and intelligent and not averse to pulling the wool over her families eyes she. She is such a fabulous character she has this great personality.
“‘That would hardly be appropriate, sir. Why, I hardly know you.’ ‘That can soon be remedied.’ He stepped closer, effectively trapping her between his body and that of her horse. A faint gasp—intrinsically feminine—whispered past his ears and his heart responded with a lurch and a yearning he hadn’t experienced for a very long time. He studied her: her fine, creamy skin, the peachy blush of her cheeks and her straight yet delicate nose, the lush pink lips, the fine golden-brown threads of her brows. Her eyes, framed by long lashes, gleamed as they held his gaze. There was curiosity in their depths. No hint of fear or apprehension. Leo stripped off his glove and touched his fingertips to her jaw. Her skin was silky-smooth, soft and warm. The scent of jasmine and warm woman weaved through his senses and blood…”
I really like Rosalind, she is real breath of fresh air and such a good influence on Leo, even though at first they are both in disguise her as a widow and him as a gentleman they soon found solace in each other there is something about these tow that catches your attention. She brings a lightness into Leo’s life something that he hasn’t had for a very long time.
She really does dislike aristocrats and actually with the way she has been treated by them I can’t blame her. She is so much better off away from their world, the only problem is that her step father was an aristocrat and so are her half-brother and sister. So on the death of her step father and to protect herself and he brothers and sister from the new heir and guardian she moves them to the country and takes the name Mrs Pryce so not bring attention to them.
But she soon realises that there is a bigger problem, she finds herself attracted to one of their lot unbeknown that he is actually one of the highest ranking aristocrats in the country.
This isn’t just a sweet and tender Historical Romance about love after loss, there is a real dark undertone to this that makes it intriguing especially when we get into both their individual stories The dark twists in the story do revolve around Lascelle’s who is Leo’s cousin, even though he is a horrid creature he is an excellent character. He really is the kind of character that you just love to hate right from the first moment we see him you just know that there is something very wrong with this guy.
I really do like this, Preston as before has created a hugely likable, edge of your seat thrilling love story that is so much more than what your first think. Yet again Preston doesn’t disappoint with her story telling skills, the plot is a mixture of a story of revenge, betrayal and a fun courtship between two individuals who are both as cynical about love and who both have serious trust issues.
This is a sweet story of two people who seem to think that they are both not destined for happiness but in amongst a turbulent time they find a kindred spirit. This is book one in the new Beauchamp Betrothal Series and judging by this one, this is going to be a delicious series and I can’t wait to read more of this especially if it is going to feature Leo’s brother and all round cheeky chappy; Vernon.
This was an ARC copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Cinderella and the Duke is on sale on 29th June and it can be found at Amazon.